So, here I am again. Still having the same issues with the nanny that so many of you advised me to fire 18 months ago. And you were so right! We are going to let her go on Friday, but I would really appreciate any input you have. My previous posts were entitled “Thinking Of Letting Our Nanny Go” and “Let Our Nanny Go and Feeling Sick” in case you want to read the saga.
So things improved for a while, in terms of reliability and timekeeping. Until they slipped again – due to car trouble, traffic, etc. But it all came to a head this week. Briefly, nanny’s former BIL was killed in an accident. She texted me very early last Friday to say that she couldn’t come in and had to be with family. I told her that was fine, and how sorry we were, etc. She was paid for that full day.
On Tuesday she told me that the funeral was going to be on Thursday at 10am in the neighboring state. Big problem – I had my very first court appearance (I am an attorney) at 9am in our state. There was no way that nanny could work and get to the service. Our backup was also unavailable so my husband and I were scrambling. The plan was for him to take the kids to his office (he is self-employed) for an hour that morning, and I would pick them up afterwards. Not ideal – by a long chalk – but doable. At lunchtime on Tuesday she said that she could in fact work Thursday and she was OK with missing the service as long as she could get to the internment and also be at the wake the previous evening. I specifically said, “Don’t miss the service for us” but she said it was fine. I was grateful and told her so.
On Tuesday lunchtime she asked if she could finish at 2pm the next day to travel to the wake. I said fine. She then said that 1pm would be better – again, I said fine. I went to the office and got some work done, and left about 3 hours’ work for the next morning, my preparation for court. At 9pm I get a text message – nanny won’t be in tomorrow. I called her and told her that if she’d asked a few hours earlier I could have accommodated her request, but as she knew I was in court, and had to go to the office to prepare, and I really needed her to come in. I even said I could be home by 12:30. She was obviously unhappy but agreed to come in.
When I awoke I saw a text message that she sent at 1am. Nanny wasn’t coming in because she was very upset, former BIL had been like a brother to her, etc, etc. I was furious, and had to take my 15 month old son to the office with me. Not good. I was so upset that I didn’t even respond to the text. The next day she came in but as I was rushing out we didn’t have chance to speak. Monday was our first opportunity to talk. I told her that I found her actions on Tuesday night/Wednesday unacceptable, because I couldn’t rely on her, I reiterated that if she’d given me more notice she could have had the full day off, but that she couldn’t ever do that again. I was expecting an embarrassed apology. I was wrong. Apparently I am the one at fault, because I have no compassion. I was repeatedly told, “It was a funeral” and when I said, “No, it was the day before the funeral” I had another “he was like my brother…” She said that none of her previous employers would have expected her to work that day (neither would have I, if I’d had any idea that she wanted the day off while I was still able to give it to her). She then said that my husband wouldn’t have treated his office staff that way (to which I responded that he has 40 staff, so 39 people to step in if someone doesn’t show. I don’t have that.) The conversation became heated and so unpleasant that I actually said something along the lines of “Maybe we both need to be looking for other arrangements”. She just said, okay, and things have been tense ever since.
Although I am absolutely dreading the conversation, I feel that it’s time to let her go (actually, I think it was time 18 months ago and I should have listened to all the great advice that people here gave me). But I am finding it so hard to separate the emotional from the practical. Was I really a monster for not giving her the day off on Wednesday with such short notice? I feel bad about her loss, but I also specifically told her I needed her to come in and I feel that she was deliberately defiant, for want of a better word.
She has been our nanny for over 4 years, and our daughter is close to her (and vice versa). But she is now in preschool 3 days a week, so she doesn’t spend as much time with nanny as she once did. My 15 month old won’t care, I don’t think. My husband asked what my ideal is – and truthfully, it would be that nanny resigns. I don’t think she will, but that would ensure that our relationship ends but without any unpleasantness. I am so conflict-averse, I feel ill at the thought of our conversation. I’m not at all concerned about our future childcare situation – I feel that this experience has made me a better employer and I’ll know what mistakes to avoid next time – but I am concerned about nanny’s ability to get another job. Despite our differences, I care about her and don't want to see her in a tight sport. That’s the only thing I’m worried about, to be honest. We will give her 6 weeks’ severance and a good reference. Has anyone BTDT – any advice for handling it? Am I doing the right thing?