Riley is sick: feverish, coughing, draped bonelessly over furniture with great unhappy anime eyes. He is utterly miserable, and so of course our household has been plunged into a state of bleak distress. I vaguely remember a time Before The Illness where the sounds of laughing children were heard and meals were consumed and the adults went about their business with smiles rather than grey, shadowed faces, but it already seems as though our current routine of wiping snot, tears, and grimly administering useless doses of fever reducer has become inescapable—like this is what parenthood is going to be like from here on out. Caring for depressed, consumptive toddlers who require 3 AM All Your Laundry Are Belong to Us Tylenol-barf cleanups. WOE.

Dylan thus far has remained illness-free but I can only assume he too will succumb, and then the adults will absorb the childrens’ germs and transform the symptoms into something even more disgusting in our clunky grownup bodies, like geysering arterial jets of blood from our eyesockets, and then there will be nothing left to do but burn our house down.

I am feeling maybe a little despairing today, can you tell? I wish it was sunny outside. And that I had a gallon of peppermint ice cream. With Xanax sprinkles.

In other news, I am kind of looking into hiring a nanny. We’re not unhappy with our daycare, but I’ve been thinking more and more that it might be nicer to have someone come to our house instead. There are pros and cons to both situations, really, and it may be that we simply can’t afford a nanny, even on the part-time basis we need, but you know, I’m checking it out.

So have any of you hired a caregiver before? I could use some help thinking of the right questions to ask. Also, if it turns out the right person is a young college student who can only work for us between now and fall, do you think that would be worthwhile, as long as we had a back-up plan when they start up school again (ie, hiring someone new or holding a spot at daycare)?

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
97 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Joanne
16 years ago

I like the idea of sittercity.com or something online. You pay a small fee but big deal – that way you have references checked by not just you, but officials! I would prefer a nanny, too, especially with two kids. We are sick here, too, I feel for you and hope you’re better soon!

Naomi the Strange
16 years ago

If you choose a nanny, I’d get one from an agency or pre-screening service, where they do background checks, DMV checks, etc. Also get someone who is CPR certified. There are a lots of nanny horror stories in the media, but I don’t think that’s the norm. Just get someone you trust and is good with your kids. Working part time for the nanny will be good because then she will be less likely to get totally worn out with your kids (because let’s face it, kids are annoying). Good luck finding a nanny. I have a friend here in the bay area that runs a nanny agency… she’s really good too… and I’ve done nanny work before too… so yeah, good luck finding someone. I agree, having someone come to your home and give the kids one-on-one attention is WAY better than daycare. So I hope you can find someone you trust, and can afford.

Each
16 years ago

I have no kids and no nanny advice, except i have been one. for 3 families (and if i lived near you i would LOVE to be yours! I loved being a nanny!)

I was a part time nanny, never lived with a family and during each time was also either working or a student.

as a student I arranged all my classes on like tues/thurs day and mon/wed/fri nights so i was available mon/wed/fri days and sat afternoons (sometimes)
that arrangement was for two years for one family. It worked great.

maybe you can find a student who is majoring in child development (grad or undergrad) and can use this “job” as part of their studies making them more available to you.

Good Luck!

(plus students are cheaper…)

Janssen
16 years ago

I was a nanny part-time (about 30 hours a week) when I was a student and it was great. I don’t think it’ll be too ridiculously expensive if you get a student.

jen
jen
16 years ago

of course the basics:
-references, experiences (have they handled two kids before?), what they might do with a kid on a normal day/a dark and dreary Seattle day, cpr/first aid certified (important!), asking pay, length willing to commit to, drivers license, car with proper insurance, what kind of car (helps in figuring out if its safe), etc.

i am a nanny myself and wouldn’t recommend going with someone until the fall unless you are TRULY unhappy with daycare. transitions are hard for kids especially Riley’s age i feel. try and stick it out until you find someone you really like. make ABSOLUTE sure you feel completely comfortable with the person and get a good feeling because they are going to be in your house with two boys you love oh so much.

once you do find someone make sure to do a trial run. be willing to pay the person to come along with you for the average day when you aren’t in the workforce. let her observe and see how hands on she gets– it’ll be a big help.

lastly (SORRY! haha), you and JB should sit down and write out what your expectations for a nanny are. are the kids her only priority? do you want someone to do housekeeping as well, even if light? someone to make lunch and dinner? determine set hours and how to deal with overtime. what about vacation/sick days? how much notice is required. there are so many little things. i will try and send along the summary i received from work waaay back when.

good luck in your search. ive had great luck with jobs through craigslist but it takes time (keeping in mind i live in nyc). spread the word through friends that your looking. it can be completely tedious but there is someone out there for you guys!

