Hi everyone. It’s Laura from Nanny Parent Connection back with a truly fun video!
Recently, I teamed up with Michelle Kelsey who is the founder of The Nanny Solution, an amazing nanny agency based out of Canada, to discuss an unusual but important topic.
In this week’s video, I run awkward nanny scenarios by Michelle for her reaction and advice on how to handle. These are REAL scenarios that my team and I have run into over the last couple of years. Michelle has some great advice coming from her 20 years of experience in the industry.
So excited to create this collaboration video with Michelle! 🤗
Sit back, relax, and I hope you learn something from this video…and laugh with us as well!
I’d love to hear any comments about how I can improve these videos as well as your ideas on topics you’d like to see me cover in the future. Just comment below!
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A transcript of the video can be found below:
Hi everyone, Laura from Nanny Parent Connection here.
In today’s video, I have a special guest!
I will be speaking with Michelle Kelsey from The Nanny Solution, and today, we are going to talk about awkward nanny scenarios and how to handle them.
Come join me as I sit down with Michelle for a video call:
Hi everyone! Laura from Nanny Parent Connection here.
I’m with a very special guest today, this is Michelle Kelsey. Founder of the The Nanny Solution.
Laura: Thank you for joining us!
Michelle: Thanks for having me!
Laura: Of course, I am so excited about this. This is one video I’ve been waiting to do, and it just so happens I decided that this would be a fun time to do it with a guest. So, this is Awkward Nanny Solutions and how to handle them. Now, the fun part in all of this everyone is that Michelle has no idea what these awkward scenarios are, she’s slightly terrified!
Michelle: I’m very terrified right now!
Laura: But the reason I chose to do it this way is that, I really just want to get her honest reaction. So, I’m going to leave the best one for last, so make sure you don’t tune out from the video early, because you’ll get the best one there at the very end.
Michelle: Okay, I’m ready!
Laura: So, the first scenario is that dad needed to move the nanny’s car, and the nanny said uh you can’t because I have to blow into the ignition. She had gotten a DUI at some point at, some point recently, so I don’t know if this happened like before or after a background check would have been run but the nanny was working, she got a DUI she obviously didn’t disclose, and now the family knows because the father can’t move her car without blowing into the ignition first!
Laura: So how would you handle this?
Michelle: Oh my goodness! Okay, so, um are these little scenarios where you place the nanny?
Laura: No, these are just scenarios.
Michelle: Aw, these are just scenarios, okay okay. In this case, I would guess they didn’t do a background check, that would be my first guess. So that first thing always is you always have to do a background check. I think in one of my videos I talk about a friend who hired a nanny, had her driving for her children and same thing they had a DUI, or didn’t didn’t have a driver’s license. And so, the car was towed and her she had to go pick up her children from the side of the road, so it does happen and this was a friend of mine who didn’t do it. So, the first thing always is do a background check, and then the second thing is you know I guess you have to decide if you want someone in your household. At our agency, we do not allow nannies who have DUIs or anything on their driving record, their driving record has to be clean, and our belief is that it shows families their responsibility.
Now, if they had a speeding ticket 10 years ago, we do understand things happen, not saying no one speeds, but it does go to their moral compass, their ability to follow rules, they’re just how they perform in life, and so we don’t accept that. So, the family has to decide is that okay with them, because for some families if they don’t drive with the children in the car, maybe they’re okay with that. At our agency it’s not okay so um yeah, they have to decide for themselves, but my guess is they didn’t do a criminal record. All right sorry, they didn’t do any kind of background check.
Laura: Yeah, well and my thought too is if the nanny was being already employed maybe she didn’t pass that background check. But if this DUI happened when employed with the family, she should have said, “I need to talk to you, this happened, how do we proceed from here!”. Because, at least that would how me that they’re accountable for it, yes they made a bad decision like that would need to happen if there was any chance, but again, if I were needing my kids to be driven, I don’t know, that would be tough.
Michelle: My guess is, most nannies who get a DUI are never gonna do that, that’s gonna be my guess.
Laura: Yeah, I agree with you.
Michelle: It’s a tough one as the parent, but if it was me, I would let them go. Because it shows a lack of good decision making.
Laura: Yeah, that makes sense, I agree. Alright, next one.
Laura: This family has a Ring camera as many families do, and they notice their nanny leaving a little early from some household assisting duties, and the household assisting duties were not done. So, not only were they cutting out a little earlier than they said they were, but the job wasn’t getting done, so how would you handle that as a parent?
Michelle: Right, so, I think the first thing I always say is communication is key, and in this case that’s the same thing. I don’t think they have to disclose that they have their well, first of all, most people do, we do suggest that families disclose if they have cameras in the home. So they could disclose that they see the nanny leaving, but the other thing would just be to sit down and say here are the tasks that we had for you, they’ve not been done. Just communicating that, and then potentially communicating that we have the Ring camera, and we can see you leaving and you’re not supposed to leave till 5pm, but we said you’re leaving at 4:15pm whatever it is. Now me personally, if an employee is getting all their work done, it doesn’t matter to me that they leave 15 minutes certainly. I’ll pay them till 5pm if they get all their tasks done. The issue here really is that they’re getting the tasks done. So communication, sitting down with them, communicating maybe find out if it’s, I mean if they’re leaving early it’s probably not too many task, but maybe is it too many tasks in a day, is there something else that’s going on, why they’re not getting done with them.
