It’s nice to no longer have a stranger in my house

A few weeks ago, our handyman friend came by to help repair something. It had already been over a month since our ex-nanny had left. And he said to us, “Can I just ask: doesn’t it feel good to not have a stranger in your home anymore?”

I immediately answered… YES. While I’m sure many families consider their nanny “part of their family,” unfortunately, we never got to that point with ours. Our ex-nanny was a source of a lot of frustration and tension, constantly judging the way we did things, whether that was how we set up the apartment or how we chose to parent. One of her very favorite phrases to start sentences with when she first started was, “you new moms think you know everything.” She was inflexible and hated any type of constructive feedback, instead scowling or responding harshly to it as though harm had been inflicted on her. I especially do not miss cleaning up after her, whether it is the food that she’d leave on the floor around Kaia’s eating area, which she either willfully ignored or was just blind to; the smeared fruit on the couch that she’d miss, her crumbs on our kitchen counters and in our entry way from all her snacking, the food she’d spill or smear on or in our fridge, or even her makeup stains on our walls and doors. In retrospect, sometimes it felt like it was more work having her as a nanny than not having her.

And now that Kaia is 1.5 months into daycare, it makes me even more grateful for the fact that we found a daycare/school that seems to be pretty good, where the teachers have accountability, and where I know she is exposed to and learning new skills and activities every single day. I don’t have to come up with activities or try to convince a nanny to actually do her job. Each day, I see photos and videos of her doing different arts and crafts or practicing her fine motor skills. And each day, I don’t have to think about whether I am showing enough “gratitude” toward the caregiver of my child. I don’t have to worry about whether something I said will piss the teachers off, and they will just decide to stop showing up; that does not happen at daycares the way it happens with nannies in your private home. The emotional load of having a caregiver in your home is not a small one, especially when that caregiver is repeatedly disrespectful of your wishes and requests, but fakes it to others. It’s strange to me that more people do not discuss or address this in online parent groups.

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