Nanny Jealousy: How Mothers and Nannies Can Prevent It

September 8, 2016

“OMG, I think I’m jealous of my nanny?”

Are you jealous of your nanny? It’s a sensitive subject for parents and many mothers. There is no need to be alarmed. It’s a natural emotion. You’re at work and another woman is bonding with your child. You may develop some uncomfortable feelings.

In this article, we’ll take a look at jealousy between nannies and mothers and effective ways both parties can help mitigate any negative feelings while keeping the child’s best interest in mind.

Why Does It Happen? founder and childcare expert, Martha Scully, explained,

“Often mothers are torn between working and being at home with their child/children.
Sometimes it is hard for a mom to be at work thinking of the nanny that is caring for, comforting and bonding with their children. It can be difficult for a mother to see a child happy or even excited when a nanny arrives. Often she may think to herself “Is he not sad that I am leaving?” Moms sometimes worry that a child may like or even love the caregiver more than them.”

Missing Special Moments

You may find yourself missing intimate and special moments, first words, first steps or other milestones. You may not want to admit that you’re jealous. Instead of addressing your feelings and discussing things with the nanny, you let things go, and your negative feelings continue to fester. As a result, you may believe that your child is drawing closer to your nanny — ultimately creating an unstable environment in your home. The result is often disastrous; often ending in the abrupt and unnecessary termination of a qualified childcare worker.


Jealousy often develops because many parents fail or refuse to admit their feelings. The resentment can develop into a defense, which is identified in three stages: denial, projection, and detachment from the baby. All of which will prevent the parent from sustaining a healthy professional relationship with the nanny.

Childcare Skills

Children may develop stronger ties with the nanny simply because the nanny has more experience dealing with children and may have better childcare skills. For a parent to admit that their nanny has a better bond with their child can be a very painful admission.

How Nannies and Parents Can Diffuse Jealousy

Nannies and mothers can work together to hep prevent and/or ease the tension of nanny jealousy.

Tips for Mothers

There are a few steps that mothers can take to help minimize or control feelings of jealousy in the future.

1. Understand Child Development

When your child is practicing their first words, they may call the nanny “mama.” This doesn’t mean the child thinks the nanny is their mother, but simply saying the easiest words they know.

2. Support The Nanny/Child Relationship

Believe it or not, but the more care and love a child receives, it will ultimately help the child’s relationship with the mother.

Martha added “A child cannot have too many adults in their lives that love them. A mother should always feel comforted and not distressed by the fact that a child is happy and enjoys being with the caregiver.”

3. Spend Quality Time With Your Child Each Day

Your nanny can play an important role with this. Discuss the schedule so that you have time to bond with your child. Work things out so that after you come home, you’re feeding your child or reading to them. Quality time will help you develop and sustain an early bond.

4. Acceptance

One of the best things that parents can do is sit down and discuss their feelings with the nanny. A good nanny, a mature nanny will understand your feelings and when you open up, it may actually strengthen the relationship between you.

5. Build The Team

Don’t get mad at your nanny for doing the job you hired her to do! After you have shared your feelings, let the nanny know that she is your partner. You’re the employer, but this is a team effort and ultimately, your goal is to make sure that the child is loved.

Tips for Nannies

Childcare professionals can also play a part in preventing jealousy! An experienced nanny will be aware of feelings and should be mature enough to understand where the feelings come from, understanding that the mother may have guilt which is manifested improperly.

1. Expect jealousy

This doesn’t mean that you tolerate mistreatment, but you understand that it is a natural feeling and it is something that you can talk to the mother about.

2. Include the parents

Make an effort to include the parents in everything. Anything that the child may have done while the parents are at work will interest them. Some nannies have gone as far as to ensure that the children make drawings or gifts for their mothers.

3. Follow The Parent’s Lead

You’re playing for the same team and it will require humility on your part. When the parents and especially the mother understands that you’re being supportive, they’re less likely to see you as a threat.

4. Never criticize parents

Parents ultimately want the best for their children. Don’t undermine them.

5. Ignore jealous comments

Realize where some comments may come from and move on without dwelling on them.

6. Communicate

Express your feelings and ask the mother how she’s feeling.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to minimizing jealousy, parents and nannies have to work together and make sure they’re communicating their feelings. It’s also important to understand that jealousy is a natural feeling — this doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for the household! Once it has been identified, work on controlling it and building a healthy team for the child.

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