Oh, The Economy (III)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I had sympathy for her, trust that I did. I sat down and spoke with her on Thursday morning as intended, however, I had a work related emergency that prevented me from spending more time discussing things with her. I went to work on Thursday and came home and everything seemed fine. I felt I had made the best decision. Friday morning came, I left without incident and everything seemed fine. By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I began to feel uncomfortable with the situation. I am not sure why. Perhaps because I could slow down and really absorb the situation. By the time I got home Friday night, I was a wreck. I finally got the nerve to call her up on Saturday and tell her that I had decided she should not return to work, but that I wanted to invite her to lunch on Sunday with the children so that she could say good bye. I offered her one week of severance pay. At this point, I was mostly concerned about my children getting to say good bye. I had no intention of telling them the nanny had stolen anything. The nanny agreed to meet us for lunch. I told the children. We were five minutes away from the destination on Sunday when she texted me, "I can't do it. Can't make it". I tried calling her back, but I have received only her voice mail. I ended up having to tell the children that "*" was going through a difficult time right now and unable to continue working with us. I assured the children that she loved them and made certain to mention several wonderful things that "*" had done with them. The children are pretty upset and miss her dearly. I still have not heard from her and I'm really angry about that. I was willing to try to give her a second chance and yet she decided to stomp on my children's feelings. I am actively interviewing for a new nanny and I was fortunate to find a person familiar to our family to fill in through the month of April.

Received Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ISYN- Perspective & Opinion
I have a bit of a problem with my nanny. I wanted to get an impartial sampling of information. I have had the same nanny for two years and by all accounts, she is wonderful with our children. We have never had a significant issue arise in the entirety of the two years. I came home this evening and the nanny was upstairs with the children. I went in the pantry and grabbed a snack and sat down to read the mail. The nanny came downstairs, gave me a run down of activities and started to get ready to leave. I went in to the family room with one of the children as the nanny was gathering her possessions. This happens every day. Today, my son saw me eating tortilla chips and asked for some. Rather than argue, I darted back in the kitchen to grab some and the nanny was coming out of the pantry. She was zipping up her back pack and coming from the pantry, which was odd. I didn't put two and two together until I grabbed for the tortilla chips and noticed that a container of Skippy Peanut butter I had seen, not two minutes before was now gone. I turned and looked at the nanny, processing this in my head. It was all coming together. I looked at her and said, "is everything okay", but she was frozen, now holding her back pack with two hands in front of her. I quickly tossed some chips in a bowl, called my son to come and get them and then asked the nanny, still standing, "what is going on". She burst in to tears, apologized, all the while crying with tears streaming down her face. She said her boyfriend was collecting unemployment and it wasn't much at all, so she was basically paying for everything by herself and they had no real food to eat. I asked her what she meant by "have no real food to eat" and she said that they had about 50 packs of Ramen and that was what they were down to. I have no reason to doubt this person and I feel bad for her. I am going to abbreviate our conversation but basically what I told her was that I didn't want to know what was in her bag, that we would be fine without it, and that I felt for her, but at the same time, I need to be able to trust her implicitly. She tried to open the bag and give me back what was in it, but I stopped her. I told her to go home and to come in tomorrow at 10. I plan to have the children elsewhere so I can sit down with her and talk to her. Please understand that I am sympathetic, but at the same time, if she is desperate and continues to be desperate- than what? One bag of food is not miraculously going to make things better for her and I am not in a position right now to offer her anything more than we are giving her. I am employed today because I have a contract, but my job is sales based and I, too am struggling, although granted, not to the degree she seems to be. Has anyone ever got passed a theft situation with a nanny? Does this count as a theft? What do I say tomorrow?

Difficult situation? We've been there. Email isynblog@gmail.com for support and answers.


ericsmom can't sleep said...

Tell her to drop the loser bf. He needs to step up and get a job. Waiting tables, something to help out.

And it wasn't nice what she did. Do you wonder if she will start pocketing loose money around the house?
Maybe, if you have some spare time you can look up local food pantries for her, etc.

Tough call said...

I think you should reiterate everything you said earlier to her. That you understand she is in a tough position but that you need to know you can trust her completely. I am glad that she explained it to you... she didn't deny anything, and was definitely in a bad position but came clean. That's worth something, especially when it's something as embarrassing and sad as it was.

Also, you can either choose to get involved or not at this point. I wouldn't cross that boundary, personally, but you know your situation better than anyone.

Is she working an insane amount of hours for little pay? If so... cut back on the hours to make it more fair of pay, if you can. Or see what she thinks about a nanny share possibility.

I am in a tough spot too, but if it came down to having to steal food, no matter the reason, I would sacrifice sleep and time with loved ones to pick up a second job, no matter how crappy the job or pay.

Nanny Taxi said...

Tell her that instead of just taking why not try asking?

If she doesn't have a computer let her use yours to find local food pantries.

Tell her to try and apply for food stamps. In this economy they have lowered a lot of their restrictions.

Noble Drusus said...

Fire her immediately. She is a thief. Period. No quarter for thieves. She should have asked for help, if she knows you for TWO years, she knows you would have said yes to an extra shopping trip once every few months.

Get rid of her instantly. Don't reward her thieving with continued opportunity to steal. Terrible.

And to think she is teaching your children how to live. Just awful.

Nanny Ellie said...

Sometimes people in desperate situations do desperate things. Thinking of myself, I would have to be very desperate and in a very low place to steal from someone. It would be an absolute last resort, and then I would feel terrible about it for a long time. If she is a good person and has good morals, then I would hope that she's the same way and it was a one time thing. I feel for her, but what she did was wrong. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

If she is otherwise a good employee and good with the children, I would give her a second chance. But if it happens again, or you find out it wasn't one occurrence, then let her go. If she's stealing food now, what else could she be stealing?

Manhattan Mamma said...

The BF is collecting unemployment and she is gainfully employed. While things may be tough on her, I highly doubt she is desperate enough to have to steal food from you.

I wonder if she has cut out the unnecessary expenses in her life before resorting to stealing. Like dropping her and the BF's cell phone plans to the most basic ones possible, selling the X box, play station, Wii and games. If she has gold it's fetching a very high price these days. Getting a part time job is a possibility. I have yet to enter a Fast food restaurant that isn't hiring.

She may have done all this and may not have any luxury items she can sell or cable or satellite TV she can cancel. I just wonder how desperate she has become, and how much sacrifice she and her BF have made before she resorted to stealing from you which required little effort and no personal sacrifice of her own.

Anyone can make a mistake but this is something she deliberately did. Can you trust her not to steal again? If I were in your shoes, I couldn't. I believe when someone gets caught doing something wrong and they claim it's the first time, they really mean it's the first time they got caught. If you hadn't found her out yesterdays he likely would have continued to steal from you.

I can't tell you if you should or should not fire her. Only you can decide if you can get past this. But if you choose to give her another chance make it very clear that this will not be tolerated again and if she gets caught being dishonest again she will be fired immediately with no severance or notice. Best of luck.

mom said...

Mostly good posts. I wasn't wild about the once a thief, always a thief one...and I'm usually a no tolerance person about any kind of stealing. But sometoing about this story is a bit sad...probably more like pathetic actually.

I think Nanny Ellie said it best. Have mercy this ONCE, but keep your eyes wide open because, as many people have already said, no matter how desperate they became, a truly honest person would try anything else EXCEPT stealing. Your nanny is obviously not one of those excruciatingly honest people, sadly enough.

I wouldn't get into feeding them either. Not one bit. She has three choices: 1) Drop the deadweight deadbeat 2)Insist he get a job, or 3) Take on a second job herself so that lazy butt freeloader boyfriend can lay on the couch all day long. If she was alone, I might do something extra to help her out, but this situation is brought on entirely by HER OWN BAD CHOICES. You didn't choose to support her boyfriend so he doesn't have to work. You don't have to enable her letting herself get used by him either. (Gosh I hate to hear about young girls being so dumb!)If she was my own daughter I think I would try to resist helping her out until she dropped the jerk...for her own good.

That said, I doubt this is her first time stealing food from you. You are now, unfortunately, going to have to watch your pantry closely, and should probably lock up small valuables, such a jewelery, etc. She is in a situation where she is supporting a deadbeat boyfriend and so obviously lacks a bit of maturity and common sense. Who knows what he will cajole her into doing to bring in some extra cash. The small loss of food wouldn't worry me as much as wanting to know that my nanny had some shred of character...so yeah, I'd watch the pantry because of that alone. I owuld not tolerate ANY more theft, no matter how small.

Our first landlord was a young woman (her father owned the building but lived in another state)who had a boyfriend on cocaine. When he repeatedly parked in our garage, she said he needed to...because he had a problem with cocaine. Huh? Other little things that were very unprofessional were explained away with the same explanation...as if that made it somehow OK. When she failed to return our last month's rent or security deposit, she said she simply didn't have it...had needed for her boytfriend..."problem with coke, ya know." This is where these things end up, I fear.

