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Nanny Spy Confession: The Importance Of Awareness In Choosing A Nanny

I talk a lot about awareness because I believe as parents, and as people, it is one of the most important parts of growing and thriving. This is a story about a client (I’ve obviously changed a lot of details and the name) I worked with who was looking for some advice on hiring a nanny.

When Karen first came to me she was eight months pregnant and was really excited but also very nervous and anxious about the idea of hiring a nanny when she had to return to work. She didn’t even know where to begin and would ask me questions like, “What should I look for in a nanny?”

I had to get her to answer that question for herself, so I started asking what values were most important to her and how she wanted her future child to be raised. I also asked what her biggest fears were when it came to someone else looking after her child.

As we discussed these questions, a lot of her family history came up. Her biggest concern was finding a stable support system, for both herself and her children, as she had moved cross-country to NYC when she was 18. When Karen was 15 years old, her mom was diagnosed with cancer and eventually died a few years later. Her dad was an alcoholic during her childhood and she had lost contact with him since. Karen had to grow up at a very young age and, consequently, one of the biggest factors she was looking for in a nanny was stability and support.

Another question I asked was, “What do you fear most about hiring a nanny?” Karen revealed that she was terrified of hiring the wrong person – someone who would put her child in harm’s way. When she thought of what could go wrong, her mind would spiral. Eventually, it came out that when she was younger, there was an incident at a playground where she fell off a slide and had some very serious injuries involving stitches. It became evident that this had translated into high levels of anxiety for her future child’s safety.

The child wasn’t even born yet and she was scared to death of a nanny taking her eyes off her child and something terrible happening. While safety and consistency are two very important characteristics to look for in a nanny, in Karen’s case, she needed to work through some of her own fears and understand that what had happened to her was an accident. There is no way to protect your child from every single cut and scrape.

A child’s exploration is extremely important. Awareness helped Karen see that while there were some things she would be able to control about her future nanny, she would also have to learn to trust in order to not develop into a mom who hovered over both child and nanny.

As she became aware of her fears and her childhood, she was better able to articulate what she was looking for in a nanny and not just focus on the hyper-vigilant aspect. Throughout this process, she realized she had some unresolved issues. She had never properly mourned the loss of her mom or dealt with her tumultuous relationship with her alcoholic father and his sense of helplessness. These are all issues that would come out eventually, but as she went to therapy and talked through them she realized how important it was to address them head on before they became a part of her parenting style or negatively blinded her to what she was looking for in a nanny.

I also asked her to identify what types of parenting her parents exhibited throughout her childhood. Her father was controlling at times, but in general, he was fairly absent and therefore she didn’t have a lot of rules or boundaries. She was close to her mother, but again, she wasn’t given a lot of structure at a young age. This became something she craved for her own child.

Especially for new parents, I always recommend thinking through your own childhood and putting thought into why you fear the things you fear. This will help put your fears into perspective and keep you from blowing them out of proportion in a way that could negatively affect your children.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.

child cute little girl and mother holding hand together with lov

What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help Your Everyday Life?

In addition to tips for childcare and family wellness, I’m eager to share with you ways to improve your own personal mental well-being. One of the things that helped me finally overcome my eating disorder was the idea of mindfulness. People often associate mindfulness with meditation, but this doesn’t mean you need to meditate for hours every day. Being mindful is as simple as focusing on your breath and focusing on the moment, in the moment.

From reducing anxiety to lowering your blood pressure to improving your quality of sleep, doctors and researchers have proven the enormous benefits that come with a mindful approach to the way you live your life.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has this definition: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Every aspect of that definition is so significant. We could all use a reminder to bring attention to our thoughts, focus on the purpose behind out thoughts, stay in the moment and not let ourselves do a million things at once and allow ourselves to just be, without judgment.

For me, writing has always been a big part of my awareness; it’s allowed me to focus on myself and see things more clearly. Many people really benefit from a mindful approach to journaling each day. I encourage you to find something – whether that’s a journal, a prayer or a breathing exercise – that allows you to bring mindfulness into your daily routine, or at least your weekly schedule.

ACTIVITY:

One simple way to try mindfulness on your own involves something that Dr. Karen O’Leary, a researcher in applied psychology, calls a 10-20 minute “body scan.” It involves sitting up straight and focusing on your breathing as you gradually bring attention to each part of your body. You can learn more about the exercise and some of the benefits of mindfulness on WebMD.

Need to learn more about mindfulness and what will it do for you? We’ll connect you to the best mindfulness coach, contact us today!

Mindfulness