*done. ;p

Each
16 years ago

oh, i think i sounded like an idiot. as I was not found through a service, and everyone is suggesting this (and its a good idea!)
i am CPR certified for both children and babies (very different!)
I have taken classes in child health and care, have a perfect driving record, am an accomplished swimmer (you’d be surprised how many mom’s like this)
the point is, all of this is on my child care resume, and can be checked, which is what a good service is, a fact checker, and that is def what you want!

(oh and i have no idea how to work controllers or DVD players, meaning very little tv, thats incidental really)

Christina
16 years ago

My sister lives in Puyallup (shut up- i know!) and has in home care- a student like you mentioned. She loves her and is fantastic with her two kids. I cant remember what website she used for her search. It does all the work for you, background checks etc. you just do the interviewing. If your intrested email me I will get you the info.

clarabella
16 years ago

I once kept a little girl for a summer between school years (in grad school). I was with her from 9-4 5 days a week while both her parents worked for the summer. By the end of the summer, we were so happy with each other (the family and myself) that I considered arranging my schedule so that I could watch her in the fall too. But then her dad quit his job, so there was no need. This is just to say that something similar might befall you, especially if, as another poster suggested, you try to hire someone interested in child development already. Good luck, and I hope Riley feels better, and I hope that miraculously you and JB and Dylan avoid the plague.

lydia
lydia
16 years ago

we’re just getting over the mutant virus that has attacked our son for the second time in a month – poor little guy is so miserable and even more clingy than usual. for that reason alone, i would hire a nanny instead of daycare which is like a petrie dish of who knows what bacteria and germs. ick! but unfortunately, if we were to hire a nanny, almost my entire paycheck would go towards paying her so why even work? i, like you, feel the need to work outside the home too for my own enrichment (and sanity). not that i don’t love being a mom, but i don’t feel like i’m defined by that role only. i’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a creative person etc. but then i feel guilty for even wanting to work (even though i have to b/c of our financial situation). is it only women that feel guilt like this? or only me?

Felicia
Felicia
16 years ago

From another blog I read… a sample “Nanny Share Agreement.” Obviously you won’t be sharing said nanny (or at least I think you won’t, unless you can find another family to pick up the part-time you don’t need), but you get the idea… I think this mom found her nanny on Craigslist but I don’t have time to search her archives so I can’t verify that.

http://www.myfunnyfunnyfamily.com/search/label/Sample%20Nanny%20Share%20Agreement

Christina
16 years ago

We had a nanny for our 1st child and are planning to get one full time for our 2nd.

The 1st nanny was nice enough but we were desperate and slightly poor but I had no heart to put my baby in daycare full time. The 1st nanny had some “issues” and we paid her poorly. She stayed with us for about a year. It was long hard year. We hired her under the table and she had lots of experience but I always worried her issues would rub off on my child.

I was glad we did it because our son was basically at home in his bed from 6 months to 18 months before putting him in real daycare. Also, it was SO nice to just go to work and not have to run a baby to day care or anywhere for that matter. No diaper bag, nothing. Just walk out the door! She did a lot of good things with our son like go to the library for story time and she did some light house work which totally rocked!

The negative is that our house was basically not ours in some ways. I mean she was neat and clean mostly but she was not as neat and clean as I am. She drove us batty with her issues. We were some what glad when she left.

This time when we hire someone we will do it legitimately and we have more money so we will hire the best person we can find likely through an agency. I would also say try to find someone who can stay through the long haul. It is hard to change care providers both for you and your kiddos (the whole getting used to a new person and the way they do something thing but also the kids get SO attached it is amazing!)

Also, I agree with the person who said get the background check/CPR certs/DMV stuff done.

Finally the person has to jive with you. I mean they will be a part of your family even if it is part time. I want someone who I want to hang with if I have to and not someone I just wish would leave.

