Received Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I realize Jamaican nannies and their shortcoming are discussed and defended here frequently and I wanted to share my personal experience. I have worked for the same Greenwich family for nearly 6 years.
When I was first hired it was to replace a Jamaican nanny who had crashed the car while the children were in it, could not swim, and could not travel with the family due to green card issues. The first couple of years there I worked with a Jamaican nanny who came every evening at dinner time to help out with dinner and help me give the kids a bath while the parents enjoyed some private time. She would show up everyday with her own five year old daughter in tow, and create total chaos. My boss and I, who is a wonderful stay at home mom and very hands on but used a nanny to make sure her four children were taken care of while she attended to her many charitable commitments, would get the kids settled in to dinner. My boss would be slaving away at the stove to prepare a "special" dinner for the Jamaican employee because things like Tortellini Alfredo were not up to her taste so my boss would be frying up rice and cooking up chicken, a different homemade meal every day of the week for her employee. Said employee came late almost everyday and would enter the house screeching and singing and completely rile the kids up when they had just gotten settled. Her and her daughter would sit and be catered to by my boss and I. The nanny and her child savagely chomped away at her gourmet meal, spewing food all over the place. After my finished eating, my boss and I cleaned everything up. Then, the Jamaican nanny and I would would take the kids upstairs for a bath, where the Jamaican nanny would usually throw her daughter in the mix. When I say into the mix, I mean in to the tub.
On my employer's datenight, the second they drove off, the Jamaican nanny would rush out to her car and bring in huge loads of laundry to do while my employers was out. She overloaded the machine time and time again in an effort to get her laundry done for free. Then she would take a bag and go grocery shopping in my bosses pantry, which was completely overstocked. She would select rice mixes, snacks, pasta and sauces and then help herself to whatever she thought wouldn't be missed from the refrigerator. She shopped for her child's school clothes in my charges closets. I complained adamantly about this woman. When it was summer and I took the kids swimming, she (of course not a swimmer) would sit on the side of the pool in a chaise lounge downing Budweiser while asking me to teach her daughter to swim. As I was the only one watching five kids it was quite hard to do. At Christmas and birthday times, she would bring me a catalog of stuff she had circled in red ink and instruct me to give it to my boss. She also gave my boss a wish list for her, her kids and extended family. Eventually even my big hearted boss got fed up and gave her the boot.
Since then I have dealt with another Jamaican nanny. She was the weekend nanny. She came on Friday nights and stayed through until Sunday morning. A very sweet girl but very needy and a crook. She never did anything with the kids. Never took them anywhere. She would WATCH them play outside but never played with them. Again, a non swimmer so she could never take them swimming. She would watch TV with them all day and all night. The entire time she was there she would either have her cell phone glued to her ear, or, later as technology advanced, the ear piece attached to her ear. She talked on the phone ALL THE TIME. When she came on Friday night my boss would order dinner for her and the kids and again, on Saturday night, so she did not cook at all. She constantly asks my boss for money, never pays any of it back. She also has my boss buying gifts for everyone from her daughter to her sister to her sister's kids and mother. It just goes on and on. She has not been to work in over a year but my boss continues to pay her because she is always crying that she needs money and can't find a job. When her daughter got accepted to college, she called up my employer and asked told her that her daughter needed a really good computer. She has no problem asking for anything she wants (airplane flights, clothing, furniture, money) yet she gives nothing back. She never even checks in on Fridays to see if my boss MIGHT need her. If anything special comes up and my boss needs a little help on the weekends, she calls me or cancels her plans. The nanny even had the nerve to tell my boss that she spent her $2000 Christmas present cash bailing her brother out of jail and she needed it for rent. Guess what, she got it but after her brother went to court, the money never made it back to my boss. Friendly? Yes. Jolly? Yes. Lazy? So much so. Conniving? Absolutely.
These are only an example of three nannies I have personally worked with, all Jamaican though. They all received top dollar and my boss even gave one of them a car. So when I hear people go on and on about people being BROAD WITH THEIR COMMENTS or UNFAIR TO ISLANDERS, I can only laugh. Obviously they have little or no experience with them. The best wish I have for them is to hire one and see for themselves. Sometimes you get what you pay for and sometimes you don't. Also, most of the people here from the Islands are not here legally and have to be paid under the table. So, as far as Jamaican nannies go, buyer beware. FYI Side point before anyone gets off topic about the amount of help my boss used, she had four kids that were constantly going in different directions, different schools, and many appointments, sports and other activities. She is a great mom and has spent her entire life catering to the happiness of her children. I just find it impossible to comprehend this brazen nerviness people have, this absolute sense of entitlement. This boggles my mind, because in the years I have been a nanny, I have seen other examples of highly paid, difficult, demanding, trouble-making, and do nothing Jamaican nannies. What gives?