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When Sh*t Hits The Fan

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This past week was a DOOZY, people!  In addition to being astonishingly ill with a bacterial upper respiratory infection requiring a boatload of antibiotics (a whole other story), I also was called on to make a major decision which I wasn’t prepared for in the slightest.  The results of which truly gave me the opportunity to remind myself exactly what I am made of. 

This past week I went through a major break up– of a relationship that I had been in for just under a year and a half.  It was completely unexpected and deeply emotional, and it brought up many feelings for everyone in our family.

Amid the chaos of a raging illness, I fired my daughter’s Nanny.

Of course, she had been much more than my Marlowe’s Nanny– she had been like a member of our family.  Marlowe adored her.  With a husband on the road, I had arguably spent more time with her in the past year than I had with my husband– and as I created my business, we had upped the hours with the baby to full time to accommodate for the many hours I had to work every week.  She had many great qualities.  But within one afternoon, completely unexpectedly, I got a feeling from her that set off my Mama Alarm Bells and made me realize that I could no longer welcome her in our home.

For everyone’s sake, I’m not going to get in to the details.  They aren’t really important.  Of course there had been little things here and there that weren’t perfect (as there are in any relationship) but nothing like what happened that afternoon.  The gist is that I caught her being untruthful with me in a major way.  When I asked her some further questions and gave her the opportunity to come clean, she became defensive, insulting, and derogatory.  It was absolutely shocking, and what I now realize was a viscerally defensive reaction to having been discovered in this lie.  I was standing in my kitchen, nearly speechless.  Not only couldn’t I believe that this was actually happening, I was the sickest I had been in years– and my husband was across the country working.  How was this happening now, of all the days in the past 18 months, and what was I going to do about it? I had placed Marlowe in front of a movie in a different room, and she was content– separated.

As tired as I was, as weak as I felt, and as big of a nightmare as the consequences were going to be, I knew that this person wasn’t going to spend another minute with my daughter alone.  Not on my watch.  I turned to the Nanny and calmly told her how uncomfortable she was making me feel, how surprised I was at her behavior, and that I felt it would be unacceptable for her to continue caring for my daughter.  She asked me when she should leave. I asked her to give me her keys and go.  Immediately.

She did.  She was gone.

I was shaking.  I was angry, depleted, and sad.  I felt violated and betrayed.  I was running the past year and a half back in my head, questioning everything.  Essentially, it felt like some of my worst breakups: ones where one moment you love someone, and the next moment you realize you don’t even know them.  I was completely disoriented.

Besides my own shattered relationship with this person, I was heartbroken for my daughter.  I was worried she would miss her daily playmate and caretaker and would somehow feel that she had been abandoned.  I didn’t know what to do or how to bring it up.  I called my husband and told him the entire story.  He was thankful that I handled it the way I did, and was just as shocked as I was.  He felt helpless being as far away as he was, when I had no help and wasn’t even well enough to care for Marlowe.  I hung up with Kyle and sat on the kitchen floor– crying and listening to the faint sounds of The Little Mermaid coming from the other room.  I let myself collapse for five minutes.  Then I blew my nose, ate a banana, and called in The Troops.  About a year ago, my reaction would have been very different.  I probably would have accepted the stress of the situation on to my own shoulders, struggling by myself until eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore.  But Motherhood has given me a gift– it has finally taught me to ask for help, and to accept it in all its forms.

“The Troops” were mostly my Mom, my closest local girlfriends, and Marlowe’s Uncle Ryan.  But they were exactly what I needed! My Mom came immediately to stay with me, and helped me more over those next few days than I could have hoped for.  Ryan drove me to the doctor and babysat Marlowe while I received the care I needed and picked up antibiotics.  My girlfriends gathered information from all the Nannies they knew, collecting recommendations and resumés so I could begin the interview process right away.  My house got zero TLC and became the dirtiest I have seen it in quite some time.  I ordered take out a lot.  Marlowe watched many more educational Youtube videos in my office than she usually does.  And then (finally) I interviewed a wonderful woman who is smart, responsible, fun, and caring.  She started as Marlowe’s Nanny the day Kyle got home from Connecticut (of course).  Marlowe loves her.  And the other Nanny, the one I worried Marlowe was so attached to that her absence would send her in to a tailspin? Marlowe hasn’t even mentioned her once.

