I am not sure how I got onto this list either, but as a nanny, I agree with the last email. I have been fairly lucky with most of the families I have worked for, but some of the problems I encountered are similar to what she said: The parents often want the nanny to do ALL of the parenting, and then they completely undermine the work you do, as well as not do any of it themselves. I have been lucky enough to be fairly well-paid, but had to quit my last job as 60 hour work-weeks were overwhelming, especially when the parents often came home late with no notice. I have a bachelor's degree and am completing my master's degree in speech-language pathology, and happen to know more than one other nanny who is in the same arena educationally; hence, although I realize some nannies may be under-educated for the position and/or don't do their jobs properly, I think it is important to note that many of the parents are not doing THEIR jobs properly either, as a parent OR as an employer. It seems as though many families flip back and forth between treating their nannies as employees OR as "part of the family" whenever it suits them, be it regarding pay, or "helping out" (meaning, working for free) at their child's birthday party.
I think there is often a lack of communication on both parts in the nanny-parent relationship, on all levels and about many issues. This, as the last nanny pointed out, is probably what causes most of the problems.
As a former nanny, I feel I need to speak up on behalf of nannies. Often, nannies are taken advantage of, are asked to do things that are way out of line with caring for the children and running the household. Many times nannies are left to do the bulk of the parenting and then the parents do not provide any consistency in the nanny's absence. Nanny's have one of the most important jobs, along with teachers, yet are under-appreciated, over worked, and underpaid. Not all lack language skills, in fact, many have degrees and are intelligent, educated people with much to offer their families.
I think in a nanny-parent relationship, you get what you give. Though the families I worked with had some difficult issues, we had a mutual respect of each other and communicated constantly in regards to the children and household. I finally had to leave the field because I could not support my own family with the pay I was making and working 50-60 hour weeks allowed no time for me to get another job. If you're going to entrust your child's care, education, and upraising to another person for the bulk of the work week, shouldn't you pay them well to do such a valuable job?