Lessons Learned On the Nanny Front

In an effort not to make the same set of mistakes twice, we’ve been doing a bit of research on the nanny front. I’m looking for ideas and tips on how to:

  • How to hire hire a nanny that’s a fit with the family?
  • How to integrate your nanny with your family?
  • How to quickly address any issues that might come up?
  • How to be patient when your nanny does something that drives you crazy, but isn’t something that endangers the kids?
  • How to come across as a normal family to your nanny, when really I’m learning that we are very particular about some things:  what the kids eat, TV, jumping on furniture, talking with respect, etc., etc.

I’ve found a couple of resources that are useful on this front:

  • Aunt Emma’s Blog:  The name doesn’t do it justice, but this is the rule book on what to do and not to do with respect to hiring, firing, and compensating your nanny.  It gets straight to the point and has no nonsense advice.
  • Nanny Network Parent Resources:  This one was helpful because they’ve posted a collection of articles from all over the web on the entire nanny process from requirements, interviews, initial days, keeping your nanny and taxes.
  • Short List of Government Links: No tips and tricks here, just a straight up list of government agencies and their forms that you will need to tackle when hiring a nanny.

Over the years, Canadian Living has run a couple of nanny related articles:

Canadian Living Tips:

How to choose a nanny agency

I know, I know, I’m supposed to be telling you about what I’ve been reading this week, and I have been reading a lot on the bus, but it’s mostly been “The Economist”.  Now that I have a few free minutes, I’m back to looking for a nanny agency and have found a couple of useful guides:

The Canadian Caregiver’s Association – a not for profit group that is trying to implement some industry standards has a guide.  So far the best guide I’ve found is from an agency itself.  I know it’s suspect to get the information “from the horse’s mouth”, but this site was full of great tips and tricks:  http://www.execunannies.com/hr_approach.html   If you click on the link, you’ll find the focus is more about hiring the nanny than the agency.  And that’s exactly why I think the list is so great.  I’m looking for an agency that can help me find a great nanny for my family, and this agency has suggestions on how to do that.

Navigating Nanny Agencies

As we started to look into hiring an live-in nanny, we’ve entered this whole murky world of nanny agencies.  While I’m sure there are many good agencies out there, I have yet to find one with which I’m comfortable.  The first ones I’ve found are the “No Fee” services?  No fees?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Who’s paying the bill?  It turns out the nanny.  She’s being charged $3-5k + usury interest rates.  I don’t want any part of that.

Further to my investigation I had trouble sourcing information about reviews for these agencies, or tips on how to tell if an agency is legitimate.  Some are independent agencies, some have 2-3 different company names, but are all really the same company underneath.

Nanny Agencies – my investigation

I’m going to start chronicling my research, in the hopes that others won’t have to do the same work.  If you know where this research is already done, please, please save me time on the web and point me in the right direction.

What are you going to do about it?

There are moments when I think I must be doing a terrible job as a mother ~ these moments include ones such as when my son yells that he is going to shoot me with a gun and throw me out of the house.  And then there are moments when I think: wow, he’ going to grow up to be a great man.

I had one of the latter moments last week.  My husband and I decided to fire our nanny (more on that later, but yes, we let her go after 3 days and no back-up plan in place!).  Once we let her know, it was time to let our son know that she wouldn’t be back the next day.

Sitting across the table from my son, I opened with:  I have something serious to talk to you about

Eyes look up at me, quiet OK, eyes back down.

Me:  Mommy and Daddy don’t always like the way the nanny talks to you; we don’t think she has enough respect for your ideas and your abilities.

Eyes up…pause…eyes down…pause…eyes up:  What are you going to do about it?

My heart fluttered.  To me that was a perfect response.  Reflective and thoughtful.  He knew he was important and he knew mom and dad would fix the problem.