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Mothering › Groups › August 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › Nanny vs. Daycare

Nanny vs. Daycare

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

It looks like we'll have to get care for Piper at least two days a week, at least until May.  I've looked at the various options and because we only need two days a week, day care and a nanny work out to be roughly the same in terms of price ($500-$700/month).  It's a lot of money, but we've both sort of decided it's necessary at this point.  My question is whether anyone has any advice on the nanny vs. daycare question.  So far I've come up with a few pros/cons:


Nanny Pros:

I wouldn't have to pump as much because I could work from home

Individualized care

Less illness

Wouldn't have to get a few vaccines we've been putting off (rotovirus, for example)

Daycare Pros:

They have backup if one provider is sick

Socialization (does that even matter at this age?)

More of a guarantee in terms of quality of care

Somewhat less expensive, generally


Does anyone have any thoughts?  Has anyone used a nanny before?  How does paying into Social Security and so on work?  Is that only required above a certain number of hours? 


Are other people starting day care already?  Thoughts?  Concerns?  Experiences?

post #2 of 10

We've had a nanny twice a week since I went back to work when my older daughter was 5 monhts, and I love it. She's amazing and its been so good for our family.  If money isn't the deciding factor, then for me a nanny is the easy call for an infant.  Socialization just doesn't matter or happen at this age, and one-on-one care is so great.  And I don't really know that I agree there is more of a guarantee in terms of quality in day care.  Just like nannys there are great and terrible day cares too.  A few other benefits of nannys I'd add is that you don't have to do all the packing-up and getting the baby to day care, which can be a signifcant time suck, and the nanny can do a fair amount around the house, in terms of laundry, clean-up etc, which has been a lifesaver for us.  


All that said, in the end its the individuals that matter.  A bad nanny will be worse than a great daycare no question, so finding a good fit is important. If you go the nanny route, I'd make sure to interview a number of people before deciding, and do half-day trials with your top two or so.  This should give you a pretty good sense of whose the best fit. And speaking of fit, personally, I'd pay a lot of attention to the intangables--who you feel comfortable with, whose parenting philosophies line up with yours, etc--not just how much experience they have.


In terms of paying, technically you do need to withold taxes and SS and pay payroll taxes as soon as you pay them more than about $1000 a year. But, at least in California, most people seem to pay nannys under-the-table, i.e, in cash with no taxes withheld. As lawywers, we pay over-the-table though, and use a service to handle the taxes, which is called Breadlove. There are also some web based programs you can use to help with this that are less expensive though, which I probably should switch to. (I can dig up the name if you want), and really you can do it yourself if you just take the time to figure out all the rules.


Good luck.  While I'm a fan of nannies, I know plenty of people who have been extremely happy with day care for infants too, so in a lot of ways it comes down to personal preference.  If you are undecided, you may just want to start looking at both and see what feels right. 

post #3 of 10

The germ factor alone would be enough to sway my opinion towards a nanny over daycare winky.gif

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback!  I'm leaning toward a nanny, though the tax stuff is a real PITA.  I have a tour of a daycare this afternoon, but I'm also going to start interviewing people.  I used care.com and now have like 10 people who are interested in nannying for us, which is a little overwhelming.  It's a nice resource.


Rebecca, the getting out of the house thing made my list after I posted.  I took Piper to my MIL the other day to watch her while I do work and I think I lost at least two hours of productive work time just getting her ready, getting myself ready, loading everything into the car, driving the 15-20 minutes, nursing her quickly before I left, and then driving to a coffeeshop (and then repeating the whole process to get home).  Not an ideal system. 


And Tizzy, the germ factor is a pretty big one!  Also, the harsh chemicals they have to use to clean up the germiness is also a problem in my book.  Sigh.

post #5 of 10

So I just went to check out Care.com and I was wondering how it works. It looks like it is asking me to create a posting, but I have no idea how much you're supposed to pay nannies per hour...or even when I'm starting, so I was sort of hoping I could see what other people have posted.  Also, are the nannies vetted by Care.com? 

post #6 of 10

Bah, I found some of the answers to my questions. I was looking though the nanny profiles and it makes me so sad to think about possibly hiring one of these people I don't know to stay with Q.

post #7 of 10

I am sorry I can't be of more help.  Those are hard decisions.  It is too bad MIL won't just come to your house.  

