Nanny Fail.

We THOUGHT we found the perfect nanny

2019 January 11
by Jennifer

As you know, we spent the month of December on the quest for our Mary Poppins. We needed a nanny before I began my new job in early January. After a literal zillion hours spent calling references, phone interviewing, and conducting face-to-face interviews, we offered the coveted nanny position to a lady we’ll call *Carol.* Carol had all the bells and whistles: a cheery disposition, a stellar resume, glowing references, and the desire to –and I quote-“make my life easier.” When we offered her the job she was elated. She couldn’t wait to care for our “smart, funny, adorable children.”

I spent the week before her official start date writing a dissertation on the care and keeping of my children. The mental and emotional load that we mothers carry is a heavy one to share. I did two days of training with Carol in an attempt to download all of the minutia about rules, routines, and the preferences and particularities of each of my girls. We drove the carpool loops together and along the way I pointed out the local parks. I introduced Carol to our neighbors, installed new car seats in her car, and gave her our house key.

I went to bed the night before my triumphant return to the working world confident that the two most important decisions were behind me. I had found the perfect nanny and I had found the perfect outfit to wear on my first day. I was ready to walk the road ahead in my sensible pumps and power suit.

Carol was supposed to arrive at 8:15 on Tuesday morning. Around 7:45 I got this text:

No worries. Neither me or my husband had to be at the office early that day.

Atlanta traffic is the worst, and though she had been to our house several times, she had yet to do the drive during morning rush hour. She quickly texted back.

Meanwhile my husband and I were wondering who would ever want to drive that far for work. We had a hunch that the commute would be too much and asked her MANY times thought the hiring process if the drive would be too far. She repeatedly reassured us that it wouldn’t be a problem at all. “As long as I have my music,” she said sweetly, “the drive won’t bother me a bit.” Then around 8:30am I get this text …

Of course she won’t. It’s way too far to drive for work, no matter how smart, funny and adorable my children are. I grumbled that I wish she had realized this weeks ago. Ugh. I texted back:

No response.

And crickets. I called her twice. No answer, no response, straight to voicemail. 8:30. 8:40. 8:50. The pit in my stomach grew and grew as my husband took the hopeful stance that GPSs aren’t always accurate assuring me that surely she will be here any minute.

I stood on our front porch in my power pumps with my baby on my hip, willing her tiny black car to come down our street.

By 9am when it was crystal clear that Carol was not coming, we sprang to action making a backup plan. I frantically packed a bag of baby paraphernalia, did some car seat shuffling, and made plans for my amazing parents to take care of #3 all day and pick up #2 at school. My husband took the baby to my parents’ house and I jumped in the car for my first day of work. On my commute, I called the elementary school and a dear friend to coordinate after-school arrangements for #1. Adrenaline pumping after the chaotic morning, I walked in the office on my first day a cool ten minutes early.

For the next 8+ hours I completely compartmentalized. I dove headfirst into my new role and tried to make at least a decent first impression with my colleagues. I even made a new friend in the IT department which, as you know, is essential. I got in the car after a great first day, with the peace of mind that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

On my commute home I interviewed yet another nanny. I held back tears as I explained to her what we were looking for and what went down earlier that morning. But when I walked in the door to find my mom holding the baby and my dad serving mac & cheese to the big girls, I started bawling. My oldest daughter started crying when she saw me crying. She LOVES drama and was on pins and needles as I tearfully recounted the morning’s events. My three-year-old gave me a big hug and kept telling me how sorry she was that my hair was turning brown. “I’m so so sorry your hair is turning brown, mommy” she kept saying. She understood the real trauma of the day. Roots.

I felt exhausted after putting so much time and emotional energy searching for the person to care my three most precious possessions– for nothing. I felt betrayed and lied to. Clearly Carol is a person of questionable character. Better that we know that now. She ghosted on me in my time of need. Screening my calls and not returning my texts to tell me she wasn’t coming was low. She had spent time in our house and babysat for my children the weekend before her official first day. I was sick to my stomach-and I still am as I revisit all of this. What did I miss? Were her references even real? Had she really been rear-ended the week before when we sympathetically rescheduled her training day? She sent me a PDF of her background check. Am I an idiot for not doing my own background check on her? My calls go straight to voicemail. And though I have sent polite texts requesting that she return the car seats, they are still at large. Was all this just an elaborate scam to steal a few Gracos from an innocent family? Oh yeah, and she still has our house key.

To be honest, I thought that the background check that she provided us with would have been adequate. However, looking back on it now, I definitely should have got a second opinion.

This weekend I’m back at the beginning. Calling references, interviewing nannies, making an appointment for highlights, and I’ll most definitely be contacting a locksmith about changing our locks. In this situation, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

And to think, my #1 concern about Carol was that she seemed too nice.

*Name changed just in case that wakadoo googles herself.