Tales from the Crib

Tales from the Crib

Housework and Extra Responsibilities

Chores- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Assuming that your nanny is one of the good ones- she’ll always want to help out and do a little extra. Great nannies always say yes with a smile. Just be careful that you don’t take your nanny’s awesome attitude for granted. It’s easy for this to happen and to tack on more and more responsibility over time, but remember that she is not your slave, your maid, or your assistant. Your nanny is there for the sole job of taking care of your children and making sure that they are safe in your absence.

Generally nannies will do some light housekeeping and cooking, though this is primarily just the duties related to caring for the children throughout the day. For example, it is completely reasonable to have nannies cook meals for the kids when they are with them, as long as you come up with basic meal prep ideas and guidelines for them. Cleaning up the meals, and snacks is also totally fine, as well cleaning up toys and play areas. Light amounts of laundry, like folding kids clothes and putting them away is fine too.

If you expect your nanny to do anything more than what’s mentioned above or more than what would be done just by caring for the kids during the day, than you need to make sure that those responsibilities are made clear and that you are compensating your nanny appropriately. Doing all of the dishes and laundry for the entire family, extensive amounts of meal prep, and running errands for the household are all things that should be considered extra duties beyond the caregiver responsibilities. Make sure that you clearly communicate these duties during the hiring process and that they will be compensated accordingly.

Story time.

When I was hired for my job, I was told that some light cleaning like dishes and folding his laundry would be done during naps and I was totally fine with that. Little did I know that what she actually was asking of me was to hand-wash all of the dishes that both her and her son used and to fold all of their laundry. Not only does she not use her dishwasher (that works fine), but she would save the dishes used over the weekend for me to do on Monday. While I of course respect that people have different ways of doing things, and even okay with using different soaps for his dishes vs. hers, but the volume she was asking me to do was unreasonable. Of course I expect to hand-wash baby bottles and sippy cups, but I was spending an hour a day washing all of the dishes they use every day, which for her was 3x the amount of the average adult (which is an entire story of it’s own). My hands get raw from all of the soap and water without gloves, even though it’s non-toxic soap, and you can forget ever having a manicure! What I thought was my break time, which is when I was supposed to eat by myself rather than when the kid ate, actually was my Cinderella hour.

If you want extra housekeeping to be done, make sure that you are clear on what that actually entails from the start. If I had known that was part of the job, I wouldn’t have any resentment about the ridiculous dishwashing methods and the absurd amount of laundry for both of them that I would be folding every day.