I think that one of the most shocking things for first time mums is the amount of work and responsibilities that hit you when you have a baby.
Let’s backtrack a bit. You get married, and the first thing in your mind is “I want to have a baby.” I mean all of those beauty pictures on Instagram just makes you say things like “oh my ovaries!” But guyssssss…being responsible for another human being is a whole different situation.
You get pregnant, and if you’re fortunate, pregnancy is sweet. You can take lots of beautiful pictures for the gram, vlog your journey, etc. Then the baby arrives.
For me, the first thing that shocked me was the fact that my life changed completely and frankly has never remained the same again. Sleep has literally disappeared. Especially for first time mums, you find out that you don’t even know what you’re doing right and what you’re not doing right. You find out that you have to learn a lot of new things like diaper changing, rocking a child to sleep, bathing a baby, bottle washing (and bottle washing does not only entail turning the forceps on and rinsing, there’s a way to wash the bottles to prevent infections).
You learn all that plus having to juggle so many other things that having another human being depend on you brings. I mean, you’ll need to understand what they need even though they can’t talk, baby language, crying, it’s just a whole lot going on at the same time. The frustration that happens when your baby just cries through the night, and you don’t even know why, the tiredness, the baggy eyes; all of those things are a whole lot to deal with all at the same time.
Now, your baby begins to grow. you keep getting a hang on things, and then you have to go back to work. Going back to work is a whole other ball game. The anxiety of leaving your child for extended hours is real. You have so many questions, feel so many emotions, how do you take care of your baby? Who watches your child while you’re a way? How do you trust the person? It’s a lot.
These days, you can get some comfort in some solutions that technology provides. Now you can install cameras in the house, and have a nanny watch your child. Then the question is, where do you find a nanny? There are so many horrid stories about nannies on the internet, and you don’t want yours to be the next.
The truth is, you have many options for childcare if you’re a working mum in Nigeria but I’ll highlight three of them.
Option one is to have someone in the family- like your mum, mum-in-law, an elderly aunty, someone who is trustworthy to come help you watch your child.
Option two is to take your child to a crèche / daycare. However, finding the right creche, ensuring that the creche is right for your child, etc is not just about the pretty area or colorful environment of the creche, there are certain things you need to look out for. Lookout for a future blogpost from us on this.
Option three is getting a nanny to focus on your child at home. There have been debates between which option is the better one – 2 or 3? Option one looks like the obvious best, but what if you don’t have that luxury.
Which would you prefer, taking your children to a creche having a nanny come home? There are pros and cons for both choices, it really depends on you. If you do prefer to get a nanny, here are a few key things for you to look out for when getting one:
Who’s recommending the nanny? So many people have taken big risks here, a colleague sends you her nanny’s friend and you take her in, sometime in the future the friends collide and harm the baby. There are so many stories. At the very minimum, make sure the person who is recommending the nanny is a trusted person themselves.
2. Where are you getting the nanny from?
There are so many “random” places where you can get a nanny. You want to be sure you make adequate findings because you don’t just want to bring someone into your home without doing an adequate background check.
3. What do you know about the nanny?
This is so important. Interview the nanny, pay attention to the vibe you get from the nanny. The truth is, many nannies have cooked up stories about who they really are, so don’t leave it at the level of just asking them, carry out some investigation, ask seemingly unrelated questions, if you can, go find out where they live, meet one of their family members. Have someone else interview the nanny. Getting a 3rd person point of view is important. This way, you’ll be able to make an unbiased decision. There’s so much you can do to find out information.
Make sure the nanny has some experience. You don’t want your child to be the experiment. Some people prefer elderly women who’ve had and raised their own kids, while this has its own challenges because they can sometimes be unwilling to adopt your ways, you enjoy a lot from their wealth of experience.
5. Determine this ahead:
Will the nanny be a live-in nanny or a daily drop-in nanny? Where does the nanny come from? Answering these questions are important because it’ll save you a lot of stress that not deciding in advance brings.
6. The unseen eye that watches:
I will also recommend that you install cameras in and around your home to monitor activities that go on when you’re not around.
7. Neighbors are a blessing
If you have good neighbors, let them know you have a new nanny and that you’ll appreciate if they can keep an eye on things I’m your absence, that can save you a lot of worry.
8. Drop by unannounced
Drop by at unexpected times unannounced. This will keep the nanny on her toes because she never knows when you might show up.
The truth is, regardless of what you do, you’ll still need to trust that your child will be fine and choose to look on the bright side that your baby is growing up healthy in your home, you are a mother and you are doing amazingly well!
Written by Funmie Banjoko, Founder Wealah International