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Old 03-25-2012, 01:49 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

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Originally Posted by jenn.mcc View Post
I was a live-out nanny for years and a live-in nanny for one summer. My live-in experience was beyond terrible, so I can tell you what not to do, lol.
1) Meet with the nanny first and then email her the rates and hours you've agreed on so there is digital confirmation/paper trail before she starts. This is to protect both of you. I was told a certain rate and hours when I met the mom, then when I arrived (in another country!) she cut the money and upped the hours and said I had misheard. It was awful.
2) A nanny needs a reasonable work week like anyone else. If she wants just 4 half days instead of 2 full days off you can work that out, but start by assuming she wants free time, not that she wants to be with your kids all day. Write her days on and off down on a big calendar for everyone to see, and make sure she has what she needs to get out an enjoy her days off (metro card, cash, etc.). I watched these kids from the moment I got off the plane for a week straight before the mom gave me so much as an evening off. She gave me 100$ and said "I'll call you a cab, you have fun!" My first paycheck was then 100$ short. Not ever ever ever okay. I then worked 2 more weeks without a single day off. It was pretty much slave labor.
2) This should be obvious, but if the parents aren't home the nanny IS working! The mom I worked for wanted to pay me only until her children went to bed, even if she or her husband didn't get home until midnight!
3) Give her a real room with real privacy. The room I was given had a closet filled with the mom's clothing and a dresser half-filled with old baby clothes. They also didn't provide any internet or phone service for me. Before I arrived the mom said they'd have a phone available, but she neglected to get a plan to cover my calls from Canada to the USA. I called my boyfriend (now my husband) every night to say goodnight, and always asked her permission first. The next month she docked my pay 300$ for the "outrageous" phone charges. Oh, and one weekend her friends came to visit and they were given my room and I was sent to sleep on the living room couch. They then had loud drunken sex in my room.
4) Food does not equal pay. This mom once sent me to the grocery store with her children and a huge shopping list. When I went to checkout her credit card was declined. The kids were already eating candy from the cart, so I paid with my card and then gave her the receipt and told her what happened. She became irate and said I should have just "paid the bill myself since I eat more than any of them." I weighed 115 pounds at the time, soo... yeah. Oh and she used to cook a different meal for me to eat. Example: BBQ with her family was steak for her, her husband and their family and hot dogs for the kids and me. I was always offered a hot dog, never steak. It was just degrading.
5) She is signing up to watch your kids. Not their friends, and not your friend's kids. This mom took me to a "party" one time where there were 5 other children belonging to her various friends. I was sent to the play room and had to watch all 7 kids while the parents ate and got drunk. I even overheard one of the other mom's say "Wow, thanks for bringing her, now we can enjoy ourselves!"
6) Teach your children to respect the nanny. She is not their servant. My first night watching their 4 year-old I told him we would read 3 stories then go to bed. After 3 he said he wanted to read one more, but I said no, we said 3 and we read 3. He responded, "If you don't read me another story I'll tell my mommy you hit me and you'll go to jail." Yeeeahhh, should have been a big red flag. I told the mom and she brushed it off with a "yes he's very creative."
7) And finally, and this is a big one, actually pay her! I was sending all my checks back to the states to be deposited by a friend. Because I had no internet I couldn't go to my bank website and find out until 2 months in that every check I sent was bouncing! I found out from other nannies in the neighborhood (very rich part of Toronto) that this mom was a nanny user. She hired young girls like me from abroad, had us work illegally, then didn't pay us. We had no legal recourse. The only reason I got paid anything in the end was I caught her husband while she was at the spa one weekend and told him everything. His response was to sigh, take out his checkbook and say "ugh, not again."

So don't worry, I don't think you could possibly be worse than these people!
My experiences as a live in can't compare. However, I do remember when my boss kindly told me to immediately dispose of each individual feminine pad into the outside garbage instead of putting it in the bathroom garbage. I was mortified. Fortunately (really it was) I was let go after his darling angel of a child (cough cough) drew all over the wall when I thought he was napping. Little sneak!

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Old 03-25-2012, 04:42 AM   #12
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I was a live in nanny for 2 families over 3 years. The family I was with for 25 months was also in central New Jersey. I loved my job and learned a ton after I left as the family and I are in limited contact still.

I am on my way to church right now but when I get back I will tell you my experiences.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:00 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

My jaw literally fell open reading how horribly some of you have been treated, just disgusting! There is no way in hades I would treat the person caring for my child so terribly! I am so sorry some of you went through those awful experiences.

There are some very helpful questions and suggestions given so far. The plan is as follows:

1. She will have her own room with a tv (and we may get cable so she doesn't go insane with boredom), bedroom furniture and she will have access to all the food she wants. I would NEVER feed her subpar food while we eat steak, that's just...no.

2. We will make sure we are never on call the same night so as soon as a parent walks through the door she is off the clock. This is actually easier than it sounds with the new ACGME limitations to hours, call days are set in stone so if I am on call every 4 days we just have to make sure my husband doesn't line up. (he is on call every 4 days right now)

3. If she needs phone contact I may just set up a Skype account (we have all the headphones and stuff) and prepay for her long distance.

4. My child WILL be expected to treat her with equal respect. I think I would DIE if my child showed the disrespect towards the nanny that some of you described. I will make it clear we do not practice corporal punishment and we will not tolerate anyone else using it on our child.

