By Marva Soogrim
When there is dissention between a married couple, the nanny can often be caught in the crossfire. Like any other job where you’re working in someone’s home on a daily basis, it’s difficult not to witness some drama in a married couple’s life. If a divorce is looming, a couple may look to the nanny for advice and support because she (or he) has probably witnessed a lot of the troubles firsthand. However, if a nanny begins to feel like the “nanny in the middle,” she may choose to move on.
If you feel that you and your spouse may be headed for a divorce or you’ve already filed for one, it’s important to keep the household as well adjusted and balanced as possible. Divorce stress can affect not only you, but your children and the nanny too. If the atmosphere becomes too intense, you don’t want your nanny to divorce you by quitting when you need her most! Below are seven ways to help keep your nanny happy in the wake of marital strife.
Keep the air clean: Don’t air your marital problems to the nanny. She needs to remain neutral, and there’s no room for her to take sides. Don’t say anything that could compromise the nanny’s third-person position.
Maintain a positive outlook: By stressing out the nanny with your marital issues, you will bring down the vibe in the house very quickly. Keeping the nanny positive is the best thing for your children since she spends the majority of the day around them. If your nanny is happy, then the kids will be happy.
Remember that the nanny is not a therapist: The nanny is there to focus on the well-being of your children, not to help save your marriage. Seek professional consultation and you will get a professional result. Therapy may be the answer, so be open to it.
Leave the scene: If you feel an argument coming on between you and your spouse, take it away from your children and the nanny. They shouldn’t have to witness the back and forth, so go to another room or head out for a walk. A little fresh air for you and your spouse and some alone time for the nanny and kids should work best for everyone.
Keep calm: Too much change for a child at once is often hard for them to handle. They may feel the separation coming on between mommy and daddy, and if your nanny quits, they can feel like their world is coming apart. Keep things as calm as possible so the nanny feels comfortable coming to work. You don’t want her quitting at this crucial time.
Don’t cross-examine: It’s very important not to cross-examine your nanny about information she may have overheard relating to your spouse. The nanny is not there to give you updates about your spouse’s activities or whereabouts, so don’t put her in that position. When this happens, it usually doesn’t end well for anyone involved.
Share the news: If a divorce between you and your spouse is definite, sit down with your nanny and share the news. If she overhears it or finds out elsewhere on her own, she may look for another job thinking she might be let go. If you intend on keeping the nanny employed, let her know that the events won’t affect her job.