The Nanny Chronicles Part 5: My Son Likes Our Nanny More & It's OK With Me

...for now. It's Ok for now *Sighs, just yearns to be needed and reaches for glass of wine*

It's been a while since an entry in 'The Nanny Chronicles: One Mother's Quest for Childcare for Which The Cost is Almost Equal to Her Take Home Salary'...Or maybe I'll give it a catchier title when it goes to print - and now it's about eight months on from when we hired our nanny at and it's all going great....she says, tears in eyes.

Well, looking at the bigger picture it is. But not the little picture:

The picture where my 18 month old bundle of doe-eyed toddler chub wails when she leaves.
The picture where he falls over, he runs to her instead of me.
The picture where he has post nap grumpiness and he goes for nanny cuddles, not mummy cuddles.
The picture where he says new words to her and not me.

But this is OK with me. It is...Well it is, but I do have to keep reminding myself it is.

Ok, The truth is, it's a little hard to take.

I spent the whole first year with this little guy on maternity leave. I left him in the capable hands of a new nanny and he went through the usual anxieties of being with someone new, just as my first son did with his childminder at a similar age, and now he favours the nanny more than me?

Toddler independence: "Just give me the keys Mum, I don't need you any more"...pootles off to the Nanny's side of the garden. Sob, sob.

Now here's where you have to lay down the law with yourself when it comes to conflicting, 'They love the childcarer more than me type' feelings. These feelings basically boil down to a mix of totally human feelings of 'guilt' (this is most likely your main state as a mother), a hint of 'jealousy' ('Hang on, what's she doing that make my child like her more than me' and love. Overall, love because I'm only feeling this way because I love and care for him.

Even rationalising makes it still a little hard to take, but this is what I keep reminding myself:

Take a step back:

So, you child loves their childcarer? That's fantastic. 

Bear no guilt here - you have chosen the right person for the job. Finally as a working mum you've done something right...right? You have, you totally have..and to be honest, children are fickle beings so by the middle of next week the tables will have turned back to mummy-favour.

Still though, it's hard to watch - being pushed aside for someone who's known them for a matter of months, whilst you gaze down to your bosoms that have fed them for longer.

The reason it's difficult for you to digest sometimes, is because you are seeing it with complicated adult eyes. Children love anyone who is nice and they are in it for the 'right now' not the long term. They do not see the complex social intricacies that us grown-up folk have. They have no reason to explain to you they still love you and you'll always be their mother. They just want someone to play Paw Patrol 12 times in a row with them, and although you can do it 6 times, 12 is really pushing it.

See The Bigger Picture:

So after you have taken  a step back (mind the lego left out on the floor), chuck your own feelings in a box in the corner of your mind - can you see that bigger picture of a well cared for, happy child?

Then, that' all that matters.You see, the reason why I said in the second paragraph that 'It's all going great', is because, it is, on the whole. My child is cared for and their needs are met. Keep repeating this mantra.

Would you rather they were in the care of Miss Trunchball? No, so feel grateful , see the bigger picture. While you are at work, they are being happily cared for.

Don't forget yourself. I know you do because you're a parent now and you put yourself last. But the childfree time is good for you. There's probably a hint of guilt creeping in here that you don't deserve a little time to yourself, but if you keep your Mum Manna topped up with some mum alone time (loo time with a todder bashing on the door does not count) you will be a better Mum appreciating the time you spend with your children.

Have a Glance Back at the Smaller Picture:

Remember the smaller pictures that make up this bigger picture. Yes, I'm in full flow of psychobabble talk now folks.

You have a jigsaw puzzle of Mum and Dad at work and the child-carer seemingly doing all the fun stuff. Parents have to spend the potential 'fun time' with their kids actually doing the 'getting shit done/boring stuff' instead.

But who is there on the weekends? Who is there in the middle of the night when your child is woken by a nightmare? Who corners the market in kisses and snuggles?

You do. You all have you part to play in this little ones jigsaw puzzle and you are all making them a little rounded wonderful individual.

