Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Does Personal Cell Phone Use and Texting Become Too Much on the Job?

27 Nanny Industry Experts Say Limit Personal Cell Phone Use and Texting at Work

Earlier this week we asked nannies and au pairs if they text or gossip on Facebook when they are working? We also challenged nannies and au pairs to put their cell phones down just for a day, or maybe a week, even an entire month! Then, we asked nannies if they would accept a job if the parents asked them not to make personal calls or texts during the day.

Today, we ask 27 nanny placement agency owners and staff, as well as other nanny and au pair industry experts, if nannies should be allowed to text and use their cell phones while working? Here are their responses (in no particular order).

1. Pat Casico, Owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston, TX says, "Speaking as an agency owner that hears from parents, texting and talking on the phone are common reasons that nannies lose their jobs. I think it would be wise to ask your employer about how they would feel if you spent your down time texting, communicating on Facebook, or chatting on the phone with a friend or family member. I would suggest that you describe what you mean by downtime and assure your employer that your outside communications will never take precedence over your job responsibilities or the opportunity to interact with your charge. Being open about this issue is so much better than having your charge or other people “tattle” on you!"

2. Susan Joy Feigon, of Feigon Hamiton Partnership in San Rafael, CA adds, "We feel as in any job, texting while working is not appropriate. You have been hired to take care of your charges and they should be your only focus. Though a parent/employer might say it is fine with them if you text, it is better to maintain professionalism and make your social plans before or after work. You are being paid to do a job, honor that."

3. Becky Kavanagh, a Nanny, Placement Counselor at Nannies of the Heartland , and Co-President of the International Nanny Association shares, "I have always felt that personal calls or texts should be limited to emergencies or made while the children napping which was my time to take a break. Today's easy access to Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet right from you phone or netbook makes it really challenging not to get caught up with connecting all the time. I have seen nannies and parents plugged in to the "world" while missing the wonder and excitement with the children in their care. I wouldn't want to exchange a minute of fun, adventure, and imagination with children for any reason. My advice -- use your common sense and think before you pick up your smart phone."

4. Beth Weise, Owner of A Caring Nanny in Scottsdale, AZ asks, "Can you imagine a grocery bagger texting on the job?" She continues, "We suggest to our nannies that they take important calls while working and only stay on the phone for 15-30 seconds. They can let the caller know that they can call back at a more appropriate time, like during a nap or break time, and then hang up. They should let friends and family know their schedule so they only get emergency calls while at work."

5. Judy Shapiro Flynn, Owner of The Original Nanny Service in Worcester, MA answers, "No I don't feel they should be texting but unless it has to do with the position such as a play date. Habitual texting should not be allowed at all. Text before and after work."

6. Laura Maggied, of The Help Company in New York, NY, with offices also in Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA believes that, "Nannies should not be allowed to text or use their phones during the work day unless they are in communication with the parents, or the child is asleep and all other duties are done. Excessive personal phone use is not acceptable in any job. We encourage our nannies to openly discuss this issue with their employers so everyone is on the same page, and expectations are made clear."

7. Edina Stone, CEO and Founder of Au Pair ClearingHouse an au pair agency review and rating web site says, "No" to cell phone use for au pairs on the job. She explains, "Forbidding au pairs and nannies to use their cell phones during work is a tricky subject. It is hard to imagine going one full day without one's phone. However, because au pairs are young and usually inexperienced, I feel that they should not use their cell phones to text and call friends during their work day. They have to remain on alert, particularly if they are caring for young children. Texts and phone calls are very distracting and childcare providers need to focus on the job at hand. Once it is allowed, the cell phone behavior can easily take over an au pair's attention and this can have serious consequences for the children. So, my vote is: NO cell phone usage during an au pair's work day."

8. Chandra Hall of A Nanny Solution, serving the San Francisco Bay Area says, "Even though we are the experts at placing nannies in the homes, we're not the experts in saying what they can and cannot do. We've decided to let the parents make that decision. We've included a place on our family application where we ask parent's "What's your policy of cell phone use while working?"

Ms. Hall continues, "We're finding that parents are okay with texting and use of cell phone at appropriate times. We're also finding that the technology is allowing parents to feel closer to their children during the day. Many nannies are providing pictures, videos and texts throughout the day letting the parents know what's 'growing' during the day."

