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All English Mothers are Terrible

(208 Posts)
Considermesometimes Mon 09-Dec-19 13:20:20

I urgently need some advice.

Our nanny/housekeeper has decided to return to her home country after a nasty breakdown in her marriage. I don't think she wanted to leave the UK but she will find it hard to manage on her own she says. We have been very understanding, supportive and have helped in all ways to get her through what has been a very rocky time for her, she seemed happy with her decision, and talks more positively about her home country now, she used to be very negative about it before, but now seems content with her decision. On our part we will miss her, or at least that was how I used to feel.

But I have been pretty blindsided by a comment she made to me last week, and I don't know if I am being too sensitive. She was telling me about a mother at her child's school arriving with a young baby with no shoes on, it is obviously cold, and she went on to tell me that all English mothers are terrible!! At this I said, that maybe the mother was having a bad day it happens to the best of us, it doesn't mean ALL English mothers are useless, or even that the mother she was referring to was terrible (she only has one child so does not know the stress of school runs with a small baby)
I was quite taken aback, she then carried on saying that my eldest dd (who is 15) went out with wet hair once. I was really shocked as it felt like she was criticising my parenting skills then, in a barbed way. I asked her when this was as I had never seen it, and she said 18 months ago. I felt very judged by her suddenly, and a little unsure of why she is saying these things now. I must admit I feel oddly hurt by her comments.

I came home early today, as I have been feeling really sick and will work from home, as I walked by I saw her deliberately vacuuming up my younger dd's barbie doll shoes, she was just running the vacuum over them very deliberately and they were making a horrible crackly noise as they were disappearing. My dd loves her barbies, she loves dressing them up and the shoes especially, she knows this, why would she do this? To save her picking them up?

My dogs got out at the weekend, and we live on a really busy road, and she just laughed. This isn't at all funny. I find this behaviour odd, as she always loved our dogs.

She has also started arriving late, and leaving early. I have let this go, as we only have six weeks left and I would rather not make things difficult before she goes.

I am sitting here, and I don't know what to make of any of this, whether I am being silly and it is fine, or whether I am right to feel unnerved. She is due to look after all of the dc (and dogs) when I go away for a few days, and I now don't feel comfortable. What do you think of this?

Chartreuse45 Mon 09-Dec-19 13:39:02

Are you replacing her? Could that person start asap? How much (money) notice would you have to give your present nanny? She has (more than) checked-out of working with you. I would be apprehensive about what she will come out with next or do! You can't rely on her anymore.

Brefugee Mon 09-Dec-19 13:41:30

how much difficulty would it cause to fire her now? Just pay her notice and out.

sarahjconnor Mon 09-Dec-19 13:42:14

It’s a shame. You saw her as a friend and part of your family but she saw you as an employer and now she no longer has to impress you she’s dropped the mask. I’d pay her notice and ask her not to return.
You can’t really be friends with your staff, I say that having worked as household staff myself. There will always be judgement and a power imbalance.

missyoumuch Mon 09-Dec-19 13:43:46

Same thing happened to me with a nanny. She had personal problems that required her to leave and we were supportive but she completely checked out of the job and wasn’t treating me or my DCs respectfully.

We had to sit her down and say - as long as you are here you need to do your job properly. No pointed comments, no slacking. In exchange we will support your exit and give you good references and a small leaving bonus for keeping up standards. It worked.

Good luck.

missyoumuch Mon 09-Dec-19 13:44:29

Oh - we had to keep her on until her replacement could start to that’s why we couldn’t just ask her to leave. So it had to be managed.

MinervaSaidThat Mon 09-Dec-19 13:44:45

YANBU. When is her last day?

If she’s dragging it out, work out her notice period and tell her you have someone starting and tell her what her last day is. Sounds like she has let go.

PersephoneOP Mon 09-Dec-19 13:44:54

Wtf? Did you confront her about what she was doing to your daughter's toys? It sounds kinda creepy.

You may not want to make things difficult but there is no point paying her and having her around if she is going to behave poorly, address her behaviour before it gets worse!

