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nanny needs some advice from both side, is it going too far?

(36 Posts)
babloogirl Sun 05-Jul-09 22:37:29


I will try to make it as short as I can but quote the facts as they are.
I started nannying for this family back in February 2009. So it has only be a couple of months.
I am a live-in nanny during the week, but I leave out with my partner on week ends. they knew about that and are fine with it.

There is a few thing bothering me, but I would start with the main one. angry

The money for activities with the child or any errands.
From time to time during the week they provide me with money, but when there is no money, I have to advance the money and they then refund me which is not a problem for me as long as I can afford to advance.

Last friday, the mum came to me at 7.50am just before I start, giving me a list and asking me if I could advance the money. I told her that it is going to be a bit difficult for me because this week I have lots of expenses going out (rent, council tax,and some direct debits).

She then accused me of not being reliable because I couldn't even advance her 20£. I was completely shocked that she was accusing me of that so I explained her about my expenses going out, but she told me that you are getting x£ per month, you rent is that much, where is the rest of your money going?

I really think that this is none of her business where I spent my money, but as she was insisting to know I had to tell her, that I am repaying some debts which is the reason why I am a bit short of money.

But I really don't think I should have had to justify myself.
Plus looking back in the diary, I noticed that in June I advanced her twice 38£ and then 36£, and much more times little amounts.

After she left to work, she rang her husband and they were clearly speaking about me and what just happened, and just before he left, the dad left the 3£ they owed me from the day before on the table (as if I am begging for money). the mum apologised to me over the phone for the way she talked to me in the morning (and in front of her child) but then she said that I should understand that she is worried about the welfare of her son if I don't even have 20£ to advance her. hmm

So that is the first point which is bothering me (keeping it as short as possible)

My second point is that since I started with them, I rarely go out, it must have happened less that 5 times (in 5 months)and always coming back early (11pm at the latest). anyway,

They ask me to send them a text when I get to my partner on friday night to make sure I arrived alive...and every sunday night they ask me to send them a text to know what time I will be back which I completely accept to do because I don't want them to worry (they said me they are worried about me travelling on my own by tube and train...) I am usually back to their place between 9pm and 10.30pm.

One sunday night I send them a text saying that I will be home a bit later at 11.30pm. I straight away got a reply saying please note that we want you to be home no later than 11pm. Once again I was really upset, I spoke a bit with them when I got back and they told me that this is the rule I should respect it. I tried to tell them that I am never going out during the week, apart from the sunday night when I come back later because I am enjoying my day off with my partner. I wouldn't be the kind of person staying out past 11.30, midnight at the latest.

I really feel like trapped or back at my parents (I am 25). Am I doing anything wrong?

Plus in my contract it is stated that I should do 2 babysitting a month, in june I did 4. I did not ask to be paid extra or anything so I am not the kind of person who would moan about everything (I hope you are not getting the feeling that I am).

So my question is: am I being unreasonable in my acts?

(thanks for the one who read this until then end grin

3littlefrogs Sun 05-Jul-09 22:40:34

No - you are not at all being unreasonable. They should not be asking you for money - ever. It is entirely your business how you spend your wages. I would be looking to get out of this situation if I were you.

They are exploiting you.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 05-Jul-09 22:42:03

Give them notuce and go.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 05-Jul-09 22:43:30

also it seems that you are employed from Monday morning until Friday evening, so you should only be back in time to start work on Monday.

dizzymare Sun 05-Jul-09 22:47:01

It sounds like total madness to me shock
Hand your notice in love!

funnypeculiar Sun 05-Jul-09 22:47:57

No, it sounds like they are being unreasonable.

1. Not acceptable, imo. Let them know that they need to provide money up-front for any outgoings - they should not be relying on you in this way. But I suspect this will be becuase this is how they are used to running their expenses (most businesses would do expenses in this way - ie the employee pays out, then claims money back) Absolutely agree that how you spend your money/what cash you have available is absolutely your business

2. Is there a reason why they need you back earlier? (I assume you have a key and they don't need to stay up to let you in?)Had this 'rule' been discussed before?

3. Once you hit your 2 babysits per month, just point it out (In a very matter of fact way) - do they want to pay you extra or will this count against the next month (depending on what you're happy with)

LittleRedBook Sun 05-Jul-09 22:48:09

hi there. I don't think it's right that they should ask you to fund activities and then pay you back later? end of the month?, they should have the cash ready and if there is a real mess-up with having money in the morning it should be paid back to you by the end of the day. Your cash flow is none of their business and I don't think the mother should have put pressure on you by asking you such personal questions.

as for the coming back curfew - it sounds a bit controlling though perhaps they are concerned about you disturbing the household when you come in? if you lived out they wouldn't know what time you got home so don't see that they should control this aspect of your life - would be different if you were coming back very late, drunk etc. can you get to them on Monday mornings instead?

but others who have nannies may have more useful advice than me.

