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Differences between nannying & parenting

(122 Posts)
Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 09:12:28

I'm not sure if I'm putting this in the right section, but here goes...

No real reason for asking this, just been wondering about it. Me & my dd sometimes hang out with my nanny friend & her friends and the children they look after, and it seems to me that the other children are so much more confident and independent than my dd. I do know that as well as a personality difference it'll partly be because a) they're a bit older than dd and b) they have come into a lot more contact with other children. But have also been wondering, do you think children with nannies or childminders are encouraged more to be independent? Or if being separated for that long from their parents helps this? My nanny friend is very keen on fostering independence and confidence in the children she looks after, and that's great - sometimes I feel inadequate next to her!

But then, and I don't really know how to put this without possibly offending a nanny or childminder, my relationship with my dd feels a lot more closer and bonded.
Is it that as parents we are so afraid of indavertently rejecting our child if we encouraged independence? Or is it that nannies & childminders don't feel...well, that inexplicable feeling that you have as a parent! (My nanny friend says she can't imagine loving a child more than she loves the children she looks after! I beg to differ. )

Would be interested to read what you all think, particularly nannies/childminders who then became parents! I do know that my nanny friend has a few nanny friends who became parents and she says: "They were really good nannies, very organised, on time, but as soon as they became mothers it all went to pieces, they were always late and disorganised!" One nanny i knew who was pg said to me "I think it'll be easy - I already know how to do everything." oooh how wrong she was!!

Ameriscot2005 Wed 10-Aug-05 09:22:42

<rubs hand in glee at the prospect of another classic thread>

vickiyumyum Wed 10-Aug-05 09:26:14

i would say that as someone who has been a nany and is now a mothe, the bond you have with your minded children can be strong, but is nowhere near the level that you can feel towards your own children. and i personally feel that noone can understand this apart from other mothers, try as hard as you like but if you don't have a child of your own whether your the birth or adoptive mother you just can't understand what happens.
i thought i knew when i was a nanny, but after having ds1 realised i was so so wrong.

gigglinggoblin Wed 10-Aug-05 09:27:19

my friend was just saying to me yesterday that she could tell ds3 had been with me rather than cm because he was so confident and independant.

i have trouble beleiving that a nanny loves the kids as much as she would her own - after all she wont be with them forever and it would tear me apart to think i would have to give up my children at some point in the future. dont think anything prepares you for the way you feel as a parent

NannyL Wed 10-Aug-05 09:34:30

As a nanny been nannying nearly 6 years....

my 'old' original charge (newborn) i cared for A LOT ( i had him for 2 1/2 weeks while he was 14 / 16 weeks old while parents went on holiday, and in his first year i spent alot more DAYTINE hours with him then his mother.

I have to say i was VERY close to him (and more often than not he prefeered ME to his mum) and although i DONT have a child of my own (yet)im sure i will feel as close to them as i did to my old charge THEN...

anyway has he got older (hes now 5) he started to spend more time with his mum and borthers etc... and for a good 3 years he has DEFINITELY preferred his mum over me (as it should be)

since he started school a year ago he doesnt have a nanny.... i definitely dont feel 'the same way about him as i did' if you see what i mean.... yes he is still VERY special to me but not quite the way he was.

My current charges ive had for 9 months.... (for 2 and 4 years) at no time have a felt like they are 'mine'.
I 'love them to bits' and love looking aftre them etc.... i dont want anotehr job EVER, its perfect, but i do feel like im looking aftre them FOR their parents while the parenst work.
I do feel like its a job (but honestly feel like i have the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! if you see what i mean)

as for being a parent.... i dont know what i will be like.... i would like to say i'll be fanatsict mum... but who knows what i'll be like when i have a baby and am SLEEP DEPRIVED?? im sure life is ALOT harder then!

and i wouldnt like to say how it will be.... (but i do already have my intentions..... i INTEND to have a baby with a good gina ford style routine.... who does NOT have horrid revolting baby jars... but eats PROPER food from weaning, and also use resusable nappies..


well those are my intentions.... who knows what will happen until i have my own....

but i do HOPE to be a good organised mum.... and im sure all my experiance... even in mundane things like i know what buggies push well and dont... and would personally ONLY use avanet bottles... mundane things like that can only help me and give me a head start so to speak.... but TIREDNESS and HORMONES may over rule!

