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Nanny is a HUGE klutz!!

(100 Posts)
legalgenius Fri 05-Jun-09 16:20:59

I am clearly struggling with being an 'employer' and remaining calm with my nanny right now..she is testing my patience SO much!

Plus sides ares: she's great with my son- he's really happy with her but not in a clingly way, she's inventive, good tempered, firm, responsive etc BUT....

The girl is trashing my house!

In the past 9 months she has (deep breath)

Backed into my car

Put at least two dry clean only dresses through the wash

Ruined one v.v.v. expensive cashmere jumper by doing the same

Blocked the dishwasher with food and caused the kitchen to flood (£300 to fix)

Scratched the living daylights out of my Kitchen pans by using metal spoons on them and by putting them in the dishwasher

Ditto my digital weighing scales

Smased a whole set of wine glasses (on six individual occassions)

Smashed 3 vases (one of them a wedding present)

Left the buggy out in the rain for an entire weekend (we were away) causing it to grow black mould (£500 to replace)

She's lovely but she is destroying my home and no amount of gentle chats/formal warnings does any good. She gets tearful and despondent and then I have to deal with her moping and looking dejected.

Also- she gets lots of half days and late starts on the days I work from home on the understanding that when I get stuck at work she stays later- recently her caveman of a boyfriend has complained about this and , as she does everything she says, she;s started "curfewing" me as I leave the house.

In eight months she's never once had to put my son to bed/ stay past 7.15pm!

Have so little patience left with her- I work full time and my husband is away long term (military) and I really need her to start backing me up on the home front not cause me more grief!

My. That turned into a rant!

Anyone else stuck in this most irritating of trade offs?!

thisisyesterday Fri 05-Jun-09 16:26:11

god, i think i'd get rid tbh!

there are other lovely nannies out there who won't trash your house and take advantage IMO

hatwoman Fri 05-Jun-09 16:30:15

blimey that's really quite a list. have you asked her to contribute to any of the costs? would it make her a bit more careful?

not sure about the afternoons/later nights trade offs. fine in principle - if both parent and nanny are happy to be flexible and neither take the piss - but sounds to me like she's not happy to be flexible any more (not really relevant if that's down to boyf or not - that's her problemm call). so you should probably stop giving her the late starts/afternoons off. seems like a shame but not sure what else you can do (unless the agreement was explicitly part of her contract).

legalgenius Fri 05-Jun-09 16:30:33

you're right - i think because she's good with the little man and they seem to have bonded well, i've just put up with it ..

but exactly as you say, there's plenty more out there surely!

the latest gem happened this morning when she chucked a pile of opened mail in the recycling bin (now collected by bin men)- sadly, the opened mail included a cheque for over £200..AGGGGGGHHHHH

hatwoman Fri 05-Jun-09 16:31:37

oh lawks. klutz really is the right word

legalgenius Fri 05-Jun-09 16:33:22

Hatwoman- have asked her to contribute-particularly to the dishwasher - and she flat out said she didn;t have any money to give me..

the thing is, there is a flexibility clause in her contract but its nonspecific.

I agree, I would jsut assume she is no longer happy to be flexible and jsut start insisting on her full hours but she is the one who bangs on about great it is that we are such a 'flexible family' and so easy going.

Am now feeling v taken advantage of..

thisisyesterday Fri 05-Jun-09 16:33:58

yep, maybe I was a bit hasty. perhapos it could be rememdied by sitting her down and having a chat along the lines of: this damaging stuff/being careless is not acceptable. it will start coming out of her wages.

and if she wants to start curfewing you so she is free in the evenings, then you will change it to strict hours, which won't include mornings off.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 05-Jun-09 16:39:04

wow - all employers will find a bit of wear and tear in their house if they have a nanny but yours really takes the biscuit!! sad

thats a lot of stuff to break/damage - 6 wine glasses one at a time hmm

regards to clothes -maybe if she didnt do your washing then she wouldnt ruin the clothes smile

if she really cant stop destroying your house or wont be more careful then i think you are within your rights to start docking pay (ask flowery for advice if this is legal)

hatwoman Fri 05-Jun-09 16:42:17

we used to have a quasi-flexible clause in our nanny's contract - maybe you could do something similar in the bit about hours. ie "the nanny will work til 8pm one night every calendar month. one morning every calendar month she will start at 11 am. the employer will give the nanny one week's notice of these different hours". nowhere near as good as proper flexibility but possibly still a help?

legalgenius Fri 05-Jun-09 16:45:44

am SO glad you all agree that its a total nightmare. Have spent weeks telling myself to lighten up and not be anal about things (especially as I know I am bit high maintenance about the house).