And yeah, a young guy can get a job at Burger King or something. Something. I don't get people who refuse to work a job that is "beneath them" in times like this. Any job is a good job...and the only thing that is beneath somebody is refusing to work at all. Or making somebody you're supposed to "Love" live off of Ramen noodles so she'll have enough money to support you. Ugh.

Jacqui said...

It's nearly impossible to find a job right now. I have called dozens of places, filled out dozens of applications and pursued a number of contacts to no avail. My hours were cut in half last week and I have been scrounging for ANYTHING. The problem is, the few places that ARE hiring have their pick of the litter. Hundreds of applicants and only one or two job openings, even in the restaurants. I'm not excusing her OR her boyfriend because of this, but from personal experience I know how hard it is. It doesn't sound like her boyfriend is doing much to rectify the situation though. I feel bad for this nanny and I feel bad for you OP, that she put you in this tough situation. I'm not nearly as quick as others to burn her at the stake but she really does need to know that stealing from you is 100 percent inexusable and that if it happens again it will cost her her job. Unfortunately everyone is suffering right now, to different degrees due to the economy. This isn't a Robin Hood tale, steal from the rich and give to the poor.
Maybe you could find some weekend/nighttime babysitting jobs for her or ask around to see if anyone you know is hiring or knows of someone who is. My boss is doing that for me. She hated cutting my hours but she's been out of work for 4 months and they're really struggling. She's trying to help me out in any way she can. I'd never consider stealing from them but perhaps if your nanny knew you were on her side and doing what you could to help her she'd feel less desperate. I'm not saying you need to appease a thief so they don't do it again and it's not your responsbility to right HER wrong with guidance, but considering the relationship you have with her it's a little hasty to just up and fire her like some others have suggested.

Good luck OP. That's really a tricky situation.

Let's hope the apple falls far from THAT tree said...

What she has done is wrong, period. Definately talk to her, but Ericsmom, WHAT A BITCH. You have no idea. Thank whatever deity you believe in that you have no idea. I imagine I can name 5 people I've worked for who've made more money and have provided a better lifestyle for their families than your husband or yourself but I'd never be as pompous to say drop your loser husband. Like I said, what a bitch.

TC said...

Well it constitutes stealing in my book.

If she was to walk into walmart and take a jar of peanut butter it would still be stealing even if she was starving.

You have to decide if you think you can trust her after this. If you think you can then talk to her and let it go. If you don't think you can then you need to fire her, you should NEVER have to worry about someone stealing from your home.

There are many places that will help her with food.

Food stamps, even if they don't have kids they should be able to get food stamps for up to 3 months

Great organization that does not have any income limits

There should be a local food bank in your area too.

But like someone else pointed out she needs to cut down on every expense imaginable. That cell bill, cable, even internet can be cut off until he finds a job

mom said...

I don't think Eric's mom's suggestion was bitchy at all. This girl is supporting a BOYFRIEND...not her HUSBAND. She owes him no obligation of suport. Would want your daughter living off of Ramen noodles and stolen peanut butter because she was trying to support both herself and her non-working boyfriend? He can get a job SOMEWHERE. Not necessarily one that he will get with a resume...but one selling fast food, cleaning up dishes...whatever. If he hit the pavement every day all day...like as in a full time job searching for work, I have every confidence he could have something within the week. Probably something crappy, yeah...but if you're making your girlfriend steal peanut butter to make ends meet..."crappy" becomes "fabulous" by comparison with that.

And I agree with the poster who said OP should NOT recommend this nanny to people for babysitting, or anything else that puts her in a position to steal form them. She doesn't actually know how many times or how much this girl has actually stolen from her yet.

I seem to have a story for just about everything. (Either I've had a really weird life...or the best memory ever. I think it's the latter, because so often I will reminisce with friends and they say, "HOW do you remember every little thing like that?!)

Anyway, I had a housekeeper once who kept the for herself the Christmas bonus I had given her for her mother, who she worked with. I was upset and let the housekeeper go because I didn't trust her anymore...but I had never had her steal anything from my house. Turns out the daughters were robbing the other neighbors blind! Once somebody noticed it and they alerted one another, everybody started checking into their seldom used drawers and jewelery boxes and found they were missing a lot of expensive jewelery and small, items. Some were missing clothes and little girl's clothes. When the police were notified, the officers told one of my friends that if she wanted her jewelery back, her best option was to check every pawn shop between her house and where the housekeepers lived!

I also once noticed a babysitter putting a lot of my mom's makeup and other small items in her purse when I was a little girl. (I snuck them back out and put them away when I had a chance.) The next day I told my mom, who said I must be mistaken. Later a neighbor came to my mom and said the same babysitter had walked off with some expensive items of hers, including a brand new sweater...if I recall, maybe with the tags still on. That's brazen! I remember hearing my mom say to her that I had told her the babysitter was a thief but she hadn't believed me. What she had tried to take fom my mom was small and insignificant, but the other lady lost actual valuables.

So NO, don't recommend her to anybody after having caught her stealing ANYTHING.

I forgot my moniker said...

Jacqui, I agree with most of what you said however I don't see how OP could now recommend this person to others. She was just caught stealing.

Mom I totally agree with your post. An excuse is an excuses is an excuse.

mom said...

PS That frined who the police told to go pawn shopping for her own jewelery...I had recommended those housekeepers to her! She was really mad when I told her, after she had lost family heirlooms, that I had fired that housekeeper months before for keeping the bonus and said nothing to warn her. I said I hadn't thought she was an actiual thief...but in reality that's what she had been to keep her mom's money. And she was an inherently dishonest person. I should have warned my friends and neighbors...but I had passed it off in my mind as a fairly petty incident.

Puhleeze said...

Being unemployed does not make someone a loser, especially right now when companies are laying people off regularly. Whether or not they are married is irrelevant--they have decided to create a home together and are living as a family. The nanny and her boyfriend have decided to accept responsibility for each other as legally consenting adults sometimes do.

I agree, it's probably not in your best interests to take her cause upon yourself, but rather to refer her to appropriate places for food assistance (food banks, food stamps, cheaper grocery stores, etc.) and to make sure the wages and hours are fair and reasonable for where you live. Perhaps you can provide lunch and (reasonable) snacks for her when she is working, if you don't already.

If you don't feel that you can trust her implicitly in the future, it's best to sever ties. There is no worse feeling than having something serious happen and second guessing yourself because you decided to overlook something in the past. When children are involved, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

If you do feel that you can trust her again, be sure to spell out, preferably in writing, the consequences for any further incidents (i.e. theft will result in immediate dismissal without severence). Everyone makes mistakes and her situation may truly be that dire. Trust your gut--deep down you know what needs to be done, be brave and do it. Wishing you the best!

seattle said...

just because her boyfriend is on unemployment does not mean he is a deadbeat trying to make his girlfriend support him.

you dont know anything else other than "my boyfriend is collecting unemployment". she didnt say why, or how long, or whether he was looking for a job, or ANYTHING.

so stop assuming. in this economy you should be thanking your lucky stars you HAVE a job. and if you don't, you should be so lucky to be able to collect unemployment.

what if he got laid off two weeks or even just a month ago? you DONT KNOW.

i bet you DO know at least ONE friend/family member/aquaintence that is collecting unemployment. and you dont seem to think THEY are deadbeat. probably because you know their situation better and know they are TRYING to find a job in this tough economy.

what about the IT tech who gets laid off? sure, mcdonalds might be hiring, but have you ever heard of being OVER qualified for a job? they are going to pick the 19 year old with 3 years fast food experience over the IT tech with NONE who is overqualifed and undertrained in the field.

so... shut up if you don't truly know what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phoenix said...

Poor thing... you handled it very well. She was obviously embarrassed. I aplaud you, we all need help in desperate times. Where I used to give 3 dollars to a homeless guy, I will now hand out a $20 to a guy that looks like should be working and just lost his job. Even though we don't have much we have more than most people. I think you should talk to her, tell her not to worry, and you will help when you can as long as it doesn't put your family in harms way. Pay if forward, one day she may be able to help someone less fortunate. you are a good person for not overracting. i am curious as to the outcome.

mom said...

"Whether or not they are married is irrelevant--they have decided to create a home together and are living as a family. The nanny and her boyfriend have decided to accept responsibility for each other as legally consenting adults sometimes do."

Well, I have to say I disagree with this paragraph. Especially the part about them taking responsibility for themselves as legally consenting adults sometimes do. Since when is it taking responsibility for onesself or each other when one is stealing to do it?

I know a woman quite well who used to steal to feed, diaper, etc. her baby. I could kind of understand..you know, doing whatever she had to do to feed her baby...what mom wouldn't for their kid in an emergency...except the tells the stories about how she would load up her diaper bag at the grocery store with such pride and self satisfaction (like she was perfectly entitled and f*** the store and society too) that it makes my skin crawl. Sometimes people do that out of despertaion...but it doesn't make it right, and its certainly nothing to be proud of.

i forgot my moniker, too said...

