Pros and Cons of Hiring a Nanny Mom
By Kimberley Roberts Benakovich
Reposted, with permission, from Kimberley’s blog.
Fourteen months ago, Delilah Jones and her husband, Casey, hired a nanny for their 18-month-old daughter after Delilah returned to work full time. Their nanny, Eloise, brings along her own 16-month-old son, Archer. Eloise is a former 2nd grade teacher with 12 years of experience as a full-time nanny. Eloise is what’s known as a “Nanny Mom.” A Nanny-Mom is a professional nanny who brings her own child to work with her, either part or full time. Most Nanny Moms are career nannies with anywhere from 2 to over 20 years of experience as professional nannies.
If you are a family who is considering doing a nanny share, but you don’t want to have to deal with another set of parents regularly or would rather not have a strange child in your home, a Nanny Mom may be exactly what you are looking for! There are some potential drawbacks to hiring a Nanny Mom that a family will have to consider during the hiring process. I recently asked 100 moms what their main concerns would be pertaining to hiring a Nanny Mom. The three main concerns were as follows:
1. Would my nanny pay more attention to her own child than mine?
2. What would I do for backup care if my nanny’s child was sick and she called out of work?
3. Would I have to pay for food/supplies/extracurricular activities for my nanny’s child?
Other concerns included issues such as liability (what would happen if the nanny’s child was injured in the family’s home), concerns about limited space, nap schedules, and baby equipment logistics. Read on to hear how families just like yours answered these questions.
The Jones Family knew after their daughter was born that they would not have any more children. For Delilah, the realization that her daughter would grow up an only child was troublesome.
Delilah shared: Casey and I always wanted a big family, but it wasn’t in the cards for us. When I set out looking for a nanny, my one stipulation was that she have a child of her own to bring with her. I’ve read the statistics. I know how important socialization is to young children, and I know that everyone thinks that putting your child in daycare is the only way to do it- it’s not! I wanted to hire a Nanny Mom because I not only wanted my child to have a built-in playmate, I also wanted her to know, early on, that the world does not revolve around her. I wanted her to learn empathy, compassion, kindness, and generosity. What better way to learn those important life skills than in the comfort of her own home with a trusted caregiver and that caregiver’s child?
My nanny knows a boatload about child development, but she also knows about sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, mom-guilt, and nursing strikes…not because she studied these topics or read a few articles online, but because she herself is a mother. She’s been there; she’s IN it, just like I am. We may be in various stages, but she understands me in a way that is different from a nanny who doesn’t have her own children. I hired her BECAUSE she is a mother, not DESPITE it.”
As working parents, we all want the best for our children. Many would argue that when it comes to child care, “the best” refers to having a private nanny who comes to your home to care for your children. Nanny care is the most expensive type of child care there is, and if you are lucky enough to have the means to hire a nanny, I’m willing to bet that you’re going to start off looking for the best nanny that you can afford. If you are interested in hiring a nanny with 10+ years of experience, chances are that the nanny (around age 28 or older) will either already have a child of her own or will be thinking about having a child soon. Of course, there are career nannies who do not want (or can’t have) children of their own, but I would guess that most nannies will eventually go on to have a family. After all, nannies LOVE children; it’s only natural that they would want to have their own child! Knowing this fact, parents have one of three choices:
A: Hire a younger, less experienced nanny in the hopes that she will stay with you for many years before having children of her own,
B: Hire a more experienced (older) nanny who either already has a child, or is at least considering having a child in the near future,
C. Spend way too much of your precious time trying to find a nanny who does not want children of her own.
If you choose A or B (because really, who has time for C), there is a chance that you will have to consider whether you should hire a Nanny Mom. Continue reading to find out what moms just like you had to say about this hotly-debated subject:
What do you see as the benefits of allowing your nanny to bring her child to work with her?
Maria explained: “My nanny is so happy because she gets the best of both worlds- to be able to work AND to be able to be with her child. A happy nanny makes for happy children, and happy children make for happy parents! We honestly couldn’t be happier with our setup!”
Alexandra said: When I was pregnant with my second child, I knew that my daughter would do wonderfully with the new baby because she’d already been spending time with our nanny’s baby. She learned how to be gentle, how to get supplies and be helpful, and how to play quietly while baby was napping. It was great training for when her little brother arrived!”
Brooklyn shared: “For us, the price is lower, which is nice while having two kids and doing everything we can to get the best care, but also still have some disposable income.”
Nanny Know-How Tip: Some Nanny-Moms do offer discounts for the opportunity to bring their child to work with them. These discounts will vary from 1-50% of their hourly rate. Not all Nanny Moms feel that they should offer discounts (after all, they aren’t doing any less work), but some will accept a lower hourly rate when asked. Keep in mind that a well-paid, appreciated nanny will generally stick around a lot longer than one that feels she is underpaid and under-appreciated.
What do you see as the potential drawbacks?
Amanda said: “My nanny’s child is almost 2, and she wants to sign him up for classes, but he and my daughter would be in different age groups, which wouldn’t work because my nanny can’t be in two places at once.”
