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Nanny down time

(62 Posts)
7654novice Wed 11-Jan-17 20:11:58

Hi. Our nanny works a couple of days for us. She is great in so many ways!!! So amazing with kids and generally pleasant and professional. We try not to micromanage her as we feel she's capable and we trust her with the kids.
One issue though - baby has started taking much longer naps in the morning time in the last couple of months and nanny does not seem willing to use any of this 1.5-2 hours to do Anthony round the house. To be fair, we did originally say that we want her to be a Childminder and not a housekeeper but baby slept less then and we didn't think she'd have much time to spare.
I have broached it with her, gently to start, but several tines more recently as direct but pleasant requests. She seems really put out and I feel hostility creeping in as a result.
To add, older 2 (school going) get a half hour TV in the afternoon and she also has a sit down then while baby has a second nap. We do not ask for any cooking and she doesn't feed kids apart from baby's lunch which is pre made by me. She works an 8 hour day.
Am I asking too much to expect her to use some of this 1.5-2 hours productively presuming she's had time for a decent break?

sqidsin Wed 11-Jan-17 20:20:04

Well I would say that she probably deserves a one hour lunch break during the first nap at least. And a 20 min break for a cup of tea/recharge her batteries later?
Maybe the best way to approach it would be to ask her to do specific chores - e.g. it would be usual for the nanny to prepare the children's evening meal. Even if you get home in time to serve it to them, she could prepare it in advance?

However... having employed nannies in the past, I think the most important thing is whether the children are happy with her and you believe she is caring for them well. And that you have a good relationship with her yourself. If you have these things, I think you may have to let go on the "down time" issue.

Mamagin Wed 11-Jan-17 22:22:18

Well, it depends on how 'hot' Anthony is!
I don't think that you are being unreasonable. I'm a Nanny and wouldn't dream of sitting around while a baby slept. And an hour and twenty minutes break in an 8 hour shift!
I believe that if I am in loco parentis, then I should do everything that I would have done at home with my own children, including any housework that needs doing.

nannynick Wed 11-Jan-17 22:22:56

With three children there must be lots of laundry, could they not put some of that on, hang to dry, fold putaway etc?

Does your contract give you any opportunity to tell them what to do? I suspect it does, so you can ask.

They do need a break but for the relationship to work there needs to be some give and take, you need to come to an agreement that caring for the children is more than just being with the children but also involves getting involved in the general running of the household.

7654novice Wed 11-Jan-17 22:46:42

Yes, sorry about the Anthony typo!!!
In her defence she will happily fold a load of laundry if there's a load in the machine. That's where it stops though. So she might fold one load of laundry in her 2 days and I suspect she does this when baby's awake (which is fine). She tidies up after the kids a little but the older ones have always been made to tidy up after themselves and the place is generally not clean and tidy when we get home.
The problem seems to be when I ask her to do something specific and I can see the defences rising! I want to keep the goodwill alive and I'm reluctant to rock the boat but I'm not sure I can stomach her sitting comfortably for so long in the day. Having a nanny is a stretch for us financially!

7654novice Wed 11-Jan-17 22:48:59

Yes nannynick, the contract allows scope for changes to her job description with agreement. As the nap length changed quite dramatically I thought it was a good opportunity to ask her to do a few more things.

NannyR Wed 11-Jan-17 22:56:20

I would ask her to do the evening meal for the children, or start doing some prep for you if you prefer to cook and eat all together later on, she could do that whilst the older children are watching tv.
Nannies duties would normally include things like children's laundry - washing, drying, ironing/folding and putting it away, keeping the children's toys clean and tidy, tidying their rooms, changing their bedding. She has loads of time to do a bit of that every day and still have a decent break. It would make your life easier too if you are out at work eight hours a day.

WheresTheEvidence Wed 11-Jan-17 22:58:29

I work a 13 hour day 6-7 4 days a week. I get "down time" when the 2 children baby and 3.6 year old have a nap; however I am usually doing something or other. I always say it'd be nice to have some time but end up cooking/cutting out card for art activity/folding washing etc.