And so the moral of this story, I guess, is that your hardest day (or week!) really won’t ruin everything.  Children are resilient, and so are their Moms– we made them that way.  Our kids are attached to their Nannies, but WE– their parents– are the indispensable ones.  Most of all, remember: People want to help you.  In fact, your loved ones are looking for a chance to show you they love you– let them! And sometimes the things we think will be our children’s greatest catastrophes, really are just…medium catastrophes– with an extra side of Youtube Videos.

 

xoxo

EAM

 

Photograph by Nina Suh for Love And Lemonade Photography

 

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39 Comments

  1. Lena says:

    Oh my gosh, Eva, this sounds like a nightmare! We had a few nannies growing up (I lived overseas in Africa and Asia my whole life, and it’s very common there), and while some of them have become like family members, I remember a few being dishonest and/or sneaky and, even as a kid, I could tell something was off. Glad you listened to your gut, it’s usually right!

    02.08.16Reply
  2. DeAnna says:

    You know when something needs to be done, sadly it doesn’t always make it easier. Especially when you’re so sick! From one mama to another – I’m glad you followed through even though it was tough, let yourself break down for a few (we all need to cry sometimes) and remembered we all need to call on our team at times! It really does take a village and knowing that makes you stronger. ???? Keep being awesome mama.

    02.08.16Reply
  3. sharon says:

    Goodness, what a terrible week. I can commiserate with the illness – I got my first ever ear infection (yeow!) AND bronchitis and I have a 16 month old boy who’s got energy that should be bottled and sold AND my husband was away in Mammoth on a boarding trip! I didn’t have to fire anyone (we have a sitter who stepped in and handled sh*t when I couldn’t), but man, do I ever know what it’s like to feel ‘off’. Hope you’re feeling better.

    02.08.16Reply
  4. Alisha says:

    I almost just cried reading this. Finding GOOD childcare has been the biggest struggle for me as a working mom. When I was still pregnant with my little one we looked at daycares because I was so nervous about someone caring for my child. We quickly found out daycare was not for us. We had a few other nannies; one was always late, one put her to sleep all the time with no interaction, one didn’t take into consideration our parenting style. We have a nanny now, and yes she isn’t perfect but no one will EVER care for your child the way you will.

    02.08.16Reply
  5. katie says:

    We trust our child’s life in the hands of a child care provider. If you can’t trust them to be level with you…how can you trust them to provide the care your child needs, when they need it? Lying and name calling is unacceptable in any position…she acted unprofessionally. Good call.

    02.08.16Reply
  6. Dani says:

    Ahhh! That hurts my heart! Trusting your child with someone is a HUGE deal and for someone to betray you! Ugh I can’t even imagine! I’m so sorry!

    02.08.16Reply
  7. Katie Morene says:

    For me, the most challenging part is always the relationship aspect; particularly when it’s completely unexpected and it’s someone I care for and trust. Several times I’ve experienced that punch-to-the-gut feeling of complete shock and betrayal when the world spun upside down and I’m looking at someone I thought I knew and realty has shifted. You can’t unknow what you now know.

    This glorious life is always throwing opportunities at us although sometimes they are disguised as a sh*t-hit-the-fan week! Sounds like you’ve tested yourself and your Troops and all passed with flying colors! Congratulations! You’ve also seen that Marlowe has the wonderful resiliency of a well-loved child.

    02.08.16Reply
  8. Theresa says:

    Way to step up for the task at hand! Good job Mama Bear:) I think its empowering as mothers to listen to their gut, no matter what the consequences may be. We will always figure it out.

    02.08.16Reply
  9. Ashleigh says:

    As a mom AND a nanny, I take both of my “positions” seriously. I care for the other child like he was my own, as all nannies should. It’s nannies like your old one that gives amazing nannies that actually care a very bad name. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for anything. My son has a permanent playmate always! They are family to us!

    02.08.16Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing, Eva! I’m so sorry you had such a terrible week. Hang in there momma….this too shall pass! 🙂

    02.08.16Reply
  11. Martha says:

    You’re a good momma! Protection is key!

