I am first time nanny who moved around 30 hours away from my home and life to do this, hoping to find a family to spend several months to even a year or so with. I was excited to try being a nanny for the first time, and the family, especially the mother, seemed so welcoming and accommodating in the beginning. However, things quickly began to change as her true personality came out. She was 9 months pregnant when I arrived, and I was told I would have little to no responsibilities regarding the baby as I was very clear that I had no experience with them and was uncomfortable dealing with a newborn. I was told this was completely fine, that I would rarely be left with the baby for even five minutes, and she was taking work off to help out with the house and the children. Shortly after he arrived the baby was often left in my care for hours as the mother did things around the house (personal, not cleaning), clearly hearing this baby screaming in my arms and knowing full well my discomfort regarding this. On top of this, I had a 2 boys to look after at the same time, older, but emotionally stunted and needed far more attention and hands on babysitting than other children their age. Fights, often culminating in screaming and slamming doors were common between them, and being rather new I had yet to figure out what works with the boys and how to best deal with them. While I had discussion with the parents about tactics, nothing seemed to work.
Around a month and a half after giving birth, the mother returned to work. Her returning to work coincided with the boys getting off school for the summer, so I was left alone with them for the majority of the day. I was told I would be working 30 to 35 hours a week, and would have 2 days off. I was not told that I would be working 50 to 60 and given no time off on weekends for myself. Furthermore, any time I did have to myself was resented by the family, and I began to feel guilty for going to my bedroom between 9:30 and 10 pm if the boys were still awake. I had no defined limits as to what my days were and it was beginning to take a physical toll on me. I was expected to be up and ready for 9, and would often be left alone with the boys until 11 or later on weekends. Furthermore, the oldest child is beginning to develop anger issues and had begun to lash out at me verbally, making my days stressful and emotional roller coasters.
I believed I could deal with all this, except around the 2 month mark my relationship with the mother changed, I lost any support system that had existed before, and felt isolated and taken advantage of within their home. The mother brought the child with her to the salon that she owns, but began to take the frustrations of her busy days out on me. She would return home from a days work, and find minute problems with the house, or things I had done wrong. Often, she'd lay out laundry lists of chores for me to do (cleaning and tidying the entire house, maintaining the boys rooms, caring for the 3 large dogs they own) all while keeping the boys entertained. This was very difficult, because as I mentioned before, the boys did not get along and could not play with each other, and were starved for attention; they could not play alone or keep themselves entertained without my constant input or involvement in their games. Also, the house itself was isolated within the countryside, leaving me with little choices of entertainment if I did not have access to a vehicle. The only thing that could keep them quite and entertained for more than ten minutes at a time was watching tv or playing on the computer, and these were limited to an hour a day before dinner. This always bothered me as whenever the mother was home, the boys were constantly watching tv, but as soon as she left, she was extremely critical of it and was very harsh if she found out I had let them watch a movie during the day. Therefore, I began struggling getting the chores done in the time frames and specific ways she requested, and instead of opening a dialogue, my concerns were either treated as lame excuses or brushed aside with useless suggestions of what could be done.
She often gave me very detailed instructions (to the point of being condescending) but I accepted that this was her house and followed them to the best of my ability. However, if one towel out of the 50 I had folded and put away was not as perfect as the others, this was pointed out to me, discussed at length, and then further discussed in a one person conversation she would continue under her breathe, while I was still standing infront of her! This emphasis on my flaws rather than strengths was a common theme, and permeated into all aspects of my day, whether it was something I'd done around the house or with the boys, it became a huge deal. A well done or thank you was a rare thing for me to hear, yet the smallest of mistakes was brought to the entire households attention and despite having been discussed, and then in my mind dealt with, would keep being brought up in mocking and belittling ways for the rest of the day. Also, I'd like to point out that I was not making mistakes constantly. Instructions were very muddled and would begin very detailed, and end with "well whatever, you do whatever you want". This confusion left me second guessing everything I did, as I realized she wanted it done a certain way, but, since I am unable to read minds could not fully deliver to her.
The final straw came about 5 days before the new nanny arrived when she began making backhanded comments about my work and began raising her voice to me. At this point I had already told them I would like to leave early, and had arranged to stay a little over two weeks until another nanny could come. However, after belittling me in front of the boys, and straight up yelling (something I have rarely experienced within my childhood and never in a work environment) at me over something I had not done that day, although when she told me about this task, she had voiced it as something to be done on a rainy day when I had time, giving the impression that it was not something urgent I went to my room and packed my things, and waited until the next morning when the house was empty and left, leaving to stay at a friends house (this was on my day off so I did not abandon the children or anything like that). I sent an email to the mother outlining some of my reasons and thanking them for the good times we had (as there were some) but explaining it was for the best. My health had gone downhill living in such a stressful environment and I had actually begun to start losing hair. It was at a point where staying was worse than leaving, and I had to stand up for myself. Honestly I don't think I could've lasted those last 5 days without experiencing some kind of emotional breakdown. I don't regret losing the reference, and I have never been so happy to be returning home.
Obviously my nanny hopes did not turn out as I would have planned, and I have realized that being a live in nanny is not a chance I will take again. I do feel bad about leaving the boys as I did, as they are good kids and I will miss them, but I am not a servant or a mind reader, and I believed that enough was enough and I couldn't stay in such a toxic environment anymore. However, what all this explaining and buildup has led to is a question, would you leave abruptly in circumstances like mine as I have done? Do you think I'm a terrible person for doing this to the family? I'd really like to get some more experienced nannies opinions, I know what's done is done, but I'm still haunted my lingering guilt, I'd like to get some discussion on if you believe honouring two weeks notice is worth the physical and emotional price staying would have taken.