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One baby, one on the way - please help re: current nanny!

(43 Posts)
freudianslips Sun 13-Sep-09 13:45:46

Our daughter is a year old and we're due to have another baby in Spring 2010. DD has been cared for very ably by our nanny, S, since she was 6 months old. However, the arrival of the new baby (DD will be 18 months old) is going to change things and I would love some advice on the best way to broach this with S.

I will be off work til DD is 24 months and new baby is 6 months. However, we can't afford to send DD to nursery full time AND pay S's full-time salary to look after the new baby. Because she is an experienced, older nanny she is already right at the top of the payscale in terms of what we can afford to pay her.

Is it reasonable to ask whether she would want to look after both children at once? I don't know whether nannies ever do this ... or whether many of them would want to. Furthermore, I don't know whether she would want paying more for taking on another child and if so how much it would be appropriate to offer her.

If she refuses, it will sadly be a matter of trying to find another nanny who would take both children at once (if anyone would!) or putting DD into nursery / childminder whilst finding another, cheaper (!) nanny to take care of the new baby. But I would feel dreadful letting S down like that ...

How on earth do I raise these issues without S feeling like I'm trying to blackmail her into taking on duties she does not want? I must admit she is our first nanny and a few friends have commented that she seems to be very assertive about her wants and needs, which I do my best to work around e.g. she generally doesn't take on overtime unless I give her a couple of months notice, and even then she has cancelled at the last minute. So the 'power' dynamic is a bit messed up to begin with!!

Thank you in advance for any advice or ideas.

Eeek ..

limonchik Sun 13-Sep-09 13:49:48

Surely the big advantage of a nanny is that they look after all the children in the family? Normal practice is that the nanny will look after the new baby too - some families offer a small payrise, some don't.

Does her contract say anything about subsequent children? I know some nanny contracts specify that the nanny cares for X and any subsequently born children.

Tbh, the nanny probably expects that once you go back to work after ML she will have both children - that's the norm.

chatee Sun 13-Sep-09 13:52:51

a nanny is employed by yourself for your family needs and cares for the child/ren of that family, i started work for one family with a baby of 4 months and by the time i left they had three under 5...
after each baby was born a small pay rise was given but certainly not all families are as generous or should they need to be made to feel they have to increase pay.
Good luck

dinkystinky Sun 13-Sep-09 13:53:00

We have a nanny and DS1 - aged 3 and a half who she has looked after since he was 7 months old - and DS2 who is now 7 months old and who she will also be looking after when I go back to work next week. She has previously been a live in nanny for families with 2 elder children and one baby. As she's been with us so long, I told her as soon as we had the pregnancy confirmed and we kept her on while I was on maternity leave to look after DS1 or after the baby so I could have quality time with DS1 - which was a real luxury but really made the transition to 2 children very smooth for us. I think you have to be honest with her that you are pregnant with no 2 and how would she feel about looking after both your DD and the baby? What would her expectations of this be? If she's quite assertive she'll let you know. We have given our nanny a small rise - but our eldest will be at nursery for the mornings from October onwards so she wont have both boys all day long - and a small increase in holiday entitlement. If she is not willing to look after both children do let her know you will need to search for another nanny who will be willing to do so - given the current job market situation out there I know of plenty of nannies who are good and looking for jobs and who have experience of sole care of several children including babies at once.

limonchik Sun 13-Sep-09 13:57:46

Agree with dinkystinky - if current nanny doesn't want to look after two children then you should have no problem finding a nanny who will. Most nannies I know work for families with more than one child, since nannies become a more economical form of childcare the more children you have!

freudianslips Sun 13-Sep-09 14:28:24

Thank you for all of your replies - you're definitely making me feel better about at least bringing the subject up. She already knows about the pregnancy (I wanted to be honest with her so she knew within a few weeks of me knowing). She has mentioned that she hopes we're not going to 'get rid' of her when the new baby arrives (I've reassured her that we don't want to and I've agreed that she will provide much-needed stability for DD) but she has not mentioned the logistics of looking after 2 children or anything like that. Presumably, however, she is wondering what the arrangements will be? I think she knows that we can't afford nursery on top of her salary (I hope!). We're one of those families that has really had to scrimp and save to afford a nanny at all, and it is a massive financial hit each month. S actually early substantially more than I do! I think she has worked for far richer families in the past, so maybe they have been able to pay nursery fees and nanny wages without a struggle.

I think one thing that is also affecting my thinking on this issue is that she currently works monday to thursday 8 am to 4 pm, and I would love to ask her to extend those hours to 8.30am til 5.30pm on the arrival of the new baby (with appropriate compensation for the extra hour of course). But she has mentioned how exhausting she finds her job and she has a whole range of activities that she does every evening so I am not actually sure whether she would be willing to increase hours, even if we paid her more?

