ANA (The Association of Nanny Agencies) was approached by a journalist from the Daily Mail today, and asked to comment on a forthcoming article in this weeks’ Radio Times, by the comedienne Jenny Clair.
Jenny was worried about the effect that having a wonderful Nanny look after her child whilst she was working.
The following was written by one of our Association members, Moira Walsh of Fulham Nannies, with a helping hand from Di Williams of Nanny Plus Agency.
I think this concern used to be a lot more common. It is less usual nowadays to find many parents who completely leave all the childrearing to nannies. Even in the cases where this has happened, I think it’s often the mother who looks back, feeling that she should have been more involved, while quite often the child was perfectly content, and felt loved by their parents. We judge ourselves so harshly as mothers, yet we are often hugely forgiving as children.
Children who spend a lot of the time with nannies still know their parents are the special ones, and although they may have a bond with their nannies, they know who is most important in their lives. Of course every family situation is different. There are mothers who have always been involved and who have never used nannies, who are totally overprotective and still smother the child.
It’s got more to do with the parent/child relationship really, and the nanny is a just a secondary point to a situation that is there anyway. The nanny didn’t cause the relationship between mother and child, it is what it is, with or without a nanny. You can also spend time with a child, but never really be there, although this was probably more often the case with over- worked mothers of multiple children, wondering where the next meal would be coming from, always too busy to really spend any real quality time, much as they would have loved to, and of course, lots of poverty stricken mothers of large families still managed to spend precious bonding time with their children.
Even if the parents only spend an hour a day with the child, its making that time matter. Certainly children at boarding school spend masses of time away from parents and most of them are perfectly happy and well adjusted.
It is good to encourage the nanny/child bond and not change nannies every five minutes. but it’s very rare that this relationship will ever take the place of a parent /child attachment. We see ourselves in our parents don’t we? – both good and bad, its family, DNA, genes, and you can’t escape it even if you wanted to. Most women start to become like their mothers by a certain age, not their nannies, even if they used to detest the qualities they now find in themselves.
It’s important for children to feel secure and loved, and even in the worst case scenario’s from the past, the cases where parents who didn’t particularly want to have a child who might cramp their style, but still wanted a son and heir, – even in these cases, the nannies would have provided a much needed consistency, stability, warmth, and security in these children’s lives encouraging eventual well adjusted adults.