9. More Than A Nanny LLC located in New York, NY recommends, "Nannies need to remember that they have a unique job, unlike any corporate job, a professional nanny is responsible for the safety, happiness, and wellness of young lives. Nowadays, cell phones are mini computers, allowing you to text, check emails, surf the web, manage social networking, and talk. They are very distracting which is why Oprah Winfrey started the 'no phone zone' pledge. I believe the same attitude should be applied when working as a nanny. Phone use should be limited to emergencies and down times when child(ren) are in a class or napping, etc. We all know that one text, leads to another, which leads to another and its really a vicious cycle that takes the focus away from the children. Its no wonder more and more families are asking the nanny to turn off their phones or leave them home altogether!"

10. Alicia Torchia, President of Careful Caregivers in Skillman, NJ explains, "Families should discuss this subject of cell phone usage with their employee so that there is never a misunderstanding of rules they wish followed in their home. A professional nanny will naturally conduct herself to the highest standards and will always put her responsibilities and duties with the family first before personal time on a cell phone."

11. April Berube of The Wellington Agency of Boston, New York, Palm Beach, Miami, Los Angeles, and London says, "As a mother, and an employer I would say, 'Yes.' I want to be able to reach my nanny at all times. But, I don't want her chit-chatting with friends but I trust her to use her good judgement. I prefer texting over phone conversation. As for my oldest who babysits during the evening, I want to make sure she is okay and if there should be a problem I want her to reach out to me. As for my agency, I would give the same advice to families hiring and hires. During work hours the phone should always be on. But use your common sense and good judgement. All personal phone calls should be before or after work."

12. Mary Boyle of Northshore Professional Nanny Agency says, "I am an agency owner, a nanny, and a mother, so I have a broad viewpoint of this situation. I know parents who communicate with their nannies via mobile phone and texting; obviously this is fine as long as the nanny isn't doing it while she's driving."

She continues, "Unfortunately, the prevalence and convenience of mobile phones has run rampant over basic rules of etiquette. In every other working environment, it is not acceptable to be on a phone for non-business related purposes during working hours and I don't feel it should be any different for nannies. I think that it is inconsiderate and rude -- whether it's at work or at a restaurant with friends or in a movie theater - and it sets a poor example to the children in their care."

13. Lorna Spencer, Owner of A Choice Nanny in Columbia, MD adds, "I believe that a nanny should be able to use their cell phones on a limited basis. I get many comments from parents that say the nanny talks to her friends all day on her call phone. This is very unprofessional if the nanny wants to be treated as a professional. The nanny is not giving her full attention the children if she is busy talking to her friends. A nanny can look to see who is calling and call her friends after working hours. The parents should be able to contact or text the nanny during the day, so tuning off the cell is not an option. The bottom line is act like a professional if you want to be treated like a professional!"

14. Linda Roffe and Carolyn Kavanaugh, of Northwest Nannies, Inc. located in Lake Oswego, OR share, "Many families use texting and phoning as the primary methods of conversing with their nannies during the day. Therefore, we feel it would be counterproductive to completely ban nannies from using their cell phones during work hours. However, when on duty, the nanny should limit their phone use for work purposes only. The ultimate decision on whether a cell phone should be on or off during the work day is, of course, up to the employer."

15. Jennie Krogulski, Owner of Hilton Head Nannies in SC explains, "I believe nannies need to spend their time on duty professionally and to the benefit of the families who employ them. Phone time should be limited so that nannies can be engaged with their charges."

She continues, "No one can say, 'Nannies cannot talk on the phone,' as that would be impractical. However, nannies should not use work time to "chat" on the phone or text incessantly. Nannies must use self-discipline in this area because we live in a society where we always have phones to our ears. I do believe nannies should feel free to talk, text, or use their smart phones when their charges are down for a nap and they have some 'down-time' themselves."

16. Katie Vaughan, Owner of Beverly Hills-based Westside Nannies, in Beverly Hills, CA believes that "Nannies are professionals and as such we hold them to a professional standard. This means that when a nanny is working we do not expect them to be using their cell phone for personal use. And yes, this means texting too! So unless it’s communicating with your employer, setting up a play date for the children, or ordering nursery supplies – stay OFF the cell."

17. Hilary Lockhart, CEO and Founder of A+ Nannies Inc., in Arizona says, "I do not mind when families place restrictions on cell phone usage since this is still a job; and a career to some. Most professional careers do not allow you to be obsessing over the phone. Every time you look at your phone, I feel that your mind is somewhere else, thinking about someone trying to contact you. When at work, your mind should be at work."

