What Your Nanny is Really Feeling? (Do You Want to Know?)

The first summer after college, I moved to the Hamptons to become a live in nanny for a 5 month old baby girl. It was a long summer, but a learning experience. The nanny/family dynamic can be very dicey, and I vowed that I would never hire a nanny for my own kids. For example, I used to hate it when the mom was home and I was taking care of the baby. Sometimes I felt like I knew the baby better than the mother and couldn’t act on my instincts. I just wanted to go about my job without someone looking over me. And I had a hard time understanding why someone who didn’t really work needed help all of the time.

Fast forward 15+ years, with two kids of my own and another one on the way: I understand the mom I worked for a lot better now. I work from home, so my son goes to his babysitter’s house for childcare. I don’t love that she lets him watch a lot of TV and sometimes takes him to her doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping, but I love that she loves him and he loves her. She takes great care of him and he is a part of her family. I rely on my babysitter and am able to work part-time and run my own business because of the trust I place in her.

In Tasha Blaine’s book: “Just Like Family” the author documents the lives of three nannies in 3 different situations. While I read the book, sometimes I cringed at the nanny/family dynamic and took the nanny’s side. Other times, I thought I could relate to the mom. Parents that employ nannies might want to read this book to better navigate the dynamic between the employee who is paid to provide love and support to the children they care for and the employer who may want to relax on some issues. (A great example in this book: the mom doesn’t want the kids to watch TV when the nanny is watching them, but when the nanny is away and the mom is in charge, the TV is on 24/7.) I have had the experience of being a nanny, so maybe sometimes I am a little more relaxed with my babysitter than most. But it is like the idea of waitressing: once you’ve waitressed, you are going to treat your server with a little more patience and respect than you might have otherwise.

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One response to “What Your Nanny is Really Feeling? (Do You Want to Know?)

  1. You may be hiring a nanny for the first time. Maybe you’re even a first-time parent. Bringing a nanny into your home can be a blessing to all involved, but, like all relationships, good communication and a shared understanding are essential.

    Candi Wingate shares 5 tips on what nannies wish moms knew:

    1. As soon as you leave, the kids will stop crying and start playing. It is heartbreaking to hear your children cry as they see you leaving for work each day. Your natural instinct is to rush to your children and comfort them. However, your children will be fine with their nanny once you are gone: your nanny will do a fine job of comforting your children and then diverting their energies to other activities such as recreation or education. As weeks go by, your children will learn that everything will be ok when you go to work, and your daily departure will no longer be viewed as heart-wrenching.

    2. Nannies don’t mind cleaning up the house, but it’s discouraging when another mess is waiting for them when they report to work the next morning. Nannies are not housekeepers. It is reasonable to expect a nanny to clean up after the children, but it is not customary to expect nannies to be …

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