We have looked into Nannies4hire.org. It is fairly reasonable price wise and they will do the checks etc and I think you can interview as many people as you want to off their site.

Some other places to look if you do not want to pay big bucks to an agency is Craigslist or your local paper or you can advertise for a nanny in your local paper. BUT again I caution you to get references, background checks, CPR, etc…

Julie
Julie
16 years ago

I hired a nanny for my daughter – which as a single parent I really couldn’t afford – but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The peace of mind it gave me made the rest of my life so much easier. As far as finding the right one – I interviewed a ton of women, read the websites to find all the right questions to ask, but ultimately it just came down to “knowing” she was the right one. If you do hire someone for just the summer, be prepared to find that you won’t want to go back to daycare in the fall!

Melissa
Melissa
16 years ago

I hired a p/t nanny for my daughter. We moved and I switched her to p/t daycare- because she’s older now it’s like going to “school”. So I prefer it, but I just had my second child (whoa, on no sleep here!)and am thinking of hiring a nanny again. Agencies can be super expensive but good for security purposes. If you can get someone through a friend even better…some of my interview questions are:
Why have you chosen to do this as a living?
Do you know CPR, etc?
What are your views on discipline?
Give an example of a tough kid situation and ask how they would respond.
Last suggestion – Find someone who responds well to critism and has a flexible personality. I found when someone is in your home things can get so personal…hard to explain but they do and if you find someone who can roll with the punches it’s easier. (I’m cranky in the a.m. and sometimes I say the wrong thing to the sitter and don’t mean it, etc.) Good luck with the search.

Heather C
Heather C
16 years ago

No nanny advice, just sympathy for you and poor Riley.

beth
16 years ago

I can’t vouch for daycare as I’ve never used it, but my mom comes to my house in the mornings to watch Madeline (3mths) while I work, and let me tell you… PRICELESS. She is so comfy in her environment, caregiver has everything she needs, etc.

And mornings are so much easier – no rushing to get out of the house, no hauling Maddie into the cold.

Also, my mom is great about helping with small chores – transferring laundry to the dryer, unloading the dishwasher, etc – and those things give me so much more time with her in the evenings.

The only concern I would have is how well the kids would transition between caregivers in the fall – but I know you’ll have that handled, so I say go with the nanny!

daranaco
daranaco
16 years ago

I think everyone who has commented so far has made several really good points. I thought I would mention out that while the one-on-one attention of a nanny is very beneficial, Riley may benefit from spending at least some time in a group environment. I’m a WAHM so my oldest son attends a Mother’s Day Out program for a few hours three days a week. He has been forced to deal with some of the realities of life that he does not get when he’s at home with his sister and I (sharing toys, taking turns, begging and whining might get your way with Mom but other adults aren’t so easy to manipulate, etc). That being said, if deciding between a great daycare and an great nanny, I’d go with the nanny.

Jean
Jean
16 years ago

You are the funniest person in the world.

We used a summer sitter once and it worked out great. She was a school teacher. It gave us time to figure out what we’d do for our situation on a more permanent basis.

Here are things we did not like about someone at our house:

You have to provide snack/lunch, etc. (not sure if your daycare takes care of these things. I don’t have to provide, currently, and it’s a huge burden lifted from my shoulders.)

You might want to try to make your home prsentable, which means you cannot leave bras and underwear on the steps where they are found any other time.

You come home to dirty dishes and a messy house.

What’s nice is being able to just GO HOME and not do pick-up.

daranaco
daranaco
16 years ago

“mention out”? Apparently wordsmithing is not one of my natural talents.

daranaco
daranaco
16 years ago

“mention out”? Apparently wordsmithing is not one of my natural talents.

Forgot to mention – I hope Riley gets well soon.

alison
alison
16 years ago

We don’t have a nanny (we have a grandma for the one day a week I sneak off to work), but several friends have found good part-time nannies through NW University jobsite (they’re in Kirkland, and most of the students live on the Eastside). Here’s the link:
http://eagle.northwestu.edu/jobsearch/jobs.php?CategoryID=2
hope it helps!

WCD
WCD
16 years ago

We hired a college student and loved her — she’s been watching Nick since he was three and he’s going on 7. And her hourly rate is reasonable.

