Q:I have to admit it: I am jealous of my nanny. My little boy is closer to her than me. Should I just fire her?
I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling jealous about your nanny. This is not the first time I have heard this worry from a parent.
May I assume that you work outside the home in addition to your work as a mom? And may I assume that this is your first child?
Your experience and your relationship with your first-born is truly like no other. While, of course, we love all our children, the first one plucks your heartstrings really powerfully. Just letting him out of your sight is a challenge. And going back to work after just a few months is death defying.
Then the second born comes along, and it’s a whole new ball game and relationship. The death grip you had on #1 isn’t there. You are more relaxed, more confident, more capable. But, oh that first born …
So, I can imagine how anxiety provoking it is to feel that your little guy is closer to your nanny than to you. Dealing with this feeling is especially true if it accompanies the guilt moms often have about going back to work.
In some ways, the fact that your son is “closer” to your nanny than to you may be kind of true. Your nanny is likely the one to whom he goes all day long for comfort, for guidance, for attention. He might see more of her than you during these first years.
But how is he on the weekends when the nanny is gone? I doubt that he mopes around, crying for her, right?
Here is the amazing thing: Children just know that their parents are their parents. They know your smell, your sound, the sound of your car, your habits, your idiosyncrasies. And they know you play a special role. No one else can be the parent, playing THAT role.
In answer to your question, “Should I just fire her?” the answer is absolutely not! Do you know how fortunate you are to have someone caring for your little guy whom he loves, who is keeping him safe and gives him great care in your absence? You are so lucky to have such a great, responsible, reliable nanny.
However, if you remain concerned, I suggest the following:
Make sure you connect with your son by FaceTime when he awakens from his nap or gets home from school. Just a short, loving, greeting filled with blown kisses and a song or two.
Make sure there are one or two days a week that you get home from work earlier than normal, early enough to spend some more time with your guy, doing the things he loves, not you. Get down on the floor and get into his world.
Create special rituals that you do with your boy every night when you get home, things that are special: Go for a walk, play with bubbles, dig in the dirt, etc.
Create a special way you say “goodbye” everyday when you leave and “I’m home” when you come home: tummy bumps, high and low fives, butterfly kisses, bear hugs.
Please know that the more one-on-one time you spend with your son, the closer you will become.