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Would you think this was reasonable?

57 replies

Bluebear · 29/12/2006 20:08

I'm a bit upset with our nanny and trying to work out if I'm justified.

I work in a hospital and have to work between Xmas and new year (in fact also had to work at weekend this year but dh looked after kids). Dh also had to work (but from home as his job is computer based). Our nanny was aware that we needed her to work these 3 days months ago.
As well as having a lot of whinging from last week onwards (can't dh look after the children because he is in the house - I have found that for the last 2 days she has picked up my children from my house and simply driven them to her mother's house where they sat ' watching tv and eating lots' (quoted by 5 year old ds).
If she had asked about taking them home with her I might have said yes but I am really cross that she didn't ask - and yesterday when I asked where she and dd had been (since dh knew that they hadn't been at home) she was very evasive and didn't answer.
She also took dd and her ds to a soft play centre yesterday pm along with her dp who I know has a minor criminal record (she told me a while back).
To top it all, dd's hair smells of stale cigerette smoke which I guessing is from nanny's mum's house.

I can sort of see the - but it's christmas, kids should be watching tv and eating lots - but why not in their own house!

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Bluebear · 31/12/2006 18:21

NurseyJo - nope hadn't thought of an official appraisal date, except annual on anniversary of joining us.
She was a lot better before September - but her personal circumstances changed then and i think she is just going through the motions as regards to work because her home life is going through so much. I'm sure we all coast at work sometimes but it has been 3 months and it's a long time for a 3 year old.
Have made some notes and will have chat on Tues.

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uwila · 31/12/2006 18:26

My thoughts:
1- Calling in tired because son kept me up all night is not a sick day. That is a holiday for lazy people. And, a work day for us normal working people. I've never missed a day of work because my young baby got me up in the middle of the night.
2- Feeding meet to a vegetarian. I'd personallly go ape shit if this happened to me. I am not vegetarian, but I do believe that my kids are to be fed as I instruct and there are no ands ifs or butts about it. I once had a nanny who had her own ideas and she seemed to think she had equal say in what was best for DD. This conversation was the begining of the end of our nanny-employer relationship.

How about if you get the nanny diary, ask her to fill it out, you read it on the weekend, and get her to start say 10 minutes early on Monday morning and do a quick weekly review. Say this here is good, that's sounds fun and I think DD really enjoyed that activity, but over here I want more information on food. Do this for say four weeks, then move to monthly review where you perhaps go and do something fun with the nanny (dinner, movie, whatever) -- and you of course pay for this. If you get to the point where you have nothing to review, you could also use it as a planning session. Like, activities to encourage, progress on table manners, whatever is appropriate. And, you might also write things in the nanny diary, like a movie suggestion for Friday afternoon (DVD for DS).

Also, who does the food shopping? If it is you, then you could point out that she is expected to cook with the ingredients you supply. For example, if I stocked up with wholemeal bread and nanny went out and bought white bread with her weekly spending money I wouldn't be very pleased. (my nanny of course does not do this, just making a point)

Bluebear · 31/12/2006 18:44

Will chat with dh and see if we can implement some of your wiseness Uwila. - There are a few things we would have to sort out.

Food is another thing I whinge about - I do the shopping and buy lots of healthy stuff, and also cook some veggie things for her to re-heat (also have a children's veggie cookbook full of simple recipes which she has read and knows where it is).
Since nanny only has to do lunch every day and dinner on 2 days a week I asked her to do simple lunches (sandwich, baked pototo, something on toast) so kids would eat big dinner with me...I did this specifically to cut down her workload especially since the nannyshare means she has two 3 year olds and a baby to feed ( baby food is supplied ready to microwave).
However, since October she has been buying supermarket brand frozen party food (the 3 packets for a fiver type), leaving it in my freezer ( she keeps 'forgetting' to take it with her) and then cooking it and serving it up for dd (and share childs) lunch. This is where the chicken has come from. It seems very much that nanny wants to 'have a treat' to cheer herself up so is including the children in her cravings..which I think is part of the reason she won't fill in a nanny diary - because she does know better but at the moment is putting herself before the kids.
She is having a bit of a bad time at home - and I think she's under a lot of pressure from other people...and as I said before, if it wasn't for our potential move which might disrupt us in a few months, I would take the plunge and look for a new nanny.

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uwila · 31/12/2006 18:58

Oh no no no no no no no and...


