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Question for au pairs, nannies and Mother's Helps (who do any childcare)

(21 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Fri 14-Feb-14 14:28:50

What would you do if you liked the parents you worked for but didn't like the child?

I'm on the reverse side of this as I'm really starting to think that my Mother's Help (more like a live-out au pair, though I know that doesn't technically exist!) really doesn't like 11m DD, but is sticking it out because she likes me and DH.

I posted the other day because I was wondering if I'd made a bad choice using her for childcare as she doesn't seem to have bonded with DD at all. But now I think she actively dislikes this part of her duties. She doesn't look at DD at all when she is eg ironing or cooking and DD waves at her or babbles at her. She winces when DD shrieks. She is also being increasingly moody and quiet, I am worried she is unhappy but isn't saying anything as she wants to stay anyway.

I am the first to admit that DD is a tricky baby, and she has been ill recently so hasn't wanted to go to my MH at all, I am absolutely aware that this is probably quite demoralising!!!

But I only need her to take DD out (to a baby class or the shops) for an hour-ish at a time, 3 days a week, I have backed off asking for anything more as I am a) worried DD will just scream at her and b) worried that MH will be unhappy to do it.

WE discussed it before Xmas and agreed that we would work (with a tricky, separation-sensitive baby!) towards MH being able to get her up from her nap, give her a snack and then play for a bit before taking her out. MH seemed very happy with this but I am concerned she is now fed up as it's not working at all.

I would create more opportunities for them to spend time alone together but I think MH has just gone off the whole idea and finds DD spoilt and annoying sad

I really like MH (despite her apparent aversion to DD!) and think I'm being a nice boss (I hope so!) - I always apologise when DD is shrieky and make it clear it's because of teething etc. She is only a baby still so I'm not sure how much I can 'make her' be calmer and less difficult. She's not being naughty, she's just being a teething baby but I think MH is finding her tiresome sad

Has anyone ever been on the other side of this and if so did you just decide ot leave or did you carry on even though you weren't happy?

I've tried asking if she is still OK with our arrangement but she tells me (a bit unconvincingly) that she is fine.

NobodyIsHere Fri 14-Feb-14 14:42:50

I wouldn't leave my child in the care of someone who doesn't like her.Twice I had feelings that teachers assistants didn't like dd, once at nursery and once at reception but there were other teachers and ta.s who liked her so it does balance out.
I am CM and my clients always comment that the love and care I give to their children are more valuable than anything else.

I suggest you have an honest chat with your helper and listen carefully to what she got to say. Maybe she just doesn't like children in general and it's not personal to your dd.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 14-Feb-14 14:46:37

Thanks Nobody!
I do think it may be just that she is not as happy about babies as she is about older children (whom she looks after for another family)
I wonder if she had an idea that babies were cuddly and easy and that actually they are not! (at least, my DD is not!)
You are right, I probably shoudl try to talk to her again, it is quite uncomfortable at the moment.
I am disappointed really as I do like her personally and she does a great job with everything else, I thought this would be a good solution as I need very little time on childcare and am always in the house so think it's not worth/not possible to get a nanny
But am starting to see that an experienced nanny might be more up my street... If one would take a job with very few hours and a working-from-home mum!!

NobodyIsHere Fri 14-Feb-14 14:54:38

Be honest and straight forward when talking to her so she will feel comfortable to do the same. Did you get references from the other family? Has she being making an effort to have a relationship with your daughter? Is there a chance things will improve once your dd is older? Small children go through phases very quickly.

Albaalba Fri 14-Feb-14 15:01:58

You're not always hovering about are you? That could make her feel uneasy or that she's not doing it 'right', especially if she's inexperienced. We don't have a permanent mother's help but a rolling schedule of trainee nannies plus a girl who is v available but doesn't have experience. The nannies are immediately great, but the girl is very nice and has grown in confidence the last 8 weeks or so since she started. I usually leave them alone, even when I'm in the house (having a shower, doing laundry) as I don't want to hover. However with both my children I don't think I've ever met someone who didn't at least appear to enjoy spending time with them. I would be quite concerned about the situation you describe. Have an honest chat and reassure her that you want to hear her view and she shouldn't feel awkward or embarrassed.

mrswishywashy Fri 14-Feb-14 15:20:09

I think you might be over thinking the situation. If MH is not fulfilling her duties by taking bb out for an hour you need to tell her this. Tell her what changes she needs to make. You might have to spell it out eg that she needs to show enthusiasm for bb.

As a nanny I've had a position where the 18 month old was very intense and admittedly I did struggle with positivity with the child. I was able to meet all her needs but there was a missing sparkle in our relationship. With your MH only very part time it will take a while to build a relationship my worry from your posts is that you may be over compensating and its making it harder. MH can't change if you don't continue to communicate with her. Either talk your expectations through with MH or look for other help.

Callaird Fri 14-Feb-14 15:30:26

If you are around a lot, your MH may think that she needs to step back a bit. I have worked for SAHM/WAHM's and it ask from the start what they want from me. If mum wants to be with the child then I will step back and let mum enjoy her time with them. They then let me know when it is time for me to take over and I will play with/ distract the child/ren.

If you are around and your DD gets upset then MH will automatically step back so you can soothe her, this tells your DD that she only has to whimper and you will go to her. Babies are smart little cookies and they know how to play their carers!

I would talk to MH and see if you can arrange an hour twice a day that she is alone with DD. Tell MH that if she cries she needs to distract her with toys or silly games, once your daughter realises that MH is fun then she'll settle quickly.

