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caedmyn

more schooltime nanny dilemmas

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3 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

Depending on her state and area, she could do her own advertising (Glassdoor, Sittercity, even Monster). I think she will want a babysitter vs a nanny, though, as it is very part time with no benefits or paid leave. 

I advertised for this on Care.com, craigslist, and a local FB childcare group.  It was listed as part-time nanny/mother's helper.  I got zero responses from actual nannies.  I got several responses from moms with school-age kids looking for work while their kids were at school, several from 20-22 yo's who I didn't think were likely to have enough childcare experience/life experience, and from a few people who didn't actually meet the criteria (ie weren't available one week every month due to another job, wanted to bring their own child, didn't have their own transportation and wanted me to transport them to and from).  I could look to hire someone else and end up in the exact same situation.  How on earth could I guarantee that anyone I hire will actually be willing to be firm and follow through?  We did specifically ask her that and tell her that they would test her and she said she could handle it.

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8 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I advertised for this on Care.com, craigslist, and a local FB childcare group.  It was listed as part-time nanny/mother's helper.  I got zero responses from actual nannies.  I got several responses from moms with school-age kids looking for work while their kids were at school, several from 20-22 yo's who I didn't think were likely to have enough childcare experience/life experience, and from a few people who didn't actually meet the criteria (ie weren't available one week every month due to another job, wanted to bring their own child, didn't have their own transportation and wanted me to transport them to and from).  I could look to hire someone else and end up in the exact same situation.  How on earth could I guarantee that anyone I hire will actually be willing to be firm and follow through?  We did specifically ask her that and tell her that they would test her and she said she could handle it.

Yes, that is true. I guess assess which is more likely, finding a better fit, or your current person changing her approach? When an employee doesn't fulfill the job, you may work with them to train a bit,but usually you let them go if they are not working out. It is a boundary thing. She is not your friend. 

Again, a nanny usually doesn't work part time (ime, having been one), at least not THAT part time. I might look at the ad you ran, if you do end up looking again, and make sure you are very specific and word the ad in a very professional way. There are nanny companies you could try--Mary Poppinz comes to mind--but most are for professional nannies, hired with contracts and benefits, only to take care of children. If you want a professional, advertise a professional job.

You seem to essentially want a clone of yourself, i.e., another Mom just like you, willing to teach and parent like you do. That sounds more snarky than I mean it to, but that is my perception. 

 

 

Edited by Chris in VA
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45 minutes ago, QueenCat said:

 

I was thinking the same thing. It sounds like Caedmyn runs a tight ship, authoritarian style home. The nanny sounds like she takes a more relaxed approach to things. It would never occur to me that it wasn't okay to allow a child to pick something else to eat that is available. Don't want a sandwich & making your own nachos would be fine in my home. 

I don't think I run a particularly tight ship.  If I do something a particular way, it's generally for a reason, like I've tried doing it five different ways and only one really worked.  It gets really chaotic, and really messy, if 5 kids are all making their own lunch.  Also, it's virtually impossible to get them to sit at the table and eat if others are running around making their food, because I can't really supervise 5 kids going several different directions.  I dislike having chocolate milk stains on my carpet and crumbs everywhere, so I want them to eat at the table.  I know in my baby-sitting days, parents would tell me what they wanted the kids to have for lunch or dinner.  I always assumed that that is what they wanted all their kids to eat for lunch.  How is this any different?

In my book there's a difference between someone being relaxed about letting kids eat what they want at lunch, and telling a kid to do or not do something and then doing nothing if they don't, or letting a 3 yo run off while she plays with a 6 yo when she was specifically hired to watch the 3 yo at all time while we're doing school.

I do think she has a good bit of autonomy.  She can do whatever to keep the 3 yo, 1 yo, and 6 yo occupied, as long as whoever she has is staying downstairs so we can do school upstairs.  I might give her a direction two-three times a day at most, something like saying occasionally, "3 yo's been asking to do puzzles/play these games", or "6 yo has speech therapy today at 11:30.  Are you okay with staying here with 1 yo, 3 yo, and 8 yo?" or "They can have sandwiches for lunch."  I let a lot of things go that are not the way I would do them or prefer them done.  That doesn't mean I'm ok with letting absolutely everything go. 

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6 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I advertised for this on Care.com, craigslist, and a local FB childcare group.  It was listed as part-time nanny/mother's helper.  I got zero responses from actual nannies.  I got several responses from moms with school-age kids looking for work while their kids were at school, several from 20-22 yo's who I didn't think were likely to have enough childcare experience/life experience, and from a few people who didn't actually meet the criteria (ie weren't available one week every month due to another job, wanted to bring their own child, didn't have their own transportation and wanted me to transport them to and from).  I could look to hire someone else and end up in the exact same situation.  How on earth could I guarantee that anyone I hire will actually be willing to be firm and follow through?  We did specifically ask her that and tell her that they would test her and she said she could handle it.

 

I think you would need a specialist for special needs behavior issues.  Even then, I guess you couldn’t guarantee it, but it would be more likely.

alternatively you could try training the person (this one or another one) in exactly what you want done and exactly how

maybe something like a 22yo with camp counselor experience of getting a whole group of kids to behave would be a better fit...

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3 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I don't think I run a particularly tight ship.  If I do something a particular way, it's generally for a reason, like I've tried doing it five different ways and only one really worked.  It gets really chaotic, and really messy,

 

did you come home to a mess due to the nachos?

3 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

if 5 kids are all making their own lunch.  Also, it's virtually impossible to get them to sit at the table and eat if others are running around making their food, because I can't really supervise 5 kids going several different directions.  I dislike having chocolate milk stains on my carpet and crumbs everywhere, so I want them to eat at the table.

 

Did they cause chocolate milk stains and crumbs when she was supposed to supervise them? 

3 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

  I know in my baby-sitting days, parents would tell me what they wanted the kids to have for lunch or dinner.  I always assumed that that is what they wanted all their kids to eat for lunch.  How is this any different?

 

She isn’t you.  She doesn’t assume what you did in your babysitting days. 

You assume she’ll assume the exact same assumptions as you do.