Laura: Absolutely. This next one piggybacks on the the job duties a little bit, this person said their nanny contract states light house-work is part of the job duties and responsibilities, and this family’s expectation was that loading the dishwasher was part of that. She’s asked her nanny several times about it, but the nanny will not load the dishwasher. So, how would you handle? My first thought was that needed to be a duty listed explicitly, but here we are with this potentially not listed explicitly on the contract, how would you handle this?
Michelle: Right, so I agree with you. The first thing I would say is light housekeeping is not task-oriented, so everyone feels that light housekeeping is different things, some people might feel it’s vacuuming, another nanny might think that’s insane that’s not light housekeeping. So, I would say each task needs to be listed. Emptying the dishwasher, I think at this point, it is a challenging scenario, because if the nanny doesn’t want to do that task and never had any intention of doing that task, then it’s too late for the mother to add that task. Because, it wasn’t clear in the beginning. I know light house keeping is considered different, but unloading the dishwasher does fall into light housekeeping, I would say. It’s nothing deep, but it ultimately it’s up to the parent to have a conversation with the nanny. The nanny is not willing to do the task whether it’s light housekeeping or tidying up the child’s bedroom, then maybe it’s not the right nanny for you.
Laura: Yeah right. This one’s interesting, um and I think the nanny market plays into this a little bit. Okay, so this family said when we started with our nanny, we were very clear that we would only pay on the books. After a year, she is insistent on moving to all cash and wants to avoid paying taxes. I’ve told her we will pay cash but we will pay our taxes and withhold hers and she is free to do what she wants. However, she says, that won’t work. I feel this is a shakedown, but in this market I’m well aware that she can walk down the street and get a job. Is the only route to pay both of our taxes, so there’s no liability?
Michelle: I don’t know the liability part, that’s not really how it works, and can’t. Again, I’m in Canada.
Laura: Yep and I’m in the United States!
Michelle: So in Canada, when you withhold the nanny’s taxes, it goes straight to the government. So the nanny is paying their taxes, and the parent has to pay their taxes, and it goes straight to the government every month. So there’s no way to withhold to attempt to save money on taxes. I mean, we always say you have to pay on the books, I don’t think again in any saying they want cash and they don’t want to pay tax, do you really want a nanny who’s, if your value is to pay your tax and it kind of goes against your beliefs one. And two, it could get the family in trouble, but I mean at least in Canada back taxes, penalties, all of those kinds of things so that could happen. It is a type labor market, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk, I want that you know could they give her a slight raise. Are they willing like to keep her? If they give her a slightly raise, that would be better, and so then maybe she’d be more comfortable with that. Yeah it is a shakedown, but you’re asking to change the contract, it is a shakedown and it’s it’s not very ethical. You know they’re very different things, but a DUI and ask them to be paid in cash as a nanny, these are ethical decisions, and it shows a lack of ethics.
Laura: Yeah, well that’s a great answer. This next one is about nanny shares. A nanny share breakup to be exact! So, in this scenario, there was a share and the other family had a second baby recently, the mom was on maternity leave, but the first family was also due with their second baby, and they’ve agreed at this point that four kids is way too much for a nanny share, so they have decided to go their separate ways. However, they are now fighting over the nanny. Both families want to keep the nanny, you know Family “A” says, we’ve been the host family for two years, and and um we believe that I’m going into labor any minute, and it’s unreasonable for us to find another nanny at this point. Well meanwhile, the second mom is on maternity leave, and then there’s all the you know, what if we have to scramble, what if the new nanny would fit. So, what do you recommend, and how would you approach?
Michelle: Okay! So, I don’t know if you do as an agency, we do not help with any shares. We have found that there are so many scenarios that happen during nanny shares that are just so hard to predict, this is one of them, I’ve actually never heard this scenario before. I think bottom line it comes down to the nanny, does it not? The nanny has a choice of mess about which family she prefers to work for, or he, I think he said she, but which family they prefer to work for. So, ultimately it’s up to the nanny, and what they’re offering. Really, we haven’t happened all the time between families, we have multiple families who want one nanny and that one nanny, then there’s a bit of a bidding war so to speak. And whoever the family is offers the most with the best job description that the nanny likes, that’s where the nanny goes. So, I think in this case it’s that. Ultimately it’s not up to the parents, it’s up to the nanny.
Laura: I will also share the nanny she had the family had mentioned the nanny was like “love you guys for all, I would be happy in either scenario”. So the nanny wasn’t very much switching sides on this. So, I will share with you what happened. They went back to the contract, which I recommended doing, and the contract actually stated whoever made first contact with the nanny, that the first family who met the nanny, who interviewed the nanny, who reached out, it turned out that the first family actually have the rights.
Michelle: I like that in the contract, that’s very smart. It’s a good add, so yeah, we don’t deal with nanny shares. I know there is a lot of them but, I’ve seen so many. I get people, we get people emailing us asking us for opinions and so many different nanny scenarios for many shares that have gone wrong.
