As I mentioned in the last post, I've started a part-time job as a nanny. I'm spending the afternoons with a very precocious 5-year old girl, and so far I'm enjoying the job a lot. But it reminded me that its never the kids that make or break the job-- its the parents. If a kid is naughty, I can handle that; its really whether or not the parents are easy to deal with that counts.
Reflecting on my 5+ years of nanny experience, as well as much more time spent as a regular babysitter, I've noticed some general tendencies that Moms who hire nannies tend to follow. (I hardly ever deal with Dads, take that for what its worth)
MYSTERY MOM. This is a mom who doesn't work outside the home or in it. She disappears for odd hours doing God-knows-what. Her schedule is sporadic and she doesn't ask many questions about what her children have been up to in her absence. Is she conducting a steamy affair? Or is she a secret agent?
ANAL-RETENTIVE MOM. She rations her children's toilet paper and if she's gone for more than a few hours schedules babysitters back-to-back so that each can be "fresh" for her kids. Her children are scheduled to the max and must be dragged kicking and screaming to a variety of after school lessons that they hate.
DOUBLE-STANDARD MOM. When she's around the kids watch TV and eat junk food, but when you're there all that is verboten. She gives in when her kids scream, but because she's paying you, expects you to get them to eat their vegetables and practice piano. When she's around she'll also overrule any punishments you mete out to her kids. This is the worst type of Mom to work for.
MESSY MOM. This Mom is totally overwhelmed by her surroundings. Her house is a mess, she's never on time, and she talks constantly about her terrible work situation. When she asks you to stay late for the first few times you feel bad enough to do it-- you even try and tidy her wreck of a house. But after a while you inevitably realize this job is too big for one nanny to handle.
MASTER MOM. Here is a Mom who brings her professionalism home with her. When she says she'll be home at 5:30 she is. Or if she's not, she slips you a tenner and apologizes profusely. She realizes that you too have a personal life, and doesn't make excessive demands. When you're both home she lets you do your job. She's not perfect, but by respecting her au pair she'll keep her.