The only thing worse about going back to work after having a baby is leaving that baby with someone else. The anxiety is unbelievable. How will my baby do without me? Will the nanny meet the baby’s needs as speedily as I did? Will they catch the signs if the baby is sick? And the list goes on.
You just need someone you can trust completely, who would take care of your child the way you would, who is easy to work with and has a flexible schedule and, who you coincidentally, get along with really well. It’s a tall order and even when you get that tall order the babysitter may move on to another family or onto a college degree. The following are ways to alleviate some of the anxiety:
Know their background and family
I know you’ve already got a bunch of other questions for the nanny so getting to know the personal things about them may seem less than important, but these types of questions could be much more important than you realize. Instead of only finding out their qualifications like skill set, educational background, future plans, etc… Find out about their past. What was their childhood like? How well do they get along with their parents? How many friends do they have? The more you know about the nanny the better.
Build trust with the sitter
Stick to the consequences the nanny sets for the kids. There is nothing harder for the nanny than to feel like she is being double-crossed. The nanny takes away television privileges mom gets home and gives the kids the TV back. She could even go as far as to disagree with the nanny in front of the kids. These type of behaviors undermine the process the nanny has no authority over the kids during the day because they know their mom will give them their way later.
Find someone who is flexible
If the babysitter has a busy schedule outside of their nanny schedule, they might not be able to stay that extra few minutes you’re on you way home late from work. Or they may not be able to switch out days off. Honestly, even with a nanny who does have more time on their hands, they generally like to get back to their own families at the end of the day. Choosing an au pair has been said to be the most flexible childcare option on the market. They live with you and because their family is in another country you become their family. The au pair is also under contract to stay with you a year or two before returning to their home country.
If your nanny is going to stretch their neck out for you, you better stretch your neck out for her. If she needs a vacation or a day off or for you to get back early from work some days—help her out. Make sure you do plenty of favors for her. The happier she is the happier you and your children will be. It’s the oldest trick in the book. A nanny will work hard for the parents who really seem to understand them and accommodate to their needs.
Be a friend, not just an employer
I would say most people are looking for an employee when they are looking for a babysitter. Someone who you will pay to do a job you tell them what to do. It’s a little backwards, however, to pass a paycheck over to someone to care for priceless children. Even if they match the qualifications, there is another level you have to consider. Hire someone who you know and who you get along with really well. Who you can weather disagreements with and still trust they will treat your children well.
Going back to work after the baby is born doesn’t have to be so bad. Parents can eliminate uncertainty with a little due diligence and a little out of the box thinking. Look beyond the babysitters resume and you’ll see a lot more useful information.