Stranger reports nanny's misdeeds to mother...
Dear ISYN readers.
I was stunned last week when a stranger with kids of her own approached me in the park to tell me that she'd seen my nanny with my kids several times over the months, yelling and generally being cross with them. She and I had never met but she told me that she thought I should know because as I parent she would want to know. I started to ask for more details - basically she says that she just "yells at them all the time." I was too stunned to talk more but have been mulling it over the weekend and I don't know what to do next. My struggle is that this just seems completely out of character for our nanny.
Our nanny has been with us for 2 years, taking care of my son and daughter who are 4 and 2. She's older (60s), raised 7 kids of her own (!) and indespensible. We pay her on the books, quite well compared with the rest of the neighborhood (according to her), paid vacation (officially 2 weeks but it ends up being 3 weeks paid), sick days, petty cash on the counter for whatever activities she wants to do during the day with the kids, $1000 bonus at Christmas, $500 on her birthday, etc. Raise of $1/hour this past year even though her responsibilities decreased a bit as my son started full-day preschool. She tells us all the time that she's happy with us, we tell her the same. I give this background because all indication points to a good working relationship and I have no reason to think she'd be unhappy with her job - she and I are very open about what she needs and what we need and it has always been mutually agreeable. She's not "perfect" in the sense that she has been a bit forgetful from time to time (forgetting her keys, or forgetting a diaper bag, minor things like that, certainly nothing that ever made me concerned for her or my kids safety) and after raising 7 kids of her own she doesn't do much running around on the playground, but those are hardly major offenses. If someone had approached me saying that they were concerned that she had forgotten something major I could buy that, but yeling at my kids all the time? It just seems so implausable.
So I don't know what to do next? I don't want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand if something is really going on but I don't want to overreact either. Now that I have a clear head, I wish I had asked this mom to describe her so that I could be sure she had the right person but she seemed to recognize my kids and we don't have any other babysitters so I don't know who else she would have seen with them. They do have a neighborhood network of three other nannies that all hang together so maybe it was someone else? I really do trust my nanny and to ask her about this conversation just seems so insulting to her. I would love any advice from ISYN readers - nannies and moms both please!
at 4:00 PM