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Situation with nanny - advice needed, esp from other nannies(24 Posts)
So we have had an incident where I think our nanny might have been untruthful and it's niggling with me and I just don't know the best way to handle it.
A while ago, I left the house at 11.40. My 12 month old DS was slightly unwell (slight fever) but otherwise ok, I left nanny preparing lunch for him. Now, by way of background, my DS usually eats lunch at 12 and goes down for nap at 12.30. This was what I was expecting to happen that day and I had even discussed with the nanny about using a lighter sleeping bag than usual because of the fever.
At 12.15, I get a call from a delivery courier, saying no one is at home. Now I had completely forgotten about the delivery so just think maybe nanny hasn't heard the knocking. Ask courier to knock harder and meanwhile I call the nanny. No answer. I call her about 3/4 times. She eventually answers about 7 minutes later saying she is in the local park with DS - she says she tried to put him in cot at 12, he wouldn't settle so she took him out to sleep in buggy (this is not something I have ever suggested or that she has done to my knowledge anyway).
The thing is, that just doesn't seem plausible to me - DS would have had to have eaten lunch very quickly for her to have put him down at 12, waited to hear him not settle, got him out of sleeping bag and ready to go out in buggy all by 12.15 when the courier arrived at our house. Also, I have never known DS not settle for lunch time nap.
I feel that she lied to me and what in fact happened is that she decided to take DS out to nap in buggy so she could see her nanny friend who lives on the other side of the local park. I haven't outright accused her of lying but I did question her on the timing and she is insistent that her account is what happened. She looked me right in the eye and didn't seem overly flustered.
I just don't know what to do about it. She is otherwise a good nanny, calm with the children, energetic, good at arranging playdates. There have been a few other small matters that have bothered me since she started (4 months ago) - mainly things that I have specifically asked her to do like text me in the middle of the day with an update that she has forgotten to do.
Basically I think she is a good person but quite careless and now I am worried that I can't trust her. I don't want to let her go as the kids have bonded with her and she has lots of good qualities and I want to see if we can work things out. So am wondering about best way to approach things after Xmas break and was thinking of sitting down and discussing how important communication is to me and maybe drawing up a list of guidelines re agreeing plans with me beforehand etc.
What do you think the best way forward with this is?
Mmm I'm not sure, her account does sound like it could be true, especially if baby is off colour, maybe he didn't feel like eating/was struggling to sleep. Maybe she thought some fresh air would do him good. You say that you were expecting her to feed him and then put him down for a nap, but you don't say that you specifically told her to do that, so I don't see that she did anything wrong by taking him to the park. It's not like she was taking him shopping or anything, the park seems fine to me. Where you say that you had asked her to text with an update in the middle of the day and she says she forgot, I think you are being unreasonable to be annoyed by that. If you wanted an update, you could've text/called her, I would not expect a nanny to remember to do that when she is busy taking care of the children, I would not be happy if a parent asked me to do that and then got annoyed if I forgot. I think if you are generally happy with her care of the children and the children are happy with her, then to let this go, and to be clear in future that you want baby to be fed and then put down for a nap at home.
The drawing up of guidelines re agreeing plans with you beforehand sounds like a good idea, then you both know where you stand.
It sounds like the nanny was in charge of one child, so should be 100% focussed on him (rather than e.g. needing to go out to collect a child at nursery). If he was developing a fever I'd expect her to have taken longer trying the usual routine, rather than accelerating through it. If you have a routine that is working (lunch at 12, nap at home at 12:30) then perhaps you could reiterate that you want her to stick to it. I'd be annoyed if she altered the routine just to meet a friend, but others with children who will nap anywhere/anytime will feel differently
First of all the texting in the middle of the day thing well as a nanny we get busy and sometimes we don't have time. I always say I will try my best to update etc but my first priority is your child and not texting you.
Don't take this the wrong way but you sound quite controlling, as a nanny I would expect to be trusted and left too get on with my job. If I decided to take the child out for a walk to settle the child I wouldn't then expect to be accused of lying about my whereabouts.
I also couldn't work for someone who didn't trust me and who checked up on me constantly.
Even if she did go meet her nanny friend with the baby and he was happy asleep I don't see how it really harmed him or meant she was lying?
Thanks for the perspectives - it sounds as though I may be overreacting, which I guess is reassuring, as otherwise we are generally happy and were pleased to have found a good nanny who seemed to be getting on well in the job.
Purplepumpkins - I had been letting her get on with the job! It was just because of the delivery turning up that I found out about her not being there. It was a horrible feeling finding out she was not at home when I had left her there 35 minutes earlier, having expected her to be there for the next couple of hours while DS slept and not knowing where she was. That is why I felt upset about it.
Re. the texting during the day - that's interesting you think that I shouldn't expect that. I would have thought it takes 1-2 minutes to send an update which shouldn't be difficult during the 2 hour nap. I genuinely do want to be a good employer though so I will take these views on board!
