Okay, here it is. Part 2!! Numbers 6-10 of why a nanny feels taken advantage of. If you haven't read Part 1 yet with numbers 1-5, CLICK HERE and get caught up!!
6. JOB CREEP. Job creep is when slowly more and more duties are placed on a nanny. This can happen even when a contract is in place and the roles of the nanny are clearly laid out. In my experience, the job creep generally happens one of two ways. The first way is when parents simply start adding more chores/tasks for a nanny to do. It's usually a one time thing, such as, "We have guests coming over tonight, can you please tidy up the common areas?". The nanny agrees because they know it's just a one time thing and nannies are generally happy to help. Unfortunately what often ends up happening is, because the nanny so willingly agreed to do it, the parents might think it wasn't that big of a deal, and they start asking it of the nanny more often. So now instead of unexpectedly having guests over and needing help one time tidying, parents will purposely not tidy up and just leave if for their nanny to do. Now tidying up the common areas has become an expectation of the nanny and has become a part of the nanny's job description. The second way the job creep happens is when a nanny goes above and beyond by doing extra little tasks. Slowly the parents begin to expect this to be the norm and it unofficially becomes a part of a nanny's daily routine. The nanny may have originally done it because they had a little extra time that day and wanted to do something special for their bosses, never intending to do it on the regular. When the job creep happens, nannies begin to feel overwhelmed with all the tasks they are responsible for on top of caring of the kids. They might also get frustrated because they chose to be a nanny for a reason -- they love spending time with kids. When a bunch of extra chores/tasks are added, it takes away from the time they can spend with your kids and the job no longer is as fulfilling for them. In addition, many nannies start to feel resentful because they now are doing more work for the same pay. Parents, it's important to be mindful of not allowing these one time extra tasks to become a recurring expectation placed on your nanny. If you feel like you want your nanny to permanently do extra tasks not originally agreed on upon hire, you need to have a sit down to discuss it. Both parties need to agree on the revised contract and a pay increase needs to follow since the nanny now has more on their plate. But be forewarned, your nanny may not be okay doing the extra tasks even with a pay increase! Nannies love investing their time in the children they care for and fostering those relationships. If they wanted to do a bunch of chores, they would be a housekeeper. If they wanted to run a bunch of errands, they would be a personal assistant. Don't forget why your nanny chose to be a nanny in the first place!
7. BACKUP. Hey, guess what? Nannies get sick! They also take vacations. They also may just need a personal day. Just like you. And just like you, they should be entitled to some paid sick days and personal days in addition to paid vacation time. When parents don’t have any backup care, it usually makes a nanny feel guilty for needing to ask off. They shouldn’t feel guilty — they are human after all and we all need some time to rest and have fun. So, do yourself and your nanny a favor by having a few backup childcare options. That way if your nanny unexpectedly needs to take a day off, they're not stressed and you’re much less stressed because at least you will have childcare coverage and won’t have to miss work. When I have gotten sick and a family doesn't have backup care, I feel so stressed having to tell them I can't come in. One time I even had a high fever and felt so guilty that I offered to come in anyway, and the parents actually took me up on the offer because they had no other options! In hindsight, I shouldn't have offered, but that just goes to show that even seasoned nannies can easily fall into allowing themselves to be taken advantage of. Oh, and a bit off topic, but still relevant. If your nanny is sick because they caught something from your family, definitely pay them for the days they have to miss. It’s a small gesture on your end and I promise it means so much to your nanny.
