11 (And A Half) Emotional Stages Of Looking For The Perfect Nanny
If you're a working mom you know that one of that most challenging aspects of returning to work is the task of figuring out how to find a nanny for your child. I mean, it is not easy to trust anyone with your child. Literally, anyone, let alone someone who is not a close friend or related to you. And there aren't really any baby books out there that can guide us through this particular emotional quandary.
How can you ever really know for certain that you can trust your child's care in the hands of anyone, especially when you don't really know that person at first? Every day it seems like there's some horror story on the news about a daycare center or a nanny cam catching someone in the middle of some unimaginable act. It's no wonder that we've got so many trust issues. Thanks, media/terrible humans. But alas, there are still bills to be paid so until more professions offer "bring your baby to work day" every day, parents are going to have to suck it up and soldier through the nanny hunt.
Weeding through the prospects of potential caregivers for your child is scary and confusing and hard, and requires a certain amount of a coffee/wine combination to maintain one's sanity while doing so. It's emotive to say the least. Here are the 11 emotional stages you go through while trying to find the right nanny for your little.
Optimism: "Yay! This Is Going To Be Fun!"
Hahahahahaha. Ah, ignorance is bliss, my friend.
Anxiety: "Oh, This Is Harder Than I Thought."
Once the reality of everything that goes into choosing a caregiver for your child sets in, so does the anxiety. It's totally normal to worry about the process of picking the right person to care for your child. I mean, no one will ever be able to care for them like you do, but there is most definitely someone out there who can try.
Anxiety is actually a good sign that you're taking this decision seriously. If you didn't feel any stress about deciding who is going to be entrusted with your kid while you're at work, I mean, that wouldn't be great either. Just take a few deep breaths and start harassing all your family and friends for their insider information.
Doubt: "Will I EVER Find The Right Fit?"
It's hard to start off the search for a nanny. Where exactly does one find these people anyway? Well, if you've got the Internet you're going to be just fine. A lot of sites offer local prospects and can even do background checks for your final picks. Also, social media can be a huge help in your search, as your friends or family probably have other friends or family that have had an experience with a nanny at some point. Don't let that doubt get you down.
Hope: "So There ARE Some Halfway Decent People Out There, After All."
Once you've planted that seed of need (didn't mean to rhyme there, sometimes the universe just works that way) your phone may start to ring with the inquiries of potential nannies. After all, there are many out there looking for jobs just as fervently as you're looking for help. Once you find the right places to look you may have more options that you ever imagined.
Awkward: Interviewing Strangers Is Weird
Interviewing nannies is like going on a blind date: You both want to impress each other but you're still not sure if you're sitting in front of "the one." Sometimes those dates don't go so well. When that happens, things can get a little awkward. It's important to be assertive with your questions and intentions, and to never settle for someone who is just "eh."
To be clear, the "dating" really never stops when you have kids: play dates, daycare drop-offs, school interviews, finding the perfect nanny... You're basically dating everyone now on behalf of your kid. Settle in.
Distraught: "Dear God, How Do I Narrow Down These Choices?"
If more than one of your "dates" went well, you're left with the task of narrowing down your prospects. Like finding the perfect partner, this can be challenging. There's more to finding the proper fit for your child than just qualifications. Those are important, yes, but just because someone checks all of your boxes (which admittedly means something totally different on a real date), that doesn't mean they're going to be the right fit for your family. Personalities are important, as is the relationship between your child and your nanny. You want to be sure that both parties are equally happy here.
Determined: "I Have Totally Got This Under Control."
You're the boss. Do work. You can do this.
Guilt: "OK, Delivering Rejection Sucks A Lot."
It's never fun to tell someone that something just isn't going to work out, though they may have been perfectly charming and wonderful. Try not to feel guilty about turning someone's offer down. You've got to do what's best for your family, and someone not being right is just par for the course when it comes to finding the perfect fit. Try not to beat yourself up. There are plenty of other babies in the nursery (is that not how the saying goes?).
Here you are stressing about how "hard" it is to find the perfect nanny, when there are literally millions of parents for whom having a nanny is an unattainable dream as far as childcare solutions go. Throughout all of these stages of finding a nanny will be a weird mix of gratitude and guilt because, seriously, we all know these are hardcore #privilegeproblems. If you're freaking about about not being able to find the right nanny, you're already super lucky that that's what you're freaking out about in terms of childcare.
Excitement: "I've Found The One!"
Now it's time to ask this person if they will, umm, please accept this rose? OK, that's clearly not right, but it is pretty exciting when you know that you've found the right person to help care for your child. This person will likely become an integral part of your family, at least for a while, and knowing that you've finally found someone that you can trust sort of makes you want to jump up and down. Go ahead, do it.
More Anxiety: "Wait, Did I Make The Right Choice?"
Sometimes after we find the right person we get cold feet. As with any relationship, questioning your decision of a particular person is normal. Being a nanny is such an important job, and the person you choose is going to play a huge role in your child's life; It would be crazy if you didn't second guess your choice.
Relief: "I Am SO Glad That's Over."
Ah, sweet relief. You can now return to work confidently knowing that your child is in good hands. The emotional roller coaster of finding the right fit for your family was seriously stressful, but such an important decision shouldn't be taken lightly. You probably stayed up many nights and spent a decent share of your maternity leave buried in nanny profiles on the internet, but it was so worth it because you found the one. Now, go snuggle on that baby every second of every day until you head back to work.