Even before I became a mom, I knew I would continue to work. This is not because I believe that being a working mom is better than staying home. I just knew that for me working was something I would continue to do. This became even clearer when our daughter, Avery, was born three and a half months early and spent a significant amount of time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cook Children’s. You see, I work at Cook Children’s and have amazing health insurance. I can’t afford NOT to work.
Before Avery was born, I assumed I would have the typical three-month maternity leave, and then she would go to daycare and I would go back to work. No biggie, right? But I never really thought about how hard it would be to leave her every day. I never thought about the sadness, jealousy, or guilt I would experience when someone other than me got to experience milestones and firsts or took care of her when she was sick and I still had to be at work.
After Avery’s NICU stay, it became obvious that daycare was not an option for us. Avery came home on oxygen, and I had to go back to work so that she could continue to have health insurance. We needed a full-time nanny.
Trusting someone with your brand new baby is scary. Trusting someone with your medically fragile baby on oxygen takes this to a whole new level. But I had no choice. So we put feelers out, conducted some interviews, and got incredibly lucky in finding the absolute perfect nanny for Avery. For purposes of anonymity, I will call simply call her Nanny.
This is my letter to her. I’m sharing it here in hopes that it resonates with other mommas in similar situations. To those mommas who work outside the house, trusting your child with someone else is HARD. I only hope you are as lucky as we are in finding the right person or people to trust with your most precious possession(s).
In the almost two and a half years that you’ve been with us, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve learned SO much from each other.
In the early days, I worried constantly that Avery would grow to love you more than she loved me. Would she think you were her mother instead of me? Over time, this feeling has subsided. I’ve come to realize the benefit and importance of Avery developing loving, healthy relationships with others.
You’ve witnessed “firsts” and experienced milestones with Avery that I haven’t. And that’s hard. But, the fact that you recognize and celebrate these with her and share them with Shawn and me makes it so much easier.
You make me a better mom. I have mom friends who work and mom friends who don’t work. Both situations are hard for different reasons. But, if I’m being honest, I think being a stay at home mom is harder. I’m able to leave the house and have a separate identity and conversations with adults every day. This makes the time at home with Avery so much sweeter. I value my time with her because I don’t have as much of it.
You’ve taught me that it’s okay not to do everything on your own. It’s okay to have help. From the beginning, it’s taken a team approach to care for Avery. Nanny, you are our MVP, day in and day out. We couldn’t do it without you.
I worry that you judge me and my parenting decisions. Nanny, you have raised three kids. I’m a first-time mom. I worry daily about whether I’m making the right decisions for Avery. You are so kind and gracious to give me support and place your trust in me that I AM making the right decisions and doing the very best I can for Avery.
Above all else, I want to say thank you. Thank you for loving our child as if she were your own. Thank you for being a part of our family. Thank you for respecting our parenting decisions.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.