Building a Strong Partnership
The character of the demanding mother in The Nanny Diaries is a role model that mothers want to avoid and nannies fear. How can you set the tone for a businesslike relationship while maintaining amicable relations?
It is important to remember that even though a nanny works in your home, during those eight hours she is performing a job. You and your nanny should clearly set your boundaries and rules so that neither party feels taken for granted in the long run.
Lisa maintains communication with her nanny by keeping a daily log. Her nanny writes everything from what her daughter eats to what time she sleeps. This way, Lisa feels connected to her daughter's daily progress but she's also aware of her nanny's role in her child's development.
Ann Leone suggests using the log as a springboard for communication. When the mother comes home from work, the nanny doesn't know what kind of day the mother has had and vice versa. If the nanny starts the conversation with something positive about the child's day, the discussion immediately begins on a good note.
Linda, a mother of two in Wayne, New Jersey, advises mothers to define what is appropriate behavior in the home. "I always ask my nanny if she has a boyfriend, and if she does, I tell her that I'd appreciate that he not come over while I'm not there because I have no idea what kind of person he is," she says.
Although such questions may seem too probing, your child's safety is the overall concern. Also, by letting the caregiver know what's acceptable from the beginning, Linda avoids misinforming her nanny.
"Communication," Ann Leone stresses, "can make or break your relationship." By setting aside time to talk and discuss issues in a calm, professional manner, you can allow your nanny to feel comfortable talking to you as well as make her feel like a valued employee.