You love your nanny. You really do. Even better, your child loves her too. But the first time you come home from the office and your child cries for his caregiver, those feelings of resentment start to bubble up to the surface. Your first instinct? Fire her.
As the founder and CEO of Sittercity.com, a database of sitters and nannies, I can promise you that there is a better solution. Here are some strategies that I've gathered through my own experience as a babysitter and from some of our own wonderful nannies on Sittercity.com.
Don't Fire the Nanny
Some parents opt for the "rotating door" policy with child care providers, hiring and firing them every time the child gets too attached. Don't. It teaches your child not to let his guard down or trust people. Besides, children need that stability and comfort so they feel safe exploring the world and its boundaries, so don't fire your nanny for providing those things.
Remember, the fact that you have a trustworthy, sincere nanny means that your child is getting fantastic care. Be proud that you handpicked such a perfect fit for your family!
Strengthen the Mommy-Child Bond
Instead of firing your nanny, a better way to improve the situation is to find ways to strengthen your bond with your child, rather than lessen his bond with his caregiver. Try these tips and tricks to get closer to your little one, even when you're away at work.
Create a special ritual that exists only between you and your son/daughter. This could be a secret handshake, a special hug, a silly bedtime phrase - anything, as long as it's unique, and it's just for you and your child.
Ask the nanny to talk about you. Prepare a treat or snack, lay out your child's pajamas, buy a special dessert, or make some other small gesture, then have the nanny tell your child that "this is the snack Mommy made especially for you," or "these are the clothes Mommy picked," or "that is the special dessert Mommy bought for you since you're so good."
Leave love notes. Make "mailboxes" (which can be as simple as a basket from the craft store) and leave a message every so often for your child to read - or for your nanny to read to him -- while you're at work. He can then leave you a message of his own, so you can both look forward to each other's little love notes.
Keep routines consistent. When your child cries for the nanny, it's not because he loves her more; it's because he craves the consistency she provides. Establish routines while you're at home so that family life is more stable and predictable - and stick to these routines to get the impact.
Start a mother's day out. Choose one day each month for just you and your child to do something special, whether you go on a bike ride together, have lunch at your child's favorite restaurant, or spend all day doing crafts and puzzles. This bonding not only begins a family tradition, it also creates some great memories that your child can recall the next time he hops on his bike, eats a burger or picks up a colored pencil.
Re-focus the nanny's tasks. If you don't think you have time for a mother's day out, it might be because the dishes have piled up, the laundry is out of control and the house is in shambles - hey, it can happen when you have kids. If that's the case (and even if it isn't), encourage the nanny to handle more of the housework like washing dishes, putting laundry in the wash and vacuuming. While you may have to pay her a little extra for taking on light housekeeping, this significantly lessens your to-do list so you can spend more quality time with your child when you get home.
It's a tough stage, but just remember: NO ONE replaces Mom.
Genevieve Thiers is the founder and CEO of Sittercity.com, America's largest and most trusted online source for caregivers. Thiers has shared child care tips with audiences across the country, including those of the Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The View, Parenting, Martha Stewart Living Radio and many more. She has also been featured on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and CNN Live's Young People Who Rock, won a spot on Crain's coveted 40 Under 40 List, been recognized by President Bush as the SBA's Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006, and was the international UPS "Out of the Box" first place winner for her idea for Sittercity.com. To learn more about Genevieve and her expert appearances nationwide, visit http://www.sittercity.com/press.