If you have been following me on Instagram for a while, you might have heard me talk about my previous job as an executive household manager. I had so many questions about what I did and what that meant and I meant to write this post when I was actually working there, but due to privacy concerns and my crippling mental health in that position I never got around to it.
Now I have been working at a new position for about 2 and a half months and my mental health has done a complete 180 and I am more ready to talk about my last job!
I was hired in April 2019 to be a live in nanny, replacing an au pair in June. They couldn’t go with another au pair because they needed someone who legally could do more than childcare. An au pair has a company that they work out of and therefore they have a reporting service, and contractual guarantees for no more than a certain amount of hours a week and no work outside of childcare. This family I was with needed someone who could do more so they hired me. I should have seen the warning signs about what they wanted but I was too eager to have a job and no rent.
I went into this really excited, because I love kids, I love homemaking, and I also needed a place to live rent free while having a job. It was the best of all worlds from the beginning but within a few months I was a mess.
My responsibilities changed quickly from being what I agreed to while hired, to what I actually did.
Laundry for kids weekly, laundry for parents on occasion
Tidy main floor daily
Guide kids to clean their room
Help with homework
Prepare meals for the family
Grocery Shop for the family during the week
Coordinate with housekeeper biweekly
Get kids to activities
Only working a few hours in the morning and then 2:30-6:00 PM
What I ended up doing
Cleaning house every other day fully
Taking dog to vet weekly because she was sick frequently (diarrhea daily everywhere)
Cleaning the kids rooms
Fighting with the kids about the TV and iPads
All consequences and rules for kids
Grocery shopping for 7 days a week when I was only there 5
All car maintenance
Overseeing construction of master bedroom renovation
Packing for kids and parent’s frequent travel
Working 6:30AM -8 PM most days
It might not seem like a big change, but the dynamic change was huge. I was told I would be a part of a team, a family, and it quickly was obvious I Was the poor, uneducated help that the kids and parents could talk poorly about and to my face without repercussion. The parents gave up all attempts to parent or help with the kids, and I did everything. Kids were on the TV too much? I was the one fighting with them so I didn’t get in trouble with the parents. The kids never listened, they didn’t think they had to, and when they did something bad I got in trouble for them because I “couldn’t control them” but when i asked the parents to back up a decision I made like taking the iPad away, they would just give the kids their phones and ipads anyway. It was MISERABLE in that sense, as well as I became home bound with the construction and sick dog (spoiler alert the kids just over fed her). When I expressed my concerns, asked for the parents to help more with homework in the evenings to lessen the fights and my stress, they said they didn’t want to help with that so no. I continued to express my unhappiness and it continued to get worse until it all blew up and I ended up leaving a few months early. I wasn’t allowed to say good bye to the kids, they just came home from school one day and I was gone. I am still upset and feel so guilty about it, but that was the parents decision to not let me say bye, not mine.
By now you might be like, ok so what do most house managers do? What about au pairs? What even is the difference between you and a nanny? Honestly, who even knows haha! Just kidding I did some research on the differences and wanted to share my findings.
“Common house manager duties include grocery shopping, laundry, running errands, cleaning, making appointments, coordinating travel, handling household billing, maintaining cars, buying gifts on their employers’ behalf, and more. A house manager may also be expected to cook for the family on occasion, or all of the time. She might also communicate with the employers’ work assistants to coordinate.Depending on the scope of the household, a house manager may need to oversee or manage other employees, such as nannies and gardeners. Some families may hire one person to act as a nanny and also as a house manager. If the family travels, the house manager might be expected to go along.”– Source
Anyway, I wanted to walk through a typical day with this job! My situation was unique, most people who do what I do get paid a salary, have private quarters, and it is a different dynamic.
Day in the Life: Executive House Manager
Monday 6:30 AM – Wake up and get ready
7:00 AM be downstairs and begin packing lunches and making breakfast
7:15 Am wake up the kids as mom leaves for work. Dad is already long gone by 5AM.
7:45 AM Kids have got dressed and ate breakfast. Get them to pack their backpacks and get jackets and shoes on.
7:50 AM out the door they walk themselves to school 2 blocks . This is when Au Pairs are done until the kids come home. I was also most days supposed to be done at this time.
8:15 AM let the construction workers in the house
8:20 Start the laundry. On Mondays I do 4 loads and Tuesdays I do 3 to get all the laundry for 5 people done. I fold Tuesday and Wednesday.
845-915AM I am at the gym for a workout class
9:30-11 AM Grocery shop, pharmacy run
11-12PM Come home, unload groceries, switch laundry
12-1:30PM Clean the kitchen and living room, switch the laundry again
1:30-2PM Lunch and reading
2PM Start prepping the kids snack, switch the laundry, tidy anything else. Usually around now the dog would have diarrhea in the house
2:45PM Kids come home from school for homework fights
3:45PM The kids finish homework and it is activity time. Mondays are the off day, Tuesday is soccer, Wednesday and Thursday is baseball and Friday is soccer again.
5:30-6PM We return home from activities or if we are home the kids keep playing and I start dinner. Construction crew leaves by 6.
6-7PM Dinner time and then I send the kids up for showers. The dad comes home any time between 6 and 8 pm and the mom comes home any time between 7 and midnight. You never know, it is a toss up. I am supposed to be done when dad comes home, but usually I am still cleaning up dinner since I have to leave it out for him to eat and I get the kids dessert.
8PM I go upstairs and I read or watch TV or scroll through Instagram until I get the mental strength to leave bed and shower. I shower, then watch some TV or read.
10PM I am sleeping for the early morning tomorrow.
It is a full day of work with zero separation of personal time and work time. It was very hard to find time for my passions and I was severely underpaid. I tried asking for a raise and was totally shut down so when a few things happened in one week that were more than I could handle I quit. I was treated so poorly and was so disrespected and I never realized what an abusive or traumatic workplace was until I left there and saw what it did to me.
The message of this is simple. If you hire childcare employees for your house, teach them with respect and teach your kids to respect them. The good ones will leave when you don’t do this. If you were considering this for a job, be willing to give your entire life up for them. If you have kids, don’t ask someone else to raise them. Don’t have kids if you don’t want to help with homework or set up rules. Don’t work at a job that treats you poorly!