What happens when the words “nanny” and “granny” become interchangeable? Read on to find out why you may want to keep babysitting and grandmother duties separated and find some answers to the grandma or nanny debate…
Being a grandparent who is also a nanny can be awkward. You may end up with a grandma who feels exhausted and taken advantage of. And, yes, there are many grannies out there who don’t necessarily want to provide full-time care for their grandkids. Most of them jump at the chance to babysit, but being a nanny is completely different. Such a high level of expectation can put a real strain on them. Their family may remain a top priority, but it is not the only one. And they can be resentful when being taken for granted as unpaid caregivers. They’ve done their time with nappies when you were a child, and would like to just be able to spoil their grandchildren when they see them… and then go home!
It may be difficult for your parent to understand and accept your parenting views, theories and practices. Most of them are certainly very different from the prevalent ones in the past, when your parents brought you up. All grannies believe that they did a good job raising you or your spouse, right? You don’t want them to feel like you don’t trust their judgment! Explaining your preferences for your child’s diet, routines and discipline or punishment may be easier to do with an employee than with your own parent. Well, you can explain your wishes and boundaries to your mother and mother-in-law, but then… oh, the oceans of anger and guilt that follow!
Being a nanny involves bending, lifting, climbing and running after toddlers with tons of energy. Many grandmas may feel they are physically unfit for the role of a regular caregiver. It takes an enormous amount of patience not to freak on a daily basis when you’re old but you still have to take care of little children. Plus, current health problems may make it more difficult than you expected to keep up with young kids all day long.
A grandma is going to be in your lives a lot longer than a hired nanny, and this process of caregiving could have lifelong consequences. If you have an especially difficult relationship with your mother (or mother-in-law) you may want to reconsider using that person as a caregiver. If you’re finding your arrangement is becoming a constant power struggle, it might be time to move on. Note to self: Remember, it’s okay to say no!