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new nanny avoids laundry like plague... what to do?

25 replies

whereisthefloor · 03/08/2007 17:52

I have a relatively new nanny. Trying to get her to do the children's laundry is like pulling teeth. It's piled high in their hamper. It'piled on the dryer in the garage. Last week it sat in the bucket in the utility room all wadded up all week!. It's all over the kids room hence where is the floor? And her room, OMG, well that's a whole nother thread. Every week I pull her up on the laundry and every week it is not done. She has been with us for a month. I think I'm on the verge of a verbal warning.

Anyone else had this problem and how did you deal with it?

In terms of the care she gives the kids I'm happy with her. She disiplines appropriately. I can see she has bonded with the kids and they with her. All is well there. I like her. But the laundry thing is doing my head in. I pay someone else to do the laundry for a reason and I'm not prepared to take it out of the job description or pay someone else. Do I put a gun to her head and threaten her life if she doesn't do the damn laundry? Or should fire her? I'm obviously kidding. But, really I need some words of wisdom onhow to get her to do it without it costing me extra money.

This afternoon DH called me (from home) and asked me to call her (also at home) to ask her to complete the laundry. I said "So let me get this straight... you have called me at work to call some some for you wh ois downstairs?" He said "Yes." And I said, "Doesn't that sound just a little bit crazy to you?" and he said "No."

If you know who I am, please don't say it. I have changed my name to protect her more than me. IF I were her I wouldn't appreciate this aired on the internet. But I as an employer could really use your advise. So, please help me retain anonymity. AND PLEASE GIVE ME SOME ADVISE.


OP posts:

bossykate · 03/08/2007 18:03

Was it in the job description? How does she respond when you tackle her about it? Could you get back in touch with her referees and see if they have any advice for you?


whereisthefloor · 03/08/2007 18:06

Her duties in the contract say "Laundry, ironing, hanging/folding, and putting away of clothes in their proper place for children?s clothes. " so I'd say it's definately there.

I don't think she had laundry as part of previous nanny job. This is her first live in job. And previous reference did say tidiness was not her strong point so I was warned.

OP posts:

amidaiwish · 03/08/2007 18:07

is she young?
does she actually konw how to do it? i don't mean to be funny but she may feel uneasy as to what goes in with what, at what temp, what is tumble dried etc... dh was like this, he used to just wash everything he had together (work shirts with sports kit etc.) and thought i was a loon when he saw me sort and use different washing powder too.


whereisthefloor · 03/08/2007 18:11

That's possible. But she's been at uni for three years living in a dorm, so presumable laundry is involved.

I think she just isn't planning her day effectively. I have suggested that every day she needs to put a load in first thing. And she does this but doesn't always get round to folding it and putting it away.

Maybe, I will say to her this week that she needds to do one load every day, fold it, iron it, put it away. And if one a day doesn't get through the week, then perhaps I need to rething the amount of laundry. Maybe we have too many clothes? Maybe DD should stop changing herclothes when they are not dirty? Or maybe DD should do the laundry (hmmm... now there's a thought)

OP posts:

Piggy · 03/08/2007 18:15

I think you have to sit her down and tell her how much it's pissing you off otherwise it will cloud all the other issues. There's no excuse for her not to do it - I assume she can work a washing machine? Remind her that it's in her job description and therefore has to be done regularly (specify how often) and that you do not expect to live in a pig sty just because she can't be arsed to do her job properly. It's just not on.


Anna8888 · 03/08/2007 18:16

I think you should tell her that you expect all the children's laundry to be washed, ironed and put away in it's proper place on Friday evening (I presume the nanny has the weekend off), bar the clothes they have worn that day. And that if she doesn't do this, you will have to give her a formal warning.

Maybe you could go through the children's clothes with her, making suggestions as to what she washes when and with what?


meandmy · 03/08/2007 18:18

could you explain again where things go tell her you dont mind if she has the children help (if they are old enough) tbh i can do several loads washing washed and dryed but putting it away is right pain i try to do it every other day!


Anna8888 · 03/08/2007 18:21

meandmy - don't tell me about putting away ... I've done all the washing from our holidays (18 days away) but it's sitting around in piles in the boys' room awaiting ironing etc...


meandmy · 03/08/2007 18:22

i dont mind sorting folding the occassional lot of ironing but i hate putting it away with passion!


muppetgirl · 03/08/2007 18:22

I t6hink sitting down with her and drawing up a schedule of the laundry is a really good idea.
Tues -Lights
Thur -??
Fri -Uniform

Each day check that she has done it. I think keeping the 'chat' as friendly as poss 'I've noticed you find organising the laundry a bit difficult let's sit down and discuss how we can work through this. Do you need help in organising the laundry? Let's work out a schedule....'


nannynick · 03/08/2007 19:06

Having a routine is a good idea.

Have a talk with your new nanny, making it very clear that doing the laundry is not optional and that failure to do it will result in a written warning... should be enough to scare them into doing it.

Provide training as required... such as what wash symbols mean, what the dials on the machine do, where laundry supplies are kept, where to find where things go for putting away.

Personally, I find putting clothes away the hard bit - working out whose is whose. Quite often I leave a small selection of items in the basket which I don't know where they go. Much easier of course with school uniform as that is named!


PenelopePitstops · 05/08/2007 19:25

yes perhaps you should explain to her exactly how to do it and about white washes etc. One load a day should be plenty for childrens often are they getting chnaged!

being at uni does not necesarily mean you have used a washing machine, most have laundrettes now where you just take the powder and press the whites or colours button so she my not be used to a real washing machine.


