I have a confession to make – I once fired my nanny because I was jealous of her.
My nanny was amazing. She loved my daughter, and my infant daughter loved her back.
But as a first time mom who had just returned to work and was gone during most of her waking hours, I became overcome with jealousy.
I tried to justify my reasons for firing her:
- She was too rigid with the schedule and would give her a bath daily as I had asked her to, even if she really didn’t need one.
- She was too coddling and played with her too long when my daughter should have been put down for a nap.
- She dressed her too warmly when they were out playing in the snow. Why did she need mittens and a hat when just mittens would have been enough?
If I’m truly honest with myself, there were additional reasons for firing her:
- My daughter shrieked with laughter more loudly than I could make her laugh.
- She slept more soundly when my nanny hummed to her as she slept.
- My daughter sometimes preferred to be comforted by her rather than me when she needed soothing.
Returning back to work as a physician resident was hard. I wasn’t sleeping at night as my daughter refused the bottle during the day and instead preferred to nurse all night. I had to make up the overnight hospital calls that I missed during my maternity leave, further limiting the time I had with her. I had to be attentive during the day when caring for sick patients and missed my daughter deeply during those long days on the wards.
I was prepared for the pressures of pumping, sleeplessness, exhaustion, fatigue, mommy guilt, and more. But what eventually did me in was the searing, hot jealousy that completely blindsided me.
My rational side knew to be grateful that I found someone who would love my daughter as much as I did, and who would hush and soothe and lovingly carry a baby who refused the bottle all day long.
My irrational side predicted a future where I was second best and my daughter didn’t love me as much as she loved her nanny.
And I will admit that at that moment, during my most exhausted and sensitive and vulnerable time, I had to fire our wonderful, compassionate, and exceptional nanny.
Because I needed to.
Can any of you relate to the surprising and sometimes shameful feelings that come up during this parenting journey? Has there ever been a time in the midst of your parenting/professional journey where the irrational thoughts led to you making a parenting decision that outweighed any logical thinking?