 

3 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

In my book there's a difference between someone being relaxed about letting kids eat what they want at lunch, and telling a kid to do or not do something and then doing nothing if they don't, or letting a 3 yo run off while she plays with a 6 yo when she was specifically hired to watch the 3 yo at all time while we're doing school.

 

Sit down and talk with her. Pay for talk time. Maybe she could do what you want if you retell her.

Maybe she cannot. 

 

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14 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I do.  Initially I was in a different room during lunch.  Now mostly I'm in the kitchen (making my own lunch, putting school stuff away) and she's in the dining room with them.  But if someone gets out of their seat, I expect her to say something FIRST since she's right there at the table, and that's not happening.

 

But if you’re right there in the next room and see it happening, why is it such a problem for you to say something? 

As several of us have pointed out, it appears that your sitter’s priorities differ from yours. Maybe she doesn’t care if her own kids are incredibly obedient. Maybe she doesn’t have her own kids do chores. Maybe a tight schedule doesn’t matter to her. If those things are  important to you, you’re going to have to be very specific with her, but don’t be surprised if she ends up quitting because her parenting style doesn’t mesh with yours. That’s not a judgment on how you run your household versus how she runs hers; it’s just that it seems like she’s not fitting in well with the way you want things done.

The one thing you never mention is whether or not your kids like her. In my mind, that is the single most important thing, but all you seem concerned about is whether or not she is making your children obey rules. That wouldn’t be my priority at all. I would want the kids to be happy and safe with a sitter who is kind and caring. 

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37 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I do.  Initially I was in a different room during lunch.  Now mostly I'm in the kitchen (making my own lunch, putting school stuff away) and she's in the dining room with them.  But if someone gets out of their seat, I expect her to say something FIRST since she's right there at the table, and that's not happening.

Why can't the kids get out of their seats? I don't get this at all.

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25 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I don't think I run a particularly tight ship.  If I do something a particular way, it's generally for a reason, like I've tried doing it five different ways and only one really worked.  It gets really chaotic, and really messy, if 5 kids are all making their own lunch.  Also, it's virtually impossible to get them to sit at the table and eat if others are running around making their food, because I can't really supervise 5 kids going several different directions.  I dislike having chocolate milk stains on my carpet and crumbs everywhere, so I want them to eat at the table.  I know in my baby-sitting days, parents would tell me what they wanted the kids to have for lunch or dinner.  I always assumed that that is what they wanted all their kids to eat for lunch.  How is this any different?

In my book there's a difference between someone being relaxed about letting kids eat what they want at lunch, and telling a kid to do or not do something and then doing nothing if they don't, or letting a 3 yo run off while she plays with a 6 yo when she was specifically hired to watch the 3 yo at all time while we're doing school.

I do think she has a good bit of autonomy.  She can do whatever to keep the 3 yo, 1 yo, and 6 yo occupied, as long as whoever she has is staying downstairs so we can do school upstairs.  I might give her a direction two-three times a day at most, something like saying occasionally, "3 yo's been asking to do puzzles/play these games", or "6 yo has speech therapy today at 11:30.  Are you okay with staying here with 1 yo, 3 yo, and 8 yo?" or "They can have sandwiches for lunch."  I let a lot of things go that are not the way I would do them or prefer them done.  That doesn't mean I'm ok with letting absolutely everything go. 

 

I have read a lot of your threads, and my personal observation is that you don’t seem to realize just how regimented and authoritarian your parenting style is. You run an EXTREMELY tight ship! If your dd has to get up in the morning and clean windows before breakfast, that is definitely regimented and inflexible. And all of your kids seem to have similar responsibilities — I just mentioned your dd because of your recent thread about wanting her out of bed at a certain time and needing her to do daily chores exactly on your schedule.

As I have mentioned in other posts, that’s not a judgment on how you parent. Do I parent entirely differently? Yes, absolutely. But that’s not the point. The point is that you need to own it that you’re very concerned with things being done a certain way on a certain schedule, and you have a lot of household rules and regulations. And it’s important for you to acknowledge that because if you’re going to have someone working in your home, she needs to know exactly how you feel and exactly what you expect. Venting to us isn’t going to help if you’re being sweet to her when she’s working, but are secretly fuming that she isn’t instinctively doing things the way you want them done. 

 

Edited by Catwoman
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23 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

The one thing you never mention is whether or not your kids like her. In my mind, that is the single most important thing, but all you seem concerned about is whether or not she is making your children obey rules. That wouldn’t be my priority at all. I would want the kids to be happy and safe with a sitter who is kind and caring. 

 

Good point!

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I think that nothing has changed from the last discussion on this.

She is a sweet woman who has no further qualifications than being a mother, herself. She can't be you. You're not going to like how she does things. You are ambivalent about the whole arrangement - half wanting her to do all tasks that you find stressful or unpleasant (and these wishes vary based on how you're feeling), and half wishing her gone.

Bringing in another adult who does not have very specific education, training and skills has not relieved your stress or workload enough to make this worthwhile. Since you can't find the right person through local advertising, you must consider the options that actually exist in your area. It sounds like those options are confined to schools.

I know that DH will not allow you to enroll your children in preschool or public school. I know that you are submitting to this arrangement for your own reasons. But the decision to not access the supported, qualified options that are available to you, does not mean that a mother's helper (or at least THIS mother's helper) will work. 

I would let her go while she's still your friend. It's just a mismatch; she hasn't done anything wrong. You weren't wrong to try it...but you've had over a month for this trial. It's just not going to solve your problem. Her willingness to keep trying, and your ambivalence about letting her go, won't change this.

As far as your not understanding why she can't be more Mary Poppins-like or intuitive about how to make your children behave, I do know what you mean. I worked as a babysitter, then I got some vocational training in early childhood development and daycare/preschool...I've had this authoritative but chipper rapport with children since I was a teenager, myself. But as I worked in preschools and daycares, I learned that it's sometimes just a knack or a personality type. Some people are like that. But far more often, the ability to work well with children - especially someone else's children - comes from *education.* This is magnified when the children have special needs or when the care environment is not strictly regulated. 

