Should I hire a nanny? muses South African mom blogger Tracy Dawson, who blogs at Liam and Cole.
The nanny conversation has been a hot topic in our home for a long time now. Hubby and I often discuss whether or not to keep our nanny or send Cole to creche and Liam to aftercare. Many have different views on the subject, as do I, and I’d like to share with you our experience. Use it, don’t use it. You will hopefully at least gain some perspective.
I returned to work with Liam when he almost 5 months old. He went to a day mother for the first 3 months. I wasn’t quite happy to take him out with me so early every morning, especially during winter, which was exactly the time that I had I returned to work. His day mother was good, and the only issue I had was having to take him out in the mornings.
Hubby’s dear grandmother recommended a lady who would be able to take care of Liam and stay with us. This sounded amazing to me. Having someone everyday and not having to take Liam out in the cold was all that mattered to me. She stayed with us during the week and went home on weekends. Coming home from work was a breeze as I came home to a clean, fed, and well looked after and happy baby, AND my house was clean – major bonus! What more could I ask for? To be honest though, when we hired her, we didn’t actually do a formal interview. I also didn’t sit with her and take her through everything that I needed her to do besides the basics on how to take care of Liam. I also didn’t ask any questions about who she is, where is she from and I didn’t get any references. I trusted this lady with my greatest asset, my son! The could have proven to be my biggest mistake. Fortunately, she was an honest hearted lady and took great care of our son. She was simply amazing!
Sadly though, she was only with us for a year. Circumstances changed at home, and having had no experience with a creche going child, I was pretty keen on sending Liam to a creche as I felt he needed to “socialize”. Being a first time mom, I just couldn’t wait for Liam to be doing all the big boy stuff, you know, learning, playing etc. It didn’t cross my mind that all of that would come in due time, in HIS time, when HE is ready. There was no reason to send him to creche at such a young age. He has the rest of his life to socialize and learn and play. Nonetheless we found what we believed was an amazing creche. But, after a couple of weeks of Liam being there, I really started to miss our nanny. Now having to drop Liam at school every morning, fetch him in the afternoons after work, and always being prepared for school everyday, just became a nightmare. Liam also started getting sick more often than usual and it mean’t me staying out of work more often, and spending alot more on doctor bills. So in addition to creche fees, we now had alot more medical bills and I still had to do all the chores of a stay at home mom when I arrived home from work everyday. It was tough, and it was tiring to say the least! I didn’t realize how good I had it, until I didn’t have it anymore.
Later, when Liam started “big school”, he didn’t quite enjoy aftercare at the school so we decided to hire a nanny once again, just to be home with him after school. I made contact with our ex nanny and she recommended someone. It worked out well. By the time I fell pregnant with Cole, our new nanny had been with us for a good few months and I was comfortable with her taking care of Cole. Cole came and regrettably there were many things that our nanny had to deal with back home. Which meant more staying out of work for me and hubby, which was one of the very things having a nanny was supposed to prevent. It left me frustrated and resentful. Any employer would be upset to pay someone to do a job but end up having to do the job themselves. At the end of the day, no matter the circumstances, I needed her there and she wasn’t there. That’s the thought that kept rolling through my mind. I then started reminding myself, that I trust this lady with my greatest assets, my kids! I started reminding myself of all the good she had done. And she too is a mother. Just like I and any other person, we all have “stuff” that we have to deal with from time to time, it was just a bummer that we had to suffer the consequences.
So in light of everything that’s happened along the way, my personal decision is To Nanny! Not everyone will have the same experience. In fact, many might have had a more positive experience and some not. But I constantly remind myself that my baby is warm and at home every morning, he is in his safe place and he is not exposed to other kids germs at a creche. Yes, no matter how much money you spend per month, to send your child to the best creche in town, everyday your child is exposed to other kids germs. Kids carry germs, it’s that simple. And if one kid is surrounded by many other kids daily, well, you can expect that your child will get sick from time to time, more often than not. Unless your child has an amazing immune system and he just doesn’t get sick very often (which most kids don’t).
So here’s a list of do’s and don’ts and pro’s and con’s when it comes to hiring a nanny:
~ Ask for a referral from a trusted source
~ Conduct a thorough interview, engage and ask many many questions
~ Be clear of your expectations upfront
~ Have a contract in place
~ Document EVERYTHING
~ Be good to your nanny – She is taking care of your greatest assets!
~ Take it for granted that your nanny will know what to do in any given situation at home
~ Hire someone who has not been recommended by a trusted source
~ Have a verbal contract
~ Let her work for longer than her working hours
~ Less exposure to other kids germs therefore a less often sick child, hence less medical bills
~ Your child is at home and safe and well looked after
~ You can come home from a tiring day at the office and know that all you need to see to is dinner and homework
~ No need to pack in school bags and worry about sending milk and food and the stress of getting your little one ready in the mornings
~ You child’s carer is only focusing on your child, and not distracted by others
~ Your child may be taken care of the way you want, provided you make this very clear from the start
~ Nannies get sick too, they have stuff to deal with too. So when your nanny does not pitch for work, you may find yourself very inconvenienced if you don’t have a support system
~ It can be expensive
~ Public transport issues can play a big role if your nanny is travelling from far. Be prepared for late coming. Speak about this upfront. Live-in nanny’s work out great to avoid this!
In my personal experience, the pro’s definitely outway the cons which inevitably makes it less expensive for me and so I will continue to keep my nanny employed. Cole hardly gets sick, in fact, off the top of my head, I can only think of one occasion when he was very sick and that was just a couple of weeks ago. I hope I was able to give you some perspective on the subject or at least given you an idea on what to keep in mind when hiring a nanny.
I would also love to hear your thoughts on this, To nanny, or Not to nanny! Please leave your comments below!
Tata for now
Tracy has been wanting to document her journey for such a long time and at the same time she’s fallen in love with the little local companies, especially the mommy owned ones. So what better way to incorporate both, other than a blog. In her blog she talks about her journey through motherhood with her kids, Liam and Cole while at the same showing you what our local momma owned companies have in store for you.