When you search for a nanny, you naturally want to find someone who will form a close bond with your child. While that bond is developing, however, you may start to feel jealous of the nanny and her closeness to your child. Because of that, welcoming a nanny into your family can lead to what seem like contradictory emotions. You want to be the one with your kid at the playground on a sunny afternoon. You’re worried you might miss out on any “firsts” — first steps, first words. You’re glad that your kid is happy to see the nanny in the morning — but kind of wish he or she would cling to you a little more, too.

It’s important to remember that these feelings are very, very normal! And as a working mom, the last thing you need to do is pile more guilt on yourself for having them. Here are some ways you can ease your nanny jealousy.

Find a special activity to do with your child every night. After a long day at work it’s tempting to get into the “fed and bed” routine and collapse on the couch. If you can, try to set aside time for an enjoyable activity that only you do with your child. Common ones include bath time and story time, but it can be any kind of evening ritual.

Write down a list of reasons why you like your nanny. This may seem silly, but it’s surprisingly helpful. Does she wash and fold laundry? Is she prepping meals or grocery shopping? Has she helped your child progress with potty training? Remembering all the great things about your nanny is a great way to cope with jealousy as it puts your positive feelings for her front and center. 

Talk to other working parents. Whether it’s casually chatting with mom friends who also have nannies or joining a working parents group at your company, it’s good to connect with people in the same situation as you. Trading stories and comparing notes will lessen your “I shouldn’t feel this way” thoughts and help you accept them.

Remember that your nanny is a child care professional. An experienced nanny understands the mixed feelings you’re having and wants to do what she can to alleviate that stress. If you feel like you’re missing out, ask her if she might be willing to text you a photo during the day, or even set up an occasional video chat with your kid during your lunch hour.

Think of your nanny as a teammate. You’re not competing with her for your child’s love — you’re working together to raise a happy, well-adjusted kid. Remember that love is not a finite resource. Your child can love your nanny and love you without one taking away from the other. And at the end of the day, your child always knows who mom is.

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