I'm wondering if any other working mamas out there have, or have had, a live-in nanny (or live-in help of any kind)?
We have 2 DS's, one who is finishing up first grade and one 15 months old. DS2 goes to a terrific in-home daycare with a DCP he adores (we do, too!) and a great bunch of kids. He's so tiny and he already has his own friends!!! Plus, it's really affordable. So - I'm loathe to give that up. DS1 is in school FT and then day camp in the summer. So - I know - it sounds like we don't need backup care. But the problem is, I work FT at a job where I have to travel every week. When I'm not traveling, I work from home, which is great, but my days working at home are still filled with conference calls and virtual meetings, so I don't really have a lot of flexibility to handle, say, a sick kid, a school 1/2 day, a snow day, or to manage DS2 afterschool from 3 - 6pm. (We live in a small town where there is no aftercare provided at the elementary school.)
DH is a freelance photographer/graphic designer and has a studio in the house. His schedule varies wildly, from weeks where he can knock off work at 2:30, start a gourmet dinner and then spend a few hours building a Lego city with DS1 before bringing me an appetizer and heading out to pick up DS2 at daycare - to weeks when he is shut in his studio working all hours and we tag team as best we can. DH would like to take on more clients, and I'd like to support him in that as I'd love to cut back on the 60+ hours/week I currently work; plus I am embarrassed to say that screen time looms larger in DS2's life these days than I would like to admit (and even though it's 90% educational - Sight Words with Samson, Sumdog, PBSKids etc. - it's still a screen, right?!)
We have no family backup, and our only evening sitter (HS student who lives next door) is fabulous with and beloved by DS1 but patently not interested in changing diapers and so has never sat for DS2. Add to all this that we have had one date night since DS2 was born, and you can see where this is heading.
We've been talking about trying to find a part-time nanny, someone who could be at our house from 3 - 7 or so during the week, and the occasional date night. Ideally this person would get DS1 from school, get him a snack and supervise his homework, and either help get dinner started or go out to pick up DS1 while DH starts dinner. On nights when I travel, we would also have nanny feed DS1 and give him a bath and put him in PJs before handing off to DH. Of course it would be ideal if this person had enough flexibility in her schedule that she could pinch-hit on snow days, half-days and sick kid days, though I know that would not be guaranteed.
We are lucky enough to have a carriage house behind our house that is a legal rental. It was in terrible shape when we bought our house, and it has been empty for the three years we've lived here. We've slowly been fixing it up, and though it's really nothing fancy it does now have a gut-renovated bathroom, refinished floors, new washer and dryer and refrigerator, new light fixtures and new paint inside and out. I have been on the fence about renting it because I frankly don't love the idea of strangers essentially living in our yard, but it does provide us some flexibility. I've been wondering about the possibility of renting it at a reduced rate to someone who would be available for 20 -25 hours/week of childcare, or just going for a full-time live-in caregiver (who could live in the carriage house).
if you've done anything like this, what kind of advice do you have? and where did you find the person you eventually hired?
Thanks in advance, mamas!!!