Carolyn
Carolyn
16 years ago

I nannied for a year or two, the people I worked for knew people I babysit for, and you can’t beat personal recommendations from people you already trust. I got along very well with the parents, though I can’t imagine it wasn’t *weird* for them to have somebody else being in their house all day. So prepare yourself for that. :) Having a nanny was MUCH more convienient for them – like now, when Riley is sick – it didn’t bother me to watch little G when he was sick (but no so sick that it just had to be mommy and no one else will do home with him), so less time off work for the parents.

Banana
16 years ago

I was a nanny in college and worked for a family in Bellevue. I arranged my school schedule (as much as possible) around their needs. I was hired through Annie’s Nannies, http://www.anniesnannies-seattle.com/, a local nanny service. Apparently their fee is really expensive (the family I worked for told me this), but they are REALLY thorough. Beyond the extensive background check they have the nanny and family fill out a pages long questionairre about the style of discipline they use, what sorts of tools they bring to the table, and what their general child-rearing philosophy is. The idea is to match a nanny to a family with similar beliefs. This is one of the most important elements to finding someone who will work well for your family. If you believe in a home with strict boundaries and you hire someone who believes a child should be allowed to explore at their will, it won’t work.

I loved being a nanny and I still see the family I worked for a few times a year.

Jill
16 years ago

I babysat (can’t bring myself to say I was a ‘nanny’ since that assumes some sort of legit experience) for a family that had 4 kids for a summer during college. I was there from 7am-6pm 4 days/week, and only after I had agreed to the arrangement did I hear from several different people how horrible their kids were. And they were bad. By the end of the summer I was *so happy* to be out of there. Part of it was the kids (I babysat frequently for other families and still remember their kids fondly) and part of it was that I was a college student who was just there to be paid and really didn’t want to be there. I did spend a lot of time cleaning their house, though, because I couldn’t handle being there with such a mess. If I remember correctly, I got paid something like $250/week (in 2000? 2001? something like that), which now that I think of it was total crap.
On the flip side, my mom watched kids at our house for a few years when my brother and I were in elementary school, and to this day they are like my little brother and sister.
So, I will agree with those above who have recommended finding someone who is a) qualified and b) invested in your children. Some college kids could work for this, but I would beware anyone who is just in it for a summer job.
(although oh my god your kids are too adorable! there is no way they could be as bad as the monsters I watched that summer. No possible way)

Cheri
16 years ago

This blogger mom of 2 seems to have had a great experience with her nanny. You should inquire with her about her experience http://stephanieklein.blogs.com/greek_tragedy/2008/05/sunday-sundaes.html

Christian ODell
16 years ago

Background checks are where it’s at. Plus, nail down prices and be firm. Give tips if you feel like it later, but a nanny isn’t watching your house, she’s taking care of children and she should be there because she loves kids.

After all the checks and looking into agencies, we ended up having a daughter of a close friend from Honduras fly up and move in with us for 8 months to get us past the hump until Jules could get into our dayschool of choice. If I were catholic, I would make it my personal mission in life to have that lady canonized into sainthood.

She was hands down, the most fabulous human-being we’ve ever known and our daughter thought the sun rose and set out of her navel and ass. We paid her well, but looking back I always feel like we didn’t do near what she deserved. She was an MBA between jobs in CA and wanted to travel, so she fit right in with us. Live-ins are not for everyone and I don’t know I’d do it again, but it worked for us.

Above all else, when you find one, make sure they connect with your kids. If not, ditch em fast and find another. A little upheavel won’t hurt them if you manage to find the right one. Wendy connected with Juliet damn near instantly and they adored one another. We never had to worry about Juliet acting up or Wendy “tolerating” her.

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth as a one-time dad who can barely tie his shoes in the morning.

Btw, as for the price, it’s not unreasonable. At least here where we live. Another idea is to find one more mom who needs it done too and pool your kids together. That way you both pay them and it’s 3-4 kids instead of 2. Might work. Oooorrrr, I could be talking out of my butt.

One more thing. NANNY-CAM. We cammed the whole house practically and were greatly relieved when we realized that our nanny did nothing but rain unicorn kisses on our daughter. We weren’t sure at first, hence the cams, but after a couple of months of that we realized that in our case, it was meaningless paranoia. Your mileage may vary.