    02.08.16Reply
  12. Casey Peters says:

    Hey Eva,

    I’m really sorry you’ve had such a tough week, but your post really has given me hope. Friday I had an exhausting, nothing could go my way, extra sensitive day. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and go to sleep, but I had to try and push emotions aside and take care of my 7 year old step daughter. Her dad was at work and we have been dealing with her having nightmares every single night 4-5 times a night where she wakes up. (Any advice on how to help with that I would greatly appreciate!) I just wanted Friday to be over.

    Reading your blog, looking at your Instagram and seeing your snaps are so helpful and I always enjoy reading/watching them.

    Your a kick ass mom to Marlowe, and thanks for being so open to posting things like this for us other moms to read!

    Hope this week is better! 🙂

    -Casey

    02.08.16Reply
  13. Nicole says:

    I love how honest you are in your posts and I am so very sorry about your struggles! Breakups are the worst – I myself was just reminiscing about a friend breakup just before I read this and totally understand some of the emotions you mentioned above! Happy to hear you are on the mend and that you have a lovely new addition!

    02.08.16Reply
  14. Julie says:

    Horrible doesn’t seem adequate to describe your week.
    Amazing how honed our instincts become once we are parents. I always trust mine, especially when it involves my 2 year old son.
    And great point about people wanting to help. My family has shown me that time and again!

    02.08.16Reply
  15. Cat says:

    WOW! I’m so sorry you had to do all that especially when you weren’t well. It’s never an easy thing to realize that the person you trusted was something completely other than what you though they were. I’m so glad you have a squad to help and that you and Kyle were able to find someone to be there with Marlowe so you can continue to do what you love.
    Best of luck going forward – I hope this one works out perfectly.

    02.08.16Reply
  16. Greg Fillmore says:

    Hello Eva,
    So sorry to hear about this happening. My mother had a similar experience with a day care provider for my older brother.
    You have much wisdom with strength. People with quality teams are a deep well of both of those qualities.
    Mineral water sometimes flavored with a nice walk helps to clear my mind during times of stress, and or changes.
    These S*#t hitting the fan moments sometimes can be labeled opportunities for growth with adjustment. But it is very different when a child is involved.
    Greg Fillmore

    02.08.16Reply
  17. Courtney says:

    Dang girl. Sorry for the week from hell! Glad you made the right decision with the nanny situation. I always have the hardest time with trust in the child care dept. Wish you the best with finding a new nanny.

    02.08.16Reply
  18. Jessica says:

    Oh that’s the worst kind of break up. I nannied several children while I was in college. I had two terrible experiences and one magnificent one. I dealt with a couple who was in their 40s and limited their child’s intake so much that he was starving and not thriving. Like I could I only give him 1/2 a hand full of Cheerios. Then one couple who didn’t really want children and had twins. I worked beyond full time and took care of their dog. They wanted me to bring their children to demonstrations against China and were mad when I explained it would be too loud and since they were preemies, they might be too fragile to deal with the germs. They wouldn’t have enough diapers and formula there so I’d end up buying a lot of essentials for their babies and it was a very uncertain home for those babies. I worried every time I left.

    But then, I met the most wonderful family. Their baby was so sweet and cute. I loved the parents and we became fast friends. It was the best working experience I have ever had. I did all sorts of extras – cleaning the house, doing everyone’s laundry, making organic & homemade baby food. It was blissful. After I graduated, they came to my party. I went on trips with them and filled in on weekend nights for a while, too. I loved it because they had date night every week and I felt like it kept them happy and grounded in a time of crazy change. They each took every other night so one parent could rest un-disturbed. It was wonderful.

    Finding a good nanny isn’t easy. In my experience, it’s best to write down exactly what routine you want for your baby. Also, have your nanny keep track of diaper changes, feelings, baby’s mood, what sort of play they did, books they read, dancing and music, tummy time, and sleeping time. Having notes to read when you (mama) get home helps the transition feel more organic and gets you up to speed. Also, I tried to let the mama in on any additional info. I think it’s also easier to sleep train a baby as the nanny, mainly because your sympathetic reaction doesn’t trigger breast milk or huge emotions. Whenever I started I read every parenting book that the couple had and took notes on parenting styles so that baby felt secure in their lives and routines when mama and daddy aren’t there. I liked to play lots of music during the day – especially classical music.

