Monday, November 09, 2009

nanny drama - does it ever end?

I mentioned in my last post that I'd write about the nannies on Friday, fully forgetting that I'm alone with the babies and there is no time to blog :)

I swear, my life just has one drama after another. Does anyone else feel like that?

So we had a day nanny Mon - Thurs and Friday nights, and a night nanny Mon and Thurs.

The night nanny, Mabel, then told me that since our contract was coming to an end in November, she approached an agency to find her full-time work from December.

Fair enough (and I loved her openness - you'll see why later).

She also wanted me to give her a reference which I was happy to do.

Agency phones, I give reference, apparently a beautiful one because two days later she has a full-time job!

But...they want her to start immediately.

However, she tells me she can do both jobs. Um, no, not with a livewire like Kendra! Yes, I can. No, you can't.

After lots of to and fro, my clever husband asked, "Mabel, exactly what are you concerned about?"

She says that we took a chance giving her a job when she was desperate for work and she doesn't want to leave us in the lurch. Also, she is very fond of the twins and will miss them.

So we compromised - while the agency was finding us a new night nanny she would continue to work nights here, and after the replacement nanny was found, she'd go back to babysitting for us on Saturday evenings.


Except not so much.

The first Monday night/ Tues am she had to leave at 5.30 to get to her new job by 8:00. We didn't know so were awakened by the knocking at our bedroom door.

Thursday night was much better - this time she only left 30 mins before but because she got ready at our house, D had to look after a baby from 6:00.

Then the following Monday she was sick and I started putting pressure on the agency who sent me two ladies to interview on the Wed. We were so sleep deprived by this point that I told the one to come back that night.

So that's sorted - new night nanny til end Dec and Mabel on Saturdays.

I've gotten even more bolshy if that's even possible and am super strict with the new nanny. I found in the beginning with both nannies I was almost walking on eggshells with them. Now I know if I'm not happy it will drive me crazy so I'm very exacting!

Now onto the day nanny.

I've felt for some time that she doesn't enjoy the job because of me (see above - very fussy mother) or Kendra (screaming) or whatever! Everybody loves Connor because he's an easy child so I knew he wasn't the problem. And D only sees her when she's on time which is hardly ever. Moving on.

I'd asked her from the time she started how things were going, if there were any problems, etc. She always said "everything's fine" but I could see they're not!

Very frustrating because I like openness.

Back to the punctuality. She's supposed to start at 8:00 while I'm on maternity leave and then at 7:00 when I go back to work.

Well, in a 5-day week, she's on time once, maybe twice if I'm lucky, about 5 - 10 minutes later two days and very late (30 minutes) the 5th day.

I'd spoken to her about this before, seriously, not just a "oh, was the bus late?" and she said she'd resorted to taking the bus because taxis were working out too expensive.

So last week Wed after discussing with D and playing with the numbers, we offered her a higher salary on the proviso that she is here at 7 and does some light cleaning (dishes, sweeping, etc.) while the babies are sleeping.

Well, I told her to think about it and tell me the next day. She says not a word to me on Thurs or on Friday.

Although we had an incident on Friday so that I can understand.

Third Day had a concert in Pretoria (about an hour outside Jhb) and we'd arranged to go with friends so I asked her to be here at 6pm instead of 7pm. She pitches up at 6.41.

I was livid! Not only are we put out, but our friends are too. And we missed about 30 minutes of the show which is NOT on.

She sent me a text at about 6.05 saying she was still in town waiting for the bus to get to us. I sent one back immediately saying "please take a taxi. we need to leave NOW!"

Anyway, friends were there so not good to air your dirty laundry in public. Especially since we were supposed to be having FUN.

So I sucked it up, focussed on the good things and we ended up having a fabulous time.

Incidentally, that was 6 Nov. The last concert we went to was Rod Stewart on 6 Dec where I did my trigger shot!

This morning I'd planned to have a proper chat and do the whole "if this happens again" hardcore manager bit when she was late again. 8.31!

D said am I not overreacting. No because when I have an 8:00 meeting I can and WILL not be late because of other people. Women already have to work harder than men, especially mothers. I don't want to be one of those women where, if they're late or leave early, the guys knowingly say "oh, is her child sick AGAIN?" Grrrr - drives me nuts.

Also, I read on a blog somewhere about daycare/ nannies that the biggest mistake she made was in not firing quickly enough if the fit was not right. So I thought enough with this eggshell-walking and I'll deal with these problems properly.

I asked what the problem was and the bus was stuck in traffic. Well then get an earlier bus. She did - this was the 6.30 bus.

Then only did she say that she can only leave her daughter at pre-school at 6.30 so that's the earliest she can leave.

OH MY WORD - why didn't you say something earlier, as in months ago when I told you about the 7:00 thing?

Anyway, then SHE says to me, "I think you should ask Ruth (agent) to get me a job closer to home and then she can get you someone else".

Of course I immediately agreed and not 15 minutes later had sent off an email to Ruth.

So now I start interviewing AGAIN!

Am I the only one who has this kind of drama all the time???


  1. Well I could go on a schpeel about how nice it must be to have a nanny at But yes, life is filled with drama unfortunately. At least you're is from outside help and not FAMILY!

  2. Well I could go on a schpeel about how nice it must be to have a nanny at But yes, life is filled with drama unfortunately. At least you're is from outside help and not FAMILY!

  3. Sounds like she fired you! I hope you find a replacement that fits your needs...sounds very annoying!

  4. You are NOT the only one with all the drama. I have hired and fired more nannies in the last 3 years than I care to admit. But, when I have good nannies, I treat them like gold.

    My advice: Don't wait too long to get rid of the nannies that are not working out. It is not you, it is not them, it is just NOT A GOOD FIT FOR YOUR FAMILY!

    I have spent so much time seething in the last few years hoping that the nanny would "get" it. They never do. As soon as you see issues arising, start looking and interviewing. The aggravation of it not working is often not as bad as starting from the begining...especially if the next nanny is a good fit. You'll be glad you did.

  5. Focus on the joy you'll experience when you manage to find a PUNCTUAL reliable nanny who is the right fit for your family :) And yep - totally get you about the guys in meetings rolling their eyes etc at the women with kids...

  6. Mandy, you are right – my friend in Ireland often reminds me that I’m being so “South African” with all the help but this is how we grew up!!!

  7. I think what the problem is that sometimes people aren't comfortable with being fully open and just try to force it to work or fail. They don't realize that there is another option until things like your moment with your nanny come to a critical moment. Then all of a sudden it becomes clear what the situation is. I think you handled it admirably. Make sure with the new nanny that you are candid early on about what your needs are and make sure they are candid about their situation.

    My SIL watches the boys when I'm at work and she's living with us until we don't need her help anymore when they start preschool. We've discussed at length the need for us to both be open with what our needs are. It's working out great!

  8. Losing my lap:

    have you ever thought that if you have fired that many nannies in the past three years the problem lies with you?


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