Author Topic: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?  (Read 1967 times)

lifejoy

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Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« on: May 24, 2018, 09:31:22 AM »
My husband works 80 hour weeks and I'm far from family. I have a 10-month old. We're looking into hiring some help. I don't want to put her into daycare until she's 18 months.

Does anyone have experience in hiring at-home childcare?

CNM

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018, 09:51:04 AM »
Yes!  We hired a nanny when our child was 1 month old until almost 2 years old.  We used a nanny service. 
We filled out a form explaining our needs and expectations as well as our anticipated wage range, the service sent over I think 5 candidates for us to interview, we selected one, and signed an employment contract with her.
If we would not have liked any of the candidates, the service would have sent more for us to interview.  It is not cheap, and we had to pay a fee to the service which was based on a % of the nanny's wages.  We also, of course, paid payroll taxes and so on.

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2018, 10:04:16 AM »
Yes!  We hired a nanny when our child was 1 month old until almost 2 years old.  We used a nanny service. 
We filled out a form explaining our needs and expectations as well as our anticipated wage range, the service sent over I think 5 candidates for us to interview, we selected one, and signed an employment contract with her.
If we would not have liked any of the candidates, the service would have sent more for us to interview.  It is not cheap, and we had to pay a fee to the service which was based on a % of the nanny's wages.  We also, of course, paid payroll taxes and so on.

And I’m guessing your experience was positive? Can you tell me some traits you like about your nanny?

CNM

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2018, 10:10:36 AM »
Yes, our experience was positive.

Traits: Mainly, she was the most experienced candidate and had worked in childcare for a very long time. She also had experience with newborn care and had glowing references.  The nanny service also performed background checks, driver's record checks, and all candidates were child CPR certified.

I will also note that our nanny did light housework such as washing the child's clothes, dishes, and picked up around the house.  She also vacuumed 1x per week.  We did not request that she cook food, and our child was young enough that he did not eat things other than breastmilk/formula, although that sounded like a common thing that nannies were asked to do. 

cats

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2018, 10:40:34 AM »
We briefly did a nannyshare, then went with daycare when a spot opened up.

Pros: super convenient if it is in your home, your child is getting more attention than they might at a daycare.

Cons: it's expensive!  Varies by area but for us doing a nannyshare with 2 other families was going to be about $2100/month.  It's not clear from your OP if you are also going back to work FT or just want a helper.  If you are going to be working FT one issue I had is that the cost forced us to keep the number of hours a bit lower than what would have been available with a daycare, with the result that my husband and I were working a slightly staggered schedule and both had to be pretty rigid about our work hours.

The thing I really disliked about having a nanny though--our nanny was very experienced and it was our first time with childcare.  There were a few instances of her springing something on us or wanting to do things differently  than we did and it was kind of stressful.  For example she was really keen to get our son onto solids and then one day she just showed up with some pouches she was going to feed him (I had been leaving prepared purees for him, so this wasn't a case of there was no suitable food available or that we were expecting her to make food).  Who is going to pay for that?  Oh, us?  Well then you need to CHECK WITH US before you buy them!  Basically the nanny was taking a beg forgiveness rather than ask permission approach and several of the things she chose to do (like the pouch thing) would have ultimately increased the cost for us.  And okay, sure, we can afford it, but it starts opening up this big can of worms and it felt like our childcare costs were just going to keep adding on these incidentals and we would never really be able to budget for it.  YMMV, but I find it really hard to tell other people "I don't want to spend money on X" when it's something related to my child--suddenly you go from just being sensible/frugal to being a negligent parent who doesn't want the very best for your little one.

I found I much preferred daycare: they have a lot of rules but they're very upfront about them.  We also got lucky with a daycare that had really great carer:child ratios, and then my son's first few months there they were actually under-enrolled (well, they were at max capacity on paper but in reality they had several kids who were not coming in b/c their parents were still on leave, they were just paying to hold the spot), so the result was that he was often actually getting MORE individual attention than he was in a nannyshare with 2 other kids.  The other thing I preferred about our daycare is that they had enough staff that all the staff were able to take scheduled breaks/lunch completely away from the kids.  A nanny is going to have to be "on" until your kid goes down for a nap.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 11:48:07 AM by cats »

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2018, 10:48:07 AM »
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I’m on mat leave and I don’t need to go back to work for financial reasons. I would like to, though! I’m considering some kind of help because I am shouldering 95% is the childcare duties and I want a break, a life, some help! My husband works a ton. Maybe I need a really good babysitter instead of a nanny.

