After more than two years with us, since Preston was three months old, our nanny quit on Saturday night—wait for it—over a text message. She sent my husband a text at 7:30 p.m. saying, simply, "Hi, Jay, just wanted to tell you I got a new job." A new job? Huh!? We didn't even know she was looking…totally blind-sided by this. After leaving my job at Playboy last month we had to reduce her hours a little and she said she was fine with it, and seemed very understanding. I felt terrible about it and let her know that it had nothing to do with her, and we'd do everything we could to be fair, including giving her two week's notice (as in, I gave her a two week head's up before reducing her hours). I also made sure she knew we wanted to give her as many hours as we could to keep her gainfully employed (extra babysitting, extended days when possible, housekeeping once a week), until I got more freelance work or a full-time job. She said she wanted to stay on with us because she loves Preston, and was very happy working for us. So we moved ahead with our new schedule two weeks ago and I thought things were going great…
She even asked me if I would put him in a soccer class for the winter that her nanny friends from the neighborhood were taking their kids to, just blocks away…so I happily signed him up, paid the fee, bought the uniform, and canceled a different class I already had him enrolled in that conflicted with the time. He started soccer last week and LOVES it. But what's worse, the new family she's working for lives in our little neighborhood! So he will inevitably see her. And she also asked us if we minded if she started with her new family this Monday (as in TODAY). Ummm, hell yeah I mind. This Monday? I gave her the courtesy of a two week head's up when I was simply reducing her hours; I expected the same courtesy from her. So that's exactly what we told her… She agreed to continue working for us for another two weeks, thankfully, while I look for help, but I still find it disturbing that Preston is going to have to see her around the neighborhood, at the park, at soccer (unless I can cancel it), etc., with a group of kids he's developed friendships with—kids he talks about all the time. He will notice her absence, obviously, and then to see her taking care of another child? It will confuse and hurt him. He loves her like she's a part of our family—because she has been his whole life. She's worked for us full time for more than two years, during which she saw him more than I even did. Obviously they have an incredibly close bond, or so I thought. I was very surprised that she would even want to start with the new family this soon, and not even say goodbye to Preston? That part hurt me more than anything.
Despite issues we've had with her in the past, she has always taken amazing care of our son. Our lives will be deeply affected by this, but in my heart I know it's probably a blessing in disguise. Though I'm not currently working full time, I am freelancing a lot now and hoping to pick up more work, plus have doctor appointments every other day, and other things going on that I need time (and energy) to focus on. I was so not prepared for this—I mean, up until a month ago I was a full-time working mom and dedicated career woman! Suddenly my life has done a 180.
But perhaps this is also a sign: Maybe now is a good time to enroll him in preschool, which I originally planned on doing when he turned 3 (since I had a full-time nanny). The question is, can I find a school with a mid-year opening. And do I get help in the meantime, or wait for an opening, or both? I might do a combination of part-time preschool and a part-time sitter. Decisions, decisions! He's 2 years and 5 months now; I think he'll love preschool once we get through the transition. I know that won't be easy but at least I'm not working full time right now, so I'm around to help get him through it (unlike our attempt at daycare at this exact time last year, which was a giant fail, remember?). My other big dilemma is whether I enroll him in half or full days...the schools I'm looking into offer either but not both. So if I start him in a half-day program now, and switch him to a full-day program next year when he's 3, that'll mean switching schools and another hard transition for him (and me!). Not ideal.
So my new goal for the new year is spending the next couple of weeks, while I still have help, researching schools and also finding part-time help. As well as squeezing in as many errands, doctor appointments and work as I can! My parents just returned from Arizona (where they're conveniently living part time now), so at least I have my mom here for backup when I need it—very grateful for that. (Hint!)
What's the worst nanny or sitter breakup you've ever had? How long did it take your kids to recover from it? How long until YOU recovered from it? I'm worried that all these changes happening at once will negatively affect Preston—Mommy's home more now, which is a good thing, but it's also been a big adjustment for both of us. The only nanny he's ever known is leaving our family in two weeks (but still kind of hanging around); and he might be starting preschool soon. That's a lot for a little one to adjust to at once, don't you think? Any advice on how to talk to Preston about all of this? Once she's gone and he starts asking about her, how do you tell that face (above) that "Nani" went bye-bye?
Update: I just had my first face-to-face conversation with her since she dropped this bomb on us over the weekend, and she let me know that she's making the same amount of money with her new family, but the woman is pregnant with her second child and due in September so she's been guaranteed a raise. As much as I understand this is a business decision, that extra piece of info kind of stung a little—she knows everything I've been going through and all she's ever said is that she can't wait till I have another baby (she was hoping I'd have two more!). Ouch.
In other news: This is my last blog for the Parenting Post (sniff). It's been an incredibly rewarding experience blogging about being a new (and overwhelmed) working mom, ever since Preston was only five months old—I can't believe it's been two years. But I have great news to share: Beginning next week I'll be blogging three times a week for the Fertility Files. I hope you'll join me over there as I chronicle my personal journey trying to conceive baby no. 2 and going through secondary infertility.
If you want to keep up with my adventures in parenting, I'm also blogging over at www.thecosmomom.com. Follow me on Twitter @spgorenstein and on Facebook at Sarah Preston Gorenstein. Thanks for reading my blog these past two years—I've been reading your comments and taking your advice to heart, so please keep the comments coming—I love hearing from you!