Received Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
This is the first time I've posted here, I'm hoping to get some advice on my current situation. I do not have previous experience as a nanny, but I do have experience in daycare and summer camp child care, which I enjoyed very much! After leaving that job because of distance, I was working a retail job which I began to hate, and I realized I really wanted to get back into child care. So when an opportunity to babysit/nanny a former co-worker's 1st grader fell into my lap, I jumped for it! Perhaps a bit too high. I was far too eager to get out of something I hated, and into something I thought I would enjoy. So we didn't write up a contract, do any trial runs, or even have a formal meeting set up, as I already knew both parents through work. I definitely know now that this was an awful idea, and bad judgement on my part! I started within the next two weeks, as the child was arriving soon, which is why they needed childcare so quickly. Mom was going out of the country for an unknown amount of time and was leaving the child to live with dad and stepmom. Another red flag that I did not take notice of! I definitely wish I would have done much more research and found this page before I decided to lend such a generous hand to this family without thinking things through. I have been working for them for almost two months and it is getting harder and harder on me. The child has some issues, which were obvious to me within the first week. Still wetting her pants throughout the day, very emotionally attached and panics easily when an adult is not within a few feet, and I was surprised to hear that she was still using a car seat at her age and weight. These things worried me, and I am assuming they are a result of her unstable environment. The child seemed to be very "young" for her age, and of course all kids grow differently, but just from speaking with her, you can tell how very intelligent and bright she really is. This is why this behavior struck me as odd. When I am with her I encourage her to do things for herself as much as possible, because from what I am seeing, I get the feeling that probably all three of the parents do an awful lot for her, and don't encourage her to do things on her own. I don't have an education in early childhood education (YET!) so I'm going with my gut, but I don't think this child has a lot of self-esteem and faith that she CAN do things for herself. She needs reassurance for tasks that we both know she can do, and on a moment to moment basis. this worries me. Since I have been there she has gotten the hang of a two wheeler, is wetting her pants less, and the immediate "I can't do it, do it for me's" have turned into, "I may need some help's" instead. I hope I am doing the right thing for the child in this case. But I know that this is not a situation that I want to stay in. It is almost as if everything is a wrong fit. The child, the short notice scheduling, the late payments. The child does enjoy being around me, but I am not enjoying it and I can tell my happy face is wearing thin. Stepmom and Dad are kind and friendly to me, pay decently, and really like me, which makes it harder to just leave. Again, my fault, I know I have gotten myself into this. I now know what I need to do BEFORE a situation like this can occur. Now my concern is getting out. We do not have a contract written or spoken, as they aren't even sure when mom is coming back, so I have decided I should give a month's notice, which would hopefully be enough time to get me out and someone else in. I feel guilty that it didn't work out, but I have to do what's best for me fist and foremost. Here is my problem, I am not sure how to give my notice. Stepmom is very outgoing and it is usually hard for me to get a word in, as I am a fairly shy and quiet person to begin with. They are just so happy to have me, that I don't know how to say it's not working out for me, and that I am wishing to do a different style of childcare (I have realized through this that I love doing daycare, where there are many more children to interact with, but more structure. I hope to start my own one day!) Has anyone gotten sucked into a situation like this where initially you were looking to be helpful, but in the end it was not what you expected and you felt like you were in over your head? Any advice on how I can get my backbone to stand up straight and leave this situation on good terms? BTW, kudos to all of you good nannies out there. It is a much tougher job that anyone could imagine, and it takes a special kind of person. Thanks for your advice and thanks for reading.