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08 August 2015 @ 06:47 pm
Does anyone still watch this group? I need some advice!  
**My LJ cuts didn't work! I'm so sorry! I have no idea why. I'll check back in a bit to try to fix it but I have to go make dinner for my chillinz!

Hi, guys!

I hope there's enough people still watching this that I'll get some responses because I need help! :)
I'm going to try to keep this as minimally confusing as I can, but my brain thinks in abstract patterns so it takes me longer to get to the same conclusion as other people! Haha.

Here's a bit of my professional
Before I worked where I currently do, my experience and education included having been a live-in nanny for six months to a family with four children under 10 but older than 2; a year and a half working as a substitute assistant teacher for Head Start and I worked in classrooms for children 2 and under and the 3s and 4s (some 5s, depending on the cut off); 40 hours of training in early childhood development and education; and about 8 years of babysitting experience for various kids and their families throughout my childhood. I started babysitting when I was 8..

Now, for some situational
I work for a family with two children, ages 6 and almost 4. I've been here since April 28, 2014. My son lives here with me and this allows me to be a stay-at-home-mom as well. They were nice enough to let me have him live with me because they were in a pinch.
Mom is a tattoo artist. Dad is a body piercer.
This also requires some background:

I came out here after having spoken to Dad on Facebook (he's in body piercing and modification circles I'm also part of) and then spoken with Mom on the phone a couple times. I was living temporarily at my mother's until I could find somewhere (anywhere) to live and work. After a bit of back and forth and some soul searching (for all of us, as they had to talk and decide if they were comfortable with me bringing my son) over the course of the day, they decided they would like to hire me and how fast could I be there? They live somewhere in the middle of Texas and I was living somewhere in the middle of Florida. I told them I needed to get new tires and an oil change but after I did that, I could pack up and make the drive. A couple days later, the car is ready and I pack up myself, my two year old son, and everything I could fit in my car that I couldn't live without. After a drive that took two days, we got here! Woo!

As for the job, it seemed pretty typical. Here is the contract they had for their last nanny. Please keep in mind that I've never signed a contract for them and as far as they know I've never seen this one. It's not hidden, but they've never pointed it out to me and I've never said anything about it. It was pinned up on the coatrack pin board but eventually had been buried by coupons and other nonsense. But this basically outlines what is expected of the nanny.

Also it's important to mention that in November of 2014, my car broke down for good. Not to mention it would never have passed Texas inspection, anyway. It's also important to mention that in February of this year, I took the $1,200 that I had saved up for a car down payment and Mom and I went on an adventure to find me a car. My credit is awful, as it turns out, and nobody would sell to me. So, in order to pick up their son from school, and to drive the kids and I to the park or to birthday parties or wherever necessary... I needed a car. Since nobody would sell to me, Rianne took my $1,200 and we went and SHE bought a car that SHE felt would be appropriate for me to drive her kids around. Originally I wanted something in the $3,000 to $5,000 range. I ended up with something that will cost me just over $8,000 after payments and interest. I was a little annoyed by that, but it's fine. I now have a car. And once the final payment is made, Mom will sign it over to me. We've both agreed that we don't want to screw the other; she by not giving me the car since I'd be the one actually paying for it, or me by not leaving them with another car and car payment they don't need or want.
As it turned out, they ended up needing to front me $1,200 on top of my own $1,200 because I also needed to be able to pay taxes, title fees, get my own insurance started (which cost it's own fortune but that's neither here nor there...), etc.

The final agreement was that They would no longer be giving me the cash for my pay until I caught up on the $1,200 I had to pay them back, plus also make the car payment, plus pay for my insurance, plus also save any extra towards having one backup car payment in reserve (that they keep locked in their safe) in case we get to a slow month where they are behind in paying me. That will allow me to still make one car payment. As of this writing, I've caught back up and am finally in the positive.

OKAY. Now we can get into the current
I started working this job at $200 a week pay. Initially, when I started, I worked Tuesday mornings, and then all day Wednesday - Saturday. The pay is "$50 a day", but that extra half day on Tuesday covered the extra food and utilities required by my son's existence.
A couple weeks later, Mom switched her work schedule so now I work all day Tuesday - Saturday. That extra half day would cover my participation in certain extra curricular activities, so my pay would remain at $200 a week. We discussed this before hand and that was fine.