Ms. Lockhart recommends, "If you know it is just a friend, then let it go to voice mail. I do not feel that there is ever any reason to be on Facebook while at work. There is nothing that is posted on facebook, that is a need to know purpose."

18. Marsha Haplerin Epstein, President of American Nanny Company in Newton, MA states, "Cell phones and texting should be work related only; communication with parents or calls related to nanny or household management responsibilities. Many parents in our area text back and forth with nannies or even provide them with cell phones so they can be in touch."

19. Mary Schwartz, Director of PR at Sittercity Incorporated states, "Sittercity believes that the focus of a nanny or babysitter should be on the child while working, so texting or talking on her cell phone would be considered a distraction and avoided. However in some instances, using a phone is acceptable. For instance if a nanny/babysitter uses her phone as part of her job such as searching for information that will allow her to do her job (directions to an appointment), or communicating with the children's parents. It's always good to have a cell phone handy in case an emergency arises."

20. Candi Wingate, President of Nannies4Hire.com adds, "Most families will allow nannies to text if texting does not interfere with childcare and other job responsibilities. Other families text their nannies often throughout the day. Texting can be the best way for working parents to keep up with what is going on in the daily lives of their children. Allowing your nanny to get involved in texting can pose special problems because your children may then view inappropriate explicit texts. Each family should discuss the rules on texting with their nanny during their interviews and again at the time of hire. Then, if the nanny is found to have violated the rule, the parents can refer back to their original agreement with the nanny, remind and re-train the nanny on the boundaries and expectations, or take any progressive discipline necessary given the severity of the circumstance."

21. Rachel Doak Lawrence, former Owner of Wilimington Nanny Agency and current International Nanny Association Exam Chair and Research Chair says, "I believe that nannies, like all employees, should only use their phone for work related purposes, and for emergencies during work hours."

22. Tiffaney Smith Nanny and Parent Consultant and Owner of YourSuperNanny suggests, "By setting different ring tones for different phone numbers on your cell phone you can tell if it's your boss or some one else calling. Don't answer if it's not work related or an emergency. I ask friends and family not to call me between the hours of 12pm and 6pm and if they need me for an emergency to call once, then again right after. I ask the parents to write a section in their agreement just for cell phone usage. I would say it is not  okay to text, talk, be online, check emails, look at pictures, or any thing that isn't for the good of the child."

23. Erin Krex, President of First Class Care, Inc., of Chicago, IL shares, "We tell nannies they should not use cell phones at all during work. We suggest to families that they should provide nannies with a work only cell phone so the family can be in contact without interruptions from other callers."

24. Susan Tokayer, Owner of Family Helpers in Dobbs Ferry, NY and Co-President of the International Nanny Association replies, "It is very important that a policy be established between employee and employer. The nanny should never text or speak on the cell phone when she is driving, or involved with the children at that moment. The employer should understand that the text may not be responded to for up to 45 minutes and should be okay with that."

Ms. Tokayer continues, "Also, most employers don't mind if the nanny is on her cell phone or texts while the children are napping or are in school. Again, rules should be established and the nanny should always use her good judgement."

25. Lesa Day Author of "The 'Yes I Can' Child," Speaker, and ACPI Certified Parents and Family Coach explains, "In everything there are extremes that could determine whether something is good or bad. In this case it would determine whether a nanny/manny is doing their job effectively based on how much they are using their cell phone and not caring for their charges or performing other responsibilities. My experience is most parents are requesting that I email, text, or call them when I have questions or concerns. In this day and age when everybody is using cell phones to do just about everything from asking questions of their boss to making grocery lists I believe it's a necessary tool to have and use for all professionals."
26. Claudia Kahn, Owner of The Help Company in California (with offices in New York) shares, "I think back to all the days that we were able to handle our children and our nannies without a cell phone or text. Most nannies and moms use the phone instead of playing or speaking to their children. We think that just being in their presence is enough, but no...don't go to a mommy and me, and spend the time answering your phone. I was even observing a group where the mom picked up the phone (and it was a wrong number) in the middle of a song they were singing. What kind of message does that give your child? I think that the phone or texts could be used a few times a day, but it is not an appendage -- it should be left in the purse and checked at 9am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm. We are giving children the wrong message that just a ring of the phone is more important then interacting with them. Call me old-fashioned -- I will thank you."

27. Rebecca Stewart, Founder and President of VIP Nannies Inc., located in Studio City, CA has two thoughts to share with nannies. Her first thought is, " Absolutely NOT!! I just spoke with a mom yesterday, who's nanny (using the nanny car) backed into another car. Later, the six-year-old charge told the mom she backed into the car because she was checking her phone messages. The family is making the nanny deal with the situation (insurance, other driver, etc.)."

