True Story Tuesday: Broken Femur

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A few years ago I broke my femur when I was about a month and a half in with a brand new nanny family. The mom found me via word of mouth and things has been going decently well. I say decently well because I was their first professional nanny and they had already changed things on me. For example, they no longer wanted to give me paid holidays off and we still didn't have taxes figured out. But, I had given them my baseline take-home pay requirement, and they agreed to it. I sadly ignored major red flags.

(Side note, I should mention that I literally broke my femur while walking to get frozen yogurt one night. Quite a talent.)

Immediately following my epic freak accident, one of the first people I texted while in the ambulance was the mom of my nanny family to let her know there was no way I would be making it to work the next morning (which was a Friday). When I finally got my diagnosis and prognosis at the hospital, I quickly texted the mom to update her that I had to get immediate surgery and was going to be out for a while. Her response to this was nice and empathetic, while also asking me to keep her updated and that they would work on finding backup care for Monday, but hopefully I would be back by then. Umm, what? I broke my femur. I'm getting surgery. I just told you I'm going to be out for a while. Super annoying and insensitive.

Once she realized I legit was going to be out for 3 months, she started to panic. I proceeded to tell the mom that I could find her a temp nanny. I did not want to lose my new job and even though we were still figuring things out, I had already become attached to the kids. So, the mom took me up on my offer to find her a temp nanny. I kid you not, I sat in my hospital bed just a couple hours post surgery, and set up a Care.com profile for her, posted the job, and immediately started weeding through nannies. I then picked the top 5 and spoke with them and all of their references. Then, I sent her info on each candidate, including their resume and my notes from speaking with them/their references. I also worked on a comprehensive packet to give to whoever she hired. This packet included the schedule and everything the temp nanny needed to know about the job and the kids. Next, I scheduled her interviews with the top nannies I had selected . Finally, once she interviewed and hired one of those nannies, I went and trained them just two days after I got out of the hospital! My doctor had not cleared me to go back to work, I was completely dependent on crutches, and I couldn't bear ANY weight on my leg for 3 months, yet this woman took me up on my offer to train the temp nanny.

Now, in case we didn't know for sure, I'm here to attest that crutching around just two days after broken femur surgery to train a new nanny for 10 hours is incredibly exhausting. My mom was so upset that this woman would even allow me to do such a thing. But, she gladly did. And I gladly helped and went above and beyond because even though it was a freak accident, I felt awful for leaving them in such a bind. Plus, I desperately wanted to make sure my job was secure for when I was cleared to return to work 3 months later.

(Lesson learned: don't offer ridiculous, over the top things and assume the person you are offering them to will insist otherwise. Also, don't go above and beyond when it's not healthy for you to do so. I blurred the lines between my strong work ethic and my personal self care. In hindsight, I should have never even offered to train the new nanny so quickly after surgery.)

Fast forward to about a month and a half later and everything was going well. I was healing quickly and had been checking in with the family to see how things were going. The mom had let me know how excited she was for my return, that the kids missed me, and that the temp nanny was great, but thankfully only a temp. The one thing she wouldn't talk to me about was taxes. I was trying to find out what deal was and if I was still going to make the same take home pay we had discussed. They agreed to a certain take home pay, but once factoring in taxes, they were going to have to pay me a higher hourly wage (nothing extreme -- it was the same wage I had just been making at my previous position for just one kid, and this job was two kids) than they had been paying me. So I emailed her a friendly inquiry about it. I got no response.

After about a week or so with no response, I followed up with a more urgent, firm email. She did not like that. I explained to her that I really needed to know if my take home pay was changing so I could plan accordingly. I even flipped it and said that if her husband's work told him they might be changing his take home pay, that he would want to know ASAP. I tried to explain that this is my livelihood and I have bills to pay so it's crucial that I am able to accurately budget my money. She finally responded to my more "pushy" email and her response was nice, but shocking. She felt sooooooo bad, but they had decided to keep the temp nanny. They liked her and didn't want the kids to go through any more transitions. According to the mom, the temp nanny wasn't as clean as me, but that's because she was so engaged with the kids (jab #1).

Now up until this point, even with the jab, I could understand where she was coming from. I tried to see her side with having to transition the kids all over again, but I admit, I was very hurt and shocked. She had praised me so much and I knew they were extremely happy with me, so I genuinely was at a loss when reading this email. I couldn't believe they were going to give me up that easily after all that I went through to find them a temp nanny. That alone should have spoken volumes to the type of nanny I am and how seriously I take my commitment to a family.

This story gets crazier, but it's so long I'm dividing it into two parts. Stay tuned next week to read about what followed after I hastily responded to her "letting me go" email. And I mean it when I say this story gets crazy -- it ends with someone getting banned from Care.com.

**CLICK HERE FOR PART 2**