It’s the eternal dilemma women face after having children – should they return to work and leave the child with the nanny? (not everyone can leave the child with the grannies!).
It’s not an easy call to make. And the most important factor in this is finding the right nanny for the kids. Once you find her, you then have to place enough trust in her. And that’s the hardest part, I found.
You may have come across an advertisement that a latest CCTV camera company recently released on social media. Soppy as it may be, it made a good point. It began with the usual mother’s worry about leaving her child with a maid (we can all relate with that). However, as the visual unfolded, I readied myself for yet another portrayal of a child-care provider misusing the trust the parents had placed in her. I must admit, it was a pleasant surprise when the campaigners took the road less travelled. Towards the end of the video the nanny is seen playing with the child, feeding the child and caring for the child while sacrificing her own meal. It reminded me of the initial days filled with doubts and insecurities when I returned to work four years ago.
Having been there and done that, I can share a pointer or two for parents who are contemplating this decision of leaving the child with a care taker while at work.
Speak to other parents
Ask other mothers what they are doing. How are they managing to leave their kids and work? What are the technologies they are using to monitor the nanny.? In my case, apart from speaking to a few other moms, I also spoke to my mother-in-law, who had been a working mother and left her two children at a nanny’s care at home. When I look at my husband and his brother, both brought up by their nannies who they fondly remember till date, it gives me faith in keeping one myself
Treating them right
The most important lessons my mother-in-law taught me were that of respect and certain sensitivities about this equation. Respect for this new person, aka nanny, in your child’s life is a must. This means I treat her as family and ensure she is well paid and well fed, as she cares for my little one almost like her own.
What to expect
You should understand one thing clearly – that your nanny is not going to obsess over every morsel your child eats – even if she’s the most devoted one you can find. And that’s ok. We tend to overdo the eating bit when it comes to our kids. So be realistic – a nanny is a temporary child care provider and will not replicate all that you do as a parent.
Listen to your gut
There is a certain parental instinct that develops after child-birth. Keep a watch by installing a CCTV camera, speak to neighbors once in a while, or plan surprise visits to your house. More importantly, listen to mother’s instinct – it’s usually right.
If you chose the nanny route like I did, there are many interrogations you will have to endure. Opinions are dime a dozen, however if you believe that as parents you are doing the right thing, then it is nobody else’s decision to make but solely yours.
So, this is probably the hardest part, but if you have any hope of continuing to work, you must let go. I’ve been there, so I know that it’s easy to get sucked in and micro manage everything. Don’t do it – I can tell you, from experience, it’s better for you and for your child for you to step back a bit and let some things be – as long as the basic looking after is set in place, you need to let go a little.
Get back to work
Finding a good nanny you can trust is not easy. But, once you find her, keep her. She alone will allow you to work – trust me, I’ve been there. Make it worth her while to stay – upgrade her, give her a bonus (if you get one at work, why should she not?).
This is not to say that she’ll stay forever – but it will definitely increase the chances. Don’t lose focus of the fact that you need to invest in people – it pays off.
By Bharti Sridhar