During my day I

6- 8 prepare and make breakfast/tidy up the kitchen/put on a load of washing/empty dishwasher/maybe batch cook something/feed children breakfast/play with them/put on laundry
8-9 get children dressed/help with teeth/encourage children to do chores - make bed - put laundry away - tidy up toys / pack up a lunch if going out
9-12 groups/classes plus chores in town
12 lunch time - make food from scratch or reheat leftovers/wipe over kitchen/chat
1-3 sort out laundry - wash - hang up - fold / batch cooking / prepare art activities/sort playroom/sort childrens clothes - what fits etc/ tidy up/ email boss/write in diary/put out clothes for tomorrow
3-5.30 out the house until tea / run errands/ playdate etc
5.30-6.30 tea / bath time
6.30-7 prep things for tomorrow/put laundry in hamper/tidy bathroom etc

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 11-Jan-17 23:00:09

What have you asked her to do exactly?

Crumbs1 Wed 11-Jan-17 23:05:58

I only ever had two nannies, rest of time I had mature women as housekeeper/mothers help. The nannies were employed as professionals with responsibilities for children. The last one was only 18 herself - sometimes she had three under 5 - so I think she earned any break she got. I never asked her to do general housework but did ask her to do errands like collecting dry cleaning or posting stuff. She'd happily swop laundry around and fetch drying from line. She tidied up with and after children, loaded and emptied dishwasher etc. She was a dreadful cook so I never asked her to do evening meals. She also was young so didn't see what needed doing household wise but that was a small price to pay for her loveliness and entirely trustworthiness.

wizzywig Wed 11-Jan-17 23:06:16

Wow wherestheevidence!!! You must be knackered at the end of the day. I know with my nanny i ended up asking her to work an extra hour 2/3 times a week to allow her to tidy and iron. I asked her what she felt was reasonable. But she does cook and do their packed lunches. We also habe 3 kids.

NuffSaidSam Wed 11-Jan-17 23:15:49

It depends what you've asked her to do.

It is within a nanny's role to do 'nursery duties', as described by PP.

It is outside of a nanny's role to do other household chores, unless this has been specified in the ad, at the interview and in the contract. A nanny who takes on additional housekeeping tasks is generally referred to as a 'nanny housekeeper'.

What did you ask her to do?

7654novice Wed 11-Jan-17 23:19:45

Wherestheevidence you sound FAB! Thanks for all the replies.

On starting I'd asked her to unload the dishwasher (10 mins max) and that was it. I figured if baby slept for an hour she deserved a break and if she chose to do more than that one thing then great!
Since the nap has extended I've started to try and think of small tasks that would mean she'd still get a rest especially on the off chance baby woke up early. (A few windows, a bit of dusting, a load of laundry). I know it's getting her back up.
A friend suggested asking her to iron as its relatively light work and she could watch TV while doing that.

Callaird Wed 11-Jan-17 23:23:00

I agree with DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen we need to know what jobs you have asked her to do.

I work between 10.5 and 12 hour days, 5 days a week. My charge naps (or is bed) for 2 hours after lunch. I always tidy up after lunch while he is napping. Some days I work through the nap (today I batch cooked for the freezer) other days (Friday's mainly) I sit on my bum doing nothing except menu plan and do an Ocado shop for two hours. I do charges washing and ironing (Monday and Thursday) boss doesn't care about ironing so I only iron things that need it, cotton bedding/cotton trousers/tops and shirts/2 pairs of cotton pyjamas.

I occasionally cook/prep food for my employers if they are having the same as my charge. I will sweep/hoover if needed.

I will not do - employers washing/ironing. Cleaning of any kind except clearing up after the children or child related. Any admin type work (trust me, I've been asked at interview if I'll do filing, invoices, chasing people up for payment, one family who ran a pub asked if I'd work behind the bar while babies were napping! (Not admin related, granted, but pretty funny!))