Well, I think it will be ackward for now on. She should have told you something, asked for your opinion, not just steal food from you. That's wrong. I am, sometimes, super hungry at work, since I only work part-time and I am making half of what I used to make but if my boss is ok with that, I only eat there and that's it. I don't take anything home. And when they offer something to take home I am mortified.
I don't think you should fire her but I don't think you have to pay for her food either. The amount you pay her should be enough and it's not your fault that she has a loser lazy boyfriend.
What you could do is find a part-time family for her to work to when you don't need her so she could make extra money. But taking you food and your children food without asking is wrong.

Disgusted and Apalled said...

i forgot my moniker too--

I hope you lose your job and have to collect unemployment and that your children and your family (hopefully you don't have any) suffer because you are ridiculous. a loser? really?

"seattle" is absolutely right. There is no reason for such comments about her "loser, deadbeat boyfriend". There is no reason to suspect he is lazy and is trying to live off of his girlfriend.

You disgust me and deserve a taste of your own medicine.

fox in socks said...

OP, I think you were very kind in your response to your nanny's actions on the spot.

This is a tough situation. On the one hand, I feel that if she really is a trusted friend/employee, that there is no harm in giving her a bag of groceries a week as a bonus to help her through the tough times. This will help in more ways than you can ever imagine.

On the other hand, I do feel that her stealing food and who knows what else means that you cannot trust her. THere is another dimension to this stealing.

Nannies or household help generally have lots of opportunity to steal. They do so not only to gain the value of the item for themselves, (which is obvious) but also because it gives them a feeling of being one-up on you, or getting over on you, in a situation in which they feel is unfair, or unfairly imbalanced. In other words, they may feel it's unfair that you are so rich and they are so poor (regardless of how true in reality this may or may not be) and one thing that makes them feel better, that "levels the playing field" a bit is to steal things and get away with it.

This is a bit hard to explain but I hope you can get my drift.

Anyway, in conclusion, I would say that when it comes to children and trusting your caretaker 100%, it is difficult to say whether you can really feel that way about your nanny now. You are the only person who is really in a position to judge that.

I hope you will let us know what happens. It's always so much more interesting when people repost and let us know what happens!

worlds best nanny said...

A few years ago, okay more than a few years ago, I was bagging groceries, making $175 weekly, take home. Hubby was on disability and getting $1300 monthly. He is blind.
He paid the rent, phone, lights, cable, heat, car insurance, and our few credit cards. My $175 bought the food. We had no extras. Basic cable, no cell phones, and we went no where and did nothing. Stealing food ( I was working in a grocery store!) would've been like taking candy from a baby, but I didn't do it. I didn't want to lose my job over a $1.50 jar of peanut butter.
{Pause}Now come the flames about me stealing from my current employers!{Pause}
Now that that's done. Help her find a food bank. If you are making dinner and you got some leftovers wrap them up for her.
I only hope her boyfriend isn't spending all his $$ on beer or drugs!

HTAFFFTT said...

As someone who has been providing financial support as well as a home for a sibling who had cancer, lost everything including pride, I can damn well call you a bitch too Mom. Not only does she find she's over qualified but most people in the blue color and retail or food industry are intimidated by her degree. She finds small contract jobs that dry up after a few days here and there. Neither of the Moms have clue.

Village said...

She needs to get rid of the loser boyfriend. I couldn't agree more with ericsmom...It going to be difficult to help her if the boyfriend is sucking her dry.

OR The economy is contracting, and it is hard to find a job. Maybe he was laid off and can't find a job. Do they qualify for food stamps?

And keep in mind, common law for thousands of years has made allowance for the theft of food if the thief is hungry. Taking to eat is not considered the same as stealing for profit. I'd remind her of that as I talked to her.

We have come to the point in America where the working poor cannot feed themselves. Something is wrong.

mom said...

HTAAAFT..I'm sorry you're so bitter, dear.
It must feel really bad.

D&A said...


im sorry you grew up with a cushioned life and never had to actually work or depend on anything.

at least, thats the kind of bitch you sound like. i pity your children.


go back to your village. as the old saying says, i think they're missing their idiot.

Village said...

Could you be any more rude?

What did I say? I said either or.

D&A said...

i could be more rude. consider yourself lucky.

D&A said...

Regardless of what you THINK you said, this is WHAT you said:

"She needs to get rid of the loser boyfriend. I couldn't agree more with ericsmom...It going to be difficult to help her if the boyfriend is sucking her dry."

And i take considerable offense to that, and every other person who has called him a lazy deadbeat.

Village said...

And then I said OR and presently the opposite scenario.

I don't think what I am writing is your problem.

Wicker Park Nanny said...

[I'm not reading through all these comments, forgive me if I repeat]

Have you ever seen Aladdin? Sometimes we do things that are against our moral standards to survive.

The Facts
a. what she did was wrong.
b. you cannot afford to "help" her.
c. you sympathize with her.

Your Options:
- have resources for local food pantry's
- give her the website for government aid (her bf can file for it)
- Make it clear that you will NOT accept this sort of thing in the future, because you're right, it can't continue.

I respect you for sympathizing for her, but also understand your need to put a stop to future pantry raids. Do what you feel comfortable doing - and I don't think you are wanting to fire her. Besides ... shouldn't someone get at least 3 warnings before being fired?

seattle said...

wicker park nanny-- i think you said it best!

though, in some instances, you don't get 3 warnings before getting fired. it depends on the occurrence, i believe. for example-- if you work for a large company, leaking proprietary information is a huge nono. using customer information to your benefit, another nono. or abuse of a child, instant seperation. you don't typically get warnings in those situations.

i think with stealing it depends. she is obviously in a tough spot, they're eating RAMEN for gods sake.

its not excusable, even when desperate, but she's not stealing to "get back" at her employer or stealing valuable goods (jewelery, etc). she's stealing food.

kc said...

Sorry to be rude but everyone on here who thinks he can just "get a job," just like that, can stick their uninformed opinions up their asses. My husband was laid off and has been out of work for 3 months. He applies for new jobs every day and although times are tough, thank God I have a good job and we don't have to collect unemployment. Please think twice before you GENERALIZE.

What KC said said...

I couldn't agree more KC. They're just "moms" after all, what do they know about working outside the home? Jack crap little.

jenny said...

My friend, a court stenographer, who used to make 60K plus a year is now working at the local Walgreens. Walgreens is hiring. People are hiring. You just have to swallow your pride.

on unemployment said...

The people who suggest that the boyfriend should get a fast-food job (assuming he can find one!) are forgetting something. If he gets a job that pays less than his weekly unemployment check, then the state will simply deduct the amount of his paycheck from the unemployment check he receives. So essentially he'll be working for free. Add in the cost of transportation, keeping a uniform clean, etc. and he'll actually be PAYING to flip burgers. So unless he can either find a way to work under the table (doing yard work, etc.) or find a job that pays more than his weekly unemployment benefit, it behooves him to devote his subsidized weeks to looking for a well-paid job, which I hope he is doing.

mom said...

D&A said,
I'm starting to think you must actually be the deadbeat boyfriend.
Just because you think somebody MAY have more money than you does not automatically make them a bitch...but your automatically characterizing them as such does make you one. And it makes you sound really bitter and unattractive.


And, sure, there are exceptions to that. If we had had to go from a lawyer's salary to a Walgreens salary all of a sudden when we were starting out(as many are having to do right now for reasons totally beyond their control), we may well have lost our first house. I can't say for sure what choice we would have made if unemployment paid more than working at Walgreens, but I don't think either would have been the wrong choice for us. We have paid into SSI, etc for years and years, and if we started collecting now and collected for the rest of our lives, we would never get it all back...so I'd have no qualms about taking it. On the other hand, we are the kind of people who might feel better about working at any job we could than not. I'm sure it would have been a tough decision either way for us. probably would have come down to what we thought was best for the kids at the time.

I can say that we have been careful enough with our finances for years and years now that we could probably actually get by on a pair of Walgreens salaries. But that is truly a benefit of being a bit older and having had the time to save and plan.

Frustrated said...


In my town hundreds of people apply for jobs at places like Walgreens, or Safeway, or Starbucks. I'm not exaggerating. Even jobs that require "swallowing pride" are incredibly hard to get. Unemployment is in double digits in many places. There are not jobs everywhere, despite your friend's ability to get a job at Walgreens.

mom said...

Probably depends where you are from. Kids are getting these kinds of jobs all around me in Dallas.

Sadly, the hard jobs to get are the ones that people have taken the time to educate themselves for in order to make a good life for themselves. Send out those resumes in droves, but work anywhere you can in between interviews. The job market for good paying jobs stinks out there.

Frustrated said...


Of course it depends where you are. In Dallas the unemployment rate is just less than 7%. Where I live it's almost 11%. Every job out here is a hard job to get, not just the jobs of educated professionals. It's frustrating to hear people suggest that the unemployed just buck-up and take low wage jobs, because those jobs aren't widely available.

cali mom said...

Got as far as mom's post and had to chime in.

