Nanny Witnesses Baby's First Steps and Sweetly Tries to Spare Mom's Feelings

One parent went on Reddit to discuss TFW she realized her nanny saw her toddler's first steps.

Being a working parent is difficult enough. The crushing pressure to work like you don't have kids and raise kids like you don't work is very real. And it's an impossible standard.

And you know what adds to the guilt? Missing out on some of those special firsts, like your baby's first words and first steps. One parent opened up about this experience on Reddit.

"Today, we excitedly showed our nanny our 1-year-old walking when she came in," started u/AlElMon2 in the Parenting subreddit. It's so special watching your child master new skills, but the couple's excitement faded fast.

"Our nanny, bless her, is a terrible actress. She tried to be excited, but I could tell she's seen this before," the the Redditor continued. "Then it was confirmed when our daughter looked at her and said 'ready' and they did a little set up where the nanny backed up and she walked to her, again, it was very clear that they've done this before lol."

The silver lining? The original poster (OP) was actually OK with the whole ordeal.

"With my first, I would've absolutely died if anyone [else] saw his first steps, but she's #2, and I'm not as crushed as I expected to be," the OP finished.

An image of baby's feet.
Getty Images.

The story inspired many Redditors to chime in with their own experiences of missing firsts and how guilty it made them feel, while others were impressed by how well OP handled it all. Some commended the nanny for her part, too.

"Lol that's sweet she tried to pretend she didn't already see it. I was gearing up for your post to read about how angry and upset you were, and what a relief to see that you are handling it so well," wrote Redditor u/mablesyrup.

u/Mysterious_Chic added, "At least she tried haha. She was trying not to crush your heart!"

Though it's great the OP is cool with the situation, it would also be understandable if she wasn't. One person admitted she probably would have had a different reaction.

"When my oldest was an infant, she was at the point where she was going to roll over any day. I carried a camera with me all the time to try to capture it," wrote u/IWantALargeFarva. "One day, my mortgage lady called. I walked out of the room to grab a pen, came back in, and my daughter had rolled over for the first time while I was out of the room. The poor mortgage lady had no idea what was going on when I burst into tears."

Former nannies and daycare workers also gave some insight into why they try to hide firsts from eager parents.

"I worked in a daycare and we'd never told parents firsts if they happened when the parents was away," wrote u/Bubbielub. "we'd white lie and say he/she was 'trying SO hard to walk! They're almost there!' A lot of parents, especially first time parents, already feel guilty being away from their kids. We didn't want to take that away from them."

And one parent shared that once while interviewing a babysitter, the potential sitter asked if the parents wished to know about firsts if they happened while they were away. "I was a little taken aback at first," wrote u/ eatin_gushers, "but once I thought it through I realized it was a very conscientious question. Made me trust her that much more."

Parents of all walks of life have felt this pain, even those who look like they have it all. In 2018, tennis superstar Serena Williams admitted she cried when she missed her daughter's first steps. And Anna Farris has talked candidly about how she sometimes struggles with working mom guilt.

The U.S. is the only developed nation with no federal paid family leave policy, and one professor called it the "most family-hostile public policy of any country in the western industrialized world."

There is no question that parents need to provide for their families, and oftentimes that means hiring a nanny, babysitter, or a daycare center to help with kids. But that doesn't mean we must be constantly tethered to our jobs. With a few tweaks on perspective and some shuffling life things around, though, there might be some wiggle room to gain back more time with kids to (hopefully) not miss those precious firsts.

Though none of these work-life balance tips are a replacement for paid family leave, you may find them helpful.

  • Ask for help. Society often expects working parents to move from being professionals in the boardroom to a silly bath time monitor within an hour. That can cause major whiplash. Communicating with your partner, support system, or boss about how they can best support you can help lighten the load.
  • Let go. Sometimes we're our own biggest critics. We're told we can "have it all," and we expect to be attentive parents, partners, and employees. But you can't give every task your all. You will be late to work if your kid has a tough drop-off on the first day of pre-school. Your train may get delayed, so you may miss bedtime. You're not an incompetent worker or parent. Be nice to yourself.
  • Take time off. Parents don't necessarily get to go home, flip on Netflix, and chill. When the workday ends, the family work is really only beginning. But taking a moment to breathe or asking a partner to handle child care so you can go for a walk can help you keep perspective on your busy life.

Being a working parent is tough and sometimes heartbreaking. The lack of support for families in the U.S. doesn't help at all. But remember: If you're doing the best you can, that's enough—regardless of what anyone else thinks.

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