The Quest For The Right Nanny – The Childcare Dilemma

This is generally how the discussion goes when we are looking for a new nanny, we go back and forth:

Kids: “We want someone young mom, someone who can relate to us.”

Me: “I want some older, someone I can relate to, who is stable and can follow instructions.”

This is one of the most dreadful things to deal with as a working mother.  I started using live-in childcare when I had my second child.  I added the cost of daycare, and the risk cost of speeding down the highway to get the kids before 6pm, and decided that paying someone and having the convenience of them in the home was much better than daycare. There is also the added benefit of some light housekeeping.  Biggest problem however is finding the right person, who, where and how.

I have used Craigslist,, and nanny agencies.  So far I have to say, the best option has been  The kids and I sit and we look at the photos, and vote on who we would like to see being the nanny, then we interview.  One of the things to consider is your family dynamics when interviewing.  My family is pretty talkative and loud, so we look for someone who has similar traits, and can fit in right away.  We have been pretty lucky as we have found some very nice ladies, albeit sometimes young.

When I started using live-in childcare help, I dreamed of my kids speaking two languages, so I hired Spanish speaking nannies.  The kids were actually learning and speaking the language until they turned about 8 and thought it was no longer cool.  There was also the issue of the language barrier, the ladies could not understand everything the kids said, and so they learned to manipulate the ladies.

With these issues in mind, and them asking for someone they could relate to.  I did not mind this idea as I also wanted a spy!  someone to tell me what music they were listening to, what websites they wanted to visit when they claimed to have research work on the computer.  For a while this idea worked, however it was not worth the hassle; the young ladies were unreliable for the most part.  There were some exceptions, but more often than not, they stopped performing after two months.  I had to revise this plan, so I moved towards older more mature ladies.  They are not into the latest music and trends, but I can depend on them to be there.

This has been a roller coaster ride, we have had some nice ladies, and some not so nice especially when told that their childcare services were no longer needed, however, I think I have made the right decision getting the live-in childcare help, and will continue to do so until I no longer have this need.  I now have 4 children in my home, and with all the after school activities and a full-time job, I would not have survived without this kind of service.

A few words of advice if you would like to pursue in home childcare:

  1. Make sure you have a contract outlining clear expectations, yours and theirs.
  2. Treat your help the way you want to be treated on your job, with time off, incentive pay and respect.
  3. Don’t get discouraged by the $800/week requests that some nannies might be asking for, there is affordable childcare help, it does not have to be this expensive. You can use a relative or in some cases there are students or individuals willing to trade room, board and a small stipend for nanny help.
  4. If they live-in, make sure they have private space and don’t ask that they share a room with one of the kids.
  5. Understand that nannies get tired too, don’t have them babysitting all day and night.  If you plan an evening out, do it on a day when they were not sitting for you all day.

This arrangement can be a great one if you do find someone who matches with your family dynamics, so take your time and interview and yes, get feedback from the kids.  This will not be your nanny, but theirs.


  1. Geraldine Linton says:

    Interesting article. This is a great way to vent at the end of the day.

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