Missy's Island

Lisa Vasalle
     I am in the middle of a private hell. I started a new job in June. Last Saturday we left for Nantucket with plans to spend "the rest of the summer." at the family's house. The children I take care of are 5 & 8 and although I replaced a long term nanny that was well liked, we seemed to be getting a long fine.
    The first day in Nantucket, we unpacked and I left with the kids to the beach by the house while Mom stayed back and set up the house. It was a great day. The next day Sunday, was a great day. Then comes Monday. The mom had told me she had booked "Missy" while she was looking for a nanny and wasn't sure if she could find a nanny she liked and one that would travel. Because she booked "Missy" for 6 weeks, she wasn't going to cancel on her. This sounded okay to me. It would ensure I have some downtime, and I could comfortably explore the Island with the kids and Missy the nanny who was a local.
    Right away I sensed a problem with Missy. This was her eight time babysitting for the family, including seven weeks last summer. They had last seen Missy over Memorial Day Weekend. Watching them reunite, it was immediately clear not just how much they regard her, but that the relationship I thought was so great paled in comparison.
   The family had rented me a jeep and Missy had her own car. Missy assumed possession of my jeep. Initially it seemed because she could zip us over to wherever we were going without GPS. She knew where friends lived, picked them up, dropped them off and knew where to park, whether downtown or an outlying beach. Missy is anything but laid back. I can't imagine she is always like this. If they aren't building castles or burying each other in the sand, they are running obstacle courses and jumping in the water, jumping waves. Downtown at home is about making birdhouses, seashell necklaces, kites. Not knowing the area and having limited knowledge of the kids, I feel like she is making me look foolish.
    I honestly told the mother I felt inadequate and she told me not to worry about it, that everyone was happy and I was new here. She suggested I take the day for myself (Thursday). I did this. I took the jeep, went to one of the places we picked up lunch before, got my kind of food, bought a book and went to a beach. I sat and read and cooled off in the ocean. The day was going perfectly until I got bit by a jellyfish. Never happened before. I was alone and panicked. I was in so much pain. I somehow got my folding chair and bag together and made for the parking lot. I couldn't find my keys. The keys were no where. I went back looking for them but I was in so much pain, I had a huge breakdown, partly the pain, partly just feeling like an ass. I called the mom's cell- no answer. I called the house- the father answers. I calm down and explain the key situation. He says he will come out. I've only dealt with him three times and he must have JUST arrived.
    He arrives at the beach, walks me to his car and goes to look for the keys. He gets help from two random kids on the beach. thirty minutes later, he is driving me back to the house with the jeep still there but the keys in my hand. He asks me if I am okay. I ask him if this is supposed to hurt so badly. He stops downtown at a pharmacy and gets some stuff and comes back and tells me what to do with it. He says, "otherwise, if everything going okay?" He's just being nice but polite, I'm sure he didn't want to hear it, but I burst into tears. I didn't end up saying anything. I tell him everything is fine, I just feel out of place and miss home. He looks kind of shocked at my outburst, but not mad.
    We pull up to the house and the kids come running out and ask what happened. The father just said I got bit and had a scare. He suggested they let me go rest in my room. He then turns  to me and says, "we're going out to my favorite place for dinner tonight at 7. I hope you'll join us". Later on there is a knock at my door and it is Missy. She acts completely sympathetic, brings me tea and chips and some magazines. She tells me if I let myself sleep, I will wake up pain free. She offers me benadryl for the swelling. She's being so nice that I tell her about the invite tonight. She asks me, "do you have the right attire?" I immediately feel foolish. Do I? I think. She tells me, "oh don't worry, he was probably just being nice, he's a nice guy". I say, "so I shouldn't go". She laughs and says, "you need to sleep. We're going by boat to Hyannisport tomorrow, it's going to be a long day!" She says this with enthusiasm.
    The next morning Friday, I am out in the family room straightening up things, setting out a Gods-eye project for the kids. The kids come downstairs and ask about my bite. They give me hugs. They are excited about my project and work on it. We have breakfast outside. Then Missy shows up and asks me, "Are the bags ready?". I have no idea what she is talking about. She says she told me we were going on her friend's boat to Hyanissport today and we were supposed to be ready. No one has said anything to me and I haven't seen either parent. I scramble to get things ready. And she takes point to make mention of last night at a certain restaurant...where she had joined the family in my place!
    How do I deal with Missy? I want to hurt her!


Jamaria said...

You flat out shouldn't be a nanny. First off, you don't get "bit" by a jellyfish. You get stung. They don't bite. If you don't even know that, I'm afraid how uninformed you are on other things. To have a complete meltdown over a jellyfish sting and to have the DB come attend to you is ridiculous. Grow a pair. No wonder the kids love Missy. She's busy doing all sorts of stuff with them and you can't even handle a wildlife mishap. You needed a rest after that?? You act pretty entitled. Missy told you, you were going to be on a boat. You should have immediately checked with the parents, gotten confirmation and had everything ready the next day. I don't feel bad that the other girl went to dinner without you. You seem like a dramatic princess and I really don't think this is real. Please, go find another profession.

