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Nanny Diaries – The Flip Side

Weird things have been coming into my head lately. Lines from movies, books, songs…The latest is the refrain “no brains, no heart, he’s much too shy…But never mind you 3, there’s a wizard as you can see….he’ll fix it 1-2-3…”

Remember that old Wizard of Oz cartoon? You don’t!? Then you’re soooo not my demo. (But you can check it out and fake it ’til you make it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjyv_i0tBSk) (‘K? Read on)

Now is that song stuck in everybody’s head? Are you curious as to why I’d do that to you?

I’ve been looking for a new nanny, that’s why. And it’s been a bloody nightmare. No shows. No return calls. No luck.

No brains, no heart, they’re much too shy….See???

I’d heard the nightmare stories. The whole “good help is hard to find” complaints. But I never believed them. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of duds – at home, back in the olde days of office life, on a production, and even when I was a waitress. Oh no wait… that last one was me.

I had one friend who was in the caregiving business. A nanny pimp, if you will. For a small fee, she’d find you the perfect person. Except after several months of dealing with high maintenance clients on both sides she realized her sanity was worth more than the gig was paying.

Then there was the friend of a friend who, after 4 months of hunting for help, finally gave up and put her kids in daycare instead. Pricey, but apparently worth every penny for the peace of mind. Mind you, apparently she’s now back in the market for a nanny too…..

I’ve had a nanny get sick and die (it was awful, actually). I’ve had the perfect nanny who would’ve bankrupted us ‘cuz she was a fortune. I’ve had the one who, when we said it was time to part ways, said her prayers had been answered – oh, and would I give her a reference. The latest one’s been off sick for weeks and finally admitted that she’s been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Bad luck, Chuck.

I don’t need Mary Poppins. I’m not looking for Maria von Trapp. And I don’t think Mrs. Doubtfire would last the week. But is showing up too much to ask? Is acknowledging my children with a simple hello an outlandish request? My phone’s been ringing off the hook – yet if I call back, they don’t want to talk. Except to ask me about my “offer”. I feel like I’m on-line dating: everyone’s looking to get laid without any commitment. Well, call me old fashioned, but a nanny booty call ain’t what I’m after. Sure, a one day trial’s OK – clean house, change of pace, possibility of escape for an hour or so. But I need the relationship.

And I need the help.

Apparently, I’m somewhat undesirable: 2 kids plus a baby coming any minute now. A dog, a cat, and a man who works late. Oh, and worst of all: I’m home. My old neighbourhood was run by the nanny mob. They knew who to work for, what to ask for, which moms were home. I definitely would’ve had black marks against me. But here in my new hood, we’re one of the smallest clans around. We don’t demand 12-hour work days. And we even pay extra for overtime! Should I pretend otherwise? Pull out the slavedriver routine instead? Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen?

Who has time? I have no help!!!

I feel like a bit of an ass complaining: after all, all our mothers and grandmothers coped without help….Or so we’re told. But they had each other. And they started younger. Most of ’em didn’t live a freewheelin’ life on the other side of 25ish, so they didn’t know any better. By the time they hit their 40’s, their kids were in school all day long. And were (somewhat) independent – enough to be able to hop on a bus. And, in some cases, drive. Maybe they were on to something, those ladies. Or maybe they weren’t. If I had children with the any of the men from my 20’s, I’d be a very bitter divorcee.

But maybe I’d have a great nanny. Apparently times aren’t the only things that have changed. The nannies of yesteryear -or babysitters, au pairs, mother’s helpers or (cringe!)”help” as they were known by some – were a different breed…. Or so we’re told. Loyal. Lifers. Part of the family. Today’s caregivers want a job. And a life. And that’s fine. Great. All power to ’em.

But I want a life too! And maybe even (gasp!) a job. Not this month, mind you, but one day. And so, call me a princess if you please – whatev. I need some help. Call her an assistant. Or him – I’d take a manny too. Pronto. The TV-as-babysitter novelty is wearing thin, even for my media junkies. And I think my man might lose it soon – happy wife, happy life, right?

So star search continues….

I have someone coming in for a test run this week. It’s reached the point where, if they can understand me, the job’s theirs. All they have to do is show up. Yes, that’s part of the job description.

Is that really too much to ask?!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

brilliant – right from the bleeding gutt…
anyway, i am the “friend of a friend” and just wanted to add that my return to the nanny market is a bit off the mark (as great as that line was). my son will remain in the fabulous montessori school he’s in now and i will be bringing someone over from hong kong to live in and work for me as a housekeeper and part-time nanny in the fall. the key here is that if she doesn’t show up or work out, i will never be left in a lurch and never be forced back into the trenches… it’s now all about gravy for me. and after the past year, mama’s taking the train load.
good luck

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