It’s almost Christmas and my current nanny will travel to her hometown. I feel so relieved that her days in our house is numbered. I know she won’t come back and I definitely don’t want her back. If anything, her exit will be a welcome change. She drives me crazy and I mean it.
Having lived with over six nannies in the past two and a half years, I can safely say I have acquired more than enough experience when it comes to hired helps. Hubby and I lived alone until I had my daughter. Then it dawned on us that we needed help with the baby and the home – because I am not disposed to the idea of crèche for a little child.
So I confidently asked my mum to bring any available extended family member from the East when coming for omugwo. So, the search for a help started. After few unsuccessful tries, we asked her to look elsewhere for someone that we would train in school. We were honest enough to tell the parents of the would-be-help that their daughter would mind our baby at home until the next year and then start her schooling the next year along with our child. BIG mistake.
They refused to give out their daughters; either because the education would be delayed or that, ‘Lagos is too far’ – as some of them put it. Almost becoming frustrated with the process, we turned to ‘agents’ who provide hired helps, who could either live in your house or come daily.
So we finally got a nanny, a smallish fair girl called Patience. She lived in our house for 9 months until December when she had to go home to her family. Being so impressed with her fast improvement to our training and her strong bond with our daughter, I expressed my gratitude through gifts for herself and her mother, and hubby gave her an extra five thousand for her transport after paying her off for December. Another BIG mistake.
So January came and Patience delayed her comeback. When she finally arrived Lagos she went straight to her brother’s house. I called repeatedly, without getting a coherent response, and then called the agent – who promised to get back to me soon.
“Madam” the agent said the next day. “Patience’s brother said that you people should increase her salary before she comes back to your house” I was so furious at their insensitivity and craftiness (I had stayed off work for so many days too soon after the Xmas holidays).
“Please tell her not to bother coming back” I told him
“Are you saying you won’t increase her money?” he asked me
“Even if she wants to work for us for free, I don’t need her services again” I responded and proceeded to get another nanny through another agent. I am fortunate to have a friend who seems to stock agent’s numbers. I felt betrayed by Patience attitude, I wanted to believe we already had a bond. She could have come back to the house and asked for a raise, instead of staying back and giving us conditions.
“I told you not to buy all those items for her, but you wouldn’t listen” my friend told me. “Now her parents think you people are rich, which is why they are asking for a raise” and she was right. In the few years I have had to stay with hired helps, I have seen and experienced all sorts of help.
Now I want to share some useful tips for anyone looking to hire a nanny or help in the coming year.
- Take them for medicals before they settle into your house
- Read some laid down rules to them in front of the agent to ensure they understand how your house functions
- They never tell you their real ages, a 35 year old can claim to be 21 to fit your required age
- Their agents pre-train them, telling them the likely questions you would ask and the adequate responses from them
- They always lie about their work experience, but you will discover soon enough that they have little or no experience and so you have to patiently train them to your taste
- They will accept any condition when they are about to be hired, only to start exhibiting another behaviour once they are settled into the house.
- Ensure your bedroom locks are in place and be security conscious
- Occasionally ask them about their family and home, it will help you understand them better
- They always have one uncle somewhere who controls them through phone calls and tells them what to do per time
- They get grumpy once their salary is delayed even for a day, so ensure you pay them as and when due
- Their relations suddenly love them because they are making money and monitor them through the phone
- Ask your kids to recount their day with the nanny each day and stop any suspicious attitudes or relationships with your kids
- They always want to travel on or before the 15th day of December and please don’t expect them back no matter how good you are to them, except in rare cases
- Scare them by telling them you have a secret CCTV which monitors their activities once you are out of the house
- Don’t ever think they care about you and your family, all they are after is their money
- Above all, show them love irrespective of their faults, they are human after all
Though they are exceptions, what I have shared are my experiences and those around me. Do share your own experience as well.