I do not like pre packeaged over priced convenience food for the kids. Once in a great while, okay. But not on a regular basis. I would ask her to plan next weeks meals on the Friday (which she could easily do whilst the movie is on entertaining the kids on their low key afternoon) and tell her it is so you can buy her the right ingredients over the weekend. So, on Friday, she should hand you five lunch recipes and 2 dinner recipes. And, when you pick up the nanny diary over the weekend those are the foods you should be reading about.

uwila · 31/12/2006 19:04

My food rules go something like this:

Salmon (or other oily fish) at least once a week
At least one veg and one fruit every day
Wholemeal not white bread
Acceptable drinks are milk, juice (not to be confused with juice drink) and water.
Avoid nutrasweet if at all possible.
No sweets/biscuits before lunch (unless you are somewhere i.e. playgroup wher other kids are having them)
If meal is not eaten, then n os nacks until next scheduled meal (DD is a very difficult eateer and would prefer to avoid mealtime all together and have me/nanny stay in the kitchen all day producing made to order snacks of her choosing -- I don't cater to this desire)

Oh and at least once a week they eat scrambled eggs with spinach smuggled in and a glass of orange juice.

DominiConnor · 31/12/2006 19:14

We now enter a small dark domain where I agree with uwila.
As parents, we've never missed a work day because a child kept us up. Yes nannying is tough but my last job often involved starting work at 7:30 or earlier with money brokers shouting at me. DW argues over pension funds for a living, not easy or trivial.

That being said, being a good employer I wouldn't mind if the occasional day was spent doing low impact stuff with the nanny if she'd had a bad night.

She's an employee, which means she does what you pay her to do, or else find another job. If a nanny felt the diet was actually harmful to the kid, it would of course be responsible for her to say this to us.
I'm openly contemptuous of veggies and vegan parents, but that means I wouldn't work for one, not that I'd disobey orders.
Also I'm allergic to eggs and we feared our kids might inherit this, if a parent says "don't feed DC this", it might not be some fad. A nanny who had disobeyed that instruction would not feel her happiness increase...

Bluebear · 31/12/2006 19:42

Thanks - I had no proof that she was feeding the kids the frozen stuff (she said she had bought it for herself but was taking it home - just never seemed to disappear) until the chicken satay incident...I made my wishes known (again) and she cleared out the freezer before xmas...but today I found a bag of deep fried garlic mushrooms (made with potato powder according to the ingrediants - yum) in there and ds said that they had eaten them with her on Friday (he really does think that they are yum - but I'm sure he would also have eaten one of the mushrooms from the big box in the fridge, fried with garlic in some olive oil and I wouldn't have minded that.
She doesn't have a lot of knowledge of nutrition and has commented a few times on how much she has learnt in the last 9 months from us. And I do know that she can devise healthy menus as she did so for the first 6 months..

Obviously I have saved and printed this thread just because DC and Uwila agree about something.

I do feel that I am having a bit of a whinge-fest for which I apologise, but will follow up a lot of your suggestions on appreciately having parents agree with me (and the nannys too) since I was worried I was being unreasonable.

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NurseyJo · 31/12/2006 19:51

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uwila · 31/12/2006 19:55

You could always make a new years resolution to go organic on everything the kids eat... That would cancel out most ready made junk food. It sounds as thought this will require a lot of hand holding on your part. I mean, you obviously will need to teach her how to cook.

Do you eat fish? Or is it strictly veg only for the kids? What about eggs? Milk/cheese?

You could perhaps wander over to and ask veggie nannies (or nannies of veggie kids) to suggest some good/easy/nutritious recipes.

NurseyJo · 31/12/2006 20:03

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Bluebear · 31/12/2006 20:11

She can do it Uwila - she did it for the first 6 months. Think she just doesn't want to right now (but as nurseyjo said, maybe new year, new energy)

We generally have pasta + sauce (have a range of organic bottled ones but kid's prefer pesto or sundried tomato paste), mushroom risotto (I taught her this last year), I make lentil casseroles, quorn and veg pies, veggie shepard's pie, spinach and feta bake and things and leave them in fridge for her to reheat for dinners. And it is only 2 dinners a week. Ds has school lunch and dd should be ok with cheese or egg sandwiches, beans on toast, or jacket potato for lunch. Share kids have lunch with dd but are back at their own house for dinner most days and eat veggie when they are here.
They drink water or diluted fruit juice with meals, have fruit snack in the morning and crackers after school.

I'm not veggie by the way, but dh is (and all of his family) and we agreed to bring the kids up veggie until age 4 (so ds can choose to eat meat at school but tends not too)

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NurseyJo · 31/12/2006 20:18

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Bluebear · 31/12/2006 20:25

Ironically I also manage a large team in real life, and they have appraisals, targets etc. Didn't apply the official appraisal system to nanny when first employed partly because I didn't want her to get too worried ( she was very worried about the part of her contract that lays down the disciplinary actions etc)..but now she's settled.....

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uwila · 02/01/2007 09:21

"Obviously I have saved and printed this thread just because DC and Uwila agree about something."

I worry about people who save MN threads.

Just kidding. Let us know how the chat goes today.

wrappingpaperBOwZZAndribbons · 02/01/2007 09:54

I think Uwila's menu plan idea is a great one. Would you be able to manage to get the food in over the weekend?

Also agree with her giving you more info about the children's day and you enforcing that.