Tommy Wed 10-Aug-05 09:35:00

Before I had my DSs I couldn't believe that I would love any children more than I love my nephews and niece - now I know that a parent's love is totally diferent than any other kind.
Also, children ae all so dofferent when it comes to personality etc - I'm not sure that you can say a "minded" child is a different type - they all deal with different situations uin their own ways.

Catbert Wed 10-Aug-05 09:38:16

I have one nanny friend in particular and she looks after the kids beautifully, and cares for them a great deal. I also know she keeps in contact with various ex employers and their children.

The difference I see which makes me sad, is that her charges are always included in whatever activities my ante natal group are up to, including days out and birthday parties. But ONLY if she is working that day. Otherwise, the kids miss out, because mum doesn't really know us well, and despite being invited, and as welcome as the nanny, she seems to avoid doing all these things is she has her kids for the day.

I know there are many and various reasons why she probably can't do it as she works long hours and in the city - but the same has applied since she went on "garden leave" for an extended period over the summer holidays. We are all invited to her childrens birthday parties. But she didn't take the kids to any of the parties she was in turn invited to (unless the nanny was available).

It just makes me sad, because all the work the nanny has done to foster friendships could easily go by the wayside the moment this particular nanny stops working for them.

acnebride Wed 10-Aug-05 09:38:59

It's interesting to me because my SIL who was a nanny a long time ago is pregnant. Having seen her with ds I know she will be great at being a mum, but the sheer exhaustion gets to us all so she may not be quite as calm and cheerful all the time...

Hard to say though because I could never have been a nanny, I always thought it would be an impossibly difficult job, and I also find being a mum really difficult a lot of the time.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 09:48:00

Ameriscot, I hope this thread doesn't create any problems between people, I was not being judgmental or anything about nannies and/or parents, or parents who decide to have nannies, etc etc etc!

But I have to say at the parents who left 14/16 week old baby with nanny while they went on holiday!!

NannyL best of luck when you have a child. It sounds like you have a good attitude - a mixture of optimistic () and realistic re sleep deprivation/hormones etc and acknowledging it might not be what you expect! It's true you have a headstart on all the mundane stuff, and that'll be a big help but tbh those are the easiest aspects of being a parent!

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 09:49:22

Oh yeah, meant to add that I only have a couple of acquaintances (not friends who I can talk to really) who are mums, and my nanny friend is the friend who understands the most and who I talk to the most about parenting/kids etc. In fact since i've had dd we've gotten closer!

riab Wed 10-Aug-05 10:01:23

I say well done to the parents who had managed to find a trustworthy, mature and responsible nanny to leave a 3 1/2 monht old baby with. I left my baby with his grandparents at 3 months old for a long weekend and to be honest I would have been happier if it was a nanny so he was in his own home and she/he was more in tune with his routine etc.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 10:18:03

But 2 1/2 weeks??

Caligula Wed 10-Aug-05 10:23:21

Nannies are nannies and mothers are mothers. They're different. No other society in history has ever been confused about it.

And yes, it's early days, but I predict that by around mid-afternoon, this thread will kick off!

