The Nanny Diaries: Day 1

Yesterday I started my morning by leaping from bed to clean my apartment. For my new part-time nanny.

Who, until yesterday, was the woman who came to clean my apartment.

As if she didn't already know we live like slobs, with dishes that stay in the sink just a little too long and piles of magazines and unopened mail that, like pasta, seem to grow the second you turn your head away. I swear Nate and I are going to be like those crazy old ladies you read about who die in their homes, and then four days later the landlord busts into the place to find the bodies decomposing in upholstered La-Z-Boys, surrounded by piles of catfood cans and ceiling-high stacks of rotting newspapers from the Truman administration.

But something was different than it was the day before. Because M was now taking care of Thalia (Sage has been coming to work with me, that much do I hate pumping). And I wanted to...what? Impress her? Impress her with our perfect little family and our brilliant organizational skills?

So not who we are. So not what happened.

I was nervous. Nervous around M, the woman who I've known for years, who adores Thalia, who Thalia adores.

Forget nervous; I was totally inept.

We were out of milk. We were out of diapers. I didn't have a diaper bag packed. When I packed it, it included basically the one remaining diaper, a Sigg bottle and a burp cloth.

Yep, my two year-old daughter just might need a burp cloth.

M had to ask me about suntan lotion for the park. "Oh..." I said trying to appear like one of those cool prepared moms who actually remembers to keep UV protection handy at all times. "It's in the, uh...the [mumblemumble]....don't worry, I'll find it. I'm sure it just uh...slipped out of the bag. Maybe."

The healthiest snack I could find were cheddar goldfish with calcium, and a banana on its last legs. And my instructions for contacting the pediatrician in case of emergency was the very specific: "You know...they're just down the block. Near the drugstore. Well, somewhere around there. If you need the address call me."

Man, this not watching your kids all day thing is hard.


Blogger Shannon said...

My girls attended their first day of preschool today. (Two half-days per week to begin.) I was so completely inept. I too forgot the sunscreen. I did manage, however, to write their names on their extra diapers, because the instructions for parents said "write their name on everything." Apparently, this was not intended to apply to diapers. Call me Geek Mom. My girls will be the ones at band camp with their names emblazoned across their underwear.

8/29/07, 1:12 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Last week, our nanny politely pointed out that all of the little dude's socks have holes in them, and I might want to start looking for new ones in a larger size. Oops. Not looking so organized around here, either.

Wishing all the best with this transition, for you and the girls and for Nate. SwingDaddy is a terrific dad, but we've also been adjusting roles and needs. It's more complicated than it looks, this parenting and non-traditional role thing.

8/29/07, 2:23 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm so happy you were able to find someone you know and Thalia likes! And heck, she cleans too!

You'll get the hang of all this 'nanny stuff'. At worse, she can take nanny to the grocery store for a 'field trip'/shopping excursion!

8/29/07, 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about the prep time isn't it? And cleaning for the cleaning lady is a phenomenon that defies logic - yet all of us do it.

8/29/07, 8:06 AM  
Blogger Motherhood Uncensored said...

I was more prepared for my babysitter coming than I was for the baby to come.

It's exhausting not watching the kids.

8/29/07, 8:18 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

Our nanny is so much more organized than I am that it's kind of shameful. And we lose her at the end of the week. Gulp.

8/29/07, 8:24 AM  
Blogger J said...

Yesterday I left the house with: one small bag containing a toy car, one diaper and ziploc bag with my two (precious) remaining wipes. I stopped and got a propel bottle on the way, drank it and filled it with water since I was out of sippys. I did make it to the store to purchase diapers, wipes and sippys. But sunscreen - sheesh, if only I could be so lucky.

8/29/07, 8:27 AM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

How awesome that you found somebody that you know so well.

8/29/07, 8:56 AM  
Blogger ~HS said...

LOL at today's post. I so hear you there! I am a neat freak, but with 8 kids in the house, plus my Godchildren staying here, add in their friends - can't wait until school starts! I can actually clean my house. I'm like that mom that was on Wife Swap recently with all of the labels but not as anal (I am a realist too). But the putting names on diapers - not a bad idea, send them to daycare and end up without diapers? And how many times has my 2 year old diaper-clad-otherwise-naked boy been out on the sidewalk stalking the mail lady who didn't say hi to him?

