Are You Jealous of the Babysitter?
Women today are expected to DO IT ALL. They get pregnant and have babies and are expected to return to the workforce in just weeks. In fact, for many working mothers one of the biggest worries of late pregnancy can be finding suitable day care or babysitting arrangements for their child. According to the National Association of Childcare Resource and Referral, nearly 71% of mothers with children are in the workforce. And of course, this is slowly but surely changing the way that mothers mother, and how they feel about how well they mother.
It can also make moms feel jealous of their child’s caretaker. After all, this person (or these people) often spends more time on a day to day basis with the child or children than the mother does. And it’s only natural for women to worry that their child won't feel close to them, won't love them enough – or will end up calling the babysitter mama. Hearing the well intended stories of what your baby did all day, how many first steps they took, or how wonderful they were in your absence, may be aimed at reassuring you that your child was happy. But obviously, it can also pull at the heartstrings of a working mother who may feel she is missing out on too much.
The important thing to realize is that you are not alone. There are plenty of women who at one time or another feel jealous of their child's caretaker. Even though I was a stay at home mom, I can remember hearing the heartfelt joyous tales of how happy my kids were in my absence when I had other people watch my kids — I felt slightly intimidated, that perhaps they were happier without me around.
One of my good friends, who is watching her best friend’s baby, also tries to walk the very thin line between giving too much information to her friend about her baby. She has had a few issues where the mom was feeling jealous, especially when the baby would reach for her over her mother.
The thing is that the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is true. Yes, it’s hard to leave your child in the care of someone else. However, on the positive side, it is good to know that your baby is in a place where they feel loved and happy. Equally important, is to realize that you are doing the best you can with the family situation you are in. If your situation calls for you to work — or you WANT to work — then you need to give yourself a break.
Additionally, if it makes you feel any better, I can say firsthand that no matter how much your child grows to love other people — a babysitter, or a family member — they will always be YOUR CHILD. No one can take away that special and amazing bond between you and your baby. The biggest thing to remember as a mother is not to allow your guilt to dictate how you parent. Children today do just fine with multiple caregivers, and some recent research seems to strongly indicate that children of working mothers are no worse off than their stay-at-home parent counterparts.
Remember that jealousy in life is perfectly natural. It's nothing to be ashamed of, or to feel bad about. Every human being has moments where they feel jealous. As I mentioned in an earlier post about jealousy, your jealousy indicates a desire in your own life. You can use it to fuel motivation to be an even better mother than you ever thought possible.
Do you ever get jealous of your child's babysitter? Is it worse if your babysitter is a close friend or family, than it is if they are strangers or daycare workers? How do you deal with these feelings?