How did this get to be my life?

     My employers backed me in to working Friday night because they didn't return from a trip to AC as planned and were going to come the next day. I was already exhausted from last night and all day today.
     I usually am done on Fridays by six. But at 7 I was feeding the girls dinner. I was waiting for the 10 year old to come home. He didn't. I had to take the 7 year old girl and her two playdates with me through the neighborhood looking for the boy who wasn't where he said he would be. After 20 minutes of looking and no one having seen him, I got really panicked. I called one of the mothers of the children and explained the situation. I asked if I could leave the girls with her until I found the kid. She was PISSED at me, but reluctantly agreed. (This is the mother of one of the 7 year olds).
    I finally found one kid who had seen the ten year old and told me he "walked to the store to play video games with 'Troubled Teen'". I was in the car then driving to the convenience store that has the two video games. The cashier told me that he thought he was there, but not with a teenager, with a redheaded woman he thought was the mom. By now, I am shaking. I run out of the store and my phone drops and slides like a bowling bowl on the pavement and skids about 30 feet, just before a van runs directly over it. Now I have no phone.
Caterina Bianchetti
 I drive home scared shitless and pull up on the curb quickly and literally snap one of the new maple trees in half. I run in the house to use the house phone but I can't find it anywhere. I run next door to the neighbors to use their phone. It's now 8 o clock. Finally their teenage babysitter comes to the door, wearing a tshirt and underwear. I know her, she says, "My God, Suzy, you scared the crap out of me, why are you banging on the door." I ask to use her phone. She calls out and her teenage boyfriend comes down the stairs in plaid boxers and nothing else. He is on the phone, but hangs up and gives me his phone. I stand at the doorway with half dressed teens listening to a baby coo on the monitor and dial 911. They tell me they are sending an officer right over.
    I run back to the house, run in the kitchen and there is the ten year old. He looks at me and says, "What am I supposed to eat?". I run back to the neighbor's house. The teens are already back upstairs, but come down. I use the phone to call and cancel the 911 call. As I am on the phone, the first of four cars shows up.
     I run to the curb and meet the police officers and start babbling about what happened. The police officer looks at me with anger and tells me, "Look, you need to calm down". They asked to see the child. I open the door and call out for him and he doesn't answer. Finally, I find him. He is in the shower. I have to yell through the door to have him come downstairs.
    Fortunately only one unit waited and they are waiting in the foyer looking at me like I am a nut. One police officer talks to the 10 year old, asks where he was, if he's okay, and what his relationship is to me. The other officer asks me if that is my car "on the sidewalk". I explain I was in a hurry. He asks me if I have been drinking. I burst out laughing. He tells me "I'm not sure what's funny here." I burst into tears. The ten year old comes to my side and hugs me. Then he starts crying and saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Finally the cops leave.
     I get the 10 year old to walk with me to pick up the girls down the street but they are not there. The mom looks at me annoyed and says, "I couldn't handle the three of them, I had "Other child's mom" come and get them. I have to go home get back in the car and drive over to other child's house. When I get there, that mom is nice and I explain what happened. She lends me her teenager's emergency cell phone. She offers to just let the girls stay here since they are watching a movie and fine. I ask them if it is okay and they say it is. I call my boss and the other mom and make sure that is okay. I leave a VM with my boss and the other mother says, "I guess". Like she's inconvenienced!
     We go back home and the 10 year old asks if we can make brownies since it is just us. I say yes. We make a pan of brownies and put them in the oven. I go in the family room with him to play video games with him. The emergency cell phone doesn't stop ringing with calls for the teen. I tune out after awhile. Then there is bannging at the door. I run to the door. It's the father of the child that my charge is now spending the night with. "Why aren't you answering" he asks. (I was, I answered the phone atleast 30 times by then!). He tells me that he thinks my charge is having an asthma attack and needs her inhaler. I'm totally confused. "X doesn't have asthma, is she  okay?" He's out of breath and tells me that the girls tried some of their take out shrimp and she started wheezing and has hives on her forearm. I get in the car with him and we go back to his house, with the 10 year old.
     At the house, I run ahead of him and call out my charge's name. I see her sitting against a wall. "Oh my God, are you okay?" I ask, looking for distress. The father is behind me, "She's fine, it's :other child". "Other child"? I ask. "Other child?" It's the other girl. She does have some hives on her arm but doesn't seem to be having any breathing issues. I tell the father to call her Mom. He does. She comes over to this house, pulls up with an angry screech and comes to the door. She asks me, "Just what kind of circus are you running here?" I try to explain. The father jumps in and explains. She looks at him and says, "WHY WOULD YOU LET ME CHILD HAVE SHRIMP?" He tells her she needs to calm down. The mom takes her daughter home after a few not so nice exchanges which leave both remaining girls crying. I ask my charge if she wants to come home. She doesn't. The 10 year old is complaining the whole time about being bored. Everything is finally settled.
     We leave and walk home now, since we drove with him. As I get closer to our house, I can hear the smoke detector. I run as fast as I can through the yards and get there and open the door and the house is filling with smoke. I remember the brownies. I grab them from the oven and in a panic, I throw them outside on the front porch. I throw all of the window open. The smoke detector goes off. I go outside to the front porch and pick up charred brownie crumbs from everywhere.
     I get back inside the house and the 10 year old says, "now what do I eat?"
     I fall asleep on the sofa as the ten year old is playing games next to me.
     The next morning is hectic with sports. I am so tired. The parents get home at around 1. They give me ....$50 dollars for the "extra sitting". Yes, $50 in total for Thurs and Friday night and half a day on Saturday.
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Nanny said...