As time passes, Mom continually nags me about saving money. I can tell when Mom scrutinizes my purchases and she has no issue with telling me how she feels about how I spend my money. For the record, I want it to be known that I DO WANT TO SAVE MONEY. But I also have a now almost 4 year old child of my own that I am trying to take care of as well and no, sometimes I don't want to accept hand-me-downs of your son's. If I want to buy my son some new socks and I don't owe you any money... I'm gonna. Gr. Haha. Anyway. Without going into a bunch of details, I can promise you that I can't reasonably be expected to save money on the pay they give me.

So I did some research. (Let me just say right now before we get into this that I do not dislike these people and I am not trying to nickle and dime them. I just feel like I'm getting walked on a bit and have experienced what I feel is a lot of job creep. They treat me a lot like a housekeeper, and by having vague phrases like "other roommate duties" in their contract makes it too easy to have me do simple crap (that seems part of the job but isn't) regularly and avoid paying me for it.)

I went on Craigslist and found 10 ads for rooms for rent similar to the one I am provided as part of my pay. They averaged out to $502 per month. So for simplicity, we'll say $500 a month is the going rate for my room, if they chose to rent it out. The local utilities work out to (these are estimates of my own) about $60 for water/sewer, $40 trash, $250 for cable/internet, and $500 for electricity (it's a big house and the a/c is always running because it's too stinkin' hot in Texas). I'd say that if I were renting from them and paying a share of all that, mine would amount to about $220 a month. My son and I consume about $400 a month in groceries (I don't even think it's that much).
For simplicity, again, we'll go with a four week month here. I get paid $200 a week in cash, so $800 a month.
So this all amounts to $1,920 a month, technically, in what they pay me. Because room and board is included in my pay.

Every day, I get the kids up at 10am every day. Both of their kids and usually mine as well, are already awake by then. Their oldest was waking up at 7:30am for the longest after having gotten used to waking at 6:30am every day for school and I just think it sucks to leave the kids stuck in their rooms in the mornings because my day with them doesn't start until 10 but Mom and Dad are asleep in their room.
Anyway, My day starts with the kids at 10am and then they go to bed at 8pm every night. They have a nap time that's scheduled for 1pm to 4pm every day. I think that's a bit long, too. My day doesn't actually end until their parents get home, but again, for simplicity, we'll say my day ends at 8pm. (mom and dad don't get home til around 8:30pm or later) $1,920 a month in pay, divided by four weeks = $480. $480 divided by 50 hours = $9.60 an hour. That's over minimum wage, so that's good, but when you also count in all the nights when they get home after 8pm (every night) plus the nights when they tell me before they get off work that they're going out and they stay out late, plus all the times they ask me if I'm okay with staying home and watching the kids (on my days off) at nap time so they can get some grocery shopping done... it's still technically less. But we're working with the $9.60 an hour, here.
Let's also throw in here that they didn't tell me that they were vegan until after I had already gotten here. I wasn't and am still not vegan, so believe me when I say that figuring out what to feed their kids is not at all an easy task. (Everything in the house is vegan but I can never tell how to make things or put them together to form an entire meal, haha. And this is after a year and a half... haha.)

I put together a list of my main responsibilities, currently.
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. (all vegan!)
- Let dogs out of crates in the morning.
- Childrens' laundry once a week. (This is actually an almost daily activity if I'm honest, because both of their kids are still not nighttime potty trained.)
- Cleaning up the kids' bedrooms and play areas at the end of the day.
- Cleaning the upstairs bathroom that I share with all three kids. (and guests) (and until recently that included cleaning the kitty litter box but I'm not doing that anymore after the beast bit my mom unprovoked (and I'm a cat LOVER, I don't say this lightly))
- Letting the dogs in and out throughout the day.
- Cleaning up after the dogs when they mess in the house. (Plus actually washing off Mario in the sink once or twice a day)
- Feeding and watering the dogs almost daily. (oh yeah, I forgot to mention there are six small dogs and a cat. All four of the chihuahuas still pee and poop in the house. All the time.) (also I say "almost daily" because Mom has told me that feeding and watering the dogs isn't part of the job, just to let them in and out while they're at work. But I went a week once without feeding them just to see what happened and by the end of that week they were all so hungry. I could count the ribs on the smallest chihuahua. :( So I just started feeding them anyway. But they're not my dogs and it's not my JOB. Bleh.)
- Keep common areas picked up. (living room, kitchen...)
- Take kids to parks, school, or other similar outings as arranged.

