I woke up this morning feeling great to be back home. The travel was lots of fun but I have to admit that I was looking forward to some help with the kids and to catching up on my writing and other adult stuff. The joke on the trip had been Esteban saying “Do you miss your staff now?” and me responding, “Oh, yes.”
In seriousness though, I was a little apprehensive about it throughout the trip. What if we got back to a dirty house again? Would I have to have another chat with our housekeeper? Fire her? I didn’t really want to deal with it. Of course I love having help and feel very grateful for it, but I still find it challenging to deal with the inevitable issues that come up. Yes, I make my living coaching managers on how to manage more effectively and I can walk my talk, but it’s still uncomfortable to deal with it in my own home. In the home, it feels so personal.
I need not have worried on the housekeeper front because we got back to a super clean and organized house. Our housekeeper really went out of her way, cleaning every nook and cranny. I was so grateful, not only for the clean house, but also to not have to deal with any issues.
My joy was short lived though because less than a day after we got back from vacation, it started to feel like our house of cards was crumbling. Our nanny was doing a less than stellar job. She had seemed distracted and less-than-motivated lately but today was an all-time low. I had to remind her to give Saige lunch. Then she left Saige to rock on the wooden rocking sheep unsupervised and Saige fell off, hitting her head hard. Our nanny didn’t even tell me about it; Siena did. Then she was sitting around distractedly as the girls were about to paint their art canvases, with non-washable paint , right on a coffee table over our only rug (hello???!!!). Then she forgot to feed Saige her after nap snack. I thought that Saige seemed especially desperate to nurse when I was done working at 5 pm. Turns out she only had a few raisins since 11:30 am!
I was not happy. I had been thinking on our trip that I would never have a nanny of this caliber in the States. But here, worrying about violence, kidnapping and cultural ways to discipline that we in the States would call child abuse, I have really relaxed my standards for childcare. Our nanny was gentle and loving so I have been pretty patient with her lack of motivation and needing to remind her to do everything. But this was just unacceptable! Esteban and I decided that I need to have a very serious “shape up or we are looking for another nanny” conversation with her tomorrow but that did little to alleviate my anxiety. We can have all the conversations we want but my judgment, based on quite a bit of experience of my own personal growth journey and of working with people as a coach for a decade, is that our nanny is depressed. She has been through a lot of trauma and has never healed from it. The depression causes inertia and a lack of motivation to do anything to better her own life, let alone play with Saige enthusiastically or do art projects or sing songs. Basically all the things I want a nanny to do. And Saige is getting older and more aware. She is super smart and a bundle of energy. She needs (or I need for her to have) somebody who can meet her curiosity about the world. But to replace our nanny seems like such an ordeal, especially since we are renting her house and her daughter is friends with my girls. And from what I hear finding a nanny who won’t abuse your child, hurt them emotionally, and be able to stimulate them is a tall order around here.
Just when I was in a panic about the nanny, Jade announced that she doesn’t want to go back to school in February. She wants somebody to home school her. This is the girl who loved her school in Boston and every vacation, counted the days until she could go back. She loved learning and her teacher and her friends. Now, my super extroverted child wants to be in this house, homeschooled every day. Ugh, an arrow to the heart. What have we done? Was it a mistake coming here to Colombia?
I need to get a hold of myself. I am spiraling into some major negativity. As Esteban says, we will deal with this one step at a time. Things always work out in the big picture, when a person is following their dreams. I truly believe this. Tomorrow, things will seem clearer after a good night’s sleep (not that I sleep all that well when I am stressed). I will get back to making play dates for Jade with school mates. I had become lax on this since the Diversity fiasco. And I will talk to our nanny. One step at a time.