Christin added: “An issue for us is that with three kids, someone is always sick. They share toys, sippy cups, and food, and therefore they share germs. I guess that’s the same as if they went to daycare, though. Also, I like to look at it as an immune system boost! Our nanny has backup care for her son for when he is too sick to come with her, or if one of our children are sick and she doesn’t want to expose her son. It’s ended up not being a problem for us.”
Nanny Know-How Tip: If you and your partner have demanding jobs and rigid schedules, it is very important for your nanny to have flexible backup care for her child in case her child or yours is sick. There is a wonderful website called “Via the Village” that allows nannies to find “backup buddies”: fellow professional nannies who are willing to care for a nearby child last minute. It’s free for nannies to sign up, and it’s a great resource!
What unique challenges exist in the relationship between an employer and the nanny who brings her child to work?
Brooklyn explained: “We all have to parent together: the nanny, my husband, and me. We have to be on the same page, and we aren’t always, but I don’t think having her kid there makes it any different. I would want to involve the nanny in things regardless, as she spends 8 hours a day with my child.”
Devin added: “This wasn’t the case with me, but I can see how there could be some jealousy issues between the parent and the nanny. I mean, the parent obviously doesn’t have the type of job where they can bring their child to work with them, so they may feel resentment towards the nanny that she gets to bring her own child with her. Also, if parenting styles are too different, it could make things very difficult. It’s definitely something to discuss ahead of time!”
Do you feel that the level of care your nanny provides for your child is more or less when her own child is present? Can you give examples to back that up?
Brooklyn said: “My nanny provides excellent care for my child, and I don’t think having her child there detracts from the care in any way from my child. In fact, if anything, it has taught my daughter how to be a fantastic big sister and has taught me that my daughter was way more independent than I was giving her credit for. Best example: I kept taking my daughter to the potty at home. One day, my daughter just up and went, wiped herself and flushed. I was floored. I asked her where she learned that. She told me she always does it during the day with the nanny. It has helped me let go and know the nanny made the right call.”
Devin explained: “Honestly, I wouldn’t want to hire someone if I felt like their ability to care for my child were compromised if they had to care for another child (in general or their child in particular). Most nannies can successfully handle more than one child at a time, and it would be a red flag for me if she couldn’t. Also, some people might worry about favoritism, but that could happen with siblings as well.”
What sacrifices, if any, do you make as a mom when you allow your nanny to bring her child to work with her?
Devin shared: “The nanny will always put her child’s needs first, so if there is conflict, the nanny could leave. This is why open communication is so important!”
Maria added: “Before our nanny had her baby, she used to babysit for us in the evening a few times a week. When she started bringing her daughter, she was a lot less flexible to stay late or come in early. We didn’t mind, though- we just hired a babysitter! We did everything we could to keep our nanny. Our kids adored her AND her baby, and we couldn’t imagine our lives without them!”
Who pays for the food your nanny’s child eats when at your home? How about when she takes the kids to activities- who pays for her child? Who covers any other supplies that your nanny’s child uses when at your home?
Brooklyn said: “I am happy for the kids and the nanny to raid our fridge. However, the nanny always brings food for her and her kiddo, and often brings extra for my child. For outings, we pay for our kid’s classes and she pays for her kid’s classes.”
Jess explained: “We had an “open fridge” policy for our nanny from the start. When her son was an infant, we were happy to allow him to eat our food (he ate so little anyway). Once he started eating bigger portions, our nanny would bring food for him to keep in our fridge. We told her she didn’t have to, but she insisted. For classes, it depended on a few things: if we signed our daughter up for a class that she wouldn’t have signed her son up for, we paid for her son to attend. If it was a mutually beneficial class, we each paid for our own child. A few places offered her son scholarships because they understood her predicament.”
Maria added: “I’m sure not everyone would agree with this, but we were happy to provide diapers, wipes, and supplies for our nanny’s child. She always brought her own, but she knew that she was welcome to use ours. As for things like art supplies, etc., we took turns purchasing items that the children shared. Sometimes, our nanny would show up with a new box of crayons or a slab of construction paper and sticker books for both children to use.”
If your nanny’s child still naps, how and where does he/she nap in your house?
Brooklyn shared: “One of the older kids is on the couch, which ever kid is at home sleeps in her bed, and the nanny’s kid naps on her mom’s lap. At some point he, too, will move to a couch.”
Devin added: “We set up a mini-crib in our office for our nanny’s son, and he slept there occasionally. Mostly, though, he slept in a stroller or baby carrier because my daughter attended classes throughout the week and they were always on the go!”
As you can see, there are many benefits to hiring a Nanny Mom: a built-in playmate for your child, a nanny who is likely happier and more fulfilled, immune system boosts for your child, and possible financial discounts. As with any arrangement, however, there are some potential pitfalls, and your family and potential nanny should discuss all these issues well in advance of her first day. As long as there is open communication, trust, and respect (for each other’s children as well as each other), I think you will find that Nanny Moms are some of the most loyal employees you will find!