Sunday, 17 June 2012

"I don't want to leave my child."

When people ring the agency about hiring a nanny, one of the commonest lines we hear is:
"My maternity leave is coming to an end, and I have to go back to work, but I don't want to leave my child."

This is only natural, and the result of time spent bonding with your baby.  You are in love with this wonderful little being, and as in any love affair, you don't want to be apart.

Behind this however, are usually a number of anxieties:
  • the nanny won't look after my child as well as I do
  • my child will miss me
  • my child will love the nanny more than me
  • the nanny might hurt my child
Responding to these, we attempt to reassure parents that:
  • No one will look after a child as well as you, but a good nanny will provide a high quality of physical care, help a child develop skills, give emotional support and have fun.
  • Yes, your child will miss you, and may cry when you leave and return, but these are signs that the child has formed a good attachment (just like you have bonded), but when you are not there your child will settle and adapt to the nanny's presence.
  • If your child is well attached to you, you can expect the child to attach to the nanny.  This is healthy and is not a sign that you are loved less.  Love is not a finite amount that has to be divided up, it is infinite and expands to include many figures, especially those that provide warmth and nurture.
  • It is highly unlikely that your child will be harmed by the nanny.  Our nannies are interviewed, police checked, trained, experienced and carefully reference checked. They work as nannies because they enjoy looking after children, and so are unlikely to harm a child. The agency has a policy of 'no tolerance' of abuse and any allegations would be immediately referred to Child Protection and the police.
The other main issue is guilt based on the belief that 'I SHOULD care for my child.'

To this we usually say that this is a belief that society has fed in the past when a woman married and devoted herself exclusively to the welfare of her family.  These days women do have careers, their incomes are important to maintaining a household, especially if they are the sole breadwinners, and it is accepted that the years of intensive parenting cover only a small part of a woman's life, though in different roles, parenting is lifelong.

So parents, leave your child in the care of a professional nanny and relax.  Both you and your children will benefit from the experience.

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