8/29/07, 9:21 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I was a nanny for 5 years and I ran that family like a well oiled machine. It took them a full year to figure out how to run themselves without me.
My son is currently wearing a swim diaper because I forgot to go to the store last night and my husband took the only working car to work.

8/29/07, 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee hee...I did the same thing yesterday. It was our new part-time nanny's first day and in the morning I cleaned everything--including the oven I haven't touched since we moved it.....Mother-guilt, it's a beautiful thing.

8/29/07, 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My nanny isn't organized and she definitely isn't a cleaner. Her idea of cleaning up is to throw everything into a drawer and, literally, throw dishes into the dishwasher. Cups, bowls and tupperwear are sitting in there right side up, ready to collect all the dirty, icky water if I don't reload the machine before turning it on. But, what she does do well is maintain a positive, calm demeanor, plays with the kids, and loves them with all her heart. I only wish I never lost it with them the way she doesn't...

Sunscreen at the playground? Give me a break. If we are going to the pool (I work part time), we slather it on. Otherwise, well, I just can't imagine. I mean, there is shade, isn't there?

8/29/07, 9:55 AM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Yep, that's pretty much how I felt last week when my parents were staying with the kids. Sunscreen? Oh, um, bathroom? Pantry? Maybe outisde on the deck. Just look around. I'm sure they'll be fine for 15 minutes or so....

8/29/07, 9:57 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That's about how prepared I am when taking the girls out.

(And it's awesome that you can take Sage to work with you!)

8/29/07, 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week I asked my 20 yo babysitter if she could stay an extra hour so I could go grocery shopping and she said, "Why, are you all out of Easy Mac and hot dogs?"

Ha ha. NO! We were out of spaghettios.

Good help is hard to find :)

8/29/07, 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhm, I am testing out a new nanny AS WE SPEAK (since my nanny quit last week), and my heart is racing and my palms have been sweating all morning hoping that it works out. Truth is, nannies interview you just as much as you interview them. I'm sure it doesn't help that I was 5 minutes late to meet her this morning and I haven't changed out of my sweats (or showered) yet.

8/29/07, 10:32 AM  
Blogger S said...

Heh. What makes me laugh here is not your unpreparedness but the fact that even though she is the same woman as she was yesterday, her role change has prompted you to act as if you've never met her.

It'll get easier.

8/29/07, 11:07 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

What works for us is to give the Nanny $50 or $100 that she can use for necessities as they come up (sunscreen, food, Zoo admission, etc..). When she runs out, we replenish.

Good luck with your new arrangement! We've used a nanny now for the last five years with great success. Hope you find that to be true for you as well.

8/29/07, 11:38 AM  
Blogger ~Kat~ said...

I have to laugh.... I clean TOO but not for us, for other peoples sake LOL
You can read about it here if you want to comisserate.

8/29/07, 11:41 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Jill - good tip! I've been wondering about that sort of thing. Oy, I'm just so ill-prepared for this. Why don't they do a day on nanny protocol when you're in lamaze?

8/29/07, 11:44 AM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

I used to love those NYC animal control shows where they bust into the cat lady's apartment and haul out all the detritus.

Just don't read The Nanny Diaries if you want reassurance on nanny protocol. Eeeesh.

8/29/07, 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one. My husband doesn't understand why I obsess every morning about making sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink, no dirty socks on the floor, etc. It's been 8 months since our nanny started and it hasn't eased up at all.

8/29/07, 1:36 PM  
Blogger Miguelita said...

When my kids started daycare, the ladies *gently* suggested that it might be time to move the boys into the next size diapers. I guess the fact that they were starting to soak through their onesies during every nap never connected in my head as a need to upsize the dipes.
Oh well, as least you have someone you know and trust for Thalia. We are all winging this in one way or another.

8/29/07, 2:28 PM  
Blogger Sarcasta-Mom said...

LOL. It's amazing how the changes in our lives can make even the most together moms look like it's their first day on the job :)

I have a new girl doing after school care for our kids starting today. I told her I'd have an extra key ready for her. And come this morning, guess what? You bet, no key! I had to put my house key unde the mat for her, something I hate to do. Hope there are no weirdos invading my house with the deftly hidden key when they get home!