All Adither
16 years ago

You should be able to get someone for 13 to 14 an hour. Especially a college student. I pay GOOD college students 10 to 12 an hour (from SPU). Problem is, college students are notoriously transient. What might work for them now, may not 2 months from now. But, it does depend on the individual. For a really amazing, professional nanny, you might have to pay 15 to 17. 15 is my personal ceiling. And I would no way in hell pay 18 to 20. I’ve found good people on Sittercity, Craigslist and Backpage.com. Yes, really.

All Adither
16 years ago

You should be able to get someone for 13 to 14 an hour. Especially a college student. I pay GOOD college students 10 to 12 an hour (from SPU). Problem is, college students are notoriously transient. What might work for them now, may not 2 months from now. But, it does depend on the individual. For a really amazing, professional nanny, you might have to pay 15 to 17. 15 is my personal ceiling. And I would no way in hell pay 18 to 20. I’ve found good people on Sittercity, Craigslist and Backpage.com. Yes, really.

fairydogmother
16 years ago

I have worked in the child care field for…well…um, longer than I would care to admit because I am currently feeling OLD and FEEBLE. I’ve hired staff for child care centers many a time, which is not quite the same situation, but I would be happy to share my insight/experience re: interviewing, etc.

I think $18-20/hour for a college student is too steep, and may in fact be wishful thinking on their part (especially without going through an agency). I can kind of see it if you are going through an agency and the agency takes a percentage as their fee (I’m not entirely sure how that works, if it is like a temp agency in that respect or what). But I can tell you that most child care center directors in the seattle area don’t even make $18-20/hour. $13-14/hour sounds quite reasonable to me.

I don’t want to take up your entire comments section. Feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like more specifics.

Marie Green
16 years ago

I know someone who was very happy with a nanny-sharing experience with another family. The nanny spent time in both homes, giving each family a week where there was no one to make a mess all day… I also know someone who had great success with college student nannies- and it also was short term. This particular family had 2 college students sharing the part time daycare they needed, and it was great for them (the nannies) to be able to back each other up. She paid $10-12/hour in the DC area… so yes, I would think you can find someone for a much more reasonable price.

Liz
Liz
16 years ago

I was a part-time nanny last year, when I was a senior in college in the Boston area. The child was an infant, and I made $10/hour (plus snacks!)– which was fine for me because I enjoyed myself, and the baby was asleep a lot of the time anyway, so I could get homework done. (Also, I walked there, so there was no issue of transportation costs.) Sometimes I sat for the three-year-old sister as well; I think for the same price, since usually that was at night and they’d be asleep for most of the time. Anyway, I was happy with my pay, but I also, being a lucky college student, wasn’t paying for a lot of the normal life expenses that I am now.

Jennifer
16 years ago

I don’t have any nanny advice, just wanted to give you a virtual hug and an ice cream – peppermint, of course!

Amy
Amy
16 years ago

I think nannies are great with babies like Dylan, but for toddlers like Riley I happen to think daycare is usually a better situation for them. Of course it depends on the toddler, but in my (limited) experience, my two toddlers very much needed the stimulation of daycare–the socialization of playing with other kids, the getting used to and comfortable with a new surrounding, the acceptence of rules and schedules like circle time, etc–and you probably won’t get that with a nanny. Some nannies (at least in my neighborhood) have lots of other nanny friends, so the kids all get together and play that way, so that could be a solution if you’re really set on moving out of daycare. But Riley will be three this fall, right? What about doing a mixture–have Riley do mornings at a daycare/preschool and then the afternoons at home with you or the nanny. Then Dylan could have the benefit of the nanny or you all the time but Riley would still get the preschool benefits. I don’t know how the costs would work out, maybe it would be too steep. But it’s an idea.

Michael
16 years ago

Hi Linda,

We live in Kirkland. When we had one child we used Bright Horizons (first the Redmond campus, then the Kirkland one), and then after our second child we switched to a nanny. We’re now on our third nanny, who will be quitting at the end of the month. So I can tell you about both experiences in as much detail as you would like — feel free to email me questions.

Nannies bring their own set of problems. We were never fully satisfied with either daycare or nanny as childcare options, and if we were doing it all over again, we would try an au pair instead.

Our first two nannies were

Michael
16 years ago

Hmm, WP cut off my comment. Apparently doesn’t like the less-than symbol. Here’s the rest of it, and I should add: email me for some suggested questions to ask your candidates.

