Hiring a nanny to care for your children may be one of the most important parenting decisions that you’ll make during your child’s younger years. Your nanny will be spending a huge quantity of time with your children, and for that reason alone you’ll want to be sure to select a caregiver that has been properly screened and vetted.
But even the best background screening can’t always calm the fears of a mother who is faced with leaving her child in the care of someone else. While your hiring decision shouldn’t be driven by fear, it can be helpful to acknowledge, address, and evaluate any fears that you may have.
As you move through the process of hiring a nanny, here are some of the fears that you may face.
Fear: Fear about the nanny working alone and unsupervised. What if my nanny falls and becomes unconscious and there is no one there to help her or to care for my child? What if my nanny sits on the couch and watches television all day because no one is watching? Establishing clear expectations, including rules about screen time and daily nanny/parent check-ins, may help alleviate fears that stem from a nanny working alone.
Fear: The children may love their nanny more. Are you worried your child may call your nanny mommy? Or that your child will come to love his nanny more? The bottom line is that children know the difference between their parents and their nanny. A child’s love is multiplied, never divided, so encourage your child to have a loving relationship with his nanny. A child’s heart may be small but it’s filled with enough love to go around.
Fear: The children won’t have a social life. Nannies are notorious for having the most happening playgroups that are filled with children enjoying each other’s company. Encourage your nanny to venture out with your child and to interact with other children at the playground and library. If you give your nanny permission to foster friendships with your child, she gladly will.
Fear: I’m being a bad parent by having a nanny. A bad parent is a bad parent. A parent with a nanny is a parent with a nanny. Don’t confuse the two. If you’re in need of child care and you’ve hired a loving and trusting provider to care for your child, you’ve made a good parenting choice.
Fear: What are others going to think of me? What are my parents going to think? Or my neighbors? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You have to make the right care giving choice for your family. If you know that you’ve done that, don’t lend the critics your ear.
Fear: My child will need me and I won’t be there. What if my child falls down and gets hurt? What if my child just wants me? The reality is that there may be times when both of these scenarios are true. Hiring a trusted and qualified nanny can give you peace of mind to know that although you aren’t there, someone you trust will be there until you are.
Fear: My spouse may fall in love with our nanny. The fear of a husband falling in love with his nanny has been made popular by the media. While it has surely happened, it seems less likely or at least no more likely to happen then a man falling in love with his secretary at work. If you have a loving and trusting relationship with your spouse, you’ll need to consider if hiring a nanny is of real concern.
Fear: My nanny is going to replace me. Many parents may wonder if their nanny will come to replace them. Nannies aren’t hired to replace the parents, but to support them. As you search for a nanny, look for one that considers supporting the parent and child relationship as part of her role.
Fear: There is no nanny for our family. There are as many unique nannies as there are families. Whether you are a single parent, gay parent, or attachment parent, chances are if you are up front about whom your family is and what your family is about, you are likely to find the right match.
Fear: I can’t afford having a nanny. Hiring a nanny is definitely an investment, but for families who need flexibility or families who have more than one child in need of care, it may be the most cost effective option. And for families who pay their nanny legally there are tax breaks that can help reduce the cost.
Hiring a nanny can bring up fears and anxieties in even the most laid back and secure parents. Identifying them, addressing them, and evaluating them can help you decide if they are worthy of influencing your hiring decision or not.