Posted in Community, government, Life, news, politics

Metro News Answers my Question: When a comment isn’t a comment.


I don’t like to read Metro News, nor the Toronto Star and these are my long-time choices because I do not agree with their views on many things.  Granted, I appreciate many of the journalists at these organizations and hold nothing personal against any of them, I just don’t like the way they handle comments which are contrary to the views they publish, as was the case this morning when I commented on an article that I felt was inaccurate and biased.

Take for example this article in the “Urban Compass Toronto” section, written by someone named Matt Elliott regarding childcare in Toronto; “Next election Let’s Make Childcare the Issue and the Legacy“.  The article makes mention of 150 people protesting at Toronto’s City Hall asking on the municipal government (actually the article makes this Mayor Rob Ford’s issue – more on that later).  On the surface I agree that more can be done to help low and middle-income families and single parent families deal with child care so they can work and support themselves, but the last time I checked my list of responsibilities of the levels of governments here in Canada, the responsibility for child care falls in Provincial jurisdiction – under current un-elected Premier Kathleen Wynne and her tax and de-list Liberal party.

So in order to be sure that this wan not an oversight, I reread the article, then went to see what else Mr. Elliott has written and if his slant on this article were genuine or anti-Ford as seems to be the mandate of these publications, and it would be clear to me that the latter was correct.

With articles titled;

I firmly believe that either Mr. Elliott is being told to slam the Mayor with every article – sells papers – or maybe he is just not a believer in being fiscally Conservative – both totally fine – but he really should be clear upfront about this, shouldn’t he?  There is nothing wrong about being left-wing if you are willing to back it up, be clear to your readership and not write articles which represent “Urban Toronto”.  Urban Toronto does not agree with your views, Mr. Elliott.  Some may, but not everyone does.

So I took the time to craft a response.

I chose my words clearly and I used supporting documentation from the Government of Ontario website which stated that in 2010 the responsibility for childcare in Ontario was moved to the Ministry of Education.  I also pointed out that maybe if the Liberals were more fiscally responsible, they would have the funds to subsidize middle-class childcare and provide free child-care for the poorest and most in need in Ontario.  I think that is fair and a good use of our taxpayer dollars, do you?  Surely if the Liberals could have balanced a budget in the past 7-years without needing to raise taxes or de-list services they would be able to do exactly what Mr. Elliott, the defender of Urban Toronto, suggests.

I posted my comment for moderation.

It was deleted.

I am disappointed, yet not surprised.

I am not going to hold my breath waiting for a story about the 5 (or 15) ways Kathleen Wynne lied, or for a detailed look into George Smitherman who was reported to be a user of drugs, whose husband was found laying by the side of train-tracks and who blew a billion dollars of taxpayer money, yet was endorsed by the Toronto Star as being the best choice for Mayor, and I am not going to wait for someone to do some digging into Olivia Chow’s campaigning for Toronto Mayor while employed as a member of the Federal government who may or may not be using her office to support her future desire to be Queen.

Those investigations will never come from the Star, or from Metro.  Not when it’s way too easy to post an unflattering picture of the Mayor, a man with serious addiction problems, and make fun of him…

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Posted in Caregiver

What can you expect from your nanny: Non-child care responsibilities.


housekeeping
Light housekeeping?!?

Parents hire nannies to take care of their children.  There is also an expectation that there will be some non-child care responsibilities related to the role, such as; taking care of any dishes used, some cooking here and there, some light cleaning associated to the children or family and possibly some laundry. 

From all the emails and comments I have received over the years, it is accurate to say that some parents forget that the primary responsibility for a nanny is child care and there is an expectation that their nannies are able to take care of the children in addition to what they refer to as “light housekeeping” responsibilities, which in reality means nanny and cleaning-lady. 

So what constitutes “light housekeeping?”   

In order to get a clearer idea of what nannies think light housekeeping is and what employers think light housekeeping is, I read an article created for NannyClassifieds.com called; “Is Light Housekeeping a Nanny Responsibility?”  The link to the original article is here;  http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/blog/is-light-housekeeping-is-a-nannys-responsibility/

According to this article, in the nanny world, light housekeeping typically means leaving the home in the same condition it was in when the nanny arrived / started her day there.  If there were no dishes in the sink in the morning, then there should be no dishes in the sink at the end of the day, and if the house was spotless in the morning, it should be the same by nightfall.  It is reasonable to expect your nanny to clean up the mess and restore the house to its original morning condition prior to the end of her workday.

The extras are the other things in addition to childcare which nannies are generally responsible for and are usually agreed upon in a written contract – a written approved contract if gone through the Canadian Live-In Caregiver program.  Some of these items include;

• Do the laundry for the children
• Keep the children’s play area as neat, tidy and organized as possible.
• Prepare breakfast for the children before school, lunch for school and snacks for the kids attending school.
• Prepare the same for any children who are at home or attend school part of the day.  
• Ensure that after meal preparation and after the actual meal the kitchen is clean again.
• Engage the children in activities such as arts and crafts and reading, and ensure once finished the area is tidy
• Pick up after the children
• Ensure the kids rooms, including drawers, bed and closets are clean
• Prepare the same for any children who are at home or attend school part of the day.
• Ensure that after meal preparation and after the actual meal the kitchen is clean again.
• Engage the children in activities such as arts and crafts and reading, and ensure once finished the area is tidy
• Prepare breakfast for the children before school, lunch for school and snacks for the kids attending school.

