Confessions of a Nanny

Jonathan Bender, AOL Find a Job

Anne Arnold was fresh out of college and a nanny. She thought she could handle 15-hour workdays and being one of the six servants in an Italian manor. It was when she suspected the family of laundering money that she decided there were easier (and less dangerous) ways to become fluent in Italian. ‘The Nanny Diaries,’ brought the seedy underbelly of polite society to the forefront through the experience of an au pair.

While Hollywood tends to exaggerate, it turns out the nanny profession is full of true horror stories, the kind that could provide the movie industry with unbelievable plots for years to come.
Not Quite Like ‘Mary Poppins’
The expectations aspiring nannies have going into a job are often quashed when they learn what their living situation will entail. Working in someone’s home can often mean sacrificing your privacy and personal space. The Runaway Nanny, an anonymous blogger, found that she’d be sharing her bedroom with two children and had been given a total of three drawers for her clothes only after she arrived at the family’s home. “My first thought was to not even bother unpacking, run down to my car and drive away as quickly as possible,” she wrote of the twin bed and tiny closet that she’ll be using for the rest of this year.

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  1. It really has to do with finding the right family and praying the parents are as calm, friendly and apprciative as they seemed in an interview. Money vs. right family and I choose right family everytime. I turned down $25 an hour for a family I felt more of a connection to paying $18 per hour. So money isn't everything. But we also don't deal with all of the red-tape involved in daycares, schools and social work type settings. As nannies we must log information and follow parents rules that we may not agree with, but it is much easier to communicate with on set of parents than perhaps 20+ in a school or daycare setting.Plus, the bond between nanny and charge is almost always wonderful.The only reason nannies burn-out is when they accept low paying jobs for many hours work. It is easier to be taken advantage of when working and living in the same home. Live-in's get stuck working during non-working hours if they are home when their regular working hours are over.Overall it's a great profession for those who love kids and know how to interview parents to find out what they are really like and negotiate work agreements.Nanny from NJ works in NYC

  2. Your right working as a nanny is full of horror stories. I just recently got out of a horror story. I worked for a family for 19 months and they were going through a divorce the mom was from Peru and the day a American. I ended up having to testify in the case and then after 19 months of working for the family and being stressed out because the mom and dad were still living in the house together and all the other things that come with divorces. I was told on the 31st of this July via email from the dad that my services were no longer needed as of the 6th of August and that he wasn't going to pay me through the August 13th like we agreed when he gave me this lame excuse that he couldnt afford me anymore due to the divorce and the lil boy was going to school or honor our Nanny Agreement of 2 weeks servance pay because TN is a at will state. To make things worse no one will take my case for wrongful termination because he is buddies with everyone here in Memphis and he is a afluent lawyer here. I have called the Dept of Labor and EEOC and everyone says there is nothing I can do because he hasn't broken any laws. Not to mention I have email he accidently sent me between him and his management team saying to get rid of me because I was threat to the firm because he had been running me through his firm as a employee of the firm and I served my purpose for his divorce. I was just used to win his case against his ex-wife to win primary custody of his son. This time in my Nanny Agreement I have the at will clause in my Nanny Agreement and I want my Agreement Notarized.

  3. It is funny cause, Nanny work is like you really don't know what you are getting into. Until you start working for the family like a month into the job or even two weeks and see if you want to even stay. A job that is everything and more.

  4. There are definitely horror nanny stories out there but for me and most of my nanny peers it's a great job. Many nannies CHOOSE to be nannies even those with bacehlor degress. Experience is often more important than education and I think young girls stuck in an unfamiliar house after moving cross country, without much work experience since high school will be stressed-out. It is not glamorous. Not even well respected. To enjoy being a nanny you must have a good self esteem, be outgoing, organized, able to multi-task, get dirty and love kids. Then, we work very long hours. So that's hard to find. Inexperienced caregivers will not like the job.Nanny Belinda, Yardley PA

  5. Wow DeShaun sounds like we have something in common. . as far as being taken advantage of.I would never nanny again, despite how wonderful the family was or how much they paid me. I worked as a nanny for four years for over ten families, loved by all of them. After three years and a third baby added to the mix, and with all other families paying me more, I asked one family for a raise. She initially agreed, only to let me go one week later via an email telling me she was going to stay home full-time with her children.She hired another nanny from outside the country who she could get away with paying less. I was hurt and made the mistake of asking her, simply because I considered her like family and would have continued to work for her had she just said she couldn't afford me at a higher rate. I adored her children.She ignored me, and in turn told everyone that I currently worked for that I had stolen from her (which I never had). She filed a police report, claimed I stole $5000 worth of miscellaneous items (which she never did identify), and began to tell people I was a danger to their children.I lost all my other jobs because she was so crazy that other families were afraid of what she would do, or afraid that I would be arrested while in the care of their children.The case against me was finally dropped almost a year later, but not without irreparable harm done to my character and career.

  6. We need more positive confessions of nannies. Normal, healthy, appreciative parents and normal, hard working, appreciative nannies. I find it tiring but so much fun working as a nanny each summer.Fawn Ray, Preschool Reacher, Summer Nanny, Ocean City MD

  7. I was a normal, healthy, hard working, appreciative nanny, thank you very much. There are exceptions, but not all nanny positions are as glorious as you would suggest. Reality includes a lot of negative too.

  8. I am so thankful I work for a "normal" family. I would quit in a heart beat if I worked for a nut job family!

  9. Thanks for your article. And thanks for including me in it 🙂 I'm "The Runaway Nanny" who was forced to share a tiny bedroom and dresser with 2 small boys. What a disaster this was! Thanks again!

  10. Working as a nanny has its ups and downs. Yes, there are some good families and good nannies. However, there are some bad families and bad nannies as well. Some families take advantage of their nannies especially the live-in ones. Some nannies on the other hand take advantage of their employers by stealing, texting on the job ,and not taking care of the kids in their care. Before I accept any live-in position, I always request my own room and bathroom. I’m sorry, but nannies need their own space and own free time. A nanny may love her job, but if she feels overwhelmed, she won’t last on the job. She will find something else. Most nannies will accept a job for the money being offered, but then they realized with the amount of work and overtime that they work, the money doesn’t come close to satisfy them. My advice to all nannies. Be honest about your expectations. You have the right to ask about your hours, duties, and living conditions. Families have no problem conducting background check on nannies. So the same is yours as well. Do your research nannies. Stop gossiping with other nannies at the park because you never know who you’re giving info to. Do your job well every time. Don’t steal. Don’t bad mouth other nannies or other staff members for no reason. If you don’t like your job, find another one. Don’t complain about your boss to other nannies. People will always find out when you talk about them whether good or bad. Take a break when it’s your break time. Communicate with the parents if you don’t like something. Sometimes you resent them and they don’t even know why. Communication is key.
    Last but not least, do not mistreat the kids in your care. They’re innocent and don’t know any better. Set good example to them because eventually they will follow.
    Remember: God is watching, and don’t forget the invisible nanny cam is watching you as well.

    Christian Nanny working on the Upper West Side (New York)

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