Should We Expect More from Our Caregivers than from Ourselves?

mad mom

I am losing it! (image from Retrographix)

I had lunch the other day with a mom friend who was looking to hire a very part-time nanny for her son — to share with another family for a couple of hours one day a week. She had already offered the position to the woman when she happened to overhear the nanny with her other full-time charge. It was time to leave preschool and the kid wasn’t cooperating — she told him he was acting like a baby and she threatened to leave without him.

That was it for my friend — she decided not to hire the lady and said she would absolutely take issue with the nanny condescending to her son that way. Unacceptable.

I kind of hoped we could just change the subject but when she went on for a bit and made it clear she was mildly outraged by what the nanny had said, I copped to the fact that I’ve probably said the same thing. I couldn’t give you a date and time or anything, but I’m sure at some point, when someone was tantrum-ing out, lying on the ground, crying, and refusing to leave someplace, I probably said something along the lines of “come on now, you’re acting like a baby” and “OK, I’m leeeaving now….” As in, stop that — get up, please, and let’s go.

After I admitted my sin, my friend said, OK, she had probably said the same thing at some point, too. But she expects more — better, more controlled behavior — from someone she pays. She expects more from a caregiver than from herself.

Hhmmm. I’m not sure what I think about that. Full-time kid-wrangling is a tough job and sometimes frustrating — whether you’re the mom or the caregiver. I’m not always 100 percent happy with the choices I make during any given day and I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect a nanny to be above reproach either.

What do you think? Should we expect better behavior from a caregiver than we expect from ourselves? Does paying someone mean they shouldn’t make the same “mistakes” moms sometimes make?

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3 Responses to “Should We Expect More from Our Caregivers than from Ourselves?”


  1. 1 Amy W February 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    As I leave my daycare every day I think to myself “how DO those teachers do it??” That many children in a room with all their personalities and emotions?? I would lose my mind. I know they have more patience than I do, so if anything, I’m inclined to cut those teachers some slack. If they need to reprimand my three year old and tell him he’s not being nice or that he’s acting bratty, so be it. They talk to the kids about behavior and attitude and teach them lessons about how to be a good friend. I’m thankful for everything that my boys learn from their caretakers. And I think hearing this type of correction from adults other than their parents is important.

  2. 2 mumabroad February 23, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Yes, I do think we can expect a bit more from the caregiver. First of all, they aren’t exposed to the challenges of our dear children 24 hours a day which can wear a mom down considerably. Also, hopefully their nights are much more restful than mine (I still have sleep issues with my twins) and therefore they have more patience in the difficult moments when sometimes I just want to pull my hair out in tired frustration. Third, they are a professional and theoretically have lots of different experiences and training to draw upon in difficult moments unlike many first time moms. I have a wonderful nanny who does many things better than me — I’ve never once seen her get angry or frustrated with the children in over three years. And she works for me 35 hours a week! So, I believe there are nannies out there that we can expect more from and you just have to find the right one.

  3. 3 Sasha March 3, 2010 at 1:04 am

    What a good question. I guess I expect a little more since they are paid to be super-patient (comes with the job) and hopefully specialize in dealing with kids. But when the nanny handles a situation less than perfectly, it’s certainly helpful to remember that I am nowhere near perfect myself!


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