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Nanny Envy

When you hire a nanny, you check her background, references and experience.  You want the perfect person to care for your children – someone that they’ll love and want to spend time with.

But what if they love her too much?

It’s common for mothers to feel threatened by – and envious of – their nannies. It’s often difficult to leave your kids to go to work, and here’s this “other woman” who gets to do all of the fun stuff that you’re missing – playing with your kids, teaching them new things…even being there for their milestones.  Talk about major mommy guilt!

It’s natural to feel possessive and protective of your kids – that’s the maternal instinct.  It’s also OK to need help with childcare – it takes a village to raise a child, right?     

But hiring a nanny, which is supposed to make our lives easier, can be complicated, as many mothers struggle with the unique dynamic of this relationship.   You’re having an intensely intimate relationship with your employee: she has become an instant part of your family.  She sees you at your most vulnerable (in your bathrobe after a sleepless night with a sick baby), she gets a glimpse into your personal life (your house is always messy) and she’s sharing the most personal, familiar routines with your children.  She’s comforting them when they’re hurt or scared, cheering for their successes and doing all of the other things that you would do – if you were there. 

Other moms have similar feelings, as discussed in this “nanny envy” interview: www.nannies4hire.com/gma_video.html.

While you may feel conflicted or upset that your child loves your nanny so much, it’s actually a good thing.  Don’t you want your child to feel comfortable with their childcare provider?

You aren’t the only mom to feel “nanny envy.”   You’re also not the only mom to feel guilty about working, not keeping a spotless house, not baking bread from scratch…and the list goes on.  Give yourself a break, do the best you can and count on help from others – including your nanny – who really does have your family’s best interests at heart.

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1 comment to Nanny Envy

  • Debra

    Hi,
    I actually had the greatest time taking care of a 4 month old with developmental delays due to prematurity. I got to use things I learned in getting my BA degree in Human Development to devise games to help him catch up. He was such a fun baby and I was having so much fun, I thought the mom would be happy I was doing such a good job.

    Actually, I lost that job after 7 months. I am able to talk to the mom about what happened and it’s a strange thing. It was the best job I ever had. However, she says that I showed her how much fun her baby could be and she wanted to be with him. So I worked myself right out of a job.

    Recently she gave birth to a new little boy. I know that she will enjoy him as much as she does her first, my former little client. I am in contact with them and get to see my little guy from time to time. She is my Facebook friend. But it’s bitter sweet for us both.

    I am still looking for another job. She hired me to help when she went into labor and went to the hospital. So it’s as good as it gets. Now I know how the Nanny Envy works. I don’t know that I’d do anything differently. I think it was a privilege to show her how to enjoy her child. Except, I’m unemployed for a year now.

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