Nadia Sarie, 32, from Belgium, has a five-year-old son and a 16-month-old daughter
Before I had children, I’d never have thought I’d be comfortable with having a nanny looking after them. But when my son was born, I quickly realised how hard it can be without any friends or family around to help. By the time he was one, I really needed a break. One of our friend’s maids got laid off and I asked her if she could help me temporarily. Slowly but surely I got used to having this ‘stranger’ in the house, and I was so happy and relieved with the extra pair of hands that we took her on permanently.
Having a nanny-cam did cross my mind after hearing some of the horror stories friends told us about their maids, but in the end my husband and I decided against it. I was so grateful to have the luxury of home help and I felt I could trust her with my son. He got very attached to her and I felt comfortable going back to work because I knew I had this wonderful person in the house to watch him.
Why did I not feel the need to use a nanny cam? First of all I felt that it would compromise the trusting relationship I had with her. If I really wanted to know exactly what she was doing at all times, I would have to install the cameras secretly, and videotaping people without their knowledge in my mind is unethical. Yet having cameras installed with her knowledge might change her behaviour, since she would know she was being filmed – what would be the point? And how could we cover the whole house anyway, or what if she took my son to the park? I also gave a lot of thought to how it would make me feel to have a nanny cam in the house. Would I be checking on her every five minutes? Would this become some kind of an addiction?
It’s important to me that the person looking after my children feels like part of our family. How could she feel like that if she knew we were consistently spying on her? Could it jeopardise the care she gives to them or the love she would feel for them? I truly believe that she would not be able to be herself, she might not feel comfortable acting silly; she wouldn’t be the person I want her to be when I wasn’t around.
Having my helper write down a small daily report with all the activities and food eaten is enough information for me to have a general idea of my children’s day. Now that our helper has left, we have hired someone new, and I did consider nanny-cams again. But we won’t ever do it – it isn’t worth it.
Nour Khalife, 31, from Lebanon, has a 10-month-old son
We first considered using a nanny cam a few months before the birth of our first child. It was my husband’s idea initially. Since we knew we were both going to be working and out of the house, away from our baby for more than eight hours a day, and were leaving our son in the care of a person we didn’t really know that well, the idea of being able to check on him any time we wanted to was reassuring. I thought it would give me peace of mind when leaving for work every day.
I believe that nobody will ever treat your child the way you can. So, since I have decided to continue working, I need to compromise on certain things and adapt to the situation. One of those adaptations is to try to improve my nanny’s skills where necessary, in order to be able to trust her.
I was clear from the beginning that accessing the cameras shouldn’t become an obsession. We bought them from Dragon Mart and installed them in the main areas of the house, where the nanny and the baby are supposed to stay: in the living room, entrance hall and garden. I told our nanny that we would be installing the cameras, in order to establish a certain level of trust, and they are clearly visible anyway.
We access them very rarely – a few times a day for a very short time – just to have a glimpse of what is happening and to see if our nanny is following the major elements of what we’ve asked her to do (is she playing with him enough, feeding him on time, etc…). I have given her feedback based on what I have seen – nothing major, thankfully, and I always present it as a piece of advice; I wouldn’t say “I saw this, please do that,” but more like “When you do this, it’s better to do it this way…”
I definitely recommend using cameras, especially for working mothers – under the condition that it doesn’t become an obsession. I’ve basically stopped using them now, to be honest – I almost never access them any more, but deep down I like the idea of having them.
I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I’ll trust our nanny enough not to have them, but that’s also a matter of personality. I’m usually careful with people. I’m very correct with everyone, but trusting is a different matter – especially when it comes to what’s the most precious to me: my little one. You never know what could happen one day… Fortunately we have been lucky with our nanny, but I have a friend who saw her nanny hitting her child on camera while she was at the office. Imagine if she didn’t have the cameras installed…