They Tick the Fun Box

In this see what your childcarer offers - an abundant no holds fun time - play, play and more play. Contrast this with your time (well I'll use mine as an example):

  • Get breakfast for two ravishing monsters at silly o'clock in the morning.
  • Clean up after two children eating breakfast (which looks more like the food fight scene in Hogwarts)
  • Suddenly realise you have 15 minutes to get them dressed and you dressed. No time for this fun malarkey - get clothed pronto!...Which as any parent knows, if you try to rush a child, the exact opposite occurs + paddy-fest.
  • Nanny arrives - commences fun, whilst you exit for the commute to work.
  • Have a nice break at work (solo loo trips, cup of hot tea, adult chit-chat etc).
  • Arrive back home, nanny goes home and commence all the above in reverse order.

Do you see how you get the rough end of the deal there?

And that's fine, you have to have that role sometimes. You have to tick your 'get shit done' daily boxes and to a kids simplistic mind, they don't always understand why you are doing these things.

But, again, and I remind myself of this, don't forget to play the 'Fun Dad' role every now and then. Throw the sofa pillows on the floor and make a giant bouncy castle (try to kerb your anxiety about all the sharp corners that could potentially cause horrific but rare injuries), let them say up late to watch a film on a school night and cuddle them in your bed without thinking that you've made a rod for your own back. You deserve to tick their fun box too but don't feel bad about not being able to sometimes.

The law of Phases

It's all a phase. Everything.

My first son took a good six months at the childminders before he enjoyed it and kicked his mother to the curb. Six whole months of screaming child induced guilt at the drop off, to be suddenly replaced by not even a casual glance goodbye at the door from him. Charming.

Every now ands then, there would be a blip of favouring daddy, just like how 'Ga ga' the tiger soft toy would get shoved down the back of the bed for Mog the Cat, Mummy would get pushed aside.

But then, in time, he would perform his perfect plank routine on initiation of going to the childminders...and we were back to square one - but it's all a cycle of phases with children.

And for the record, DO NOT try to understand these phases, just ride then out.  I guess what I'm saying is, they may favour your childcare now, but you will always be their mum and that's the default position.

Mum Mantra

Do the opposite of beating yourself up about it and pep yourself up with a mum mantra:

'You are their mum and they will always love you. You are a good mum and this is just a phase. You are doing your best and no harm is coming to them'

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It's true after all. Come on, in actually fact, you are almost nailing this parenting thing - have the confidence to say that because you are.

So, you see, it IS OK for your child to like the child carer more than you at this precise moment in time. It is. It really is. *Feels pang...stuffs pang back inside and ventures forth*

**The 'I'm Not a Smug Cow' Disclaimer:

After writing this, I remembered that there are a lot of kids who take the train to paddy-central when they are with a child-carer and who's parents' reading this are probably thinking "What a smug cow, her kids love her nanny, mine go spare and claw at my leg when I leave them". 

I have been to both sets of extremes of them loving and hating their childcare. Both of these extremes berate our guilt centres for being a working mum - so let's stand together and give ourselves a virtual hug for trying our best for our children. 

No guilt, just love. 

I may of had another glass of wine by now, which is why this is getting a bit hippy. 



There are more 'Nanny Diaries' Entries here, if you liked this, then have a goosey goosey at them and I have fancy buttons on the side over there <looks to right> which take you to where I hide...on social media. Please share with someone who's having one of those 'Am I doing the right thing parenting-childcare moments' so we can all feel a little better about how we actually do rock this parenting stuff.

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  1. I have so been there working full time with little ones and a nanny. Everntually we changed our life and moved to Cornwall with Coombe Mill, but before that I had all the same feelings. When it came to it though it was with Mummy and Daddy that the first steps came and first words, on one of those precious holiday weeks. I will say that my kids thrived with their nanny and I enjoyed working, though eventually I wanted the change, but it was me who felt I was missing out not the kids, they were fine. #MarvMondays

  2. It's such a comfort to know that you're children are happy when you're not with them. I tell myself the reason my son is such a tyrant with me is because of the level of trust he feels with me ;) #MarvMondays

  3. So many great points here. One of the things that we can never seem to get away from is the awful mummy/daddy guilt that you suddenly learn as parents. But I would much rather be in a position where my little one loves the nanny/childminder/nursery over me than them hating it/them. Its difficult either way, but a lesser evil :-) Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays, great to have you join us! Emily