Wednesday, March 24, 2010

on Babysitters

A good friend forwarded me a very awakening article from the NEW YORK TIMES
February 2010 called "Do you speak Nanny."

Raising Six Children in New York City there is an abundance of nannies, babysitters and
extra hands ready to jump right in for the moment you can not be there. In order to have special times with the children, in order to attend a school play, a conference time, a basketball game after school you need the support and coverage of nannies and babysitters.

"Maria yelled at me" stated my six year old daughter as I closed the door on the vacation hotel room sitter. And while I listen to the story I weighed in my head the benefit of me being able to do something with my older children that was not age appropriate for the 4 and 6 year old and the damage of being yelled at by a 26 year old local approved childcare provider. Yes it hurt my feelings and I discussed with my daughter how proud I was of her for telling me.

I make VERY CLEAR lists of what I except from the nannies and babysitters that come into my house. A hotel sitter will know the BASICS which are;

*Where to reach me
*What children can eat as night snack
*Brush Teeth with children
*Nighttime bottle or cup of water
*TV off at 7:00pm and book reading
*Bed time at 7:30pm
*I add that there is no physical contact and if you need to
seperate children you can hold their hands to do so.

*I add children do not need to bath but please wash their
hands and faces make sure they brush their teeth before they
do to bed.

I expect my children to be safe and asleep when I get home. I pay the babysitter and she leaves.
Did they brush their teeth, I find out no.....

There is a difference between a nanny and a babysitter and its up to you to know what that difference is.....and to accept it or make a change.

A babysitter is someone who can safely supervise your children when you are out of
the house and follow a specific and clear list for the moment that you leave the house.

A nanny is someone who can, like a mother, ensure that proper care, and continuing
and adding on of things that they have learned in caring for the children continues. A true
nanny would not "miss" your children brushing thier teeth at night if its their responsibility and there are only a few you give.

So many times I have tried to turn babysitters into nannies and it has caused me a great deal of frustration. Lists after lists, charts after charts of expectation that are not met.

I have come to realize that it is better to TAKE AWAY the expectations and appreciate the simple COVERAGE which is what you set out for in the beginning anyway.

You are a super mom for knowing there are times when you need coverage to be a better mom for another child or for yourself..

Take away the frustration, take away the expectations , keep safety as your top priority and when that fails....find someone new !

1 comment:

johanna said...

Absolutely Right! A Good Nanny is an extension of the mother, A prosthetic limb, to carry on her wishes and wills as if she were there, not to add, not to take away, or change, she is an act of multiplicity, though we all do wish we could be everywhere and there for everyone all the time, that if it was possible to surgically place eyes in the back of our heads we would, but instead we have nannies, we just pray they are thinking what we would. That is why you should make wwmd bracelets. (what would mommy do?)