Picking the right nanny or babysitter for your children is a task all mothers obsess over. Is she attentive enough? Is she knowledgeable enough? Can I trust her?
That’s why last week’s horrifying story about a nanny killing the two children she was paid to watch hits especially close to home for me — and moms everywhere. On Friday, a New York City mother came home from a swim lesson with her middle child to find her two other children (ages 6 and 2) knifed to death in the bathtub. The nanny began stabbing herself when the mother came home and is suspected of stabbing the little boy and girl, according to reports.
Just hours earlier, the mother had written on her family blog about how she adored her 2-year-old son and cherished the way he was learning to talk.
I honestly don’t know how a mother recovers from that kind of trauma. And I don’t know how you ever leave your remaining child’s side again.
Many mothers are asking themselves this week how much they really know about the man or woman they leave in charge of their children. This family in New York trusted their nanny. She had worked for the family for two years, and they had all even gone to meet her extended family in the Dominican Republic.
In the end, I guess no amount of criminal background checks or interviewing is going to 100 percent guarantee your nanny or babysitter isn’t going to do something horrible or just plain stupid. So what’s the answer?
On the comment boards following the stabbings in New York, some parents posted that they never leave their children with babysitters. They said they take their children everywhere or they simply don’t go. Others borderline blamed this poor mother for entrusting her precious children to someone else.
I definitely don’t think that accusation is fair, and I don’t think it’s practical to never use a babysitter. My kids have never had a nanny, but they do have an occasional babysitter for a few hours. I don’t feel guilty about that at all.
But I also feel more nervous now about whom I trust with my children. How do you decide which babysitter or nanny to hire? Are there steps to take to help mitigate risks, or was this stabbing just a horrible tragedy that no amount of precaution could prevent?