The “killer nanny” story that’s swept through NYC these past few days has affected every parent who has employed a nanny, has one currently or is about to hire one. Granted, what happened is a very rare event but parents always worry if the person they’re leaving their children with — their most precious possession — is treating them correctly.
My children are grown now but there was a time, after our longtime nanny left us, that my wife and I hired someone new. This nanny came with the highest of references from a family on Long Island which we checked out. They loved her and had employed her for many years. We tried her out but just had a feeling about her that something wasn’t right.
This was back in the early ’90s before internet cameras were so readily available so we took a small tape recorder that I often used as a reporter and simply laid it on the mantle and turned it on as we left for the day. At slow speeds, it would record about two hours but we figured that was better than nothing. When we got home, we turned it on with some apprehension.
We heard the nanny yelling at our son and otherwise talking on the phone all day. We immediately fired her. I didn’t care about the experiences someone else had with this nanny; we had to go our gut and our evidence.
Having someone like that in our house just wasn’t worth it. We found someone new and better, all because we listened to our intuition. I think that’s key. You can’t and should not suppress your intuition. One of the best books I’ve read in the last decade or so is “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker which is all about listening to your inner voice. If you get that feeling that something is wrong, it usually is. This book IMO is one that you will never forget. Get it, read it, live it. It’s filled with great advice.