“I would like you to consider this my two-week notice.” is not the message anyone wants to read from his or her brand new nanny. “Wait, what?” was my initial reaction. Then, my thoughts rushed straight to my precious three children. I couldn’t believe it! My nanny, who had only worked for us for four days, quit. I knew she was struggling because we had just spent forty-five minutes talking through the problems she had the first week and she quit two hours later in a text message.
Her unseemly immature behavior of quitting via text message was a huge surprise to me because she is thirty-six years old. I had to look at the text message a few times before actually understanding it. At first glance, I thought it could have been a joke because we had left off on such a good note. Boy, was I wrong! My return to work after a year-long maternity leave after the birth of my twins was just made ten times more difficult because my kids are now childcare-less!
Her interview went well. She had glowing references and a Master’s degree. She took notes when she came to learn her way around as I introduced her to the kids’ daily schedule. She was a mother of two living in my neighborhood. I trusted she would care for my children and love them like a second mother. She only lasted four days. I knew my stay-at-home-mom job was difficult, but I didn’t think it was that difficult. My kids are adorable! I have twin almost-one-year-old girls! Twins stir up attention everywhere they go. Everyone “Oohs!” and “Ahhs” over them like they are a zoo exhibit, but not my ex-nanny, she quits! She quit after four days!
Looking back at the four days we worked together, I saw the red flags. I ignored them because I wanted everything to work out. I wanted a Mary Poppins. I was searching for the Maria to my Von Trapp family minus marring my husband. Where was my Maria running around with open arms singing about the beautiful grasslands of Lockport, Illinois? I wanted a Mrs. Doubtfire. I would have been okay with the cross-dressing as long as she/he cared for my children like they were her/his own! How could I have been so naive? How could I have believed the first woman my husband and I hired would have actually worked out?
The first sign I saw that she wasn’t going to work out was her not knowing how to use a Crockpot. Yes, you read correctly. She didn’t know how to use a Crockpot. “What thirty-six-year-old woman doesn’t know how to use a Crockpot?” is the questions I hear from everyone I tell this story to. I spent time the first weekend back to work prepping meals for the week to come. I had chicken marinating and ready to be put in the Crockpot for a delicious meal. Before I left for work in the morning, I took the Crockpot out of the cabinet and noticed there was a little food the dishwasher must not have cleaned all the way on the inside. I washed the ceramic bowl quickly and placed the bowl on the counter to dry before I ran out of the house to work.
The Crockpot was two feet from the ceramic bowl insert. My ex-nanny had the job of putting the marinating chicken in the Crockpot and turning it on low for six hours. It is hard to believe someone could mess up these instructions. I came home to chicken burnt on the inside of the metal portion of my Crockpot. I laughed at the ruined $20 Crockpot but was pissed about not having dinner and a dinner that should have yielded leftovers. This meal was prepared and was supposed to last me for two full dinners! Ah! I didn’t have the heart to tell her she did it wrong when I saw the mess.
Want to learn about the 5 things I suggest looking into when looking for a nanny? Get my Nanny Cheatsheet!
After my first week back to work, the last thing I wanted to do was come home to a messy house. I was given lots of advice from fellow working moms with nannies and one that stuck in my head was to tell the nanny to leave the house how she found it when arriving to work that day. I didn’t expect my ex-nanny to scrub my floors or toilets, but I would have liked the toys cleaned up and bottles washed when I came home.
My first Friday home after work was spent scrubbing baby food off the carpet and vacuuming the whole house. My ex-nanny fed my twins baby food in their bouncy chairs on the carpeting and let my three-year-old son walk around eating food all over the house! I would have thought not allowing both of these things to be done were common sense. I would have also thought someone would clean spilled food off the ground, but maybe she didn’t notice? It is actually worse if she didn’t notice, right? Not only were the crumbs all over the ground from my son gross, but also dangerous as his one-year-old sisters are moving all over the ground on their own and putting everything in their mouths. It was so hazardous!
I start school a good week before any school in my area does. Because of this, my ex-nanny’s children were off school. During her interview, she insisted on having her parents to help when there were days that didn’t match up between my school schedule and her daughters’. The second day she was working, she asked if her daughters could come by for an hour to visit. I didn’t mind, but I did mind the nine o’clock at night text message asking if her seven-year-old could spend the entire day with her the third day working with us. I didn’t know how to answer. If I said no, would she have canceled on me and I would have had no one to watch my children? I didn’t have a choice, but to allow her daughter to come to work with her, but I wasn’t happy about it.
Lastly, her car was a mess. I would have never thought to ask to see the inside of someone’s car before hiring them as a nanny, but the cleanliness of someone’s car is a good insight into how messy that person is. My ultra-clean hates all my clutter, husband had to help her put the three car seats in her car. He was disgusted by the garbage and old food in her car. I didn’t feel I could confront her about it, but I did purchase a gift card for her to get her car detailed. I didn’t have the chance to give her that gift card, because she quit on me after only four days.
So, my nanny search is on. My children are kind of childcare-less (not really). My wonderful mother is watching them and my son’s loving old daycare has offered to help while we search for our Mrs. Poppins. After all the things that went wrong the first week, it is hard to believe I didn’t fire her, right? Our perfect nanny has to be out there. Let’s hope she comes knocking on our door with an apple-pie in one hand and diaper rash cream in the other. Or, maybe it’d be better if she had a bottle of Pinot Nior for us!