MightyMoosh · 06/08/2007 13:09

When I started my last job it was the first time I had done laundry, at home my mum wouls go mad if I touched her washing machine! I got employer to show what to do, how to sort, powder/liquid, what could and couldnt be tumbled, even were to buy each sort of powder etc. Even efter that I wasnt so cofident, as it was the whole houses laundry not just little girls. But when I asked again I was very uncomfortable and was treated not so good, like I was stupid not to get it 1st time. so I winged it.

I know to someone who has been doing this a long time it may seem silly but I know how scared I was over getting it wrong, paying for new clothes or worse a new machine if I got it wrong! I'm just saying the girl may be embarresed to ask for more explanation or worried you think shes thick. or maybe shes just a piggy, and needs a verbal warning to boot her up the bum.


whereisthefloor · 06/08/2007 13:30

New nanny has been shown the washing machine and the dryer. This does not in my view explain why a load of the kids clothes sat on top of the dryer (having been washed and dried) in the basket unfolded all weekend long. They were left on Friday. If they are still there tonight, you may very well hear me scream.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to have a serious talk with her at the end of this week and basically say look, this is what I expect. It is part of the job. And your performance needs to improve. And, if it doesn, then this job isn't for you. I'll have to soften it up of course, but that's the gist of it. I'm afraid actually that house work and laundry are just no ther cup of tea. I think she loves the kids, but just doesn't like the less rewarding tasks that come with being my live in nanny.

I also think DD needs to wear one outfit each day. She likes to change her clothes throughout the day and this is probably aggravating the problem.

OP posts:

MrsRecycle · 06/08/2007 13:46

Of all of my APs, I haven't had a single one who has mastered the laundry. They always used to pile their own washing up and do it when they had run out of clothes. And I could never see their floor!!

So what I do is have a daily schedule that a I had with a previous Nanny that worked really well. I put the machine on delay so that it is ready for them to deal with once they have come home from dropping dds at school (9.15am). They then put it in the drier/on the line. At 4.15pm they then have to take the washing in, fold it up and put it on the relevant beds for putting away (okay my dds are bit older).

I personally don't thing your Nanny's ever had any structure to her daily life (apart from going to lectures) and may need a gentle push. Good luck!


CarGirl · 06/08/2007 13:47

how old is your dd? Is she old enough to go through the clothes she has used during the day with the nanny and putting away the ones that weren't really worn. Hopefully this would teach your dd that changing 4 or 5 times per day creates work for herself and hopefully less washing for the nanny to do! Make that part of the bed time routine?


MightyMoosh · 06/08/2007 13:48

Its clearly then a case of lazy rather than worried, in which case I'd give her the serious chat and threaten the warning. I've had many, many employees under me at the nursery and sometimes you just have to give up and get someone new, there are people who just dont learn. I had one girl sent to the laundry (carry a bag of towels to the hotel laundry, drop them, come back) and hour later no sign.. she'd started chatting up a kp! And one girl who fell asleep on the loo, leaving me alone with 8 children...


whereisthefloor · 06/08/2007 14:27

I truly hate tis part of being a nanny employer. The idea is make my life easier. And there scomes a point when you have to manage them so much that it makes my life harder not easier.

But, to be fair, she's alovely girl. REally nice, and has lots of fun with the kids and genuinely cares about them. And, in fact she isn't lazy. She get up and is ready to start the day and goes out and does things with the kids. She just avoids the bits she doesn't like, I think.

Damn damn damn, I hate these conversations.

OP posts:

WanderingTrolley · 06/08/2007 14:35

Can you just casually mention tomorrow morning you'd really appreciate it if the laundry was sorted by the time you get home? Say it with a smile, then give her a brief 'thanks in advance' and shoot out the door?

If she says she can't find time in the hours she works in the daytime, perhaps she can do it in the evenings when you get home?

As a live-in nanny, does her contract specify the standard two evenings babysitting? If it does, I think you're within reason to suggest she does the laundry then. I've been a live-in nanny, I wouldn't object to this.


MightyMoosh · 06/08/2007 14:36

I know all that makes it harder, especially when they are nice, have a good attitude etc. Hope the chat goes well and you can keep her on, not just for you but for the kiddies, if they've started bonding. I've always found that putting the grievences on paper, with examples if possible, before the meeting helps, not to show her but to keep you focused.


MightyMoosh · 06/08/2007 14:37

Oh yes doing laundry while babysitting is a good idea, I do the ironing in the evenings with the radio on!


bossykate · 07/08/2007 13:34

how is it going? never had a live in nanny, but i really sympathise as if i did have one this would drive me bonkers!


whereisthefloor · 08/08/2007 13:32

It's coming along slowly. We are having a review soon where I plan to walk through the house and point out all the things that have not been done.

On the other hand, I do think she is really good with the kids. So, as much as I hate it, I may have to downgrade my expectations on tidying and laundry. My standards aren't particularly high and while it is her job, it just isn't ever going to be her strong suit.

I'll let you know how the review goes.

The babysitting is a good idea. It isn't in her contract, but I do tend to use a couple of nights each week and I could perhaps just standardise it to two particular days and then she'd know which days she was working late and could plan the laundry for when kids aren't there running around messing up the piles as well.

OP posts:

bossykate · 08/08/2007 13:50

good luck with the review


gess · 08/08/2007 13:53

Oh god stop your dd wearing loads of outfits during the day. I do my own washing and do not let the kids change frequently because it adds ridiculously to the washing and general sorting. It really helps if you cut down on unecessary changes of clothes. How old are the kids? Could you suggest she does a general tidy up with the children (i.e. teaching them to help type thing). Perhaps she's not good at getting stuff done when the children interrupt (I know I'm not I get distracted by them and its the reason clothes get piled up and not sorted); I find having a time to rope the children in & get involved is the only way I manage it at all when they're around (and then badly).

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