23 Mar
No Coveting My Caregiver!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am a high school teacher and I happen to have an ex-student (five years out) as my Nanny. We love her. However, my Nanny’s mother now works in my school building and has become very close with a co-worker who has young children as well.

I heard from a friend who also works at the school that the mother’s friend/my co-worker is intending on asking my Nanny to work for her next year. This is really stressing me out. Not to mention, I cannot wrap my head around someone doing this to another co-worker! I don’t know if my Nanny will bite but I am positive that the co-worker’s offer will double her income because the other woman has two kids.

I will be hurt as I was a mentor to this kid for years but she is a kid. My peer, however, will be dead to me. How can I continue to work with her? How do I confront her? Do I wait until the deed is done or try to intercept and make her feel guilty?

Signed,

Step Off My Nanny!

———————————————-

Dear Step Off,

Geez! Where do you work? Is it on Wisteria Lane?

Frankly, I’m not all that surprised. Some women (and men) may graduate from high school but their maturity never moves beyond it. But instead of taking jock boyfriends or popular BFFs these women now lure away nannies and husbands and contractors.  Sometimes they even come over to your house and admire your sofa and throw pillows and then before you know it their living room is an exact replica of your living room and they are telling all the friends you share in common how YOU stole THEIR design idea so then you have to spread a rumor that they have to get their entire face waxed, on a weekly basis, because they used to be the bearded lady’s stand-in at the local circus…err, or so I’ve heard. I try to avoid those kinds of people. I certainly don’t invite them over to admire my living room.

I know some women like to avoid confrontation. I, on the other hand, believe wholeheartedly in being open and honest and trying to stop a situation before it gets out of hand. So I suggest that you bring up the matter with the soon to be “nanny stealer.” It doesn’t have to be a confrontation. Just explain to your co-worker how much your nanny means to your family, how much your child loves her, relies on her, and trusts her. Tell her that you had heard — rightly or wrongly — that she may be in the process of asking your nanny to leave and come to work for her. Tell her how much this loss would hurt you, not to mention the huge burden your family would have to endure in trying to find someone as trustworthy.

At the very least your co-worker will know she is a total douche when/if she steals her away. And you can always spread a rumor about her out of control facial hair or her three nipples.

You might also think about giving your nanny a raise, if you can afford it. Just in case your coworker does approach her. It can be just a small amount, or, perhaps, if that would be too much of a financial burden, maybe simply sit your Nanny down and tell her how much she means to you and your family. You could even ask her if there is anything (non-monetary) that could be done to make her even happier.

Good Luck,

Tonya, TMH

6 Responses to “No Coveting My Caregiver!”

03.23.12#1

Comment by dizmom2.

As a former nanny, I will say this: if the woman has this attitude towards her coworkers, I’d consider that a red flag that she might be a bitch to work for. As a general rule, people who will take what they want at any cost aren’t very nice to us lowly folks in the service industries. Hopefully your nanny will consider that.

I don’t really understand her mother’s role in the situation though. Is she encouraging her friend to snatch up her daughter for a reason? Does she think her daughter will benefit from more money, fewer hours, etc. Does your nanny know that her mom is shopping her services around? Is there a way that you could subtly find out if your nanny is aware of this plan?

I think a light but honest chat with your nanny might be a good idea too. You can non-threateningly say, “A little bird told me..” and explain that you heard a rumor about other families being covetous of her services. Certainly follow the advice above and see if you can improve her working conditions any, but bear in mind that you can’t really control the outcome here. Nannies often have to go where the money is, because child care is not a lucrative field.

HOWEVER, you can ask your nanny to agree to terms upon which she leaves, should she ever choose to. If she is as professional as you say, she should not have a problem with agreeing to provide you with a reasonable amount of notice and the understanding that, if she fails to do that, it will adversely affect the reference you will be able to give for her future prospects.

It sounds like you have an established mutual respect with this young lady, so that is in your favor. Thank you for acknowledging her importance in your life, for a former nanny who worked hard and wasn’t always valued for it. Good luck!

03.23.12#2

Comment by Amy.

Why not share the nanny? Most competent nannies can handle multiple kids. Have the co-worker bring her kids to your house each day, and the nanny can double her money while halving her workload (because kids who have other kids to play with are way easier to deal with).

03.23.12#3

Comment by KatesOwnRants.

I love the answer, especially the part where you (the employer) talk to your employee about making her work life better, so she will want to keep working for you.
This girl (the nanny) is a person, not your property to be “stolen”. She deserves the opportunity to discuss options about HER life & livelihood. And she should be able to make her own decisions about whom she wants to work for.

03.23.12#4

Comment by Anne-Marie @ Do Not Faint.

As a nanny with a mother who lives to give much more advice than I need–I get it. All of it. I have a few suggestions:
-Sharing a nanny is an idea that most parents do not take kindly to, at least where I live. Three is exponentially more work than one, especially if you’ve got two unknowns, so if you go with this idea, you should both pay her exactly what you were going to pay her anyway.
-We are not property to be stolen, but our services definitely are, when we are good at our jobs. We are not talking about a contractor or a maid, here; we are talking about the person who cares for you child(ren). Emotions run high. We are part of your family, but we are not. It’s a unique relationship.

As for things you can do, I second the notion of asking her about it directly. “I heard this rumor, and I would just really be so terribly sad to see you go. Is there anything I can do to make your time here better?

At this moment (the baby is entertaining herself by talking to the cars she can hear outside the window) I am working for less than my usual price because the family has drawn up a contract (rare) with paid vacation and sick days (even more rare). It also guarantees a year of employment, with specific terms for ending the contract on either part, and they have agreed to let me bring my child to work with me. I’m pregnant, so that’s a pretty big deal. Another family could offer me twice this salary, and there’s no way I’d leave.

Which brings me to my final point: it is heartbreaking for a nanny to leave “her” child. I have only been working here for about two months, and I am already in love with this child. It’s not like leaving a job in an office; you leave a strong bond, a real relationship, with someone who is too small to understand salaries or schedules. I honestly can’t think of a way someone could convince me to leave this job for another, unless I suddenly faced some really serious economic hardship. And if that happened, I would come to my employer before talking to another potential employer.

The nanny/family relationship is emotionally intense both ways. I don’t know too many other nannies. My path to this career is rather strange. But if your nanny is anything like me, she’ll be far too attached to your child to simply walk out without talking to you. If she’s anything like me, she will be dying for an excuse to stay.

03.23.12#5

Comment by rojopaul.

My first thought was this is a lot of hoopla over something that *might* happen. Second thought was is the “friend” who also works at the school who told you someone who likes to “stir the pot” or create drama, or someone you really trust? That said, I loved Anne- Marie’s comments. She really nicely covered it all.

06.19.13#6

Comment by Diablo 3 Items Guide.

Still a PC gamer at 31yrs old..)

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