bambi06 Wed 10-Aug-05 10:29:11

i`ve been a nanny for many many years and now a sahm to my two and i can see a differnce in the closeness to `charges` and your own, the minute your child is born you are hopelessly in love with them and would die for them , a love which grows as your child grows , but with a nanny`s charge you dont have that rush of emotions in the same way but it grows slowly as you get to know that child but unfortunately[or fortunately] youdont have that same incredible bond like with your own child otherwise how would you be able to move on to your next job. i loved my `charges to bits and am still in touch with a 18 yr old that i had as a baby and one who is 16 again i really had from day one almost and we have a very strong bond, almost to the point he will divulge info and confide in me things he wont to his parents and this has always been the case.
also when iwas a nany i was organised calm and colected and had time to play all day long , since my own i`m totally diorganised and feel as though i`m constantly fight ing time and losing dismally!! and would love to just be able and play and learn with my kids all day without thinking oh god i`ve got to clean, cook dinner, run errands etc etc!!! things certainly change once you`ve had your own plus i believe children act differntly around their parents compared with a nanny, the kids know there is no bond the same way as with a parent and they cant use that against a nanny to get what they want, my charges were always perfecly behaved and lovely whilst with me and the mother always marvelled at how i never ahd to shout or raise my voice to get them to listen, but hte minute the parents set fot in the door all hell broke loose!! and i scarpered but parents always understood this and had to accept their own childs behaviour to a point.think about when you have a friends child over to play, they are always on their best behaviur..you get to see the good side but the parents come to collect them and you see them in adifferentlight ..warts and all!! our own children can behave how they want for fear of being unloved and rejected, we always love our children unconditionally!!

harpsichordcarrier Wed 10-Aug-05 10:36:14

ooh, can we generalise?? I was going to go back to bed but this should be so much more fun....
Obviously it is mainly down to personality BUT... I think it is the difference between love and care (has anyone read Steve Biddulph's book The Secrets of Happy Children?). You can't re-create the love of a parent/close relative (I include grandparents in this) in a paying relationship. At the end of the day, I had very close relationships with the children I looked after but it was a JOB! and what I felt for them pales beside what I feel for my own dd. And in the very early years IMO love is by far the most important thing, and everything else (independence, confidence, social skills, etc etc) comes after when the bond is secure. Though a consistent nanny/cm is miles better (IMO, again) than a nursery situation with a variety of carers.
Two other things - I have lost count of the number of nannies who I have heard saying that they would NEVER leave their child with a nanny, after their experiences.
And, in my experience, the more time a parent spends with a child the more relaxed s/he is about all the trivia of parenting (e.g. food fascism/the evils of biscuits, muddy footprints on the floor, normal toddler behaviour i.e. creating total mayhem) because they get to see the bigger picture and a wider perspective. (And in my book, the more relaxed the better, although my nickname on my baby group IS Slapdash Mum...) So the mums who only look after their children for some of the time tend to be a bit more stressed out by the "white noise" of parenting (although that might just be the lack of sleep and general stress levels too...)
have to say I agree with Lizita about leaving a three month old for 2 1/2 weeks. I mean - WTF is that all about...

FairyMum Wed 10-Aug-05 10:43:51

I agree with Caligula's post. I use a nursery for my children and I don't expect the teachers to love my children. I expect them to like being with them and care for them. I suppose as a nanny/childminder you have the opportunity to build closer relationships and might grow to love a child in your care, but not like a parents love.

I also don't necessarily think children with nannies/childminders are necessarily more confident and independent. I think it's just that they might act different in that setting. I think confidence and independence can be encouraged in a lot of different ways and children are different. For some children a nanny might help build independece and for others perhaps the total opposite is the case......

NannyL Wed 10-Aug-05 11:10:58

Just to poitn out.... YESmy Boss DID leave her 3 1/2 months old baby to go on holiday with ehr husband...

BUT (things we dont need to be on this board!) it was due to CIRCUMSTANCES, and im quiet sure if this holiady had NOT happened the parents would be DIVORCED and 3 children would be in a very happy family right now...

I agree woudl not leave my baby with ANYONE for 2+ weeks (or 2+ days) but people are different...

my boss KNEW that the baby would be ok.... i knew his routine at least as well as she did.... he was as comfortable with me as his mum, and as exepcted we all were fine.

i think its 'crueler' to leave a baby at 9montsh + ish... when they 'miss' there mum, ratehr than at 3 months when as long as they have food etc they dont really mind who gives t to them.

Please dont judge my bosses.... they make EXCELLENT parents and have 3 happy intelligent children.

