Other Articles from Joan Thatiah
5 Tips On Co-parenting With Your Nanny
A Nanny or a house help as we commonly refer to them may have been a luxury three or four decades ago but she is a valuable commodity in our homes today.
She is the one that tends to the brood so that mothers get the chance to work away from home.With careers getting more competitive, mothers are spending even more time away from work. While a Mother will not admit it, even to herself, most of us are co-parenting with our Nanny. If you are, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad mother, it just means that you are doing what you need to do.
Instead of fighting the reality, mums should be actively trying to make this relationship work. Here’s how:
- Trust your Nanny
When it comes to your child, any mother will tell you that trust is never easily given. If this co-parenting arrangement is going to work however, it is apparent that you need to trust her. It is natural to be insecure about who leave your baby with but how you react to this feeling may injure the co-parenting arrangement that you have with your nanny.
Keziah Igogo, a Nanny who is in between jobs at the moment, shares that she was hurt and disappointed when she discovered that her employer was using a Nannycam to spy on her.
“If you are unhappy with a Nanny, let her go. If you do not trust me, why leave me with your children in the first place?” she poses.
Keziah quit her job after making this discovery. If you did all the ground work you needed to before hiring her, it is only fair that you give your Nanny the benefit of doubt.
- Take up your responsibilities
If you have a regular nine to five job, your nanny’s is most likely the face that your little one wakes up to and dozes off to in the evening. The nanny is the one that does most of the parenting during the day. If you want to avoid the hostility that comes when mums feel like the nanny is overstepping, take up some of the responsibilities.
This is how 34-year-old Millicent Nyambura who has been a nanny for 12 years sees it “There are things that a mother ought to do for her child. Like co-sleeping. If you expect me to co-sleep with your five month old for instance, this routine is bound to blur some lines.”
Her advice? Lay out the responsibilities for both parties early on. Try and be a mother to your child as much as you can.
Be open minded
Every so often, there will be a clash between the nanny and the mother caused by a difference in beliefs, attitudes or even parenting styles. Author Michelle LaRowe in her book Nanny To the Rescue advises : “A parent ought to come up with those values that are of utmost importance to her. The ones that she can’t compromise on be it religion or forms of discipline. Make this clear to the Nanny from the onset.” About other smaller issues, she advises tackling them as they come. If you have agreed on the bigger issues, you are bound to reach a middle ground in regard to smaller ones.
Learn from her
In a society that is all about competition, no mother wants to admit that you are not sure about what to do with your child at one point or the other. In the book, Michele la Rowe however points out the fact that if your Nanny is experienced, she may actually be better at parenting. Seeing as she spends more time with your child, she also knows your child better than you do. If you are in doubt about what to do, ask. It says nothing about your abilities as a mother.
Different parenting styles
If your nanny is a mother and even if she is not, the two of you will not always agree on parenting styles because of your different life experiences. What happens when one doesn’t agree with the other’s parenting styles? To begin with, select for a nanny whose parenting styles match yours as closely as possible. You can gauge about their parenting styles right from the hiring interviews.
“When hiring, I tell my Nannies that I expect them to match my parenting styles as closely as possible. For instance, I do not spank my children and they do not watch television during weekdays,” shares Betty Mutethya, a mother of three aged between 7 and 12.
This however will only work if you are consistent in your parenting choices. When it is your turn to parent, make sure you follow the instructions you gave the Nanny to avoid confusion.
‘Be sure to check our Classes & Workshops for the latest skills training for nannies in Nairobi.’
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