Mothers and Nannies Part 3
This is an excerpt taken from my book “The Nanny Time Bomb”. It is a continuation of Lisa’s and Anna’s experiences as Nannies. Names and some personal information has been altered to protect the identities of the Nannies and families involved.
SECTION B: EMPLOYERS:
Did your employers require extensive references and background checks?
Anna – Yes all of them.
Lisa – None what so ever.
Were you formally interviewed in person or by phone?
Anna – In person.
Lisa – (does not apply)
Did your employers provide you with a contract, listing hours, holiday pay, overtime pay etc?
Anna – Most of the families I worked for paid me for holidays, overtime etc. I had a contract just once when I was an Au Pair.
Lisa – Nope. They assumed I could be available MON-FRI 9am-9pm or noon-dinnertime, depending on when ****** (child) was in school or when they wanted me to leave so they could have dinner. I should have set good rules for availability but I trusted ***** (mother) and hoped my weekly salary was worth it (the hours worked).
What was/is your average hourly rate?
Anna – $12 per hour.
Lisa – No hourly I was paid the same amount every week regardless of how many hours I worked. I was paid $500 per week.
Were you provided with training? If so, for how long?
Anna – Normally I was shown what my duties are. That usually last no longer than 2 hours.
Lisa – NO. The first day I was alone with ****** (child) for almost 9 hours! I don’t know how I survived. Her mother sent us to the park, then ice cream, then we would spend hours at her mother’s design studio reading, playing “pretend” making cookies or taking imaginary trips to her imaginary beach house. I remember thinking “How can I be doing this?”
Would you describe your employers as (describe):
Anna = Middle Class
Lisa = Well-off
How did/does your employer treat you?
Anna – Generally they (employers) were nice people however there were situations, which I felt that they don’t really care about me. It is dependable on the situation that I was in.
Lisa – Like a Nanny/personal assistant/housekeeper/teacher/friend. They treated me as if I should love doing whatever they felt like asking me to do – because they knew I loved ****** (child) so they could take advantage. They asked me to fold laundry and wash dishes a lot. I was expected to come to their parties as a friend, but I would end up taking care of ****** (child) so her mother could chat with the other guests
Are you asked to do more than was originally expected from you? If so, what kinds of things?
Anna – That happened a lot. I used to taking care of a little girl. When her mom hired me we discussed my job and that suppose to be Nanny position. After a while besides taking care of an infant I found myself as a housekeeper as well. She (mother) kept asking me to do things that were not my duties. I felt very angry of myself that I did not say a word back then. That was unfair I just simply felt like her personal slave. I still keep asking myself why I did not quit that job back then. I think the answer was the little girl that I fell in love with.
Lisa – Laundry. Pick out gifts for her (child) friends or family, grocery shop … being in her (mothers’) apartment when the plumber called.
What was/is the worst thing that an employer has done to you?
Anna – I would say that was the broken promise. Being told a holiday would be paid and then it was not…This situation is really fresh only from yesterday. I was asked to baby-sit in the evening. Before I agreed I asked about the transportation back to my home. So we (Nanny and parents) agreed that after 9:30 pm I will be sent (home) in the taxi. What happened they come back at 9:50pm and decided that they could not afford the money for a taxi. I have to mention that if I knew in advance I would not agreed to baby-sit that late because I do not leave (live) next door in Manhattan but all the way down in Queens. The trip back to my place took me about 1.5hours.
Lisa – My favorite favor they asked of me is when her (parents’) upstairs renovations had to be re-done and they (the parents) wanted ****** (their child) and I to stay home all day and ‘play’ while we had to listen to drills and hammers. I finally tried to reach them by phone to let them know we’d (Nanny and child) be going to the park due to the noise level. I left them a message and then they (parents) called later that night asking if I had spoken to the people who were working on the upstairs renovations (the workers only spoke Spanish) I said ‘I hadn’t’. They then called me that weekend (the next morning) and told me how disappointed they were that I hadn’t spoken to the workers and told them (the workers) not to rip out the old windows. Apparently it was my fault!
In the next blog we will explore how parents can impact the care of their children and what Nannies say about other Nannies.