Why do you stay? Why accept overnight care? I charge 150 for an overnight fee plus my regular rate for children's awake hours. On the rare occasion that I take overnight work, I make 300-350 per night. It's not worth it otherwise. Also, ten year old shouldn't have been unattended in the evening. This was just a big mess.

Anonymous said...

Please leave. Nannying just simply isn't worth it. Been there, done that. In my opinion it's just modern day slavery minus your freedom. Get a regular job or study and pursue a career like I did. It's much more rewarding in the long run and you're neither answerable to anyone nor anyone's 'Slave' at a low rate. I wouldn't go back to it no matter how well it paid as I simply have too many horror stories and bad memories. These people take everything from you and still expect more.

All the best in whatever direction you choose to go.

Coco said...

Why would you have kids going left and right under another persons care? It's evening and a week night and you aren't their parent. If I were watching them I'd keep everyone inside for a movie and brownies and NO play date. You were already tired and taking on more hours. Why add more children and then let your charge out of the house? Total Mess...

Nan said...

This is a nanny fail imo. One never agree to overnight care without due compensation. I charge 150 as an overnight fee plus my regular rate for all awake hours. I make between 350-400 per overnight shift. Overnights are a lot of work and I charge accordingly. Also as pp said, these kids shouldn't have been running around everywhere. If you were already wiped, I'd have done dinner baths and relaxing activity before bed. No running every which way

this_nick said...

I don't think nannying is the right career for you. People who get along well with and enjoy children often assume it would be a natural fit, but there are other qualities one needs to have in abundance to succeed. The ability not to panic is vital - and especially not to let panic overtake you to the point you lose your shit and inadvertently cause the situation to snowball even more.

Having sound judgment in performing risk assessment is also important. The way this night was organized, your whole fate was left to the cooperation (or lack thereof) of a ten-year-old. If he shows up, you're good, but if not -- this happens.

Finally, this can't be the first time your bosses pulled something like this. People will do what they know they can get away with. These employers do not see you as someone who will hold them accountable, and they're not wrong.

I don't mean this to come across as insulting, but you asked how you got here, and re-evaluating your situation is a good idea. It's doubtless you have plenty of strengths (not the least of which is writing - this was hilarious). I just feel it might be time to assess what those strengths are and what careers they might be better suited to.

this_nick said...

Two things:

1. Slavery minus freedom? What slavery comes with freedom?

2. Glad that you found a career that's a better fit for you, but just because nannying wasn't doesn't mean it's not a real job. Other people have rewarding careers in the field.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that just because you freaked out this once that means that nannying isn't right for you, I think you should learn your limitations and not push yourself. If you're too tired, you'll be more prone to unexpected stress at that point. Next time I would set out a plan, have a schedule for the night, run it by the parents, explain that you're not up for playdates, and definitely talk about your rate beforehand. good luck with everything.

Anonymous said...

So, I've been there- sorta. A family who changes plans last minute and expects you to deal with the consequences sucks! I nannied for four boys, sweet as can be when their parents were around and awful once they left. The parents were disrespectful and discourteous of my life beyond the job. They were constantly extending work trips or weekends away with no notice-- they just wouldn't show up and when I finally got ahold of them they would act like me calling was an inconvenience. That being said-- you definitely handled this situation ALL wrong. I agree with previous posters- you should have planned for a quite evening at home, perhaps a movie and a treat, then straight to bed. By adding children to the mix and letting one of your charges have a play date you lost complete control of the situation.

Lacy said...

You were already feeling the burn out, yet you allowed a play date to come over and for a 10 year old out of your sight. Your burn out lead to you making some pore choices, that's not an excuses.

Never leave your charge with someone else without prior consent of parents.
Never go hunting for a lost charge while neglecting the other charges, call 911 first, always.
Never agree to any extra work without first discussing pay.
When doing solo week long care, no play dates at the house or being responsible for an extra child. Also no child out of your sight.

As for the pay you got... That is bellow minimum wage demand the parents pay you your overtime rate for all of those hours.

Anonymous said...

There is so many things wrong with this story its unbelievable. I feel like I just read a sitcom. Smdh. Nannying is not for you, period


this_nick said...

It would be an awesome movie, though. Maybe "Misadventures in Babysitting."

Anonymous said...


RBTC said...

this nick and all said very well - nannying is very overwelming for op and there needs to be a movie