Bonehead minimum wage jobs are not simply there for the taking. 100's of people are applying for every single one. In this crap economy, I think it's unreasonable to jump to the conclusion that because someone is collecting unemployment, they are a lazy deadbeat. Depending on your salary and steady employment history, unemployment can pay more than minimum wage, so why would you take a pay cut by beating your head against a brick wall chasing after "jobs" that pay you less than an unemployment benefit?

Also, I do agree with MM. It's not as if they are both unemployed. A childless couple, with one person working FT and one person collecting unemployment, should not have to steal to keep from starving. I'm willing to bet they are just immature and irresponsible with money, and could cut back here and there to keep afloat without stealing. maybe the guy really IS a deadbeta loser, we don't know, but you can't conclude that just because he's unemployed.

cali mom said...

OK, caught up. On unemployment and Seattle have it exactly right. A 30 year old professional cannot simply walk into a restaurant and offer to wash dishes for a free meal or announce that they are now ready to "swallow their pride" and accept a dishwashing job. They'll be handed an application to fill out, which will be added to the stack of 100's of applications on file for the next dishwashing job that opens up. I am just amazed at the simplistic "go get a job" attitude being displayed here.

Jenny, you know a person who works at WalMart. That is relevant to the 10%+ unemployment rate in California exactly how?

cali mom said...

Sorry, Walgreens, not WalMart.

Love my Top Ramen said...

OP, I understand your being on the fence about not trusting your nanny now. If I were you, I would feel the same way in spite of her tears and how she does not have enough money for food. You will always wonder deep inside...if she faces tougher times ahead, will she resort to raiding my jewelry box?
I sympathize w/this nanny and being hungry can sure make one do desperate things such as steal. However, I think it would have been a better choice for her to just suck up her pride and tell you her situation. If I were her, I would just ask you if you had any extra food that you could spare since me and my BF only had top ramen to eat. (By the way, off the subject, I am 40 yrs old and have been eating top ramen since I was like 6)! Even if I were a millionare, I would still buy it and eat it every day!! It's cheap, delicious and the broth soothes my soul!! But anyway....she should not have stolen from you. Now the trust is broken and it is up to you OP if you have the time and patience it will take to regain it.
Yes, please tell us what you plan on doing.

oh well said...

I am sorry for you, OP, I really am. I think the basic question is, do you feel that you can still trust her?
What really amazes me is why she did not talk to you
if you have known each other for two years. Something doesn't feel right. I too think there could be some issues with the boyfriend. Can you sit her down and try to understand what is going on?Thoughts and prayers, OP. Please let us know what happened.

mom said...

I guess I shouldn't have generalized. Obviously things are a little different depending n where you live. California seems to always be the worst...why is that?
But here I am pretty confident I could go out today and have some sort of low paying job by the time my husband got home from work. I said a week in my earlier post just to be really certain it could be done. Maybe that's not the case everywhere else. Gulp.

Come to Dallas y'all. I guess we're not AS bad off as many other places. Helping that is the fact that housing is dirt cheap compared to the rest of the country.

Frustrated said...

mom, I imagine you're just trying to be nice here, but suggesting that unemployed people relocate to Dallas to find minimum wage jobs sounds very "let them eat cake."

mom said...

Good grief! You seem quite determined to remain FRUSTRATED. Now really...REALLY...do you think I seriously thought...or anybody seriously considered...coming to Dallas because a stranger on a blog made a silly comment? I was actually trying to make light of my earlier gaff in thinking all parts of the country had been affected similarly. As they say, the internet is a bad place to make jokes where inflection is needed.
So Lighten up already.

So many people seem to be looking for somebody to blame or somebody to take this situation out on. That's understandable, I suppose, because these are very frustrating economic times for most everybody and nobody knows where to point the finger...which seems to be human nature, needing to point a finger.
But if you're going to be wound up so tight that every little thing seems like a dig against you, nobody is going to be able to say anything without setting you off.

It does none of us any good to sit around like Eyeore wagging our noses at the ground and moaning...or lashing out at every person who comes along and says something we can possibly manage to twist into an insult in our minds. Keep living and try to look for the bright spots in life. Sometimes that's just what we have to do to find happiness when everything else seems to be in the toilet.

Frustrated said...

Cool. I guess I find the situation less funny than you do.

Have a good time at your pity party said...

You've earned it.

D said...

Had to chime in as both a former waitress and a former HR manager. In HR, we almost never hired overqualified people for entry level jobs. THey usually were bored by the work and had trouble subordianting themselves.

Very few restaurants will hire people with no food service experience. Why spend 2 weeks training someone to wait tables when you can hire an old pro who will be able to take tables after spending a shift learning the computer system and the table numbers?

Wicker Park Nanny said...

As far as all this unemployment discussion goes the rate in Michigan is 12%! My dad has struggled finding and retaining jobs since I was 15 years old (9 years now). Some areas have been struggling with unemployment for YEARS, not just months since this recession got under way.

I was also unemployed, twice, and applied for every job imaginable! ... Even the low wage, lowering your pride jobs are getting hundreds of applicants per open position.

It's just tough out there and I don't think it is right to make judgement calls about the bf. And for those who say she needs to kick him out, you know nothing about their relationship! For all we know he could have been the one supporting her before he lost his job.

Janet English said...

This is tough. What she did was wrong but I would have mercy too. She is surely terrified to lose her job too after this so maybe cut her slack this once.
Give her some soup kitchen information or some help center information. Can you perhaps spare her a 5 pound pack of meat a week for a few months- from walmart or somewhere cheap? Maybe some $3 pasta sauce?

She obviously does not expect a raise- so maybe she knows the situation. I think it is mean to say her husband or boyfriend is a loser for not having a job in todays economy. Even Wharton grads are having a hard time- does that make them a loser too?

I feel bad for the nanny.. she stole, yes stole a tub of peanut butter because she's prob craving something filling and some protein from eating noodles.Don't fire her this time. If it happens again, maybe get a nanny cam to make sure all is OK if you have doubts/to be safe and see what happens.

Or can you recommend her to a wealthy friend who pays better?/ Can afford more?

Stina said...

Oof. Peanut Butter. Its what I eat when I am hungry but my charges are not. Its the cheapest, most filling, highly nutritious, AND least popular item in their kitchen.

While I am getting help from Angel Ministries and the years of hoarding by my extended family, others are not so lucky.

Ask if she would like to go over her finances with you, if she needed the car to drive to a cheaper grocery store, if she would accept leftovers.

I think she was deeply ashamed and guilty... which is good. That means she doesn't feel entitled to that jar of peanut butter. You do need to clear the air, restore the trust.

SandM said...

OP what happened?? Please update us!

CrankyBK said...

Firing her would be like something out of Les Miserables. I mean, she's stealing FOOD, right?

I'd try and learn more about her situation and see if there's anything you can do to help. After all, she cares for your kids, you must care for her, as much as you can.

Out of Touch Moms said...

For everyone who thinks it's so easy, just for fun (MOMS) take your well educated selves out this upcoming week and try to get an entry level job - I am 99% sure you won't be able to.

I am university educated and have been turned down by McDonald's! And others. With a solid work history. Why? They ARE hiring, but they look at you funny like why do you want to work here, and they think you won't be able to inter-mingle with the other employees (yes I was told that). Maybe they are afraid people will quit easier, because they will find a "good job", or maybe they think you won't work as hard... but it is not as easy as you Moms seem to think.. you are out of touch with reality.

And how judgemental of you to assume he's a deadbeat! Maybe he's seasonally unemployed (in my state we have thousands of people like that), maybe he was recently laid off.... but to go into a tirade about girls being taken advantage of... go back to Maury on Monday for all that.

WTF? said...

The issue is NOT the economy.
The issue is NOT the boyfriend.
The issues is NOT how difficult it is or isn't to get a job.
The issue is NOT what the nanny stole.
The issue is NOT how little money the nanny has nor how tough times are in her house.
The issue is NOT who on ISYN is "bitter" or "rude."

The nanny stole. She should be fired immediately. Replace her with someone honest who will grateful to have a good job with kind employers in this crappy economy.

fox in socks said...

OP, how about an update? We are all eager to hear how things are turning out.

cali mom said...

Just thinking about jobs and the economy and I remembered the news article you've all probably heard, or maybe not, about the school district in Ohio that advertised a janitorial opening. Yes, janitorial. (Scrubbing toilets). They got 700 applications. So much for the fantasy that if you really "want" to work you can lower your standards and get a low-wage job just for a while.

seattle said...

on OP's update:

when you say "i was willing to give her a second chance", were you referring to the fact that you didn't fire her on the spot and tried to make it work, or were you planning on seeing if you could make it work with her during the lunch, or what?

honestly, yes it was rude she told you last minute she couldnt go... but put yourself in her shoes. she stole from you, got fired, and now she has to tell your children who she loves and cares about that she isn't going to be their nanny anymore.

that is not something easy to do.

i highly HIGHLY doubt her intentions were to "stomp on your children's feelings".

i'm glad that you trusted your gut feeling in firing her, and i know its hard for you and her family and her actions (the stealing, not the not showing up) were not excusable, but try not to hold a grudge.