Our first two nannies were less than $14/hr, and our current nanny is in the $15-17 range, which by the way is more than the (excellent) Lake Washington school district pays accredited teachers with a couple years experience. See
http://www.k12.wa.us/SAFS/PUB/PER/SalAllocSchedule.pdf

The word “nanny” is overused around here. Most “nanny” candidates you interview will point to several years of “nanny” experience (with references!), but in fact it was all just babysitting. They know how to keep your kids busy, but they don’t know beans about education or child development, and they will generally not understand many basics of childcare. Most are not equipped to handle two kids for an entire day — which you know is a tough job for the parents who love them most, let alone someone who’s just in it for the money.

It depends on what your standards for childcare are. In our experience, great babysitters in this area can be had for $12/hr, but a half-way decent nanny cannot be found for less than $15/hr. And that’s net, after taxes. You will be competing against other families who (illegally) pay below the table.

In our experience, craigslist is fine for selling furniture but an awful place to find someone to care for your children. All we ever got there were freaks and people wanting to bring their own kids along to watch together with ours. The local nanny agencies were also not great, pushing inexperienced candidates on us and charging an arm and a leg for the privilege. We had the most luck with enannysource.com and nannyprosinc.com. Your husband should also use the excellent company-internal parent discussion email lists at his employer, those are a great source of info and recommendations. We also found some candidates by posting at nearby Northwest University; most of the students going there seem to be working as baristas or nannies or both. If there’s a teacher at daycare that you’re impressed with, you could ask them, certainly for babysitting and probably for a full-time or part-time gig. This is generally frowned upon, but we know many families who have done it.

The hiring process is extra complicated if you’re looking for a part-time nanny (30hrs or less) instead of a full-time (40+ hrs) one. In our experience, the part-time candidate pool is about 5-10 times smaller, and contains more people who see this as a temporary thing than a career.

With a daycare, you know some of the downsides. Daycares are basically germ factories, and so you end up keeping your kids home sick a lot and all the misery that entails. Even the best, most expensive daycares like Bright Horizons have a ratio of 4:1 or 5:1 and cannot truly tailor to the individual. Our kids were usually exhausted after 6 hours there. On the plus side, there is a clear schedule, generally there aren’t unplanned closures, the kids are out of your house, two or more adults present at all times (which in addition to the extra trust factor, also enables them to take breaks or go to the bathroom), and you don’t have to deal with taxes or hiring or insurance or any other paperwork or staffing headaches.

With a nanny, you lose most of those benefits but gain others. Your kids get more individualized care… maybe, if the nanny isn’t on her phone or computer all the time. Your kids will definitely be sick less often… but the nanny will get sick and have unplanned outages of her own. Our first two nannies were supposed to be working 30 hours a week, but averaged 17. If you can find a decent nanny, like our current one, they’ll do lots of reading and art projects and other activities, but still to a lesser extent than the best daycares. They’re in your house, which presents some new problems. You’re going to have additional expenses above and beyond the salary, such as all art materials, gas/mileage, and taxes. And you get to deal with the fun of screening and interviewing candidates (and again each time your nanny leaves/quits/is fired) and managing them — you will vastly underestimate how much work this is.

If you have high standards, then you will be disappointed. Our current nanny was the best of the three by far (and one of the best to be had, from everything we can gather), and there are still dozens of problems big and small.

We’re having a lot more luck with a local preschool, which is half-day but awesome (fantastic teachers and environment, the kids aren’t just occupied but *learning*). Going forward, we’re considering supplementing that with babysitting or hiring an au pair. We’re pretty much done with both daycares and nannies now.

obabe
16 years ago

we have a nanny- my company has day care, but the infant room (benjamin was 7 mos when i started here) was full, so a nanny was our only option at the time. weve had the same one since then and benj is now 4.5! we got VERY lucky with her, obviously, as we’ve had another kid since then (very close in age to riley) and one more on the way.

i think day care is awesome- but having a nanny just works for us. theres no rush to get more than two adults out of the house on time and dressed and fed, and when someone is sick i can run them to the doctor and then bring them home and go into the office if need be.

we pay ours a set fee per week (her hours are pretty much always 8-5, and earlier on fridays when i work from home). if we need her to stay late or come back in the evenings, we pay 10 an hour. (were on the north side of chicago.)