Ms. Stewart's second thought is, "It's a catch 22 because sometimes parents want to know where the nannies are going, what they are doing, what their children are doing and they do this via text (sometimes a phone call). If this is the parents desire, I suggest a "nanny cell phone." A cell phone specifically for on-the-job calls and texts only, to be left at the house, when the nanny goes home."

44 comments:

AuPairDebbie said...

I see too many people using cell phones constantly while attending to children. What could possibly be so urgent? Where are the days of voice mail and returnng calls? Cell phones are overwhelming our personal lives. We are talking more to cell phones than we do to one another face to face!

Tobago Nanny said...

OMG Becky K and Claudia I LOVE your ideas! Really puts it in perspective! Yes cell phones are necessary today but not at the expense of why we are nannies in the first place -- the magical, wonderful kids!!! :)

Lisa said...

What you only got 26? :) --- Thank you Stephanie. (Actually I wonder others may chime in once they hear about it. Or, hope.) I see it a this way, treat as an appliance you might use. Something that makes the job way more easier, or obviously safer. But gee what appliance or gadget do you really use all the time?

I have left my cell phones in rooms at times, only to have charges chase me down because it's ringing and it can be important. I have taught them to look and see who is calling because unless it says their parents names, don't worry about it. Chances are I'm not.

It also distracts them when I do get a call or text. Just as it does when their teachers do at school. The time should be out them.

Jenny said...

As a parent that pays my nanny $21 an hour, gives benefits, pays overtime and other perks this is the type of behavior I want limited. I have fired another nanny for constantly talking to friends on the house phone and texting on her phone. This is what defines professionalism. This is the stuff that makes my nanny worth more than a babysitter.

DONNA said...

Clearly these are people not working as nannies and in a cushy office! They need to get off their pedastals and try to work our hours without other adults. We are the hardest workers with the lowest pay. Everyone uses cell phones. Get real.

Michelle said...

I don't see how any employee could argue with these points of view.

Imani O said...

We should be sure to patronize these businesses. They want us to be professional, let's reward them with our business.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

Different families have different feelings about cell phone use, and their nannies should discuss the issue with them to determine a policy.

That said, in an isolating profession, using a cell to text a nanny friend and arrange a playdate or outing for that same day isn't going to cause the children harm. Our electronics allow us to connect in ways we wouldn't have dreamed possible even a decade ago, and IN MODERATION, that's a good thing.

Plus, if your employer is OK with getting texts/cell pics FROM you at their job, think how much more connected they feel to the daily lives of the children they've entrusted to us!

Obviously, a nanny who ignores the needs of her charges so she can text and talk throughout the day is not behaving in an acceptable way. But just because you see a nanny on her cell, don't assume she's chatting pointlessly.

Eva said...

I think all of the people quoted would find your response and thinking fine Tales of NannyHood. If you read through their responses and yours you basically all want the same things.

We all were great nannies before cell phones and made friends and stay connected.

I have only had two "emergency" calls from family in nearly 30 yrs of nannying. 1. Grandfather died, 2. My mom in car accident.

Only time I had to call an employer with an emergency was when a daughter fell and cut her lip and I felt we needed to go to the ER.

I like the advice of having certain ring tones on your phone. Your spouse, mom, family or employers call you will know to answer the phone. Otherwise you can certainly allow it to go into voicemail.

Eva said...

Oh, and I totally agree with the ladies who were quoted that it should be discussed in the work agreement before you start a job! This way it won't be an issuse. I might not like it if parents said they want to restrict personal calls and text but I probably would take a good job anyway. I work for money and love kids so my phone is not my deciding factor.

Anonymous said...

Like most nannies I don't get lunch breaks, I dont even get to go to the bathroom by myself so now your going to take away my cell phone?

I personally think at the park unless they fall asleep in the stroller than phones should be put away unless talking to parents or an emergency. If I make a personal call its a nap times and I'm paying a quick bill or making a personal call to my husband or friend.

I do think parents hold their nannies up to a different standard then they have for themselves. I think if the nanny is neglecting the child that is different but if she is facing the child while they play nicely with other children its acceptable and healthy. also depends on age of child.

I hate when I see nannies or mothers have their backs to the children gossiping or chatting and don't even know if their child is still on the playground.

Deal with real issues of neglect. The nannies here on this blog are probably the best of the best and don't need to be spoken to condescendingly.

