Every job comes with its quirks and difficulties, but as any nanny will tell you, the quirks nannies have to deal with are on a whole other level. Because we are working in people's private homes taking care of their personal items as well as the most important people in their life (their children!), the requests and expectations placed on nannies can oftentimes be quite ridiculous. There are plenty of rational, level headed parents out there, but this post gives a glimpse of the not so rational parents many nannies have worked for. We asked thousands of nannies about the silliest thing they have gotten in trouble for at their nanny job, and this is what they had to say. This post is purely for entertainment, so enjoy!
My Mom Boss asked a couple times, "Can you make sure you clean the toys before you leave?" We would actively be playing with them when she came home. Like what did she want me to do? Take the toys away from the babies just so they be put away?!
My bosses had a serious sit down talk with me where they threatened firing after I put the baby down for tummy time. They said I should never do anything like that without informing the mom first in case she wants to watch, even though that morning when I'd gotten to work, I had been instructed not to knock on the mom's bedroom door for any reason because she needed some alone time! They told me they were worried about what else I might do without asking them in the future and they didn't know how they could ever trust me after that. I should also mention that just a few days earlier, they had instructed me to give the baby tummy time at the same time every day.
I once got in trouble (like they scheduled a sit down talk with me) because I didn't follow their exact routes when driving. Their routes made no sense when considering traffic in LA and I had lived in LA longer than them, so I took their instructions as a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule. I soon learned that since they were both stay at home parents, their full-time job was micromanaging my every move.
I walked into the house after a long day out with the kids, and was immediately yelled at by my mom boss because I didn't wash the dishes. We were literally gone all day doing activities the mom had planned for us, but apparently she expected me to be in two places at once.
I once got in trouble by my mom boss for leaving my can of Coke on the counter, which I was actively drinking. Apparently I was supposed to chug it and not set it down.
I got reprimanded because I asked the 5-year-old to wait 15 minutes for the dough to rise before we baked it. According to the mom, her kids don't have to wait for things. The owner of the nanny agency who placed me, called the mom to mediate. She backed me up and got into an argument with the mom about letting the bread rise, and the mom hung up on her.
I once got in trouble for accidentally not using the designated morning bottle. I normally didn't give the baby his morning bottle, but was asked to come in early one day. Out of habit, I made his bottle like I made all his others and just grabbed a bottle off the drying rack, completely forgetting that they had a designated one they used for the morning (they put DHA in it and didn't want all the bottles to smell like it). They told me we needed to sit down and have a talk. They talked to me for 30 minutes about how careless it was and how this incident really made them question my attention to detail and whether or not their child was safe in my care.
I once worked for two very over protective stay at home parents with a 15-month-old boy. He was learning to run and skinned his knee a little. The next day during nap we had a conference to discuss how to avoid skinned knees in the future. Ideas included knee pads made of extra socks and telling him to 'be cautious'. I ran so far, so fast.
At a past live-in position, we had a sit down meeting because I swept the floor after I put the kids to bed instead of before. The reason I waited to do it was because we had some extra time after dinner and I took them out to play because they weren't allowed out by themselves. I'm sorry I was just trying to give your kids some much needed and deserved fresh air, and playtime before bed. When I asked the mom why it mattered, she said because sweeping the floor was a part of my "nightly duties". I explained that I still completed it before I went to bed for the night, so I completed my "nightly duties". She told me it was unacceptable behavior -- I didn't last much longer with them.
A former mom boss scratched her hand when opening a drawer and blamed me for putting the aluminum foil in the drawer incorrectly. (Which I hadn't even touched, by the way). I tried for 20 minutes to put the box in the drawer in a way that it could scratch someone -- it was impossible, but of course it was still my fault.
My previous mom boss was a stay at home mom and she got mad when I was taking a few hours off for doctor appointments. She started accusing me of lying about it. I started providing doctor's notes and told her straight up it was for fertility. She got really mad, and said they were going to start charging me for her pedicure appointments that she had to miss because of my fertility treatments.
I once got in trouble for using a "dirty" sponge to clean the baby's bottles - it was the only sponge in the sink and no one had informed me that it was to only be used for the parents' dishes, not for baby bottles. The way she handled it? "I'm not sure how else to say this, but are you sure you are cut out for this line of work? You could have put my child in the hospital or worse if you used this to clean his bottles. This is your last warning." (She was watching me from a camera in her office) I saw no dirt on the sponge and without being told otherwise...what was I supposed to use?
Once I had a 2-year-old in the tub after a major poopsplosion. My mom boss was in her bedroom watching TV. Her bedroom was right next to the bathroom, so I politely asked her if she could watch him while I ran downstairs and grabbed a wash cloth. She then straight up screamed at me for not using my hand to wipe the poo off of him. She was saying things like "This us f*cking ridiculous! What would you do if I wasnt here!?". All because I asked her to watch her kid for two seconds.
I got in trouble for saying fart instead of toot. I was told "We do not say fart in our house" and I giggled because I thought my dad boss was kidding. It was awkward for the rest of the day.
