We made the decision to keep our children at our home with a nanny until they are at least 2 or 3 years old. We tried daycare for 3 months with our son, and it tore me apart. I was pretty much just miserable. Even my husband knew something had to change, if nothing else so that I would be happy. My son was ok, not miserable but not well-rested or always healthy. He had two back to back double ear infections, and I remember getting on the phone and calling our parents to come help so we didn’t have to burn through all of our time off. I don’t think I had even accrued any yet after maternity leave. I had no idea what to do, but it was eating me up.
After 3 months of looking and searching and interviewing and praying, we found another family that wanted to do a nanny share. It was a huge price shock going from daycare to a nanny so a nanny share was really the perfect transition. The way it usually works is 2 or more families hire a nanny together. In our case, we had her come to our house and watch both kids one week, and the next week she watched both kids at the other house. We paid an average salary, but split it between the two families. It can work really well or be difficult. You will want to make sure that you and the other family are on the same page as far as discipline and rules. Who provides the food? Who covers if the nanny calls in sick? How do you handle vacation (yours, theirs, and the nanny’s)? Our nanny share worked quite well up until the 3rd nanny quit and it just got to be too much to hire somebody in a pinch with so many jobs on the line. The other family decided to try daycare again, but we decided to look for an alternative.
Eventually, we decided that we had been so pleased with keeping him at least partially in our home and the control we had over his schedule and activities so we hired a nanny by ourselves. We are extremely pleased with our decision. Remember, my husband is a CPA? Even he has agreed that it works best for our situation and our children.
First, let me cover the disadvantages of having a nanny:
- cost (often 2-3 times higher than daycare)
- trusting someone in your home
- often immature or looking for easy job (our rule is age 22 minimum)
- taxes (cannot withhold dependent care if you don’t!)
- limited back-up care
- possibly less socialization
Here of some of the highlights of having a nanny:
- Safety (usually 1:1 or 1:2 supervision)
- Control of activities
- Similar philosophies
- Less illness
- Ability to do special activities/trips/playgroups
- Help with some cooking/laundry/toys
- Naps in their own beds
- No rushing out the door
- Ability to meet at doctor’s appointments
- At home or in proximity of siblings
What are your thoughts about having a nanny? What are other pros/cons?