There’s always the writing on the wall, when you’re about to get dumped.
Whether it’s a romantic relationship, one with your employer or in this case – your nanny, there are certain actions which make you know you will soon be in the market for a replacement.
While in the case of a romantic relationship, you may feel inclined to start dropping lyrics from Beyonce’s ‘best thing you never had’ to your soon to be ex in a bid to cajole them into rethinking the wisdom in their decision, in the case of a nanny, the song you might find playing in your mind (if it’s a good nanny) is Blackstreet’s ‘don’t leave’.
I had the good fortune of landing a great nanny after giving birth – she took care of my baby with love and care; they would play games, she had high standards of hygiene, was proactive; the works.
But just as in any other work setting – a good employee is often on a headhunters’ radar.
In this case, another mum looking for a good nanny spotted her and gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
Before we get to how I got dumped by my nanny, let’s go back a little bit.
I’ll share with you signs your nanny is about to give you the: ‘Mama so and so, tunaweza ongea? Naona uanze kutafuta mtu mwingine (Can we talk? I think you’re going to have to start looking for another nanny).
I had lived in harmony with my nanny for several months (which in the world of nannies is like the Biblical one day is like 1,000), when all of a sudden, she started coming late and not apologizing about it.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a commuter nanny.
She would start by coming 30 minutes late, then it moved to an hour, then an hour and a half – and mark you, I’m not Elon Musk, so I don’t have the luxury of not having to work. My nanny started coming in late and I’d be stranded, waiting for her to arrive so I could go to work and her phone would be off.
When she’d come in, she would neither have an apology nor an explanation.
As I write this now, I’m starting to wonder why I am not the one who dumped her first, given that her perennial lateness went on for a couple of months.
That’s water under the bridge.
The next sign she was planning to dump me was she started neglecting to do some of the light duties she was supposed to do when my baby was sleeping – like light cleaning.
When I’d get home, she’d say that she was unable to clean because my baby was awake the whole day – a lie – which is another red flag. As mentioned in a previous article, I have CCTV – and told her about it (though it’s so conspicuous, you can’t miss it). The footage would show her sleeping and soaking up the sun during the times she claimed she was too occupied with my baby to do anything else.
I let the lies and laziness slide, because as I have mentioned before, she was very good with caring for my baby.
But there comes a time…
The last sign she was about to dump me was once when she said she had some matters to attend to and would not be in on a certain Friday, only for me to see her emerging from another house around our estate.
A week later, she gave me ‘the talk’.
I could see it coming and I was anxious, because despite her shortcomings – she was good at her main job – taking care of my baby – and with all the stories I’ve heard of how one can change their nanny countless times, I was willing to accept her as she was, because who is perfect?
So one day, before I left for work, my nanny dropped the line, “Ukona dakika moja tuongee (do you have a minute to talk?”)
Impeccable timing… there I was going to work and she chooses morning to drop her dumping bomb.
She went on to make up a story as to why she wanted to leave, saying she wanted to work somewhere she would live.
To show you how good she was with my baby, I contemplated, and even offered to let her become a boarder.
I should have known she wasn’t being honest about her reason when she hesitated to agree to stay with the new live in terms.
A month later, she came back with the same line, “Ukona dakika moja tuongee (do you have a minute to talk?”)
She admitted that she had gotten another job and insisted that she had liked working for us, but the other deal was too good to turn down.
I asked how much she was being offered and as much as it was out of my budget, I was willing to push myself to maintain her.
However, my hubby would hear none of it. He was of the view that her behaviour leading up to her wanting to leave was wanting and if she was genuine, she should have presented the facts as they were so that we could decide whether we could match the salary, instead of making up stories and slacking because of securing a new job.
In the end, as the saying goes, “ukiachwa, kubali or achika” (if someone wants to leave, let them do so).
The interesting thing is that we ended up getting a nanny who was even better with our baby.
I had mentioned the other nanny was not a good cook. Well our current nanny is a really good cook and makes soft, tasty chapatis.
My advice to mums is, if you think you have a good nanny, you can try convince them to stay, but don’t feel pressured to do so – there are other good nannies out there.