Friday, June 27, 2008
My nanny experience could very well be summed up by the saying "going to hell in a hand basket." I was in nursing school and thought it best that I take a year off from the stress and rigors of clinicals/death/blood/exams, by engaging myself in the world children/play dates/art projects and snack time. This I learned, would not be the usual nanny experience.
I was a nanny for a total of 3 families. The first family, had 2 children one of which was under psychiatric care, on the days that this child refused to see the psychiatrist, I was told by the parents that I was to see the psychiatrist and work out any issues that I may be having in my personal life. To me and to many others, this idea was absurd to say the least. The parents reasoning for this was that they had to pay for the session anyway, somebody ought to see the doc. The child often refused to see the doctor and there were many a sessions, hours upon hours that the doctor and I sat across from each other and discussed baseball, different magazines that we subscribed to and where to find good Mexican food. I felt horrible about this, especially because the kid really needed help. He had a fear of lunch meat and dying plants, and oh did I mention that his father used to come home from work, demand a wrestling match and pin his 8 year old son to the floor in less than 5 seconds and tell him he will never be good enough. An addendum to this story is that my very good friend who was also a nanny was sleeping with the father.
Onto family number 2. The mom, who clearly had the money and the power in the family was a tyrant at best. She had requested that when the child was at preschool, that I take those 3 hours and "carefully and strategically" (her words, not mine) lay out her outfit for the next day. To go through this plus size woman's underwear drawer, in addition to applying her pantyliner to the next days underwear was revolting and needless to say was not a highlight in my day. This woman ran a fortune 500 company for god sake!! Her husband was no better, a high powered attorney in NYC, wrote porn screenplays for a hobby, had me read/proof them and demanded a one paragraph critique by the end of the day. This man was also a recovering alcoholic and hid his bottles of mini-bar size liquor bottles in his briefcase, I only know this because I drove him to the train, and when he handed me the 'porn manuscript of the day' his bottles rattled around. The child was easy to care for, smart, funny, beautiful and had no idea what lay ahead of him. My heart broke for the innocence of his childhood.
Family number 3. Where to begin? The children were school age 12 and 15 years old, really no reason for a nanny, the father was home when they got home from school. I did all the grocery shopping, cooked the meals. Attempted to steer the older child away from drugs. I would do random drug searches while she was in school, always came up with something. Though she did have some ingenious hiding spots. The mother in this family was also the moneymaker and decision maker. When interviewing for this position, I had told her about the 'porn manuscript' aspect of my previous job and how uncomfortable that situation was, at that point, it would have been nice had she have mentioned that her and her husband were (are) "swingers" and they host a 'party' every six weeks and would I mind finding a place to stay, when the party was being hosted. Not that I'm a prude, but come on the pictures and left over party gift bags were also too much to bear. My final straw was when the mom sat down with me and told me how I should be spending my paycheck, that I needed to lose the 10 extra pounds I was carrying because I was a poor example of what a "fit young woman" should be and she didn't want her daughter to follow in my path of morbid obesity and gluttony. I guess everyone has a breaking point.
I wish I could say I'm making this up, I didn't want any children for a very long time. I am happy to report I recently received my masters degree in nursing and on the management team of large metropolitan hospital, married and have a fantastic, awesome son.
Yes, I've been to hell and back.