This week, Natalie Turner, former paediatric nurse, life coach and author of natalie-marie.org, looks at the subject of nannies from what to look for when hiring to dealing with emotions when your child favours them over you…
I’m about to hire a nanny but somehow I just feel so guilty about it. Shouldn’t I be the one to bring up my child?
This is a really great question because we get to touch on the subject of mummy guilt, and yes I believe we’re all ‘guilty’ of it. We put so much pressure on ourselves and feel if we’re not the ‘perfect’ mum our children will turn out bad.
You need to let go of the guilt! I’m sure you’re an amazing mum, but here is the thing; in the past we used to bring our children up surrounded by family, extended family and the community. Now it’s so common to live away from our loved ones which means having a baby can make us feel very isolated, especially for expats. We need to remember that we’re not only mummies but also we’re women with needs. If hiring a nanny means you get some time to yourself this isn’t a bad thing. In fact it can be so beneficial for the whole family. I’ve been on the end of mummy exhaustion and it isn’t pretty. I get irritated and my patience is non-existent, leading me to shout or react in a way that makes me feel …guilty. When I have some time for myself, I recharge my batteries and then the knock on effect of this is I am a better mum to my children.
So don’t feel guilty, instead embrace the opportunity and be thankful for those moments – they’re not a privilege, they’re a need.
Today my four year old daughter told me she loved her nanny more than me. It broke my heart, should I get rid of the nanny?
Absolutely not, the best thing to do in this case is NOTHING. Children are fickle and I mean this in a loving way. For example, one week you can make some food for your daughter and she’ll just love it, it’s her new favourite food. The following week you prepare the same dish and she’ll say: ‘ I don’t like that’. It’s in their nature. If you don’t react she’ll probably forgot she said it and by next week someone else will be her new favourite.
Remember, you’re her mummy and no-one will ever be able to take your place. You’ll be the one she needs when a problem arises or she feels unwell. Also be thankful she loves her nanny, it would be worse if she hated her.
Perhaps make a special nighttime routine that is just yours. For example, mummy always reads the bedtime story, has the last kiss goodnight and turns out the light. This way mummy is on her mind as she drifts off.
I want to hire a nanny but how do I pick the right one?
There are two ways to go about it: through an agency or through friends. Families are always moving on in the expat world, which means there are always good nannies becoming available.
Create a shortlist of the things important to you i.e age, hobbies, likes etc. Arrange interviews with those who match your shortlist, discuss with your partner and, if you can, involve the children. What’s important to them? This can help with the transition period if they felt included in the process.
Go with your gut feeling. Think about who do you feel could fit in with and support your family based on the interview. Then when you have chosen your nanny get references. Ideally ask for a contact from their last family. Most people who have had a nanny won’t mind being contacted because they themselves know the importance of the process.
Once you feel you’ve found the one. Agree on a incubation period to ensure everyone is happy.
Good luck, I know it’s not easy.
Natalie runs online Healing Through Happiness courses, to sign up, visit natalie-marie.org