she moved to our neighborhood this past summer and her kids now go to the public school down the street from our house. its a really great situation for everyone.

basically our nanny is part of our family, and we are blessed that it turned out this way. i NEVER worry when i leave the house in the morning, ever. we recently went away for a 12 day trip(passover) and the looks on my kids faces when she came to pick us at the airport when we returned back to chicago was PRICELESS. my 2.5 yo was practically shaking, he couldnt wait to hug her (hell, i dont get that response!)

we found her through an agency- the easiest way to go, imo (unless you know someone who no longer needs theirs, etc). the agency should guide you to what is reasonable for pay per hours/week. ours did- and on the nanny’s applications we viewed, they listed their desired salary ranges. they also provided references, which helps alot. our agency also mde sure every applicant could speak english well enough to take children to a doctor’s appt (though we now have ours speak spanish to the boys to teach them!)

we pay taxes on our nanny, too.

questions to ask is just what their experiences have been; why they want to be a nanny; have they dealt with two kids before; sick kids/emergencies; etc. (hope this helps)

good luck with whatever you decide!

Jess
16 years ago

Hey there. So i’m kind of embarrassed to admit this but we have an au-pair. She’s from Colombia and is an absolute angel. WE LOVE HER! My babies are 13 months apart (23 months and 10 months) and with the last one I suffered SEVERE post-partum depression. After my husband missed a month of work we decided that we needed help and went through cultural care au-pair. The process is long but quite painless. And they screen the bajeebers out of these girls. It’s all run through the state department i think. Kind of like a cultural exchange for the girls (they take classes at night) while saving hte sanity of us families here in the U.S. It’s about 300 dollars a week for 45 hours of work. We don’t use ours that much (I stay at home with the babies and teach lessons in the afternoons), but she is quite literally saving my life. She’s actually at the park right now with my toddler while I deal with screaming 10 month old who doesn’t want to nap. Ahhh sleep training… does it get better? Maybe you should go there for your next parentdish topic? Anyway, I CANNOT recommend this route enough. I love love love it. Our au-pair is amazing and we love her. She’s just like a member of our family. I think we got lucky with how incredibly compatible we all are, but if you’re picky and know what you want… i’ve only heard good things. Yes she lives with us. I thought it would suck but it’s nice. Surprisingly so. There someone with me during the day so I don’t get so damn lonesome and if I want to take off and go to the gym or grocery shopping, well then I do. I still spend most of my days with the babies but I enjoy it so so much more. Anyway, two thumbs up. Good luck with what you decide!

M.A.
M.A.
16 years ago

L — I *was* a nanny in the south of France — alas, if I lived closer I could teach the boys to say “BONJOUR, MAMAN, Je t’aime, ou es mon titi-noo?” (Loosely translated: Mom, you rock, now where is my damn pacifier?”) I got the job on the spot — literally — met the woman who hired me in a Butcher’s shop when I was asking about posting an ad for a Nanny. I moved into their homr the next day and stayed for almost a year. Later, when I could actually utter a sentence in French (and comprehend the answer) I asked her why on earth she had hired me without knowing anything about me. She responded: I saw the way you looked at my children — it was all I needed. I know, a little on the smarmy side, but… if it helps… watch the eyes.

lucidkim
lucidkim
16 years ago

I just got through reading “You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again!” so I’m completely qualified to comment. :)

I think the advantage of a nanny would be that for times like this – when you have a sick one, the nanny will still be there to take care of your little ones and you can go to work. Otherwise you’ll be staying home until they are well, missing work.

It’s one of those things you just can’t know until you are in it – with a great fit with you and your kids, a nanny is an ideal solution. A bad fit is rough on the kids and you – having a stranger in your home making all the choices for your kids all day can be worrisome. At least in daycare they have plenty of staff around to make sure no one is acting nutty or treating your kids like crap or neglecting them. (I know people have ‘stories’ but I had both of my girls in daycare from the time they were 6 weeks until they were in school and I never had a bad moment with the care they received.)