As a person with that personality type and with some education, I wouldn't take this job. If I had a home daycare, I would offer to mind your younger children there (with all my usual contracts in place). In my own setting, I could regulate the day, the expectations, the discipline, the relationships. Also, in that controlled environment that suited my own personality and training, I would know very swiftly whether your children had unique learning or behavioral needs that were beyond the scope of what I could provide. All this would be far more difficult to sort in your home setting, with older children doing other things but also moving in and out of my care, and with you there (but frustrated). I wouldn't do it for a single day.

Please reconsider preschool. DH can't make you homeschool. I don't know the consequences of disobeying him or whether you're able or willing to suffer those consequences, but legally he cannot force you to homeschool.

 

 

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I agree with others that you need an actual nanny...trained and probably through an agency.  In general, a much more formal arrangement.

If you want to stick with the less formal, mother's helper type arrangement then I think your plan needs to change.  I'd suggest that the MH watch only the one and three year olds, sort of like you've sent them to daycare just in your own home.  Six year olds in public school are given activities to do after they've finished their work.  You can keep the six year old with you.

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1 hour ago, caedmyn said:

If I do something a particular way, it's generally for a reason, like I've tried doing it five different ways and only one really worked.  It gets really chaotic, and really messy, if 5 kids are all making their own lunch.  Also, it's virtually impossible to get them to sit at the table and eat if others are running around making their food, because I can't really supervise 5 kids going several different directions.  I dislike having chocolate milk stains on my carpet and crumbs everywhere, so I want them to eat at the table. 

Fwiw, this makes a lot of sense. We know you're very frustrated and trying really hard, and I think it's rough that the inability to get them to have the behavior you want seems to reflect on you. To me (and once you're talking in disabilities), behavior is not personal. They're not doing what they're doing because of YOU. It's them, all about them. At their ages, it's THEM. It's not the worker, it's not you. It's them. 

So anyways, I'd like to offer you two things that might make a small difference.

                                            The Power Cards Strategy 2.0                                       This book is just a concept, so you don't need to buy it. Just google, read a powerpoint about it, and you might think of kids for whom it could work. So you can have a card with their favorite character and you hand them the card that says Mr. Superwhoever uses his powers to eat lunch nicely and say "May I be excused?" when he's done. It's sticking the idea in their heads, front end discipline, pre-discipline. You might need to do it every day.

                                            Stuck Strategies: What to Do When Students Get STUCK                                       This book is EXCEPTIONAL and might be worth buying. It had 20-some strategies, with examples of each. So your worker (or you) could be increasing opposition by outright NOs when there are ways around it. They're strategies you'll be able to use IMMEDIATELY. I found them exceptionally helpful. Maybe I can googlefu and find you a list.

Unfortunately, you can't train a worker when you don't have the tools. A trained worker for this would be an RBT working under a BCBA. And they would have a written behavior plan and be trained in strategies to improve compliance. They would have a list of goals they're working on and know to let everything go that ISN'T a goal. If you work on everything, you can't focus. So you pick 1-3 goals, work on those, and let the rest slide. Improvement by differentials.

 

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One of my favorite "stuck strategies" is LET'S DO THIS! So we're moving it from "Me do" to "We do." This puts the worker back in the driver's seat. It would allow the worker to say yes to any request but to *modulate* it by tying access to her presence. So instead of 5 kids up, anyone can get up, one at a time, with the worker, coming out nicely. And she can make it clear that if they are cutting up and throwing food and whatever (I have no clue, lol, just saying) while she's gone, then unfortunately she has to return and Johnny won't get his nachos and will feel sad and frustrated with them. 

So she gets to say YES, not NO, but you still got the behavior change you needed.

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This link has an entire section https://www.aapcpublishing.com/collections/behavior-management?page=1  of books on Behavior. If you want to know what professionals are reading to handle more challenging behaviors, these are the books. And most will have some evidence base behind them, like studies that were done or a solid foundation of research. But most will have studies. You could read one book a month and expand your toolkit.

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This is another exceptional little strategy book.          The Way to A: Empowering Children with Autism Spectrum and Other Neurological Disorders to Monitor and Replace Aggression and Tantrum Behavior     

It's really just a concept, and once you wrap your brain around it you're like OH... It's more ways to explain cause/effect and help them think through where their choices are going. Kids with ADHD, ASD, social delays, behavioral challenges, language disabilities (which affect how they process complex syntax like if/then or because), etc. sometimes need extra help. So this is another way to improve compliance with clear instruction.

-path A--you choose to do xyz or comply or whatever, we do this, then we get to go do this, and we end the day happy 

-path B--you choose to do something else (dawdle, harangue, disobey, get up, drop food and milk all over, not follow the rules about one person at a time with the worker, et.) and I have to spend time cleaning the floor and counters which means we won't get to do that fun thing and I'm tired and have a sore back from bending over and won't feel well enough to do the thing you wanted

Sometimes cause/effect and the consequences of their paths is really not prominent in their mind. We can use clear teaching to bring it forward, and it doesn't require saying NO and creating opposition. They can do what they want, but those will be the natural consequences.

I have to do a LOT of pre-teaching and pre-warning with my ds about expected behaviors, outcomes of different choices, etc. I'm always thinking what can I do AHEAD to prevent behaviors. So that's another way to support your worker, asking what you can do AHEAD of her going in there with them to set her up for success. You have, but we're always all growing in our skills and tool set.

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I don't know how to manage this situation better.

But I wanted to offer some support, because I have four children (less than Caedmyn), and we also have ADHD and other issues in the house. And it's hard!! When they were younger, I really could have used an extra adult helper, but I also knew that there would be some things about it that would cause me extra stress, so I never hired one. Except for a friend who helped me out for a few weeks (because I knew she also needed some extra income).

Anyway, in order to keep things going along as well as possible at home, I had expectations of my kids. Yes, they all ate the same lunch. Yes, they had to sit at the table while eating, all at the same time (I would read to them). Yes, they had things they had to accomplish my way, when it worked best for me to manage it, even if it was not what they would choose on their own. My kids still do some chores (as teenagers) on a schedule (because they need to be reminded, and in some cases checked on, and I have to be the one checking, so it has to work for me).

