More and more women today are choosing to hire nannies to help care for their children, and that decision comes with certain conflicts and complications, says author Lucy Kaylin. Mothers must deal with issues of trust and relinquishing control of certain household arenas, as well as with the circumstances that have brought them to hiring a nanny in the first place—perhaps the desire or need to return to work.
Jean talks with Lucy, executive editor of Marie Claire
magazine and author of The Perfect Stranger: The Truth About Mothers and Nannies
, who has had her own nanny for over nine years. Lucy shares her advice for moms looking to make the most of a relationship with their nanny:
- To find the right fit, Lucy says it is critical to check a nanny's references. Agencies can be very helpful in this regard, she says.
- Go with your gut when it comes to hiring, Lucy says. Ask yourself: "Does this person seem like someone that I can work and get along with, and do I 'get' her character in my early meetings with her?"
- In her own experience, Lucy says she struggled with feelings of guilt and uncertainty after hiring her nanny, but she says in time she learned to fully embrace her decision. "Acceptance is sort of the keyword," she says. "If you can forgive yourself, if you can support yourself and celebrate yourself for all the things you're trying to do—particularly as a working mother—that's when you can move forward."
- Lucy says the images of nannies in the media—from Mary Poppins to reality television shows—have created many unrealistic expectations about what a nanny can accomplish. Moms should have realistic standards and be able to sort through the fantasy of a "supernanny," she says.
- Be very clear about expectations. Lucy says that although many nannies are an integral part of the family, mothers should bear in their minds that it is a job and that the nanny has been hired to do certain things for a fair cost.