Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Speaking Up...

I have drafted this blog a few times, and out of fear of offending some moms with different situations, I didn't complete or post anything, but I have decided that there is no where else for me to turn than my Boston Baby Mamas, so kind :)

As I may have mentioned before, I'm a full time working mom, trying to "do it all" and failing miserably. Every time I think I have scored a win somewhere, I realize I didn't because I uncover how I have fallen short some place else. Admittedly, I am probably being a bit too harsh, but I am positively failing as it relates to communicating with our nanny.

Our nanny, I will call, "Ann" to keep it simple, is a nice woman. She isn't really like Mary Poppins, but she is a well experienced, mother of three of her own grown children, around my age, with several grandchildren. She is very kind and caring with our daughter and encourages her growth and development well. That should probably be all that matters--but it isn't and it is obviously why you are about to get the following blog!

While she is very kind and well meaning, I have developed quite a few issues with things she does or does not do with my daughter and I have barely been able to verbalize any of what I am about to rant about because I have a perpetual fear of "hurting her feelings" and her not treating my daughter the same because I have some feedback.

First, as it relates to eating. Since my daughter first started solids, over a year ago, food and feeding have been an issue. When I would describe for Ann what delightful fresh baby foods I had whipped up over the weekend to help give my daughter a diversified palate and lots of nutrition, the first set of issues arose. She would make little faces--raising her eyebrows about cauliflower, beets and green beans and say, "Okay...I will try." When I would come home, it would inevitably be left in a bowl on the counter and she would either write or tell me, "Oh, SHE DOES NOT like that..." For months, I never addressed it, I just sheepishly would make suggestions and then ultimately gave up making my own food and buying jars because I least then I wouldn't feel as bad, plus then I wouldn't have to address the real issue, which was it was Ann's responsibility to continue to try to introduce the foods I made, a little each day, until my daughter did like one or all of you know how messy homemade beets are to make? But the food issues did not stop then, and it is probably because of my inability to vocalize my displeasure. I forced the issue on chicken and sliced cheese because anytime I was home, I was able to get my daughter to eat those, despite hearing for weeks, "she does NOT like that..." However, lost are many vegetables, meats, and fruits that I do think my daughter would try and eventually like if Ann wasn't so afraid of conflict with my daughter. Additionally, she have a penchant for putting food away unwrapped and trying to save half of an eaten apple that my daughter sweet (but grimy) little hands and mouth were all my book, GROSS!

Second, it has been explained to me that part of the responsibilities of being a nanny is to ensure that baby clothes are washed, folded, put away...and that diapers and wipes are stocked. For a few weeks, we had a mini-stand off about the folded baby clothes, because one Friday they were washed, and left in the living room and I did put them away. After that Ann began washing clothes and just leaving them folded in the living room, sometimes moved to the landing and sometimes even my daughters room, but then she would leave them there. And like that one Friday, a few times, I caved and put them all away...and then I got really annoyed because I started to realize that whatever I did when Ann did not do, she would actually stop doing it. Enter the baby wipes and diapers! If you do not have a caregiver in your home, the only one you can blame besides yourself is your husband, and we have all been left with baby on the changing table and no diapers or wipes in site. It is annoying and it is irritating. It is especially irritating when it was not you or your husband, that it becomes a regular occurring incident. Have I ever confronted Ann about this--no the closest I have come is leaving a note saying, please re-stack diapers and leaving the diapers out. Do I have to ask this, really?

We do not ask Ann to clean our home or do any of our personal errands. He hours are incredibly reasonable, and all together she ended up with almost 9 weeks of vacation last year, I am I asking too much for my daughters things to be in order?

And last, and this is the one that set me off...a few weeks ago my daughter had an unexplained rash and bites on her back. Freaking out about bugs, I asked and reiterated to Ann that especially because of the recent bug bites, I would like for DD to always be changed into different clothes at nap time. I always do this when I put her down, it not only helps her to be more comfortable, but I can also then insure that no creepy little dust mites or anything else from being in the store, the park or anywhere else have climbed into her precious crib. So tonight when I came home, my daughter was playfully running around in a pair of her pjs, but her hair was up and she didn't look baby clean. When I asked my husband if he had bathed her, he said this is what she must have napped in. I smiled and thought, "oh good, Ann is sticking to the change of clothes thing..." (because two weeks ago when I worked from home she made some excuse when I saw my DD not being changed) So I thought, how nice...until I got upstairs and noticed in her laundry basket there wasn't an additional outfit in the hamper since yesterday, which sent me into a spin. First of all, she didn't change her at nap time and second...MY DAUGHTER WAS IN THE PARK WEARING HER PAJAMAS? Really? The girl has more clothes than my husband and I combined and a plethora of weather appropriate outfits for this fall day. I had thought maybe she wore pjs out to the park once before, but this confirmed it for me.

So as I write this I wonder, how do I find my voice to confront my, otherwise lovely nanny, and why am I such a wimp. I am the mother and her boss, and I have every right to set the ground rules, so why do I feel like I have to let my nanny make the calls? And why...and this really irks me, does my husband always stick up for Ann and try to make these "issues" my own pet peeves and "non-issues." While I recognize you need a voice of reason, is it really unreasonable of me to ask that she do all parts of her job all of the time, not some of the time, or when she remembers?

Do other mom's with childcare have similar issues? Hopefully, those with in home care, don't think I'm I'm some sort of thankless b*tch...This mama needs suggestions on how to find her voice, please help!


  1. As a nanny and a mother, let me say this: We'd much rather you give us feedback than resent us, and it sounds like she's definitely in need of some feedback. If she's been with you for a certain milestone amount of time (coming up on a year, 18 months, etc - make sense?) maybe you could suggest a review? Or if that seems too confrontational, maybe just leave a note of reminders for things to do when your daughter naps?

    And, if it makes you feel better, I've had some feedback about things before, and even when I didn't like it, I would never dream of treating the child/children any differently :)

  2. Thanks b, appreciate the feedback and suggestions!

  3. Love this post! I have had many issues to address and I too keep my mouth closed. Which is weird, as a teacher I would NEVER take it out on a child but I fear it would happen with my Nanny.
    The worst part is my Nanny is a friend, so I am so scared of not just damaging the childcare relationship but the friendship as well.

    And husbands just don't get it. My husband always say 'as long as he is happy and healthy'....ofcourse thats the most important thing--- I always feel crazy after that is said.

    I think its just a part of that HUGE bag of guilt we always carry around Mama O.

    Oh, and say something- you are her employer....your boss has no problem telling you when you do something wrong, right? You can find another employee if she doesnt handle it well. (But Ofcourse I'll just keep my mouth shut over here 0n Long Island!!!)