Okay, so let’s be clear from the beginning—if you think you might need to fire your nanny, you do.
When your child was born, you, like all moms, became a superhero with a very powerful “mom gut.” This is a very special tool that you should use. If your “mom gut” says something isn’t right at school, with friends, or with your nanny—even if you can’t figure out why—you need to listen and take action.
Now, let me give you the back story and some tips to help manage this horrible situation if you should find yourself in it.
Earlier this year, I had to fire our nanny. She had been with us for over two years, loved my kids, my kids loved her. . . sounds great, right? Well, she was becoming careless about one thing, the most important thing in my book—safety. Every mom has their wiggle room with child care providers. No one is going to take care of your child like you will, and that is a hard thing to accept, but there are certain things that can’t be tolerated.
1. Think about the things that are okay to let slide and the things that really bother you.
For example, giving your kid too many carbs—annoying, but is it a deal breaker? Too much screen time? Maybe? This will be different for everyone, but find yours and stick to it.
For me, it’s safety. And when my nanny started letting my one-year-old do things that I didn’t think were safe, I got nervous about leaving him with her: climbing chairs, sitting in the highchair unstrapped, getting locked outside while my son was inside, etc.
Now, some moms don’t strap their kids in the highchair, right? Yes, but you have to know your kid. My first son, no problem. My second son, he would do a handstand and backflip out of the highchair if he wasn’t strapped in. Also, I, too, have locked myself out before with my older son inside the house, #momfail. It happens, but it stung more when she did it. I was outside checking a draining hose from our broken water heater because I didn’t want our garage to flood (while my husband was out of town, of course, hence the front door handle being locked). What was she doing outside without my son?
2. Talk to your friends and partner.
“Am I being crazy?” I asked this a lot to a few friends. And everyone said the same thing, “If you are uncomfortable, she has to go!” Even my husband said that he trusted my instinct even though he felt like maybe I was being a little heavy on the safety patrol.
3. Talk to your nanny.
Have a few sit downs/ warnings (I hate that word, but that’s what it is) with your nanny expressing your concerns.
I did this twice, explaining I was concerned about my younger son’s safety. She seemed to understand. I asked her if something was going on personally and if she needed time off. I even apologized for being a little “crazy.”
4. Be kind to yourself.
You aren’t crazy; you are the mom!!!!
After our chats, I found my son alone on the changing table while our nanny was dealing with my older son across the room, and the following day, she took a nap outside my older son’s room, while he was playing quietly inside.
I know all of this because I work from home. . . and I was concerned, so I was paying close attention! That was it for me and my husband.
We fired her the next day…
5. Have your partner be with you during the “letting go” talk for support.
This is hard. I cried; she cried. I know she loved my kids, and my kids were crushed. She just became careless. My husband and I told her we needed to part ways, she said goodbye to the boys, and I walked her to her car to remove the car seats. It was awful, BUT I slept that night. I wasn’t worried anymore. My heart was broken, but I wasn’t afraid of a terrible accident that might occur the following day.
6. Tell your kids the truth.
My younger son was too little to understand, but my older son asked what was going on when everyone started crying. I told him the truth. “Ms.— isn’t going to be working with us anymore. It’s time for her to help a new family. Let’s say thank you for all her love.” He even asked me later why she left. “What did she do?” Smart kid, right? I was honest again. I told him she wasn’t watching his brother closely enough to keep him safe. He completely understood.
I questioned myself so much through the whole process. Am I being fair? Crazy? Am I hurting my kids—they love her? Will my kids blame themselves? What will she do?
But again, I was afraid, and that’s not acceptable. Later, after all the emotions passed, I wished I had done it sooner. . .
7. Trust your “mom gut.”
Editor’s note: This post originally published on November 30, 2017, and was lightly edited prior to republishing.