Posts Tagged ‘crisis management’

I’ve already blogged about hiring our nanny, so I think its only fair to share some of what led up to firing our nanny.


Without going into too much detail, there was an Incident. In handling the Incident, our new nanny displayed Bad Instincts.  It may be fair to say that the parents’ own Bad Judgment help perpetrate the Incident, but the truth it, that doesn’t really matter. You see, while our children might have the misfortune of being born to parents who sometimes show Bad Judgment, that doesn’t mean that they should also be subjected to a Nanny with Bad Instincts. The Incident was very scary to all involved, and Property was Damaged. But The Important Thing Is That No One Was Hurt.


After the Incident, we kept coming back to this feeling about the nanny’s Bad Instincts. We felt that we could no longer Trust Her with The Children. And the truth is, no matter how much we liked her, how well she interviewed or how much she was able to learn on the job, we had to let her go. Even if it wasn’t Fair.


Following a rough week, I have a serious need to feel like I’ve Learned From My Experience. So I’ve put together a list about what worked in this situations, and therefore the steps that I want to make sure I take when handling a crisis in the future.  


Here it is:

 1)     Make sure everyone is OK.

In this case, of course, this step involved checking in with the kids, my husband and the nanny not just right after the incident but also over the course of the week.

 2)     Make a decision about how to handle the immediate fallout from the crisis, and act quickly.

We new we had to let the nanny go the night of the Incident. I waited a day to tell her, which probably wasn’t fair. I did, however, immediately get in touch with our preschool to find out about extending the boys hours and started looking into some options for taking the boys with me when I travel. This was necessary for handling the logistics of the situation. It was also helpful because at a time when I felt pretty helpless and stupid, I was able to feel like I was doing something proactive, which felt good.  

 3)     Take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

I’m embarrassed to say we didn’t have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. We do now. Also, we’re working on creating Family Emergency Procedures, which will apply to all kinds of crises. I’ll also be better about putting a list of emergency resources front and center in the kitchen, in the boys’ room, and by the phone in my office.


4)     Step away from the crisis.

The Incident happened on Monday, and by Friday I was a mess. I was exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed by it all. Coincidentally, my husband and I had planned a weekend getaway for this weekend. Part of me really wanted to cancel, because I felt like we had too much going on to get away. But I didn’t want to disappoint my husband, so off we went. It was the best thing we possibly could have done. I needed to get away from the reminders of what had happened, focus on other important things (like my relationship with my husband), and relax. This is the one I think that I’d be most likely to forget in the future, but I want to try to remember how critical it feels our recovery.

 5)     Go back and look at the structural causes of the crisis: do big changes need to happen?

Looking back, I can already see a few ways we could have avoided the situation. I probably rushed into finding a replacement for our irreplaceable nanny of two years. We also probably rushed into assuming that we need a nanny after all. We might be better off with the boys in preschool for longer hours and more days, with more structured activities to keep them occupied and more people looking out for them. Perhaps a reliable babysitter, dog walker, and maybe even personal chef can help us out when I travel for work. We’re going to take some time to play with different variables, and see what works best.


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