When Your Nanny Ignores Your Kid To Read “Why Men Love Bitches,” It’s A Sign

I knew it was over when I came downstairs one afternoon and saw my nanny Sonia buried in the book Why Men Love Bitches, while my 19-month old daughter was trying to climb on the dining room table.  Maybe if she’d been reading Proust or Dickens I would have felt differently.  Hell, even if it was Dean Koontz I might have given it a few more weeks.

Things had been tense with Sonia for a few months.  We had started getting texts late Sunday night informing us she wouldn’t be in on Monday, so Jeff and I had to play the who’s skipping work to take care of our daughter game.  (No one wins that game.)  Sonia seemed withdrawn and sad all fall and winter, and hinted at romantic turmoil that I was scared to know too much about.

We hired her because she was so exuberant with Sadie– in the first interview she scooped Sadie up and let her chew on her necklace, laughing as if my kid had turned on the light in her life.

“You’re hired, pending a thorough background check,” we’d told her on the spot.

When Simon was born, I was suddenly on maternity leave, and we were all in the house together.

To deal with the strangeness of having a full-time employee in my house while I was home, I made the mature decision to start hiding in my bedroom.  I had zero reserve– I was still bleeding and the nursing was only going so so.  I didn’t have the reserves to do anything except play Words With Friends and send desperate texts to my  husband working one floor above me.

Help! What am I supposed to be doing right now?

There was nowhere to go, and I was running out of prescription narcotics (for the C-section) to help me through the day.

Sonia seemed fine with the kids, but in conversation with me she was almost always on the verge of tears.

The first time she cried to me about her men problems, I said something sage like “hmmm,” and asked her if she needed anything from us.  She demurred, but it became one drama after another– one boyfriend wanted her back; a guy from the disco didn’t want to marry her.  On and on.

But still I hung on, because it seemed easier than firing her.  I clung to the thought my kids aren’t in danger just because their nanny is love sick.  Was I really one to be pointing the finger at sad people and accusing them of not taking good care of children?

But then I got a sign.  She was reading that book and ignoring my kid.  Worse– she didn’t even pretend to put the book down when I walked in the room.  She nodded at me distractedly and went back to her book.

I cried that day and on her last day.  I wished her well. I hope she’s found love or the answer to the question– Why Men Love Bitches? 

Maybe she should just ask my husband.

Advertisements

70 thoughts on “When Your Nanny Ignores Your Kid To Read “Why Men Love Bitches,” It’s A Sign

  1. From Doormat to Dreamgirl – that book saved my life. As if! I am behind you 100% – if she didn’t throw the book behind the couch and jump up for Sadie at that moment, she was on a path that wasn’t going to work. Childcare is gut-wrenching stuff.

    • I know people are going to say (or think) that I am saying she should keep her eyes on my kids at all times. I am not. Sadie was only 19 months old, had just gotten up from a nap and was literally crawling from a chair to the table. In that set of circumstances, please put down your shitty “self” help book.

      On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 10:08 AM, Outlaw Mama

  2. Fabulous! I had one summer nanny for about 6 weeks . . . and enough crazytown stories about her time with us to fill a novel! (Book idea!) Next time you’re in Dallas, we can have wine and I can tell you all about it. 😉

    • Nanny stories take the cake. The only thing better, I’m sure, is the stories they could tell about me. My favorite was the Romanian model who had to take off for photo shoots…Jeff worked from home and I was off being pregnant and not a model. I fired her ass.

      On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Outlaw Mama

  3. Boy, my husband could write that book too.

    And I definitely think you made the right call offing the nanny, if she’s walking around pissing and moaning about her problems constantly. Your daughter might be young now, but if she was around longer, you certainly wouldn’t want her to mirror that sort of behavior.

    • YOU don’t have you because you are a man. You can simply answer the question. I, and the loyal readers of this humble little blog, would love to know. Do you? (We won’t tell anyone what you say.)