Bluebear · 02/01/2007 23:13

Ok, have had a talk with her (the first of many I am sure). I had left for work before she turned up this morning so dh asked her not to take the children to anyone's house without our permission and to not be ready to rush off when I get home at 3pm as I wanted to talk to her.
So she immediately rang me at work wanting to know what I wanted to say to her. This was annoying but I was able to give her a brief outline of the main issues..and said I would speak to her when I got home.

When I got back she had got the share children all coated and booted ready to leave as I I took off their shoes and put a dvd on/got a new game out.
She then denied that she had taken the kids to her mums, except for 2 hours on Friday and that it was because my ds had begged her because he wanted to watch her ds's videos (my ds, being hearing impaired for most of his life, is generally completely not interested in tv so I find this hard to believe). She also said that she had sent ds up to dh's office to ask him if they could go ( I know, he's 5, she should have asked herself) and that her mum didn't smoke in the living room so she couldn't understand where the smell had come from.

Also denied giving the children her frozen food until I pointed out that ds had told me rather than dd.

Feel very disappointed as since she is denying most of it I'm finding it difficult to stay focussed on a plan.

She said she took them to watch videos because they were bored after being in the house all day - I pointed out that they always love a trip to the park, and that there was playdough, new board games, new craft stuff and cooking that they could do...she was surprised that we had 'new' playdough - but I bought that lot months ago so now I am because the kids obviously haven't been playing with it with her.

Good news is that a childminder has got back to me because one of her clients has given notice and she can sort of cover my hours - will probably involve dd leaving her pre-school and ds losing football club though, which are big sacrifices in their eyes...but I am looking into further.

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nannyj · 03/01/2007 07:20

I really feel for you in this situation. I would have sympathy for your nanny if she had admitted the mistakes and said "yes I totally understand where you are coming from i can see where i can improve" etc. It was obvious that you weren't going to sack her but just wanted improvement. How can she possibly say your children were bored just after Xmas, she's a liar and it bothers me about what else she would lie about to cover her own back .

snowfunwhenyoureknackered · 03/01/2007 08:05

bluebear, apologies for being nosey, but what do you actually pay this girl? What age is she and is she qualified to care for children?

uwila · 03/01/2007 08:06

In all of the things you have said about her on this thread I think the thing that would bother me most is being lied to when I presented her with the evidence. That is inexcusable. How can trust her? And how can one comfortably leave their kids in the hands of someone they don't completely trust.

I would hand her a written warning as follow up to the conversation, hence laying the groundwork for dismissal while I sort up alternative arrangemets. Basically the letter would just reiterate the things discussed (ie what is and is not expected of her, perhaps a big list of DOs and DON'Ts).

And another thing, what kind of moron thinks smoke isn't present in the home just because she is not currently exhaling in their faces?!?!

balancingact · 03/01/2007 10:52

just to add my two cents here, i really do think you should lay the groundwork for letting her go as she seems to be more interested in covering her own back rather than really trying to understand your point of view and why the things that have happened have distressed you. there's far too many things here that would have driven me up the wall - and although a hassle to find alternative childcare options, the worry you will have at work will not make it worth sticking with her. i had a previous nanny who was very good with the kids but a few of the things she did really did drive me crazy (also caught her out on a few white lies) - and was so reluctant to let her go but she decided to leave in the end and life with our new nanny is so fantastic - with all the ground rules so clearly set out -- and i can't believe i was so worried about changing before.

jura · 03/01/2007 12:23

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Bluebear · 03/01/2007 18:45

Well, I am certainly not thinking of keeping her on for more than a few months at most.
She has been a lot better the last couple of days - although I have made sure that there is a 'meal' in the fridge ready for lunch and have suggested things to stop the kids getting bored ( today they made pastry people and ate them - I left the pastry in the fridge ready-made though) Don't feel I should need to do this

snowfunwhenyoureknackered - I don't know whether to be amused or upset by the implication that I either exploit my nanny or employ unqualified people to look after my children. But for what it's worth she is 29, has NVQ3, and 10 years childcare experience but this is her first nanny job, and is paid £21,000 (about 300net per week) for 5 days 8 - 6 ( is often off home a lot earlier) with no babysitting, no cleaning, no washing, and the use of a car...all overtime if it ever occurs (and I can't remember the last time I was late home) is paid in full ) I paid for her CAS CRB check, and for her to update her first aid cert. I pay her professional insurance. And she can bring her son along - I pay for all his food etc too.
She is very happy with her pay, it is more than her last job and for a nanny, her day is short and she can bring her son with her.

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uwila · 03/01/2007 20:13

Bloomin heck, Bluebear. So much for "you get what you pay for".

shosha · 03/01/2007 20:26

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snowfunwhenyoureknackered · 03/01/2007 20:28

she doesn't realise a good job when she has one then.

get someone better, someone who is interested in your kids, she sounds like she's just out for herself.

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