Singer Mariah Carey revealed she regularly fires nannies “like that” *snaps fingers*. However diva that may seem, she apparently does so for reasons some moms can relate to:
The fear that her kids will grow more attached to the nanny than their own mother.
Here’s where I wish I could tell Mariah (we’re on a first-name basis, didn’t you know?) two things:
First, her fears are likely unfounded.
I grew up in the Philippines, where the norm was for nearly every family—and not just the rich—to hire household staff. My siblings and I not only had a nanny, we had one each. We were living in nanny-land. I loved our nannies—they were instant play mates and a reliable source of comfort and company. We had consistent, long-term nannies who stayed for years.
Yet not once did I question who my parents were nor loved them any less. I knew whom I preferred and whose company I would rather keep. My mom even worked often, yet I was able to define one relationship with the nanny and another with her.
Kids’ attachment to nannies and loving caregivers shows that they’re in capable, loving hands. Coercing a child from leaving preschool because she’s having so much fun isn’t a personal attack on her parent, but rather proof of how much she enjoys school.
If attachment truly is an issue for the mom, then perhaps the relationship between her and her child needs to be reevaluated, regardless of a nanny. Maybe she’s been working too much or gone for too long. Maybe she does too much housework and doesn’t keep her kids company as much as they need. Maybe mom is seen as “the bad guy.”
The issue then isn’t whether a caregiver is interfering with a parent’s bond with her child. Instead, the issue is what’s causing the rift between the two to begin with.
The second thing I’d like to tell Mariah is…
Kids benefit from stable and loving caregivers.
The loving attention the nannies dote on her kids can only do them good. It can be tough for kids to say goodbye to us when they’re left at the hands of loving caregivers. Whether left with relatives, at day care, or with a nanny, kids can sometimes find it hard to part with their most loved ones (us).
We can help alleviate this stress by handing them to a long-term caregiver. This person would provide our kids with love and warmth and ensure their feelings of safety and confidence.
Positive, stable and loving caregivers can even make up for a poor upbringing. From futureofchildren.org:
…[T]he research suggests that positive and consistent caregiving has the potential to compensate for factors that have a deleterious impact on children, such as poverty and its associated risk factors. In other words, children have much better outcomes if their family lives are stable, despite the overwhelming influence of poverty and associated risk factors.
Such is the power of maintaining strong and lasting relationships with our caregivers.
But when caregivers change frequently, kids may not feel safe to develop connected relationships. They wonder what happened to previous caregivers. They might even question whether they are to blame for the lack of stability. They might withhold love for fear of feeling abandoned and alone.
Many times, change is unavoidable. Families move for a parent’s job and change schools frequently. Maybe some nannies or day cares didn’t work out, and we need to find the right fit. It’s during these times that kids would benefit from us explaining why they have new caregivers.
That we don’t want them to prefer the nanny over us shouldn’t be one of them.
So Mariah, I doubt your nannies are trying to usurp your role as your kids’ mother. They’re simply doing their job and providing your kids with the love and warmth they get from a long-term nanny. Best advice? Find a good nanny to work with, not against. Your kids will benefit tremendously.
Read more discussion about child care:
- What You Need to Consider when Hiring an Au Pair
- What to Do with Grandparents Trying to Parent Your Kids
- Moms: Asking for Help Does NOT Mean You’re Failing
- Would You Use a Nanny Cam?
- Don’t Do These 8 Things When Hiring a Nanny
What do you think about Mariah Carey’s concerns? Have you ever worried whether your kids are more attached to a caregiver than yourself? Share your opinions in the comments!
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