Leaving my baby with a nanny is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as a parent. It brought up all kinds of hard emotions that I had to learn to cope with. I knew going back to work after having my baby would be a difficult transition, but one issue I hadn’t expect to deal with was feeling jealous of my nanny. I was jealous that she was getting to be with my baby more than I was most days. I was jealous of the new experiences she was going to have with my baby that I wasn’t going to get. I was jealous that she was making money (my money!) taking care of my baby while I worked a stressful job. And the list goes on. If you’re dealing with the same emotions, this article is for you.
Is it normal to be jealous of your nanny?
Handling jealousy towards your nanny is a complex issue that requires a delicate balance between the needs of your child and your feelings as parent. It is natural, normal, and healthy for parents to feel a sense of protectiveness over their children. This can manifest as jealousy toward your nanny or childcare provider. The main thing to keep in mind if you are jealous of your nanny is that your nanny is an invaluable resource in providing quality care and support for your baby.
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Knowing this doesn’t negate intense feelings of being jealous of your nanny. As I said, I experienced this when I first went back to work. I learned some coping tools that I wanted to share with you so you don’t have to cry on your office floor like I did:
Acknowledge your feelings of being jealous of your nanny
The first step in handling jealousy towards a nanny is to acknowledge your feelings. It is perfectly normal to feel a sense of jealousy or insecurity when someone else is caring for your child. They are experiencing things with your baby that you are not part of. Recognizing, acknowledging and accepting these feelings can help you better understand why you are feeling the way you are and take steps to address them.
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Communicate openly with your nanny
Communication is key when it comes to handling jealousy towards a nanny. Talk openly and honestly with your nanny about your concerns and fears. This can help build trust and understanding between you and your nanny, and ensure that your child receives the best care possible. Tell your nanny that you would prefer not to know of any “firsts” your baby does with your nanny. As in, if your baby rolls over, crawls, walks, or says a word for the first time with your nanny, you would prefer if your nanny not tell you. Many working moms I spoke to believe that it only counts as a baby’s “first” time doing something if mom or dad witnessed it.
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Set clear expectations
One of the best ways to prevent jealousy towards a nanny is to set clear expectations from the outset. Discuss with your nanny the specific duties and responsibilities you expect them to perform, and be sure to outline any boundaries or limitations that you have. If there are certain activities you don’t want your nanny to do with your child, offer other activities she can do instead. Be very open with your nanny on your preferences and expectations. Don’t assume she can read your mind. Most nannies will appreciate the clear cut directives instead of ambiguity. Your nanny works for you and should want to make you and your baby happy.
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Build a relationship with your nanny
This can take time, but attempt to build a relationship with your nanny. This can help alleviate any feelings of jealousy or insecurity. Take the time to get to know your nanny and develop a rapport with her. Find out about her history, how many children she’s cared for, and her parenting/teaching style. This can help build trust and make it easier to communicate openly and honestly. Hopefully your nanny will be in your child’s and, therefore, your life for quite some time. You want an easy relationship with her.
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Involve your nanny in your child’s life
Involving your nanny in your child’s life can help foster a sense of partnership and teamwork. Encourage your nanny to participate in family activities and events, and include them in important discussions about your child’s care and development. They likely will be interested in their well child checks and how they are developing. You are the decision maker for your baby, but having someone who is very invested in the development of your child can be a blessing. Viewing your nanny as a teammate or a trusted assistant can help replace feelings of jealousy with feelings of respect and gratitude.
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Focus on the benefits of having a nanny
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of having a nanny, try to focus on the benefits. A good nanny can provide your child with quality care, support, and stimulation, which can help them develop and thrive. Remember that a nanny can be a valuable partner in raising your child. Your child isn’t in daycare which means they aren’t exposed to the germs and issues that arise in that care setting. Your child is getting personalized, one on one care. Assuming your nanny is only caring for your children, this means your child will always have someone available to quickly meet his/her needs.
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Take care of yourself if you feel jealous of your nanny
Finally, it is important to take care of yourself when dealing with jealousy towards a nanny. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities that you enjoy. This can help you better manage your emotions and make it easier to communicate effectively with your nanny. The first year of a baby’s life can be hectic and emotional. You may be sleep deprived, stressed, and hormonal. This is all normal. Give yourself grace during this time. Life will return to normal. It will be a new normal, but you will feel like yourself again soon. See our article on Working Mom Guilt & Encouragement for more commiseration.
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Handling jealousy towards a nanny requires a combination of open communication, clear expectations, building relationships, and focusing on the benefits of having a nanny. By following these tips, you can build a strong partnership with your nanny and ensure that your baby receives the best care possible. You are a good mom for having these feelings. It’s clear that love your baby fiercely if you experience feelings of being jealous of your nanny. But keep your feelings in check and treat your nanny with respect. After all, a baby knows his/her mama. No one will ever replace you.