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Mommy Dearest: Nanny Neglecting Household Responsibilities

Mommy Dearest,

I am a full-time working mother who has had a nanny for the past two years. She's great with the kids – singing and reading with them, making playdates with other nannies, etc. Over the past month though, She has started neglecting some of her non-childcare duties like cleaning bottles, doing the kids' laundry and picking up after them at the end of each day. I want her primary focus to be on the children, but coming home to a clean home is important to me too. After a full day in the office, the last thing I want to do is tidy up. What would you do in this situation?

– Neatnik Mommy

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Neatnik Mommy,

It sounds like your nanny is taking her job of tending to the children seriously. As far as her neglecting household duties, was that in the contract and job description that the two of you agreed on? If so, then sit down and address the issues. If not, she may not know that housekeeping chores were expected of her and may want compensation for doing tasks like laundry and the like. The best way to handle this situation is to talk to her.

—Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

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phatE phatE 8 years
in response to the question, is it worth it? is it on-going, and really making things hard for you? is it something you had expected and clarified with her from the start? if she is obviously neglecting something, then you just say hey, i noticed these things haven't been getting done, and ask her if they've been busy, or if she had noticed? if you act weird, it will make things weird, and it's not really easy to find good, trusting, attentive people to watch your kids. i also think you should look at what you're paying her, you get what you pay for.
carlychaos carlychaos 8 years
ps. maybe your nanny is depressed or stressed out? If i've been having a hard time with the kids and im getting stressed then i act differently as well. Maybe you should think about letting your nanny have a vacation. Even a couple days off could clear her head and get her back on track.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Lola, well said!
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
so this woman is raising your kids, cleaning your house and socializing on yout behalf? lady, you have bigger issues than laundry.
litbear221 litbear221 8 years
I've been a nanny for the past few years, and while it was never actually part of the job, i would occasionally clean up after the children. It also really depends on how old the kids are, and maybe the fact that they started a "new phase" where you have to constantly keep an eye on them so they don't draw on the walls or swallow their toys. Children also pick up new habits. And it also totally depends on the season, I mean it's summer, so I'm assuming the nanny isn't spending as much time in the house as she normally would, so since she isn't just sitting around playing with the children things can become overlooked. I think some of the posters on here are incredibly out of line with what their saying, there is no reason to be rude. A LOT of people work, that's why there are nanny's in the first place. A maid is a maid and a nanny is a nanny, they are two different jobs. Yes a nanny can occasionally be a housekeeper. If "Neatnik Mommy" really requires a clean house when she comes home from work she needs to talk to her nanny, or maybe even hirer a housekeeper.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
Time to have a talk with her and if you've not outlined her duties (well, you should've done it a long time ago), do it and let her know what's expected, type, print it out, let her have a copy. Maybe she's not so happy because you're not paying her enough (no raise after 2 years), or maybe your children have been more active and playful to the point that they wouldn't leave her alone to do her light housekeeping duty so she had to make a choice and she chose to not ignore your kids. As a sahm, I sometimes have to postpone doing laundry/dishes/vacuuming, picking up the mess because my son wants to do this and that. Since your nanny only has a certain time stretch, she might have to 'miss' the housekeeping duties due to your kids.
lola102 lola102 8 years
Hi I have been a full time nanny for the past 7 years and while I definitely understand the need/desire to come home to a clean house, it is incredibly frustrating for nannies who are trying to do the best job they can to also be expected to do the work of a housekeeper. They are two very separate jobs. As a nanny I make an effort to put any dishes we use in the dishwasher and to put away toys when we are finished, but the priority is ALWAYS keeping the kids safe, fed, and entertained. Many times, especially with multiple kids who are running around, I will choose taking them to the park or playing with them over doing the dishes in the sink, because, A. it is better for the children and B. god forbid something would happen to the children while my back was turned while I was cleaning. While calling a hard working mother a spoiled brat is terrible, I definitely think that moms need to appreciate their nannies for what they should be doing - keeping their children safe and happy. I recommend getting a part time maid, or increasing your nanny's pay on the condition that she take a half hour to an hour of her day dedicated to cleaning, with the understanding that she may need to put the kids in front of the tv or not be 100% present with them at that time. If that is a compromise a parent if willing to make to have a clean house.
Akpril Akpril 8 years
Amen, #14!
sassy_chick sassy_chick 8 years
Here we are again at the sahm/working mothers debate. Neither side is ever going to win out as the "best" way to raise your child. Why don't we stop the arguing about it? Waste of time. I agree that it seems like it was part of the agreement from the beginning, but it obviously needs to be reviewed. Just sit down and check in!
Niami Niami 8 years
nannies are not maids. It would be like hiring a maid and then expecting her/him to also watch your child.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I agree with lil'sugar when she asked was housekeeping a part of the agreement you two had? There is a chance the nanny was doing some stuff to be helpful and now sees its too expected from her. The only reason I say this is at my job (receptionist/assistant) in the beginning I would come around and pick up any stray cups people forgot at their desks before I ran the dishwasher. After a while they just stop putting them in the kitchen because they figured "you always come around to pick them up" which then became picking up lunch leftovers, coffee spills on the floor...etc until I had to gently remind them my job was not to clean up after them. Sometimes ppl take a bit of kindness too far and your "occasional help" soon becomes "new required work". Just sit down with her (no kids around to distract) and discuss the agreement you two have together. If the agreement is vague (like "take care of kids and home") maybe the two of you can spell it out better so everyone is on the same page.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
Jeez, you're not a spoiled brat. I am a SAHM, but I also work part time from home, and I manage to take care of my daughter, clean, and do errands and all of the little things required to keep a household running smoothly. So if you're paying someone to take care of your kids, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to do some light cleaning and keep things tidy as well. However, I think the answer to your question is pretty simple. Tell her that you've noticed things have been messier and that you need the house to be cleaner when you get home. You're her boss, after all.
cheersdarlin916 cheersdarlin916 8 years
I was a nanny for many years and my job was basicaly to be an at home mom. If you were to stay home with your kids and have one parent work outside the house then you would be the one who cleans, does laundry and take care of the kids so the same should be expected of your nanny. If she was doing it and is now neglecting it then you should talk to her about it. Be an employer. Have a review with her if needed.
starbucks2 starbucks2 8 years
Whoa you guys, why so mean? Obviously they agreed on light housekeeping, since the nanny just recently started neglecting those chores. I agree that the obvious would be to talk to her.
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
She is nanny not a maid. She is there to take care of your children not clean your house, unless this was in the job description. But somehow i don't think it's the nannies job to do laundry.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
You're paying for someone to watch your kids for you already -- which is a tough job. If you were at home all day with children, I'm sure some tasks would go unnoticed as well. If this was not in the job description, then you can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't have someone who is basically mommy part 2 and a housekeeper on top of it. If "light" housekeeping was in the job description, you may want to go into detail about what that means. You can't expect her to clean bottles while running after kids, but you can expect that she leave the dirty ones in the sink or in the dishwasher. Cleaning up after meals is also acceptable, but if you're asking her to vacuum all floors -- then you may need to re-think your plans. Would it kill you to put your kids clothes in the laundry yourself while you're on the phone with your super-important client? Maybe you should also consider teaching your children how to clean up their own messes instead of having an adult do it (which they should know, anyway...and if you haven't already). If you lined out everything in the job description, then cut her some slack. She can't do everything, and some tasks are very easily doable yourself. Pick your battles, and have a talk with the woman about what you expect. If it wasn't in the description, you can ask politely to do something if she has time -- but if she does not, it is not your place to be angry.
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