There are also a few other things that Mom seems to expect of me that aren't on the usual Nanny agenda, in my opinion. She is always asking me to wash blankets and pillows and things that the dogs pee on, or just wash blankets and pillows that haven't been washed in a while in general. I've done her laundry. I've cleaned HER bathroom, the one in her room that isn't shared with me or the kids. (Okay not entirely true, her kids bathe in her bathtub) I wash the dishes twice a day. I do the dishes in the evening after the kids are put to bed, and then I do dishes first thing in the morning because Dad cooks for Mom, plus me and any guests they have over. I do the dishes after all the adults as well because I would hate for the person who did the cooking for all of us to have to turn around and be the one who washes all the dishes, too. So I do it because Mom and the guests do not. On their days off, they do not wash the kids' bedding when it gets peed on at night. IF they notice, they just put it aside for me to wash. She's asked me to clean off their back patio, before. Lots of extra things I don't believe fall under what a Nanny's responsibilities should be. At least, not for what they are paying me with the amount of hours I'm working.

BASICALLY, I need other nannies to chime in and either validate the way I'm feeling or tell me I'm full of it and need to just shut up.

I am going to ask for a raise, but I feel like it's pretty big and might shock them. I don't want to offend them, but after doing some research into what nannies are normally paid (I'm paid under the table so I don't expect it to be AS MUCH) and what I could be earning with my education and experience, I feel like they wildly underpay me while having me do all sorts of extras.
In their old contract, they mentioned raising the nanny's pay to $250 "eventually." I'm asking for $300 a week.

It will pay me enough to cover the $350 a month car payment, the $190 a month car insurance (ugh, don't ask), AND actually provide me enough to save money (and/or pay off the car sooner, which is MY main goal here). BUT, it would also allow me to have a little bit of extra spending money as well, because they keep telling me to go out and do shit and make friends, but I never have enough money to do that. I usually have about $30 a week to play with and I spend that on my son and myself on the weekends, because we also tend to go out with the Family because they do kid friendly stuff that I want my kid to be able to participate in.

My birthday is tomorrow, so I don't want to bring it up just yet. But I didn't ask them for anything, plus I gave them no warning ahead of time because I don't want them to get me anything... so I don't feel bad when I bring up the contract. I know I will feel bad. I just don't want anything else to add to things and make me feel even more bad.

I really feel like I deserve a $300 a week salary. That works out to still less than $10.60 an hour (I would start getting the kids up at 9am, because I think 10 is way too late.) for the hours and the amount of work put in. And that is me agreeing to just feed and water the dogs on the days that I work. But I'm also adding in a late charge for when they decide to stay out late. Their varying work hours (she might be caught up in the middle of a tattoo at 8pm, which is when they close up shop for the night) and tendency to also go out late with their friends would make it difficult for me to go out at night even if I had the money to spend. I'm going to start asking for a gas allowance because they haven't ever given me any gas money. I'll still have to clean up after all the stinkin' dogs because they just can't seem to stop pissing everywhere. Plus, they don't want to watch my son for me, so I can't go out on my days off because I can't afford a babysitter.
Some of these aren't directly their fault, because I could probably put $1 away whenever and eventually have saved enough for a babysitter for an evening. They can't force the dogs to suddenly stop messing all over the house.

I've kinda lost my focus because I went off on too many tangents. hahah

I tried really hard to sort of keep everything organized...

Anyway. What would any of you ask for, salary wise, if you were in my position? Am I out of my mind asking for $300 a week?

**I'm totally gonna start posting here about my nanny adventures. They may be short lived if my contract proposal isn't taken very highly, haha.
Shelbyprincess_sweets on August 9th, 2015 02:58 am (UTC)
Hey I live in Texas too!! I have my fair share of nanny experience and would love to talk with you about it, but would rather do it in private - Ill send you a message :)
Anne Nihilateannenihilate on August 9th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
Please! And thank you!
susieqpottersusieqpotter on August 12th, 2015 12:50 am (UTC)
Ridiculous. They should not be making any kind of comments about what you do with your money, etc. You are an employee and they are an employer. This sounds very unhealthy; I would get out.