Being a mother is not easy. Being a working mother can be even harder, because I have to find someone to help take care of the baby while I am away.
I was able to find a nice lady to care for my baby when I work. She does a pretty decent job and Lil Mochi seems to like her. I have my ways of treating the baby, and I tried to convey that to her. She follows my instructions and advice some of the time. After a little while, I felt that she could be more patient with the baby, so I set out to look for a new caregiver. (I was working from home at the beginning and I can hear their interactions.) I thought I can find a “better” one.
From a mommy group, I came across a mom posting that her nanny will become available because the family is moving away. She highly recommended her nanny, who had been with her family for 3 years. At first meeting, I felt that the nanny was not quite what I was looking for. However, after thinking about it some more and feeling that the current caregiver can be better, I decided to give her a try.
Since I knew I will really miss my baby when I started to go back to work, and my gut feeling telling me to keep watch over Lil Mochi, I set up a baby monitor camera in the living room. They would be there most of the time, so I could check in on them when I pumped at work.
For the first few days with the new nanny, I worked from home to make sure that everything went smoothly. Lil Mochi was resistant to being bottle-fed by her, who is basically a stranger to him. She was getting frustrated at times, but was still nice to him. I had mentioned to her that it was normal and she could relax during the feeding, and he would eat better once he got to know her. Her response was agreeable, but mentioned that previous babies she cared for simply closed their eyes and chugged their bottles.
On the day I had to go to work, I was reluctant to go. Something was making me worried. I was almost in tears leaving him at home. While at work, I was only able to check the baby monitor during the times I pumped. To my relieve, the new nanny and Lil Mochi seemed alright that day.
When I checked in the next few times at work, I saw something off. The nanny was physically frustrated at my baby because he was refusing to drink for more than a minute. She tried feeding at the couch, near the dining table and while carrying him, but nothing seemed to work. I could see him turning his head refusing to be forced to drink more. Once again, I mentioned to her when I got home that if she fed him with a more relaxed attitude, then he would be more receptive. She nodded and agreed.
Over the course of another few days, her reaction got more aggressive. One day, I saw her put down the bottle and pulled the baby up to look at her. She was muttering something to him and then stood up, walked to his play mat, kicked away some of his toys angrily and put him down. I had already heard from our neighbor who heard her call baby “you little xx” repeatedly, so that was the last draw.
It was heart-breaking to watch all of that on the baby monitor. I did not intend for it to be a nanny cam per se, but was glad I had it.
I am not encouraging anyone to set up nanny cam. This is more a story about trusting your gut instinct and not let “desperation” take over. I wanted so badly to find someone who will be a clone of ME, that I ignored what my first impression at the interview. I was also trying to compare the previous caregiver’s actions against mine, which was why I felt that she could have been MORE gentle, patient, soft-spoken… In retrospect, she was not that bad. No nanny in the world will be as attentive and caring as the mother, because, ultimately, it is not her baby.
We were fortunate to have found this out early about the new nanny. I should have trusted the uneasy feeling I had at the beginning and avoided all of this, but it was an important lesson learned.
Have you ever had incidents with a caregiver? How did you handle it?