5. Her pay will be every 2 weeks and it will be salary. We will pay that amount regardless if we get off early and come home early. (this is possible when doing elective rotations)

I hope I haven't missed anything but ask again if I did, please. We want someone who will be like family to us but at the same time we don't want her feeling like she is being taken advantage of or we are over reaching in our requirements. I want her to feel welcome, comfortable and able to relax when she is "off the clock." After all she is taking care of my most precious person so I feel it vital that she feel appreciated. I want to have her move in during June when we can slowly assimilate DD to her and find a comfortable groove. (July is when I begin residency)

DH's commute will be about an hour and mine will be about an hour and 20 minutes. Yes it sucks but there really wasn't any other way to keep our family intact and we want every single moment we can spare to enjoy our daughter as she grows.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:36 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

Okay I am back from church now. The family I worked with here in New Jersey got me through a national agency. I HIGHLY recommend that you go through an agency as it gives both you and her (sometimes him) some recourse should things not work like you plan. I can recommend one to you if you like.

From what my previous employers told me, the nannies today expect internet connection for their space, and they also expect some health insurance. I imagine you could find good information on this at http://www.nanny.org/page.aspx?pid=291 This is an association that honestly I belonged to for a year when I was switching jobs. I knew I was looking in my "forever" job and that is why I joined.

Your commute is common for this area and honestly is about what my employers were as they worked in NYC... at least until 9/11 and then everything went out the window (they both worked on Wall Street). However but the time I left the family was back to a more or less normal time.

I would talk to your insurance company about her driving your car. You really should cover that or expect to pay for part of her insurance if she will be driving her own car. The rates are higher when you use it for work, or when she uses your car. So something you need to think about since both of you will be far away and a child is bound to get ill and need to go to the doctor.

The only other thing I can think of is put all your expectations in writing in a contract for them. I had serious issues with my first job as expectations were not clear and this caused problems and confusion on both sides. My job here in New Jersey was far better because I knew what they wanted and I knew what they expected. My contract for the job here was about 12 pages.

Oh and this is just for your own sanity. I was NEVER like this however I worked in an area where there were a lot of nannies around and I met them at the park. On my off time one day, I went out and about with another nanny and found out she frequently smoked pot. I would be beside myself if someone I had invited into my home to take care of MY child was doing this on their off time. So please put in the contract that you will do randomized drug tests or something to that effect. I know when I found out I stopped talking to this person but part of me wanted to tell her family.

If you have any other questions don't hesitate on asking. I was paid $450 a week as a live in here in New Jersey. I have a 2 year degree in early childhood education. I was employed from 7/01 to 8/03 (when I moved to be with my now DH). I only took care of one child, though did briefly take care of another child after they were born. This was for about 9 months till they realized that their baby needed more attention because the older child was so busy. I then took care of the baby and they hired a second nanny to run around with the older child.

Good luck! I agree that au-pairs are cheaper but they may not be able to give you the kind of hours you need with that long of a commute and I assume 12 hour shifts.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:29 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

I was a live-in nanny one summer during college. It worked out ok for me, but I had some issues like PPs. We did not have anything in writing, and since the live-in thing was new for both of us we didn't really discuss beforehand some things that we should have (many things PPs have already brought up).

We discussed pay and hours before I accepted the job, but then she changed things around after I started (not terrible, but not what I was expecting either).

She told me that I could eat their food, but I still felt awkward about it a lot of the time. And several times she would tell me what to make the child for lunch, but there wasn't enough of it for both the kid and me to eat it... Then I wasn't really sure what to do. I didn't want to eat random stuff out of their fridge because I didn't know if she already had plans for it. Just stuff like that.

Au pairs sound like a great idea, but they are highly regulated (to make sure they don't get into slave labor situations like the PP described), so you might not be able to get enough hours out of them to meet your needs.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:59 PM   #16
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

Years ago I had a live in nanny job which basically involved the parents taking advantage of me in many areas. It is not easy for unrelated adults to live together. If you give your nanny the exact same consideration you would expect from your job, with a little extra understanding that it is diff. for her not to have privacy, it should be ok.

I would not get an au pair. I see that suggested often on ds. That is an arrangement more for cultural exchange. The au pair is to work/help out in exchange for a modest pay and cultural enrichment opportunities. It is not meant to be a full time childcare situation.
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:14 PM   #17
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

I don't have any advice on nannies, but am glad to see other residents on here so just wanted to say hi. I am a Family Medicine intern. Our kids go to a center for daycare and I am very fortunate to have a DH with a flexible work schedule AND my parents living in town and able to help out as needed. If you ever want to chat about the challenges of balancing family and residency (or anything else), shoot me a PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:14 PM   #18
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

I don't have any advice on nannies, but am glad to see other residents on here so just wanted to say hi. I am a Family Medicine intern. Our kids go to a center for daycare and I am very fortunate to have a DH with a flexible work schedule AND my parents living in town and able to help out as needed. If you ever want to chat about the challenges of balancing family and residency (or anything else), shoot me a PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:04 PM   #19
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

These have been wonderful and informative posts everyone, thank you. I've been reading them out to DH and he was also appalled at how some posters were treated by their employers and wanted to punch some of them in their nose.

It's nice to see other medicos on here as well and know we are all journeying through this mess together. :lol:
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:21 PM   #20
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Re: Anyone ever use a live-in nanny?

I just want to be honest and say that while the new ACGME requirements are great; not all programs are great about following them...so don't be just totally shocked if it doesn't always work out just perfect
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