Calls before 7.00 am are never good news.
This morning it was the nanny, gasping for breath, barely able to get the words out, tears choking her throat.
She had spent the night being harrassed by unknown bullies who had rung her doorbell repeatedly, used verbal abuse and shouted in the street. Remember she is pregnant. She panicked but acted wisely. Called her mother, called the police.
And in the morning when she went downstairs she found her car had been keyed all over the bonnet, roof and sides, with more terrible language. The police say the car is probably a write off.
No question of her coming in to work today, as she spent the day with forensics teams and statement takers - and doctors.
She's been signed off for seven days, her blood pressure raised by undue stress.
The worse thing of the whole dreadful situation? She suspects her boyfriend was the vandal and aggressor.
What happens when the carer needs caring for? That is a terrible question and one that our current society does not know how to reply to very well.
I am torn between feeling huge compassion for someone who I like and wish to protect, and also thinking in horror and selfishness at my own situation. Seven days without childcare, the prospect of unknown emergency nannies trooping through my home and taking charge of my children - and long term what? How can I believe that I can or even should put pressure on this poor girl, on her own in a small flat in a not very good area, with a vandal for a boyfriend, and 16 weeks pregnant? What right do I have to rely on someone who needs protection and help?
So what do I do? I'm a working mother. My children need protecting too. They have a right to consistent care. My life is a knife edge of organisation and planning. It is a house of cards. Today it feels like a large supporting bracket has crumbled and the roof is hanging by a few rotten timbers. The whole thing may collapse in minutes. How am I supposed to cope? And what am I supposed to do?
Anyone - help!