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Thread: The nanny or the mommy?

  1. #1

    The nanny or the mommy?

    This is related to my previous thread entitled “Is my kid ashamed of me?”. I am now convinced that my daughter is not ashamed of me. However, there’s another side which complicates the story. We have a nanny since her birth. Our plan then was for her to help me around the house and help with the baby while I pursue a career. But I got injured together with my husband when our daughter was just a year old. We figured in the same accident. He now walks with a limp but mine was more serious. I was hospitalized for a long time. My husband kept me company while our daughter was left to the care of the nanny. She became our kid’s surrogate mother. Even when I was already home, because of my limitations, she cannot rely on me like when she couldn’t open a can of cookies, I offered to do it and I tried but couldn’t, when she had trouble tying her shoelaces, zipping up the backside of her dress, putting on her belt, putting on any kind of jewelry, reaching something unreachable for her, etc. I in turn asked my PCA to do it. I no longer work because of unclear speech, somewhat blurred eyesight, weak hands (I can’t write)-brought about by TBI. You guys already know the defects associated with SCI. Unfortunately, I have both. My husband works so the PCA is my constant companion everywhere, at home, in school, etc. Going back to the nanny, she does things I cannot do anymore like play tag, play hide and seek, go biking, dance, sing, swim with her. They are pretty close because for most of her formative years, she relied on her. It was the nanny who toilet trained her. When she had nightmares she went to the nanny’s room to seek refuge. Her dad said to approach him instead when something is bothering her so now she goes to her dad. Having the nanny was a big help to us. No other nanny will show the same concern for her as she does. Our 7-year old daughter told her dad about a big secret that she said I shouldn’t know. She said that she loves her nanny more than me, loves her like a real mother, and that to her I am just like a very nice aunt. That pains me but what am I to do?

  2. #2
    Ouch. Oh honey. I'm sorry.

    I'm no expert and it pains me to say this...but I think you should count your blessings that your daughter has someone wonderful to care for her.

    I've read of wealthy people that fire nannies when this happens. I think it's cruel to the children, and that parents are losing sight completely of what's important, when that happens. You hire a person to fill in for you, you should reward them for doing it well. You are VERY fortunate to be able to hire someone. Your daughter has suffered less than she could have. That's a very good thing. It shows you're a good mom too, that you are smart enough that you realized you needed help.

    I'd step up my game. Have the nanny bring in warm cookies and milk while you and your daughter watch her favorite TV show together, every day. Sit there for hours and supervise her internet usage. You should be good for a long daily game of Barbie, right? I'm just throwing these out here. Like many of us, you can't do the day-to-day care you originally planned on. All my friends with high injuries are warm, loving, wonderful moms. I know TBI is another complication altogether. You can do your best to work around it though. If nanny and PCA put your mother/daughter relationship as top priority, with their help I think you can be a full-on mother. You can still sing with her and comfort her nightmares, right? (I don't know. Just guessing.)

    It shouldn't be a curse to have one more person to love your child. It's wonderful that your daughter feels she can be so open with her father. And you must feel your intestines are being shredded with a fork, what a painful thing.

    Hard choices, clear priorities. If you keep your daughter on the top of the list, you'll always do the right thing.

    Please note: I'm talking out my butt. I've never even met a nanny. But I'm a mom, this stuff is universal. Follow your instincts, set pride aside, your daughter is very very lucky. In other cultures and countries, this hierarchy of nanny being top relationship in a child's life, is not unusual. If you're going to be a favorite aunt, be the best darned favorite aunt you can be. I don't know if it helps, but it's hard being a mom with SCI and no help too. It's just hard out here for a mom!
    Last edited by betheny; 02-21-2008 at 09:38 AM.

  3. #3
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    hi clueless,
    i am sure this must hurt your heart in unimaginable ways. none of this is your fault, it is just the hand life dealt you, and you have had to have this nanny out of necessity.

    i know that you have limited function and many of the things that you would love to do are impossible. maybe with a little creative thinking, you can find some ways to do some things with your daughter so she feels you are more involved. i am sure you do everything you can to be there for her and help her...like trying to open the cookies...i can relate to that one as someone has to do that kind of thing for me.

    now that your daughter is 7, it may actually be easier to find ways to interact with her than when she was younger and more helpless. for example, even with your speech problems, are you able to read with her? could you have her sit with you and her hold the book and turn the pages and you each take turns reading a page?

    you mentioned dancing...you didnt say if you are in a chair, but if you are, could you put her in your lap and turn up the music and turn and spin in your chair?

    while you can not play tag or hide and seek, are you able to play a board game? can you go with her to the park and go on an accessible nature trail? i do this with my son often. we just walk and look and enjoy being outside and the nature around us. now that he is an older teen, it is more like exercise for him than the adventure it was when he was a little boy. i used to take him to the playground when he was younger. he would play and run around and even though i couldnt, i was there with him.

    can you take her to the movies? even if someone has to drive you to these places, then maybe you could go in and enjoy the movie together and someone come back for you? at 7, your daughter can now hold doors for you. take the money and buy popcorn...with you right there by her side of course, and walk beside you to find a seat in the theater.