When I was a few days into a new job, I turned on the oven to heat my lunch (I had to bring my own food as it was in my contract I could not eat theirs). The mom brilliantly forgot to inform me that she uses the oven to store items and some were plastic. She acted super mad at me, as if I should have somehow known. She acted like we'd all die from toxic fumes (we all went outside; she was a work from home parent) and carried on and on about how I melted her favorite food storage carrier and was very upset she would have to buy a new one.
I was once told I could go home for the day because I messed up making mac and cheese.
A 5-year-old girl I nannied once got mad at me for telling her she couldn't do something, and she locked me in the garage! When she finally let me out, I told her I would be telling her mom what happened because it was very dangerous to lock me in the garage. As soon as her mom came home, she started crying. Before I could explain anything, the mom literally looked at me and said "What did you do to her?" I told her the whole story, and then the little girl got mad, and told her mom she didn't want me to be in the house. The mom told me to take a walk for awhile, and then when I came back the girl was still mad, so I had to wait in the living room until she wanted to see me again.
My old nanny family would text me at night (I eventually stopped opening their texts) to tell me they used the last bit of toilet paper or paper towels and that I needed to put a new roll on when I came to work in the morning. DO IT YOURSELF, IT'S IN THE CABINET ABOVE YOUR HEAD!
I was politely accused of pooping in the parents' master bathroom and not flushing. Turns out the 6-year-old was covertly taking her massive post breakfast poos there for like a month. Poos were so large, her parents thought it had to be an adult.
I had an interview with a family in Manhattan. The mother signed the e-mail "don't be late". Which was so lovely and warm (eye roll). So I got there 20 minutes early (to make sure I had no chance of being even a little bit late) and waited in the lobby until I was 5 mins early to notify the doorman that I was there for a 1pm interview. He called up to her apartment about 8 times and she would not answer his calls. Finally at 1:15 he got through to her and I went up. I was greeted with "I told you not to be late. Take your shoes off." To which I responded "I hope you have a lovely day, but I don't think we will be a great fit." #redflag
Years ago, in a Nanny/House Manager position, I got reprimanded for not replacing a burned out light bulb. Mind you, the light bulb went out on a Saturday, and I wasn't there on the weekends. I was told that I should be able to predict which bulbs would burn out on my days off, and replace them ahead of time.
I worked for this one family for almost 3 years and could tell you on one hand how many times I was sick. One night I got the flu and ended up in the ER with a 104 fever, so I texted them and got a text back saying some nasty words along with "If you want a job you, will be here in the morning". By the grace of God I somehow made it to work and I walked in and dad goes "You look like sh*t, have a good day". I literally had to work a full 8 hour day, still running a fever with two, 2-year-olds. (Psst...read this article on how NOT to respond when your nanny calls in sick)
I once got in trouble for leaving a fork in the sink (the dish washer was running). Mom Boss showed up 2 hours early, so I didn't have time to empty dishwasher and put my one fork in it. She later told me that I left her house messy. I asked what mess I left and she said the fork in the sink.
I got in trouble for wearing all black because supposedly, according to the dad, it was my passive aggressive way of expressing my frustration with them. Funniest part was, my shirt was grey so technically I wasn't even wearing all black.
I was traveling with a family and I put the 6-month-old in his bouncer so I could clean the bottles. He was happy and content. The dad came in and decided he wanted to play with him. He picked him up and then turned to look at me and said very angrily, "My son has a dirty diaper! He shouldn't have a dirty diaper when I want to play with him! How long has he been sitting in his own filth!?" He had been in his bouncer about 10 minutes, so sometime between me putting him in the bouncer and dad getting him out, he pooped.
I was once doing a painting craft with my nanny charge, and the instructions said to dry it in the oven. The mom saw the craft in the oven and flipped out. She said the paint could explode and release toxic fumes and harm her child.
I once gave an 18-month-old her dinner at 4:40pm instead of 5pm -- because she was hungry. The dad came home early and saw me, and then went straight upstairs to call them mom. She then came home early and they sat me down for a talk about how I was supposed to stick exactly to the schedule.
Before I cooked a 3 course dinner for 6 children, the mom asked me to add the leftover noodles to the soup, and I forgot. She got very angry and expressed it openly. She was talking out loud to herself and complaining about not having fridge space because of it.
The dad I worked for got mad at me because I told the 4-year-old to clean up her room. He said, "She doesn't like to do that, can't you see how upset you she is?! The way she's biting her lip should tell you that. She doesn't like to be told what to do." That's the day I started to look for a new job. I quit a month later.
So there you have it! While this post is just for entertainment, I do want to mention that parents should remember that just because nannies are employees paid to do a job, that doesn't make them any less human. Parents, when your nanny makes a harmless, minor mistake, give them the same leniency you would give yourself. It's important to remember that oftentimes a nanny has to do the same things a parent has to do to get stuff done around the house, and sometimes, it's not even possible to get everything done. Nannies also sometimes forget stuff and unless it's a recurring problem or it compromises the safety of the kids, is it really that big of a deal? And lastly, a nanny isn't a mind reader, so if a parent hasn't given instructions on a very particular way they want a job completed, they cannot get mad at the nanny for just doing it the way they would normally do it. Just because a nanny is getting paid, does not mean they should be expected to be superhuman.
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