A few months ago I came across Lora Brawley’ s post on Nanny Care Hub, read it, it is powerful. I commend Lora for being so brave and for standing up for herself. You are an inspiration!
As I was reading it, my mind went back to the early 1990’s when a family accused me of dropping their daughter on her head and almost ending my career as a Nanny. I was not as strong as Lora, I did not sue them. Maybe I should have, I don’t know.
I was really young, it was my second Nanny family and things were not going well, I had agreed to a one year contract, there was one baby, I lived in an apartment below the family’s apartment and I had agreed that I would work 6 days a week. The baby was 10 days old when I started, the parents put her through reconstructive nose surgery weeks after I got there, they just did not like her nose!!! This was the beginning of our issues, I of course did not agree and was horrified, but they were both medical professionals and thought it was OK to do. Things only got worse as the months went by, the baby was not allowed to crawl as she would get her clothes dirty, she was not allowed to feel herself as she would get dirty, I needed to spend hours starching the baby’s clothes everyday, the list went on and on. They refused to give me my day off each week so I had decided to stick it out for the year and then leave. During the ninth month I was there, I was allowed a day off, so I decided to go for a walk into town. While in town, someone tried to take my handbag so I beat him up, yeah I know… anyway, I broke my foot, he was much worse off!
I hobbled back to my apartment and decide I would go to the hospital to have it looked at, as I was on my way out I got an intercom message from the parents ( they had one of those with a video so they could see if I was home or not) saying they were going out to a concert and I needed to watch the baby. I explained the situation and they were adamant I was to go upstairs. So I did, they left and came back in the wee hours of the morning, by this time I had reset my own foot, it hurt like hell!
When they got home and I went back to my apartment, I packed everything up and wrote my letter of resignation, I was giving them my 4 weeks notice as per contract but knew I was going to have to leave right away.
I handed them my letter of resignation and explained my reasons for doing it, I told them I would honor the four weeks notice agreed upon in our contract but they would not listen. They picked up the baby and locked me in their house for 48 hours. There was no way for me to get out. I waited for them to return and as soon as they opened the door I walked out, called friend and left. Goodbye and good riddance!!
I decided to take some time off, heal and then start looking for a new job, it had been rough few months and I needed my foot to get better so that is what I did.
When I started looking for a new position I kept getting: “I am sorry we don’t have any positions suitable for you” by all the agencies I had worked with previously, I thought it was strange but decided to keep trying anyway. After a month I figured there was something really odd, there was no internet at the time so I went to the agencies personally and I was told I had been “blacklisted” because I had dropped the baby on her head and she now had severe learning difficulties. OMG, HS, what was I supposed to do, it was their word against mine, I was horrified, I was shocked, I had no words. Luckily, I found the balls, yeah the balls, to ask one agent to call the family while I was sitting there and to ask them how the baby was doing and how many nannies they had had since i had left three months earlier. To my surprise she did call, I wanted to cry, the Mom answered and said the baby was fine and that there were no issues with her at all, they had had 16 nannies since I had left and were looking for a new one.
The agent turned to me after putting the phone down and said “So, where would you like to work next?”
I was so, so lucky, my career could have ended just like that and had I not been pro active and pushy I wouldn’t have known why. So please read, Lora’s blog post, and this one and make sure you have safeguards in place.
I would not have put up with that sort of behavior now, I leaner the hard way, you don’t have to.
Have you got a story like this to share? What would you have done? We would love to read your stories.