Received Thursday, August 30, 2007-Perspective & Opinion
I am seeking advice regarding my current nanny situation. I am a working mother, and recently had my third child. I am returning to work in about a month. I have two older children, one in grade school, and the other who is three and starting preschool for a few hours every day. My current nanny has been taking care of the older two children for a little less than a year. Since she started with us, she has been good with the older two, keeping them busy on outings, playing with them, organizing play dates, disciplining them and she has always been punctual. She never watches TV and is never on the phone. The children are attached to her as she is really like a playmate to them. Many other parents have come up to me and said what a great nanny she is by observing her on the playground.There have been a few concerns however…she started taking college classes in the evening once she started working for us, and seems stressed and burned out by this. This upcoming semester she is taking on a very big load. She has on several occasions told me at the last minute that she isn’t coming in because of college testing/admissions procedures/etc, which was really difficult with my work schedule, but I understood, b/c we all have those types of moments. She is young and healthy, but almost every other day comes in complaining about various ailments (headaches, sinuses, cramps,stomach problems, knee problems) and on many occasions has come in telling me how she didn’t sleep the previous night. On one occasion, she took some allergy medication that made her sleepy and she actually fell asleep while watching my child. I was horrified but I did appreciate the honesty that she displayed by telling me about the incident. One of my biggest concerns is that my husband and I have had a really difficult time connecting with her. When she comes in our door in the mornings, she barely says hi and then proceeds to retreat into the kids’ room or kitchen or bathroom,despite my attempts at friendly overtures and asking about her night, etc. If she chooses to say something in response to my queries, it is usually a complaint about how ill she feels today or how she didn’t sleep the previous night.!!) She doesn’t even really acknowledge the kids when she comes in either, and that doesn’t really seem to bother them, it just bothers me. Now that I am home with the baby, it just tends to be awkward the entire day, and she retreats even more, and is not very responsive to the baby. I am not expecting her to take care of the baby, but a little positive enthusiasm and energy would be nice. I know some of this behavior is because she is incredibly awkward with other adults around. When I go back to work, I am thinking about hiring another nanny for the baby, especially with winter coming up, for just one year.I know that my current nanny could not handle three kids, even with the older being in school most of the day. I have a person in mind for the baby who is very different culturally than my current nanny(not that it matters). I really need to the two adults in the home to get along and work together, and recently I spoke to my current nanny about this and my concerns regarding her awkwardness. Her response was “Well, I have no choice, so I’ll have to get along with her.” There was no enthusiasm and no energy at all in her statements. All of this just really leaves me uneasy. I just don’t want to return to work and realize that I need to make a change then, when my gut is telling me to do something about it now. I have found someone else who might be better fit for us. I just feel bad terminating her employment with us because 1) the children are attached to her and I don’t want to put the kids, especially the 3yr old, through yet another change and 2) I know that she has taken on more expenses with college. I would plan on giving her two week severance pay and I would give her a good reference regarding her work with the children. I would appreciate any thoughts anyone has on this. Thanks.