Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Everybody needs a helping hand, but ... how much nannying is too much nannying?
The other day in baby group, a mom was telling us that her nanny had canceled so she decided to feed her baby in the bathtub (water and all). The idea? She could feed and bathe her daughter at the same time and avoid any mess. Her nanny usually does the feeding, bathing and bedtime routines. This mom hates doing that stuff.
Our group leader started explaining how important it is to do "all"
, even the mundane stuff. It is important for the relationship
between the parent and child.
Most moms expressed that they wanted to be their babies' friend, not the "bad
guy." They didn't want to feed them messy vegetables, be in the room when the
baby got vaccinated or put them to bed while they cried. And then they shared
that most of them had full-time help, and that was their secret to sanity. It
occurred to me that most of these moms were putting in only a few hours a day
with their babies. And in a pinch, some didn't even know how to do the
essentials. Most had hired help 12 hours a day, 6 days a week ... costing
around $45,000 annually.†
I know you are allowed to have a life and you do not need to be tethered to your
baby. And it is perfectly fine to have help, whether it be family
or hired. But
there is an importance to parenting
your kids, to letting them know you will be
there through the tough times and you will take care of them and make them feel
better. The time you spend with them feeding, bathing and setting limits and
bedtime routines ... these are fundamental things that a parent should do with
their child. Kids have friends; what they really crave and need is a parent -- an
anchor. Someone who always takes care of them and whom they can count on to keep
them in check.†
My mom was against nannies, saying she didn't have children for other people to
raise them. I disagree, and we have help 10 hours a week so I can get a break
and run errands. I think I am a better mom when I get a break; I am energized
and more patient. It's OK to get a break from mommy duty -- but not to have someone
take it over all together.†
Babies grow so fast, and before you know it, they will
be doing these things for themselves. You don't want to miss it. Believe me, by
bedtime I am burnt out by my daughter. But an hour after she is asleep, I miss
her and want to wake her up. If you don't establish the foundation as a
caregiver, it will be hard for you to expect your toddler or child to follow the
boundaries you create later in their life. Shortcuts can create real problems
in the long run. You may get a break today, but it will come back to bite you
when you least expect it.