sunday night

8.45pm

a text comes through

terribly sorry (i’m being sarcastic here as this was not actually said!) but i won’t be coming to work tomorrow as i now have another job. i love my big boy & i will miss him terribly. i will always love him. (!!!!????????)

and that was that

our nanny / housekeeper disappeared into thin air

just like that!

well now, to say that i was gutted, totally surprised, flummoxed, astounded, angry, shocked is putting it mildly. i told my husband to quickly phone our best friend down the road (who’s own nanny had actually recommended this lady to us as it was her best friend) to find out if he knew anything or if he could find out from his nanny what the story was as we just could not believe that she would leave us like this. in some sort of bizarre twist of fate whilst my husband is relaying our woes to his friend a text comes through on our friend’s phone and well it’s his nanny / housekeeper telling him she’s leaving and won’t be back!!!!!!

WTF!!!!!???????

their nanny / housekeeper had been with them for just over a year. rather ironically one of their ‘selling points’ to us was that they were extremely religious. they were both jehovah’s witnesses and seem to take it all very seriously. now whilst i am not a purveyor of religion i too felt it was a positive that they were very religious. i ignored the little pamphlets being left from time to time in our house and almost found it all quite reassuring. hahaha the joke was on me! apparently according to their church they were too good for ‘domestic’ work….. personally i think these two thought they were too good to work at all!!!

but truth be told i loved her! she was part of our family, she was a friend – even though she’d only been with us for 4 months. we ignored everyone’s advice about paying the ‘going rate’ and paid her considerably more. i had special cleaning outfits made for her from funky fabrics she chose at a fabric store, i bought her an adidas swimsuit so that she could swim with us when we went to the pools (twice a week!!), i bought her a pair of ‘fitflops’ so that she would be comfortable walking around with my son, she had a years membership at the aquarium so that she could join us there once a week. her contract gave her 4 weeks paid leave. we even sent her on a very expensive nanny training course & a first aid course. her cleaning skills were totally up the pole but we ignored this as she was just SO good with our little one we didn’t care about anything else. i gave her two bulging black plastic bags filled with clothes that she took home & sold so that she could make a bit of extra cash. we loaned her R3000 to help pay for her son’s school fees even though at this stage she had only been with us for 6 weeks. in short, i don’t believe there are many nannies / housekeepers that were treated like this princess! and well, as it turns out….. this was our fault….. we treated her too well!

now i know this sounds odd….. it sounded rather awful to me when i was first told it…. but hear me out…. it’s just the way it is!

i have subsequently spoken to nanny agencies, my friends, family members, in fact i have spoken to pretty much anyone who would listen (this is how devastated i have been by this matter) and well the same thing gets said over & over again….. ‘you were too good to her’ & ‘this is the problem with south african’s, they have a sense of entitlement’. every single one of them has told me not to employ south african’s only to employ people from zimbabwe, malawi or other african states. they work harder, they are extremely grateful and don’t let you down. even people who own factories or employ workers by the hundreds have told me this is the case. they consider the south african locals to be lazy & unreliable & arrogant (!!!).

now if only a few people had made these comments to me i would have probably ignored it. but not one person disagreed with this. some people’s views were so strong they are ‘unprintable’.

it has really intrigued me. this sense of ‘entitlement’. i most certainly felt it with my nanny. in fact she all but told me she hated being a domestic. now i above most people understand that a ‘domestic’ job is not exactly a prime prospect. but it’s a job! and in her case it was a pretty good paying job! the minute i was old enough to work i got a waitressing job & as far as i’m concerned it’s debatable whether it’s worse being a ‘domestic’ or a waitress! my first job in london involved scrubbing pub toilets!!! i hated it but i needed the money. a girlfriend of mine owns a shop in the waterfront. their staff are paid less than my nanny was being paid & they’re on their feet all day.

now don’t get me wrong. i am all for people ‘moving up’ in the world. getting better jobs etc… but to not even have the decency to give us even a days notice when she knows we have a little one & work commitments. definitely not the signs of someone who is going to go very far in this life!

during my nannies ‘trial’ period in which she was being paid daily we had a bank holiday. we had no plans for that day in fact my husband was required by his job to work (at no extra pay i might add) as they had a big deadline to meet & my best friend had to work for no extra pay as her shop was open on that day, so as i knew she was very hard up for cash i decided to offer her the option of working on the bank holiday. yes, she would want to work but i’d have to pay her ‘triple’ (!!!) she told me. no, i said, i don’t ”need’ you to work that day but i thought you might want to make the extra money so i’m giving you the option. no, unless i pay her triple she won’t work. i tried once again to explain that if i had plans or needed her that day i would pay the required amount (which subsequently i have found to be double not triple!!!) but as i don’t actually need her i would just be paying the normal rate to help her earn some extra cash as opposed to nothing…… well NOTHING it was!!!!! where is the logic? my nanny in london would have jumped at the opportunity. if ever i could give her extra work she grabbed it gleefully. she has just finished paying off her own house in the phillipines! how proud i am of her. but she worked like a horse! she always knew that if she wanted to make something of her life she’d have to work hard for it. like the rest of us. but my ex-nanny…. well she has other ideas…. i wonder if she’ll ever own her own home or anything for that matter. with her attitude i somehow doubt it!

what a terribly sad state of affairs. i feel like a bit of a traitor. but i can’t afford not to listen. my little one has been through enough upheaval as it is. he is my priority. so tomorrow i interview 9 new candidates….. all from zimbabwe & malawi.

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