My child's nanny refuses to follow my direction.

By Marion Bilich, PhD
October 03, 2005


I'm having problems with my new nanny. I'm a first-time mom and she's an experienced caregiver, and sometimes she refuses to follow my direction because she disagrees with my decisions. I know that I am her boss, but I'm not confident enough (as a new mom) to confront her. What should I do? She loves my son and is a great babysitter. I just don't like feeling intimidated by her!


Of course an inexperienced mom is going to be a bit intimidated by a nanny who presumably has had years of experience caring for babies. If you hired the right nanny, she does have a great deal of knowledge about newborn babies. And if you're lucky, she also has a great deal of wisdom. She can teach you a lot. But don't forget that you can claim the one thing that she, with all her years of experience, cannot. You are the mother of the child, and your own maternal wisdom and value system count for a lot. Listen to what she has to say, consider it, but in the end you must trust your own intuition and your own values. If something she suggests does not feel right to you, don't do it! For instance, she may tell you that, based on her 20 (or 30 or 40) years of experience, it is best that the new baby be put on a fixed eating schedule as soon as possible. Yet, your gut, and maybe your own experiences in life, tell you to trust the baby's own inner wisdom about when he needs to be fed. First, thank her for her advice. Let her know that you appreciate her input, but explain that in this case you want to follow your intuition. You could even inject a bit of humor, explaining that a mother has to be free to make her own mistakes! After all, how can we grow as mothers if not by making mistakes and then learning from them?

If she still insists on doing things her way, then it may be time to consider parting ways. Call the nanny service, but this time you'll know what to look for and what to avoid in choosing a nanny. In other words, you will have learned from your mistakes!

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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