WHAT ROOKIE mommies need TO know about NANNIES

thanks to Oakland, CA mommy of three Chantal Laurie below for this guest essay about discovering what really matters in a nanny.

(Photo by I’m Priscilla) What amazing nannies can do

As first-time parents, we hired a nanny with no understanding of what we needed. Sure, we wanted someone loving and CPR-certified; the ability to drive was a plus. But, we’d been parents for a whopping three months.

Our inexperience, combined with sustained sleep deprivation, indicated we were under-qualified to choose diaper rash ointments let alone make an crucial hiring decision. So, we put complete faith and depend on in references we’d never met and hired Alia.

My last day of maternity leave, I cried. The tears represented loss; the loss of uninterrupted time with my daughter (most satisfying after my recovery from mastitis), the camaraderie of an artificially created (and fairly random but supportive nonetheless) mom’s group, and mid-day walks through the neighborhood (frequently cut short by blowouts). The tears also represented guilt and confusion.

Having been raised by a stay-at-home mom, I couldn’t shake the notion that hiring someone to enjoy my infant felt incongruous with my understanding of how one “should” parent. But, the taunting voice of mortgage payments and my need for a strong professional identity lured me into an office and lured Alia into our home.

Dieu merci.

It’s now my last day of maternity leave with baby #3. As I hand my third baby over to Alia’s care, I now know what we need.

We need a coach. As parents, we’re only vaguely sure of what we’re doing. Alia’s cared for children for over twenty years and is raising her own mature and respectful adolescents. We depend on the loving and direct recommendations she uses about how to curb a hitting routine or wean a baby from a bottle, and we envy her endless patience. Alia is our nanny deity who we turn to, in those frequent moments of parenting paralysis, and ask: “WWAD, What would Alia Do?”

We need a sports enthusiast — and an equipment manager. We’ve got a two-year old kid who pulls his socks up high to look like hunter Pence and who’s still lamenting Panda’s trade to the Sox. Alia indulges his passion by pitching enough balls to induce carpel tunnel and never leaving home without his batting helmet and gloves. She doesn’t bore of his baseball obsession but instead revels in his happiness and seizes on the chance to build connection with a toddler she loves.

We need a role model. Alia embraces a culture that isn’t her own (and revels in the trashiness of fine American shows like Nashville). And, she fights to make sure her children value and know their native language and cultural identity. When Alia proudly illuminates for my children the gifts of Mexico (by making a indicate pozole and joyfully singing Dale, Dale, Dale at the many park birthday parties that sport a piñata), she shows our kids the confidence that comes from defending your traditions and values, especially when a dominant culture denies their import.

We need a party animal. When my daughter turned one, I didn’t invite Alia “after work hours” to her birthday party; I wanted to respect Alia’s personal time. The Monday after the event, Alia let me know of her disappointment. What I checked out as respectful, she experienced as exclusionary. Alia has never defined her role as caring for our children during a 40-hour work week. She’s defined her role as being a important part of their lives; she wants and should have to celebrate the milestones that shape who our kids are.

We need an advocate. Alia engaged in a hard negotiation when we hired her; she stuck to her guns about her needs and got them. She helps our children do the same. When my kid turns to a playmate at the park who is twice his age and informs his peer that grabbing his shovel is, “Not okay,” I credit scores Alia. When my daughter, in a calm and commanding voice tells her brother, “I don’t like that,” when he’s screaming in her face, I thank Alia. Alia has equipped our children with the tools they need to have confidence and agency over their needs.

We need a brave outdoorswoman. Alia’s an adventurer. She won’t shy away from carting two kids in a double Bob Stroller on two buses and BART to get to the zoo. She’s also an organizer. A few years ago, she convinced multiple families to pool money together and get a parachute so she could create a Gymboree-like class at the park. Then, she distributed Mexican children’s song lyrics among parents and caretakers so the whole park gang could sing together. Alia’s actions show our kids that being a passive bystander in life isn’t nearly as fulfilling as rolling up your sleeves and engaging fully.

We need a comedian. and a teddy bear. few interruptions do I welcome a lot more in my home office than the uninhibited stomach laugh I hear from Alia when my son, with fierce abandon, pretends to ”˜run the bases’ after hitting anHome run imaginaire. Peu de sites je chéris beaucoup plus que, dans ses rares moments de calme, voyant mon enfant et Alia se blottir sur le canapé. Et, à la fin de la journée, peu de routines j’apprécie beaucoup plus que le «Je t’aime», Alia utilise chacun de mes enfants avant qu’elle ne rentre chez elle.

Il y a cinq ans, je pensais qu’une nounou était une option de deuxième niveau pour moi d’être à la maison avec mon petit. Je vois maintenant la présence d’Alia dans notre vie très différemment. Elle a informé et clarifié nos valeurs parentales et a fait surface pour toute notre famille ce qui compte le plus: être passionné, courageux et aimant. Je vois que mes enfants sont plus heureux et beaucoup plus confiants à cause de son influence. Je vois que je suis une maman beaucoup plus individuelle et délibérée à cause d’elle.

Il y a cinq ans, je ne pouvais pas articuler ce dont nous avions besoin d’un soignant. Maintenant, je reconnais qu’Alia nous a montré ce dont nous avons besoin en étant ce dont nous avons besoin.

Dans quelques années, mon plus jeune enfant ira au préscolaire. À ce moment-là, je serai probablement la référence inconnue mais fiable qui articulera le cadeau qui est Alia à une famille essayant de trouver des services de garde. J’espère que la famille qu’elle choisit apprécie qu’elle est bien plus que ce dont ils ont besoin et tout ce qu’ils veulent. Et, au point de transition, quand Alia quitte notre famille, je pleurerai sans aucun doute la perte.

Merci, Chantal, d’avoir partagé votre amour pour Alia dans notre espace aujourd’hui. L’embauche d’une nounou avec seulement deux mois de parentalité à mon actif est l’un des défis les plus difficiles auxquels j’ai également été confronté.


Ce que c’est que d’avoir un nannyon en tant que maman qui travaille: la pratique rend imparfaite d’accord pour obtenir un bébé allaité pour prendre une bouteille

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