When you’re a new mom and your company tells you that you have no choice and must travel on business for seven days, you have a lot of mixed feelings: worried, nervous, apprehensive, and excited for sleep are just a few! That’s how I felt in November when my client in London said excitedly, “In December, we want you and the team to visit nine of our properties across Europe!” Sure, I was eager to visit Europe again, but I had a four-month-old at home and I knew it would be hard for my husband to handle her early-morning feedings and evening duties alone while I was gone. Also I didn’t want to be away from my baby that long, either. How would Chris, my husband, manage? Well, I had a nanny. And nanny’s make life easier right?
So I left for Frankfurt on a Wednesday and on Thursday evening (Friday morning Frankfurt time), I saw a text message from Chris to our nanny that read: “Sorry you have to go. We’ll give you your payment for the week.” WHAT?!?!
My nanny quit on my first night away. That’s right. QUIT. Why? Because apparently her lousy husband who doesn’t work claimed she was “having an affair” every day she left the house to take care of my daughter. Although we had a nanny cam and pictures of our daughter playing with the nanny EVERY DAY, my nanny didn’t think that was sufficient proof to convince her husband otherwise. I think she was also scared of him. I was furious! This was a mother’s nightmare.
I had almost five more days left in Europe (traveling to Berlin, Munich, and then London)and my husband was trying to schedule my parents and his parents to watch Ella while he went to work. I tried to remain calm (although I did What’s App my nanny and yell at her profusely via text while I was at the Frankfurt Airport). I remembered there was a Dominican nanny I had used before as a sub who was the sister of a woman I did not end up hiring. She only spoke Spanish and my husband only knew “hola”. So by group texting in English and Spanish between her and Chris I was able to communicate to her what happened and she agreed to come to work for us.
I was relieved but then something else happened. Major guilt. It was Saturday evening and I was about to enjoy an amazing dinner at Hotel de Rome in Berlin with my client and my best friend who also happened to be living in Berlin at the time, but all I could do was cry while talking to Chris. He had remained so calm. I was so proud of him. And I too, had remained calm (aside from my texts with expletive outbursts to the nanny), but at that moment I just broke down. The guilt I felt was so immense–like nothing I had felt before. And then, I just had to laugh. I mean really, what else could I do? I was sitting in a beautiful suite with views of historic East Berlin in a five-star hotel. It was surreal.
I went down to the restaurant. Had a drink and told my client what had happened. She was a mother as well and she told me I was such a trooper (she said she would not have known anything was wrong or that I had even had a daughter all this time)!
When I met up with my boss and the owner of my PR agency in London before having our big client meeting, the owner said to me: “You know, one of my friends had this nanny for more than 10 years. One day she learned from a neighbor that her nanny had another job. A job that required her to stand on a corner at night and call on men. She was horrified!”
Everyone has a nanny horror story–I was just lucky enough to have mine after only two months.