When my kids were all small, I ran things like a little preschool, in many ways. We ate together, played together, did crafts together, napped at the same time, watched the same video at the same time, etc.

These things are not crazy ideas. They are systems that work better for their family than other things that she's tried. She's learned what doesn't work and has found ways to make a difficult situation go somewhat more smoothly.

And I'm actually impressed that the kids do so much to help with chores. It took so much effort for me to homeschool my kids and keep everyone fed that I let more of the housekeeping things go myself and only had minimal things that I expected of them. Like putting their dishes in the dishwasher after each meal and helping with their laundry and vacuuming their own rooms. But I did the general household chores myself. And I was always behind (still am), which then was a source of stress. I actually think I could have done better with getting the kids to help out with general household things.

That doesn't address the fact that the babysitter is not meeting her standards. I would be bothered by it, too.

And there may be things that she can do to tweak her systems (for example, negotiating the chore and wake up schedules mentioned in the other thread).

But I wanted to speak up and say to caedmyn that I don't think you have crazy standards for expecting these things. I do think the standards can be hard to meet when ADHD and EF are present, and I sympathize with how hard things are.

 

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2 hours ago, hippiemamato3 said:

Why can't the kids get out of their seats? I don't get this at all.

It's not that they're getting out of their seats to get silverware, or refill a glass, or grab the ketchup.  It's that they're getting out of their seats to run around the house, eating while running around, or getting up to run around and be wild when they're supposed to be eating. 

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13 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

It's not that they're getting out of their seats to get silverware, or refill a glass, or grab the ketchup.  It's that they're getting out of their seats to run around the house, eating while running around, or getting up to run around and be wild when they're supposed to be eating. 

 

I had been wondering about that, too, so thanks for explaining! I can understand that, with as many kids as you have, you would be a stark raving lunatic if they were all running around and acting wild when you were trying to get them to eat their lunch together so you could get back to doing their schoolwork. 

I think @Storygirl made some excellent points. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way you run your household if that’s what works for you. I just think the nanny you hired may disagree with some of your methods and want to do things her own way, and that’s why you’re having problems with her. You are paying the woman and you are entitled to expect things to be done your way. But I’m not sure she’s the right person for the job.

I am still wondering if the kids like her. Is part of the problem that she’s always the “good cop” and you always feel like you have to be the “bad cop?” Is she the “fun mom” while you are stuck enforcing all of the rules? I can imagine that happening and if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t like that at all.  

On the other hand, if the kids really like her, that’s quite an accomplishment, because you have several children and it’s not easy to get everyone to like one caregiver. You could end up losing this woman and hiring someone you click with and who enforces your rules, yet the kids hate her. If the current nanny is great with the kids, I would do my best to find a middle ground with her so you can keep her.

Edited by Catwoman
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If you are serious about wanting to keep her, I do think you need to keep in mind her motivation for being there. She is working for you simply because she needs a part time income with a schedule that accommodates her duties at home. The more difficult you make it for her to earn money with you (cutting hours and such), the less attractive the position will be to her. She has already had to arrange a Friday job because you weren't offering consistent work on that day.

I liken it somewhat to my daughters' various music teachers through the years. They needed to be paid regardless of whether we could make a lesson on any given week. They counted on the planned income.

My oldest does some babysitting work around her college schedule. She's an adult that needs the money to live. It's a different situation than hiring a teen that wants to buy fun shoes and go to the movies. If she can't count on the income, she will move to a better opportunity. That's what part-timers do.

If you like her for the most part, don't let perfect be the enemy of good. You are going to need to be more flexible. Personally, I'd consider paying her for that holiday week, and I wouldn't nitpick the occasional late arrival.

That said, I would not want a childcare worker in my house, so I do empathize at how uncomfortable the whole thing must be when you are having this circumstance thrust upon you by your husband.

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I'm not really going to address the real question, but just want to make a comment. When you have a large family, there are things you do that are not necessary with only one or two children. The organization it takes to make life run smoothly and less stressfully may seem too strict or too rigid for smaller families. I found that good habits and patterns made life go easier and less frustrating for all. Some chores for all, because I was teaching them valuable life skills, and I also didn't want them to always be trashing stuff while I ran around trying to do everything it took to keep the house decent (it doesn't take much laxity for six children to trash a house--just a little bit of leeway here and there, and you have a disaster). When I had a houseful of littles, it was a busy, happy place, with a relaxed atmosphere. In order to be that, I ran things with a general routine every day, and everybody pitched in. But I had to have structure in place so that it could be relaxed and happy rather than chaotic and crazy.

ETA: As our kids became older and began to leave the nest, and the ones at home were older as well, I gradually relaxed on some things I had to be stricter on before--it just wasn't necessary any longer.

Edited by Jaybee
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6 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

I'm not really going to address the real question, but just want to make a comment. When you have a large family, there are things you do that are not necessary with only one or two children. The organization it takes to make life run smoothly and less stressfully may seem too strict or too rigid for smaller families. I found that good habits and patterns made life go easier and less frustrating for all. Some chores for all, because I was teaching them valuable life skills, and I also didn't want them to always be trashing stuff while I ran around trying to do everything it took to keep the house decent (it doesn't take much laxity for six children to trash a house--just a little bit of leeway here and there, and you have a disaster). When I had a houseful of littles, it was a busy, happy place, with a relaxed atmosphere. In order to be that, I ran things with a general routine every day, and everybody pitched in. But I had to have structure in place so that it could be relaxed and happy rather than chaotic and crazy.

 

Those are very good points. 

I can also see Caedmyn’s side of this because she has gone to a lot of trouble to teach her kids to follow a certain daily routine, and I can certainly understand why she wouldn’t want the nanny to undermine her.  

But the nanny is also an experienced mom, which makes things more complicated. I am starting to think Caedmyn might be better with a much younger mother’s helper, because she could train that person more specifically than she could an adult woman with kids (and probably strong parenting ideas) of her own.