Sara said...

I just think this would be a bad way to start off with your nanny. She's not going to be OK with restrictions. If you want to have a nanny that likes you then restrictions and micromanaging isn't the way to do it.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for someone who worked for the Defense Dept. And work for people at the Pentagon. There are places where cell phones are an absolute restriction... so no my bosses would not really pity people who can't always have access to phones constantly.

I have also worked in other lines of work as a manager, or even taught community theater with teens. I hate dealing with telling people to hang up, you at work or at rehearsal.

It would be a bad thing to start off some jobs with some employers if you can't get cell phone usage in control. Our jobs are paying attention to other people's children.

Fiona Littleton said...

I'm amazed that any employee could think it's ok to use their cell phones. The parents know I have to make certain business hour calls while working for them. I call to make dr appts during the work day, or if I have a billing issue and that sort of thing. I text and call a friend or two while waiting in the car to pick kids up from activities. I would expect any and every boss to want their nanny to keep off the phone, computer and texting too much. Absurd to think any boss would think otherwise.

hard working nanny said...

It just feels hypocritical for parents to always expect more from us nannies then they do for themselves. Haven't you noticed that? We can't watch TV, play video games or eat McDonalds when I'm working but they always do it when I'm not working on the weekends.

hard working nanny said...

My point being they are texting ignoring their kids all the time even at the pool or playground which common sence tells anyone not to do.

Liz said...

I think the level of care and involvement from the nanny is directly proportional to the pay. You've got to start respecting people from the bottom and work your way up. Workers that feel taken advantage of go on work strikes. If you make $8 an hour and know the nanny working next door makes $22 you resent your boss, and resentful nannies take their frustration out on the kids. Haven't you heard of passive aggressive work strikes? Start hating your job and stop trying hard. Pay well, thank well, support well and your nanny will want to play with your kid and not complain to their friends what a bad boss you are.

Anonymous said...

when is this after work hours peole keep referring to waht about when you are a live in and you are working from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed? I agree that you should never be glued to your phone but the occassional call or text or web visit can sometimes be the lil break we need in the day. Sometimes it's the only adult contact we have all day.

Steph 6 said...

Not only do nannies and au pairs and parents on the phone too much they also talk too much not watching the kids in public.

I agree with comments about parents being hypocritical buy the agency owners are right. It's not professional to put your social time or personal errands ahead of your employers.

You are being paid. This isn't your family. This is their life, not yours.

Cindy said...

I find this amazing. With all of this attention to the workers bill of rights, then we go back ten steps to where a nanny cannot have any breaks throughout the day to conduct any kind of personal business. In no other profession would this be acceptable. My employers even leave a home computer for me to use each day. I pay bills, work on my blog and even post on facebook. Being a nanny is a very isolated job with very long hours, typically longer than our employers, who by the way, get breaks during their workday. It makes me angry that agencies would ask such a thing of their nannies and I would never work for a family that would ask that of me. Give me credit that I can manage my time to conduct any personal business while my charges are napping, at school, on a playdate, etc and without neglecting my responsibilities to my employer family. If I could never make a doctors appt, call my bank, check in on a sick family member, well, that would seem like an abusive work arrangement to me. I am thankful that over the years I have had employers who accept that I have a life outside of work and see that as a benefit to their family rather than something they are in competition with. Too bad that there are still families who seeks a subservient nanny who does not have the same rights as an employee in any other job.

The big issue to me is that I have worked 10-12 hrs a day in most of my nanny jobs, and frequently worked 24/7 for up to a week in many jobs as my employers traveled for work. To make a blanket statement that a nanny could NEVER use her cell phone or use the computer to me is abusive by that employer. Nannies rarely work a 40 hr week and generally never get a break during her work day, but can hopefully find windows during the day to get those few personal things done. In return, I rarely have declined a request from an employer to work a couple extra hours or put in a week of 24/7 duty. And my employers have greatly appreciated that of me. Balancing life and work can be tricky, but it can be done with the respect of both employer and nanny!!

Diane said...

I'm so confused now after Cindy's post. I agree with your points Cindy but at the same time MOST nannies and au pairs need to curb their texting.

I don't think you are the type of nanny the agency owners are talking to.

Didn't some say to discuss it with your employer? I don't think I could work at a job that wouldn't let me call to make an appointment I need to make. If they won't let me answer a call from my mother I wouldn't work for that family.

I think they are referring to live-outs who are texting while the kids are at the pool or crying. I don't they mean you. I think you are probably professional and that's what they want you to be.

