Life with a Nanny

As a new nanny employer, you may find yourself on a bit of a learning curve when it comes to adjusting to life with a nanny.  While your nanny was hired to provide care to your children, you may be surprised to learn that her actions, attitudes and presence impacts your life as much as it does your child’s.

Part of the Family

Your relationship with your nanny may seem to parallel that of a supportive sister or even a spouse. The only difference is that while your nanny may feel like family, she is not.

The nanny and parent relationship is a complex one.  The professional and personal lines are often blurred and each person’s momentary decisions have the capacity to truly impact the life of a child. For these reasons, emotions can sometimes run high and like with any relationship, the nanny and employer one will experience ups and downs.

Maintaining boundaries can help to ensure that the relationship stays professional. Parents should avoid sharing intimate details of their personal lives (including the details of their marriage and finances) with their nanny, unless it directly affects the nanny’s job. As nanny employers, parents should also respect their nanny’s privacy and not demand every detail of how she spends her personal time outside of work.

Sometimes Nanny Knows Best

One of the most challenging concessions of being a nanny employer is accepting that when it comes to your child, your nanny may sometimes know best.

Many nannies have been working with children years, and even decades longer than their employers have been parents. When it comes to raising children, they’ve seen most everything and have developed tricks, tips and strategies that make them seem like a modern day Mary Poppins. Because of their experience, nannies have learned that while something may seem like the easiest solution to a parenting problem, the solution may not be in the best interest of the child. And when that’s the case, a seasoned nanny is sure to let you know.

It takes the right mindset to avoid having hurt feelings and to prevent jealousy from rearing its ugly head and negatively impacting your relationship with your nanny. If you’re going to invite a nanny to join you on your parenting journey, it’s essential that you truly welcome and accept the partnership.

Nanny as Role Model

During the week, the reality is that your child will spend almost as much, if not more of her waking hours with your nanny. Nanny employers must expect that their child will pick up their nanny’s mannerisms, language and habits, both good and bad.

Nannies have significant influence over the children in their care. When choosing a nanny, it is important to select one that agrees to support your family’s value system, parenting philosophies, moral code and lifestyle choices, so that your child receives consistent messages on such important issues. 

Relationship Challenges

As with any relationship, the nanny and employer one does have its challenges. Some of the most common challenges revolve around communication. When issues do arise, discuss them immediately rather than let angry or hurt feelings brew. Having regular, weekly meetings can help ensure that the lines of communication stay open and that resentment doesn’t have a chance to build.

Miscommunication over expectations is also another point of contention in nanny and employer relationships. Avoiding vague language and clearly articulating expectations can help prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Nanny employers know in their minds that by hiring a nanny, they are inviting someone else to love their child and to receive their child’s love back in return.  But sometimes, the head has trouble communicating this message to the heart and feelings of jealousy begin to take root. If you are experiencing feelings of jealousy, take heart. It’s normal. Talk your feelings out with a trusted friend and remind yourself that your child’s love is always multiplied, never divided.


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