and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. ~Confucius (smart dude knows what’s up)
I dived right into all things Nanny! My bosses gave me a list of what was expected of me as their children’s nanny, and I settled into the routine with ease. I even took on cooking dinner several nights a week as my employers had a crazy schedule and I much preferred home-cooked meals to take-out.
I found my job to be fun and fulfilling, it never felt like work. The girls I looked after were 10 and 12, both very easy to take care of. I could tell immediately that they craved attention and were very happy to be getting mine. My days usually consisted of waking up the girls, insuring they ate breakfast while I packed their lunches, took them to school, running back home to do a few household chores and prep dinner, picking the girls up from school, helping with homework, feeding them and then seeing they got to bed by a decent hour when a parent wasn’t home. I also played the role of chauffeur during the week and some times on the weekends; taking them to their many sport practices and games. I really was loving life and loving my job. I thought I was doing a great job and reassured myself that I was by the happiness both of the girl exuded constantly. They loved me, and I loved them. The closer I became to the girls the more apparent it was that even though they now had me, they longed for the affection and attention of their parents. It was obvious my bosses put their careers above raising their family and this saddened me. But, if they weren’t workaholics I wouldn’t have this job… So I tried to be everything I could for the girls. I couldn’t replace their mom but I could definitely show them I cared through everything I did. And that was the most satisfying part of being a Nanny for me.
I also loved my new environment, it was big and beautiful. I had a separate entrance and a wing of the furnished basement was completely mine while I lived there. I had been given a brand new Jetta to use as my own without any of the costs related to owning it. And on top of all that I was receiving a really good wage and enjoying every payday!
For some reason my employers weren’t as happy or satisfied as I was. I had been working for their family for nearly 3 months and as far as I knew I was doing excellently. The girls and I were getting along great, I had helped both of them improve their grades, and they were so happy in general. But this wasn’t enough.
In fact, they called my parents expressing concern for me. They told my parents that they didn’t think I was healthy enough to be working (I made the mistake of telling them about my past muscle issues) and that they weren’t fond of the guy I was dating. My parents told them they needed to be discuss these concerns with me and not them, as I am their employee.
So there I sat opposite the mom-boss and dad-boss. They started off saying they thought my health was declining, noting I had been very tired recently and not very active on the weekends. I reassured them this was only because I had been working longer hours as the girls’ schedules were getting busier with sports and they (the parents) weren’t home much recently. See, I didn’t hold a 9-5 type nanny job. My work-day began at 5am each morning with the girls and did not stop until around 10:30pm most nights. So yes, come the weekend all I wanted to do was sleep-in, relax and go visit a guy I was seeing in Portland. With the mention of “the guy”, they disregarded my reasoning for being a bit tired and pounced on their dislike of him. They made it known that they did not like him and did not want me driving in their car to see him. I asked why they disliked him as they had never met him and what they did know of him was his love of motorcycles, his job and his career goals. They had no response to my counter question, they just reiterated that I was to no longer use their car to visit him. I again, without feeling intimidated by their aggressive and out of nowhere questioning, added that they never gave me stipulations in regards to my use of the car. “Did you not say it was to be at my disposal for whatever I wanted to do? That I could leave my vehicle with my parents because I would have one here to be mine?” They didn’t answer me. They just stared at me, and then each other, and then me again. With the long silence and stare-fest not ending, I again reassured them of my good health and added in that I was sorry they didn’t like my male-friend but that if it was of any consequence, I had no intention of introducing him to the girls or themselves anyways. I let them also know I did not want to mix my personal life with my work life, they needed to be separate in order to maintain good boundaries between everyone. At that, the mother-boss broke their silence and said this was unacceptable. They wanted their Nanny to be like a part of the family, like a big sister to their girls, like a daughter to them. They wanted to be 100% involved in my life and that is why they felt they needed to sit down with me and discuss their “concerns”.
