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Employer attempted suicide... not sure what to do.

(74 Posts)
Freakingthefeckout Sun 21-Dec-14 21:25:31

Please excuse me if any of this sounds callous, I'm trying to be practical and not get emotional until I have some time to myself.

I've worked for a lady on and off as a nanny for her small children, started when they were babies and they re school age now. I don't officially work for her anymore but I'm always at her house when she needs me, which is quite a lot. She has no close family and not many friends who aren't busy with their own children so I've become like a surrogate aunt to her children.

This year was a tough year for her, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently took a big back seat with the chilldcare. She had to give up her business and sell her equipment to a competitor. Her elderly father has been difficult for a while and makes a lot of demands on her time, and the children are going through a difficult phase. To top all of this off, I'm less available now because i have a new job and I'm freelancing with another and i have less time to give her. I also live very far away.

I arrived at the house to bri ng the children to the cinema like we had planned a while ago and was told she tried to commit suicide and is being held in a psychiatric ward for the time being. That's all ive been told. I took the kids out for the day to give their dad some peace and I'm staying here. He asked me to stay for a few days. I was supposed to go home tomorrow for Christmas. I don't know what to tell my family or how long they need me here.

Practically, I'm not sure what to do. Can anyone advise me on this please?

Hissy Sun 21-Dec-14 21:35:29

the best you can do is be honest, and do only what you can do.

her H will have to get help if he needs it from his family/friends/neighbours. is the H still unwell? I was hmm about the having to take a "big back step" wrt the childcare. he might not be able to climb trees etc, but he can still be their father and get things done.

it's not fair for you to be expected to drop everything in your life just like that.

DancingDinosaur Sun 21-Dec-14 21:53:29

He needs to look at getting some emergency support from ssd. Might be entitled to a direct payment. Clearly they need something more consistent in place.

flippinada Sun 21-Dec-14 22:10:27

What a sad and difficult situation for everyone involved.

It sounds like the family were/are under a huge amount of strain. FWIW you don't sound callous at all. Hissy is right, you must be honest about what you can do.

I really think their Father needs to step up to the plate here - unless he is very unwell?

What about friends and family - could they help?

Namechangeyetagaintohide Sun 21-Dec-14 22:14:54

I'm sorry but I would go home.

You do not work for her. It's a very sad situation but you have a life and family of your own. The father needs to sort this out or at the very least hire someone properly.

It is not fair to keep dumping on you.

SeasonsEatings Sun 21-Dec-14 22:24:32

You sound fantastic. I would sort out shopping for them, give the kids a big hug then leave the DH to it but go back after your family Christmas.

Lovelydiscusfish Sun 21-Dec-14 22:29:29

Sounds horrible for all concerned. Do hope you are ok - must be tough seeing someone you know so well going through all this, plus you having to effectively parent her dc in the wake of it all! Are you ok - do you have your own sources of support?
In practical terms, it is very much this - are they paying you? Are they able to pay you crisis work rates? And if they are, are you able to be with these dc at Christmas, or do you have your own dc, or other family, friends or relationship commitments? You do need to think about yourself and your significant others, and think about your/their needs. Tho if you can be with this family in their time of crisis, that would be amazing, you need to be paid for it, though!

cestlavielife Sun 21-Dec-14 22:52:18

Are you being paid ?
You can do so much as a favour but if he wants you to step in as emergency nanny you need to be paid proper rates .
If you have plans with your family then you need to stick to your own plans.... he must seek emergency help from his friends and family or ask ss.

cestlavielife Sun 21-Dec-14 22:54:00

How sick is dad ? If they school age presumably between them they can manage ?

SoonToBeSix Sun 21-Dec-14 22:57:46

Of he is too sick to look after his dc he needs to call SS for help.

ajandjjmum Sun 21-Dec-14 23:07:20

Awful situation.

What would you like to do?

AcrossthePond55 Sun 21-Dec-14 23:21:54

I think it's lovely of you to want to help. How old are the children? Is there a nanny agency nearby that does short terms or do you still have contacts in the nanny community? I think if it were me and if I could I'd delay my trip home one day (leave Tuesday?) and try to help him get sorted as much as possible tomorrow (Monday). Watch the children so he can ring family or friends or contact SS. Perhaps the psych hospital has a list of resources for families, this can't be the first time a family has been left in the lurch due to a MH emergency.

cestlavielife Sun 21-Dec-14 23:31:00

It hinges on how sick dad is. You said give him peace and don't imply he is incapable... . .?
What can he do? Can he walk, cook ? and does he have family ?
He can hire emergency nanny thru agency or ss can provide help if he is too sick. Ss could place kids in emergency foster card if he is too sick to care for them .