Maria Lopez Miami said...

My first thought is obviously we shouldn't be doing personal stuff at work. We do have to be professional and do our job first, our personal lives second when we are working.

But Cindy you have me thinking. I see your point now. The agencies and (INA and APNA) don't support the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights because they think parents won't be able to afford us. They don't support us having breaks and making personal calls and text because they think of the parents. They forget the extremely long day, work no one wants to do (diapers, laundry)and forget we are the poorest of all workers. I really see they forget we are the poorest with some of the hardest work. So it's not surprising that MOST not all are thinking only of the parents.

Anonymous said...

Maria Lopez Miami ~ Have you READ this workers rights bill? If not, you really need to sit down a read it word fir word. Even some of the top advocates of the Workers Rights bill admit that this will do away with most nanny jobs. Families will not be able to afford to pay you, someone to come and give nanny a break... Families will end up transitioning into daycare and all if the nannies will be working in said daycare fir $8 an hour with two teachers to handle 12 screaming 2 year olds. Do the math - how many nannies does that scenario leave without a job? TEN OUT OF 12.

Nannies are already protected under current laws. You get your hourly rate for the first 40 hrs. Anything over 40 hours must be paid as overtime (150%). This is a free country and you have a right to negotiate your own wages/rates, contract terms etc. so that you are paid aporopriately. If you don't do that, then that's really your own fault!!

As far as the long hours- it goes with the profession. I've done 60-70 hr workweeks as a nanny for weeks. If you don't like the hours, get a different job with a lighter schedule. Change careers if you need to because if you can't handle what you said you'd do you aren't nanny material.

One last thing to my fellow nannies out there - stop whining about what's expected of you as a professional, your hours, etc. I've been in this business long enough that I know what it takes to be a good nanny. This workers rights bill is nothing but rubbish that will ruin the nanny industry.

Oh, regarding the agencies above, support them. I will be. If the expect professionalism from the nannies, then I would bet that they are professional with their clients & nannies. These types of agencies look out for us and make sure we are taking a job that is a good fit for us. If you read their messages, they all pretty much mean that emergency calls that have to be made during the day of you work long hours during the week are okay as long as your charge is safe. Who they are talking too are the nannies who sit off on the sofa and talk to their friends without interacting with the kids.

As far as parents holding us to a higher standard. Of course they should. They are paying us TO DO A JOB! Be thankful you have one and stop whining. If they have down time with their family. It's their family.

The entitlement mentality of some of my felliw nannies just exasperbhats me!j

Janice StClair said...

Like most other things, cell phone use is a question of balance. If the nanny uses it responsibly, there's no issue. If she uses it excessively, or the timing is impacting on her care of the kids, expect the parents to step in with rules that lose her even reasonable use of the phone.

All good points were made in the various comments above. I'd just add that it's in each person's best interest to look honestly at her phone use (timing, duration, and frequency) and make any changes that would make her a better caregiver while allowing her to meet priority needs for scheduling and for sanity-saving connections.

And please also to consider that the kids are learning from their connection with you and from your attention and "presence" with them. And that all the martial arts, meditative disciplines, and mental health therapies recognize that our well-being involves periods of being only in the moment. Caring for kids is a fulfilling time to indulge in the here-and-now, letting all other concerns wait.

Michelle said...

1. I'm surprised by any comments that are too extreme. No on should be completely against cell phones and texting by nannies. No one can't say that many nannies use phones and text way too much on the job. It's a gray area, with no black and white answer. Everyone uses phones these days and nannnies should have and use them. The problem is so many abuse that right. You clearly aren't one of those nannies Cindy. I think the au pairs Edina Stone refers to need clauses in their clauses about texting though.

2. I completely disagree with ANONYMOUS comment who wrote to Maria Lopez about Domestic Workers Rights. If you have read comments on this blog and others you and we all know that nannies are amoung the poorest and most taken advantage workers in the country and the world.

I'm not quoting but taking ideas I've developed from reading comments on this blog and other blogs when I say, EVERY nanny deserves better pay. Any low paid nanny hurts all of us all! Each poorly paid nanny brings the average pay down for all of us.

When workers are mistreated labor laws are created to protect us. We are the poorest of the poor so the labor rights are very much needed.

Anonymous, you are barking up the wrong tree on this blog. Most of the readers are the very domestic workers these types of bills and laws will help. I've really only read two nannies really against it over the past few months.

