Micki has been our nanny for almost three years. She has worked for us in a part-time capacity and has recently gone full-time as I have transitioned back to full-time work. I frequently get people asking me how I found Micki, and how we've managed to keep the same nanny for so long. After five years of having nannies on and off I've learned a couple of things.
#1 Define The Role
Before you ever start looking for a nanny you need to think about what EXACTLY you expect from them. You aren't hiring a housekeeper, or a gardener or somebody to spray for bugs - you are hiring somebody to co-parent your kids. This is an important role and requires quite a bit of introspection. Do you expect this person to do arts and crafts? Plan play dates? Do the dishes? Cook? Clean? Run errands? You are NOT hiring a babysitter, but somebody who is going to be as involved and intertwined in your child's life as you are so take the time to be honest about what you expect.
#2 Be Honest
Perhaps you are a tidy person or perhaps you don't like your kids watching tv or perhaps you like your dishwasher filled a certain way - you had better own up to those idiosyncrasies now and be honest with every candidate before you hire one. There are no secrets with a nanny. For my birthday this year Micki bought me a box of Little Debbie Swiss Roll Cakes - why? Because she knows they are my secret indulgence. If you can't be honest with your nanny than you will never have a lasting relationship. Micki is there when we're sick, when the house is a mess, when the laundry needs to get done, when there is cat puke on the floor - she is family so consider that when interviewing somebody.
#3 You Need Them
The truth is that a working mom is only as good as the help by which she is surrounded. A nanny-mom relationship works because it must by symbiotic in nature. I NEED Micki and I don't ever pretend that I don't. This acknowledgment of need breeds mutual respect and appreciation.
#4 It Is Okay If Your Kids Love The Nanny More
This is a biggie. My kids LOVE Micki. They get excited when they find out that mommy is going to work and Micki is staying with them. You know why? BECAUSE SHE GETS PAID TO PLAY WITH THEM ALL DAY LONG. Micki's number one priority is serving my children. That is NOT my priority. My priority is being their parent. These are two very different things. You cannot feel threatened by the nanny. I know my kids love me and I know they need me. I also am relieved that they feel as comfortable with Micki as they do with me and that when I'm gone their boo-boos are going to get kissed, their needs met and that their well being will be a priority. You cannot put a price on that.
#5 You Get What You Pay For
Before hiring a nanny I spent a great deal of time researching going rates in my geographic area. I can't afford to pay top dollar, but I also don't pay bottom. Don't expect a girl with five years experience or a college degree to accept $8 an hour - that isn't going to work. Make sure you sync your expectations, needs and salary.
I have been blessed to have such an amazing woman be a part of my family. I honestly could not work either part-time or full-time without having Micki at home helping me along the way.