Personally, I like Caedmyn but I could never babysit her kids because I’m very laid back about rules and Caedmyn wants more of a taskmaster. That’s not my style and there’s no way that I would be successful at it because it goes against all of my own beliefs about parenting. I could still respect her for knowing what’s best for her own family, but she could give me all of the instructions in the world and I still wouldn’t be the kind of nanny she needs, because it’s just not who I am. And that’s what I’m thinking about the current nanny. She may be a great person and a great mom, but she might be too different from Caedmyn for this arrangement to work out.

Edited by Catwoman
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2 hours ago, Catwoman said:

 

I have read a lot of your threads, and my personal observation is that you don’t seem to realize just how regimented and authoritarian your parenting style is. You run an EXTREMELY tight ship! If your dd has to get up in the morning and clean windows before breakfast, that is definitely regimented and inflexible. And all of your kids seem to have similar responsibilities — I just mentioned your dd because of your recent thread about wanting her out of bed at a certain time and needing her to do daily chores exactly on your schedule.

 

 

This seriously makes me laugh.  My household is much more likely to be described as chaotic than regimented!  You have no idea how much trouble I have providing structure and being consistent.  It is so hard.  What you are calling regimented is being done out of necessity.  I simply cannot make, say, kids doing chores, happen reliably any other way than to say, "Chores have to be done before you can eat breakfast."  It provides the motivator of them wanting to eat, and the consistency of it happening before something that we do regularly (eat breakfast).  This summer my kids ate breakfast when each of them wanted to more or less due to 2 of them having online reading tutoring at 2 different times of the morning.  Chores got done extremely sporadically.  I tried saying they couldn't go outside and play until their chores were done, and I couldn't enforce that.  I tried finding another time of day that would work to get them done, and didn't find one.  They certainly aren't going to just volunteer to do their chores (and they get paid to do these particular morning chores).  As I said on the other thread, if my DD was responsible enough to do her chores on her own, she certainly could do them at a different time of day.  But she can't, and I want these chores done, so she has to do them when I can actually make chore time happen.  (And the windows are only one of her chores because she gets a different chore for each day, and I needed one more, so I added the windows to her list when I couldn't think of anything else that really needed done on a weekly basis.)

I find it ironic that every time I've posted asking for what to do with my kids, and every time a thread on another topic turns into people telling me what they think I should do with my kids, at least one person tells me I need more STRUCTURE.  Yet here I am being told I am way too rigid and authoritarian. 

 

 

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My younger 3 like her.  Idk about the older ones.  But then, we had a sitter this summer who they all liked, but she was utterly incapable of being firm or basic child management like not letting a 2 yo run out the exterior door any time he wants.  She just trailed along behind...sometimes well behind....the then-2-yo as he ran around doing whatever he wanted, and it was worse with the older ones, so we had to let her go (and we did talk to her a few times but she couldn't seem to do anything differently).  So yes, I do want them to like a sitter, but she absolutely has to be able to manage whatever kids she's actually responsible for.

We hired her primarily so she could watch the 1 & 3 yo's while we do school.  That's 3 hours of her day.  That was the NEED.  She is handling that reasonably well, and maybe the spots that aren't being handled well like the 3 yo being allowed to wander off once the 6 yo joins them, could be handled differently if I'm very clear about what I need done in those situations.

The other hour was a WANT, so I could have a bit of downtime while the kids ate lunch and then spend some time with just the littles.  She's not able, willing, whatever to manage the older ones so I'm not able to do the WANT things with that last hour, which I think is primarily what people are telling me I'm being unreasonable about (ie the way she interacts with the older ones).  But really, I don't feel comfortable taking that downtime away from everybody when I know the older ones are not really being supervised, and that time they spend ignoring one adult bleeds over into their interactions with me later and makes things more difficult.  I just don't think it's unreasonable to want that extra time to actually benefit me or my family if I'm going to be paying her to be there for that.  So either I need to tell her I don't need her there for that last bit, and if she quits she quits, or find something else that she's willing to do during that time that does actually benefit us.  Maybe she could stay til 2 just one day each week and I could run errands with a couple of the older ones, and leave at 12:30 the other days.  I don't know. 

Edited by caedmyn
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4 hours ago, hippiemamato3 said:

Why can't the kids get out of their seats? I don't get this at all.

I never allowed my son out of his seat while eating.  In fact, I never allowed any child in my home out of their seat while eating.  I find it revolting to see kids walking around the house eating and touching all the furniture with food on their hands and dropping food and drink everywhere.  

Surely it Isnt just me and the OP who feel this way.  

Edited by Scarlett
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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I never allowed my son out of his seat while eating.  In fact, I never allowed any child in my home out of their seat while eating.  I find it revolting to see kids walking around the house eating and touching all the furniture with food on their hands and dropping food and drink everywhere.  

Sure it Isnt just me and the OP who feel this way.  

My kids have to stay at the table unless they’re going to the bathroom or getting more food, too, or its chaos.  But I run a very tight ship too, despite being laid back about some things we have a lot of structure because we have to in order to make it out the door on time to so many appointments.  
 

That said, when I have had a helper (rarely, but I did when my ankle was broken) I tended to just give them a simple list and let them run with it.  With regular help it would have been a lot more spelled out though, just because any dawdling or extra mess metastasizes with six kids and a lot of out of house requirements on top of school.

 

It really sounds like this is a communication issue and style mismatch.  A meeting to clarify what is and isn’t working and see if anything can be adjusted before letting her go wouldn’t go amiss.  Maybe ask her how she thinks it is going?  It could be she is frustrated by some of the same things but not sure of the best way to fix them.

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30 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I never allowed my son out of his seat while eating.  In fact, I never allowed any child in my home out of their seat while eating.  I find it revolting to see kids walking around the house eating and touching all the furniture with food on their hands and dropping food and drink everywhere.  

Sure it Isnt just me and the OP who feel this way.  

There's at least 3 of us :-) That's a huge rule in our house too. You better be on your seat unless you ask to be excused, or have a really good reason to get up. 