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2018, 11:06:55 AM »
Cats - I really appreciate you sharing the pros and cons!

After talking with my mom, we’re deciding to have her come out once a week (her idea!) to babysit and I’ll work a few days a week. I’m looking forward to it!

CindyBS

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2018, 11:21:59 AM »
I hired a mother's helper when I was on bedrest and also had a 22 month old at the time.  I really could not care for my son and stay on the couch all day so when my DH was at work either my parents or IL's came over and then we had the mother's helper about 8-10 hours per week.   We also had her do some housework.

She was a teenager (it was summer - no school).  I had her do a lot of the more active things with my son - take him to the playground, the pool, run around in the backyard, etc.  Then my parents, who are older, did more quiet time things like puzzles or came over while he napped. 

The good things is that she had a lot of energy and could really be active with my son.  Another good thing is that is was fairly cheap - babysitting rates.

Some of the downsides included that she wasn't especially experienced doing housework.  She killed all my indoor plants from over watering.  She didn't know how to load a dishwasher (I guess her family didn't have one?), she wasn't good at mopping the floor. 

As a temporary thing - about 6 weeks - it worked out well.    With summer breaks coming up, maybe you can arrange a high school or college student?   Something like 2-3 afternoons per week?

Knapptyme

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2018, 11:37:42 AM »
We hired a nanny (person we knew from religious organization) who was young (21) and inexperienced (no long-term childcare before) but wanting to get into that line of work. It was a learning experience for both parties, and she was really inexpensive in the beginning.

There were a lot of great things with it, and a few drawbacks. Because we did not hire through a service, there was no overhead cost, and we ran it as a business with some tax advantages built in. DW and I both taught high school nearby. Some days, DW could bike home for lunch and nurse when the kids were little. Sometimes, the nanny drove our vehicle with child up to the school, and DW was able to nurse there. Lots of flexibility. She also did some light housecleaning like keeping the kitchen clean, vacuuming, and laundering kids clothes.

She was off in the summers, which she liked, and was able to take on other jobs for supplemental income. From what I know through my school, there are a few young college grads (former students of ours) that are willing to nanny until they find more secure, long-lasting employment. YMMV, of course, but there are lots of good options associated with nannies.

FWIW, I am now a SAHD. Our former nanny still nannies for other families, but is a bit more choosy, and can name a much better price. From it, she also got a lot of housesitting gigs, dogsitting gigs, and even a night-nannying gig (she doesn't care much for that one).

cats

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2018, 11:45:59 AM »
It sounds like a FT nanny isn't necessarily what you need right now.  How long between now and 18 months (when you say you'd be okay with daycare)?  In your situation, I think I might try a combo of hiring a babysitter for a couple of half-days each week (or having your mom come over) and outsourcing some household tasks specifically to a cleaning lady, laundromat, or the frozen foods section of the grocery store.  Then you can scale up or down as needed.

If you are eventually planning to return to work, you might also look into whether any daycares you would like to eventually use have part-time openings (in my area this is not common, but they do sometimes exist).  Could be a good chance for you to test drive the daycare as well as getting some solo time for yourself.

RamonaQ

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2018, 01:18:39 PM »
I've been a regular babysitter / sort of nanny for a few years.  I had started babysitting for a family with a 6 month old just for date nights.  When the first child was nearly 2 and the mom was very pregnant she wanted some extra help and so I started babysitting a couple mornings per week.  At most I was doing three mornings per week, from about 8 am - 1 pm.  The mom was mostly a stay at home mom but still liked having me there on a regular basis because she could go work out, go grocery shopping, have some time to herself, etc.  They have 3 kids now and I just stopped my morning babysitting and went back to just date nights (because I could no longer make it work with my work schedule).

That family found me through an online service - Sittercity, I think?  I had just moved to the area and was looking for something to do on Friday nights.  They paid for a background check for me through the service.  They probably liked that I was in my 30s and a children's librarian too. :-) 

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2018, 01:40:48 PM »
I've been a regular babysitter / sort of nanny for a few years.  I had started babysitting for a family with a 6 month old just for date nights.  When the first child was nearly 2 and the mom was very pregnant she wanted some extra help and so I started babysitting a couple mornings per week.  At most I was doing three mornings per week, from about 8 am - 1 pm.  The mom was mostly a stay at home mom but still liked having me there on a regular basis because she could go work out, go grocery shopping, have some time to herself, etc.  They have 3 kids now and I just stopped my morning babysitting and went back to just date nights (because I could no longer make it work with my work schedule).