We are the domestic workers who actually work the dirty jobs parents would rather not do and paid less than minimum wage to do it.

This newsletter said that your type of dire predictions of doom and gloom are ridiculous. The bill was passed into law in NY and nothing tragic has happened to the nanny industry.

Sadly, though, as you say, even if the bill is made into law most nannies won't even be able to benefit from it because most nannies aren't paying taxes. Illegal aliens and those who do not pay taxes WILL NEVER sue a parent for fear of deportation and because it's illegal to not pay taxes.

Nannies can't afford to pay for lawyers like parents can anyway. I find your argument a waste of time and energy on this blog where 70% support the bill.

The bill is essentially passed anyway so, back on the topic of cell phones... moderation is key for any worker in any profession!

Michelle said...

I guess I just hate the patronizing tone of anonymous's comment to Maria Lopez. "You already get..." Talking down to us condescendingly. Try walking in our shoes. We work paycheck to paycheck most nannies and housekeepers I know don't even have personal cell phones and computers to sue. The tone is so rude!

Michelle said...

I meant they don't even have personal computers to use.

lovebeingananny said...

LOL Michelle if you read closer I think Anonymous says s/he has worked as a nanny. But I agree s/he is ignoring the fact that if any worker is helped by the bill becoming law it helps us all.

Reyna H said...

Good grief people. It shouldn't be that hard to stay off your phone at work! No way, no how are you going to get my sympathy. Obviously I make SOME personal calls. IF YOU ARE BEING PAID STAY OFF THE PHONE AND STOP TEXTING!

Cindy this isn't an issue of labor rights rather an issue of being "present" alert and attentive to your job!

Another issue are all the nannies running personal errands on their employer's dime. I don't mean post office or bank, I mean dragging kids along to your physical therapy or nail salon! Give me a break!

I go to the grocery store, doctor appoinments, hair cuts, get a manicure on my own time! I chat with my parents and go out with friends on the weekends!

Cindy I don't consider this the same issue as labor rights in the bill.

Reyna H said...

And let's not forget all the nannies that are complaining about their jobs in those phone calls and text about their jobs and the parents paying them. How horrible is that for a parent to have their nanny complaining about them in their own house while they pay them. Find support on your own time, don't vent in your employer's home in front of their children. You absolutely should be fired if they over hear or read a text or email about them! Not only an invasion of their privacy but disrespectful.

They pay me, I shut up and work. Don't love it all the time, but that's work.

Farrah said...

OK you convinced me. I turned off facebook and twitter and email from my blackberry and only accepted texts and calls today. I have to say I really had a lot of fun with the toddler! I can't beleive it but not hearing all the rings and tones was easier. I really have no reason to have email and twitter and facebook until after work. I could see how nannies that email with their bosses might need it.

lovebeingananny said...

Cindy, I really don't think you need to worry. What nannies like you and me and the agency owners are warning about are the nannies that are on their smartphones on Facebook, Twitter, texting and emails all day long.

Count how many times a few nannies comment on blogs and groups on facebook during the work day. Some ladies comment over 30 times a day on various blogs, boards, FB pages, it's insane!

First of all, none of us are reading all they write. They are compelete idiots because if their boss sees that there's no way they will think it's okay.

Cindy, your call to a friend or making appointments are totally acceptable. I don't think the agencies or parents expect us to not have friends or lives. No boss can say you can't call your doctor for a few minutes, that's insane. But the problem is the HUGE MAJORITY of au pairs and nannies not realizing they are neglecting these kids while they write stuff on FB all day long from their phones and text all day long. It really does get out of hand. These ladies ruin our image and are not good workers, no matter how smart they think they might be.

Au Pair Brigitte said...

I just think some of the nannies have to have a little humility. Not here so much, but on some other places where this article was linked, nannies were insulted at the thought that employers would ask to LIMIT thier personal calls and texting.

I thought that was commonplace in all work places now. It's not insulting, it's professionalism.

I resent Edina Stone's comment that young ladies need to be monitored. I am a young au pair that is a great worker.

Julie, mother said...

I am a parent. What the nannies are forgetting is that when I am with my kids talking on my cell phone I am not at work.

When nannies are making calls and texting with my kids they are being paid and working.

Julie, mother said...

Also, the domesitc workers bill of rights won't force me to send my kids to daycare but a nanny not attending to my child and chatting on her cell phone or texting all day will.

At least I would know at daycare the employees aren't texting all day since they have a boss watching them.

The nature of privacy in the nanny job probably makes it easier for nannies to abuse this personal socializing while working.