Anonymous said...

Jesus christ. The person above clearly has a stick up their ass. She could have just used the wrong terminology for the jellyfish sting. Also if it was her first time being stung (have you ever been stung by a jellyfish??? I'll never forget that pain). Her reaction was pretty spot on if she was in a new place, alone, and just stung by a jelly fish for the first time in her life. She made some missteps but I think she just needs to take a step back, only worry about her performance and bonding with the family, without feeling threatened by Missy. They hired you for a reason, and the family has more report with Missy, so just don't worry about that right now.

Hope you heal quickly and good luck.

Jessica said...

It's not Missy's fault. She didn't make you stay home. The bite, while unfortunate, is also not anyone's fault. You lost the keys, you acted unprofessionally in front of your boss(es). You need a much tougher skin.

If someone makes you feel inadequate because THEY are amazing, use that as inspiration to become amazing yourself. Nothing she did was outside of your skill set. When new to a family with big kids, it's usual to ask "What do the kids like to do?" Better yet, ask the kids themselves. Missy's only advantage over you is that she's nannied those kids before. That's easily remedied.

A change of attitude is important here. Be assertive. Don't relinquish control of anything. If you want to drive, do so. Although that seems like a minor issue. Learn about the area. Research fun things to do. And get up and play with those kids. A beach vacation isn't a vacation for the nanny. Missy is energetic? Be more energetic! If invited somewhere by MD/DB, go if you want or politely decline. Stop being so gullible and stop letting someone ride roughshod all over you.

You can do it! My advice is harsh. I'm a blunt person, but really, I want to empower you. I'm guessing you're new to nannying, but people like Missy will always ferret out a less-than secure nanny. You need to appear strong and capable till you feel as such. Good luck!

CN said...

This is my 3rd attempt at commenting on this post. They all keep erasing when I try to publish them. But Jamaria covered everything I was going to say anyway. Unless you were having a serious allergic reaction to the jellyfish sting, and it sounds like you were not, you were so ridiculous. What if that had happened when the kids were with you? I'm seriously allergic to bee stings, but when I was a nanny I was stung once while on a picnic with my young charges. Because I'm professional and prepared, I handled the situation quickly and quietly, and the kids never even noticed there was a problem. The rest of the day may have been a little more low-key than usual, but I still worked until the end of my shift. You need to grow up.

Sara said...

I tend to side with the "toughen up, cupcake" crowd. Missy has an established relationship with those kids, but you can build your own relationship with them. Be a little more professional with your bosses. Jellyfish stings are painful, but not enough to take a whole day and night to recover. I feel that you thought this was a fun relaxing trip with your NF. You're there to work. Sit down and make real concrete plans with the kids.

Missy isn't reinventing the wheel. You can learn interesting crafts and find great things to do with the kids. Keep in direct contact with your MB. Do a good job and don't focus on the other nanny.

CN said...

Yes, of course it hurt, but she was stung by a jellyfish, not shot. You go home, pour some vinegar on it, and go on with your day.

Sheila said...

There's frankly a lot of whining in your post. Along with some very unprofessional behavior.

Missy's knowledge of the area is one thing as a local, but in this day and age, there's no excuse for ignorance. Research the area! Put the friends' addresses in the GPS, get off your duff and play, build sandcastles with the kids. What had you been doing? Did the two "great" days consist of "eating your kind of food and reading on the beach?"

Telling your MB that you feel inadequate or having a break down with your DB is ridiculous! You're either very inexperienced, young or over dramatic. OR all 3!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think she is feeling threatened by Missy

Anonymous said...

If I were you, I would use Missy as a resource! Help her, plan with her, exchange ideas, and work with each other! You could make a great team together to give the kids a fabulous summer, and she could probably fill you in on some great insights! Don't be intimidated by her, see her as an inspiration and someone to help you! And anyways, in a matter of weeks, she will be history and you will be back home, just you and the kids.
Remember, you are a hard working professional! "Fake it till you make it!" :)

Jmaria said...

LOL Anon. Yes, I've been stung by a jellyfish. Actually, the first time I've been stung, I experienced multiples. If I were a mother, I definitely wouldn't hire a nanny that had such a low tolerance for stress or new situations. The OP comes across as inexperienced, lazy, and entitled.

RBTC said...

i am usually on the side of the OP but as a business owner people that are emotional and scattered are not good business to have around especially kids - you need to chage fast ! Concentrate and get yourself together !

this_nick said...

I'll agree with the previous sentiments while disagreeing with the aggressive tone of many of the comments. Yes, she needs to get a backbone and stop following Missy's directives -- the parents are the bosses, answer to no one else. I just think the hostility here is a bit perplexing.

Anonymous said...

Harsh. Thats really rude of you to say, the family should have canclled the other nanny or let the op go home earlier