I looked after two little boys whose mother passed away. The eldest was 18 months and screamed blue murder whenever dad left the house, sat by the front door screaming 'I want my daddy, I want my daddy' over and over until dad came home (up to 2.5 hours!) I had to give up trying to comfort him as I was getting hit, kicked, scratched, bitten and his 8 month old brother would scream too. I made sure the door to the living room was open and pulled funny faces, tickled, crawled around, laughed and made stupid noises to get the baby to giggle, this was the only thing that calmed the older child down, then started promising to do fun things when daddy had to go to work and after 7 loooooooong days, he didn't cry when dad left, just said to me 'make jam tarts now'! It was my toughest job ever but my most rewarding, they are now both fathers to my god daughters!!

You have to work at gaining a child's love but it is well worth the effort you put in!

(Nanny of 27 years and 23 charges)

NobodyIsHere Fri 14-Feb-14 15:47:53

what a lovely story callard.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 14-Feb-14 15:49:29

its always hard having a mum at home, esp with a young clingy, hard work baby

as callaird said if she is a mh then she needs to take the lead from you, so tell her you want her to take bubs out to M&T/park/walk etc - and at home let her play with her and DONT come into room if dd is wailing and take over comfort as it does send mixed signals to dd

saying that, if you really think mh is struggling then you do need to say to along the lines, i notice dd is a bit wingy, are you coping ok etc

emeraldgirl1 Fri 14-Feb-14 17:50:59

Thanks so much everyone for your very helpful and thoughtful replies!!

Callard, a lovely story!!!! smile

I don't hover; thinking about it I am probably guilty of the opposite: retreating too much!! I have been worried about inflicting screamy baby on her and not sure if she is happy so have been finding other household tasks for her and being with DD myself. Thinking about it this may have given her the impression I don't trust her. I have just been trying to ease any stress while DD has been ill but I may have given her the wrong impression.

Certainly I need to talk to her next week and try to be clear!!!

Thanks v v much, hugely appreciated.

Paintyfingers Fri 14-Feb-14 18:02:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 14-Feb-14 19:29:46

I've never encountered a child I didn't like. I've had some who behaved in a way I didn't like when I first started with them. I 'trained' them out of those behaviours, whilst really concentrating on the positive aspects of their behaviour. Given time, I've always established a really good bond with all the children I've cared for.

I'll give you the same advice I gave on your other thread; look for a nanny share.

If you really want to persevere with the MH doing childcare, when is DD at her absolute best? What's her favourite thing? Get the MH to do that with her.

SoonToBeSix Fri 14-Feb-14 19:31:11

I find it out that anyone could dislike an 11 month old , they are still very much a baby.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 14-Feb-14 20:13:12

Thanks again everyone.
Outraged, thank you, also for your advice on other thread. Am going to try a proper heart-to-heart with MH next week and seriously look into the idea of a nanny share, am in SW London where the entire world seems ot have a nanny and need help with the financing of it so am assuming it won't be an uphill battle...

NobodyIsHere Sat 15-Feb-14 20:23:05

You can also looking for CMs who would be happy to have a baby for a few hours a week only.

emeraldgirl1 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:30:26

Thanks NobodyIsHere
Am investigating the nanny share situation and also planning a chat with MH.
CM is also a good idea if I can find one who is happy with only two or three mornings a week.
I was with family members this weekend and noticed that DD was happy to go to them for cuddles etc which she just isn't with my MH, I am starting to think it is a combination of MH being inexperienced (and not knowing how hard babies can be) plus me probably not managing the situation properly and just withdrawing too much too soon.
I think I would be happier with someone who has more experience/qualifications.

NomDeClavier Mon 17-Feb-14 14:50:12

Based on this and your other thread I think there is a mismatch here. Some people are just not good with babies. They might like them in short bursts or from a distance but not cope with actually spending a reasonable length of time dealing with every need...

One thing experience proves is that they can stick being around the and enjoy it! They're also likely to manage the transition better because they've done it before and know the common pitfalls.

At the end of the day you aren't hiring her to be your friend, and you're only getting half of what you want from the arrangement (and I'm not sure it's the half you want most!) so a CM or nanny share sounds much better.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 17-Feb-14 19:17:42

Thanks again Nom!
This has been a useful experience for me too actually - first time I've hired anyone for childcare purposes (even just the short time I need) and I think I've learned that I need to be very much more sure about the fit. She's a lovely girl (my MH, not my DD, who is of course lovely although teething at the moment so hellish too!) and a hard worker and very good at the housekeeping side, I think I should have been more certain about her and babies before I hired her.

SarahPatricia Tue 18-Feb-14 22:51:02

I have worked with "difficult" babies - its a part of the job. (i'm a nursery nurse working as a nanny). Your MH should be putting effort into finding ways of bonding with your baby. Your little one can prob pick up on any negative feelings towards her and that is making the situation worse.
honestly I would stop apologising when she cries as your baby is just being normal!
For your Childs sake prompt the MH to leave. You may like the girl but your baby doesn't and she is who counts the most in this situation!
She'll prob be relieved to go. Maybe offer a small severance package to help things along.

emeraldgirl1 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:28:15

Sarah thank you, I think you have voiced exactly what I have come to realise!
It has been a really valuable lesson for me in terms of learning more about my baby and her needs, and the kind of person I need to look after her, even if it is just for short periods in the day. As she gets older I am seeing more and more than she needs someone who can really engage with her, play silly games and keep her interest up. ie a really great nanny!!
I am already investigating nanny shares, or trying to find someone who has older children as their charges and a few hours spare for some extra work in the mornings.
Thank you!!

SarahPatricia Wed 19-Feb-14 14:16:26

smile i how you find someone perfect who your daughter approves of!

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