      On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM, Outlaw Mama

  4. It’s the perfect day for me to read this because my new sitter is starting this afternoon. I’m so nervous. I’ll be home, so I’m not worried about my kid’s safety. I’m more worried that she won’t live up to my expectations and I’ll have to fire her. I only need her 4-6 hours per week until June, but she’s 18. Please, please don’t let her be reading while my kid is on the dining room table. (OK, more likely she’ll be texting while my kid stares at the TV or a video game the whole time, but still. Please not that either.)

    But regarding your post, clearly you did the right thing. And I loved the ending, too!

  5. We tried a nanny once. She moved the playpen to block off the living room exit so she could lay on the couch while she watched my kids. And while I was there trying to do lessons with my older children she would run to me for anything they needed. “He needs a change. She’s acting up.”

    My husband was actually upset with me when I fired her. And he was shocked at my “bad form” when I posted a negative review on her Care.com profile. Bitches indeed.

    • What??? Were you NOT supposed to let others know what kind of care she gave you? She sounded like someone I would want to NOT bother interviewing.

      On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 12:23 PM, Outlaw Mama

      • She interviewed well and was a nursing school student with a clean background. Once in, it was as though she said in her mind, “Well, now that bs is over with, on to reality.” But, my husband is the kind of guy that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Firing someone is bad enough, leaving a poor review is mean-spirited.

      • I get that. In all honesty, I made my husband do the firing it, but that’s not a good story. He’s also not a bitch at all. I am, even though I made him fire her.

        On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM, Outlaw Mama

      • This word, bitch. It’s a curious one. If I had to define the term: “Woman who wants to be treated with the level of respect, dignity, courtesy, and professionalism typically reserved for a male.” and/or “Female who disagrees with your point of view or makes your life less convenient.”

  6. I definitely agree that the worst part is that she didn’t even put the book down! Who does she think she is?! At least pretend to be engaged with the kids… it is scary enough trusting your kiddos with someone else!

  7. I’m scared that there is a book out there with this title, and would definitely be even more scared if my nanny was ignoring my kid to read it. You did the right thing!! Does make for a good story, though…

  8. I’m sure there are many stories about my behavior…but the LAST thing I am gonna do is let my kid start mirroring dumb ass behaviors in relationships or become some useless nanny’s sounding board once she’s old enough. Im with you. Cut bait and run before your kiddo is old enough to catch on or worse gets hurt.

  9. It sounds like she had just checked out. She clearly wasn’t invested in her job or your family anymore. What a bummer, since you had her for a long time. But it does sound like she definitely had to go. I, like so many others, loved that last line 🙂

  10. Ah-ha! Clearly that is my problem — I am not bitchy enough. And I’ve been a nanny, but one who adored the kids I watched and did a darn fine job doing it. My own kids? Ehhh….

  11. I would have hidden in my room too. I do that when the ladies come to clean my home. I hide around from room to room. Ostensibly it’s to be out of their way, but it’s really because it’s so awkward to be sitting there on the computer while they are actively cleaning my house. Just typing it makes me feel icky and awkward!!! GAH!! –Lisa

  12. LOVED that punch line. Perfect light finish to a post about a difficult situation. So hard to fire someone who has been good to your kids and is smarting from typical young adult drama. But I think that sign was actually a pretty solid breaking point. Once the personal drama interferes with work (it’s WORK!) it’s time to move on. Hope she does find some balance, but you don’t need to be the person to help her with that.

  13. killer last line. but really so difficult dealing with another person in your kids’ lives and your life and space. that’s not easy. i’ve seen my share of nannies. like every other occupation, the really good ones are far and few.

  14. Yikes. I’m glad you were home to see that, because who knows how long things might have gone on without you knowing. But sorry for all the lack of reserves in that time! Ack. Been there. About to be there again. Hope you’ve got a better nanny now!

  15. ::: shakes head at book title ::: I mean. I just can’t even… It creeps out that Terrible Emotionally Exploitative Relationship Books are their own industry. I wonder if they follow in the foot steps of Cosmo and just recycle content every couple of years so everyone going through their “I need a man!” phase gets shoveled bullshit from the same vein… Nice post, as usual!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s