Top Ten Reasons Nannies Leave a Position: Reason # 10
10) A Parent’s Unexamined Ambivalence Regarding Going to Work Rather Than Staying Home with the Child
This is a sensitive and complex topic. Hiring a nanny to care for a child is a very personal decision that no one outside of the parents can fully understand. Only the parents can judge whether this is the right decision for them. I have spoken with many moms who are clear that they would not be happy staying at home with a child every day and do not feel any guilt about their decision. Others feel a tremendous amount of ambivalence and guilt. Still others feel resentment that they need to work. Not all mothers are choosing to hire a nanny willingly.
If a mom has not fully accepted her decision to hire a nanny, then she may feel anger or resentment toward the nanny without realizing that she’s transmitting these feelings to the nanny. These unconscious feelings may manifest in the following ways: criticism of the nanny; micro-management in the form of continually repeating simple directions that the nanny already knows, lack of trust even if the nanny has been caring for the child for months, refusal to grant the nanny additional freedom or autonomy, such as taking the child to the park; etc; or a subtly condescending attitude.
Experienced, qualified nannies with great references need to feel that they are appreciated and can earn the parents’ trust over time. It is emotionally challenging for a nanny to feel that she may never be accepted or that she has to re-earn the parents’ trust on a continual basis. It doesn’t happen often, but nannies have come to us in the past looking for a new position because they felt they couldn’t earn the trust of a parent the way they have in prior positions.
Nannies tend to be warm, sensitive people who will pick up on a parent’s ambivalence and be affected by it. There are some parents who would be happiest being home with their child, and we understand and support that decision. Many moms have called our agency in need of a supportive, nonjudgmental “ear”. They need to voice her concerns and explore the pros and cons of hiring childcare with someone who is knowledgeable and nonjudgmental. Sometimes during this discussion the mom realizes she doesn’t want to hire someone to help raise her child. Sometimes she realizes she does. It’s a very personal decision and we’re happy to listen and help.
To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency, and The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.