The last story I wrote for The Bump about hiring help for my children seemed to have a fairytale ending. After agonizing over the decision to seek help and all the trial and error of finding the right fit, we ended up with the perfect combination of nanny and sitter, welcoming her into the family and flourishing for over a year. Then we had to mess it up by moving states! We actually offered to bring her with us but she declined as she has a son in school, friends and a life in New York.
Moving while heavily pregnant with a kid out of school for the summer is no easy task. Thankfully, I had both my mother and mother-in-law here to help off and on. So, for a while, we were good.
And then we weren’t. I had a newborn, my daughter returned to school, and both grandmothers, understandably, returned to their lives. I put out and responded to messages on my local moms’ group, had many phone calls with potential nannies and finally settled on an in-person interview with one, highly-recommended lady. She was double the age of our previous nanny, but with that came a wealth of experience. She was a former nurse and day care owner and had raised her own five kids and nine grandkids. She showed up in scrubs, was soft-spoken and soothing, bringing a sense of calm into our otherwise chaotic home. We hired her on the spot.
For the first few weeks, it seemed like this would be our new normal. But, while she was loving towards our little boy, Oliver, I couldn’t get her to engage with our 4-year-old daughter, Lilly, no matter what I tried. The baby would be napping for two hours and there was nothing else to do but play with my daughter. Yet, there she sat, alone, or, since I work from home, often with me. I’d be balancing conference calls while trying to help Lilly glue pom poms on her paper doll or writing an article while stopping every few minutes to get her a snack. All the while, the nanny was sitting on her phone playing Sudoku. She wasn’t working—and neither was I.
Things came to a head after we’d loaned her money and she was late for the fifth day in a row. When I returned home from a doctor’s appointment, my son woke and began to cry. She yelled from the other room, “Can you make me a bottle?”
Not wanting to cause confrontation, I begrudgingly made the bottle, had her finish her shift and texted her later that weekend that we were going to have my mom come help us for a while and would no longer be needing her services. I admit, a phone call…