After just three months, a nanny dumped her family. Their response was... Odd.

Being dumped, it is a situation most of us have been in, whether it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, even a friend, the majority of us have been on the receiving end of this unfortunate life event. But what about being dumped by your nanny? This recently happened by someone I know, to a family she was working for. And I think it was the best decision she could have made.

This nanny was hired by a family to pick up their three children from school each day and look after them for about two hours until their parents returned home from work. Her main role was to supervise but also to help with homework, so nothing too complex. Despite the seemingly simple nature of this position description she only remained working for them for approximately three months before she quit.

Every day, five times per week when this nanny, let’s call her *Eve, went to the primary school to pick up the three children, two boys and a girl, she was greeted by silence. Despite her best efforts to ask how their day was, to begin conversation, to build rapport with them, they offered a very rare one-word response but mostly it was either an occasional grunt or tumble weed rolling, cricket chirping, silence.

Eve started off approaching this situation positively. She has worked with many children and some take a little longer to create connections with, a bit more time before they will ‘come out of their shell’, so she persisted, day in, day out. Eve is always one to put in 110%, she is a young woman who is much adored by the families she works for and one to rarely give up. For months she continually attempted to develop a relationship with each of the three children but regardless of how she tried, nothing seemed to work.

It became clear that this relationship was very one-sided and unless some sort of Mary Poppins or Maria Von Trapp like miracle occurred, it just wasn’t going to work out.

With this realisation Eve became quite anxious about looking after the children. It made her, for the first time since working with kids, not want to go to her job. While she was there she was miserable, the kids seemed miserable, it was like two hours of emotional torture, for them all, five times per week and she just couldn’t see any other solution then to cut her losses and move on.


Eve contemplated her decision for a while but eventually made the call that it would be better for her, and the kids, that she ended their relationship. So, with a phone call to their parents Eve told them that it was over, that their children seemed to really dislike her and not want her there and that she could no longer work for them because it wasn’t “the right fit”. Their response, like their children’s, was silence. Apart from a request to have their keys returned ASAP they said nothing.

When talking about this with other people, I’ve had mixed responses about Eve’s decision to ‘dump’ the family. Some think she should have “stuck in out”, that obviously “the kids are struggling and need someone to not give up on them”. While other people, including myself, take the position, that it isn’t her responsibility to do this and if a job is impacting you emotionally in such a negative way, it just isn’t worth it. My point of view is that you need to do what makes you happy and if you’ve tried and given it your best shot and haven’t succeeded, that it is more than OK to move on.

In fact, I feel like Eve’s decision to walk away was the best thing she could have done for herself and for the children she was looking after. For Eve, it has meant she can move on from a toxic situation. For the children she had been looking after, I hope, that it has taught them a lesson in general respect and manners. That treating others with these things is crucial to have in any relationship. Replying to questions like, “how was your day?” Or, “what did you do at school?” is a demonstration of these manners and respect, that a grunt or silence will not suffice, regardless of other things that may be happening (which from all accounts, from reliable sources, in this case, it is nothing).

I hope that both the children and their parents have seen that what happened with Eve is a demonstration that without treating others with respect, this is what will happen. You will lose friends, you will lose partners, you’ll even lose your nanny.