Nanny in San Diego said...

Yes, I do not think the reason that she did not show up for lunch w/you and your children is because she probably (and understandably) felt torn at the last minute. Torn because having to say Good-bye to the kids who she has grown attached to and they obviously to her, she probably didn't think she could go through that along w/losing her job. It's a lot to swallow.
I do understand the trust issue, however. I would just either email or text her, or you can leave a voice message on her phone. Let her know you regret what occurred and how things ended, however you appreciate the care she provided for your family and wanted her to know that you do not hold any type of grudge. It is what it is. Wish her luck in the future, (I am pretty sure she learned a good hard lesson from this experience, trust me!!) and leave it at that. But please, do not be too angry w/her. Yeah, she did not do such a great thing w/stealing, and stealing is stealing....no argument here....but try not to let it make you bitter. She is paying a big price for her dumb act and I am sure now that both her and BF are out of work, she will feel worse if she knows you are angry w/her. Forgive her, but let her move on. I do not get the impression that she is a bad person in general for some reason. Just a gut feeling, I guess.

twinkiesmom said...

I don't have a problem with anything you said or did until:
"I was willing to try to give her a second chance and yet she decided to stomp on my children's feelings."

This is someone you fired....someone who was struggling to survive while working for you. You don't get to expect emotional closure after firing someone. It's over.

fox in socks said...

I think the last few commenters are being a bit hard on the OP. Of course OP is going to be disappointed that nanny didn't show for the lunch. OP is experiencing a huge loss too. (Of course nanny is as well!) It is very reasonable that OP feels like nanny stomped on her children's feelings. She did do this, although it may be out of her own weakness and bad acts, but she still did do it. OP is understandably upset that her children will have to experience a great loss due to this nanny's behavior.

OP, I think you said the right things to your children about nanny and why she is no longer going to be coming to your house. Keep saying these things and remember not to get too hung up on things. You will see your children flourish with your own care, and with your new nanny's care.

You might also find it helpful to put it in perspective for the kids by explaining that nannies might come and go but mommy, daddy, sister, grandma, etc. will always be there for you because they are your family.

Thanks for reposting, OP!!

gabriela said...

I am quite honestly appalled at the author's actions. How completely heartless.

Food, people. Chips. Peanut butter.

It is NOT the same as stealing and pawning your Rolex or whatever. And the nanny was with you for two years? Shame on you for being so cold to another person.

Flame away folks.

needsajob said...

where do you live? :P

You Can't Have Everything. said...

You went with your gut, so trust that. Don't, however, be too hard on her for not showing up. From her point of view, it's like salt in the wound. She's in a tight position, made a bad decision and lost her job over a stupid jar of peanut butter because she was hungry. Saying goodbye was just more than she could do. Just accept it and move on.

ammo said...

Sometimes it is best to put ourselves in someone else's shoes before we walk out of their lives. With all of the nanny horror stories we hear, it amazes me what some good nannies get fired for. I am saddened by your former nanny's position, and leaving her unemployed with one week's severance is putting her in an even more desperate situation. If she was a great nanny and loyal for two years, as you've stated, than it goes to show how little you truly appreciate and value her as a human being. Let's hope you never find yourself facing similar problems. Strike that, it may evoke a little understanding if you do.

nannyjn said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with your decision to fire her. You have to go with your gut instinct and if you honestly believed you couldn't trust her anymore then very little could be done. It's a sad situation and while yes it is quite different to be stealing minor food items as opposed to jewelry or money, she did steal from you regardless. She had the choice to swallow her pride and come to you for help and she did not. Should she have been given a second chance? I don't know, only you could make that decision and you no longer felt comfortable after the incident so it's understandable.

However I do think you are being too harsh on her for not showing up to the lunch. She was caught stealing food from someone she works for, which I'm sure was probably one of the most humiliating experiences in her life and she was then fired for that mistake. She is no doubt incredibly upset at this moment. I can't say for sure I would be able to face my employers after such an event either.

You say you were going to offer a second chance but did you actually tell her that? From what it sounds like you talked to her and asked her to say goodbye to the children which she is no doubt attached to and I'm guessing she found the situation very hard to do. Of course the right thing to do would be for her to say goodbye to the children but try and understand from her point-of-view. For her it would've probably been a huge tear fest saying goodbye to the children she's taken care of for the past 2 years and a humiliating last confrontation with the employer who caught her stealing.

kc said...

You weren't trying to give her a second chance. You were only trying to spare your children's feelings. While that's entirely necessary and admireble, don't pretend you were trying to do her a favor.

DenverNanny said...

First of all, since when does being so hungry you'd steal peanut butter mean you'll sink low enough to steal jewelry from employers? Yes, it was wrong. No, I don't think it's grounds for firing a "wonderful" nanny you've had for 2 years. She obviously felt horrible about and repeatedly offered to put it back.
Second, I can't really blame her for cancelling... It breaks my heart whenever I have to leave a family PLUS you fired her because she stole a $2 jar of peanut butter! Then you spoke with her, she thought the issue was settled, and then called on her day off to fire her over the phone...what did you expect to happen?

If you really wanted to avoid "stomping" on your children's emotions, maybe you should have handled the situation differently.

macaroniandcheese said...

Your nanny shouldn't have stolen the peanut butter but I can't blame her for not going to that lunch. That lunch was a favour FOR you (not her) and frankly, she has a hundred more important things to worry about at the moment. Frankly, you have already fired her and there's nothing for her to gain- you've already done the worst thing possible an employer can threaten with (firing).

Also, as a human being, seriously who would want to go for lunch with someone who just fired them?! As if life doesn't suck enough at the moment already ;)

gimmeabreak said...

Wait. You had to leave a meeting of the two of you with no second thoughts. She had something come up and couldn't make it to the meeting, and it's stomping on your children's feeling? Gimme a break. Sounds like you were a bad employer anyway.

oh well said...

You fire her then invite her for lunch so that she can say goodbye? That doesn't make much sense to me.
Your children will survive.

xfileluv said...

I don't understand the "second chance" thing. You said you talked and told her everything was fine. Then you called her two days later to say you changed your mind and fired her. You invited her to lunch so she give your KIDS closure. She realized at the last minute that she couldn't face all of it (you, the firing, the stealing, saying good-bye to children she loved and she knew loeved her). What do you think she owed you at that point? And how were you offering her a second chance in any of that? I feel like I'm missing something.

Village said...

I don't get the second chance either. The mother fired the nanny with no notice, and offered one week's severance if she met the mother and children for lunch.

Maybe it's just me, but who knows if the check would even be good.

I think this nanny is better off with another job, maybe one that pays well enough to feed her.

ATL Nanny said...

First of all, I believe that your were 100% within your rights to fire her. It's not just a matter of "stealing is stealing" -- the fact of the matter is that she betrayed your trust and exhibited poor judgment. Both of which are firing offenses, imo.

That said, I don't see how you can be surprised -- let alone offended -- that she didn't want to have lunch with you after she was fired. Once you've fired her, she doesn't owe you any time or favors. The girl was already destitute and now she's unemployed. It would be hard enough for her to find a job in this economy without taking into account the fact that she now has a two-year hole in her resume since I'm assuming you won't be providing her with a reference. I can only imagine that she spent the weekend (a) sick with regret and self-loathing and (b) desperately scrambling for any job that will hire her. I don't see where lunch with you fits into that schedule.

I understand that you wanted closure for your children, but they will survive without it. You can't seriously expect her to be doing you favors at this point, can you? Especially the favor of sitting through a long, painful UNPAID goodbye when she certainly has much bigger issues to address at the moment.

And for the record, you certainly were not "willing to give her a second chance". By your own account, she was a loyal, loving nanny for two years and you fired her for stealing a jar of peanut butter. You delayed her firing for a few days while you mulled over the situation, but the firing was still due to the original offense not a second screw up. You had every right to do so, but you didn't give her a second chance, and you shouldn't act like she owed you any favors after the fact.

Anonymous said...
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Bee'sKnees said...

It is hard to decide how to feel without more information.

I would probably not feel completely comfortable with someone in my home who I knew was capable of stealing. I probably would have sat down with her and helped her find some appropriate community resources before letting her go, but I don't think OP was out of line for firing her.

I would like more knowledge about the boyfriend. If he really is just someone down on their luck then I would let the peanut butter incident slide, but if he was kind of a loser before losing his job I would fire the nanny.

I have gotten caught up in several grossly dramatic and draining situations by helping someone who had no intentions of helping themselves...except through the hard work of other people.

sportychick92708 said...

you FIRED her because of that. You said you were willing to give her another chance, however, you were ok with it until friday afternoon and then fired her. thats not cool. Then Sunday she texted and said she couldnt make it, i dont blame her one bit. You made it hard on her by NOT doing it right away if you were going to fire her.

glamnan said...


