Are my expectations too high or am I employing subpar talent?

I have decided to make a post about this instead of venting further to mythical wife because she’s probably beyond exasperated hearing me gripe, and my friends’ group chat doesn’t seem like the most appropriate place to do it either.  I’m not concerned about my hire ever discovering my brog either because pretty much nobody but me reads the bullshit I write and frankly the worst things that could happen is it might open their eyes to their shortcomings, or prompt them to quit, which in turn would force my hand at finding a replacement that might be better at the job anyway so it’d be a win-win either way.

But long story short is that I am not particularly satisfied with my current nanny situation, and I’m really over in-home child care in general, in spite of the fact that it still beats the alternative, which is putting my children into the petri-dish of daycare where they might get abused.

When it was just one kid, I employed a nanny, because it was still the peak of the pandemic, and our collective maternity/paternity time was coming to an end, and we needed someone to watch #1 during the day while I worked from home.  One adult to one child worked out great and was relatively easy for that duration, but as we all know, #2 came pretty quickly afterward.

There was a lot of time where there was adequate coverage for both kids, between mythical wife’s second maternity leave, my second paternity leave, my mom coming down for a few weeks, but there was a definitive point on the calendar when all the coverage was going to dry up, and it was going to inevitably be the nanny covering both my kids, solo.

Well, that didn’t last very long at all.  I think, maybe four total days, until they basically had a mental breakdown, ghosted us and then basically quit over the phone with me weeks later.  #2’s challenging sleeping habits basically broke them, putting us in a horrendous situation where we had to scramble to find a new nanny very quickly, in an extremely nanny-favoring market, due to the number of people who are embarking on hybrid or alternative working situations.

Fortunately, we found a new nanny fairly expediently, and they quelled our initial concerns on being able to handle both of my kids, as they have been doing nanny work for well over a decade.  But it came with a catch; they had to be able to bring their own one-year old child with them, which meant they were effectively in charge of not just two kids during the work day, but three.  However, they assured us that it was doable, so we agreed to hire, and it was a brave new world.

At first, things were going pretty good.  In spite of the perceived difficult of wrangling three kids all under two years old, they never seemed to get frazzled, always kept cool, and every time I asked if they were good, if they were okay, it always was.  I admired their ability to keep cool under the pressure of multiple infants and toddlers, and their experience in their careers as well as their own parenthood really showed.

But occasionally, there were some behaviors and actions that were done that made me scrunch my eyebrow, like showing too much initiative, by rearranging my entire kitchen and doing some cleaning, which is kind of outside of their job description, as long as it doesn’t pertain to the kids.  At one point, I got a text message that was all like teehee, I owe you a Diet Coke, and this one bottle of Diet Coke that I’d been sitting on was taken.  I was a little miffed at that one, but this person was taking care of my children, so I could let one stolen soda slide.

Basically, unlike their predecessor, new nanny had a lot more initiative and asserted themselves way more, even if they encroached on the line I think is appropriate a little bit.  My girls were still being well taken care of, they were getting out of the house to play in the yard or go out on walks more often, and getting engaged with coloring books and reading regularly.

However, one of my concerns with any sort of employee be it my personal nanny or anyone I’ve had report to me, is complacency and behavior after the honeymoon periods end.  And in the case of new nanny, I’ve definitely been feeling like things have been going in the wrong direction.

It started with small things, like things getting misplaced, or occasional days where some toys and clutter are not picked up after.  But as time has passed, there have been numerous broken toys, lost teethers or bottles and peripherals, and on days where I have to go into the office, I’m coming home to disaster zones of toys not picked up, and shit in disarray more often than not.  Bottles cleaned poorly, if they’re even attempted to have been cleaned at all, the travel crib they use for their kid that’s set up in the master bedroom or my office, depending on if I’m working from home or not, left assembled and in rooms, and just a general not putting shit back where it was.

The daily schedule is set, and I expect them to arrive by 8:30 so that I can get to work on time.  And in my world, 15 minutes early is on time, and on time is fucking late, but I understand not everyone is wired like me, so I really expect them to get in the door by 8:30, but that’s been becoming too much to ask for, and I can’t remember the last time they weren’t 5-7 minutes late now.