Her contract just mentions our DD so we would have to draft a new one if she was willing to take on the new baby. It's heartening to hear that most nannies would expect to care for all the children in the family ... I just truly hope that mine also has this expectation!

Okay, final question: when, in your opinion, should I have 'the talk' with her about expectations once the new baby arrives? I am only 14 weeks pregnant now so it seems a little premature. Maybe after 20 week scan?

I wonder whether it is normal to feel this scared about talking to your nanny ...

overweightnoverdrawn Sun 13-Sep-09 14:35:16

Shes onto a bloomin good job with you . Most nannys work 8 till 6.30 7pm so finishing at 4 is fantastic .

limonchik Sun 13-Sep-09 14:36:13

"Presumably, however, she is wondering what the arrangements will be?"

I would guess she expects that when you go back to work after ML she will look after both children full time. Her main worry was probably that you would want to get rid of her when you go on ML - I know nannies whose bosses have expected them to go and get a temp job for 6 months elsewhere and then come back to them after ML! I'm a nanny and if my boss told me she was pregnant that would be my first concern. It wouldn't occur to me that my boss would put the older child in nursery so I could just look after the baby though - it makes no sense financially.

Maybe after the 20 week scan would be a good time to sit down with the nanny and discuss expectations for ML and after you've gone back to work. I think you need to be a bit more assertive yourself though - you are the boss after all!

freudianslips Sun 13-Sep-09 14:48:27

I think you're right limonchik - I do need to be a LOT more assertive. She is pretty touchy (I once tried to talk to her about swine flu precautions and she got tremendously offended that I thought her hygiene was sub-par. That was the last bit of 'feedback' I ever tried to give her). Things have improved since she started though - at the beginning, she was too scared of our labrador to go into the kitchen herself, meaning that I had to take extra hours off work to fetch her things from the kitchen (e.g. glass of water, baby's food from fridge). She is now thankfully able to go into the kitchen.

I'd never expect her to go off and find another job for 6 months then come back - yes, maybe that is what she was worried about. Hadn't even occurred to me!

I think my inexperience is showing. I've just had a look around the forum and I'm stunned at some of the things that nannies may be willing to do for their employers, like preparing children's meals (I do this), doing some children's laundry (I do this) or even getting bottles of milk ready for DD and perhaps washing up after self / sterilising bottles (I do this). Do you think I've been a bit of a mug here? I don't think either of us (me OR the nanny) think of me as the boss!!!

S seems to have been very friendly with previous employers (she still sees the children from previous jobs which is, of course, lovely) so maybe I have tried too hard to be her friend at the expense of actually getting our family's needs met.

fc79 Sun 13-Sep-09 14:50:39

Hello, I agree that you need to be more assertive!

Im a nanny and look after 3 children 7.40-6.30. All the nannies I know work these kind of hours. Your nanny seems to be on to a really good thing with you-one child and 4pm finish!!!

I think you do need to draw up a new contract and ask her to speak with you one evening for a contract review, have it planned first what the new position entails, if she doesnt like the new arrangements she can always find another job, you will have nannies queueing up to do 8.30-5.30 in my opinion!

Obviously she has been a good nanny and you dont want to upset her and if possible you want to keep her, but if what you need doesnt fit in with what she's prepared to offer then there's not much you can do about that.

frakkinpannikin Sun 13-Sep-09 14:54:22

It sounds like your nanny has a very easy job with you!

It's not unreasonable at all to ask her to do anything related to the children. Some nannies will refuse, of course, but the majority see it as part of the job.

Now is an excellent time to redraft the contract and if she doesn't like it then you will certainly be able to find a new nanny for such lovely hours with 2 young children. A lot of nannies look for positions with a baby because there's more chance of the position being long-term.

limonchik Sun 13-Sep-09 14:58:38

I have a very similar job to your nanny - 4 days a week, 8am-5pm with one baby. Other than just looking after the baby I:

cook her meals
make extra for the freezer
wash and sterilise her bottles
clean the kitchen after we have used it
load and unload the dishwasher
sweep and mop the kitchen floor
do the baby's laundry and ironing
tidy her bedroom
tidy the living room at the end of the day
change and wash her bedding
buy nappies, wipes, milk, bread etc if they are running low

And that's very standard "nursery duties" - most nannies will do those things in their jobs.

limonchik Sun 13-Sep-09 15:05:46

Btw, I think you've fallen into quite a common pattern for first time mums/nanny employers where you're so pleased to find someone who looks after your baby well that you let a lot of other stuff slide. If you do employ another nanny it'll probably be easier to see you can have a professional relationship with a nanny who does all those little jobs AND looks after your children really well.