If you are asking her to housework then I can see why she's getting huffy but child related is par for the course. You can get nannies that are great with the children and will fulfill nursery duties. You will end up resenting her.

Callaird Wed 11-Jan-17 23:25:39

I would not clean windows or dust unless it's the children's room. I also wouldn't do my employers ironing.

7654novice Wed 11-Jan-17 23:34:19

OK, thanks nannies on here for the good advice. It makes me think I'll have to come up with stuff that is more kiddy related. I think it would bother me a whole lot less if the house was clean when we get home. Its always left immaculate on changeover in the morning and we've stated clearly we want it maintained.
Do people actually separate out parents' laundry from kids?? Maybe I'll think about doing that.
To be sure I'm not mis-selling her - she's lovely and energetic and kind to the kids.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 11-Jan-17 23:40:33

Not surprised she's not keen if you're presenting her with jobs like window cleaning tbh! You can't employ her saying she must do the dishwasher only then up it to cleaning windows!

Have a wash basket in each of the kids' bedrooms then she can see what is nursery washing. Tbh I wouldn't expect her to be happy about it as she took the job on with no reference to other jobs.

PenguinsAreAce Wed 11-Jan-17 23:41:04

Cooking food for children for the freezer
Changing kids beds
Tidying kids rooms
Kids ironing/name tapes
Kids laundry -washing, drying, folding, putting away

All of the above are reasonable. Cleaning is not, beyond clearing up kids mess, e.g. Floor after meals. Maybe an outside chance of keeping a kids bathroom in order if there is one that they alone use.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 11-Jan-17 23:43:44

Nursery duties- washing and ironing children's clothes, keeping bedroom tidy,cooking for the children,sewing labels and name tags on uniforms- basically all care of the child.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 11-Jan-17 23:45:17

The house should definitely be tidy at the end of the day so you don't come in to a mess.

NuffSaidSam Wed 11-Jan-17 23:46:40

It's the jobs that are the problem. It's not within a nanny's role to dust and it's definitely not within a nanny's role to clean the windows shock!! It's no wonder you've annoyed her. Stick to tasks that come under her job description.

It also helps to calculate down time over a longer period, for example a year. She might have extra time now, but in the school holidays she'll have none, no lunch break at all. The baby could reduce or cut completely the sleep at anytime, at which point she'll have nothing other than the half hour sit down. Sometimes it's swings and roundabouts.

If she's generally lazy around the house i.e. leaving it in a mess then you should bring that up with her. That's not good enough.

NuffSaidSam Wed 11-Jan-17 23:49:30

Also, as Dame says, it's about what was discussed at interview/in the contract. Maybe she doesn't like doing nursery duties and chose this job over another because you didn't want any nursery duties. You can't suddenly spring it on her and then wonder why she's irritated!

LittleBearPad Wed 11-Jan-17 23:50:34

I think asking her to do housekeeping stuff is unreasonable.

But children's laundry / batch cooking for their meals / making sure all toys are tidied away whether she does it or supervises kids doing it etc are fine.

My kids have their own laundry bags in their rooms and always have so washing doesn't need to be separated.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 11-Jan-17 23:56:50

I agree about swings and roundabouts comment x 10!

JaxingJump Wed 11-Jan-17 23:58:56

My nanny does everything including mine and DHs laundry, puts our dinner on, any random errands, irons DHs shirts. I've a 3, 2 and 1 yr old so a handful but she basically takes over our home when she's here and runs it as I would. I've found her cleaning windows and sorting the recycling many times. Most importantly she does a brilliant job with the kids.

I asked her to do none of the above, she's just bloody amazing and sees her role as keeping our home running while we're at work. She seems to enjoy looking after us all.

I don't think I could ever go back to a normal nanny. So hopefully hopefully we'll never be faced with needing to replace her.

OP, at the very least I think your nanny could make the kids meals, prep their evening food, do their laundry and keep their mess at bay. Anything child related seems reasonable.

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