A few months ago, we had a tough few weeks with our nanny care. It started with a few sick days, a few last-minute cancellations. Nothing that seemed too out of the ordinary, but also not ideal for two working parents, especially the last-minute cancellations.
Then, our nanny had a personal loss and needed to travel to Brazil for a week. Totally devastating, and completely understandable that she would need some personal time, but that also meant a week without childcare for us. After her return, we had a string of additional cancellations and late arrivals due to her family being sad, and having a hard time with the loss. We tried to be supportive through the process, but ultimately it was too hard on us.
So my wife and I decided to move on. The separation was terrible on both ends. Our nanny was devastated to lose her job. We had tremendous anxiety about letting her go, both because of its effect on her, but also because of our need for solid childcare over the next few months. The bottom line, though, is that she was not showing up enough for us to have the confidence we needed in our nanny.
She pulled on my heart strings. She begged not to be let go, tears streaming down her face. She promised to be solid for us. She told us things would be different going forward. My heart was torn, but logically I couldn’t justify keeping her. Because we hadn’t worked with her very long, just two months, it was impossible for us to distinguish between a solid person facing hard circumstances versus a pattern of absence. The risk of the latter was too hard on us, especially in light of our upcoming work commitments. We felt terrible, but it felt like the right decision.
I get it: we’re a hard family to work for, we have four kids, my wife and I work too much. But we’re also a loving family, who provides support and stability for the right person. Still, after years of successful nanny relationships, we’ve had a hard time with childcare over the past few years.
Why does everything seem so hard sometimes? Like it’s always an uphill battle? We’re all trying to find that solid person, someone that feels like a third parent, someone that’s there for us and for our kids when we need them. Sometimes finding that person feels so elusive. Finding the right person to be part of the family — truly, a third parent for our house — can feel like such a struggle.
We all want the same things out of life: happiness, safety, love, adventure, excitement, respect, meaning, joy. With two working parents, having a third parent who will show up, keep our kids safe, to Love them, Support them, Teach them, is a fundamental need, as much as housing, clothing, food, and safety. And so we continue with yet another nanny search… Help wanted!
Update (July 2018): After much consideration, we’ve decided to keep working with our nanny! We had some good talks and decided to work through it together. Sometimes that familiarity and love that you’ve built up – even for a short time – is worth continuing. She’s committing to us, and we’re committing to her. Here’s to good times going forward!