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8 minutes ago, Meadowlark said:

There's at least 3 of us :-) That's a huge rule in our house too. You better be on your seat unless you ask to be excused, or have a really good reason to get up. 

And your hands are washed before you get up.  

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47 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I never allowed my son out of his seat while eating.  In fact, I never allowed any child in my home out of their seat while eating.  I find it revolting to see kids walking around the house eating and touching all the furniture with food on their hands and dropping food and drink everywhere.  

Sure it Isnt just me and the OP who feel this way.  

Same here. All children are seated while eating, always

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5 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

And your hands are washed before you get up.  

How do you wash your hands before getting up from the table?  Don't you have to get up to go to the sink?

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If she is a mother's help, not a nanny, then you can't really ask her to do more than play with the littles, make the littles snacks, take littles to the bathroom/change nappies, be sweet to the littles, accompany Mom on outings to be another pair of hands.

Mother's helps are low paid, low trained, and their duties are correspondingly low. They are not expected to deal with behavioural issues beyond what you'd expect an older sibling to manage in a neurotypical younger, nor are they expected to deal with special or learning needs. 

If you are paying for a mother's help, maybe think through what you are asking of a mother's help. I've had mother's helps in the past - if they were nice people, and my kids liked them, and they were willing to play with the kids and do some basic things, like supervise snack time, it was all good.  The list of things I w ould not ask or expect of a mothers help is huge and includes things on your list of duties for your not-nanny. 

In the end it sounds like you are unable to access the type of person who will fuflil the job task descriptions to a point where you are comfortable with the arrangement (and 'just do things like I do them, how hard can it be' isn't a job task description). The other possible arrangements are not something you are prepared to argue for.

So, lower your expectations. Rank your needs and wants from a mother's helper from most important to least important. Take the top two needs and one want.  That might look like 'toddler and baby to be kept engaged downstairs while I school olders for X hours (2') and 'dinner prep for children's dinner'.  Now you have a job description for a mother's help. If the toddler and baby like her, she keeps the two kids downstairs for X hours, and she preps some food for the kids before leaving, win.

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

I never allowed my son out of his seat while eating.  In fact, I never allowed any child in my home out of their seat while eating.  I find it revolting to see kids walking around the house eating and touching all the furniture with food on their hands and dropping food and drink everywhere.  

Surely it Isnt just me and the OP who feel this way.  

 

I have the same rule. I don’t mean you can’t get up and get a preferred drink out of the fridge, but food stays in the kitchen and the table. Period. 

I feel almost like the bigger issue is that your kids won’t listen to her and are running around. I don’t know the ages, but surely they’re old enough to know what they’re supposed to be doing.  I’m not trying to be harsh-my oldest has autism and behavioral issues-but I think you as a parent need to put an end to that and make it clear they’re to obey the babysitter and eat at the table.  She can’t force anyone to listen to her.

The deeper issue is that homeschooling sounds almost impossible with the number of kids and the amount of special needs. My DH was dead set on homeschooling. No day care, preschool, nothing. Definitely not public school ever, maybe private but none of our private schools were equipped for a child with DS’ needs. When kindergarten rolled around, I had a five year old with autism and increasing behavioral needs who needed rigid structure, a three year old needing attention and fun, and a baby with multiple special needs just home from the NICU with many therapies and appointments, plus I was working 48 hours a week(two 24s, so technically I was home). And DH was insistent we homeschool but wasn’t much help.

After six weeks, I realized I didn’t need DH’s signature to enroll in public school.  DS went off to a public school self contained classroom where they could manage behaviors and DD went to 3-year-old half day preschool at a local day care center. DH got over it when I told him it was that, or he was taking over homeschooling and needed to be home five days a week.  

Edited by Medicmom2.0
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14 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

How do you wash your hands before getting up from the table?  Don't you have to get up to go to the sink?

I washed my sons hands and face with a wash cloth before he left his seat.  Not when he was 12 of course. 😉

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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I washed my sons hands and face with a wash cloth before he left his seat.  Not when he was 12 of course. 😉

I really can’t remember how old he was before I stopped doing this for him.  Probably 4 or 5.  

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40 minutes ago, Meadowlark said:

There's at least 3 of us :-) That's a huge rule in our house too. You better be on your seat unless you ask to be excused, or have a really good reason to get up. 

I had this rule too. If a child got up, that was the end of the meal for them.

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lol, one of my kids couldn't sit still long enough to eat a full meal till she was around 6 or so - she used to run around the table, stop at me for a mouthful of food, chew, swallow, run some more. Another of mine was convinced he was a dog for a good year or so, and would only eat on a mat on the floor. Y'all would have been horrified at my lack of mealtime discipline!

(They can all sit and eat a meal at table now :))

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

I never allowed my son out of his seat while eating.  In fact, I never allowed any child in my home out of their seat while eating.  I find it revolting to see kids walking around the house eating and touching all the furniture with food on their hands and dropping food and drink everywhere.  

Surely it Isnt just me and the OP who feel this way.  

 

Absolutely! What you described sounds disgusting! 

I doubt anyone was thinking of the kids getting up from the table and running around making a mess with food on their hands, though. I was thinking the kids might get up to get something like an extra napkin or a salt shaker or a refill of their drink, and then come back and sit down again. That’s why I was one of the people who asked Caedmyn what she meant. I wasn’t picturing anything dramatic because, let’s face it, she insists that her dd clean the living room and dining room windows once every week — that certainly doesn’t sound like she’s a slob! 😉

But the way you described it? Not in my house, either! 🙂

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2 minutes ago, StellaM said:

lol, one of my kids couldn't sit still long enough to eat a full meal till she was around 6 or so - she used to run around the table, stop at me for a mouthful of food, chew, swallow, run some more. Another of mine was convinced he was a dog for a good year or so, and would only eat on a mat on the floor. Y'all would have been horrified at my lack of mealtime discipline!