Millarkie Sun 05-Jul-09 22:48:12

They are being unreasonable. Look for another job.

bran Sun 05-Jul-09 22:48:41

For the money thing I think they should be giving you money in advance. If they are worried that you don't have enough cash to hand (for instance if you needed to get a taxi in an emergency) then they would be better off giving you £20 to hold in reserve.

I think it's entirely unreasonable for them to give you a curfew unless they have to wait up for you to get in so that they can bolt the doors (although you could do this). So long as you are fit to work on Monday it's none of their business what time you got in on Sunday night.

If they are otherwise good to work for then ocould you discuss these two things with both of them, or do you think it will descend into petty bickering?

OnceWasSquiffy Sun 05-Jul-09 22:49:38


They have way, way overstepped the mark. They aqre treating you like their daughter, not their nanny.

I would sit down with them and tell them that you feel they are not treating you as they would expect themselves to be treated at work - ie on a professional basis. To that end, it is entirely your decision when you return home at night so long as you perform properly the next day, and that you will no longer be calling them on a Friday night when you have left.

You should also point out that your money is your own business and if they would like you to do chores/shopping/trips then you will need a proper petty cash system whereby they replenish a cash balance each weekend, against the receipts you provide. We have a petty cash box which we top up to around £100 whenever we remember, and the nanny tells us when it is down to £20 or so. Works fine and I imagine every nanny employer does the same.

If you don't say something it won't improve. Saying that, it won't go down brilliantly however you phrase it, but better to have a tense conversation than carry on being treated like a child I think. If they turn round and say 'their house, their rules' there's probably not much you can do about it other than look for something else...

iMissEdith Sun 05-Jul-09 22:49:48

Don't give them notice, just go.

They sound nuts.

babloogirl Sun 05-Jul-09 22:51:16

Thanks for your quick replies,

I was really thinking of giving them my notice but as it is my first nanny job, I don't want to give up so quickly. sad

And how to justify with the future employers why I did not stay long with this family...(my main worry)

But in the same time, this situation is making me go crazy!

I am now on holiday for 2 weeks as they are gone on holiday, but even on holiday I feel depressed about going back over there...

chegirl Sun 05-Jul-09 22:54:12

I am not a nanny and have never employed a nanny but I feel I have to comment on your post.

The way they are treating you is utterly unacceptable. Why on earth should you be expected to subsidise your employers? I worked for a local authority, should I sub them every week so they can get the bins emptied?

Are you their first nanny? Do they really think that this is normal procedure?

You need to get this sorted out. They should provide you with a float to finance their children's activities. It is irrelevant how you spend your wages as they are unconnected to their family finances.

If you cannot sort it, you need to find another job.

CharlieandLolasMum Sun 05-Jul-09 22:55:11

Agree that yanbu on both counts.

With regards to the money - what do the expenses cover - could you pay for your activities in advance or is this for other things. Is it possible for them to give you a works debit/credit card so that they know where the money is going and how much and also means that they just have to pay it off in 1 big sum each month.

The curfew - been there and done it - and agree that it makes you feel like a child - I would mention it to them - are they always up when you get in? what would happen if you're late? does this affect any babysitting you could do for local families. I would sit down and say that whilst you understand their reasoning ie making sure you're alert the next day etc that you are a grown up - is there any way you could get a train to get you to work on the monday morning ?

lisad123 Sun 05-Jul-09 23:03:40

I would hand in notice. You arent even due back sunday night, should be monday morning!
I would hand in notice, and if asked next time, explain that you didnt fel able to work with people who were treating you like a child, especially as you were caring for their child.

Any chance you could do live out next time and then you could use that as a reason you left.
Good luck

babloogirl Sun 05-Jul-09 23:37:42

@Funny pelicular,
1. if I advance the money they usually give it back to me by the end of the week, but the thing is when I am taking the money out of my account I then have to go to the bank on the saturday morning to top up my account and be sure that no direct debits will be rejected.
2. there is no reason why I have to be back earlier, I have my own key and I am being really quiet when I come home, I don't switch on any lights if they are in bed, just take of my shoes and go to my room really quietly, I don't even use the shower to minimize the noise.
3. I know that I should point it out for the babysitting but I did not want to create a bad atmosphere. (my mistake)

My partner think I should be back on monday morning too, but I agreed with the family to come back on sunday night because they needed to make sure someone was here to care for their child on monday morning.

