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Q&A: How can I learn to let go now that I have a nanny?

I'm just starting back at work, and am leaving my baby at home with a nanny. It's so hard for me to watch the nanny with my daughter, because I feel like she's not doing things exactly how I do. I keep wanting to correct her, and I don't want to micromanage her... but I can't help it! And then I start to worry about what's going on while I'm away. (The nanny is great with my daughter and has wonderful references, so the problem isn't that I needs someone else.) How can I let go a little?

Re: I'm just starting back at work, and am leaving my baby at home with a nanny. It's so hard for me to watch the nanny with my daughter, because I feel like she's not doing things exactly how I do. I keep wanting to correct her, and I don't want to micromanage her... but I can't help it! And then I start to worry about what's going on while I'm away. (The nanny is great with my daughter and has wonderful references, so the problem isn't that I needs someone else.) How can I let go a little?

The Bump Expert

When I work with a working mom we put together a childcare booklet as well as an extremely detailed schedule of how the nanny will care for the child. When working with various caregivers, the goal is to create consistency of care, both physically and emotionally, so the child has an easy transition regardless of who they are with. I find it helpful for mothers to make daily schedules, detailing the entire day, so that the nanny will know what to do with the child and have less room for error. Most nannies find this very helpful. I also believe weekly and monthly schedules are helpful, especially if there are activities involved.

On the emotional end, it is also important to tell your nanny what your child does and does not like. For example, 'she likes to be held this way,' or 'when she hurts herself she likes to be sung a song.' Any piece of information, large or small, will help your nanny mimic your parenting style. I also have my clients use a daily log where the nanny can detail the day's events. This lets you see everything that happened (feedings, diapers, crying episodes, medications) while you were at work, and can help you feel more aware and connected.

After implementing these schedules and logs, speak openly with your nanny and explain your feelings. Tell her that you don't want to micromanage, but rather to arm her with as much information as possible so that she'll have a smooth transition into her job. After this conversation, take a step back and let your nanny get used to her new job and new environment. Remember to also trust yourself -- you hired this nanny, and she came well-recommended. Even if your nanny were superwoman, it would still take some time to get used to the concept of someone else caring for your child!

Tammy Gold