So here I am, back from Britmums Live with a massive zest for blogging and so many ideas for posts and I find that the first opportunity I have to sit at my computer and blog, is to have a rant about Nannies.
Well, not about Nannies as such but nannies that want 15 mins of fame (or not even that due to anonymity) or a quick £50. Nannies that jumped at the chance to tell a journalist about their unprofessional behaviour.
Well, well done. Here’s a round of applause. I only wish I could tell you to consider yourself fired.
The Daily Fail has commissioned a piece about what nannies get up to behind their bosses backs. I’m not going to link to it as I refuse to support that tabloid. I’m not having a go at the journalists as they are doing their job but I wonder what their childcare suppliers will think of the article.
The story is of nannies getting drunk on their bosses alcohol, feeding children junk food when their parents prefer a healthy diet (as the children were ‘far too thin’) and being so engrossed in the tv that they failed to notice the children ripping apart a bean bag.
It goes on and on – one particular story being how the parents preferred their children to eat Carob instead of chocolate. The nanny, annoyed at being treated like a slave, regularly gave the carob to the children before clocking off on a Friday afternoon, knowing full well that the children would have a common reaction to it (it can have a laxative effect) each and every time. Oh how funny. That’s getting back at the parents isn’t it. Well actually, it isn’t. It’s abusing the children (have you ever known anything with a laxative effect to not cause a stomach cramp?) in a calculated way.
I am disgusted with this article. As a Nanny, I spent years training to be the best I could be. I gained experience in as many different settings and age groups as possible. I learnt from mistakes and I worked damn hard to forge good relationships with my employers.
Yes, we have all had interviews with families that rang alarm bells but you assert yourself and ask questions to find out if they are a family you want to work with. You simply turn down the positions where you will just be ‘staff’. Most of us have accepted the job from hell that we thought was perfect but again, you find another job and you leave. If you deem yourself to be a professional then you should be treated as one. I know it’s not always that simple but if you put up with being treated that way, you are doing yourself and other nannies no favours.
Above all though, no matter what, you do not get back at your employers by ignoring your responsibilities. I mean, come on! You took your 3yr old charge shopping everyday and let her play on the changing room floor whilst telling the parent you were at play dates? Brilliant. I’m sure the child got a lot out of that. Don’t get me wrong, one thing that is hard to balance as a nanny, is playing with and educating the children and giving them a realistic childhood that involves getting used to the mundane and boring chores of life such as shopping and amusing themselves whilst jobs are done, however, shopping everyday is unfair and not what you are being paid to do. We’ve all had those last minute invitations to a night out and needed something quickly but once in a blue moon is different.
I do think that some of the responsibility lies with the parents though. How do you not know that your 3 year old is shopping everyday? My son would tell me in a heartbeat and if not, the questions I would ask about his day would quickly reveal the truth.
I’d like to know if these Nannies were in fact career nannies or people that looked after the kids for a bit of money whilst they decided what to do for a living, whether they were qualified or not and whether in fact they were au pairs who come to the UK to learn English and need no qualifications or experience with children to land a job that pays such a small salary with huge responsibility.
I’m not bashing au pairs here, I have met some amazing ones but I also know that most are here to learn and have fun and will not be making a career from childcare and are treated like slaves.
I can only say that you get what you pay for.
Finally though, thank you. Thank you for knocking the profession down a few rungs. Well done for creating more suspicion and distrust for all the nannies out there who take their jobs seriously and strive to be seen as professionals. You may have received £50 for telling your story but the effect will no doubt knock more than £50 off your salary.