Nanny Guilt- You are only human!!
Nanny Guilt – and what to do about it
In a Forbes article, the author Cameron MacDonald explores the controversial topic of ‘nanny guilt’ which she spent five years discussing with 34 working mothers and 50 care-givers from nannies to au pairs. She discovered that many of the most difficult points came when the nanny – whom she calls a ‘shadow mother’ – is chosen by the child over the ‘real mother’. The guilt that working mothers feel in such circumstances is genuine and intense and their responses are complex because, as, MacDonald says these women don’t set out to be bad parents, or rotten employers, they simply find it difficult to balance three competing demands upon their time:
- To be a good employee
- To be a mum who’s there for their child
- To be a good employer to their nanny.
There’s a fourth demand too – that of coping with the judgement of the outside world on their performance as a mother.
Given that two-thirds of mothers work, whether as employees or by running their own business, the prevalence of nanny guilt is a real issue for many, so here are a few of the key tips on balancing those employee/Mum?employer demands which can make life feel so very difficult.
Remember why you work, and think about why your nanny works
Most parents have excellent reasons for returning to work – it might be to pay the bills, to keep professional competence up-to-date, or to save up for special treats. Whatever the reasons you returned to work, keep them in the forefront of your mind, as that will help you ignore the doubt about your motives – selfish motherhood is a myth!
Your nanny has similar reasoning to yours – she wanted a job helping others, she loves children and she has skills and training to keep up-to-date. You’re helping each other, not getting in each other’s way, and focusing on the partnership you’re in with your nanny will keep things comfortable.
Be certain about your nanny
Sometimes those guilty feelings are actually suppressed doubt about the quality of care your child is getting. At Top Notch Nannies we spent an immense amount of time shortlisting highly experienced and qualified nannies for our clients, so that they can choose from a select group of ideal nannies. This means our clients can find the nanny with the best personality to fit into family life, secure in the knowledge that we’ve done the footwork on skills and abilities.
If you’re not feeling as confident in your nanny as you would like to, perhaps it’s time to give us a call?
Make family time fun
One of the problems with returning to work is that working mums can allow non-work to fill all their non-work hours. What is non-work? Washing, cleaning, gardening, visiting their own elderly relatives, getting their roots done or working out with a personal trainer, organising plumbers or car insurance and/or planning the big family holiday. Sound familiar? All these tasks need to be done but many of them can be pushed to non-family hours … okay your hairdresser, running coach or Great-Uncle Henry might not be that flexible but many other tasks can be undertaken when children are in bed, giving you more fun time with your baby or young child.
Use that time well – have a special Sunday morning breakfast or dedicate Friday evenings to a board-game fest so that you’re getting quality time and quality fun as a family.
You’re probably doing a much better job than you think! We see hundreds of mums every year, and virtually every one of them worries about whether they are doing the best for their child. Our business is to help them answer that question with a resounding yes!