I think will have to speak to her again- she knows that if theres any more high cost , avaoidable breakages, she is going to have to make a contribution..

the thing is- i just don;t have the energy to crack the whip- i know its lame and on that basis, I shouldn't complain about her..but I just wish she would take more care and she'd be great..

legalgenius Fri 05-Jun-09 16:47:21

hatwoman- thats not a bad idea. will maybe redraft her contract to reflect those might also have the added bonus of giving her a wake up call!

willowthewispa Fri 05-Jun-09 16:56:42

The things she seems to be not so great at look like housekeeping rather than childcare. Could you get a cleaner who'll do laundry and washing up so the nanny handles less breakables?? Might work out cheaper...

At the least, I'd do my own laundry myself!

As for the flexibility - I reckon you need to sit down and come up with an agreement between you.

FabulousBakerGirl Fri 05-Jun-09 17:04:53

The cheque can be reissued maybe?

If you are not willing to crack the whip then you will have to accept things will carry on as they are.

Good as it is when a child bonds with their nanny, they are not the only person your child will like and there are plenty of nannies with common sense, decency and respect.

I think a formal written warning with it made crystal clear she goes the next time anything happens.

Her boyfriend sounds lovely. hmm Do you want to be picking up the pieces when he dumps her?

<ex nanny>

Millarkie Fri 05-Jun-09 17:11:38

Is she a nanny-housekeeper (doing your washing/dusting (or breaking vases)? Or is she trying to be helpful by shrinking your clothes?
I would be tempted to get rid to be honest, but if you have employed her for over a year (I think) it will need to be a legal process of documenting issues and asking her to improve etc. I have moved my kids from nursery to one nanny to another nanny to au pair etc and have realised how easily they adapt to a new childcarer (even the very good ones).
At the very least have a chat with her and point out that flexibility works both ways and that it is a very important part of the reason for choosing a nanny over other types of childcare.
Good luck!

frAKKINPannikin Fri 05-Jun-09 18:43:49

Get a new nanny. It'll be cheaper and you'll have more peace of mind.

nannyL Fri 05-Jun-09 18:51:54

oh dear

i see that is rather a lot of accidents in 9 months
(I have had considerably less in 9 years!)...
BUT i dont think they are all fair

Backed into my car... if any damage then surely her car insurance will pay for this to be sorted so shouldnt be counted imo

Put at least two dry clean only dresses through the wash
Was this really a problem? I mean so many "dry clean only things can be put in a washing machine and will be ok... i know my boss puts several "dry clean only" things in the machine on delicate without any problems


Blocked the dishwasher with food
I realy dont see how it is your nannies problem. Most modern dishwashers are designed to wash dirty dishes (rather than clean rinsed ones)... certainly dont rinse plates at work and in 3 years the (miele) dishwasher hasnt broken yet! also over times things like dishwashers DO block so its unlikely to be exclusively then nannies fault IYSWIM?
also dishwashers have FILTERS and if the filters are emptied regualry they shouldnt block in the first place, and NO its NOT your nannies job to do the dishwasher filter

scratched Kitchen pans by using metal spoons on them and by putting them in the dishwasher
Ok using metal spoons is not a good thing... do you have a plentiful supply of plastic /silicon kitchen tools accessible that can be used though?
Cant see how dishwasher has anything to do with it.... most modern pans are DW safe, and im not sure how you think a saucepan being squirted with HOT water (when designed to hold liquids above boiling temperature), could cause them to get scratched?

Ditto weighing scales
Dont get this hmm you mean she doesnt put a bowl or something on them? or that she puts them in dishwasher?