@bran, I tried to discuss with them that I don't have a curfew on sunday nights mentioning that not even a single time I was late to start, and that I know my limits I know that midnight is the latest I can be awake to start the next day fresh at 7.00am, but they maintained that no you have to be back before 11pm.
They are not too bad to work for even though I find it really hard to try to have a conversation with the dad, and I can discuss more easily with the mum. But I have to say that since all these incidents happened, I can't see any improvments coming.

@OWS, I tried to have a conversation with them about the curfew, but nothing has changed and I just have to accept it... This curfew wasn't agreed before I started so I wasn't aware of that. (and I would never come back drunk to their place).

@ILME, I wouldn't go without giving my notice, because I have signed a contract with them and I have to respect my engagement to give them 2 months notice... OMG that is gonna be so long!!!

anyway thank you so much for your advices, I was really thinking that I was acting in a wrong way...

babloogirl Sun 05-Jul-09 23:44:26


I am not their 3rd nanny, I must be the fourth one, apparently from the diary they have always been working this way for the money...I read that the previous nanny had once to advance over 100£...which I honestly couldn't afford to do.

the money it is sometimes for dry cleaning to be picked up, or for petrol for the car (ie:if they did not go out at the week end they wouldn't top up the tank), or for small food shopping, or taking the child out (ice cream, arts, carpark...).

chegirl Sun 05-Jul-09 23:49:18

Sorry Babloogirl, I know I dont have any experience in this area but it all seems totally mental to me.

dry cleaning? They seem to want you to act like a family member re money but a servant re anything else.

They simply should NOT be expecting you to lend them money.

AtheneNoctua Sun 05-Jul-09 23:54:39

They are out of line. An 11:00 curfew for a 25 year old? Weird! Just plain weird! I wouldn't have stood for that when I was 18 (but then I was a tad rebellious in those days). Surely 11:00 on Sunday night is not within your contracted hours?

PortAndLemon Mon 06-Jul-09 00:00:41

I would hand in your notice and look for another post. How long have the previous nannies lasted? It is completely unreasonable for them to expect you to advance money -- fair enough once in a while when unforeseen circumstances crop up, but to expect it as a matter of routine is way out of order. And an 11pm curfew on the Sunday night is also unreasonable.

callaird Mon 06-Jul-09 00:16:28

Wow! You poor thing, You really do have to speak to them, they should never ask you for money! I am shocked that a family would do that and then give you a hard time when you say you can't afford to. It is none of their business where your money goes! My bosses would never ask me what I spend my money on, they do tell me off when I spend it on the boys though!

I pay for everything for the month out of my money and my bosses pay me back at the end of the month, sometimes as much as £1,000 + but this is my choice, I like getting a big cheque at the end of the month, feels like I get paid loads of money! And it helps me to save.

I live in and they would never ever think to give me a curfew (although that may be cos I am a year younger than Bmb and 5 years older than MB!) thet do ask what my plans are if I am going out, but only in a friendly way, they wouldn't tell me what time to be in or even ask me what time I'll be home.

And the babysitting, just tell them, you have kind of set a precedent by not telling them the first time it happened, silly!! But if they ask you to sit for 3rd time in the month, just say that's fine but I have already done my 2 contracted babysitting this month so this night will have to be paid and tell them how much you want an hour (unless it's already in your contract) if they say no we are not paying you, then tell them you will not babysit. I know it is so hard to do these things but you have to let them know where you stand or they will walk all over you.

You will know for next time and you will talk about these things in your next interview and in your next position you will learn more new things that you will put in your next contract!! I've been doing this for 23 years now, I am still learning things that some parents take you for granted!!

I would try to stick it out for a year, I know it is hard but if you have to give 2 months notice (2 months??? That's one thing you need to change in your next contract!! A month is usual, then if you like the family and leave for some reason you can give them longer notice but if you hate it, it is 4 weeks, not 8 and if you have any holiday owing you might even only need to do 2 weeks!) that takes you up to 7 months, only 5 more to do! Then it would look better on your C.V. One think I would suggest though is to ask for a written reference (for a new babysitting client or something) a month before you give in your notice then if she gets shitty at least you have a reference for your C.V. Been there done that!

Try the nannyjob message boards for loads more advice from seasoned nannies.

Good luck and talk to them!! Write everything down and if you get upset (like I do, pass it over for them to read and get everything in writing!

nooka Mon 06-Jul-09 00:16:50

I'd start looking around and see what the nanny market is like at the moment. Try asking a couple of agencies or looking on the internet at nanny sites. That will give you an idea about your options, always a good place to start. It is not unusual for nanny positions to be relatively short for a variety of reasons, and sadly one of them is employer unreasonableness, but yes a prospective employer would have a worry or two, and references are important. So you do have to handle this carefully.

