Choosing a nanny is one of the most difficult decisions a caregiver can make (in addition to every other painstakingly difficult decision that accompanies child-raising). However, no other choice carries the same weight as putting your little one in someone else's care. This decision is often met with a lengthy list of pros and cons, constant worry, and inevitable parent guilt.
While parents everywhere hope and pray that their Mary Poppins is one click away online, finding the perfect fit doesn't always end as super(califragilisticly) as one might hope. And the decision to part ways can be just as difficult as the decision to hire a nanny to begin with (especially when they are adored by your little humans). While these 10 signs can help clarify your decision to let your nanny go, you might want to stock up on the Ben & Jerry's just in case. A break up is still a break up, after all.
- Consistent tardiness and unexcused absences. You hired a nanny to make your life easier, not harder. If you've been late to work or have had to scramble to find last-minute childcare due to your nanny's lateness or no-shows, it's definitely time to cut ties.
- Overstepping your boundaries. In an ideal situation, your nanny feels like a part of the family. However, even families need boundaries to coexist. If you're feeling taken advantage of or taken aback by your nanny's role in your family system, set up a meeting to re-establish expectations and boundaries. If your boundaries aren't met, it's time to say goodbye.
- Their discipline approach drastically differs from your own. Are you a non-yeller? In favor of time outs? Whatever your approach, chances are you've tried and tested your discipline style and it feels good to you. If you observe or your children inform you that your nanny's discipline approach is much harsher or softer than yours, it's time to re-align. Children thrive off of consistency and cohesion, so it's imperative that your nanny follows your lead and respects your parenting style.
- Stealing. This goes for money, jewelry, or partners. Bye, Felicia!
- You have a feeling that something is off. Check in with yourself before your nanny's arrival or when you arrive home at the end of the day. Are you happy to see them? Do you tip toe around their feelings? Are you uneasy, scared, or intimidated to speak your truth and set expectations? Do you feel drained after conversations with them? No one should make you feel uncomfortable in your own home, especially someone you trust with your kids. Chances are if you're picking up on bad energy, your children are too.
- They leave out important details. Communication is the key to any good relationship. Your nanny is the eyes and ears of your family in your absence. Repeatedly neglecting to tell you important details about your child doesn't just cost you your piece of mind, but could also cost them their job.
- They create more chaos. Similarly to arriving late or not showing up at all, your nanny's purpose (besides keeping your kids alive and happy), is to smooth out your wrinkles and lighten your load. If you notice your house is messier than when you left it, homework is not completed, or you have to right their many wrongs, it's simply not worth it to hold on to this relationship.
- Too much tech-time. The first thing I do when I pass a nearby nursery school or playground is count the teachers and nannies on their phone. Children need to feel tended to, nurtured, and valued. And we all know what can happen when you take your eyes off of your children for just a second. If your nanny's tech-time takes precedence over your child, you know it's time to pull the plug.
- You notice a change in your child's behavior. When I found the right childcare, my daughter thrived. But the same is true if you notice a change in your child's behavior for the worse. Does your child's persona or energy change after time spent with your nanny? Are they seeking more attention, acting out, or not listening? Observe these behaviors — their consistency and persistence — and they will give you all the answers you need.
- Where there's smoke, there's fire. Have you gotten multiple bad reviews from friends, neighbors, or your kids? Everyone has bad days, but if you're hearing from multiple sources, on multiple occasions, that your nanny is not performing their duties as expected, it's worth responding to the smoke signals, and put out the fire.