Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The nanny is pregnant

Those followers who are friends will know that 2009 has been a bad year for nannies in my family.

I had the overpaid mad Polish nanny who had worked for the celebrity parents, who didn't stop talking, couldn't listen, shopped for doorknobs and bags when she was supposed to be looking after my children, and left me in the lurch for a week through the unusual late Winter/early Spring snow that we enjoyed this year because she misbooked her plane tickets to Poland.

After a painful and expensive dismissal process (I paid her off so she could find another job) I recruited the lovely English nanny from Devon who said she was an experienced sole charge nanny. Turned out that she had helped out a mother in North London for a few months and that she had very little experience of either the scope of work of a full charge nanny or the confidence that is required in decision-making when you are a full charge nanny.

She doesn't seem to grasp that as well as picking up my kids from school, feeding them and giving them a bath, the little things like making beds that don't look like they've been put in a blender first, brushing my eldest daughter's mane every evening and cutting toe nails before they turn into claws is her job too. And how does she managed to leave in the evening saying everything is FINE even when my youngest was raging with a 41 degree temperature? Why am I the only one who seems to notice when my children are ill, when their skin is flaring with eczema, when they need new toothbrushes, haircuts - all the paraphernalia of looking after a child?

I once came home and the previous trained, experienced nanny said that my two year old had a tummy ache and a cough.

She left in a rush. I listened to my daughter and got the impression that she was having trouble breathing.

I asked her what was wrong.

She said she had a tummy ache.

I asked her to point to where it hurt.

She pointed to her chest.

The emergency doctor immediately put her on antibiotics and an inhaler, and told me to take her to A&E if her breathing didn't settle.

What if I hadn't come home that night? The trained, experienced, expert nanny thought she had a tummy ache when she couldn't breathe.

This is a rant, I know everyone makes mistakes. I know I sound bitter and I want to apologise for this.

But I've had some bad experiences and I would love to know how to avoid this in future.

I've come to the conclusion that the main issue in recruiting nannies, especially for middle income career mothers like me (that means, not the £1m per year corporate lawyers and bankers) is that for A type, OCD, detail attentive obsessives who are very capable at the domestics, delegating the daily management of our children and their affairs to nice girls who become nannies because they like hanging out with kids is an explosive cocktail.

I find nannies are generally undomesticated, and know little about domestic duties. They generally have little experience of what it means to act professionally and the expectations which professional parents have of people who sell themselves as trained, experienced and expert in their field. I see little evidence of any real ambition or drive to move on in their field, and thus, any real desire to learn, to impress, to excel.

For the top nannies, career prospects are impressive.

But most nannies seem to be just filling time before finding a husband and having their own kids, or moving on and travelling.

And of course, the combination of a hyper obsessive detail focused mother like me and an amiable unfocused nanny who cannot comprehend who I am and how I feel is - the ultimate frustration.

So this week my nanny announces that she is pregnant. I am really pleased for her. She doesn't really get the job but she's a lovely girl and I can't help but feel maternal towards her.

Actually - she doesn't announce that she is pregnant.

Her boyfriend calls on Saturday and tells us on her behalf. He has been telling her that she needs to tell us - and she is too frightened to do so. He gets irritated and frustrated, takes our number and takes the initiative himself - but without telling her.

Now I must admit that one side of me thinks thank you for taking the initiative. The other thinks this behavious is moderately high handed. But then - she is carrying his child and he is right, we need to know that she will need to take it easy, that she may need time off to see doctors and have check ups, that we need to make accommodations.

Overall I came to the conclusion that I thought that he was high handed and that she was a child. Or choosing to behave like a child, at least.

Instead of someone that helps, supports and takes the burden from me - I have ended up with a third child. Who is now having a child and is planning to move back home to be close to her mother, so that she can have help when she herself is a mother. Which is a very wise move because actually, she doesn't really know what being a mother entails.

I am pleased for her and I feel sympathy for her. I think that she will be a great mother. But now I have to recruit again, disrupt my children's relationship again and help them to re-establish a new bond.

It is hard and makes me feel extra guilt.

Anyone with any ideas on how to recruit, brief and manage the perfect nanny?

Please help!


No comments:

Post a Comment