Photo via Unsplash x Bruno Gomiero
This is Part 2 of this story. If you have not read Part 1 yet, go back and read that first! Also, thank you everyone for being so patient. I know Nanny Counsel took a bit of a break because of being on vacation, but we are back and ready to go :)
So if we recall, we left off with the mom of the family I nannied for letting me go via email and making a jab at me in the process. At this point I was hurt, but still rational. But then came jab #2. She tried to slide it in there so nonchalantly. Like it wasn't the actual reason they were keeping this temp nanny over me. She made sure to state this reason last and say, "Oh and the new nanny is willing to work for $5 less/hour, and while we are paying her more than that, it's nice to know it's not all about the money to her". Are you kidding me? I was done. That sent me from rational to irrational very quickly. How dare she say it was all about the money for me! She knew my rate when she hired me! If she couldn't afford it, she shouldn't have ever even considered me. I was very clear about what I had been making at my previous position and what I needed to make. I fired back a hasty email (life lesson moment) and told her exactly what was up. I stood up for myself, but didn't do so professionally, so it wasn't my finest moment. But then she responded back even more unprofessionally than me!
(NOTE: Seriously, don't ever do this with a boss. Or in this case, a former boss. It's a recipe for disaster. Stay calm and professional and seek the counsel of others before firing off an email. And ideally, don't even have convos like this via email anyway. If at all possible, have these types of discussions in person or over the phone.)
Her unprofessional response included insults about me and my character as nanny. I could not believe what she was saying. She told me that she had a bad feeling about me all along and that her kids never liked me, blah blah blah. In my response back to her (dumb, I know. I shouldn't have engaged her again), I asked her why then she went out of her way to praise me all the time. I wanted to know why she would text me when I was off work just to thank me and to let me know how much her kids were gushing about me after I left. If she had a bad feeling about me all along and didn't trust me with her kids, why did she keep me? Why had she trusted me to do all the initial recruiting/hiring for her new nanny? If I was so awful, surely she wouldn't have trusted me with all those things. If she was actually replacing me because I was a "bad" nanny, why then did she offer to help me in any way she could by referring me to her friends? It just didn't add up. Especially because she only started saying negative stuff once I very firmly stood up for myself.
So, suddenly she was singing a different tune. She let me know that I was being let go because plain and simply, I was a bad nanny. She told me that this might be the first time I'm being let go from a job, but it certainly wouldn't be the last. She also told me that my firm email about salary and taxes did not "sit well" with her. She said she didn't like that I cared about money that much. These were very upsetting words for me to read. The whole situation left me feeling betrayed and confused. I truly had gone above and beyond to find and train a temp nanny. I didn't understand how I was that disposable (good nannies truly are hard to find) and how she couldn't understand where I was coming from with needing to know about my pay.
From there she sent me 4 more emails! I did not respond to any of them. One of the emails was about a talk she had with her housekeeper. Let's pause for a second so I can give you the backstory on her housekeeper (let's call her Maria). Maria used to be the nanny. She was nanny/housekeeper and worked M-F. The mom hired me to replace Maria's nanny role because she was not happy with her as a nanny. Once I was hired, Maria got reduced to working once/week to clean the house. I can't know for sure, but I don't think she was happy about this. I wouldn't be. Suddenly my full-time job got taken away from me and I had to supplement my hours? No thank you. Now, I was always nice to Maria, as I am with all other staff I work with at my nanny positions. And, just like I am with all other humans in general haha. I could tell we weren't bonding like I've bonded with other housekeepers I've worked with, but things were friendly. I told her about my time living in Spain and I always spoke to her fully in Spanish because she preferred it. And as the mom had pointed out in her email to me, I am a very clean nanny. I thoroughly clean up after the kids and I and am even more vigilant of doing those things the day the housekeeper is there. I never want them having to wash dishes or tidying because that's not in their job description. So basically, I never treated her rudely or did anything to upset her, aside from taking her job.
Okay, so back to the mom's talk with Maria. She told me that Maria had confirmed all her suspicions about me. According to Maria, I left the kids unattended in the bath, locked them in rooms for hours at a time so I could sit around using my phone, and cruelly fed her child one grape piece at a time when he was starving. Let me just say that when I read this email, I was so upset I literally started shaking. Did Maria really say these things because she wanted me gone so she could have her job back? Was the mom just making it all up because she wanted to be mean and wanted to justify replacing a perfectly good nanny? Either way, it didn't matter. What mattered was that none of it was true and I was extremely offended that I was being accused of such things. Any family I have worked for (aside from this one) would immediately come to my defense as they know there is absolutely no way I would ever do any of these things to a child. The only part of her allegations that was partially true was the grape part. Yes, I am guilty of feeding her 14 month old one grape piece at a time. This happened a few times and I'm here to admit that I gave him one grape piece at a time to teach him baby sign language. No one had taught it to him and at 14 months he was getting increasingly frustrated due to his inability to communicate, so I cruelly taught him how to sign the word "more". If that's not an example of a bad nanny, then I don't know what is.
As tempting as it was, I did not respond to this email. At this point I was prepared to file harassment charges if she contacted me one more time. Thankfully she didn't. But, she wasn't done with me yet. I thought it was over, but she had one more parting gift to give me. In one of those harassing emails, she said that I would regret firing off such a rude email -- that these things usually come back to bite you in the butt. That was her foreshadowing what was to come. Her brain was already calculating how she could retaliate and burn me. So this is what she decided to do...
Even though she had found me via word of mouth, she knew I used Care.com to find jobs. So, she contacted Care and they banned me from their site. I went to login one day and my profile was disabled. I could not login. So I called Care to find out what was going on. I was informed that there was a complaint made about me and for safety reasons, I was permanently banned from Care.com. I immediately knew who the complaint was from. I was livid. How dare she?! How does she even have enough time as a grown woman with 2 children to act like a catty sorority girl? I started pleading my case to the person I was speaking with from Care.com. She had little information to offer and was very unsympathetic. She could not tell me who made the complaint and what was said, she could only confirm there was a complaint and that I was now blacklisted. I asked who investigates these claims because I needed to tell my side of the story. The woman told me it had already been investigated and closed, but that I could email them if I really want to. So I emailed the department that supposedly investigates these safety issues. I sent them a HUGE file (which I still have in my filing drawer) of every correspondence I've ever had with this woman. I sent them every single text -- especially the ones where she doted on me. I sent them the convos about me hiring the temp nanny. I sent them the emails to show how she was harassing me. I spent hours compiling this file for them and I NEVER heard back.
So I contacted them again. They would not discuss it with me. I begged them to call my other references and told them that this woman was crazy and making it all up. They explained that if someone makes an accusation and it's corroborated by another witness, like a housekeeper, then they have to take the parent's word. That was it. End of discussion. All the families I had been in contact with on Care were sent an email warning them of me and that I had been removed from the Care community for safety reasons. Some of these were families I had just interviewed with -- ya know, because I was scrambling to secure employment for 1.5 months later once my leg was fully healed. As you can expect, none of those families hired me or even contacted me again.
Thankfully I found a job through an agency -- an agency who knew me well and still represented me even after I fully disclosed what had transpired with my previous nanny family. I also disclosed that I had been kicked off Care.com. This agency actually listened to my side of the story, knew my reputation as a nanny, had spoken with all of my references, and then decided to continue representing me. And guess what? I've never been let go from a job again. Shocking, I know.