YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a working mother. You walk into the house at the end of the day, eager to spend time with your baby. As soon as you hold your little sunshine in your arms, he starts bawling for the nanny. Sounds familiar? Mwereti Kanjo gets a first-hand experience from aÃ‚Â mother in the situation and asks a psychologist for advice on re-establishing the mother and child bond.
First off, why is it that babies prefer their nannies to their mothers? It could be because the nanny is never too busy to be there for the baby; after all it is her job. She will play and sing with the baby all day long. Without even knowing it, a special bond is formed. When mommy comes home in the evening the baby prefers to spend time with the nanny. It could be because the nanny spends more time with the baby.
The situation can be difficult to deal with and accept as a mother. It brings with it mixed emotions of jealousy and guilt. It might even make you feel as if you are a failure at motherhood.
Agnes Mithi*(not her real name) bears testimony to this fact. In her second month of her maternity leave, she found a maid for her baby boy so that the two could bond before she returned to work.
Things were fine for the first few weeks after Agnes went back to work but after about two months, the baby started showing a preference for the nanny over his mommy. When Agnes came home in the evening and tried to carry her baby, he would wince. Sometimes he actually cried.
The baby would wince when she tried to carry him and sometimes even cried. The worst part is, instead of calling out Ã¢â‚¬ËœmummyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ the baby cried out Ã¢â‚¬ËœAna, AnaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦!Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
For Agnes this was heartbreaking and she was filled with such anger and jealousy, emotions she could not express because she had to be nice to the one person her baby was happy to be around.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine what this does to you as a mother. It was difficult but I said to myself, she loves him and he might as well just love her back. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not like he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be with me all the time, but those few times really left me bruised.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I could quit my job and be a stay at home mom but if I do that, who is going to pay the bills and everything else? As it is, I look forward to weekends when she is off work and my baby is all mine. At the same time, I appreciate the love she obviously shows my child and the fact that she is there to help out when I am tired. I know that I can let go with no worries,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Agnes.
Professor in psychology, Chiwoza Bandawe, says it is natural that a baby will prefer to be with the person that spends more time with it. He says the answer is simple; make time for your children. He realises that this can never be easy for the professional woman but it can be done.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The three months maternity leave is there for mother and child to form that special connection. Make full use of this time. The emotions that are associated with this situation tell something. Reflect on them, understand them and find out what the function is,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Bandawe.
He advises that mothers should go home during lunch time to eat with their children and dedicate your after-work hours to them.
Remember; even though you are tired, playing with them will enrich your relationship and strengthen the mother-child bond.