Sitter in the House: A Parent's Guide to Letting In

Florence Ann Romano

Sometimes parenting is just as much about letting someone in as it is about letting go.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: bringing a nanny or sitter into your home is a big step for your family. Not only do your kids have to warm up to a stranger, but you have to get comfortable with someone else taking care of your greatest treasure! If you’re feeling uneasy, guilty or even jealous during this transition, that’s perfectly normal.

Of course, you’re going to be selective with who you let into your child’s life and heart, which is why knowing how to hire the right nanny for your family is so important! Even if you find the perfect caregiver, not being the only one your child goes to for everything is a big adjustment. But you know what? It’s a good thing! Letting go a little helps your child grow and learn to form new relationships. Plus, it gives you time to focus on work, errands and Y-O-U.

You are still you, and you’ll be able to give more love to your family after you’ve given some to yourself.

The key to letting go is taking baby steps and only doing what you’re comfortable with. Remember: you’re the parent, which means you get to set the rules. Also, please keep in mind that your child doesn’t love you ANY less. In fact, by allowing your little one the space to be and play with their new nanny, you’re helping them learn to love.

How to Let Go

1. Keep it simple

It’s always easiest to let go of something you’re not too eager to keep doing. Let your nanny take over the laundry routine or doing the dishes. You might be thinking, “Uh, I was planning on doing that anyway!” As silly as it might seem, this is the first step to letting someone else in. When you finally have fewer items on your to-do list, you’ll remember how great it feels to have some free time in your day. It won’t seem as nerve-racking when you let go of something else because you’ll know how sweet the reward is.

2. Start small

After your nanny has been with your family for a week or two and you’ve started to build trust and a strong relationship, start passing down some additional responsibilities. Start with ones you enjoy doing that don’t necessarily need you to get done. If you typically pack the kids’ lunches, give yourself a few more minutes in the morning and let your nanny take over. How about tub-time? Is that something you’re comfortable letting your nanny handle before you come home at the end of the day?

If you’re home when your nanny is on duty, think about how you can divide responsibilities. The goal of a nanny is to have a second set of hands around to care for the kids. While you don’t have to let go of control completely, you do need to let your nanny form their own routine with the kids.

3. Know your limits

Again: your house, your rules. Decide what you’re comfortable with and go from there. If having your nanny take over the bedtime routine makes your life easier, by all means take some time for yourself after a long day of work. If you prefer to have story time with the kids, do it! It’s all about balance, so let your nanny take over the areas you’re comfortable with and prioritize time with your children during other parts of the day.

Remember, you’re not a bad mom for wanting time to yourself! You were your own person before your kids came along. Yes, they made your life immeasurably better and made you a mother. But you are still you, and you’ll be able to give more love to your family after you’ve given some to yourself.

4. Don’t be afraid to backtrack

If you find that you’re not as comfortable with a situation as you thought, change it up! You can go to your nanny and say, “I’d really like to take over doing this with the kids again. It’s not that I don’t think you’re doing a great job already, I just want to have those moments with them.” Your nanny will understand completely and will probably appreciate having a few more minutes back in their day.

Check in with yourself at the end of each day after your nanny leaves. How did it go? Did you feel anxious or worried about leaving your kids? Is there a small change you can make tomorrow to help yourself feel more OK with the situation? Remember, your nanny is there to make your life easier! Their goal is to care for your children as an extension of you and bring you peace of mind knowing that your kids are in the care of someone who loves them.

Have Courage and Be Kind
Florence Ann