(They can all sit and eat a meal at table now :))

Ds had a friend....born 12 days before him....and she had zero structure in her life.  I remember one time she told me....at my table...’we don’t eat at our table. ‘. I asked her why not...she gestured and said, ‘it’s covered in stuff’. Lol....that child....she could sit at my table and take a spoonful of yogurt and it would end up on the floor without touching her or her chair.  It was quite mysterious to me. She is a lovely well mannered adult now. 😊

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2 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

Absolutely! What you described sounds disgusting! 

I doubt anyone was thinking of the kids getting up from the table and running around making a mess with food on their hands, though. I was thinking the kids might get up to get something like an extra napkin or a salt shaker or a refill of their drink, and then come back and sit down again. That’s why I was one of the people who asked Caedmyn what she meant. I wasn’t picturing anything dramatic because, let’s face it, she insists that her dd clean the living room and dining room windows once every week — that certainly doesn’t sound like she’s a slob! 😉

But the way you described it? Not in my house, either! 🙂

You and I both have onlies...I think everything gets amplified  when you have 6. 

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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Ds had a friend....born 12 days before him....and she had zero structure in her life.  I remember one time she told me....at my table...’we don’t eat at our table. ‘. I asked her why not...she gestured and said, ‘it’s covered in stuff’. Lol....that child....she could sit at my table and take a spoonful of yogurt and it would end up on the floor without touching her or her chair.  It was quite mysterious to me. She is a lovely well mannered adult now. 😊

 

We actually had quite a lot of structure, but none of it manifested in table rules!

Kids are funny. And parents choose different things to emphasise, I guess. I was always very hands off about food/meals because of a history of eating disorders in dh's family - my goal was to completely disassociate stress from food. It probably looked mad to outsiders.

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4 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

We actually had quite a lot of structure, but none of it manifested in table rules!

Kids are funny. And parents choose different things to emphasise, I guess. I was always very hands off about food/meals because of a history of eating disorders in dh's family - my goal was to completely disassociate stress from food. It probably looked mad to outsiders.

 

I always figure that everyone is doing whatever works best for their families.

In our house, the table was always fully set, and napkins were on laps, and everyone used the proper utensils, even when ds was still in a high chair. I fed him until he was able to feed himself nicely. But he was never the kind of kid who wanted to stick his hands into the food and make a mess, so I was very fortunate! 

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4 hours ago, caedmyn said:

This seriously makes me laugh.  My household is much more likely to be described as chaotic than regimented!  You have no idea how much trouble I have providing structure and being consistent.  It is so hard.  What you are calling regimented is being done out of necessity.  I simply cannot make, say, kids doing chores, happen reliably any other way than to say, "Chores have to be done before you can eat breakfast."  It provides the motivator of them wanting to eat, and the consistency of it happening before something that we do regularly (eat breakfast).  This summer my kids ate breakfast when each of them wanted to more or less due to 2 of them having online reading tutoring at 2 different times of the morning.  Chores got done extremely sporadically.  I tried saying they couldn't go outside and play until their chores were done, and I couldn't enforce that.  I tried finding another time of day that would work to get them done, and didn't find one.  They certainly aren't going to just volunteer to do their chores (and they get paid to do these particular morning chores).  As I said on the other thread, if my DD was responsible enough to do her chores on her own, she certainly could do them at a different time of day.  But she can't, and I want these chores done, so she has to do them when I can actually make chore time happen.  (And the windows are only one of her chores because she gets a different chore for each day, and I needed one more, so I added the windows to her list when I couldn't think of anything else that really needed done on a weekly basis.)

I find it ironic that every time I've posted asking for what to do with my kids, and every time a thread on another topic turns into people telling me what they think I should do with my kids, at least one person tells me I need more STRUCTURE.  Yet here I am being told I am way too rigid and authoritarian. 

 

 

 

I don’t think trying to have structure is at all a bad thing.

but if your mother’s helper has a different way of doing things then you would need to be much more clear and totally explicit exactly what you want, exactly what you mean.   

“The children can have sandwiches.”

versus

”The children may only have sandwiches, no substitutes, no additions, and they may not prepare food for themselves.”

 

or when children are getting up from table against rules: 

”Mother’s helper, I want you to say ____ to Childname right right now.”

”Child Name disregarded you, so do ________ now.”

 

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9 hours ago, caedmyn said:

 How on earth could I guarantee that anyone I hire will actually be willing to be firm and follow through?  We did specifically ask her that and tell her that they would test her and she said she could handle it.

 

I think you need to be really clear about everything and put it in writing. It sounds to me like the whole thing is a communication failure where you have certain preconceptions and she has others and that is causing problems. That is the issue behind when to pay and not pay. And also I the issue behind some of the parenting/discipline issues. People have very different ideas of what “firm” means. My closest friend and I have polar opposite parenting styles. I respect her and know her kids are happy and thriving. She respects me and knows my kids are happy and thriving. But words like “firm” or “laid-back” or “structured” have different meanings at our houses. 

 

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We presently have a non traditional home set up, and my husband frequently works non traditional hours... mealtime etiquette is very hit and miss in my home. My children can pass for non-feral in public eating situations!

*ponders the link between haphazard meal time structure and messy kitchen/house*

As for 'how to make sure they understand what firm means' - you have to put in the training. Plan a light week where your priority is to run the mother's helper through the scenarios. Show her (and your kids) what you expect. Debrief after each shift. And pay her for her time. 

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Gosh, I'm surprised at some of the responses on here!  I hardly consider myself authoritarian, at all, but still, we do run our household with a little structure and manners.  And I think now is a perfectly fine time to talk to your nanny and see how things are going and maybe discuss new guidelines.  It's an evolving position as you learn what works for your family.  If you're paying, you get to set the tasks and the guidelines.  If she's not interested, she can quit.  It can all be done politely even.  I know many nannies who prep for dinner and follow all sorts of specific family rules.  I think since she's working somewhere else now on Fridays -- which is fine and her perogative, you can also feel free to adjust things.  It's probably evolving for the both of you.

