Received Thursday, June 11, 2009
I have already given my notice (I gave it on Monday and gave a month's notice), but now I'm beginning to wonder if I gave up too soon or if I was justified in feeling like enough is enough. I'm sorry if this post is long but any feedback, besides negative comments, would be greatly appreciated.
I took a job in August for a family in a wealthy town outside of Boston. I'm not from this area so we talked for a few weeks and they sent me a contract through e-mail to review and get back to them. The contract stated that I would be working 40-50 hours per week being paid at a presumed rate of 45 hours a week and the salary was $400 per week. Also included in the contract was "a rare weekend day (about 1 every 2 months)". This is a live in position so my room, board, and food was included as payment as well. The mom works out of the home but the father works from home. I'm not really a fan of working for parents who work from home but they are really lovely people so I knew I could make it work. They have 3 children who I have grown to completely adore (I hold back tears when I think of leaving them, I can only imagine how much I will cry when my last day is here).
If I remember correctly I was here 2 weeks before we went on Vacation to the Cape. We did not sit down and state out hours or duties while we were there but I did keep track of all my hours and logged them in my daily planner. In September when I realized I had been working a lot (between 50 and 60 hours, sometimes more than 60) and I had been working more weekends than agreed upon I emailed my boss. (We communicated regularly but we also used e-mails, texts, and she left me a note at the beginning of the day if she needed me to do things) In the email I included the hours I had been working and explained to her that I loved my job and I wanted to be able to do my job to the best of my ability but I couldn't do it if I was exhausted. I just simply explained that I would like to stay as close to our original agreement as possible. Her response was not harsh, mean, or out of line. She just stated that they needed someone who could be flexible, accomodating, and could handle the demanding schedule. She said we would keep it at 50 hours a week and any time over 50 would be compensated with time off or if time off couldn't be given they would pay me the hourly set rate. If I worked under 50 I would make up the hours that month or they would be hours I "owed" them. The idea of more pay never even came up but I didn't want to lose my job and they are such great people I just couldn't say no to that idea.
After Christmas I was suppose to work that following Sunday but I had spent the early morning hours throwing up so I called in sick first thing (the only other times I had been sick was 1st time in the cape, the day after we arrived i requested the morning off because i wasn't feeling well due to the traveling and being in the back of the van the day before but I still went up at 4pm and worked that evening and the 2nd time I was sick was because I spent a day cleaning up vomit from one of my charges being sick so I naturally caught her bug but I still worked that evening as well) in the morning because I had some kind of bug and I had found out the day before that my brothers best friend's dad had a heart attack and passed away on Christmas so it wasn't a very good weekend but I was shocked that at 4pm I received an e-mail from her about my being sick. (I understand that as a nanny people depend on us and it's hard for the family when we are out sick and I hardly ever miss work so I feel the email wasn't necessary) In it she stated she was upset by my lack of professionalism and courtesy by giving them only a 2 hour notice. She went on to later say they needed someone professional, reliable, and professional to fit in their family. Up until that point I thought I had been very reliable and more than flexible and accomodating with my job.
After December I started compiling a list of things that were bothering me and here's the list I compiled and ultimately made the decision for me to leave.
-->I started my day at 7:30 (most days, i will get to that part as well) I had to get all 3 charges ready for school and fed breakfast by 8:20 by myself on the mornings she was gone. It was impossible on some mornings.
-->I worked hard to get the kids to pick up after themselves. I made sure that anything we played with was put back where it belonged and I re-organized both playrooms so that we could get rid of old toys and when I would come down some mornings the playrooms were destroyed because they never followed through with what I was teaching the kids about cleaning up.
-->I've worked roughly about 17 weekend days since I started. That's a lot of personal time I've given up for this job especially when it was suppose to be "1 about every 2 months" and I'm not watching the kids alone I'm helping the WAHD which I don't think is necessary. If the mom can handle them when I'm not around and I can handle them for 10+ hours a day then I don't see why he cant.
--> Having to stay late if the mom was running behind because the WAHD had run out to run errands about a half hour before I'm suppose to leave or he hasn't left his home office yet.
-->Schedule changes happening the day of or the day before. Like working until 6:30 until 5:30. I have a monthly schedule so I make plans around work and I have other side jobs of babysitting so it's hard when it's little notice that my schedule has changed.
-->Starting late (10:30 or 11 instead of 7:30) throws off the whole week schedule. I normally use the morning time to grocery shop for the house, do laundry (all the household laundry including parents), or do other tasks left for me (such as cleaning the hall closet, cleaning and organizing the garage, working on cleaning out the basement) but when I start that late and I have to pick up the younger charges at preschool and then I'm with them for the rest of the day I get behind on laundry and other tasks because I don't like leaving my charges unsupervised so I can work on projects. I mean I like taking them out to playdates, the park, museums, aquariums and if I'm doing that it means other things aren't getting done because we arent home.
-->having to make the charges dinner 3 or 4 nights a week because the mom can't be home but the WAHD doesn't want to come down and make them dinner and help them get ready for bed. The nights I make dinner I have to be sure the kids are 100% ready for bed before I leave.
-->Not being on the same page when it comes to discipline. I believe in time outs and taking privileges away. I need to be on the same page as the parents in order for the household to run smoothly. If Ive given a report that the charges shouldn't get dessert or tv that night, it's for a good reason. It doesnt send a good message or a "united front" when the minute I walk out the door the parents give in and give them whatever they want. I believe that kids should deserve things like tv, dessert, or special treats.
-->being kicked, hit, or screamed at is unacceptable in any household. The charges should never be allowed to physically abuse a nanny. They didn't do it every day but it happened enough for me to begin getting fed up, I know it's a phase in some kids but this was new and it started in march after I'd already been here 7 months.
I'm sure there are more things but I don't wanna make this post an extremely long post. For those of you still with me thank you for sticking around to try and give me some advice, I truly appreciate it because leaving these charges is tearing my heart out. The parents are not bad, I like them, I love the charges but I felt with the previous talks/emails I've exchanged with the parents that I wouldn't get very far. After all the hours I work I'm exhausted and it shows on the job sometimes and I don't like feeling tired while I'm trying to be happy nad play with my charges. The parents ask why I don't go out that much or why I haven't started taking classes (trust me I couldn't take the classes I wanted because of my hours at work), or why I havent been exploring the city and in all honesty I'm just too tired, if I work 50+ hours a week then go out on the weekend I feel so tired on Monday it's unreal. I don't think that's normal. That was my biggest indication that it was probably time to say goodbye.
Like I said I can't say a bad word about the parents (I really do wish the dad was involved more because it would probably help the mom and the nanny alot) but I just had to give my notice. So I'm asking did I give up too soon or should I stop feeling guilty and let it go.
Thank you very much for reading this. I didn't mean for it to be so long.
-a Nanny who still feels guilty
11 June, 2009
A lot of Guilt & A little Regret
Received Thursday, June 11, 2009