8. PAY. Of course I couldn't do a top 10 list of nannies being taken advantage of and not mention pay! Here's the deal, I can't tell you what you should be paying your nanny because it varies city to city and highly depends on the nanny's experience. That being said, care.com has a rate calculator that can at least get you in the right ballpark. However, it is a babysitting calculator and we all know babysitting is NOT the same as nannying, so take it with a grain of salt. My best suggestion is to google rates in your area or even call a local nanny agency to see what the going rate is. As most know, the rate you pay your nanny will depend on not only their experience and education, but the number of kids and the duties the nanny is expected to do. If you want your nanny to do things like your child's laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, etc., it's going to cost you extra! Now beyond paying your nanny a fair wage, there are other things that need to be considered. The first and most important are annual raises. In Part 1, I talked about how nannying is a legitimate job, therefore, just like in any other job, there should be raises. So many nannies have reported working for a family for 3+ years and still making the same rate as when they started! Parents, would you be okay if this was happening to you at your job? Plus, let's just throw in there that within those 3 years I'm sure the job creep has happened, at least to some extent, so your nanny is majorly overdue a raise. Next, I can't believe I even have to say this, but again so many nannies have reported it so I must address it. Parents, please pay your nanny on time. I mean, come on. I honestly don't even feel like I need to elaborate. How would you like not being paid on time? Especially if you have automatic online bills that go out. HomePay is a great resource that not only takes out the necessary taxes, but also offers direct deposit for your nanny so you never have to worry about forgetting to pay them. Finally, if your nanny uses their own money for job related expenses, make sure to reimburse them at the end of the week with their ON TIME paycheck. In fact, check with your nanny to see if that is okay. Your nanny might be in the position where waiting until the end of the week for reimbursement is too long and they will overdraft if not reimbursed the same day. I know a lot of nannies in this position and they are hesitant to bring it up because it's awkward and they feel embarrassed. In my professional opinion, I highly recommend a nanny not use their own money and a family give the nanny a credit card or cash. It just makes things so much easier. Some parents are uncomfortable with this and I can understand why. But think about this -- you trust your nanny enough to take care of the most valuable people in your life, yet you're worried about giving them a credit card? It seems silly to me.
9. COMMUNICATION. Good communication is such an in depth topic that it’s really hard to cover it all here, so I will just give a few examples of the most common communication issues nannies have with parents. The first is simply not clearly communicating with your nanny what your expectations are. Just like you, your nanny is not a mind reader. If they have done something wrong or you simply want them to do something a different way, tell them! It’s really that simple. Next, parents need to communicate with one another. I have witnessed parents that are so busy and absorbed with work, that they fail to communicate with one another, and their nanny is left as the middle man. As parents you should know your child’s schedule and what activities they have that day. Your nanny definitely helps oversee that schedule and can even maintain it, but as a parent, it is your responsibility to at least know what’s going on. It's also your responsibility to know your partner's schedule. This way your nanny doesn’t schedule a play date for your child only to find out that dad had planned (but not communicated) to come home early that day to take your child to frozen yogurt. Or even worse, this way your nanny isn't sent on an errand to pick up milk only to get home and get a text from the other parent asking them to go to the same store to pick up something else. This is inefficient and so easily avoidable if parents simply communicate with one another. You may be thinking, "Well, that's what my nanny is for. I am paying them". No. This mindset makes a nanny feel like hired help and makes them feel severely taken advantage of. Sure, they are here to make your life easier, but you can do your part to help make their job easier so they don't get burnt out. Lastly, communicate wisely. By this I mean, do not undermine your nanny in front of the kids. If you have an issue, speak with them in private. Doing it in front of the children gives your children the assumption that they can do the same. Good communication really boils down to respect. Respect your nanny enough to communicate properly with them and with everyone involved in raising your child/children.
10. APPRECIATION. This has to be the easiest issue in this list to be fixed. Parents can start doing this immediately with very little effort. Basically, make sure to show appreciation to your nanny. I’m not saying you need to lavish them with gifts or any of the other ridiculous things mentioned in that Diva Nanny article…but you should at least show verbal and emotional appreciation. When they do a good job, tell them. When they do something not in their job description like organize the pantry, clean out the fridge, or organize the kids’ closets, say “thank you!” In fact, all you have to do is simply recognize it was done, and your nanny will feel appreciated. There’s nothing worse than to do something extra for a family and to not even have it acknowledged. Nannies are usually going above and beyond because they appreciate you and are excited to help make your life easier — on a basic human level, you should at least show some gratitude. When a nanny feels appreciated, they are much more inclined to go the extra mile, just like you probably are at your job. Parents, think about how good it feels to be recognized for your hard work. Your nanny is just like you and it feels the same way for them. They say "happy wife, happy life" -- I say, "happy nanny, happy family".
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