That family found me through an online service - Sittercity, I think?  I had just moved to the area and was looking for something to do on Friday nights.  They paid for a background check for me through the service.  They probably liked that I was in my 30s and a children's librarian too. :-)

Oh my gosh you are my dream sitter!!! I’m a librarian so I know how great it must be to have a children’s librarian watch your kids!! Haha :)

My mom is a retired primary teacher, so at least I have that!

Yes you guys are giving me lots of good ideas, many thanks.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2018, 06:26:10 PM »
Lifejoy, when I was a SAHM of a *very* demanding and rambunctious 2-3 year old boy, I hired some neighborhood teens (around 10-13 years old) to come by after school from about 4:00 to 5:30.  They were truly "mother's helpers" as I was right there on the same floor with the toddler, but they gave me a break right when I needed it (AKA the witching hour).  They just played trains, built with blocks, went outside to the sandbox etc with my son and gave me some breathing space.   

The younger kids were happy to do it for the experience (and about $3-$5) and their parents were happy to have the kids out earning a little money and getting some babysitting experience.  They were all friends or neighbors' kids.

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2018, 06:43:35 PM »
Lifejoy, when I was a SAHM of a *very* demanding and rambunctious 2-3 year old boy, I hired some neighborhood teens (around 10-13 years old) to come by after school from about 4:00 to 5:30.  They were truly "mother's helpers" as I was right there on the same floor with the toddler, but they gave me a break right when I needed it (AKA the witching hour).  They just played trains, built with blocks, went outside to the sandbox etc with my son and gave me some breathing space.   

The younger kids were happy to do it for the experience (and about $3-$5) and their parents were happy to have the kids out earning a little money and getting some babysitting experience.  They were all friends or neighbors' kids.

That’s a fantastic idea!

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2018, 09:48:27 PM »
I have three part-time nannies now (two for weekdays, one occasional one for weekends). Growing up, my sisters and I had a full-time nanny up until my sisters started school.

For us, the biggest considerations were:

- Maturity and experience -- do they know how to properly care for young children?
- Teachability -- many of the nannies here come from poor farming villages and do not always use practices that would be considered "best practice" from a Western perspective, so we needed someone who would go along with how we wish to raise our child.
- Fit -- DD had to like her
- References -- we found our nannies through word-of-mouth referrals, and then we reached out to them (that's why we have three part-time ones -- we had to work around their existing schedules.)

The nanny also cleans the house and cooks (if they are here around lunch/dinner time).

The first few times they came over, I did housework in a different room while the nanny played with DD. That way, I could see how the nanny interacted with DD, without interfering with her childcare style. It's not a perfect solution since I know they are on their best behavior, but it's better than nothing.

Just a word of caution: If you go with having young teens watching your 10-month-old, you do need to be around to keep an eye on things. Your 10-month-old isn't old enough to move away or verbalize if the older kids are playing too rough. That's why I prefer older teens (preferably ones who have much younger siblings) or adults.

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2018, 04:38:24 AM »
We had PT nannies for our oldest (when she was around 1) for about 6 months and then put her in daycare.  We had bad experiences with both the nannies.  The first one was great but she quit suddenly when her other employer decided to give her more hours without telling us, leaving us in the lurch.  She just disappeared and stopped answering our calls.  We found out through a mutual friend what had happened.  Second nanny was a just terrible - we ended up firing her.  My husband came home from work one day and found the front door wide open, a burning pot on the stove and the nanny asleep on the couch while our one year old was playing near her.  The amazing thing was that she was angry when we fired her.  I think she may have been on drugs.

Daycare was so much better - not only was it cheaper but the day care teachers here in Italy are highly trained and well vetted (they're paid the same as public school teachers and they have to pass difficult exams to get the job). The problem with babysitters is there is no quality control so they may be bad or they may be good but your child can't tell you. Both my kids took to daycare like a duck to water. 