5starjo Sun 13-Sep-09 18:34:41

I`m aanny and am very happy in my job (may i add).

I`m in Leicestershire. Where are you?

It sounds to me that your nanny has a VERY good deal.

Please add to your post if you need any further advice.

5starjo Sun 13-Sep-09 18:36:32

I`m a nanny! That`s better!!

floaty Sun 13-Sep-09 18:55:39

I don't have a nanny now as my three are older but have in the past ,I am staggered by your list of things that your Nanny doesn't do,if its not a rude question what does she do?The whole point of a nanny is that they are in loco parentis,in other words they do what a mother would do,also most nannies have more than one child to look after because that is when they are moist cost efficient as a form of childcare .

nannynick Sun 13-Sep-09 19:26:19

I think you're right limonchik - I do need to be a LOT more assertive. She is pretty touchy (I once tried to talk to her about swine flu precautions and she got tremendously offended that I thought her hygiene was sub-par. That was the last bit of 'feedback' I ever tried to give her). Things have improved since she started though - at the beginning, she was too scared of our labrador to go into the kitchen herself, meaning that I had to take extra hours off work to fetch her things from the kitchen (e.g. glass of water, baby's food from fridge). She is now thankfully able to go into the kitchen.
I feel the biggest concern nannies have (at least it's biggest concern I have as a nanny) is what happens whilst mum is on maternity leave.

So I feel you need to start chatting about that side of things as soon as you feel able to do so - such as saying things like "it is my intention that you continue to care for InsertChildsNameHere whilst I am on maternity leave, though I may need more help around the home depending on how my pregnancy goes". Something like that, so it reassures that the job is still there while keeping it open for you to add additional duties if necessary.

Nanny will also be worried about having you around at home a lot of the time... again you can reassure her that you will probably be spending a lot of time resting, that you won't be interfering too much during her working hours.

>I think my inexperience is showing. I've just had a look around the forum and I'm stunned at some of the things that nannies may be willing to do for their employers.

Do you mean the Rat catching, Plumbing/drainage, live-stock feeding? grin Those are perhaps the more unusual duties but are one's have been talked about on here in the past.

>like preparing children's meals (I do this), doing some children's laundry (I do this) or even getting bottles of milk ready for DD and perhaps washing up after self / sterilising bottles (I do this).

Oh! shock You mean NORMAL nanny duties.
I'm with Floaty... what does your nanny actually do, given that they aren't doing those normal things.

>Do you think I've been a bit of a mug here?

Do we need to answer that question? I think the answer is quite clear on that one!

>I don't think either of us (me OR the nanny) think of me as the boss!

Oh dear... that does not sound like a good working relationship. While you can certainly be a friend to your employee, they still remain your employee.
Do you have a job where you have people reporting to you? If so... then you need to transfer those work skills you have, to your home.

Concentrate on you... what help you need around the home both now and as your pregnancy goes forward. Your nanny with luck will be prepared to do a lot of child related things they are not doing now. They may even doing more general household things as well - pushing a hoover around every now and then.

nannynick Sun 13-Sep-09 19:27:37

Opps, that first long paragraph was supposed to have a > at the beginning. Oh well, expect you realised that.

risingstar Sun 13-Sep-09 19:36:11

echo others views! this woman is doing a job in return for a salary.....you need to be more specific!

how about letting her go when dc2 arrives and re advertising when you are ready to go back to work? would save you a fortune and maybe dc1 could keep some sessions at nursery?

SmileyMylee Sun 13-Sep-09 19:36:44

It looks to me as if the balance is all in your nanny's favour. I would certainly expect a nanny to look after two children, be flexible with overtime (within reason), cook meals and do laundry / ironing etc for the children.

I was the same with my first nanny who was a bit 'precious', wouldn't do any nursery duties as she wanted to 'concentrate on looking after the welfare of the child' even though the baby napped for 4 hours a day - plenty of time to put some washing on.

When my second was due, I took the opportunity to reconsider my needs. It felt a little unfair that because she wanted to concentrate on the welfare of the child, I had to spend my precious time off doing chores (and not spending time with the children). I redrafted the contract (luckily the contract did say nursery duties but I had never enforced it) and we had a good talk about my revised expectations.

She had the choice of whether to accept the new arrangements or to accept redundancy. She took redundancy - which meant that I didn't have the help I would have liked during my maternity period, but it saved me a lot of money.

The next nanny I got was excellent. I was much more professional with her upfront on my expectations and she did over and above what I asked her. She could see I was tired so did my laundry as well and sometimes a nice home cooked meal when I got in.

The original nanny, was unemployed for months and now has a job, looking after four children with all nursery duties. She has mentioned several times that she wished she had stayed and has asked to come back.