I'm feeling a bit bad for you at the moment. You have all these posts above telling you to fire the nanny because she is a thief. Give someone else in this economy who is is honest a shot at working for you etc.. THEN you give us an update and everyone is flaming your ass for firing her. These are now saying how sad it is you fired her after taking some peanut butter. EEK! I would hate to be in your position right now. I don't know every detail of your situation so I'm not going to tell you if what you did was the right or wrong thing. Just wanted to let you know that as another human being who makes mistakes I feel for you. Also go easy on the nanny now that she's been fired. Sounds like a tough situation to be in for all of you.

a time for understanding said...

I just read your update. What do you say? You say you are incredibly ashamed of yourself. I am an incredibly honest person. I don't keep it when I am given more change than I deserve; I pass along any money I find on the street to homeless people. I live from paycheck to paycheck, and, there by the grace of God stands me with my own peanut butter in my hand. But the economy is rough. When someone who serves us so well in other ways makes an error...to eat...we react with compassion and love. We see it as a call for help, not some horrible action that leads to being fired. I'm so disappointed, and I wouldn't have shown up either. The economy is calling for greater forgiveness and understanding. it is a time to review our internal values.

seattle said...


the boyfriend has nothing to do with this, im sorry.

he is on unemployment because he lost his job. thats what we know, thats all that we need to know about the boyfriend.

NANNY stole because NANNY was hungry and for whatever reason, NANNY cannot afford food. we don't know what other bills nanny has to pay. credit card debt, car payments, cell phone bill, maybe she is helping to support her parents or family during tough times--we have NO IDEA nor do we need to have any idea.

the CURRENT ISSUE is that OP is angry feeling as though nanny stomped on her children's feelings and feels betrayed. OP is so wrapped up in their own and their childrens feelings to think about how nanny might feel about this. in an emotionally stressful situation like this-- it DOES make sense that OP is looking out for her own and has not yet had time to reflect on how nanny is feeling because her own anger is still fuming.

i really do feel like OP is a good person at heart and will later on down the road realize how nanny must have felt during all of this.

but when something so emotionally stressful happens to you-- NOBODY is quick to feel for the opposing side. it is very human to feel angry and betrayed as OP is feeling right now.

its easy to point the finger at OP and call her heartless and mean for firing nanny after she stole only food (a necessity to live), but as someone else had brought up at one point: when people get DESPERATE, they do unthinkable things. and you CANNOT RULE OUT that nanny would not have been so desperate to steal jewelery if she already stole food.

so, give OP a break, she's only human, and OP: take some time later on to put your own feelings aside and think about how nanny has felt during this whole thing.

sorry for the long post.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I do NOT condone the Nanny stealing the peanut butter, but I have to admit I'm a little confused. Friday night you were a wreck, so you decided to call her Saturday to fire her and asked her to meet you for lunch on Sunday. At what moment during those few hours had you decided you would give her a 2nd chance? Were you regretting that you fired her?

Try to put yourself in her shoes. She just went through a spiral of emotions. She was humiliated at being caught.. then she thought she was forgiven and all was well.. then you call her a couple of days later to fire her. Can you imagine the emotional condition she must have been in? And I'm quite sure seeing your kids and saying goodbye was just too much for her to take.

This is just me.. but I kind of feel bad for your Nanny.

NorCal Mom said...

I don't feel sorry for you or your kids AT ALL. I feel sorry for the nanny whose life just went from bad to worse. This was certainly not a cut and dried situation, but you had way more options available to you than she did. You handled your end of things with a lack of grace. You have no right to feel wronged at this point.

It might serve you well to reflect on the idea of compassion, with the goal being to cultivate some for yourself. I hope you get a little reminder of this every time you eat peanut butter in the future.

Philly Nanny said...


no one seems to be blaming the OP for firing her, or even for taking a few days to figure out that that's what she needed to do. It's the fact that the mom claimed she gave the nanny a second chance when she obviously did not, and being pissed that the nanny wouldn't come back to spend unpaid time with the kids.

I'm sure it's rough for both sides, but once you end a working relationship you no longer have the right to expect anything from your former employee. Both of them agreed to something (a second chance and a lunch) and then decided soon after that they didn't feel comfortable with it.

Perhaps the mom should be honest with her kids about why she had to let the nanny go. Not badmouth her, but just explain that sometimes people do bad things when they are feeling desperate, etc. This would provide more closure than an awkward lunch where neither the nanny nor the mother can talk about what's really going on.

oh well said...

I agree with that. Nobody is blaming the OP for firing the nanny. But I guess everyone is a bit disgruntled with OP worrying about her lunch and her children when one more person out there, obviously in financial distress, has just lost their job. I really liked one of the posts above, which said the OP was still wrapped in her own feelings and could not yet see how the nanny must have felt. That seems a smart description of what must be going on.

Anonymous said...
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WTF? said...

OP, you 100% did the right thing. Please don't listen to any of the whiners and feel bad. All the comments about the nanny being "hungry" or "starving" are pure, unadulterated crap. She was employed and living with someone else who collects unemployment. Hell, our family of five has been surviving on one unemployment check since last August. I can't believe any sensible person would think the nanny should get to keep her job after stealing from her employers. I'm certain that wasn't the first time.

And OP, kudos to you for thinking about your childrens' feelings and at least attempting to let them say good-bye. I understand why the nanny didn't show, but it was still a bitch thing to do.

Best of luck finding a wonderful, new nanny.

I need a moniker said...

Two years of loyal service down the drain over a jar of peanut butter? Thats really callous and cruel... and if the kids loved her, you made an even worse decision. How are they going o adjust? Shame on you OP. Dont you have feelings for anyone outside of your immediate family? It was a jar of food to eat for crying out loud. I live in NY and employ a nanny, and you should feel guilty if you employ someone at a wage so low they couldnt afford to eat. And if the wage is reasonable, you shouldve tried to help this person somehow- after all she raised your kids while you were out working or doing whatever.

jojo bear said...

Some of these commenters are angry because you are concerned about the feelings of 2 children over one adult?

Are you people freaking crazy?

She offered to give the thieving nanny a week of severence. I don't doubt the nanny felt shameful and did not want to show up to lunch, just the same that does not make her the HERO of this story!

lalaloveisdead said...

You did NOT have any intention of giving her a second chance. You just are trying to justify your actions and get the last reaction by taunting her with the notion that if she had met you for the lunch then she may have been spared her job. I have a feeling that the anger you felt probably meant you vocalized it in her direction via text message or voicemail, informing her that bailing meant it was truly over.

Put yourself in her shoes. She did a wretched, wretched thing. I do NOT agree in any way with her actions. Stealing is not okay by any means. She knows and you know. But the time line of all this is just... mean.
You speak with her Thursday, though not as much as you'd have liked. She leaves Thursday and since you said nothing else, she probably thought you had made peace with it.
Friday: same thing.
Why didn't you talk to her again about it? Thursday AFTER you arrived home from work or on Friday before she left for the weekend? Or hell, ask her if just the two of you could meet on Saturday for lunch or coffee and you could talk to her then about it?

Firing her was your decision, if you felt that was the right thing to do then great. Doing it over the phone was pretty much the cowards way out if you ask me. She worked for you for quite some time and clearly had formed a bond with your children. Give her AND your children enough respect to at least fire her in person after you explain yourself and why.

She loves your kids. She clearly knew what she did was horribly wrong but after discussing it with you and being told to go back to work she probably thought that you were giving her a second chance. Then comes a phone call on Saturday saying she's fired. Saying yes to lunch was likely a shocked reaction.

She did your children a favor, to be honest. She probably knew there was no way she could make it through an entire lunch without falling apart completely. You cannot turn off emotion like that. She would much rather have your kids remember her as the amazing, fun, loving woman that cared for them.. Not the sobbing wreck that had to say goodbye after mom paid the check.

Be angry at her for stealing. DO NOT be angry with her for knowing that she would fall apart.

With our eceonmy the way it is, people are making bad decisions out of fear and worry. Her boyfriend is out of a job, it's a recession, money is tight for most. She was hugely relieved when you let her come back to work at all. Then... fired. In the last two months, I've had three people in my world kill themselves because they thought they had nothing left. They were terrified and in too deep so.. shot gun to the head, 200 sleeping pills and head in a gas oven later, they're gone. Not saying this will be her fate or anything, just simply saying let the anger go.

If there is no answer and you have yet to hear from her, ever think of being worried about her?

Janet English said...

OMG you are such a heartless bitch. How did you make this about you? She's the one with no food!

It's not like she took diamonds and gold. You told her to take it once you saw what she did. As if it was OK. Shame on you.

I think I get it said...

I think the second chance OP gave the nanny was not firing her on the spot. Or the day after. She tried to forgive her but couldn't trust her. So then she fired her. I think OP was trying to say *that* was her second chance. When reality she never really got that second chance. OP is saying "I wish I hadn't even considered giving her that second chance if I had known she wouldn't even say goodbye to the kids."

Kim said...

I have to agree you were cruel to this woman. You caught her. She wanted to put it back but you said to keep it. She probably spent the night a nervous wreck she was about to lose her job. Then you talk and say everything's okay. She's relieved. Then you fire her two days later over the phone. This poor nanny has been on an emotional roller coaster because of you.