Smased wine glasses (on six individual occassions) ok yes that IS clumsy! wink

Smashed 3 vases oh that is clumsy too

Left the buggy out in the rain for an entire weekend (we were away) causing it to grow black mould (£500 to replace)

cant see why a bit of rain would make it go mouldy in 48 hours? perhaps if allowed to dry out it would have been ok? (in 9 years i have come across a few wet buggies.... including the buggy kept on my charges yachts and kept folden up (often damp due to sea all week) and even that never went mouldy.

I really dont think most normal buggies would be ruined after being damp for a weekend... if you forget the rain cover / go to the zoo in the rain etc buggies can get oretty soaked...
the one that has been in my car boot for 3 years and often gone ion there wet and no sign of mould on that either.

Im NOT saying your nanny isnt clumsy, and being more of a devils advocate, but i dont think everything above (except smashing numerouse vases and glasses) is all the nannies fault or problem

fridayschild Fri 05-Jun-09 18:57:43

Don't give the OP a hard time on her clothes washing, maybe it is in the nanny's duties! With one child it would seem to me there is a bit of spare time for the nanny to do other duties.

Maybe nanny would accept a pay cut and the loss of her housekeeping duties?

I think that when little things start to build up in a nanny/employer relationship they can really fester. If you cannot summon up the energy to deal with her as your employee, and I can understand that, you really need to move on from this, learn from the experience and get a new nanny.

willowthewispa Fri 05-Jun-09 19:27:59

The nanny-housekeeper role does seem to rarely work - though I have a nanny friend who finds cleaning relaxing and is quite happy to take over the cleaner's job once her charge starts preschool! You couldn't pay me enough to iron.

blinder Fri 05-Jun-09 19:36:27

Is her name Jessica Spencer???

blinder Fri 05-Jun-09 19:37:44

The fictional 70s sitcom character obviously - not an actual person!

southeastastra Fri 05-Jun-09 19:39:56

i'd get a cleaner too and let the nanny just focus on your child.

Oligo Fri 05-Jun-09 22:23:43

It is useful if nannies have insurance for things like this but most nannies seem to be uninsured.

If they are insured it is often the nanny who pays though not sure whether this is fair for long term employees.

Other employers pay insurance for their employees so any liablilties e.g. breaking staplers, spilling tea on computers, are not relevant to personal wages. Even if uninsured you probably can't just deduct pay but need to claim it back somehow- not 100% sure though. This also avoids disagreements e.g. whether you really needed a new £500 buggy, as the insurance people will tell you if this is reasonable.

Employers liablity insurance- what's this?
Maybe you are covered by your own home insurance?

nannyL Fri 05-Jun-09 22:27:53

oh yes

of course thats what nanny insurance is for... if she is ofsted registered she should have it.... you could ask her to claim

im sure there must be an excess though (I have never claimed so wouldnt know)

mellifluouscauliflower Fri 05-Jun-09 23:42:34

Employer Deductions are illegal if not specified in contract. If you change her contract and do a formal warning I imagine she will look for another job. Fine, if that's what you want.

If you want her to stay, can I suggest 3 steps:

1) klutz proof your home
buy some really cheap pans for her to ruin, put red dot on labels in non wash items, buy some catering wine glasses that do not break when droppped. Give up on vases.

2) incentivise
offer a small bonus for no major domestic disasters between now and christmas. It is cheaper than new nanny fees. My experience is being a generous employer pays dividends.

3) sort out the hours
you write down what you want ideally, then she writes what she wants, you find a middle way and formalise it. Flexibility is too vague and open to abuse on both sides.

It also sounds like this is just one of many pressures in your life. Even if she goes, the other pressures will remain, glasses will still be broken occasionally and you will have a new pressure: finding new childcare and household help. Hope you can work it out.

HarrietTheSpy Fri 05-Jun-09 23:58:32

The bit about the clothes washing and the dishwasher brings to mind something a female MD I used to work with said once: "If you don't want to be asked to do something again, do it poorly." She was refering to typing in her case and her efforts to protect herself from 'menial tasks' early on in her career.

Annnyyyway. Do you think she maybe hates this aspect of her job???

Stretches the imagination when it comes to the car though. I would be SUPER p'oed about that.

Maybe do talk about the contract. It could be you just need to consider reallocating those jobs.

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