"Just Like a Member of the Family"
When parents introduce their nannies to friends they often say their nanny is, "Just like a member of the family." And most nannies are likely to feel the same about their part in the family dynamic.
But, in a sandwich generation family, where parents are responsible not only for their growing children but also for their elderly parents, the nannies the parents employ may feel an extra burden to also help with elder care. The extra financial and scheduling pressure on the employers/parents often affects in-home childcare providers responsibilities because the nannies are already trusted and considered a member of the family.
Many nannies and au pairs do not know how to say "No" when asked to do extra to help their employer's family. By nature nannies are loving and caring. Nannies and au pairs are eager to assist anyone in the household, especially someone who is frail. Nannies and au pairs want to be helpful, caring, and patient and do not typically refuse to assist their boss's wishes. They typically do not want to confront their employer's to insist on extra compensation for extra work.
These emotions can be complex for nannies and au pairs. Many love their charges and like being part of a family dynamic but they are an employee, not a family member. Plus, many have moved into another family's home and are a little lonely and a little homesick.
It is to the parents (nanny employers) financial advantage to shift nanny and au pair work duties to include caring for the elderly family member. This makes sense on many levels to the parents especially since nannies are already trusted caregivers that are caring, reliable, and available.
But, this arrangement can create much resentment for nannies and au pairs. Working outside of their field of expertise (childcare), working harder, and working for little (or no) extra money is not such a great deal for in-home childcare providers. Nannies and au pairs want to oblige but they must know when and how to set limits and say "No".
Nannies are typically calm and assertive when dealing with children; but learning to assert themselves when establishing workloads or boundaries with their employers is more difficult. In taking care of themselves caregivers must learn to be assertive, ask for more money when workload is increased, and be willing to say "No" when they do not wish to take on new job responsibilities. The concept of taking care of themselves includes signing a pre-employment work contract that defines job responsibilities, and that both parties adhere to the terms. Any additional work must include extra money for nannies.
Are you resentful of any added responsibilities without increased compensation at work? Or, do you have any advice for other nannies on how to assert themselves in such situations?