    It’s not easy letting in an extra person to your family, but it can be so wonderful.

    I wish you the best of luck with your new nanny, Eva! (And I hope you’re feeling tip top ASAP!)

    <3

    02.08.16Reply
  19. Thank you SO MUCH to you guys for the words of encouragement above!! I feel so supported in my decision, and thank you for the well wishes also! If I’ve learned one thing in my Thirty years it’s been to trust my instincts! I’m glad so many of you feel the same way. It’s great to hear your stories of resilience too!

    xoxo
    EAM

    02.15.16Reply
  20. Jessie says:

    I’m sorry. It must be so hard, having to take time, when your sick, to find a new nanny for your children. It must be horrible.

    I’ll be honest, this is the only blog entry I’ve read. It was linked to an article, that was linked to an article from my local Podunk news website. The author might very well be a wonderful person who does wonderful things.

    But, WHAT THE FUCK?!

    These celebrities try to convince you that they are “normal” people with “normal” problems.

    I am a regular mom, with 2 spectacular kids…..I own my own business and manage my household. I have never even considered a nanny. I couldn’t afford one if I wanted to.
    I have 2 sons, my oldest has been battling leukemia for close to 3 years. That has been a job all by itself. But I have no hired help. We do everything on our own. My husband and I work full time, I pay the bills, I cook the meals and pack the lunches. I wipe asses and I scrub floors.
    When’s the last time you cleaned a toilet Eva? I doubt you EVER have.
    Have you ever laid next to your child in a hospital bed and had to consider the possibility of life without them? Have you thought about how you would pay your mortgage while having to take time off of work to care for your child? Have you ever considered selling your soul to the devil for them to be well again, because that is all you have? I don’t think you could be humble if you tried. But you were born into privilege, and we are supposed to forgive you for it.
    Just remember people, next time some multi-millionaire writes a blog post about how traumatic it was for them to lose their fucking nanny after 18 months….how lucky you are to live in REALITY.
    They are not the lucky ones, they should not be idolized or admired. They don’t understand true hardship and, therefore will never experience true joy.
    Your biggest problem in life is to find a new babysitter?
    What the fuck?!
    My advice Eva? Use the time you would have spent finding another nanny and take your daughter to a children’s cancer hospital. Talk to a “regular” mother trying to get by…talk to a baby, the same age as Marlowe, about what her life is like with cancer. It will put everything in your over-indulgent life into perspective.

    02.29.16Reply
    • Deidre says:

      This post isn’t about who is more and who is less fortunate. It isn’t about spending time with children. I sympathize with your situation but it is not relevant in this space because this blog entry is about betrayal. The shock of betrayal can be traumatizing regardless of how large or small the circumstances. Betrayal can distract and overshadow the focus of one’s attention on the most important priorities to cause chaos in any aspect of life…Perhaps Eva has never cleaned a toilet but her position in society should not exclude her from the sympathy and understanding that anybody who is betrayed should receive.

      03.02.16Reply
      • jean says:

        I don’t understand how the core of the story is betrayal when you won’t
        describe the betrayal. Your own words said the issue (I guess betrayal) isn’t important enough to give any info or detail.

        Its funny, I stumbled onto your log, read your post as a gripe session and had no impact on me. But when Jessie calls you out with some valid insight, I would have expected a response apologizing for your lack of perspective or something banal. But to pass the petty gripe session off as a story of betrayal?! I just have to call BS on that.

        12.08.17Reply
    • Valerie says:

      You are angry at your place in life right now. This woman doesn’t deserve your rage. Pain and grief aren’t comparable.

      03.14.16Reply
  21. nance says:

    I totally empathize with this–we were in a similar situation when our son was around this age. Only thing I can say is good job following your gut as a mother. And I suggest talking to your daughter head-on about the nanny leaving, how she loves her, but is not coming back to watch her. Kids understand way more than we think.

    03.01.16Reply
  22. Al says:

    The nanny we had to fire had been friends with my wife for 5 years, what we found out was shocking, she was letting my 12 year old make out with boys on our couch when we were away, when confronted her excuse was they were never out of my sight, the sad part is she did not know what she did wrong. The ironic part of this story is her daughter got pregnant at 14.

