Received Friday, August 1, 2008. - Perspective & Opinion
I did something terrible today. First, I am babysitting for an 8 day period straight. The parents are out of town. I am a good nanny and like the family and they like me. It's a normal situation. It's not horrible, it's not super. Some days I like going to work, some days I hate it. I have lazy days too but I don't ever mistreat or ignore the children.
Today the little boy begged me to take him back to the park. It is the last thing I wanted to do as it has been so hot where we live. He said his pal was going to be there, so I relented. I packed a tote bag with magazines so I could sit and read and I timed the visit so the baby could take her nap at the park. We get to the park, it is crowded, and my little boy (4.5 yrs old) finds his friend and starts playing. They are playing rather wildly, but they are boys. They are being loud and running around and pretend shooting and pretend falling.
I have my foot on the baby's stroller and I am rolling it back and fourth as she drinks her bottle. I am reading with interest the magazines I brought. I look up at my little guy just to get a visual. I am not interested in what he is doing, I have seen it a thousand times before. He isn't looking for me to watch him. He is totally mesmerized by his new pal. The baby falls asleep. She is usually good for an hour, but she is up in 40 minutes. She isn't fully up, so I start rocking her stroller back and fourth with my foot again. I say to her, "I think you're still sleepy, sleep, sleep, sleep". I am using a pleasant tone and halfway kidding. The baby is 13 months old. She has been walking since she was 9.5 months. She is a terror to unleash at the park because she goes everywhere, doesn't listen, gets stepped on, pushed down, etc. In short, I was never planning to have her out of the stroller.
I am reading my magazine and the baby starts to fuss. I am still looking at my magazine and I hand the baby my keys. I know she likes to play with them. Seconds pass and a white woman is looming over me. She says, "You know I watched you sit here for two hours ignoring this baby, you haven't taken your eyes off your book, what kind of babysitter are you?"
I was caught completely off guard. She says, "I was holding back, I didn't want to say anything but when you handed her your filthy keys to pacify her, I just lost it". I look at her puzzled and annoyed, I say, "You lost it". She says, "I can't stand people like you. How much are you making to sit here and ignore this baby?" I say, "I am not answering that." She says, "No I want to know what a lazy slob of a nanny gets paid to sit on her ass and read magazines while one child is not allowed out of her stroller and another child is tearing the playground apart?" I say, "Tearing the playground apart?"
She starts yelling now. Saying, "You know what I mean. He's been pushing around the younger children, and climbing over them, but I bet you didn't notice, since you never looked up." The woman is starting to cause a scene.
I am a good babysitter. I am. I have been working non stop with two children who have no activities and no camp and the parents get home on Sunday, and I have to be back to work Monday morning at 8. I will wholeheartedly admit that I set off to the park with the intent to take a break, but this isn't my usual MO. Of course, I didn't explain any of this to her, I lost it.
I don't think I was wrong for planning to take a break at the park today, the children were not in danger, but I doubt the woman is going to paint the same story I saw. I had to sit down and write this. I'm sorry, I know it is long, I just feel so awful. It's a terrible feeling. I am completely distracted and worried. I do think I should tell my employers what happened first, but even so, I am just worried about the "then what".
Any advice from mothers would be very helpful. What would you do or feel if you were my employer? Thank you for reading and responding.