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Please help - advice needed re friend's r'ship with nanny

(22 Posts)
Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 10:42:06

Hi guys. Can't quite believe that this has happened again ... but for any of you who remember my thread about friend / neighbour who loves my nanny, the issue is still ongoing ...

I am reaching the end of a v important piece of work that I have sweated blood to achieve. When it is finished I will have lots of time to spend with DS (from early April), but currently nanny works 4/5 days 8.45am-6pm. She is also taking DS without me to my Mum's for a wk (lovely house just outside Brighton), and then with me afterwards to my Dad's for a week (I will take work with me), in the Alps (france). She will work 2 w/e in March.

Anyway >sigh<. Yesterday, after the singing session that I organise, friend/neighbour ("X") came up to me afterwards, and said "I can't believe what you are doing to your nanny.It must be torture for her, working these long hours and then you taking / sending her here, there and everywhere. Poor girl I didn't know you could treat them like that."

I managed to stutter out explanation that I was hard at work and needed all the help I could get, plus that was why I had employed her.

X came round for dinner later that night (already pre-arranged so she could meet a friend of mine due at the same time). Sailed in all cheery and friendly as if nothing had happened. So I reacted in kind, hoping that I can continue to "rise above it".

Anyway, prob is tomorrow lovely nanny is back to work, and I am worried that
1) X is filling her head with cr*p
2) She really is upset about her working conditions and is too shy to tell me (have a weekly sit down and run thru schedule, issues, general catch-up)
3)Do i bother mentioning it to her (eg say that X was worrying me) or do I just assume it is all X's problem, and not the nanny's?
4)DO I ask nanny to avoid X - who calls her every day and regards her as a friend, but who obviously doesn't think I am as much of a friend?

Any advice welcome. Thanks.

Twiglett Sun 20-Feb-05 10:50:33

talk to x .. explain to her the nature of the empoyer / nanny relationship .. ask her very pleasantly to butt the hell out

who on earth does she think she is?

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:03:43

Twiglett - thx - prob beyond the call of duty, but given that X has shown herself to be a little insensitive to these things and a bit moody herself, how do I do this without causing further ructions? I live in a little village and our kiddies will be at school together etc etc. Have you any ideas how to put it? Do I do it over the phone etc? I am really worried that it will come out wrong ...

binkie Sun 20-Feb-05 11:03:51

First of all, on presumption you are paying a good market wage, the hours and other things you're asking of her are fine, fully within what can be agreed with a full-time nanny in my experience. Eg mine have always done the to-grandparents-without-us thing, on agreement & with bit of bonus of course.

On the main point, I would take a deep breath and say to your nanny something along lines of "not to put you in an awkward position but I am having thoughts put into my head by X [because it is you, tiggus, who's having the thoughts inserted, every bit as much as your nanny] - can you please let me know if there is anything you feel is a problem with our job etc. etc. - I would hope we would always be able to talk face to face without getting wires crossed ..." and so on.

You will probably find your nanny delighted to offload a little about X's constant interferingness and monstrous lack of tact!

binkie Sun 20-Feb-05 11:05:34

Oh, cross-posted - I wouldn't talk to X - think (a) might aggravate situation (b) she simply won't get it anyway

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:06:53

Binkie - yes I am paying her time and a half for the week away, which she agreed was reasonable (eg paying her as if she was working from 7am-10pm every night).

When I talk to nanny, do I mention that X is doing this?

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:08:15

On reflection I think Binkie is right. It has happened before and she continues to show that she has No Clue about the whole employer / nanny r'ship.

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:11:13

sorry I am not very good at this - binkie saw that you suggested naming names. ALtho I think my nanny really likes X, they are going to the theatre together next week, for example.

binkie Sun 20-Feb-05 11:12:30

As to whether you mention to nanny that X is the culprit, I think depends on nanny - I'm thinking of ours, who's a very discreet sensible professional who (charmingly) always sees the funny side of everything. So to her I could say, look, you know X, well she's worried me - and I know the instant response would be oh yes isn't she ridiculous sometimes, don't worry, I enjoy her company but always take her with a huge pinch of salt! (And I could be confident that my chat with nanny wouldn't get reported to X - that's the "professional" bit.)

Are you as similarly sure of yours?

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:15:29

Well I was until this X problem became something of a pattern. Also she is only 21 - not that should make a diff - but this is her first job after her probation year, so potentially the first time she has come across these probs.

I just don't want to seem a cow for breaking up a friendship between them. She always looks so pleased when X calls, altho is often a bit jumpy after having had a playdate with her.

The rest of the time she really is excellent.