However they are being ridiculous and totally unreasonable. You should never be paying out your own money, except for a treat for your charge that you choose (and you know the family are OK with) or very very occasionally when your employer has had a bit of a brainstorm (been there, done that) in which case they should be incredibly apologetic, and get the money back to you as soon as possible.

That they implied it was your fault you couldn't pay for their dry cleaning is bizarre to say the least.

Re. the curfew it's fine if it was agreed to up front and in the contract, but otherwise your obligation is to be there Mon am. It sounds as if they are very controlling and have a fairly weird risk radar too. We had daily nannies and they always arrived on time every morning. Why wouldn't they? If it is your job to start at a particular time, then you do. I wonder if they really just don't like you being away at the weekend? Strange because that seems quite a good arrangement.

daisy99divine Mon 06-Jul-09 00:23:58

I think this is really difficult because so much depends on the situatio and what you have agreed

Re the money. Of course you should not have to advance money, but an earlier poster is right, it is what often happens in businesses - you pay and claim back each month so that might be part of their thinking but you certainly shouldn't have to justify how you spend your money and it should have been something made clear to them

FWIW if (however odd) the concern was you having enough money for an emergecy I woudl always expect anyone with my DC to have enough money to get a taxi home or deal with somesuch emergecy although I know that is not exactly what you are talking about

As to a cirfew I know many people wiht nannies or live in people do have curfews. I am not saying it is right but people do get odd about having others live in their homes. I thhink it shoudl certainly have been mentioned before you started work

I think also it is an odd situation being semi responsible for someone living in your home

THis is not to say I think your employer is right in what they have done, merely trying to suggest some explanation?

Did you go to them via an agency becaues the agency may be ble to intervewent and help since you are new to the post?

Otherwise, if you cannot explain your situation and change things I agree yo ushould think about moving because it is clearly making you unhappy and with work - either you sort it out or move o!

Good luck, I really feel for you and my post above was not meant to be unsympathetic

Simplyme Mon 06-Jul-09 00:49:41

Ooh dear sounds a tricky situation. You are def not being unreasonable in feeling upset about the situation.

RE the petty cash, some employers pay upfront some later on. It is up to you and them to work out what is best but if you said you didn't have the money to pay upfront she should have worked around that not pried into your personal finances. I have always been paid upfront but sometimes I go over or they forget to leave money etc so I use my money and they reimburse almost immediately.

The curfew is definately not good. They are not treating you with the respect you deserve as an adult and employee. When live-in there are finer boundary lines and they may be genuinely concerned you get home safe friday nights but I can see how it is irritating for you. Simply tell them that if you didn't make it home safely then your OH would know and inform police and them etc so not to worry about you.

Getting back on a Sunday is a not fair curfew. You know what your limits are and as long as it's not affecting your work then you can come home when you like. Tell them that you have already compromised by coming back Sun eve not Mon am and you promise to be back by midnight not 11! You know yourself you wouldn't want to be later than that anyway.

Babysitting - as others said let those ones go but count future ones. Can you mark them in the diary/calendar so it can be seen that they have been used?

Since it is your first nanny job and I would try and stick it out for the experience/reference etc towards your career and learn from the experience. If you really want to leave then surely you are still in your 3 month probation and only have to give 1 weeks notice not 2 months??

Good luck and hope you can find a solution.

sleepyeyes Mon 06-Jul-09 01:38:37

Just noticed this, I'm an ex live in nanny now currently a live out nanny.
Give notice from experience I can tell you this wont get better. In the 5 years I spent as a live in nanny, starting when I was 18, I never once had a curfew or met another nanny that had one.
In the past I've had issues with me having to spend my on money for kitty and get them to reimburse me, I learnt my lesson the hard way when I gave notice to one nightmarish family and they didn't pay back about £800 they owed me.

If you do stay with them ask for a meeting with both parents and be very clear that you will not:
Spend your own money, make sure money is in the kitty if not then do not do things like pick up the dry cleaning.
The curfew, if it's not in your contract simply tell them NO. You are an adult one whom they consider responsible enough to care for their child therefore you are responsible enough to decide what time you get home/go to bed.
Tell them you will not answer to personal questions about your fiancees unless they want to start telling you about theirs.
If they want you there Sunday night tell them they need to pay you for that night as you are unable to spend your time off how you like and must be on the premises.

Most importantly tell them if they ever argue or reprimand you in front of their child again you will give immediate notice. This is completely unacceptable behavior and undermines you in front of the child.

I would also discuss with them a babysitting rate and from now on charge them if you do more than contracted.

I would disagree about staying with them because it's your first nanny job and you need a reference, I know many nannies that have stayed in jobs where they rub along with their boss but never really get on. They always get very lukewarm references.
There are some great families out there so don't give up. smile

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