If you wanted to fire her you should have done it Thursday. Waiting until Saturday was mean.

And you had no intention of giving her a second chance. I wouldn't have come and met you for lunch either. Your kids will get over it.

NorCal Mom said...

So, are you still going to give her the severance pay?

erosser said...

Janet English is dead on....she has no food, and you've made this all about you. I imagine she backed out because she realized how uncomfortable a lunch at your house would feel. Do you realize how embarrassed and ashamed she must feel, I don't think you have enough empathy for the woman. I hope at some point you will rise to the level of feeling which I hope you are capable of and send the woman her severance pay....how is going to buy food or make a rent payment...stop being angry with her and do the right thing

WTF? said...

Most of these posts are idiotic.

"oh, the poor thieving nanny!"

:::eye roll:::

you all are too much. Mostly nannies with this reaction too, I noticed. Here's a little clue for everyone since it's not crystal clear: Don't steal from your employer if you want to keep your job. Such a friggin' No Brainer.

The nanny deserved ZERO severance pay and she won't qualify for unemployment herself as she was fired for cause. Seriously, what a moron.

Let them eat cake said...

I can't believe you fired her over a jar of peanut butter. That is so extremely disgusting. Seems like a sin to me.....

Cry me a River said...

OK this is what I want to know. Why did the nanny wait until the Mom was home to steal the peanut butter? Why didn't she do it way earlier in the day when Mom wasn't around? Duh!

Also if someone fired me, after saying everything was forgiven, and then asked me to go to lunch just to do a favor for THEM, I would say fat chance and spend my afternoon going on interviews.

Also I'm sorry but I'm not feeling that bad for the kids. It's not like kids don't ever get over losing a nanny. Kids get attached to many adults during their lives who come and go, or just leave forever. Teachers, nannies, distant family members, neighbors, friends of family, parents of best friends, etc. Trust me, they will get over it.

cali mom said...

I agree with Ammo and Kim. Maybe she wasn't sure whether ot not OP was going to pay for the lunch she had been "invited" to after firing her, and after all, with her and her boyfriend both unemployed, who the hell has money to spare on lunch at a restaurant? I'd say the lesson she has learned from this is, no matter how much your employer of 2 years tells you you are "appreciated", "forgiven", "understood", etc, don't trust her.

Sorry OP, but you lied to her (told her you were sympathetic to her situation), then shat on her. What in the world makes you think you are entitled to any sort of emotional relief from your victim (i.e., ex-employee) after you've fired her on a whim? It was on a whim, because you said yourself that after telling her you understood, sympathized, blah blah, etc, you freaked out about it for no apparent reason and changed your mind about everything you had told her. Maybe at the time you told her all that nonsense, you thought you meant it, but you sound flaky, untrustworthy and like a complete bitch. I hope her next employer is better than you.

cali mom said...

lalaloveisdead, OMG, that is so sad. I'm so sorry...

Just another note on this whole "she stole peanut butter, how do you know she's not going to embezzle millions from you" nonsense. Police can't arrest someone for what they *might* do. OP can simply say she fired nanny for what nanny *did* (stole a jar of peanut butter), but it's ridiculous for OP or anyone to pretend it's OK to fire that nanny over what she *might* do in the future. It's just hysteria over the peanut butter. And I seriously can't get over OP whining about how hurt she thinks she and her family are when it's the nanny who now finds herself unemployed and deceived on a much larger scale than a measly jar of peanut butter. OP, if you wanted her to say goodbye to your kids, you should have waited until Monday afternoon to fire her in person. What on earth could have made you think she owed you ANYTHING after you fired her for this?

WTF? said...

This has turned in to the stupidest thread ever. I can't believe how many people are too dense to get that it's not about freakin' peanut butter, but about how the nanny violated the trust of the family she worked for by being a thief. oh, boo hoo. :::eye roll::: The nanny "shat" on the family, not vice versa.

fox in socks said...

WTF, I highly agree. It always occurred to me that it is strangely bold that the nanny went to pocket the food WHILE MOM WAS HOME. This shows a lot of balls, and definitely someone who has been at it a while. If she was in dire straits, with mom having come home, she could EASILY have said to mom, "You know what, I'm really stuck for tonight. Can I please take home a couple of things from your pantry? I won't have time to go to the store (whatever), am low on funds, and I really need to bring home a few staples. Would it be okay? I will be happy to repay you the items on Monday." SURELY any mom would say in this scenario, "Go ahead, and you don't have to repay me."

Her bold thievery even while mom was at home shows a lot.

I'm surprised everyone (mostly nannies) are expressing their absolute HORROR that OP is disappointed and fed up that nanny canceled the lunch at the last minute. Yeah, it would be hard for nanny to sit through such a lunch and also for her to hold it together for the kids, so a better choice would have been to have a short playdate at the park where nanny can just be with the kids to say goodbye, for say 15 mins to 1/2 hour, but still. It is not so difficult to understand that nanny acted deceitfully by not asking mom, while she was right there, if she could please take home some food. Who knows what else she has been doing.

OP, don't listen to all these critics!! It's ridiculous that you're being flamed for coming on here and giving us an update!! People, try to have a little compassion all the way around, please.

fox in socks said...

Sorry, that should be IS.

I'm surprised everyone (mostly nannies) IS expressing their absolute HORROR . . .

Anonymous said...
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I still need a moniker said...

You fired her and now she has to look for a new job. She doesn't have time to go to a stupid lunch to tell your kids that she isn't going to be their sitter anymore.
You did what you thought was right and she did what she thought it was right. I doubt she was trying to hurt your kids' feelings; she just didn't want to hurt hers anymore. Remember, you were okay at first and then changed your mind.

cali mom said...

I just can't get over how OP refused nanny's offer to give back the food, told her to keep it, told her she understood the dilemma, THEN turned on a dime and fired her. And still thinks she has some right to be insulted that the fired nanny doesn't want to hang out with her anymore. Boohoo, indeed.

Lindsey said...

Things are not always so cut and dry, or black and white. Stealing a jar of peanut butter (and I am sure there was more food taken)to feed your self is not, the same as stealing money for drugs, or stealing things to sell so you can shop and get your nails done.

Can you really compare a nanny taking food because she can't afford to eat, to a thug stealing a tv to sell for drugs?

Obviously the smart thing to do would have been to sit down and talk to her employer and ask for help. But hindsight is 20/20. She was embarressed and struggling. We all do stupid things when we are emotional. But I highly disagree with people saying a thief is a thief, or because she stole food she would steal anything.

OP I think you were wrong with what you did. You totally played mind games with her. You should have just fired her that day or the day you sat down and talked about it. Don't use your "emergency" at work as an excuse. We all make mistakes and the majority of people deserve a second chance. This wasn't some weekend babysitter. This was your nanny, who loved and cared for your children for 2 YEARS!! She was family! You were selfish and cruel, and you don't deserve another great nanny!

Me said...

OP, I guess you have never been in the nanny's position. In college, my mom decided to "teach me a lesson" after a fight, by emptying my bank account. (she was a cosignatory on the account since I opened it as a minor).

My parents made too much money for me to qualify for student loans, so I was 4 hours from home, with 0 money and no one to turn to. I was from a very wealthy family and so were my friends, and I just couldn't tell them.

My tuition was paid for the year, so I decided to stay. I sold everything except my bed and clothes, while I tried to find a job for 2 months. I found a job at a cafeteria which essentially paid my rent and my electric, and nothing else.

My boss approached me one day and asked me if I had enough to eat. I was too embarassed to answer, so he gave me a $20. Every week, I would find boxes of mac n cheese, or a bag of apples in my bookbag when I got home.

The cooks would add something extra to my "staff meal" of soup and salad. Seriously, I don't know what I would have done without their kindness. So while I understand you feel betrayed by your nanny, I wish you had given it more thought, and tried to figure out what was going on. If she was such a heartless thief, she would have gone about it in a much more calculating way.

Frustrated said...

I think the commented Me makes a good point. I don't think the fact that she stole while her employer was home suggests that she was a bold thief, as some people have commented. It seems more like it was an impulsive decision, not a calculated move.

lalaloveisdead said...

cali mom-

thank you. two of them were friends of mine and the other owned a local restaurant where I live, that was in the same building as mine. I thought his restaurant was doing well enough, he was not the type to off himself by any means. Or so we all thought. He just never showed to open the restaurant one day (which is NOT him, he owned and operated the whole place) and was found later that day by his best friend.

The other two are still just too fresh to try and hash out. Learning of them was just a huge blow to my body that I'm still trying to figure out and pull myself back up.

let the innocent cast stones said...

peanut butter.

she was wrong to take it, but peanut butter for christ's sake.

because no one ever took a pen or post-its home from the office.

busyestmom said...

this one is easy: fire her. if u don't, then expect the theft to escalate.

Double-edged sword said...