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2018, 10:30:13 PM »
We got an Au Pair once we had our 3rd child. We are three months into it and so far it has been great. There are a few challenges along the way but we are getting great childcare and we also enjoy the cultural experience.

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2018, 11:54:05 AM »
I really appreciate all the advice and info!

I’m thinking to hire someone to play with my baby while I’m home. That would give me some freedom, her some variety, and maybe be a good baby step for me.

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2018, 07:33:21 AM »
I was a mother's helper when I was 12/13. The mother I was helping was older and just wanted some help during the day. I'd play, walk to the park, feed lunch, etc. She was usually around, doing chores, or running in and out for errands. For food, I was heating things up in the microwave, making grilled cheese - she adapted to what I could do. I did it for a summer or 2.

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2018, 11:03:20 AM »
I was a mother's helper when I was 12/13. The mother I was helping was older and just wanted some help during the day. I'd play, walk to the park, feed lunch, etc. She was usually around, doing chores, or running in and out for errands. For food, I was heating things up in the microwave, making grilled cheese - she adapted to what I could do. I did it for a summer or 2.

You sound just like the girl we hired.  : )    We had just moved to a new city, so I didn't know anyone or have any outside support.  Mr. SP was working crazy hours, and I was exhausted.  DS was 18 months when I hired the girl next door.  She would take him down to the park at the end of the street, do crafts with him, etc. for an hour or two several days a week after school.   She didn't cook though - her only job was to amuse our energizer bunny.    It was a lifesaver (and sanity saver!) for me.  I got to get dinner going, take a shower in peace, or just sit by myself for a few minutes.  Heaven!

As she grew up, she transitioned to being our regular babysitter.  Worked out so well for all of us.   

lifejoy

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2018, 04:01:38 PM »
I was a mother's helper when I was 12/13. The mother I was helping was older and just wanted some help during the day. I'd play, walk to the park, feed lunch, etc. She was usually around, doing chores, or running in and out for errands. For food, I was heating things up in the microwave, making grilled cheese - she adapted to what I could do. I did it for a summer or 2.

You sound just like the girl we hired.  : )    We had just moved to a new city, so I didn't know anyone or have any outside support.  Mr. SP was working crazy hours, and I was exhausted.  DS was 18 months when I hired the girl next door.  She would take him down to the park at the end of the street, do crafts with him, etc. for an hour or two several days a week after school.   She didn't cook though - her only job was to amuse our energizer bunny.    It was a lifesaver (and sanity saver!) for me.  I got to get dinner going, take a shower in peace, or just sit by myself for a few minutes.  Heaven!

As she grew up, she transitioned to being our regular babysitter.  Worked out so well for all of us.

That sounds so good!

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2018, 01:54:58 AM »
I might be out of the discussion as am a male.. and very invested into this.
I found a nanny and at first I had a LOT of requirements, the list was really long.

Until I realized what's more important: Someone I can REALLY trust (reference and gut feel were my must), and the kids to feel comfortable and verse versa.
Then the rest is a big plus. Strange enough I did find that age was not that important: Some older nannies were absolute nightmare and younger ones sometimes not responsible enough to our testing.

Our current one is 17 y o...

Sibley

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Re: Have you hired a nanny or mother's helper?
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2018, 07:12:02 PM »
I was a mother's helper when I was 12/13. The mother I was helping was older and just wanted some help during the day. I'd play, walk to the park, feed lunch, etc. She was usually around, doing chores, or running in and out for errands. For food, I was heating things up in the microwave, making grilled cheese - she adapted to what I could do. I did it for a summer or 2.

You sound just like the girl we hired.  : )    We had just moved to a new city, so I didn't know anyone or have any outside support.  Mr. SP was working crazy hours, and I was exhausted.  DS was 18 months when I hired the girl next door.  She would take him down to the park at the end of the street, do crafts with him, etc. for an hour or two several days a week after school.   She didn't cook though - her only job was to amuse our energizer bunny.    It was a lifesaver (and sanity saver!) for me.  I got to get dinner going, take a shower in peace, or just sit by myself for a few minutes.  Heaven!

As she grew up, she transitioned to being our regular babysitter.  Worked out so well for all of us.

That sounds so good!

Well, please don't be the family I did this for. Addiction happened, CPS happened, divorce happened. Dad ended up with full custody, kids were fine, mom had intermittent contact when she was sober. Addictive personalities are a thing, and that's when I learned it.