Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nannies

Ah, nannies. I love the Supernanny because she's Ms. No nonsense! I've gotten some solid tips regarding bedtime, discipline, and routines from watching the occasional Supernanny show! She swoops in, observes a family for a day, and invents an action plan for tackling the unwanted behaviours and chaos that we all sometimes encounter with kids in the house.
But a regular nanny? Perhaps it is jealousy, but I kind of see having a nanny as a cop out. I know of some women whose husbands work upwards of 100 hours a week, or who travel to work, and parenting was designed to be a two person, team effort (or more, if extended families live together), so I can see why a nanny would fill that need in that circumstance. But, still? Having someone whom you pay to be your parenting backup seems unfair, somehow...Why not hire someone to cook? Or clean and tidy the house, so you can then have more time to parent, instead of having a backup parent? I try to maintain a non judgemental, accepting attitude towards most parenting styles and philosophies and methods, but I can't deny I find the nanny phenomenon a cop out on the part of the parent. One of the reasons for this is that I have found that the most difficult moments as a parent; the night feeding, the inconsolable crying, the food refusals, the temper tantrums, the incessant negotiations, the tears, and the sleepiness, these moments are the ones that knit us together with our children. We feel successful for navigating these situations and confident about tackling the next time, which makes us feel more positive emotions associated with our babies or children. From our childrens' perspective, we have participated in helping them navigate something unpleasant and reenforced their view of us as co-navigators, and positive, constant, trustworthy presences in their lives. This makes them feel more positive emotions associated with us. Voila, you have bonding!
With a nanny backup, you either enlist their help before the deepest frustration develops, or assign them childcare during your busiest and most difficult times of the day. This arrests the frustration--solution--bonding cycle that is supposed to happen between parent and child, and transfers some of that cycle to the nanny, who is presumably not the adult you want your child to primarily attach to. Some attachment is good, but not a primary attachment that is more appropriately assigned to a parent, and which may emotionally hurt the child if the nanny leaves in the future for various reasons, because she is an employee and not a family member.
Nannies can also be used in lieu of daycare, which I actually think is a great option, so the type of nanny use I'm referring to here is the type that help you when the parent is at home, too, or the live-in type.

1 comment:

Dawn and Dale said...

Great post!!

My friend Char and I were talking about this just the other day.

We both said if we ever somehow got rich, we'd hire someone to clean and cook but NOT a nanny!

But I also threw in that I'd hire someone to do my hair EVERYDAY!! lol (I had just gone to get my hair done...which I never do..and man...just them washing it and massaging my scalp...pure heaven!!! lol)And really...I can NEVER make it look like they can make it look!!