Freckle Sun 20-Feb-05 11:20:59

Are you sure X isn't trying to steal your nanny? You say she has a baby due and, presumably, other children. She may be trying to unsettle your nanny with the promise of better conditions if she were to work for her. Just a thought.

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:22:33

Oh God. I hope not Freckle. But you might be right.

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 11:23:40

What do I do if she is trying to steal her??

binkie Sun 20-Feb-05 11:31:22

Yes, I see - it might take experience to be able to separate the professional and the personal - our nanny is a bit older, plus sort of instinctively good at that stuff anyway. Well then, maybe the line should just be to say again how much you want her to be able to raise any concerns with you at any time, however busy you might seem to be (this bit might be important in your current circumstances). And perhaps ask her whether she feels you have not always been available recently when she needs to chat? - just suggesting because personally I find it easier to offer an opening for a grievance than to ask if there is one.

Did she come through an agency? Some agencies are good about being an intermediary - ie the nanny can tell the agency she's got problems & then the agency raise with them with you.

Poor dd has been fobbed off with dot-to-dots for nearly an hour now so I must switch off the computer!

duster Sun 20-Feb-05 11:34:44

Next time Mrs X says something, why don't you say, 'Really? Well I'll talk to (nanny) about that.'
And then do so.
That way, you're not breaking a confidence or stirring, as you've made your intentions absolutely clear. I'd also tell Mrs X how much you love the nanny, and how you're happy to pay her a little extra. And say to your nanny, 'As I told Mrs X, we think your great etc.'
I would say, 'I was talking to Mrs X and I wondered if we were making you work too hard/much, and I'm worried you feel awkward about approaching the subject. We really like you and want you to be happy here, and I so appreciate all that you do for us. Would you like to cut down on the extra hours you are doing? Is there anything we can do to compensate (can you give her some extra time off in April, in addition to her holiday entitlement, paid, of course?)?'

For what it's worth, you sound like a great employer and I wish my last boss (was Montessori teacher's assistant) had been like you!

Freckle Sun 20-Feb-05 11:34:49

I think all you can do is to make sure that her working conditions are as good as they can be. Make sure she is happy with what is happening and that she feels comfortable raising any issues she may have.

I would be concerned about her friendship with X if X is openly criticising your role as an employer.

binkie Sun 20-Feb-05 11:36:52

Can't keep away! - new issue of stealing! In truth, if X is intent on stealing, and your nanny isn't loyal, there isn't anything you can do. Talking to X won't stop it, I'm sure. Best you can do is to make your relationship with your nanny as good as it can be.

duster Sun 20-Feb-05 11:45:12

Tiggus, is she the only nanny in the village?!
Serious point, Mrs X could just be lonely hence the calling her daily. Is she in a financial position to employ a nanny? Agree that when you live in a small village things can get sticky! Have nanny friend coming over soon - I will ask her what she thinks.

edam Sun 20-Feb-05 12:04:52

Re: stealing, what notice period is your nanny on? What does her contract of employment say? I know this is a bit different, but my nursery has a clause about offers of employment to their staff, think parents have to pay them if we nick anyone. Maybe worth thinking about a 'buggering off and working for someone I introduced you to' clause in future contracts.
Of course, if you insist on a long notice period, you'd have to pay any nanny you dismissed her notice, unless it was gross misconduct.

ssd Sun 20-Feb-05 12:12:27

Having been a nanny, I see a different side to this. Maybe your nanny has been complaining to X about her increased workload and maybe she feels like she can't tell you so X thinks she can do the telling for her? As we all know, discussing problems with our boss/employer is difficult and although you do sound reasonable maybe she finds it hard to discuss problems as she knows you are under pressure at work and she doesn't want to burden you further...It does sound like she is working a lot of hours, maybe she is a bit peed off and discusses this with X?

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 12:27:35

binkie and ssd - yes I will try to make sure that she can air grievances with me, in a no strings sort of way. As I said, I do try to sit down with her every week, go thru schedule, check she is happy etc.

edam, duster et al: I am giving her extra time off in May (> 2 weeks in total). she is going on hols 1 wk and thinking about doing half term nannying the other.

freckle etc: as for whether she is being stolen, you are right, if she is disloyal and is being tempted then I am afraid I will just have to bear the cq's. But will probably want to leave the village as I will be so so angry and hurt!

And yes, she is "the only nanny in the village". The other 2 work for parents with kids in school so they don't do the same activities etc. I stupidly introduced her to X because she is SAHM whom I used to spend a lot of time with before going back to work. Great "friend" indeed >sigh<.

Tiggus Sun 20-Feb-05 12:29:12

Nanny came thru an agency. SO maybe I could copy and paste my posting here into an email to the very nice lady that runs it and see if she has feedback too.

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