The Nanny Diaries: The Other Side of the Story

   It's never easy turning the care of your child over to someone else.  Let alone a texting, work-allergic, self-saturated 20-something who makes no qualms about telling YOU how it's "gonna be."  But yes, ladies and gents, these are the people I have been dealing with these past glorious 365 days.

   For years, my husband and I have traded off schedules.  I worked nights, he worked days and we had a nanny cover the 3-4 hours in the afternoon our work hours overlapped.  We have been really, really lucky.  Until this year.  One by one, I have been emailed, texted and cell phoned to death by people who clearly have no clue on how to speak to an employer, let alone, take personal responsiblity for fulfilling the job requirements.  One nanny actually said "I didn't have time" when I asked her why she hadn't done laundry in a week.  My brow furrowed in dumbfounded confusion because I was under the impression you make time to perform your duties.  What job allows you to leave unfinished work on a daily basis.

      It wasn't until this afternoon, that my sister pointed our the humor in all of this.  Ahhh yes, the comedy of childcare.  When truthfully, there's nothing funny about it.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it's generational that many of these young ladies I've tried to work with, think texting last minute they're going to be late, emailing they're quitting, or in my case, cell phoning you in the middle of a newscast, that my child is being disrespectful and demanding I do something about it right now, because she "won't tolerate that" is perfectly acceptable behavoir.   (Turns out by the way, that particular time, she was mad my son yelled "I heard you!!" When she continued to tell him he couldn't have a soda three times.  A story confirmed by them both.  And apparently, this non-existent stalemate over a pop, warranted a phone call.  Sweet Lord.)

   This same nutjob would rant to my kids that she "wasn't a maid" when she had to fold their laundry (a duty clearly spelled out in the job interview) and then brag to me upon my arrival (after badgering me with pointless phone calls all day no less) that she "rearranged my beach towels in the kids bathroom" - like I should be so grateful.  "A" I didn't ask...and "B" I supposed to give her a sticker?  I mean the mood swings were more sweeping than a pendulum.

   My favorite though had to be her texts.  If I didn't reply right away - remember now, I'm at work - she would text again a big "????????", clearly irritated I hadn't responded immediately.  Then despite our repeated description that the start time was 3 p.m. and quitting time was more fluid due to my husband's slate of meetings, she would call me the minute he wasn't there right at 6:30 p.m.  "Do you know where  Jeff is?"  I'd be like:  ", I'm sure he'll be there soon, but I'm at work right now."  Completely dismissing my hint, she would say "Well, I have plans and he didn't tell me he'd be late." 

   So now, I'm having to keep track of my kids schedules, my schedule and now my husband's and hers...all from the comfort of my work and anchor desk, sometimes while on live TV.  She was the most high maintenance, disrespectful, crazy I've ever met.  I had to re-describe, if that's even a word, her job description every day.  "Like I told you yesterday and in the job interview, laundry is part of the job."  "As I explained last night, Jeff won't always be home right at 6:30 and we need someone who can be flexible."  "As we discussed earlier, I need you to be able to resolve issues between the kids without calling me."

   It was by far, the most stressful time of my entire 12 year working motherhood.  And I'm just skimming the surface here.  Her departure was the best.  After we told her Monday this just "wasn't working out and said you can stay on the rest of the week" because she was constantly complaining about having no money (we were honestly trying to help her) she ended up being re-fired by Tuesday night.  She told us our son was the most disrespectful child she's ever met and that he told her to shut up.  He happened to be turning the corner when she said that and blurted out:  "I never said that."  And after 5 minutes of questioning them both she admitted, "well, he didn't say that exactly."  She lied.  She threw an 12-year-old under the bus.  Who does that???  My husband escorted her from the house.

   Now, I'm no delusional mother who thinks her kids are angels.  I'm well aware of their Irish tempers and other genetic gifts I've passed down to them.  But in no way, at girl name it, have they EVER been disrespectful to an adult and told one of them off.  Frankly, they'd be terrified of the adult's reaction and then their Mom and Dad's.  Trust me.  So, this woman who claimed to have worked with children for years and came highly recommended by a dear friend, really just wanted a well-paying nanny job where she got to take the kids to Chucky Cheese and play all day, all the while spending our money.  She apparently was under the impression she was Julie Andrews running through Strasbourg singing, skipping and juggling tomatoes.  I hate even making that comparison - I love Fraulein Maria.

   Without a doubt her mindset or lack there of, was the worst we encourntered, but she was hardly the only flake that's drifted in and out of our lives this year.   We had one quit over the weekend via email, after working only a few months and I didn't see it 'til Monday.  Another repeatedly yelled at my son after praising the serenity of yoga daily,  while another wanted to be paid for babysitting hours she didn't work.  She complained my husband was coming home too late, so he rushed to get home early to pick up our daughter... then she insisted we pay her for the hour we had "promised".  What?

   Bottomline, those famous tell-all "Nanny Diaries" work both ways.  There are a lot of us employers craving a nurturing, self-sustaining, hard-working extended member of the family we call a nanny.  And instead, are getting entitled, lazy, disrespectful kids in older bodies who haven't grasped the importance or gravity of their job. 

   A nanny is a teacher, protector, playmate and valued employee.  I know, because we had two great ones for about a decade.  Here's hoping history will finally repeat itself.  

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