I have a nanny and I would be unhappy in your shoes. I think all you can say now is that if eg you want the child to nap at home, tell her this is your expectation. I'm not sure accusing her of lying will get you anywhere though. I Sympathise with your situation. It is a big thing leaving your children with a nanny and if you don't feel you have full trust it is a really big deal.
I don't think you sound controlling and I also think one text per day is perfectly legitimate to ask for.
It's plausible. If you left and DS had a meltdown and was feeling unwell anyway sure may have felt that the change of scene was worth a shot, especially if he does fall asleep in the buggy.
Wanting an update isn't unreasonable, although I wouldn't say it was standard after the first month or so. However if you said you wanted one she should make time to give you one.
In your shoes I think I'd continue but be alert for any other inconsistencies or carelessness.
I disagree with Purple. If she's only been working for 4mths and this is your only child you and your nanny are still finding your feet together and part of that is working out your communication and how much input you have into their day.
in regards to texting you in the day, sometimes us nannies do get busy and sometimes we do forget or possibly don't even have the time to text updates. My employer often likes a midday update and so rings on her lunch break for a quick chat if we're at home - particularly if LO is ill. It's nice to have a quick text but I don't think it's realistic to expect one every day.
As for the nub of the post, whether you were happy for him to have gone to the park/slept in the buggy or not if she is lying to you then that is unacceptable. I agree that if you left at 11:40 and she was out by 12:15 then it is unlikely that your DS has eaten and that there has been a real effort to put him to sleep. You also say that she put him in the cot at 12 but normally he is asleep at 12:30. Even if he was not hungry and didn't want his lunch there is no reason that I can see why she should not have waited until 12:30 for his nap.
I think it is a good idea to talk to her about the importance of communication and perhaps make your expectations clear. Tell her that you would prefer it if DS slept in his cot rather than the buggy unless there are exceptional circumstances (a full day trip to the zoo, for example) and that you would like him to stick to his routine.
I enjoy the freedom my employers give me in regards to how LO and I spend our day. I am free to meet up with friends and go to the park as and when I like and only have too seek permission for activities that cost more than the kitty allows (e.g the theatre). I would feel stifled if I had to seek permission any time I decided to leave the house. You could perhaps give a list of places you are happy for her to go and to text you if she would like to go further afield. She should also always be available on her mobile. Can you suggest the nanny friend visit your house rather than your nanny going to the park?
Be clear in everything then, if there are any issues, you and your nanny both know where you stand.
I look after a child of the same age. I think the time was not long enough to have eaten lunch, let alone been put down for a nap.
The little one I care for often finds it hard to get to sleep. At this age they fight sleep ; and sometimes need encouragement to settle. Sometimes it takes half-an-hour. Taking him to the park wouldn't work; he would want to play. A newborn might settle in a buggy, but most toddlers don't unless a regular thing. You are right to be concerned. Talk to the nanny and tell her you want your son to nap in his cot. Visits to the park can take place at other times.
I do find it a little strange that you left her preparing lunch and she left shortly to go to the park, surely she needed to feed your son and herself. If it doesn't sit right with you, trust your gut instinct. Could be innocent and maybe she is telling the truth, speak to her.
With regards to the text if he's sleeping for 2 hours of course she has time to send a quick text. I often send photos of the kids to the parents or something funny they have said. It's not daily but I would if the parent's wanted me to.
I think she's lying and went to see her friend. Taking a sick (even slightly ill) child to the park instead of a nap doesn't sound like the right thing to do. I'd be miffed too. And you don't seem controlling to me!
It's a tricky one.
I'm a nanny and I couldn't work for you. I couldn't work for someone who panics if the nanny leaves the house unexpectedly and then doesn't call for seven minutes! SEVEN MINUTES?! If you couldn't get hold of her for an hour I could maybe see your point, but seven minutes...really? I also wouldn't want to be texting updates everyday.
But then I also disagree with this 'Taking a sick (even slightly ill) child to the park instead of a nap doesn't sound like the right thing to do'.
I think it sounds like exactly the right thing to do for a child with a fever. Wrapped up warm in the buggy, but out in the fresh air is exactly right.
The timing is a bit tight, but possible. She could have left the house at 12:13pm, which allows 33 minutes for lunch to be refused, a nap to be refused, bundled up and put in the buggy. If she was walking to the park between 12:13pm and 12:20pm that would explain the not hearing/answering the phone. She gets to the park, checks her phone and calls you.....a whole 7 minutes later.
However, you are the employer and one of the benefits of having a nanny is that you can dictate how you want things done. So if you want daily texts and notification before she leaves the house/makes a decision on anything then you are well within your rights to ask for that. There are nannies (more tolerant than me) who will be happy to do that, though I think you will find they are in the minority.
Ultimately, it's not fair to you, your child or your nanny to employ someone you don't trust. If you think she's a liar you need to let her go (for her own sake) and maybe look at a nursery where you will know where he is 100% of the time.
