Pulling into the drive way, arriving home from work each day, I am giddy with the idea of walking in the door to find a house full of noise! Kid’s music is blaring, and there's a smattering of toys to trip over. I live for the moment when I drop my bags and the troop (including the dog) comes running to greet me at the door.
Trailing at a close distance behind, holding the little one, our nanny welcomes me home with a smile and provides the daily lowdown. We review nap times, feeding schedules (clean plate clubs), size, quality and quantity of poop, and assess any owies (minor scrapes and bruises) that occurred throughout the day.
Then, like clockwork, our nanny will say, “Go change out of those uncomfortable work clothes while we cleanup,” and grab the kids to tidy up from the aftermath of Hurricane Mattel.
Coming out of my room in my “play clothes,” we all walk our nanny out to her car as she leave to go home to her own madness. Most of the time, her exit takes anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the number of hugs, kisses, and verbal affirmations (I love you to “Plutos” and back x 100) the kids shower her in before she leaves.
Very often, people ask me how I found such an amazing nanny to which I answer, "Luck…"
Yes, I posted my requests and requirements on care.com, phone interviewed 40+ people, met with 15 of them, and narrowed it down to our beloved. And yes, I made it very clear the type of person I was looking for. But none of this ensured we would end up with the be-all-end-all of nannies.
All of this being said, I truly believe, like any other hiring and management role, there is a skill to “making it work.”
How to find the G.O.A.T Nanny:
Sorry, you won’t because we have her. But if you’re ok with second best, here are my recommendations:
- When posting to hire, create a very detailed description of what you are looking for. There’s no time to be wishy-washy. State the facts.
- Length of hire/ length of availability for the position: This is super important both for their job security and for your emotional sanity. It would be devastating to hire someone and create deep bonds with them to then find out they are planning on heading back to school when the summer ends.
- Your parenting style: If you are clueless and looking for someone to guide you, go ahead and admit it (I had to…) And while you’re at it, fess up to your mirco-manager, nervous by nature, opinionated ways if that’s who they are going to deal with (guilty again).
- Priorities: If you love your dog more than your children, the nanny should know that upon hire. She is to feed Fido first without comment.
- Have a salary budget in mind, but make sure that it is in line with the work you’re requiring. Ain’t nobody accepting a job with a minimum wage salary that requires juggling 4 screaming children, baby bodily secretion clean up, and master cheffing kid-friendly gourmet, vegan meals 80 hrs a week. In this situation, more than any I can think of, you pay for what you get. Go ahead and do everyone a favor, figure out and include the taxes from the get go as well. (click here for help)…
- In addition to their experience level, ask your soon to be nanny about their physical health and at-home family dynamics. In the corporate hiring world, this is a big HR no, no but is oh-so-important when you’re about to add to your family in the form of a nanny.
- Are they young and/or in shape enough to keep up with your kids? This includes lugging car seats, sprinting after a “runner,” and keeping the nearly rabid dog from tipping over the stroller while attempting to lunge himself in front of a moving vehicle. This is where my Nanny propels from really darn good to exceptional…
- Do they have kids of their own? If yes, wonderful, they have literal hands on experience. If no, rest easy that there will be no chance of “calling in sick” if their kid(s) is home from school for any reason.
How to keep your nearly G.O.A.T Nanny:
- Move past the employer/employee relationship and make them a part of your family. If this person is going to be spending a significant amount of time in your house, with your kids, go ahead and start treating them as if they really, really mean something to you. In our house the treatment ranking are 1. Nanny 2. Dog 3. Dad…
- Embrace the fact that your kids love them. This was scary for me at first. What if my kids love their nanny more than they love me. Ok, A. this will never happen and B. cherish the relationship your kids develop with their nanny. They should love them. If they do not, it may be time to find someone new.
- Allow them to do their best at the job you hired them to do. This means letting them do it (mostly) their way. This person who is going to come in your home and take care of your kids should be a trained professional. Maybe not in the traditional scholastic sense, but they are coming to you with experience and expertise. To try and tell them how to do their job could be a disservice to them, keeping them from feeling at ease and flourishing.
- Don’t install a nanny cam. You are never going to like 100% of what you see. If there is reason to believe you need to be watching their every move, you’ve got a problem larger than the nanny cam can/will solve.
- Budget for “fun.” In addition to your nanny’s hourly/salary payment, it should be expected that they will need some additional money. There’s only so much magic that can happen within the confides of your home without mass destruction, hysteria, and insanity.