I Gave Away the Fun Part of Parenting to My Nannyby WFP Admin added on 2 September 2015, Comments Off on I Gave Away the Fun Part of Parenting to My Nanny , posted in Blog
by Sarah Klippel, 1-Day A Coordinator
August 9th, 2015. That was the day I realized I had given away the fun part of parenting to my nanny. Here’s the scoop – I feel fortunate to have been given oodles of time with my baby, more than many parents get in this day and age where working full time and still doing the job of a stay at home parent is not an uncommon expectation. I had a fairly lush job teaching where I only had to be in the classroom one day a week for a few hours and I could bring everything else home. Sure, it was still stressful – as teaching is a lot of work – but I was able to be home with my son. Earlier this year it was apparently time for me to go back to work. I am a physician, and in my profession, you have to use it or you become so far behind it is difficult to catch up. It was time for me to get back in the game so I didn’t end up in that place of irrelevancy.
My first few days back were actually invigorating. Sure, I had that mom guilt of leaving my baby with a stranger and doing something that was totally outside of the norm of the last year and a half – but I had time to myself to do things with both hands and not have to answer the same question 23 times in a row, time to be an adult with other adults doing adult types of things. I thought to myself, I get it – I now understand this idea that you have to have time for you and it makes you able to be a better parent. It was glorious.
After about three weeks, I noticed that something else had shifted – something I didn’t like – but I was never able to quite put my finger on it. Did I not like what I was doing? Did my son’s behavior seem different? The shift lingered on, and increasingly I was back to just wishing I could be at home without anything else on my plate except being an awesome mom. Parenting was becoming more and more difficult. I wasn’t reaping the benefit of some time to be an adult – instead I felt like I was now more frustrated and stressed than ever before.
August 9th, it hit me as I was driving home from a social event where my husband had been sending me fun pictures of him and my son playing…
I gave away all my fun time to the nanny.
My son and I used to get up, play all morning, nap, and then run errands in the afternoon. I had just given away all of the time we had to play together to someone else so that I could go to work. All that is left now when I get home are things that need to get done, and my son still just wanting to be spending time with me. I can’t remember the last time I just played with him without anything on the horizon except the rest of the day. Isn’t parenting supposed to be fun?
I can’t stop working though so, what is the solution? I counsel countless parents to make sure that every day has at least an intentional 20-30 minutes of time where there is no iPhone, no computer, no TV, no work, no errands – just parent-child interaction based on whatever the child wants to do. It isn’t the whole day or even an hour but, the reality is, we live in a world that is busier than ever. Work, school, sports, social events, Target runs, getting dinner on the table, bedtime woes, and all sorts of things pile up in our day to day lives. The pressure from society, exacerbated by social media, to be a Pinterest perfect parent is higher than ever and the result is we have less and less to give and more and more guilt, frustration, and stress about a time in life that is difficult, but also supposed to be joyous.
So, as we turn this final corner of summer, I am pledging to myself to create as many of these intentional pockets of time with my son as possible and to show up and be fully present for each one. Additionally, I am going to try to drop the guilt about having to drag him grocery shopping instead of taking him to the park. Instead, I can channel that energy into making errands part of my joyous time with him. I know there will be good days and bad days for me and for him – but, in the end, I am hoping it will allow me to reclaim some of the fun I am giving up and allow for the joy of being a parent to flourish.