Laura: And as a result, some nannies just know that they don’t want to work with two sets of parents.
Michelle: Yeah, a lot of nannies who say they want to work with both with many shares, because ultimately they make no money. So, if nannies are experienced in it, then it can work quite well.
Laura: Alright, I’ve saved the best for last. This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard, and it really happened to a family that I worked with, and we just both were scratching our heads. We couldn’t find, we got a rational explanation for this. The family was at the park, actually with their recently, well they did not hire her, but they were doing a trial with a nanny. So, the mother had the infant, and the nanny was in charge of the toddler, and they were all at the park together, and uh the family had brought a picnic lunch for the toddler. And, I’m not sure where the nanny’s meal fell into it if she was just doing running for a few hours, so what happened was, mom was kind of away with the baby and the toddler was kind of playing, and nanny was at the picnic table, well the nanny picks up the toddler’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich and takes a bite out of it, and puts it back. And the mom sees all this, and the nanny doesn’t know the mom has seen all this, and the mom asked the nanny about that later and they’re completely denied it.
Michelle: Oh my gosh! I’ve never heard, especially on a trial, I would say especially in a trial that is supposed to be your, just any job, doesn’t matter nanny or any job you’re applying for when you’re on your first day first-week trial you’re supposed to be on your best behavior, that’s supposed to be the best you will ever be in. That is a little bit out there, I mean I hope she didn’t hire the nanny, I guess that’s the first thing. And then, lying one really bad, two eating the toddler’s food, and again we don’t know the whole scenario. How long the nanny was there for if she was supposed it was going to be over lunch, all sorts of things. I will tell you we have had several scenarios where nannies have contacted us to complain that they were at a family’s house for eight nine ten hours, when they were only supposed to be there for four. They were starving, they took a banana, the family wasn’t happy. There’s been other scenarios like that I’ve seen over the years, and so maybe the nanny was like “I don’t know, I was gonna be out at the park without my lunch, I’m starving, I’ll just take a bite”. Still, maybe didn’t happen before COVID, I mean even in these times these happen.
Laura: It happened in March of 2020.
Michelle: Ok, so yeah, like we’ve all learned this is not appropriate behavior anymore and that’s an old one. But I have heard the other side where clients have complained, called us to complain that the nanny ate a banana, or ate something out of their fridge when they weren’t invited to, which is not acceptable. But at the same time the nanny is like, I was supposed to be there for four hours, they kept me for nine, I was starving I didn’t bring any food because I thought I’d be home by 1pm, so it can work that way. And then the other thing we do say to families is, although providing meals is not a requirement of hiring a nanny, it is industry standard for the nanny to be able to go into your fridge and make yourself something or themselves something to eat, but it’s pretty industry standard. So, if you’re not offering making it clear to the nanny to bring their lunch is important.
Laura: Yeah goes back to communication which is so important.
Michelle: Yeah, communication all your expectations are, and people think it’s really simple things like a meal, and families will say to us well of course the nanny is going to bring their meal. I wouldn’t expect anything else and we’re like, “No, families they worked for before you provided their meals”. So, I think it’s just a lack of understanding of what to communicate, and just be the guest that it’s really clear.
Laura: Well, and I think too it’s important to point out that if families are working with a nanny for the first time they don’t really know, meanwhile you know they’ve worked with families, and they have a sense of how it works better than the family does.
Michelle: And we do tell nannies that too. We tell nannies to you know you may have to be the one who educates the family on this one, make suggestions, ask for sit downs, so you can have communications once a week. Sometimes the nanny has to leave that, unfortunately!
Laura: Okay, yep we couldn’t figure out a logical reason that she would do that, and then then you know not be forthcoming, but yeah there’s some good context there, there’s obviously more going on that we aren’t aware of. So, yeah, no that’s great, thank you so much. I love your answers.
Michelle: And thanks for having me, they weren’t too terrifying, I mean they’re they’re shocking but I’ve seen a lot.
Laura: Yeah, I think that there are many iterations of these specific six scenarios that you know press paths with before. They’re not unique to you know these happen as I want to read and write that, you know this I know this, families may not know this, but these types of things happen. So, if you’re ever in a similar scenario now you have some context.
Laura: Yes, I just I thank you so much for your time, this was really fun and maybe I’ll start collecting more awkward scenarios, and we’ll do this again.
Michelle: Yeah, thanks for having me, and another one we could do is nanny scenarios. Things that nannies have done the other way.
Laura: Absolutely, I did a video blog recently where we discussed like things your nanny’s thinking but doesn’t say out loud. There are some good ones, it’s like just if you go on some of the nanny forums, it’s like “that really happened!”
Michelle: Yeah I know, exactly! So, those are fun too.
Laura: Perfect! Well thanks again for your time. Enjoy your day okay!
Michelle: Thanks to you too!
Laura: Okay, take care, bye!
Alright everyone, that’s it for today.
I hope you found this video helpful, and maybe a little entertaining as well.
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Before you go, check out this video on the thoughts that nannies have but never say out loud!