Some times life is hard and decisions ahev to be made when tyhere are no easy ansswers... but in hindsight.... and seeing how life is now i think they DEFINITELY did the right thing... and their lives are much better for it..

and as someone pointed out... perhaps they were lucky to be able to trust someone with their baby.

NannyL Wed 10-Aug-05 11:11:36

sorry, meant 3 children would NOT be in a happy family right now

harpsichordcarrier Wed 10-Aug-05 11:20:07

sorry NannyL not meaning to judge anyone without knowing their circumstances but it's simply not true to say about babies at 3 months "as long as they have food etc they dont really mind who gives t to them." Even very tiny babies show a preference for their mothers and by three months they are certainly showing distressif separated from the person they have bonded with. But in this case, given the amount of time that the baby had spent with you, s/he has probably bonded with you in any case, and was just as secure with you, but that's not the same as "not caring".

NannyL Wed 10-Aug-05 11:25:03

ok... i agree with what youve said... but you are right... had speant SOO much time with me.... at 3 months seeing 'me' did not updest him 'because' i was not mum!

(think he would have found it more stressful being with his DAD at this time, if you go by bonding etc!)

mishmash Wed 10-Aug-05 11:58:38

As Caligula said "nannies are nannies and mothers are mothers". My nanny could never replace my role - I am in it for the long haul. My kids are confident and outgoing because we have instilled that in them not the nanny.

harpsichordcarrier Wed 10-Aug-05 13:00:13

don't you think though, that there is too much emphasis on confidence/independence as being the be all an end all, from a really early age? Too mcuh pressure for social skills in tiny ones? Is it reasonable to expect babies and toddlers to be dependent?? And isn't self esteem more important? (did anyone see that Lord Winston Child of our Time programme, where he was saying that you shouldn't confuse self-confidence with self-worth.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 14:09:10

I really hope this doesn't kick off, I wasn't trying to imply that one way is better than another way etc etc, just sharing my observations and wondering if it just happened to be the children I know? Also it's because I have (not fault of the nannies I know - they don't say anything to me, it's just it's the difference between our behaviours) felt a little bit pathetic when I'm with them, with regards to how clingy/dependent my dd is, and as if I am pandering too much to her, which in reality of course I know I'm not, I don't push my dd to be independent/confident, I let her take it one step at a time, when she's ready. (Agree with you harpsichord re pressure to be confident etc). To give a blatant example actually, one time my dd started crying when one of the other little girls went right up to her to speak to her (not threateningly! ) & dd wanted rescuing from me, which of course I did, gave her a cuddle and said it's all right etc, and my nanny friend admitted to me afterwards that she thought I was "babying" dd too much, that she ought to be able to deal with that herself by now, and she wouldn't have pandered to her so much. I myself think dd was genuinely upset & scared and needed the reassurance from her mummy, but when she said that I did start questioning whether or not I was actually reinforcing dd's insecurities that way. (DD was about 19 months old by then).

NannyL - re the 3 month old, i understand your point now. I think I reacted so horrified because my dd was bf, joined at the hip to me as i was feeding her every couple of hours, by then, there was no way I could have handed her over to anyone for any length of time, not even her granpdarents! And that was for nearly a whole year in fact! And not just because she was bf, but because she was always so clingy to ME. Can see now that the situation they were in was completely different.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 14:10:48

That should be "rescuing BY me" not from !
I'll also point out, she was always a lot better (in terms of being clingy) when I wasn't with her in fact, when she was with other people.

UKMickey Wed 10-Aug-05 14:14:29

When I use to work as an experienced nanny, my role was to be nanny and not mummy. Of course all my charges mean't the earth to me but I was not Mummy or Daddy I was a responsible childcarer who would not cross the line. I would be able to my charges to be children, education through play, cooking, lot's of fun things age appropriate, even have the time (if needed & age appropriate)to stand my ground on certain issues. If something which should have taken 5 mins but went on to 2hrs, that is what I was there for childcare. Mummies Daddies do not always have this time because they have a number of things to do, they are their 24/7 forever nannies are not!

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