Freakingthefeckout Sun 21-Dec-14 23:33:33

What I'd like to do is go home, but it's not an option I'm going to pursue. I only came up in the first place to do one of my freelance gigs and give the kids their Christmas presents, I'd have never found out if i hadn't dropped by. Money is not a concern for me, what is a concern is my own dad. Christmas for us is just the two of us plus my brother over for dinner, and the dog. He's seen very little of me lately, even though we live in the same house, because I've been working maniacally since August. I'm a single woman with no other social responsibilities. I offered to host the kids and dad at mine but it looks like they might go to relatives in the country.

Their dad is having chemo and is very tired, hence the step back. The relatives they do have live far away and don't see them regularly, whereas I've been a constant in their lives since they were babies. They need me and i am loathe to leave them. I'm in the bed with them now for the night.

I also discovered that none of the Christmas presents have been bought yet and I'm half wondering was the stress of all that malarkey the tipping point. I'm going in to sort it tomorrow night. Dad says he'll put a floating cashpoint near the door so if i need money i just take it.

Tryingtobecalm Sun 21-Dec-14 23:36:19

What a sad situation. You are doing a lovely thing for those kids.

Cabrinha Sun 21-Dec-14 23:40:15

What an awful situation.
It's lovely of you to offer to host them for Xmas.
But your answer is there - they might go to relatives, so they have two offers, you're not leaving them with nothing.
I would tell them you are going home on Tue, and he must decide then where they are going (gives time to buy extra potatoes!)
Your time now would be best spent helping him press other relatives or SS into action - you simply can't provide the main support.

Muckymoo71 Sun 21-Dec-14 23:41:39

I'm going against the grain here and guessing you are fond of these children and if it was me would stay on with them for a couple more days.I am just thinking of what they are going through right now...and would in the meantime tell the father yes he has cancer but it doesn't stop him being a father. Get their family to pull their finger out too, please post some more so there is a clearer picture.

cestlavielife Sun 21-Dec-14 23:42:44

Ok ... Speak to the relatives find out if they will sort presents for Kids. If not take their dad's money and get their presents sorted.
This is about the kids.... But
Then you need to let dad sort things out.

After Xmas you need to get it on a paid footing. You still the employee. It's great the kids are close to you but their dad needs to pay you as an employee. You have no legal status with regards to the children. Except when you been a paid employee. And then it's just that unless mum and dad have named you in their wills . I know neither are dead but they must have thought about this in their wills?
Who is named as guardian after mum and dad ?

Who would take kids if mum and dad Die ?

cestlavielife Sun 21-Dec-14 23:47:10

It just sounds odd that dad isn't there for them unless his cancer v advanced and he can't hug them ? ? He sounds v distant ? Or is he really sick ? If he is v sick then obviously the kids need someone else around. But wcho was there until you dropped by ?

Muckymoo71 Sun 21-Dec-14 23:47:39

Just read ur update and that's you're obviously compassionate. I've known parents undergoing chemo and it is draining, hopefully he'll be well enough Xmas day. Re Xmas presses if you need any help post on here for ideas. What a sad situation.

FoodPorn Sun 21-Dec-14 23:56:59

flowersflowersflowers for being there for this poor family at such a horrible time. Your kindness must mean so much to them.

flippinada Mon 22-Dec-14 00:01:45

You sound like a lovely, kind person OP.

I'd say, if Dad is well enough to be in his own with the kids (assuming he is.. or is he? ) then stay as long as you feel comfortable with and do what you can.

Given the situation, I'm genuinely surprised no rellies or friends have stepped in, I've have thought this was an all hands on deck type situation - even if they are at a distance.

Not questioning you it just seems unusual that nobody would help, iyswim.

Finola1step Mon 22-Dec-14 00:03:20

You sound like a truly lovely person Freaking. Thank you for being with those children. flowers

anothernumberone Mon 22-Dec-14 00:05:06

To be honest I would give what you can. I do think you have to be pragmatic. I am surprised other family members have not come forward. I was in a not too dissimilar situation 5 years back. All I could offer was 1 weekend so I did everything I could for that weekend. Be very upfront about what you can and cannot do as they need some certainty and then stick to your plan. It is such a sad situation.

ajandjjmum Mon 22-Dec-14 06:50:19

It sounds like the children are really lucky to have you.

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