I hired someone to come in and help with a number of things after my dh's health event.  She worked hard and was super nice, but weirdly, she constantly had really good excuses why she had to come an hour or even half a day late, or cancel entirely at the last minute.  Like, she was sick, or her car broke down, or it was snowing, or her dd had a doctor appt...  It probably happened at least half the time.  I could barely count on her at all!   I believed her excuses to be true.  But still, it was weird.  And just because she had good excuses didn't mean I should just leave it alone.  I finally had to hire someone else instead who was able to come on time and was always reliable.  For whatever reason, the first woman's life just didn't mesh with what I really needed at the time.

We still remained on great terms and I hired her again to help me pack up the house when we moved.  

I don't think this should be about whether you're too strict or not;  maybe you are, maybe you're not.  But either way, you're hiring to someone to work within your family structure.

About Christmas...  Like most part-time jobs, I would not expect to pay her for not working.  But, you should let her know about that ahead of time.  My mother had a caregiver from a professional agency when she was still living at home and needed a lot of help.  The caregiver took off on holidays (caregiver's choice) and I know my parents were never expected to pay her for when she couldn't be there.   It was only for the days she was actually there.  

If you're uncertain about what your nanny is thinking about this, you should meet now and be honest.  Let her know that you'll only be paying for days that she's there.  Of course, it's also your prerogative to give a holiday bonus for the Christmas week when she's not there.  

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I read most of the posts and probably am not saying anything that hasn't been mentioned...

If you really want to keep her, you need to let  go of your expectations. She will NOT be doing things the way you want her to. She WILL be late. She won't be firm with older kids.  It doesn't matter what you explained to her and what she promised to you. Whatever she has been doing for the last  5 wks she will continue to do.

You want a "professional day care worker" in your own home. She is a mom making some extra money for her family. I am willing to bet she doesn't see it as  big deal to be 15 min late bc it's not like you have to be somewhere or she has to punch in a time card.

So, either find someone else or let it go!!!  I say that bc I can see myself in your situation!  That's why I know I could never have a nanny or a mother's helper. It would be more stressful to have them than not.

Good luck!!!!!!

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Perhaps you would be better off with someone from a family of 4 or more, regardless of age or paid experience.  You do have to manage children differently when there are multiple children, and especially 5+ children.  I had a homeschool friend with seven, I commented on how soon she stopped things, she said, with seven, once things start to get a bit out of control, you end up with a mess if you don't stop it right away.  One kid being a bit loud or running around or getting their own food or drinks is entirely different than 5 or 7 doing it.  For example, I commented, "that didn't seem that loud," she said, it would have been a nightmare in 2 seconds, all 7 of them would have been screaming... 

If you decide to stay with her, she can go to the park with you or wherever you want to go and watch the 2 youngest there on days you want to get out of the house.  I also think if both of you want to continue the arrangement, you sit down with her and discuss things that would be worth the money to both of you as part of her regular duties.  If she agrees to dinner prep, you can start a thread about ideas for dinner prep in 30 minutes and gather ideas and recipes.  You could also discuss her going with you to the park, library, etc.  

A teen or young from a large family might surprise you and end up being a better fit, a young teen from a large family was the best babysitter I found when I needed a babysitter during a course of physical therapy, watching just 1 or 2 was a breeze for her after helping manage a large household, all the neighborhood moms loved her as a babysitter.  She also was a good babysitter for families with multiple children.  You could offer a few days or week long paid trial to assess candidates if you decide to search for someone that is a better fit.  

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When I had in home help for around 11 years, I decided what few things were really important to me and allowed the helpers to find their own ways on other issues. I learned a lot from them, particularly about understated authority.  Good luck with your decision.

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12 hours ago, J-rap said:

Gosh, I'm surprised at some of the responses on here!  I hardly consider myself authoritarian, at all, but still, we do run our household with a little structure and manners.  And I think now is a perfectly fine time to talk to your nanny and see how things are going and maybe discuss new guidelines.  It's an evolving position as you learn what works for your family.  If you're paying, you get to set the tasks and the guidelines.  If she's not interested, she can quit.  It can all be done politely even.  I know many nannies who prep for dinner and follow all sorts of specific family rules.  I think since she's working somewhere else now on Fridays -- which is fine and her perogative, you can also feel free to adjust things.  It's probably evolving for the both of you.

I hired someone to come in and help with a number of things after my dh's health event.  She worked hard and was super nice, but weirdly, she constantly had really good excuses why she had to come an hour or even half a day late, or cancel entirely at the last minute.  Like, she was sick, or her car broke down, or it was snowing, or her dd had a doctor appt...  It probably happened at least half the time.  I could barely count on her at all!   I believed her excuses to be true.  But still, it was weird.  And just because she had good excuses didn't mean I should just leave it alone.  I finally had to hire someone else instead who was able to come on time and was always reliable.  For whatever reason, the first woman's life just didn't mesh with what I really needed at the time.

We still remained on great terms and I hired her again to help me pack up the house when we moved.  

I don't think this should be about whether you're too strict or not;  maybe you are, maybe you're not.  But either way, you're hiring to someone to work within your family structure.

About Christmas...  Like most part-time jobs, I would not expect to pay her for not working.  But, you should let her know about that ahead of time.  My mother had a caregiver from a professional agency when she was still living at home and needed a lot of help.  The caregiver took off on holidays (caregiver's choice) and I know my parents were never expected to pay her for when she couldn't be there.   It was only for the days she was actually there.  

If you're uncertain about what your nanny is thinking about this, you should meet now and be honest.  Let her know that you'll only be paying for days that she's there.  Of course, it's also your prerogative to give a holiday bonus for the Christmas week when she's not there.  

This is the best summary of it all imo.  I would not let her go without sitting down with here and very kindly laying out all expectations and getting her idea of what she needs and expects too.  

Sure you can also lighten up a bit but if you pay her you do get to decide what you want.....it really is not about whether you are too strict or not.  

Edited by Scarlett
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I work a part time job.  I get no benefits but it is very very flexible.  I can trade days easily with the lady I share the job with....I do the same for her of course..but i ma on time.  That is just a mandatory thing.  I was always taught to build a reputation for always being dependable and then no one will bat an eye when something happens and you need to be late. 

I never expect to be paid for a holiday.  Occasionally our very generous boss pays us for unworked time and we are just thrilled at the bonus.  

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