8/29/07, 3:24 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

This is why I only ask family to watch Chicky. They already know how inept I am.

8/29/07, 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it horrible?! You have to actually be more organized for someone else to watch your kid than to just stay home! And you not only have to get the kid's stuff together, you have to get yourself enough together to leave the house without looking homeless. It took me the longest time to show my husband that sometimes it was more work and stress to take the kid to grandma's than it was worth. (Unsurprisingly, he figured this out when he had to get everything ready, instead of me.)

Damn motherhood is forcing me to become one of those proactive people!

8/29/07, 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheddar Goldfish with Calcium! It's like a snack and a vitamin all in one. Who says you aren't an organized mom?

8/29/07, 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day, when I was in college, I was a fitness trainer for a Bally's gym (yeah, I know - - look at me NOW, huh?) It's was a big, shiny new one. With lots of pretty people working out there.

I had a girlfriend who didn't want to go work out there... until she was in better shape. So, she worked out on her own to get in shape to... go work out.

But, I shouldn't talk. I have to clean a hotel room before the maid comes in to... clean the room. I don't want her to think I'm a slob, yanno!

8/29/07, 6:22 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I tried leaving a comment all day yesterday but blogger wouldn't cooperate...grrr! Anyway, my sister had her baby! A little boy. No name yet, though. He's AMAZING and soooo cute!

He wasn't born smiling like Thalia, but damn close. ;)

8/29/07, 8:08 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I loved reading this tonight because our new nanny was here today for a half day to get acclimated...I totally cleaned up the house last night and this morning before she came -- and why, exactly? So it can be MORE of a shock when she shows up on a day when I'm actually working and trying to get myself and my older son out of the messy, chaotic house without killing someone?? Ridiculous.

8/29/07, 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Gray Matter here, having difficulty posting a comment too, but here it is--
Breathe, woman, breathe. Your sitter will work out and life will get easier. Remember a few days ago you thought it would be great to have a wife, well, now you have the next best thing. On a separate note, I'm so relieved that so many of your readers have nannies, I've kept that on the DL feeling like I'd be mommy-bashed.
Now I can say it, I HAVE A NANNY! God, the freedom.

8/29/07, 11:37 PM  
Blogger the mystic said...

Sounds pretty organized to me. Honestly, the main reason I stayed home when I had babies is I could NOT have gotten it together and made it to work! I just suck in that regard.

Our nanny has worked out well, but school is starting next week and two days a week I'll be taking them to school before I go to work (other 3 Dad is doing it). And I am SO stressed -- Am I REALLY going to feed, dress, comb two kids, shower, dress up, get myself some lunch for later and have us all out the door by 7:45? ME?

I just don't see it happening, but I know we all figure these things out somehow. I mean I know a lot of other people who manage to do it.

8/30/07, 2:07 AM  
Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

This made me chuckle. This reminds me of how I clean for the cleaning lady so she won't see how much of a slob I am! :)

8/30/07, 2:20 AM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

That's it. I'm calling Nanny 911.

8/30/07, 7:55 AM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

"Man, this not watching your kids all day thing is hard."

Yeah, Bossy always found it way easier to just lack any kind of ambition.

8/30/07, 3:08 PM  
Blogger LoriHC said...

It *is* hard! In all seriousness, after a missing-child scare with a backup nanny, my husband and I have developed a checklist to go over with anyone who watches our child (and for us to review in preparation for the caregiver's arrival). It sounds anal, but it's always the one thing you forget to tell them that bites you.

8/30/07, 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Embrace the mess! I have decided to officially go on record to never fold my clean clothes and just make my family find what they need. Or maybe that will inspire some help folding??

I was uber organized with my nanny for my first son. Now I just point to things when my babysitter is watching my twins and utter some words she probably does not understand.

9/11/07, 11:16 PM  
Blogger Kim Lefko (Graco) said...

Mom 101 - I'm really connecting with your blogs. I ran across your blog on drive-by parenting. And I know this is an older blog...but I couldn't agree more with your comments on the nerves (and enjoyment) that come with a nanny who is extremely organized. We have a nanny that has been with us for 2 years and I LOVE her OCD and organization. She is our Mary Poppins. Love your blog!!

2/18/08, 11:19 PM  

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