If you've never felt like a second class citizen, it's probably because you've never nannied for a family that treats you like one. With several weeks to kill before the nursing job commences, I solicited an ad online that was eagerly answered by a nearby family. It didn't take but a few weeks to realize that stepping into their house was more like stepping into the twilight zone. Often chaotic, often tearful, and never quiet, with a t.v. in every room of the house, it's safe to say that no one would ever have to worry about being alone with their thoughts. The few times the children weren't fighting with eachother, bossing me around, fixated on the screen with the wii controller glued to their hand - the house was calm, strangely so. The house was peaceful, they'd even play pretend and use their imaginations. And the universe didn't collapse into itself! But it was always short lived and easily disrupted, barreling into the room was their mom - who had a great big larger than life personality, a let-me-tell-you-what-I-think-even-though-you-didn't-ask-and-clearly-don't-want-to-know personality. An intrusive, gossip seeking, and obnoxious personality - the kind I try to avoid. But hey, I wasn't there to make friends. A mom who feeds her kids mac n' cheese for breakfast and diet soda with every meal, is no friend of mine.
This woman, who entered rooms like a tornado, used her "niceness" not for any other reason but to get exactly what she wanted, addressing everyone with "honey" and "sweetie" - her demands were wrapped in a sort of pushy but seemingly altruistic disguise. Though the absurdities and uniqueness of this family alarmed me, our courtship continued. And I flew to Newport Beach, California to spend their family vacation with them. Initially I thought the adventure would be challenging, but a good experience - certainly a test of patience - it supported my "no kids if your career is your baby" stance.
In a pushy, seemingly altruistic way but so very clearly not - she had me go to the walk-in clinic to further investigate my barking cough - even though I felt fine, the sound of sickness made her squirm. I had had it for about a week, a result of sinus drip, allergies, travel and all that delight - no fever, consolidation or sputum. Yes, there is an R.N. after my name now so give a little credit where credit is due. The bark certainly wouldn't resolve with insufficient sleep after being pulled in different directions by the high maintenance little people they called children. The walk-in clinic experience was a disaster from the start, she tried to come into the exam room with me - I firmly drew a line, boundaries aren't something she warms to. While I was in the room, she cornered the M.D. stating she'd prefer I'd be seen by him and not a PA, she described my symptoms to him - he responded with absolute certainty that I was highly contagious, he had seen several cases just like mine. Weird, since he didn't see me? By the time I came into the hallway, germaphobic panic had begun to set in. Her eyes wide and buglike, I disagreed with the doctor and so did the PA - but he stood his ground and off we went. I knew immediately I'd be leaving relatively soon, within an hour the flight was booked.
A few hours later I was flying over Utah appreciating its unique terrain, enjoying the alone time - when I found myself angry at the situation and my loss of weeks of pay. It should not have come as any surprise that the woman who took her son out of YMCA baseball because his coaches refused to let him wear a helmet in the field -- also wouldn't think twice before ditching her nanny with a cough.