Originally Posted by LilyTiger View Post
I lost at least two hours...time just getting her ready, getting myself ready, loading everything into the car, driving, nursing her quickly before I left, and then driving to....  Not an ideal system. 

Gah!  This is what happens everytime I leave with DS, except I nurse before getting ready too.  And DS is not a fan of the car seat.   

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well, I toured a few day cares and decided to go the nanny route for a few reasons.  The first is that for the amount of time we need it (2 days/week), the cost is effectively the same.  The nanny wins on germs and getting out of the house as well. 


We had our first set of interviews today, and I'm totally torn already.  We have it down to two candidates, essentially (one girl I liked, but DH  didn't).  I just don't really know what I want out of someone exactly.  Both candidates are extremely competent, have been with previous families for over ten years, and probably know more about parenting than I do (or will).  The first one is essentially a Jewish grandmother, which is awesome except that I was already sort of feeling bossed before the interview was even over.  She was already recommending getting Piper on a schedule and a particular brand of diaper cream.  It was a little overwhelming.  I don't stand up well to strong personalities, so I'm a little worried about being overwhelmed by her.  At the same time, I wouldn't really be the one dealing with her, and Piper was dozing off on her shoulder within five minutes, so that's obviously a good sign.  The second one is also super competent but a very direct and very talkative person.  A lot talkative.  She was also sort of vague when I asked her what she would do with a four month old, though she later elaborated.  The first one would also cook us dinners, which has a lot to be said for it.  We rejected a really sweet college student with basically no experience, but I found that gut-wrenching too.  Everyone is so nice and trying so hard and everyone needs a job.... it's really difficult.  Ugh.  One advantage to daycare is that it lacks that element of personal rejection if you decide something isn't working out.


If I can't decide between the top two after all the interviews are over, I think I'll set up trial days with both of them.  It'll let me see how they interact with Piper, me, and the dogs.  DH and I are exhausted after interviewing five people today and are drinking beers.  eyesroll.gif

post #9 of 10

I'm glad you found two people who you like! Its difficult to make decisions like that, but at least it seems like you are making a decision between two good options, rather than deciding between which option is less worse :)


We had a nanny, and yes, the tax stuff is a HUGE PITA. We used a service for it, and thought we were all good with it, but then after 2 years of working out of the home, I stayed home full time, and no longer had a nanny. The IRS put us through the wringer with paperwork insisting that we had to keep filling out paperwork, refiling things, etc, all for someone we didn't employ anymore. But, my husband is a financial auditor, so that among other reasons meant that there was no way we doing things under the table. 


On the flip side, it was awesome to have someone come to the house - the time savings was huge. Our nanny even ended up coming early (due to traffic patterns) so I would basically finish nursing her in bed, hand her off to the nanny, and then get out of bed myself and get ready for work and leave. 


Making sure that you you can comfortably communicate and have your wishes followed in terms of care is really important. It can be hard to get someone to do something in a way that you want if they think a different way is better. Can you do a 1 day trial with each candidate to see how they work out? Also, can work into the employment contract that there is an "evaluation period" where after 1 (or 3 or 6) months you can decide whether to keep her on? That way if it isn't working out you can part amicably... or at least as amicably as possible in such a situation?


Good luck! The whole employment/childcare thing can be stressful!!! Enjoy those beers!

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, Mama Chickadee.  I had no idea this would be such a tough decision.  I met with both women again to see if that made a difference and I feel really comfortable with Candidate 1 (though she can be very abrupt and is really direct) and I think she'll be great with Piper as she gets a little older.  Candidate 2, however, is like the Baby Whisperer.  I watched her basically put Piper to sleep on her shoulder while whispering to her.  Crazy.  But she wears a lot of perfume.  Is that a weird thing to care about?  It throws me off a bit.  I guess I feel like they would both be awesome nannies for Piper at different stages.  Can. 2 is obviously great with babies, but I'm not sure how she'd be with older kids.  Can. 1 doesn't have the same baby whispering abilities, but I think older kids would really love her activity level and her honesty.  She doesn't mess around.  I'm so torn!  I'm still waiting to hear back from most of their references, but judging from the initial e-mails I've gotten, everyone loves them.  Sooooo confused.  Argh!


Thanks for putting up with my hand-wringing, everyone.  I'm mostly just talking this out in my head, so feel free to totally ignore my craziness.

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