The emotional battle that takes place between a working mother and her nanny seems to be a common and often unavoidable aspect of modern-day motherhood. Although most may not be willing to openly admit it, many working mums simply can’t help the tinge of jealousy that arises from seeing their little one cling to and rely upon someone else so much. I often find myself feeling inferior for the fact that my son sometimes prefers my nanny, and I know that I am not the only one. Your nanny spends the day doing fun things with your children, such as going to the park or learning new activities, while you’re stuck being the disciplinarian that comes home and reestablishes order at the end of the day. It’s completely understandable that such circumstances could spark a range of emotions including bitterness, guilt and sadness. When jealousy does come about, you may even find yourself looking for shortcomings and mistakes from your nanny to reassure yourself that she’s not perfect. Don’t let this happen. A twinge of envy every now and then is normal, but don’t let it ruin a perfectly good working relationship. After all, finding a trusting, reliable caregiver isn’t always an easy feat and when it comes down to it, for many modern mums a good nanny can be a life raft; a necessity in order to achieve goals both inside and outside of the home.

One of the ways to deal with seeing such attachment as a threat, is to rather see it as a blessing. Working mothers should treat their relationship with their nanny like a partnership. Think of them as your sidekick and you as the superhero. She is there to help you when you or your spouse can’t be present. You have so much to gain by securing and keeping a nanny who works well with your child. In fact, most parents quickly realise that a strong nanny/baby bond is essential to the well being of their child. Know that it’s natural for your child to prefer the nanny from time to time. It simply makes sense. Your nanny is your child’s primary caregiver for much of the day while you work, and children crave routine and familiarity. Remind yourself of this often to feel better about the situation. Additionally, another perspective on first-hand “parenting” with your own child can never hurt. The nanny may be able see your child more objectively and have some pieces of advice or tips to share. While it may be one of those “easier said than done” things, I’ve put together a short list of tips to help you ease the emotions that often come along with leaving your child with a nanny.

1. Change your perspective. You can either choose to see your nanny as someone that you’re in competition with, or you can choose to see her as a seriously invaluable member of your team. The first will only bolster your nanny envy, while the latter will make it easier to see her as an ally and ultimately establish a better working relationship for the both of you. At the end of the day you and your nanny have one common goal: seeing that your child or children are given proper care and the necessities to help them reach developmental milestones.

2. Be honest with your nanny. Starting an open conversation about the fact that you are struggling with your emotions establishes a line of communication between you and your nanny and may actually serve to break down a few barriers that were built up as a result of those feelings.

3. Talk about your frustrations. Talk about your feelings with a friend or family member to ease the pain, but don’t do so with your child. Remember that it can certainly be both confusing and overwhelming for your child to see you upset. So, keep smiling and save your frustrations and tears for a private moment or with someone close.

4. See the silver lining. Let’s be honest, isn’t it a good thing to see that your child has the ability to connect with someone other than you? Would you prefer that your child cry for you all day? Probably not. Seeing your child foster connections with non-family members shows growth and shows positive signs that they will function well socially.

5. Do something about it. Establish a new ritual that is just for the two of you. That way, even though you may miss out on certain activities, you can still have bonding time with your child while he or she goes through this phase. Dinner, bath and bed times are all great for bonding. It may be a good idea to establish certain tasks that will be your responsibility only, rather than the nanny’s, so that the child associates that time with “Mum”.

6. Remember that it’s only temporary. For most working moms, having a nanny is not permanent. Likewise, all children will go through temporary phases of affection. Know that both shall pass.

7. Remember that you’re the mother – period. It is important to remember you are the mother at all times. Don’t let your jealousy lead to insecurities, as this may affect your relationships with both your nanny and child. Do your best to feel confident in your role so that your child feels your certainty and trusts you.

So the next time you walk through the door after work, stop for a moment, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re a fantastic mother and are providing exceptional care for your child. Know that you’ll always be number one. If your nanny is loving, affectionate and has a great bond with your children, it is because she genuinely cares for them and enjoys her work, not because she is interested in replacing you. Realise, for this reason, that your wave of jealousy is actually a sign that you made a good choice in finding a nanny that your child or children are happy to spend time with!