AryaStarkWolf Mon 09-Dec-19 13:48:13

Sounds like maybe she was putting on act all this time but now she's leaving the mask has come off. Nasty woman

AFistfulofDolores1 Mon 09-Dec-19 13:48:48

I'd fire her now. I think she's exhibiting a rather nasty, vindictive form of cognitive dissonance - a way of justifying her return to a country she didn't like much.

MinervaSaidThat Mon 09-Dec-19 13:50:04

I’d be cautious about firing her in case she uses or something.

Delatron Mon 09-Dec-19 13:51:54

She sounds awful, agree the mask has slipped. I wouldn’t want her in my house, she seems spiteful and she doesn’t like you.

I also wouldn’t trust her now I’m afraid. Can you pay her notice? How long has she left?

AFistfulofDolores1 Mon 09-Dec-19 13:52:31

Let me clarify. I would be asking her to leave the house immediately.

Smelborp Mon 09-Dec-19 13:54:28

Did you speak to her about the toys? If she is taking things out on the treasured belongings of a small child, I’d be concerned.

Considermesometimes Mon 09-Dec-19 13:56:47

She has worked with us for eight years, and has been pretty amazing. A few times I have had cause to wonder who she really is, but in the main she has been steadfastly reliable and kind. Up until the english mother comment, she has been telling me how she hopes to come back and visit, will I come out to her etc etc. I have had no indication of bad feeling at all from her. She often tells me I am the only friend she has, and she has never given me cause to be worried about her.

But now, I am not sure. I don't have a replacement available now, I have texted the lady that is starting next month to see if she can come earlier. I then have the option possibly. I feel so sad to have to ask her not to come back right before christmas, after all the years we have shared with her, really very sad, but something is very wrong with what she is doing now.

Besidesthepoint Mon 09-Dec-19 13:57:22

*as we only have six weeks left*

Fuck that, just fire her immediately. She is going out of her way to be disrespectful. I don't know why you would let someone like that in your house.

Considermesometimes Mon 09-Dec-19 13:58:00

BTW I have never encouraged any kind of friendship, and have held her a little arms length but in a kind way. She refers to me as a friend, but to be clear we are not friends. Obviously.

Crunchymum Mon 09-Dec-19 13:58:42

What did she say when you asked her what the heck she was doing hoovering up your child's toys?

Delatron Mon 09-Dec-19 13:59:28

I’ve just reread your OP. Do not go away and leave your children and dogs with this women.

You’re also focusing on the wrong things. Her remarks about English mothers aren’t particularly nice but I’d be more concerned about the hoovering up the shoes (vindictive) and laughing about your dogs escaping (again cruel).

MinervaSaidThat Mon 09-Dec-19 14:00:56

Ah sorry missed that she has 6 weeks left. It sounds like you need her until her replacement starts so I would not fire her unless other person can start earlier.

Marylou2 Mon 09-Dec-19 14:01:29

Pay her until the end of her contract and send her on her way. I'd make this seem like a kind gesture rather than dismissal. Her marriage has disintegrated and she has mentally checked out of her job. She's hurting inside and lashing out to hurt those around her. Your children's safety is paramount .

Considermesometimes Mon 09-Dec-19 14:01:44

I asked her straight away about the shoes, and she said oh I didn't see them. I know she is lying, you couldn't miss them. They are bright red and bright pink. The sound alone would make you stop vacuuming in case it was something more valuable (although they are very valuable to my dd, and she would be heartbroken to know her things are gone) I have had to order some new ones on line, and will replace them quietly.

There is now a really weird tension here that was not here before.

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 09-Dec-19 14:03:46

If you can afford it, I would be inclined to pay her the full 6 weeks and ask her not to come back. I wouldn’t presume this is definitely her character. She is perhaps having some form of breakdown. I wouldn’t trust her with the children and dogs, no.

justasking111 Mon 09-Dec-19 14:04:45

Wow I would be making a point of checking over the hoover contents for the Barbie shoes in front of her. Will she need a reference from you in the future?

Chartreuse45 Mon 09-Dec-19 14:06:19

That's just too toxic! Doll shoes are small but boy, do they clatter! I would expect someone looking after children as a profession to retrieve them if it happened by accident. You can remove the bag - not pleasant but apologies normally include inconvenience of some sort! You'd do it for earrings after all!

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