Received Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hi, I assume this would be the best venue to ask for advice. I’m a mother of three cute, well behaved and trouble loving boys, the oldest is 3 and the youngest, who are twins, are almost 18 months old. Before I had children, I was a part time babysitter in college and was a nanny full time for three years after college before moving on as a coordinator for a non-profit youth organization. When we found Amy *(fake name), our nanny, she was well qualified, sweet, cpr and first aid trained. She worked for us for almost a year and a half. As a working mom, I recently decided to cut my hours and work part time to spend more time with my children. Amy, around the same time, expressed interest in taking college classes. So we made a deal that she could go to her classes and during those hours I will be with the boys, and she could make up her hours when possible.
Two weeks ago, I decided indoor play was boring me and the boys, so we went to a nearby café that after work I used to see many women whom I assume were nannies and mothers alike sitting out front with their children. I thought it would be perfect to get snacks for my boys and then head off to the park. I had my oldest holding my hand and the twins in their stroller. As I looked up at the menu, as usual the oldest gets really excited to see other children, runs off to the back of the café. I then yelled his name as he began to get too far from me and pointed to the ground next to me and said, here! Right now!, and then said Thank You to him when he returned. I then noticed that the cashier and many of the patrons where looking at me. I was confused and first thought that I yelled at him to loud. All of a sudden a women came up to me and said, you have no right to yell at James *(not his real name used), I looked at her and all I could say was, what? She then replied and said James’ mother doesn’t yell at him, your scaring him, and I laughed and said, Do I know you? and she looked serious and I stopped smiling and asked her, what was the problem? And she said, Your being inappropriate with your charges and Amy wouldn’t appreciate your behavior.
I then began to get the emerging picture of what was going on. These women didn’t believe I was their mother. I understood where she may have been mistaken, I’m west Indian, I have the dark Caribbean skin and the long bone straight hair of my Indian ancestors, my sons looked like their father, green eyes, blonde hair, and white skin. So I replied that I was their mother and I gave birth to them and that Amy was the boys nanny. Another women came up and said that Amy has came to this café several times for many months and she has identified my babies as her children and that Matt Jones *(fake name) was the boys father. I told her yes, that Matt Jones* was the father but I am their mother and that Amy was lying.
The boys began to get agitated and we left with many people looking at us as we left. Now every time I go pass the café to get the park, these women point and whisper at me. When I got home I called Amy right away and she said she had no idea what I was talking about and said she was in class and would call me back. The next day she said she was leaving for another job and wanted me to mail her pay check to her. In our contract, which was created by the agency she came from and signed, it says I can withhold the check due to misbehavior on the part of the nanny. When I told this to Amy, she said she did nothing wrong and she would sue me for the check. Should I go and give her what she wants and get on with my life or should I withhold everything and maybe sue. If I was to sue it would be for slander and possibly some sort of identity theft. What would be the right way to handle this?