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Expectations vs what is actually possible...

(12 Posts)
peacockparty Wed 14-Oct-09 21:21:58

Hi, I'm a nanny, would really appreciate some nanny & parental opinions on my situation. It's not a huge deal at the moment, but I think it has the potential to end up as one...

I recently started a new live in job - the family is lovely, the money is good and it's just generally a lovely job. That said, being a before/after school nanny, there is some cleaning involved in the position. I was initially told that I'd work 6.30am - 12.30pm, but the amount of work MB wants done doesn't seem to fit into that gap. If the ironing wasn't part of the job it'd be fine, but it's kind of the straw that breaks the camel's back - there's no way I can clean the (large) house to the standard she expects as well as ironing 2 lots of washing a day.

We had a chat today and she suggested I work into my time off in the evenings, ironing in front of the TV. I'm not a hugely assertive kind of person so I just sort of made assenting noises, but I'm actually really gutted. I understand she's paying me to do certain duties, but if they don't fit into the hours she initially suggested then I'm not sure how fair it is to ask me to do them on 'my time.' All else excluded it's quite a physical job, so by 7 or 8pm I tend to be exhausted, wanting to veg out with a book, not do more ironing...

Is it my responsibility to carry out the duties regardless of how long it takes, or should she be paying me more/outsourcing if she underestimated?

Thanks, opinions much appreciated!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 14-Oct-09 21:36:41

You either scrimp on the cleaning and do her ironing, or clean to her standards and leave the ironing which she can then outsource if she is too lazy doesn't have time to do it herslf.

It doesn't sound like you can do it all and no way should you be doing it in your own time - she sounds like she's living in cloud cuckoo land to me!

Tavvy Wed 14-Oct-09 21:40:52

No to the doing it in your own time.
She can iron it in front of the TV if she's so insistant on that one. She might rethink then. Live in jobs can be the worst as so many uninitiated parents do seem to think because you haven't physically left the building you are still on duty so to speak.

MatNanPlus Wed 14-Oct-09 21:46:40

No way, you need to either have more hours or less to do.

Don't get sucked into 'free time' chores as believe me those chores will grow!!!

catepilarr Wed 14-Oct-09 22:48:29

can she fit all the chores into the time when /if she does them?

peacockparty Wed 14-Oct-09 23:23:35

catepilarr - I don't think she does ever do them, or at least she hasn't recently. Previously she had a separate nanny & cleaner...

StillSquiffy Thu 15-Oct-09 08:39:02

So how many hours a week do you have set aside at the moment for 'cleaning/ironing'?

She might be being unrealistic but that might be because she doesn't appreciate the effort involved. I have a cleaner who comes through the house like a whirlwind and processes 2 lots of washing and cleans a 6 bed/3 bath house (including lots of floors being washed and all beds changed) in 4 hours flat. But she can do that because (a) it is what she has been doing for years and it is second nature, (b) she is as strong as an ox and (c) after she finishes she probably goes home, puts feet up and chills - she certainly doesn't then go out on the school run and look after kids immediately. It took a while for me to appreciate that when you separate out the tasks and give them to different people it all happens better, simply because some people are better than some things than others and they don't have to keep switching focus.

If you search through my old posts you'll see that I have tried having a nanny/housekeeper combo and it simply doesn't work. There has to be compromise on something - be it the cleaning, the ironing or (heaven forbid) the childcare skills. Whilst we like to think that it should be possible, the reality is that when we do it all ourselves as SAHM then we do it to our standards, wheras doing it for a living means doing it all to someone else's standards and that gets you compared against 'professionals' (for want of a better word). As a SAHM if you're rushed you just think 'sod it - I'll change the beds tomorrow' but as a housekeeper you get judged when that happens.

I rather wish it was the employer not the nanny on the thread, because it is the employer that needs to adjust things, not you. I think you should either try to have a conversation based around the things I have pointed out, or perhaps admit that you are not the best cleaner and ask if there is a compromise you can reach - either you do less hours (which will mean a pay cut) and she gets a cleaner in, or you 'swap' cleaning hours for something else (maybe preparing the family dinner, helping with admin, doing the weekly grocery shop)?

andagain Thu 15-Oct-09 09:42:13

No, you should definitely not be doing it in your free time. Absolutely not.
It is not the easiest conversation to have but you need to speak to your employer, you can only do so much! The hours are clearly not enough for what they expect you to do and that needs to be adjusted in a way that suits everyone.
I have a live in nanny who I would not dream of asking to do anything after her contracted ours. Just because she lives with us doesn't mean she should feel obliged or expected to do anything after her working hours.
Actually, the more I write the more I think it is an outrageous suggestion. But this just my opinion.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 15-Oct-09 09:59:36

def dont iron/clean in your spare time

be assertive and tell your mb that you can not fit all the chores into the time

you say you are a before/after school nanny so you have no children 9-3(roughly)

are you paid for all of those hours or just till 12.30?

i would suggest to mb that either you do less ironing or extend your hours

i think it is very hard to have a nanny/housekeeper - as either childcare or cleaning gets neglected

and what happens in holidays when you will have the children?

will you have to work all day then and what will happen to your chores then?

maybe as you have just started there is a backlash of stuff, and soon you will be on top of it

though how many children do you have to create 2 loads of washing EVERY day?

FourArms Thu 15-Oct-09 10:09:58

What time are you back from the school run by? Is there anything you can do to make the job easier? Does she have a v.good iron. That saves a lot of time. Can you tumble clothes to nearly dry, then fold/iron immediately - half the creases are gone already then.

But no to ironing in your own time... unless you want to and are paid for the extra hours.

theoriginalmummypoppins Thu 15-Oct-09 11:28:22

I would not expect my live in nanny / HK to do any chores in her own time unless she had done things for herself in my time .

From that I mean that if she had gone off to attend to personal matters for a significant length of time during the day ( which she can as the children are at school sometimes until 5pm ) then I would expect her to iron in the evening.

I think its give and take on both sides but dont be put upon.

I asked myself the question. If I was at home would I do all the cleaning , washing, ironing , shopping, cooking etc. the answer is no. I have 6 bed / 3 bath house and to keep it under contol I would still have my cleaner. So I cant therefore expect my nanny/HK to do the same.Cleaning is done by the cleaner ( 12 hours a week ) and nanny/HK does the rest. Generally it works.

Seems like your MB needs a reality check and it maybe you who has to give it to her. Are you the first Nanny/HK ??

Tavvy Fri 16-Oct-09 07:06:01

Agree with theoriginalmummypoppins - unless you've used your boses time in the day to do something for yourself...
I think some parents if they're used to having other people do things quickly lose touch with reality on what is possible and what isn't for all the reasons mentioned on here. I personally don't like nanny/housekeeper roles (for all the reasons mentioned already)I also find the more you do the more it is expected you do so I have it all put in a contract. That way I can be flexible but still have the original blueprint to wave at them if they start to take the p* but I think that gets done unintentionally.
Don't start doing things in your own time. I make a point of leaving the house for a bit when I finish to make it very clear I am off duty because if I didn't I'd be there all night.

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