Received Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I appreciate the comments given on ISYN in the past, particularly the opportunity to get perspective from both moms and nannies. The post just prior has some similarities to my own so I thought it a good time to get some feedback also. Let me start by saying, I am aware that I can be a bit of a worrier in general and do tend to over analyze things. I don't want to read too much into acts that others think are generally minor, but also don't want to overlook something significant in terms of character. My nanny has been with us 7 months. She is in her mid-40s with 3 kids of her own, including a 20yo daughter who babysits for us also a few hours a week (per my nanny's request and in my attempt to help out). I have a 9mo son who is my nanny's primary responsibility. Both my husband and I WOHM, though I work slightly less than full time so am home to see my nanny sometimes. We live in New York City in an apartment.
When hiring a nanny, the most important things to me are: her character; honesty; loving; responsible; good work ethic. Of course, any nanny needs to have common sense and reasonable intuition with kids, but I feel most details can be taught and I care MUCH more about having a caregiver who is a good person than one with a certain background or degree. My nanny does have years of experience in her field and great references. I like her - empirically and on a basic human level. Her daughter is still a kid in many ways and not someone I would ordinarily hire, but to help both out I do try to give her 8-10 hours a week, usually when I know I will be around a lot. We pay our nanny fairly and gave her a raise after 3 months because she is great. We pay her above either of her prior jobs and above what she initially asked for, though are not able to pay extravagantly.
Here are many of my nanny's wonderful attributes:
-warm, loving, kind, patient with my "spirited" 9mo
-always on time
-amazing work ethic. Spends baby's nap time doing duties I never asked her to do such as sweeping up the floor or organizing cabinets. Not an ounce of laziness in her.
-always willing to help out in a pinch. Stayed for 24 hours when I was sick in the ER, etc. Yes, we pay her for the overtime, but she certainly did not have to do it.
-amazing baby intuition and can get my baby to sleep like no one else
-smart, shows initiative
Here are the minor issue I'm concerned about. These other examples, but this is fresh in my mind since it just happened. Though, honestly, reading what I've already written makes me feel stupid for even bringing this up. But, I've come this far . . .
This is the most recent and relates to nanny/hk drama. Housekeeper comes once a week, has been with us 6 years, and is loyal and helpful to a fault. HK can admittedly be quite gossipy and judgmental and probably isn't a person I would be friends with, but she has always done right by us. HK works for another persoon in our building. Other person had a roommate move in so did not need two vacuums. Gave extra, fairly new but mid range, vacuum to HK. HK kindly brought it to us and, per HK, wrote a long note explaining she thought it would be helpful as we are likely to move into a house and it would be easier for her also to have one vacuum for each floor. HK also said note said she would like vacuum if we did not want it. HK said she attached note firmly to vacuum. She then explained all of this to Nanny's daughter (ND). ND was only working a couple hours in the morning. When I arrived home, ND was gone and Nanny was there. Nanny said, "Here is an extra vacuum. Someone down the hall was getting rid of it so I thought you might want it." There was no note attached. I thought, gee, what a kind gesture of Nanny, but I'm sure she needs it much more than me. I thanked Nanny, but told her she should take it home for herself if she wanted it. Fast forward to a week later, HK arrives and asks about vacuum and note. I am flummoxed and (knowing N and HK already hate each other), give a vague answer about not seeing the note and giving vacuum to Nanny. HK is quite upset at the perceived dishonesty of ND and Nanny. I have not seen ND or N to ask about this ( and not sure I will anyway). I believe my HK. I also believe Nanny likely really needs the vacuum and don't begrudge her having it. However, I am concerned that she would remove a note and present the vacuum story the way she did. It just doesn't sit right with me.
Other issues have been small fibs or omissions. Like me asking casually if baby did well with solids today and her replying, yes. Then it being obvious she didn't try solids that day - for good reason, such as being out and about, but still it's the small lie that bugs me. Or once saying she didn't give the baby whole cheerios, just small pieces, then walking in and seeing baby eating whole ones. I don't care if baby eats whole cheerios if he can manage it so I don't get the lies. She doesn't seem to lie about anything big or meaningful to me, and I feel like it is usually an automatic response because she's worried I'll be upset though I really wouldn't. I get how hard kids are and am not bothered by small schedule stuff. Just like to keep track so I know where baby is at for the evenings and overall. I have also been a little concerned that things are moved around in my medicine cabinet at times, though never felt anything was missing.
I don't have a nanny cam. Should I get one? Would that solve this?
Am I just being too crazy? Or are these small things more meaningful than I realize?
All opinions appreciated and promise to answer questions later tonight.