My 4-year-old likes the nanny more than he likes me. She’s live-out, and when she comes in the morning, he’s more excited to see her than he is to see me when I come from work. I’m feeling left out. What should I do? Should I replace the nanny?
From: Sad, Providence, R.I.
This is far more common than you might expect and often it’s more your perception than reality. How guilt-ridden are you feeling for having a nanny? Are you working more hours/days than you would like? Do you allow the time you spend with your child to be interrupted by cell, text, computer? Are you distracted by household responsibilities?
My first bit of advice is to make arrange your life at home so that you can give your child undivided attention. Turn off your devices. Assign your nanny some of your household responsibilities. Make sure the activities you’re doing with your son are things he enjoys. Sometimes all it takes is sitting still and slowing down.
Here would be good reasons to get rid of your nanny: you think she’s stealing from you; she’s abusive to your child; she’s neglectful, sloppy, slovenly; she’s sleeping with your husband. That she loves your son and he loves her is not a good reason. In fact one of the most important aspects of quality child care is consistency of care-giving. You don’t want a revolving door of caregivers in a child’s life, and besides, it could happen with the next person, too.
You need to analyze why you’re feeling so jealous. Chances are, this is about you, not about her. Be grateful your son has bonded. And keep this in mind: children know the difference between their parents and caregivers.
I have to add, I was off-and-on jealous of my caregiver (Toni — are you out there?). She was with us for four years.