Received Thursday, June 19, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I am looking for opinions on whether I'm making something out of nothing, or if I am right to be concerned.
My husband and I relocated to New York City from the Midwest last year and we went through an agency to find a nanny for our DS (age 5). We had what might be a unique request- we were looking for a live-in until DS started Kindergarten, and hopefully someone who could then transition to after school care at that point. The agency had us interview with a several potentials, but mentioned specifically "Jeannie" may be especially suited to our needs.
Well, Jeannie has been in our employ for six months and in most respects has just been a dream- very high energy, organized, well-spoken, creative, tidy, and DS just adores her. She has the additional advantage of being a native NYer, so she has my complete trust as far as planning outing for DS, and is an excellent cook- my husband and I joke that DS is eating better than we are!
So what's the problem, right? It's that Jeannie doesn't seem to have any friends/social life, and she can be private to the point of verging on secrecy. The reason why the agency thought we would be such a good fit is that before we hired Jeannie, she and her husband had moved back to New York City from North Carolina, after he was discharged from the Army. However, at some pointed the army recalled him to duty ("start-loss"? I think she called it) and sent him to the middle east for approximately a year. This was all explained in the interview, and is why she would be available to transition to an after-school only position around the time we needed her to.
As I said, Jeannie seems to have no social life. She goes out on evenings and weekends, generally to museums or films, alone. The only calls I see on the bill for the cell phone we provide her are occasional call to what I believe is her father and one to a number in Brooklyn, which I think is her one friend, "Charlie", whom I've been able to gather is an old friend of her and her husband- from what I can gather they occasion go out to dinner or spend time with his family.
And that is actually part of the issue that set off this e-mail. Jeannie is off duty from approximately 6:00 pm on Friday until 7:00 am Monday morning, it her her time to do with what she wishes. Well, last Saturday morning my husband was up with DS very early in the morning and noticed that Jeannie wasn't in her room. When there was no sign of her by mid-day (and no mention that she had plans and no note was left) I became concerned and called her cell. It turns out that she had left at 4 am to join Charlie and his family on a camping trip in upstate NY. I expressed concern that she hadn't mentioned it to us and we had been worried. She apologized for worrying us needlessly. My husband at that point said we should just let the subject drop.
And this isn't an isolated incident- she seems reluctant to discuss anything outside of her duties. Even casual "how was your weekend?" type questions are answered with one or two word responses. When I ask about her husband or family, she is polite, but definitely seems to be telling me to MYOB. On the other hand, if the subject is say, literature or current events, she is highly articulate and an intelligent conversationalist. I have also asked DS if she socializes with any of the other nannies on their outings and he said no.
In summary, she has given me no reason to complain on a purely professional basis. As I said, she is excellent with DS and uniquely suited to our needs. However, I can't ignore my "gut" feeling that something is amiss with her personally, and perhaps in the long run all of us would be better off with someone more sociable. Thought?
P.S. In case you are wondering, my husband says I'm nuts to worry about this.