In Bloomington, IN I can’t find a job with my MBA making $14/hour – so Seattle sounds like a great place to find a job!

kim

Stephanie
16 years ago

I did some nannying in college, 2000-2004, and I got paid $10/hour and was freaking thrilled. You can also post a sign at a college near you in education buildings for someone in the early childhood ed program. During the summer I came whenever they needed me but during the school year, I took classes Tues and Thurs and nannied the other days. I was in a smaller town than Seattle, but I think most college kids would be thrilled with $13/hour. I was happy as hell with $10. I also went on vacations with them so that they could go out and actually have some adult time on vacations. I would look for someone who is CPR and first aid certified. If someone you really like isn’t certified, it isn’t that expensive to do and most courses are only a day.

Lesley
Lesley
16 years ago

Ah, it sounds like Riley’s going through the immune sytem asskicking phase of daycare induction. This happens to me whenever I make a return to my office (where lousy HVAC and sick employees with martyr complexes unknowingly conspire to ruin lives).

I guess it’s par for the course and D will undergo the baby version of immune building bootcamp.

Here are a couple of nanny questionnaires:
http://www.abcnannies.ca/?p=interview
http://www.greataupair.com/questionnaire.cfm

I would think references and plenty of them would be essential too. Objective sources, not relatives.

You can always set up a cam in your house to monitor the situation. Not sure how this is done with subtlety but it may be worth it.

squandra
squandra
16 years ago

I’m a news producer and we did a story recently on nanny agencies. In my state, there is no regulating body for the agencies themselves. I don’t know about Washington, but it might be worth checking into exactly how legally obligated your agency — if you use one — is to do what they say they’ll do (complete background checks, etc).

Josh
16 years ago

Don’t worry, pretty soon your kids will be completely healthy teenagers, who just happen to hate you and run around smoking weed and trying to impregnate as many women as possible, so you might have a nice break in ten or fifteen years.

I don’t know anything about nannies or caregivers really. But I do hate Fran Drescher. In fact, just throw in everyone with that accent too. Don’t hire one of “them”. Try to avoid any kings of pop, should they apply. Try and find someone who likes dick, whether it be a girl or guy. People who like the vag normally don’t care much about other peoples kids, and I should know. The best I can say is, get a robot. Kids like robots, and usually they don’t steal. Watch out for random revolts against human control though.

JT
JT
16 years ago

This is probably the worst advice ever, but we hired ours off Craigslist and she is AMAZING. We very carefully checked references and of course had to wade through about a dozen emails from people I wouldn’t leave my pet fish with for an hour, but Craigslist worked for us in the end…

Michelle
Michelle
16 years ago

I currently work as a nanny for two boys, for $12 an hour. They’re school age, so this includes cooking dinner, light housework, schoolwork, story and playtime, etc. I also work one weekend day/night.

Like other people have said, either a service or Craigslist with very close screening on everything. You could find the best and the worst anywhere.

Good luck!

telegirl
telegirl
16 years ago

We’re sick here, too. First the little one, and now me. Hubby comes home tonight, ooh, what he’s in for!! :o(

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

Hi — I am a total lurker who read your blog all the time, and I was ecstatic at the thought of actually helping YOU out.

We just went through this exact same thing. I am in the exact same position as you, just a few months further along. I had my oldest in a center and was really happy with it. But when I had two, mornings were so much harder (even part-time) and my baby was sick ALL THE TIME. It was awful. And after being home with them for three months, I realized that my older one was just stressed with the long days at daycare. The nanny thing is just the best thing ever. She gets here before the oldest even wakes up, so I can start my day super early (and traffic free!). I used http://www.nannies4hire.com and bought the cheapest package with the background check. I pay $11 for both kids, with paid holidays, and I really don’t think it’s more I was paying at the center, especially because they charged me full-time. And I just love our nanny — a college student. I have to do a lot more planning — I bought a few books (Unplugged Play by Bobbi Connor is wonderful) to give her activities and I have to think about meals the night before, too. But that’s all getting easier, too. Figuring out the tax thing was a little annoying, but the IRS website had a lot of good information and my husband created some complicated spreadsheet that automatically calculates everything. Good luck! I know you will make the best decision for your family, whatever you decide.

Frank
16 years ago

After having twins ( our second and third kids), daycare for three kids really became prohibitively expensive. We hired nannies through an agency (they pre screen) and we loved it. Our nannies lived in and we were lucky to have the room for them to do it. We still keep in touch with them and the kids loved them.