Some nannies may also take on additional household related tasks provided they have the time and it has been pre-arranged and agreed upon.  They may do the children’s grocery and clothes shopping, as well as purchase the supplies needed to properly stock the nursery.  In some cases, nannies may also be responsible for ordering age-appropriate supplies, toys, and arts and crafts, depending on the arrangement that was made.

According to the article, nannies typically do not:
• Do the parent’s laundry
• Clean the parent’s bathrooms
• Mop the floors
• Dust the furniture
• Prepare family meals regularly.

In each family and nanny work arrangement, light housekeeping should be clearly defined.  What is in the contract dictates what the family’s housekeeping expectations are, and what the nanny’s housekeeping responsibilities are. 

Many nannies do agree to take on additional non-childcare related housekeeping tasks.  They may do this because the children spend mornings in school or they simply enjoy cleaning and would gladly take on the housekeeping tasks in exchange for increased compensation.  If your nanny agrees to take on additional housekeeping tasks, she should be provided additional compensation for them and allowed adequate time to complete them when childcare is not her responsibility.  For these nannies/housekeepers, it should be stressed that when the children are in her care, childcare should be her main responsibility.  I think that is common sense, no?

Often times a nanny will go above and beyond the call of duty simply out of practicality. If a nanny is doing the dishes from lunch and her employer left a knife and dish in the sink after breakfast, for example, she’s likely going to wash them too, rather than simply leave them sitting there in the sink.  If a nanny is preparing one of her favorite homemade pasta recipes for the children’s dinner, she may make enough for the entire family, since it’s easier than tweaking the recipe for smaller portions.  Much in the same way most families when making their dinner will make enough for their nanny and have them eat with them whenever possible.  It’s give and take, and that mutual respect and understanding helps form and build the bond between the nanny and her employer.

Wen these random acts of kindness become expected by employers through, resentment and relationship problems in the nanny relationship can occur.  Light housekeeping is going to mean different things to different people.  Clearly articulating the duties and responsibilities that meet an employer’s definition of light housekeeping will help to prevent job creep and miscommunication over housekeeping related expectations.

How have you divided up responsibilities and how clear were you with your nanny on her duties outside of child care?

It’s amazing to me how many employers post comments in public message boards about how their nannies cook, clean, take care of the kids, and do all these other tasks not related to child care, and then the employer answers questions about wages and working hours, or working conditions which really casts them in a negative light.  Taking advantage of a nannies good will is never cool, and posting that in a public form is even less cool and quite questionable.  Especially in light of the fact that these message boards are trolled by agencies and organizations who protect nannies from being taken advantage of.

So to sum it all up…

Make sure what you are expecting your nanny to do outside of child care is clear and written in the contract.  Also remember that just because they came from worse working conditions in Hong Kong it doesn’t give you the right to treat them in any way that you yourself would not want to be treated in their shoes.

Karma.

Here is a link to the article; http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/blog/is-light-housekeeping-is-a-nannys-responsibility/

Posted in Caregiver, Life

5 Ways Nannies Can Help Divorced Parents – Reprinted with permission


I came across this interesting article from Hireananny.com and while not divorced, I thought there were some interesting points made in this post and wanted to re-post it here.  Permission was granted.

The link to the original article is here.

http://www.hireananny.com/blog/5-ways-nannies-can-help-divorced-parents/

Essentially, this post outlines how nannies help divorced couples ensure their child(ren) don’t get lost during this difficult time of their lives in 5 key ways.

1. Nannies can provide consistency of care.

We all know that with children of all ages it’s the routine that is key.  Bedtime routine, homework routine, daily and weekly chores, etc.  All of this is crucial to teaching children about consistency so it makes absolute sense how a nanny can help here.  By being there during separation and divorce and providing a schedule or routine for the child(ren) this allows the kid(s) to have that consistency while everything around them has changed.

2. Nannies can provide a sense of stability.

I can see where this is also an important unheralded role of a nanny when, as described above, everything in a child’s life is changing and the nanny remains the same.  It not only gives the child(ren) a non-partisan sounding board but it helps smooth out the chaos and disruption that ensues until both parental units and settled and have agreed upon the parenting roles going forward.

3. Nannies can advocate for the children.

 This point is probably the most important because the role of the nanny is to look after the best interest of the child(ren) regardless of the situation and especially in situations where the parents are not getting along the nanny can step forward and discuss with each party the issues relating to the kid(s) and can also alert the parents of any changes in the child(s) behaviour.  The nanny sees the child the most consistently so they would see behaviour issues, social issues, changes in the child’s physical being or any other concerns, milestones or warning signs.

4. Nannies can reassure children that it’s not their fault.

I think this point goes without saying that a nanny can help explain to a child that during the breakup of their parent’s marriage it is NOT the fault of the child.  Emotions on the parental unit’s sides may be too high and there may be a lot of finger-pointing and this is exactly the point when children need support and reinforcement telling them it’s not their fault.

5. Nannies can facilitate communication.

 

I think at this point it goes without saying that if you are separated, or a soon to be divorced parent considering hiring a nanny, it’s important that you select a nanny who is a solid communicator.   In addition, a detailed employee contract and agreeable custody schedule shared with the nanny will go a long way towards protecting the child(ren) as much as possible during the unrest.

Hireananny.com also feels that if a parent turns to the nanny as a confidant, while tempting, is not a good idea as it blurs professional lines and may prevent the nanny from doing her job well and jeopardize her ability to always put the child’s best interests first.