Lots of working moms struggle with feeling like they just can’t keep up with everything at home like they want to or feel they should. This isn’t an imaginary bar moms are imposing on themselves. Most of our society still expect moms to be able to do and be everything to everyone and make it all look easy.
Moms who employ nannies have it both better and worse around this struggle. They have a big advantage because they have a person who does a lot of the work for them, keeping their home and family running smoothly during the week. But watching that person easily handle the plethora of tasks that can be overwhelming to the parent while taking great care of the kids can deepen the parent’s feelings of failure and incompetence.
If you love your nanny, appreciate all she does, but hate the way her efficiency makes you feel sometimes, I’m here to tell you that you’re only seeing part of the picture. Your nanny does such a great job with your home and your kids because it’s her job. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t share your struggle once she’s off the clock.
Here’s a story from Sarah Salisbury, a nanny from upstate New York. It sheds light on what happens when your nanny leaves your home and heads to her own…
At work, I am on top of it all. I can get the laundry done, keep the kids happy, prepare them healthy meals and plan an art project, outing or special day or even week. I can teach them their letters, numbers, shapes, how to read etc. I can do it all.
Then I go home. I am tired. My house is a mess, there are dishes to be done, rugs in desperate need of being vacuumed, laundry piling up, laundry waiting to be put away, beds unmade and in the middle of all of this is my sweet little girl who wants to tell me about her day at school and she has homework and she wants to play a game with me and she wants to draw pictures with me and read a book with me. Then I looked at the clock. It’s 5:30pm. She goes to bed at 8. So, I have 2 and a half hours to spend time with her, get dinner ready, help her with her homework, read with her PLUS all this this other stuff that needs to be done. I am not alone in this. Many other mothers are just like me. Sometimes I am so tired from work, my daughter gets pizza for dinner and we watch a movie before she goes to bed. She watches more TV in general than I am actually OK with, she gets away with more than my charges do because, to be honest, after a 9 hour day it’s just not worth the damn fight to have her pick up her toys. Most of the time she does, but I have those nights where I do it because I am too tired to enforce the rules.
With my charges, I love them, I care for them, I want the best for them. Their well-being doesn’t keep me up at night though. I have never questioned my ability as a nanny. I have been educated in this field, I have been a nanny for a long time, I am confident in what I am doing.
As a mom? Not so much. I have been a mom for 5 years and I question every single day whether I am doing right by her. Am I being the best mom I can be? Is she going to be scarred for life by that decision I just made? Is she getting the very best I have to offer?
So when I see a nanny saying, “If I can do it why can’t she?”, it really bugs me. I am that overwhelmed mom who looks at everything that needs to be, has work stuff at the back of her mind and who questions every single decision she makes for her kid, I am that mom who is stressed to the max and is struggling to show every person around me a confident face because…I’m a mom. I should be able to do it all. Right?
This article was written by Lora Brawley, founder of Nanny Care Hub.