Monday, April 18, 2011

There is no easy way to say this...

I fired my nanny tonight. Well, not just me, me, my husband and the other couple we share her with. But I did the talking and I don't know about everyone else, but in our house, I'm the one sitting in the tub having a cry over a glass of wine.

When I posted about finding a nanny to share, there was only one thing I left out. Go with your gut, above all else. When we interviewed candidates, it basically came down to two options, and the majority went in favor of the woman we hired (J), and I felt strongly in the opposite direction, but felt that majority ruled, and that 1 out of 4 doubt has nagged at me.

I should say right away that there is no SERIOUS reason we had to let our nanny go. J was loving and appropriate with the boys. She kept them safe and happy and fed. She just wasn't "the one", a fact that became clearer and clearer over the past couple of months. And yes, we could have worked on making her into "the one", I suppose, but while I don't believe in the concept of soul mates when it comes to choosing a partner, I think I do when it comes to finding someone to act as a proxy for you all day with your child.  

Last week, due to an unexpected absence of J we hired a temporary replacement, and as these dalliances sometimes go, we fell in love. It suddenly became clear that while we were confident that the boys were receiving adequate care, J's style just wasn't a natural fit for our families, and there was someone out there who was.

As a group, we went over and over our options, but ultimately decided that it truly was most important to be confident in the total care that our nanny was providing our children, and that we had to "go in a different direction".

Besides maintaining focus and discipline, one of the major challenges of working from home is establishing an appropriate relationship with your child's caregiver, I think. In my case, I tend to be an insta-bonder, and J was keen to be friends, and I increasingly found myself in the awkward position of developing something like a friendship with someone who I knew had a limited engagement in my life. I knew about her relationship issues, her family, her hopes and dreams. I know that she in some ways considered me to be a friend (and vice versa, if I'm being honest).
And because of that relationship bourn of proximity, I was the most appropriate choice to sit down with her tonight, look her in the eye and tell her that we were giving her two weeks working notice, and we were letting her go.

Obviously this isn't about me. On my end, really, I'm in a happy position. We have the nanny of our dreams (a real Mary Poppins), and I will work and enjoy my son and have the best of both worlds, while someone else is now unemployed. But the fact is, all I've done since Ollie went to bed is cry over how incredibly guilty I feel, and all of the different ways J is going to struggle because we let her go.

I hope this is just my tendency to catastrophize mixed with some latent guilt about the way I treated some of my high school girlfriends. I hope that J has no trouble finding the perfect family for her, and that somehow things between she and I can remain amicable enough that she can check in for updates on the boys and I'll stay up to date on her various trials and tribulations. But I'd settle for her finding the perfect family, and hating me for the rest of her life, if that's what works for her.  

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