Nannies Ain’t Loyal: Four Decades of Life Lessons Part I

Nannies Ain’t Loyal: Four Decades of Life Lessons Part I

So, my nanny tendered her resignation. Well, that’s a little more formal and considerate than what actually happened.

At 10:30 pm, on the last Saturday night in 2019, I received a text that I didn’t see until Sunday morning. My part-time nanny who only came three half-days a week, who was always at least ten minutes late, who left on time or early, who requested at least two days off a month, and who had just been on a week vacation after being paid a holiday bonus, requested the following Monday off so that she could go to an interview for a new position that would start immediately.

via GIPHY

Yes, you read that correctly. She asked for another day off to potentially never come back. There’s no other way to read that other than with a strong beverage and with the understanding that she’s quitting posthaste. My first inclination was to express my shock and disappointment. She had been with our family for about a year; starting in her desperation after one of her previous employers, an elderly bedridden amputee with dementia, passed away. She had been working within the same extended family for a decade. Spreading her time serving multiple households; real, “The Help” like and everything.

She came to work with us after we lost our previous full-time nanny who left when I had to temporarily relocate to become a caretaker for my mother. This new nanny, let’s call her *Felicia, wasn’t a complete replacement by any means, but considering that I have no support system near me, the options for childcare are limited, and I’m a full-time homeschooling mom with a business, any help was better than none.

We had welcomed her into our home and family, as we do with anyone that is a part of our lives. She commented often that we were the first Black family she ever worked with and how relieving and intriguing that was. We noticed how much more comfortable she became over time. She had never worn her natural hair or braids with an employer before working with us. And, she would comment that she had never shared recipes, her Trinidadian traditions, or engaged with the children in a way that respect was demanded of them with any other family before mine. She had never seen a reflection of any parts of her culture or been afforded the kind of appreciation we offered.

Her last day before the holiday break, she brought gifts for the kids and we embraced with the full expectation that she’d be returning in the new year. In fact, I had been very transparent with her about wanting to hire her full-time, despite her late-comings, and that I hadn’t been successful in finding anyone else for full-time care, which is really what my family needs. Yet, I’m never one to hold anyone back from their desires. If she sought greener pastures, then I was not going to try and stop her from roaming. I simply requested that she ask for another interview so that she could come on Monday at least, and we could make that her last day. (I needed help desperately that day as I was preparing to host an annual community gathering in my home.)

She caredeth not about my needs. I left the choice in her hands, and she just didn’t respond until two days later with:

“Good morning. The woman I interviewed [with] just texted everyone. She will be making her decision by the end of the day of who was chosen to work with her. Will keep you informed as to her decision making.”

Dafuq?!! I don’t need to be informed biiiiiiiiiiiih!!! I need to be relieved! These kids are two handfuls, my home is in disarray, my nerves are shot, and my guests drank all the alcohol! I must need to change my foundation, because this shade must look like “try-me-tan.” What in all the fuqs of the world?! My response:

“Well, good luck. No need to keep us informed. Happy New Year.” In other words, “Bye Felicia!”

So, 2020 came with the recollection of lessons. It made me grateful and pushed me to record and share some lessons that have carried me in my almost four decades.

My first reminder is to be flexible and never have anyone in my life outside of pertinent family that’s not replaceable, and even they can [and will] fail you. It’s human nature, and that’s ok. It is a reminder of one of the most repeated lessons from my father. He’d echo these sentiments to me whenever I felt excluded from someone else’s plans or when I was going to extreme measures to make sure that others were and felt included in mine. “Always be planning,” he’d aver, “because they’re planning. And, their plans might not include you.”

Happy planning and Happy New Year Black Girls! Let’s plan for 2020 to be everything we desire and need.

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