    i have not been in your shoes with having a nanny but i think i would sit down and talk with the nanny. i would thank her for her love and care of my daughter and how invaluable she is in our family life. i think i would try to explain to her how important it is that i am included in activities as much as possible and try to come up with a plan for trying to come up with activities that allow me to participate as much as possible. the nanny can also be mindful to send your daughter to you with things that you can manage.

    are you able with your eyesight to help with homework? even if your daughter reads it to you and you explain it to her it would still be you she is turning to instead of the nanny.

    like when she goes swimming...granted you might not be able to go into the water, but can you go with her and sit by the pool? i have always done this with my children. i have problems if i am out in the sun too long because i get sun poisoning, so we have an umbrella for my chair and i sit by the pool and cheer them on...or i did when they were younger.

    can you go into the kitchen with her and guide her through making cookies? maybe have the nanny or daddy only there to put them in and take them out of the oven? or better yet, make something that doesnt require the oven?

    are you able to take her shopping, just the two of you? or can someone go with you if need be, and sorta trail along behind and give you time with her?

    and one other thing that i just have to ask, i am sure he didnt meant to be hurtful, but why would your husband relay what your daughter said to him as her secret when it is such an obviousy painful secret for you? your husband can play a big part in helping you to be involved and in influencing how your daughter sees her world and relationships.

    i am so sorry you are feeling this hurt. i hope that you can find a way to open up your relationship with your daughter so that she will see the nanny as a real nice aunt and her mommy as her mommy. dont lose hope because even though this will take some work and creativity, but it can be done. you will find a way. take care.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Zeus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clueless
    Our 7-year old daughter told her dad about a big secret that she said I shouldn’t know. She said that she loves her nanny more than me, loves her like a real mother, and that to her I am just like a very nice aunt. That pains me but what am I to do?
    That is just so heart-breaking.

    I think you have received some good advice already. I would ask your husband to speak to your daughter - don't let her know her confidence in her father was 'betrayed'.

    He should explain to her as best he can that you were both hurt in a very bad accident when she was just a baby. He should suggest to her that when she's a little older she will better understand what you've gone through and how much you love her - no doubt more than life itself.

    Because of the accident, mommy needed help to care for her beautiful daughter and that's why you needed the nanny. In a sense, your daughter has two mommies and is surrounded by the love of three caring adults. She is a very lucky child to have three wonderful 'parents' in her life.

    Finally, your husband should let your daughter know that her feelings are perfectly natural and she should not feel guilty to have them. She just needs to know that you love her very much and do everything humanly possible for her. As she grows in to a young lady, she'll better understand the sacrifice you've made.

    At least that's my two cents.

    My heart goes out to you. I hope some of these issues 'resolve' with time. You certainly sound like a loving mother who cares tremendously for her daughter. You should be very proud of your extended family.

    Chris.
    Have you ever seen a human heart? It looks like a fist wrapped in blood! Larry in 'Closer', a play by Partick Marber

  5. #5
    Clueless,
    I'm T3 paraplegic, 2 year post. We hired a live in nanny and she slept with my husband. I fired her but one day my 7yo daughter told me she has 2 MOMs, I'm her best one and the nanny is a second best. I felt like being stabbed. The one you love loves your number one enemy.

  6. #6
    Oh Clueless my heart aches for you and your daughter. I think the advice given above is good. Your going to have to try hard to reconnect with your daughter. Your in a tough place and it truly sucks. My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope you all can find a healthy balance.

  7. #7
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    Ouch. That hurt to read. I'm sorry that's how your daughter views the relationships. I don't really know what to say, so I'll leave it to someone else. I send warm wishes.

  8. #8
    That would make me cry but you have the opportunity to improve the relationship before its to late!

    I have been a nanny. During my college years, I worked between 4 different families at one time. They were all doctors and needed someone that could work around their crazy schedules. I can tell you from a nanny's perspective it is being a parent. I spent more time with the children then their parents did. I even left a family when one of the children called me Mom-that's not healthy for me or the child. I know its hurtful but remember you are paying someone to play and have fun with your children. This is a much different relationship. Of course a child is going to get a connected to them, its their playmate. You should also remember that your nanny can be help you rekindle your relationship.

    When the nanny is playing games, do things that intergate both of you. I know that I did that and guess what when they win a game you can be the first to give them a high 5 or have one task a day that is just you and your child.

    It's also important that you have a good verbal relationship with the nanny. You need to talk to her and express your feelings and work on how to get things back on track. I was put into a similar situation and believe or not, its not that hard to do.

    Remember you are the Mom and you want the relationship to work. My husband and I are looking at getting a nanny when we have children.

  9. #9
    Well, for me it was my mom, not a nanny. It took a long time for him to get the fact i was "mommy". He called her that till he was 6 or 7. He called me nothing. It hurts when your child runs to someone else. We still live with her, but by being 'with him' while he does stuff has brought us closer. Now he's 15, and I'm 'nothing again, but for the usuall reasons,LOL.
    Deborah

  10. #10
    Hopefully as she gets older her feelings will change. You know kids can say things that really hurt and never realize what they have done. Hang on a few more yrs.

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