    03.01.16Reply
  23. Christina says:

    Thank you! I just read your two nanny posts and it alleviated some of my “nanny-guilt” I went through 6 full time nannies in 15 months. Five of them I let go and one (the only good one) I lost to a reality TV show! I used to joke to my girlfriends that if they needed any advice on how NOT to hire a nanny I was their girl. Because both my husband and I were working out of the home I needed someone to be there to take care of my infant daughter that I could trust implicitly. The minute that trust was broken, or shattered as it was in 2 cases I felt like they had to be fired and out of my home toot-suite. We got pretty creative with schedule rearranging and my mother racked up some frequent flyer miles coming to our rescue. At the time I wouldn’t had changed a thing, my daughter was a defenseless infant and anyone caring for her in our home had to be beyond reproach. Sneak your boyfriend into my home? You gone. Wrecking my car and lying about it? You’re out of here, getting a call from a woman in another state where your boyfriend goes to college for a reference you are so out of here! As my children grew and I have mellowed as a mom I sometimes look back and wonder if I might have overreacted and felt a little guilty about things like firing a nanny as I hand her a plane ticket home that departs in 3 hours. But reading your two blogs reminds me of how having someone in your home, living with your family, caring for your children opens you up and puts the sanctity of your family out their, possibly at risk. No I wouldn’t change a thing I was respectful and always held up my end of the bargain. But when facts where there for me in black and white I listened to my gut and ended it. Glad that you found the strength to do the same.

    03.01.16Reply
  24. Beth says:

    So I lived through something similar. A quick termination but on okay terms. But here is the reallllly interesting thing. We ran into the former nanny about a year later and my son had no clue who she was and he has a sharp memory. Granted he was young and 3ish when we saw her but he wouldn’t even play along with a sweet hello or eye contact. It was BANASAS to me. She had been with him since he was born, took him to swimming classes and the park. He went on to a warm daycare (gotta love Astoria, Queens) and he still talks about that teacher two years out from being there.

    03.01.16Reply
  25. Tina says:

    Hi Eva, I’ve seen a few bits and bobs connected to your blog/ business. A lady after my own heart. I was so sorry to hear about your nanny. It’s awful to be deceived in this way. I once worked for a lady who had the same happen to her. She was devastated, and her life sort of fell apart. She was a lovely lady and once she realised that I wasn’t a threat, we became friends. Sadly she moved to Oxford and I haven’t seen her for a while and I still miss her stories. ( am in the UK ) these things are sent to try us and make us stronger. Ps now i e discovered your blog, you now have a new fan !

    03.02.16Reply
  26. Kesha DeVita says:

    I hate that I am always late reading things like this but I just wanted to give a big huge kudos to both you and your husband for both handling this situation so well. People like her disgust me attempting to rip apart a family for what? I had it done to me plenty of times my first marriage but my husband now is much like your husband and get me offended if someone attempts to come between us. I will say it would have taken a few friends and a police officer to have stopped me from going to her house once I returned from my trip LOL.

    04.30.16Reply
    • jean says:

      I must have missed something – I don’t know what the nanny did to upset the OP so how did it turn into an effort to rip a family apart!!

      12.08.17Reply
  27. Alisha says:

    As a nanny… it’s upsetting to hear these unfortunate situations happen. I read about the other Nanny’s accidental text and then this. Yikes! It’s females like this, who are using a position as a nanny as a stepping stone to another opportunity, that gives nannies a bad name. I have been a full-time/live in for 13 years. I do this job because I love what I do. Not for it to get me somewhere else. Do your research ladies. Nothing annoys me more than seeing someone say they have 5-10 years of experience when they are 21 years old. Babysitting in HS doesn’t make you a nanny. ? Best of luck in the future. Hope it gets better.

    01.02.17Reply
  28. Tiffany says:

    awesome job! no one messes with mama bear. OMG, I don’t know if I could trust anyone with my babies (praying for a husband and babies). I hope to work from home and be apart of my babies lives. Although, I know at times I would need a nanny to supervise them while I’m working.
    Well see what happens.

    01.10.18Reply