OP, I'm sorry people are criticizing you so harshly. I understand that even though it was only a jar of p.b, the incident really destroyed the trust you had built with your nanny over the past 2 years. You were within your right to fire her.
However, we are all responsible for our own actions. She took the peanut butter, and that's on her. But you fired her, and that's on you. At that point, you no longer have the right to expect anything from her. She was already in a difficult place financially and emotionally, so she probably wanted to say goodbye to your children, but realized she wouldn't be able to do it. She is not obligated to them anymore since you fired her. And yes, I'm sure she loves them, but this is, when you come down to it, a job (which you reinforce by firing her over the peanut butter- I doubt it would have played out the same with n actual "member of the family")

ebony said...

Who said it was just a jar of peanut butter? That is all the OP immediately noticed as being gone, but come on. My boss has a pantry that is 8X6. She has about 4 jars of peanut butter at any given time. If I wanted to take a backpack in there and fill it up, she would NEVER notice anything missing. Their cup runneth over. I am only saying some reason this nanny felt justified to take what she took, but I doubt it was just peanut butter.

OP is heartless said...

First, I don't condone stealing.

Second, I certainly hope this nanny DID steal something else like jewelry from you OP.

She's been with you for TWO YEARS! I've been in my position for TWO MONTHS and if something like this happened now with my employers we would have discussed it and they would keep me on, because we have that type of relationship.

I find you incredibly heartless. As far as for your children, you chose to fire the nanny, their pain is your fault.

Ugh. this disgusts me.
I wouldn't have even called to tell you I wasn't coming to your ridiculous "make me feel good" lunch.

fox in socks said...

Ebony is right. For some reason the nanny felt justified in pocketing peanut butter.

If all of you posters being so harsh on the OP were at a friend's house, not even at an employer's, would you just put a box of pasta into your tote bag when the friend walked out of the room??? If you did, would you then think it was wrong for the friend to think this was improper, and not like it???

I mean, who does this? No one. If you legitimately need something from a friend or employer, or even just an aquaintance, even if it's urgent, and the person is RIGHT THERE, the normal thing to do is just ASK. You don't just stuff things into your bag.


To "OP is heartless," you're the heartless one with such a moniker. You're kidding yourself if you think that anyone is going to keep you on, particularly only having been there 2 months, when the stuff you decide to pocket, while your employer is home, falls right out of your bag in front of your employer. That "your employers would discuss it and would keep you on" is a joke. They'd keep you on only until they find someone new to take your place, someone who understands and will be able to teach their children that civilized people don't just put things into their bags; we ask if we need something.

I agree said...

good point Fox

WTF? said...

Every one of the posts that starts with the words "I don't condoen stealing", goes on to CONDONE STEALING.

Kim said...

This isn't about the stealing anymore. After the update the outrage comes from the fact that the OP was in the wrong.

The nanny shouldn't have stolen. The OP had every right to fire her, and if Thursday morning she did, great, no problem.

But to tell her it's fine, everything is okay, then three days later fire her. That's wrong.
You don't tell someone they have a second chance, then rip it away because you don't like the decision you made.

And to expect a favor after doing so is ridiculous. Who would want to go to lunch with the person who put you through that much emotional stress?

ftw said...

STFU wtf - you're a certified loser. Go haunt another post. Stop coming back and repeating yourself. WE GET IT!

Helaine said...

If someone was certifiably starving an needed peanut butter for true sustinence, they would have showed up for a free lunch and a week's pay as the employer offered severence.

OP, your every move was right. You wanted to give her a chance and realized you were not comfortable.

A good nanny who truly cared about the children would want to say good bye to the children.

You know what I always say? Anyone who will steal from you a dime will take from you a dollar.

Just my two Cents said...

OP: I'm sorry so many are being so mean to you. I understand why you were not comfortable with your nanny any more. It is unfortunate that you thought you could not sort out your feelings instantaneously, but you are human. This came out of left field. Although this particular situation has never happended to me, I understand your feelings, desire to make things work only to find you really couldn't. You were expecting too much that the nanny could say goodbye so quickly and shouldn't be so angry about the lunch.

I think you are directing some of your understandable sadness, frustration and anger about a betrayal of trust and making more of her no show at the lunch than it actually is. I lost a nanny a while ago because her family needs no longer worked with our job, and althogh her departure was planned and expected, she still was not able to say goodbye to the kids right away.(We had agreed she would look, we would look and we would give each other at least 2 weeks notice should we find a replacement or she found another job and spend that 2 weeks helping the kids transition--As it was I didn't have the heart to seriously look until I knew she was actually going--it is hard to accept a someone so important to your family is not going to be there anymore). She asked me to tell the kids she was leaving and was willing to answer questions to a point, but would change the subject quickly with this kids--starting a game or joking around with them and asked that we did not do anything special her last day. It was a month after she left before she felt she could come and talk to the kids about leaving and say a full goodbye without crying. It is probably because the emotional attachment between a nanny and child IS so strong that so many nannys here are angry that you are not seeing the nanny's side.

Your nanny may have made a terrible mistake, but trust that you were not completely wrong about her. Take comfort in she is very attached to your children and as hard as it is on your kids, the separation is just as hard on her (if not harder since she has to live with the guilt of having carused it). Keep communication open, don't push, reassure your kids she loved them, let the nanny know she is welcome to come say goodbye when she is ready and focus on finding a good replacement.

Mary said...

To OP: you were right to fire her, no doubt. Also after 3 days. You can NEVER trust her again. It may have not been the most sensible thing you've done, but at least you tried.

To On unemployment: WHO is actually PAYING for boyfriend to work on a job that pays less than his unemployment benefit? Not him, he should be working and trying to keep on going and find a better job after the first one. Taxpayers, other actually hard working people are providing him with his benefits. If you GET unemplyment benefits, you did/do NOT WORK for it, if you can get a job and provide for yourself even if it is less than you would get without work you are not taking away anymore from others that can't work or can't find work.
This feeling of entitlement that a lot of people seem to be holding on to is just SHOCKING! Also the feeling that you can take from others because they have more than you is unacceptable. These people WORKED hard to get there, if not them their family did. You have NO RIGHT to take anything from them because you have less. You can ask for help. If pride keeps you from doing that that is your problem, not theirs. OP would have most likely send her home with a grocery bag every day /week had she known how tough the situation was.

mom said...

I think it's not so much about what nanny stole, but that she betrayed her employer's trust. after two years, and in such a close personal working situation as a nanny/employer usually have, it probably felt like a slap in the face to OP to find nanny taking ANYTHING from her.
The way I read this is that OP tried to rationalize that it was food and put the whole thing behind her...even tried to have a discussion with nanny to try and clear the air. ( I suspect this is what she means by trying to give her a second chance.) OP found after a few days that it was just gnawing at her too much that the trust had been broken and felt she had to end things.

That was her right. I don't think it was bitchy to wait three days. I think OP was trying to get over it and that's why she tried to salvage the situation and work pleasantly with nanny for a few days...until she realized that it was too uncomfortable for her. She wouldn't be in that position if nanny hadn't stolen in the first place.

I understand that she was in a bad position, being hungry...but stealing anything at all puts a person in a really precarious position with their employers and it can reasonable go either way when they are caught. OP decided to let her go.

That said, I can understand perfectly why nanny did not want to go to lunch. I think it would have been incredibly embarrassing and uncomfortable for her to have to endure that. If it were me as the nanny I might stop by the house for a few moments, if invited, to say goodbye to the children (although even that might be too emotionally difficult until some time had passed)...but I wouldn't have even accepted the lunch date in the first place. The job ended...sadly, for all parties involved, it sounds like. OP, don't bother being mad at her about lunch. Her reaction was pretty reasonable. I suspect she's ashamed, hurt, kicking herself for making such a dumb mistake, and missing the kids to boot.
This will be a painful memory for her for decades, if not the rest of her life. Don't be mad at her for not wanting to prolong the pain embarrassment.

cali mom said...

Mary, you are utterly without a clue. You must either not have ever lived in the U.S. or be under 15. Unemployment benefits are something that you PAY into from EVERY {legal) PAYCHECK YOU EVER EARN. So that, should you become unemployed, you can collect BACK some of your own money. Just like Social Security. Or are you ggoing to try and argue that all those lazy old folks have no right to leech off the working people, and they should march on out and knock on doors until they find someone willing to let them get down and scrub toilets?

Infuriating said...

This is one of the saddest posts I have ever read on here in two years.

I'm not even mad that the OP fired the nanny. I'm mad that SHE'S mad at the nanny for ditching lunch and the idea that she "stomped on the children's feelings".

Did you seriously think she was going to have lunch with someone that fired her??? Did you not think you stomped on her feelings? YOU'RE the one that fired HER so you can be done being mad at HER.

Why the f did you even pretend to care and lead her on?

Typical mom thinking your children are the only ones whose feelings matter.

Anonymous said...
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Jacqueline said...

Cali Mom-

What you said about Unemployment is not true. At least not in most states. I do know that California's employment laws are DRASTICALLY different than other states however. Unemployment Compensation is paid 100% by the former employer. It is a common myth that it is paid into by employees to get back but that is not the case. The employER pays it in it's entirety.