You need to readdress the balance for your family's sake. If she is not willing then I think you need to look elsewhere. There are many many excellent nannies around at the moment with more realistic expectations.

dinkystinky Sun 13-Sep-09 20:21:18

Freudianslips - your nanny is taking the piss. Seriously, her role is to look after your daughter - includes cooking and cleaning for her - not for you to look after her! You really need to think if she's the right fit for you and your family and if you really want her around during your maternity leave at home - you dont want to be waiting on her AND a newborn and your DD. Good nannies fit into the family perfectly and make your life easier - they dont just have years of experience and qualifications up the wazoo. If I were you I would start looking for a new nanny.

freudianslips Sun 13-Sep-09 20:38:24

* Sigh * You guys are right, as usual. It's hard to admit that on some levels I may have made the wrong choice, because DD loves her sooooo much. She takes DD to a real range of activities, is very good at getting her to eat etc. But on the other hand I seem to have so much laundry and tidying etc. left to do when I get home from work that I wonder whether it will be feasible once I start getting bigger. DH works away with the army during the week, is about to deploy abroad and I normally have to fit in some of my work once DD is in bed so evenings are both busy and precious.

I was really clear when we hired her that I didn't expect her to do unreasonable household tasks (e.g. she refused to do dog walking) but I think I should have been clearer about the reasonable ones. I think I needed a more explicit job description that we both signed up to. Do you think we can get back from this situation to make it work for both of us? Maybe a contract review is the way forward? On some level I would love to start again with another nanny on a clean slate, but I feel like we owe S a stable job - we advertised it as a long term position, and if we let her go when the mat leave starts then we'll have employed her for barely a year.

Mummyinthedark Sun 13-Sep-09 20:46:14

FreudianS, I actually wondered if you were a troll? The situation you describe is quite hard to believe. I concluded that you're not but do have a think about how you are going to sort this out.
If your nanny is not doing most nanny duties for you and this has been the situation all the time she's been with you how do you think she views you? If you think she knows full well she's on a cushy number do you really want her to look afger your newborn and help your child through the transition? this is a time when a good nanny is a real treasure (mine was fabulous and really made the whole thign so mcuh easier for all of us)
You should work as a team, with your nanny helping you deliver the best home enviroment you can for all of your children - and you should certainly be able to talk openly with each other to give feedback. Good nannies gently let their bosses know if they are doing something when they are in charge of the children/babies that will lead to problems later. Good bosses establish groudn rules and ensure that it is very, very clear what nannies are expected to do.
You might also want to talk to one of the nanny agencies to get their input on contracts and what, is or isn't accepted in most jobs in your area and pay bracket.

nbee84 Sun 13-Sep-09 20:53:54

Well if she's been there for such a short time then now is definitely the time to sit down with her and go over the contract. Tell her that you would like her to fulfil her nursery duties as you are spending too much time doing these to the detriment of your time with your dd. Explain to her that as a working Mum your time with dd is precious and you don't want to spend it doing the jobs that nanny should be doing. As your dd is 18mo she must still be having a sleep during the day which should mean nanny has time to change dd's bed, put some washing on and do a bit of batch cooking.

Make yourself a list and schedule a time when you can sit and chat properly - so maybe get someone to keep an eye on dd so you're not distracted and not too near home time so that nanny is not clock watching.

Good luck smile

dinkystinky Sun 13-Sep-09 20:56:34

Freudianslip - loyalty works two ways. I think a contract review is definitely the way to go - I should imagine she has been with you maybe 6 months or so now and we had a 6 month review with our nanny (more to check she was still happy) and still have a coffee and chat with her every 6 months to make sure everything is ok. At our very first meeting we had a good feeling about her - she was and is very much on our wavelength and has the same outlook on life as my DH and I. Our nanny actually sticks a load on which includes all of our family's clothes, irons my husband's shirts, cooks for my two boys, takes delivery of our online supermarket shops, runs small errands (e.g. picking up more nappies etc), takes my DSs to various activities and tidies up after the boys and tidies up our garden too - I dont ask her to do our laundry or my husband's shirts or tidy the garden, her work ethic is such that she doesnt like sitting still on her employer's time. And she is happy to babysit or work additional hours for us when we ask her to though of course we give her lots of advance notice so we can make alternative arrangements if need be. To be honest, I found it really hard letting go of DS1 when I was going back to work and she made it as easy as possible - she has also made being around while I'm on maternity leave as easy as possible by being very unobtrusive but there when I need her. If your nanny has been a nanny before she should really know what are reasonable household tasks - if she balks at helping out more or the idea of looking after 2 children, then I really do recommend you start looking for another nanny. Your DD is very young - she would forget S very quickly if you found a new nanny who gave both her and you and your DH the support you all need.

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