Recently, they’ve been bringing their preteen stepson with them, which at first I thought was a one-off, but he’s been coming to my home at least twice a week now, and this one irks me a lot, because the whole point of in-home private nanny care is to reduce the amount of exposure my kids have to potentially sick people, but by virtue of bringing a fourth fucking kid into my home, new nanny has multiplied the chances of my kids getting sick.  The fact that my kids have been sick every single month this year isn’t lost on me, and between the world relaxing when they shouldn’t, and the amount of exposure my kids have had this year in comparison to the years prior most certainly has a lot to do with that.

But I’m picking my battles, and I haven’t yet felt like I’m going to snap yet, so right now, we’re still in a dynamic where they’re annoying the piss out of me on some days, but I’m not ready to cut ties with them, because I still need the child care.

This latest episode though, was the point where I actually had to bring it up, because I genuinely felt like I was taken advantage of, and my resolve has lowered to where I have to write it all out because my wife is tired of hearing me talk about it and I need to give her a break.

Over Father’s Day weekend, we went out of town, and in lieu of babysitting, we asked new nanny to pet sit and occasionally check in on the house.  The task was fairly simple; two visits a day, primarily to feed the dog and let her go out and relieve themselves, and other things like checking water levels and getting the mail or bringing in any packages.

While away, I was curious to know if new nanny weren’t going to capitalize on the cush assignment and maybe loaf in our house or relax with no kids to take care of.  And frankly, considering what happened, this would’ve been a better outcome.  Because, unbeknownst to them, I could check my garage access logs through a smart home app, and get a picture of when they were coming and going.  And not only were the visits typically less than five minutes which means they were probably opening the door for my dog to go to the bathroom, bringing them inside, throwing down some food and walking back out the door, giving no socialization, I identified three different instances in which NO visit occurred, meaning my dog had gone multiple stretches of over 12 hours without food or bathroom breaks.

Obviously, this was quite infuriating to me, as I was feeling like I was being taken advantage of by virtue of them thinking there was no monitoring, which was a topic when we had initially interviewed them and let them know we didn’t really want to implement nanny-cams and that relationships are built on trust.

This wasn’t something that I was going to let go unmentioned, and at the end of the week when I normally pay, I brought it up, and revealed that I could see the access logs on the garage, and straight up asked if they made all eleven visits that were agreed upon.  They fessed up to one, and when I asked about the other two, they threw their spouse under the bus and claimed that the spouse was supposed to take care of it, which in itself is not okay, because we agreed that the nanny, not their spouse, would be the one responsible for doing house/pet duties.  But the garage access doesn’t lie, and it said nobody came to the house on two evenings, which meant that my dog was at risk of nearly 15+ hours of no relief, had it not been for my vigilance and asking a friend to come over in the middle of the night.

The thing is, they were about to gladly accept payment for tasks they didn’t accomplish, and frankly the opportunity to do any sort of house/pet sitting will never happen again as far as I’m concerned, but I’m at the point where I’m pretty over them outright.  I’m tired of the sub-par performance, and the only thing that’s really keeping me from replacing them is fear of change for my kids, as well as fear of potentially being taken to the woodshed financially, because it still is a very pro-nanny market right now, and there’s no guarantee I’d be able to get someone for what I’m paying now.

And I feel like it’s been getting worse, and the scary thing is that it’s really only been barely four months since they started.    As sour grapes things ended with the prior nanny, they were consistent with quality and cleaned up after themselves, and didn’t lose or break so much shit on a daily basis, and they absolutely loved house sitting and pet sitting for us, since our house beat their tiny city apartment living for whenever we skipped town.

But back to the initial thought of this entire post, the question I really have is, are my expectations too high, like the Asian dad I’m basically on track to become, or do I really just have subpar talent?  I understand that I might have some high expectations, but at the same time, I don’t think I’m asking for too much for someone who isn’t regularly 5-7 minutes late, doesn’t lose shit or allows the kids’ toys to break, and can do rudimentary cleaning maintenance for the kids and only the kids.  But I don’t know, I haven’t been employing nannies for that long in the grand spectrum of things, and perhaps I should be loosening up and allowing a buffer of mediocrity, which seems like bullshit, but I can’t compete if the rest of America is.

The bottom line is that I’m really over child care as a whole, and it really sucks how much we will always need it, at least until the kids are old enough to fend for themselves.  But I hate relying on people that aren’t as competent as I wished they were, and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before someone breaks the straw, and it’ll be back to the drawing board to search for a new nanny again.

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