I gave this all some thought before I responded. It felt like hours with stare-a-thon that was transpiring while I pondered. Finally I responded that I view myself as an employee. I am a Nanny, not a family member. This is my job, I already have parents and siblings. Without even giving thought to what I had just said to them the dad-boss stated he felt on top of the other concerns voiced, that they were needing a nanny that could also incorporate responsibilities of a maid. He said their last nanny did so much house work that they were unaware of now up until now, since I do “very little” it is apparent she was going above and beyond. (Are you kidding me?)
Even this did not discourage me though. Sure I was reaching the “pissed off point” but I wasn’t wanting to quit. I asked him to make a list of household chores he would like me to start doing in addition to my Nanny duties, and we could agree upon a new salary. At this statement I reached a wall. He hesitantly said, No… that will not work. We don’t believe your health is good enough to be our nanny, let alone add more responsibilities. I tried to argue how wrong he was, that this was insane… but I was interrupted.
“We no longer desire you to be our Nanny, we will be seeking someone else to be our maid and to take our girls to their after school activities. They are old enough now that they don’t need the constant care of a nanny, our home needs more attention.” I couldn’t believe he was firing me… “But no need to rush away. You can stay downstairs until you find a new job or a way back home. Please don’t feel as if we are throwing you out of our home. ” I stood up silently and shook my head in understanding, tears now falling from my cheeks and left the room.
I sat in my room stunned, trying to make sense of everything that just happened. The girls did need me, I knew they did. They needed someone until their parents would be around for them. That wasn’t going to change. They were wealthy enough to employ a full-time house-keeper as well as a nanny, I even offered to do both jobs! This was so very out of the blue. I felt so wronged… None of it made sense to me. All of their strange “concerns” should have been put to rest with my explanations…they were determined to fire me by any means and I didn’t know why. What horrible people! They moved me here 3 months ago and now they are telling me they don’t need a nanny, shouldn’t they have given that more thought before moving me 1,600 miles from my home?
No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I called my parents and gave them the short version of what transpired, they were very upset to put it lightly. Then I called my Aunt and Uncle who lived 45 mins away and asked if they would come get me, and let me stay with them till I can figure out where I am going… They were there in less than 30 mins.
The girls were heartbroken once their parents told them I leaving. They came into my room as I was shoving all my belongings angrily into big black garbage bags and chucking them into boxes. I paused to settle my anger and looked at both of their saddened faces. I didn’t know what to say to make them smile, this truly was horrible and I knew they were feeling loss. They were losing the only person in their home who made them feel important and showed them love by actions and not money…they were losing a friend and their nanny. I made it very clear to the girls that I care deeply for them both and that my leaving is by no choice of my own. That this is just as much a shock to me as it is to them. I continued to pack until my Uncle barged in and started moving me out in record speed. I left my email address with both the girls and was out of there within an hour of being “let go”.
My bosses didn’t offer to help me with a ticket home, they didn’t give me that weeks paycheck, they didn’t even say they were sorry.
By no fault of my own I was out of a job and living with my ever-so-wonderful Aunt and Uncle for a month. I broke up with that guy I was seeing a few days after losing my job, funny enough. I realized I desired more than a casual romance and that I deserved far more than he was willing or even capable of giving me in our relationship.
I look back at this short period of my life and I am proud of myself. I was an exceptional Nanny and I handled the firing with a lot more grace than I would nowadays… I lack grace people, its true. Unfortunately I don’t have any life lessons from this experience to share. Well, maybe the obvious and annoyingly true one we’ve heard time and time again, usually from people we don’t want to hear it from: Life can be unfair.
I decided to take my sister up on her offer for me to live with her and her husband in Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. Boy I hoped that was the right decision. Leah and I hadn’t always had the best relationship (putting it lightly)…this sure would test its limits. I also happened to meet a guy on Myspace while waiting for my grandparents to drive me back to Idaho with them. Little did I know he’d end up being more to me than just another internet friend….