Life . My horrible experience with the confinement nanny.
JUNE 14, 2019 / CRANCHERRIES
I didn’t want to relive the time when the confinement nanny was with us. But I felt that mothers, especially first time ones must know what they are getting themselves into when they hire one. If i could turn back the clock, there were definitely things I could have done better. Hiring a confinement nanny is costly and to place our little ones and ourselves in these nannies’ care who are deemed professional and experience is really not a trivial affair. So this is my story.
Little cub was born in her 37th week , her arrival was early due to my medical condition of Pre eclampsia. This confinement nanny whom I’ve hired was recommended by a friend’s Cousin who had used her service more than once. So with such recommendation, I would think she was quite good and safe to hire.
Her name is Shirley, from Ipoh. She charges SGD2800 with a compulsory red packet of SGD200 at the end of 28 days. And also at the start, she will require a 开工红包. (Another red packet) of any value. She buys herbs from Malaysia that cost 1200-1400 Malaysian Ringgit. Which is an estimate of SGD400-SGD460. I know she earns a commission out of the herbs she buys but I wasn’t too particular as long as she did a good job cooking confinement food. She claimed it was cheaper to get the herbs from Malaysia.
1. Big mistake #1 – The blamer , hand phone Addict and complainer.
I didn’t take note of the tell tale signs.
I had asked Shirley to purchase some herbs for me to shower before her arrival. But she had made a lot of excuses saying she had a lot of herbs to carry so it was inconvenient. So it ended up that my friends had to go to the TCM in Singapore to get it for me. With this , Shirley had complained of the inconvenience of having to boil the herbs for me to shower. This is a Sign of laziness I thought, but I didn’t want to be too quick on judging her.
On the first day , Shirley arrived close to midnight , blaming the jam and me for not informing her in advance on my delivery date. She says that it was the school holidays hence it was difficult to get an earlier ticket for her coach to Singapore.
I had texted her a week in advance to confirm engaging her services as well as tell her my condition of pre eclampsia causing the baby’s arrival. I’ve also texted her the day I was admitted to the hospital. I’m not sure how advance she requires of me. Oh, I wish I had some Super power to predict little Cub’s arrival. I wasn’t very pleased with her attitude however it wasn’t a big issue either.
She dropped our newly bought pot and dented it but was not apologetic for it.
She turned off the fridge by mistake and my frozen breast milk thawed. But she denied that she had done it.
She never puts her handphone down even whilst carrying the baby. Even having the water over boil on many occasions because she was glued to her phone.
She complained of the staircase she had to climb ( as our place has 2 stories ), complained about her wrist hurting hence cannot do many things and also complained that we were the most particular family she has encountered.
2. Big mistake #2 – not writing out her scope of work clearly.
It was my mistake of not listing out the scope of works clearly in black and white. I had assumed that it was quite a standard work scope all across the industry. Which is primarily looking after me and the baby. Which means washing my clothes , baby’s clothes , keeping basic cleanliness of our rooms and cooking confinement food. Not forgetting bathing , changing and occasionally feeding little cub so that I can rest. (This i had compared with some of my friends’ confinement nannies and agencies) Apparently it’s not clearly the case.
When my mom and I felt that Shirley wasn’t doing much , she told my mom that it was not within her job scope to clean (sweep floor and wash clothes). She just cooks , cleans up afterwards and looks after the baby, changing diapers and occasionally feeding the baby upon my request. I basically hired an expensive chef.
2 days during little cub’s hospitalisation , Shirley literally had nothing much to do. We had a few new clothes for the baby and they were expensive gifts that needed hand washing as per instructions. So Shirley refused to wash them and told my mom to use the washing machine. I had to step in to tell her nicely that it was the best time to catch up on washing since the baby isn’t home yet. Since the clothes were meant to be hand washed , she should follow the instruction. It was not a lot of clothes. Perhaps only 6-7 pieces. Baby’s clothes are not big anyway. She knew I was the pay master hence she didn’t argue with me like how she did with my mom.
3. Big mistake #3 – She ordered my mom around and was disrespectful
Until today I still feel really upset with myself for not giving my mom more attention when she flagged out her slight displeasure. She was bullied by Shirley. What angered me the most was that she ordered my mom around to make the milk for the baby, ordered my mom to hand her things or pushed the task to my mom. It was like my mom was an assistant to her. I had hired her but she used my mom to assist her.
My mom had accompanied her to the market to get groceries for cooking , Shirley would sit down somewhere waiting for my mom to get items she requested. Also expected my mom to buy her breakfast and sit down to enjoy it at the hawker whilst my mom was anxious to get home to attend to me and the baby.
My mom didn’t tell me that she was scolded by the nanny when she requested to know why the herbs had cost $400+. She got defensive and screamed at my mom for implying she was dishonest. My mom was shocked at her behaviour. All these she kept silent hoping not to stress me until much later.
4. Big mistake #4 – cleanliness or lack of it
Shirley has Long polished fingernails. It’s not professional to have Long nails and cook or look after a baby. She doesn’t clean the floor trap after showering leaving chunks of hair at the floor trap.
5. Big mistake #5- tolerating salty food and MSG
I had high blood pressure (pre eclampsia). Telling Shirley to cut down salt significantly and NOT add msg took 3-4 days before she took the instruction. She kept insisting that the food will not be tasty. Honestly , I was more concerned about my health than tastiness.
6. Big mistake #6 – negligent and rough with baby
Little cub had jaundice and we were told to sun bathe under indirect sunlight and protect the baby’s eyes. She refused to follow the doctor’s instruction at first but when she did , she said it was not necessary to protect the baby’s eyes.
Changing little cub is as a rough affair.
7. Big mistake #7 – I should have fired her after 3 days.
Being a first time mom and first time hiring a confinement nanny I was clueless. I wanted to be patient and nurse myself back to health. So I was telling myself not to be worked up.
It was only after a Friend who clearly advised me not to compromise on my mental well being and that I should fire the nanny.
#Firing the nanny
FINALLY. That gave me the courage to let her go but I had to be careful and made sure of the safety of my little cub and family.
I decided to tell her early in the morning before I took little cub out for a check up. So that she can leave immediately.
I had nicely told her that I didn’t need her service anymore because I couldn’t take herbs (little cub had jaundice and the doctor advised to stop herbs as my breast milk will have herbs that cannot be broken down by the liver ) . In actual fact I was displeased with her service.
Shirley got defensive. She demanded I pay her the full amount as it was the ‘law’. She was insistent and that she did nothing wrong and when I finally pointed out her behaviour and her poor service , she still insisted I pay her for 28 days work when she only worked 8 days with us.
I wasn’t sure what came over me, but I slammed my hand on the table hard being angered by her taking advantage of us and haggling over money. This was when she was shocked and threw the herbs she bought on the floor emptying her bag. I had to tell my mom to take little cub to the room and lock herself there whilst I told Shirley to pack up watching her, making sure she leaves immediately.
All in all, I paid her for 9 days of work. She was basically paid 3 days to do nothing. ( little cub was in hospital for 2 days ) And she insisted that I pay for the first day ( she arrived close to midnight ) She also insisted that I pay her the final red packet but I did in the end. I’d rather lose some money and make sure she leaves my family unharmed than to haggle.
I ended up not having any confinement nanny and my mom was excellent help in the end. It was tough on my mom but through this ordeal , it brought our relationship closer as well. I appreciate my mom more and realise all mothers are noble.
I am shocked that such nannies get away with mothers and I do think most do not know what they are getting themselves into.