Amanda said...

As long as the calls are brief or ideally done during naps and down times why not? Obviously not at the playground or pool or driving or crossing the street. But seriously, if you are nit picking about phones and texts, raise your kids yourself.

Natasha - Au Pair Plus said...

A big problem with this is that people judge without knowing, if you see a nanny/au pair on their mobile phone while with kids it isn't fair to assume that he/she is "chatting" to a friend as it may be something completely relevant to the children (school, childrens appointment, parents atc.).
Living with my host family as an au pair plus working 47hours per week, the line between business and personal is not crystal clear. how can it be when you are supposed to be part of the family?

I communicate constantly with the parents throughout the day, be it to organise playdates, grocery shopping, when someone will be home or even just a general question.. Either phoning or texting. I have also used the internet while looking after them to look up NHS information, which in relevant cases, why would any parent not want their carer to be informed?

As for personal use, moderation is the key, as with everything. Clearly constant texting/chatting on a mobile is unacceptable if it lowers your quality of work. But should a nanny/au pair be judged so harshly for a quick call at the park while the children are well supervised and playing contentedly?

The people who think that it shouldn't be permitted at all, in that same business/personal line, would it be so unacceptable to chat face to face with a nanny friend while still supervising our charges?

I understand that there are cases where the nanny/au pair is excessively using a mobile phone. However many people are still too quick to judge a group as an entirety based on a minority.

Anonymous said...

As a mom i think everything should be in moderation. I like the point of the other mother that when nannies compare what they do with the kids to what I do with the kids (texting or taking personal calls) I am not working and the nanny is.

Becca, Seattle said...

I agree that moderation is key. We need our cell phones on. But not at the expense of the safety or fun with kids.

Anonymous said...

I am not comfortable with the nanny having so much autonomy. Although I think she's basically a responsible person, I feel it is within my rights to ask the nanny to stay home certain days, be at home because at a certain time, not to have playdates with other nannies I don't approve of.
I would appreciate hearing about any of your experiences with nannies. Is it common for nannies to be out and about constantly with the children without informing the parents where they are going? Is it really ok for them to take personal calls during work hours?

Candi said...

Texting has become a hot-button issue lately. Should you allow your nanny to text while working? If so, do you limit the time or the occasions in which she can text? Do you allow her to text while driving? What should a family do?

Most families will allow nannies to text if texting does not interfere with childcare and other job responsibilities. For example, if the children are taking their naps and all the peripheral job tasks (laundry and light housekeeping) are done, then the nanny may text her friends and family.

Other families text their nannies often throughout the day. Texting can be the best way for working parents to keep up with what is going on in the daily lives of their children.

Most families do not allow nannies to text while driving. Some states have laws that forbid texting while driving. Texting while driving impairs the driver’s ability to drive well. Attentiveness to driving drops considerably. Studies have shown that people who text while driving have lower response times than people who drive drunk.

Allowing your nanny to get involved in texting can pose special problems because your children may then view inappropriate explicit texts. Although your children are not the sender or receiver of the text message, your children may come into contact with the text due to the fact that the cellular telephone on which the text message was... http://tinyurl.com/25bfltp

Anonymous said...

I provide staffing for an open gym for preschoolers. I just saw a nanny enter the gym with her charge - the nanny was on the phone with her friend discussing something she has to prepare for at the end of 2012 - and she was still on the phone when she left 1.5 hours later.

As a concerned friend (and a mom who once fired a manny because my kids complained that he spent more time on the phone and computer than interacting with them -- and observers had begun to comment on it as well) I asked the nanny if the child's parents would be comfortable with knowing how much time she spends on the phone (this was not the first occurence). The nanny became incensed and said "First of all, I'm comfortable with how much time I spend on the phone . . .) I cut her off and reminded her that I was just asking her a question and just suggested that she think about it. I didn't need a response. Very curious that she became so defensive . . .

BobaWAY said...

I think all of the people quoted would find your response and thinking fine Tales of NannyHood. If you read through their responses and yours you basically all want the same things. We all were great nannies before cell phones and made friends and stay connected. I have only had two "emergency" calls from family in nearly 30 yrs of nannying. 1. Grandfather died, 2. My mom in car accident. Only time I had to call an employer with an emergency was when a daughter fell and cut her lip and I felt we needed to go to the ER. I like the advice of having certain ring tones on your phone. Your spouse, mom, family or employers call you will know to answer the phone. Otherwise you can certainly allow it to go into voicemail.

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