Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You’re going back to work and you’ve decided on the Nanny Route

By Lindsay Heller, Psy.D. , Licensed Clinical Psychologist and former nanny of 10 years.

As a new mom, just thinking about the process of going back to work for the first time after baby can be difficult to ponder. Not only are there many emotions involved with entrusting someone with the care of your baby, there are many practical issues to sort out as well.

By the time you are in the second trimester of your pregnancy, you should have an idea as to what your childcare situation is going to look like. Whether you will be planning to go back to work within months of giving birth or are planning to stay home full-time you need to think about what type of help you will need.

Never fear! With a little preparation, this transition can run smoothly and relatively painlessly. The most important first step is to dedicate yourself to this process. If you find yourself not wanting to deal with it, and maybe even being in denial of this process, talk with someone about it. If you make decisions about this process feeling that way, they will not be the best decisions and you may end up having to come back and revisit the process in a few months, which will just wreak havoc on your household, emotions and hinder your ability to find balance between work life and home life.

In the case that you opt to put your baby in daycare, here are some quick tips to consider:
  • Make sure the daycare is properly licensed
  • Inquire about the daily schedule
  • Find out the ratio of adults to children
  • Find out the other ages of the children in their care. How many other infants are there
  • Speak with a current parent who has their child in daycare at the same daycare.

When considering the nanny route, the next step involves finding the right nanny for your family. This is a very important step in ensuring that you find someone who is a great fit for your family long-term. Here’s a checklist for success:

  • Identify your families needs
  • Develop a job description,
  • Screen applicants
  • Conduct interviews
  • Have a try-out period
  • Conduct a background check
  • Make decision to hire
  • Develop a work agreement

Once you find your Mary Poppins, here are some tips to ease the process of returning to work:

Start your nanny before you go back to work. Practice being away from your baby – not only to check out the nanny but also so that you can get used to the idea of being away from your child. This can be a difficult transition that will definitely be eased if done slowly.

Self care list - Many moms are unprepared to fill their time once they have a little help. Plan ahead and develop a self-care list that becomes a “Mommy must-do list” Get out to that yoga class you have been meaning to go to. See a movie. Hang out with your girlfriends.

Get support. This can be a tough process – you don’t have to be super woman. Talk about your feelings related to this process.

Bank it - Start freezing breast milk sooner than later in anticipation of this process. Having a frozen breast milk stash will help by providing options and flexibility once you make the transition back to work. Planning for this will also prevent you from having a breast milk panic a week before returning to work.

Develop a system to communicate with your nanny about your baby. Whether it’s a white board or a notebook log, find out what works for your family. This is not only practical but will be an invaluable journal to accompany your child’s baby book with written daily accounts of your baby’s first year.

Stay connected. Have your nanny take pictures of your baby or video while you are at work. Some of these pictures she could even e-mail straight from her phone to your desktop at work. Call and check in at the same time each day.

For more details and secrets to finding the right nanny for your family attend “Find the Right Nanny for Your Family” Hot Topics Class at the Santa Monica Pump Station & Nurtury. Call 310-998-1981 and sign-up now.

This class will provide you with strategies for finding a nanny as well as maintaining your nanny long-term. Join other moms to discuss fears, concerns, and questions regarding hiring a nanny. Receive helpful take-home handouts including a comprehensive list of questions to ask at every phase of interviewing, reference checking and a step-by-step road map to ensure you take the right steps to find the right nanny for your family! If you are currently looking for childcare, don't miss this essential class!