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Why do nannies leave suddenly when everything is going well?
27 Feb 2017

Why do nannies leave suddenly when everything is going well?

Why do nannies leave suddenly when things seem to be going well? This is a really good question and one that some families will ask themselves more than others. Why is it that some nannies will work for one family and stay with them years and other families seem to be changing nannies every 3 – 6 months . There will always be outside factors that may influence a nanny to leave or maybe after a few years she is ready for a change . Sometimes as the children get older the role will change and either hours will be radically reduced meaning the job is no longer financially viable or the job will become nanny housekeeper and not all nannies want to spend their day taking care of the house when what they really want to do is childcare.

There will always be outside factors that may influence a nanny to leave or maybe after a few years she is ready for a change . Sometimes as the children get older the role will change and either hours will be radically reduced meaning the job is no longer financially viable or the job will become nanny housekeeper and not all nannies want to spend their day taking care of the house when what they really want to do is childcare. These are all very valid reasons and things Hummingbird come across every day.  But what about the other reasons that leave the family in the dark or make them think that maybe things were not as good as they thought they were.  Well there are many things that can drive a nanny to resign but the things we hear the most from nannies suddenly seeking a new position always seem to be along the same lines demonstrating to us that maybe some families just don’t know when to stop asking for extras that are just not part of the nanny role.

For example – would you expect your nanny to valet your car on a weekly basis, clean out the fireplace , clean out your garage or do the washing up on a Monday morning when you haven’t cleaned up after your roast dinner on Sunday night ?  

These are genuine reasons that have pushed some of our nannies over the edge not because they dont want to help but because this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  These tasks are not  arduous or overly stressful but when added to everything else that the nanny is already doing that was not discussed in the early stages as the role was pure childcare there will come a point where the nanny starts to resent coming to work and will eventually snap and start to look elsewhere.

As a former nanny myself I remember very clearly feeling that the childcare was only a very small part of the role and what was a 40 hour week was almost 65 by the time I came to leave having had another falling out over more last minute unpaid babysitting which they seemed to think was included as part of the nanny deal and was not ever given a chance to say no before the emotional blackmail kicked in. As a very young nanny in my first role this was not something I was prepared for and had no experience of so always gave in and ended up hating my job as I was always on duty…so the key here is good communication and agreeing terms up front.  How lovely it is to be older and wiser.

Other reasons that come up over and over again are things like over involvement by the parent in the nanny and children’s day and the need to know everything at all times be it through messaging for constant updates or in some cases the family has a security camera and will check in and out to see what the nanny is doing. Only in cases were the nanny is aware that she is being monitored on CCTV is this OK.

Repeated lateness on returning home from work at the end of the day with no warning or discussion on over time is a real bug bear especially when the nanny has been on duty for more than 12 hours and still has to get home. This can cause real problems for nannies with repeat offenders.

Notes left for the nanny which  belittle her can easily rub the nanny up the wrong way and over time will cause problems. In my career I have been left notes that say sausages for tea can be found in the fridge and Fusilli is twisted pasta- for those of us with one ounce of common sense these notes are completely unnecessary and make us wonder how we survive in the world outside of work . As an NNEB , Montessori teacher and Mum of my own children I found this particularly annoying as it made me feel like I must be totally stupid. Having spoken with many nannies I know I am not alone in experiencing this and also being made to feel like because you are only the nanny you must be lacking in education , life skills and common sense.  It honestly makes you wonder why they employed you at all.

Late payment, excessive overtime and being undermined by the parents in front of the children are also things that effect how a nanny will feel about the family as ultimately it comes down to a basic lack of respect and where she sees herself within the family home.

However, besides all this , the one thing that comes up again and again is the family’s need to have the nanny clean the house and what starts as cleaning up after the children, doing their laundry and loading and unloading the dishwasher- all part of the nanny role and done willingly can suddenly build to the nanny being expected to clean the house, manage the children and parents laundry, taking care of the family pet, assisting with any services with household appliances and doing the grocery shopping – the list is endless and if it continues to build it will not be long until the nanny has had enough and resigns .  suddenly the role is different – the childcare has all but disappeared and what is so important is the cleaning.  How does this happen ?  because the family s ask and she feels that she has no choice but to say yes as it’s just a one off but the moment you agree to that one thing there will be something else and so it continues. It takes a very strong nanny to say no .

I have always felt and still do that families who want clean houses and don’t want to do it themselves need to engage a cleaning service and not put it on the nanny. Your nanny is there for your children not to clean the house , wash the car or empty your kitchen bin on a daily basis.

So , to sum up – nannies who stay with their families for years do so because the family trusts the nanny to do her job without undermining or micro managing her and are very clear on what they need and don’t push the boundaries . Ultimately the nanny is happy , the family are happy and the children are happy too.  The nanny has no reason to leave and the family have no reason to be unhappy – everybody trusts each other, the communication is great and when the need arises the nanny will be glad to take on other bits and pieces with good grace as she knows that these are done as a favour and not expected as an additional extra to the ever growing plie .

 

Linnea Tormajer. Hummingbird Home Staff . 

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