N. F. Kenure
Like many nannies/househelps/maids/domestic workers, my nanny M* left for her home over the holidays. M is actually a housekeeper as she has little to no interaction with my kids but I’m used to referring to her as a nanny.
The night before she left, I asked her to drop the keys to the ‘boys quarters’ and her response was she could be stranded if she came back at an inconvenient time. I insisted lightly saying there was a possibility she wouldn't return. She eyed me quizzically, why wouldn't she come back ? She was to begin her training as a seamstress in February. Against my better judgement, I let M leave with the keys. I wanted her to feel trusted.
M came to me a little over a year ago through an agent. She was hardworking and drama-free. I’ve always thought of the dynamics of a ‘madame’ and the ‘help’ like a relationship. My mother finds it weird that I would go through different househelps in a short span. My family had a help who appeared when I was a toddler from our village and left after I turned twelve. The second came almost immediately after and stayed till my twenties. My mother believes this is the right way to do it.
I on the other hand, get nannies from an agent and will decide pretty much in a week if it will work for me or not. If we are not compatible, there isn't any point in both of us suffering. Nothing irritates me more than visiting someone and the madame constantly yells at the help. ( I've been binge watching Skinny girl in Transit and this is the reason I almost stopped watching.)
So I prefer to kiss a lot of frogs to find my princess charming, because when I do, it's worth it. M was wonderful and I told her so. After two months, her salary was doubled because she deserved it. Her work was seamless and I almost never told her anything twice.
M did not return on the 4th like she promised, I called to find out why. She didn't have transport money to come back. I was tired of doing the dishes and mopping the floors longer than I’d anticipated. I had developed a new appreciation for the privilege of ignoring housework and yet having a put together home. After huffing and puffing because she’d been given a generous christmas bonus, I sent her the money to return on the 10th. It was clear to me by the 12th that I’d been had.
To be really frank, I took it pretty personally. I must not have been as ‘nice’ as I thought. My husband had sent me one of those forwarded twitter screenshots earlier during the holidays, and I had laughed out loud. Wicked madames!
Now I had to reconsider, was I one of those madames? Me? Toxic? C’est possible? I'm not the warmest person, but I'm very kind. She switched off her phone for a few days and when I finally got through, a man said he found the phone at the motor park, and that he had called her brother who was coming to pick it up. Her brother claimed she left for Lagos on the 10th, but it was suspicious that he wasn’t worried when I told him she wasn’t with me. Should I be worried? Should we check the motor parks or news for accidents? I realize that the good Samaritan lied. Her phone is locked and he would have needed her passcode to access her contacts to reach her brother.
Maybe because I've never been dumped by a boyfriend before, e pain me I no go lie. I felt a personal rejection here. Should I stalk her social media pages? Call her number one more time? Send a text again?
An old nanny calls. She just wants to wish me happy new year, but to also let me know she is out of a job. I consider asking her to come back, the devil you know bit. She'd been a barely adequte worker. I was considering going back to an ex because I'd just been dumped; a safe zone. But it's time to forge ahead, to put myself back there, as I am suddenly back in the market when I thought I had found "the one". I’m going to have to deal with the awkwardness of new beginnings, and the inane questions of the getting to know each other stage.
A few days later, I go to the boys quarters with the new girl. I wasn't over M but everyone is replaceable and that's a hard truth. The room was very neat and tidy. I really liked that about M. If she walked in now, I would probabaly still take her back. But then I smile as it dawned on me, all of her stuff, everything, arranged neatly in its place was still here. She hadn't planned this- whatever this was. The man who’d answered the phone was probably a boy friend who’d convinced her to stay longer. She had planned to return.
I send one final message. You have one month to come and get your things.
I have closure and can now break up with her mentally.
Bye bye M. I hope you find what you need.
Jan 21, 2019