You've said that aside from that incident you were happy with your nanny, I think that is what you need to focus on. And as someone else said it's your prerogative as the employer to state if you don't want the baby sleeping anywhere other than his cot, but you need to make that clear and not just expect your nanny will know that. As for the texting, you can ask, I wouldn't mind being asked to do it, but if for some reason I forgot/got caught up in something and wasn't able to, I wouldn't be happy to be reprimanded for it. I really think it depends on what type of nanny you have. In 14 years every family I have worked for have had 100 % trust in me and I have had 'free reign' to do whatever it is I see fit with the children, without having to check with the parents first. Except one family, who were very strict on what we did, wanted baby to sleep only in her own cot etc, and I gave my notice after 6 months.
Tricky. The timings seem not quite right. If normally has lunch at 12 then sleep 12.30 why was she out of house at 12.15 and at park?
But maybe D's didn't want lunch as poorly and I agree a bit of fresh air is good when ill and all wrapped up in buggy and may sleep
Could the nanny have arranged seeing her friend but you were about am and therefore plans went awol
Some parents only want childrens to sleep at home In cot - I think it's good for them to sleep anywhere whether car cot pram travel
Cot somewhere etc
Would it be terrible if slept in buggy?
You sound too controlling for me (sorry) I want to be able if need be and child grumpy to go to the park etc - but that's if you beleive nanny was at park or you think she went to see her friend?
The daily texts would annoy me - I happily send pics if out and about and if there was a problem I would contact employers - but I wouldn't think about sending a text saying all is ok - assume all is fine unless you hear from nanny
Texting updates in the first few months of working I would see as being a perfectly reasonable request. Frequency of those updates will vary but should not fail to happen at all. Is the nanny generally forgetful? What are they using to help with that, such as diary on phone with reminders set?
Having a local nanny friend is great but needs of the child/children have to come first. Do you let the nanny friend come to your house?
I think OP is getting a lot of flack on here. Not unreasonable to want a toddler to have a routine for afternoon nap.
OP, you might find that having been rumbled she doesn't make the same mistake again. My first nanny found it challenging to get to work on time, and used to call to say she was in a cab. One day I was waiting at the front door hoping to nab her cab myself before it drove off as I really really needed to be on time that day. She walked up the street and told me she'd let the cab go at the end of the road. But she looked a bit shifty as she told me this and never "got a cab to work" again.
I know a few nannies who probably would have done what yours did, especially if the child had got unsettled when you left. I think the important thing is to let her know your expectations regarding nap times & communication. In my last job I was also encouraged to let the child nap at home as they slept better so that's what I did however a few of my nanny Friends let the children nap in pushchair whilst they are out.
*Note from MNHQ: We've edited a few details in the OP to protect the OP's identity.*
I have had two nannies. The first I wasn't particularly impressed with and the second amazing.
I picked up on a lot the first nanny did/didn't do because our relationship wasn't great and so I was looking for faults.
The second nanny could pretty much do anything- I would trust her judgement. I have a better relationship with her and therefore I am more relaxed.
It may also be that I am getting more experienced as a mum and so I have chilled out with time as well.
I wonder whether there are fundamental flaws in your relationship with your nanny and you're having the same issues I did with my first.
Good luck! Hope you sort it out.
Did you talk to your nanny Thinking?
I look after a 16 month old, I decided his routine in my first week! Obviously I discussed with MB what she wanted from a routine and if she wanted one. I love the lunch time nap in the cot, he loves his bed and will sleep for 2-3 hours solid. I can get all my stuff done and still have time to take a break. He will sleep in the pram if we are out but not as well, up to 75 minutes. That's ok for him occasionally but he gets really cranky by tea time on day two of short naps. I wouldn't get him to sleep in the pram because I wanted to see a friend around the corner though! Pram naps are for when we are out all day away from home.
I text my boss most days with a little update, especially if he's not very well or done something funny, silly or new. We also have a whatsapp group with all the grandparents on so I put photos or videos on there 2-3 times a week which my boss can see (when she's got a quiet moment to herself after opening the video of my charge dancing to Kasabian in a big meeting!!) If I don't text. She doesn't mind, she's busy at work too and she knows how busy I am at nap times mostly. If she wants an update, she text me to ask, simple!
I'm an experienced nanny, and I disagree with the idea that a nanny may be too busy to give you a quick text during the day..especially if your little one sleeps after lunch, wouldn't take 30 seconds to say everything was ok?
I think you should follow your gut instinct. An important part of the job is building a good relationship between nanny and employer, and you have to feel you can trust her. That also makes our jobs as a nanny easier too, as you feel more relaxed and confident with the decisions you make if you feel you'd have the backing of the parent. If your little one was ill, I personally would have taken the opportunity to show that you are able to adapt to a slight change of routine I.e. taking lunch a bit slower, slightly longer sleep maybe?
Perhaps if your nanny had been with you for years and you had built a good relationship up, it may have been a bit more acceptable as you could trust her judgement a bit more, but personally, not really on I don't think. She's on your time.
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