When Will I Ever Learn?
With no nanny, I was in a bind. The first week after the nanny (Danielle) left, my friends with kids, friends without kids, and moms I had just met all pitched in to help care for our girls during the work day. I’d leave work at lunch time to shuttle the girls from one “play date” to another, and my husband would cut out of work a bit early to pick them up. We found a substitute teacher who took care of the girls for a week. The following week, my mom made the 3-hour drive to help out.
Meanwhile, I continued to look for a permanent nanny. After a failure with Danielle, my confidence in hiring was shaken. I needed someone who could help to fill my shoes while I was at work, who shared our family’s values, and who would genuinely love our kids and not just view being a nanny as a job.
- • a dentist from Columbia who wanted to be paid $1000/week and would work for a year while she finished an additional degree (way too pricey, not committed
- • a super high energy woman who didn’t stop talking and was too immediately cuddly with my girls, who said it was fine to live with us during the week and go home to her husband an hour away on weekends (too intense, wouldn’t last)
- • a young girl finishing her college education who was super quiet, who seemed to be looking for a way to move out of her parents’ house
- • a woman with a 14 month old child who she’d bring to work which could be okay but she spent most of the interview chasing her child versus interacting with mine or talking to me.
Sheila was married with four kids ages 5 to 11. She told me that all her kids would be in school full-time and busy with activities afterwards. She was ready to go back to work as a nanny and had a car to use on the job. There was a lot about Sheila that seemed great, but I hesitated in hiring her. Sheila’s only reference was from a friend for whom she had babysat regularly because Sheila had been taking care of her own four children. The nature of this reference should have made me pause, but desperation clouded my vision. I told Sheila that she could have the job temporarily while I continued to look for a “live-in” nanny if she was interested. She was eager to begin and told me that she hoped I’d change my mind and hire her permanently. I was open and honest with her but gave her no guarantees.
The kids liked Sheila and she didn’t let them get away with murder. Sheila could cook and my husband was thrilled! At the end of the first week, I came home to find Sheila, my two girls, and two of her children. Hmm, they were all having fun. It did seem a bit odd that she wouldn’t have mentioned that she’d be taking care of her kids as well as my mine. Before I knew it, my girls were on her children’s schedule. Her kids were at our house as frequently as Sheila took care my girls to her own. My girls were missing naps and getting grumpy. Was I paying Sheila to take care of both my kids and her own?
School started and I was able to avoid having the tough discussion of needing more boundaries because Sheila’s children were to be in school all day and staying after for activities. When someone takes care of my children, I find it very difficult to “manage” them because I feel like they can hold me “hostage” since they have my children all day. I couldn’t believe that things were getting so complicated with Sheila and that she had only worked for us for one week! If I had only realized that this was just the beginning… Stay tuned for Chapter 3 of Nanny Nightmares.
Mompreneur Musings & The Quest For Balance talks about the challenges I faced while running Zoe Foods for 10 years, and my current search for a new career that will also allow me the time to focus on being a mom to two little girls, a wife, a friend, and a daughter. I am trying to create more balance in my life, knowing now that balance among career, family, and self occurs over one’s lifetime rather than in each day. Please join me on my journey and share your own experiences.
Keep dreaming, keep believing, keep achieving.