live-in nanny, need perspective - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-01-2011, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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first time posting here.  We have babysitter that approached us about becoming a live-in nanny for us while my husband is attending college 70 miles away 4-5 days a week. He is home every weekend and many Fridays, but our family time is limited since I work 3 days a week also. Our income has decreased by about a third and having the nanny is actually less expensive than paying our other sitters to come to the house while I work.

 

 

             We have three children 7 1/2 DS, almost 5 DD and almost 2 DD. The oldest is homeschooled.  We have never done daycare and have been blessed to have christian friends willing to come to our home most of the time to babysit (7 1/2 years of this). I earn decent money and carry the health insurance for the family.

 

               I liked the idea of the live in nanny because she was also homeschooled, connects well with the children (she has limited experience with children, but is open to doing things our way, she's 34 years old) and I wouldn't have to hassle with scheduling sitters, that gets hairy sometimes.

 

                   Things have worked out good for the most part. She watches the children 2 1/2 to 3 days a week, day shift, feeds them, supper for us when I get home some of the time, rarely does our laundry, rarely does any housework. She is neat, pleasant, not intrusive into our family space. She has use of the car when my husband is home with it, 3 days a week. She has twelve weeks of time off in a year (all the time my husband is on school breaks). She has environmental sensitivities so we have replaced all chemicals, detergents, soaps, with fragrance free. She is also an organic girl, so that is new for us.

 

A big thing I wasn't expecting is that her sister has ended up living here as well. She is slightly disabled physically and they are very close. It started out as a short visit and now she has been here more than not. She is also pleasant, neat and loves the children. Of course, now there are two of them to feed. Their parents do provide some of the specialized food that we cannot get around here.

       One drawback, of course is that there is no longer any family privacy. I have my children babysat when I need it (3 days a week) but 24/7 my home is no longer mine.

 

   The financials work out like this sort of    $.7.oo per hour, 9 hours per day, 12 days per month.  $760.

              400 room and utilities, unlimited phone and computer access, phone in her

                       own room, private room and bathroom upstairs

               100 food ,being very conservative on this (remember there are two of them)

               50 use of car, either my husbands or if he is not here and she needs it she 

                     uses the van, we provide all gas unless she is going on a vacation trip

              $260 is what we would owe her monthly using these figures. We actually pay her arount $200 per month and end up buying some of her supplements, Did I mention that her health is not good? adrenal issues with exhaustion, limited physical capacity to do anything extra, lots of naps on days off.  I would be willing to try hard to cough up some more $ if I was getting some more household help. I envisioned spending more time with my children while we split the household duties.

 

       She has a 5 week period of time off coming up and will be taking our car all over the countryside with her gas $. My husband will put his diesel truck back on insurance to use during that time.  Is is unreasonable to expect her or her parents to pay for the extra insurance premiums this will cost? The car will be put on full coverage while it is out of state.  Her parents did offer to help pay for the extra food expense of having the sister staying with us.  Her parents living situation is quite unstable,and that is one reason the sister wants to stay at our house.

 

Any thought on the fairness of this situation to both sides. Just looking for another perspective, maybe from people who have had a live in nanny.  We like her and she is happy, so not looking to change anything in a big way.

 

 

 

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Old 07-01-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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you are very kind and I think you are been taken. If her sister lives with you , the nanny either needs to do more housework or get paid less.

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Old 07-01-2011, 08:20 PM
 
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Hmm... a few thoughts from a financial perspective...

 

  • $100/mo for food for 2 people I think is low, though you didn't say what area of the country you are in
  • If she's taking your car for 5 weeks, necessitating you paying for insurance on another vehicle, she should either pay the cost of extra insurance, or go get a car from Hertz

 

From a family living perspective... 

 

you said that she doesn't do much housework while watching the children. If that is your agreement and you are ok with that, then it is fine. Lots of in-home childcare providers don't do housework or meals - usually the expectation is that they feed the children, and clean up the mess the kids make while they are watching them. 

 

However.... during the rest of the week - the other 4 or 4.5 days that she is living in your house, she should be kicking in a proportional share of housework. Just because she is paying rent out of her wages doesn't mean that she's staying in a hotel. I would expect a 34 year old woman to be able to kick in at least 2 hours of household duties (dishes, laundry, floor sweeping, meal prep) per day. I would also expect this from the sister as well. You said "slightly physically disabled" so without more detail and knowing the person its hard to say, but most slightly physically disabled people can participate in doing some household chores or duties. If the sister can't do these things, then your nanny should be picking up her share of the work.

 

This is, of course, assuming that you are not intending to be running a charity out of your house! If, on the other hand, you are taking on these two people as a contribution to society at large, and providing a home to two people who sound like they are coming from a tough situation, then doing all the housework yourself is a decision you may chose to make. But if you are approaching this from a business arrangement, there is no reason why you need to feel guilty about increasing your expectations about what your nanny and sister need to contribute. 

 

As for time to yourself, this is an aspect of what having live in help is like. It can be really nice having extra hands around to help, but you lose your privacy. Is there a regular time each week that your nanny and sister go out for an activity or to see their parents? If so, you can talk with them about how you will be using that time as private family time to emphasize the fact that you need some quiet time just with your family. Where they are paying rent its not really feasible to tell them to just leave for a few hours every week, but sometimes just voicing the fact that you need some family time is enough to raise some awareness of this need. Do you have weekly family meetings that include your nanny and sister? Those can help bring issues out for discussion before they become problems.

 

Good luck! When I worked full time, our nanny would often stay overnight, and we had very little family time. My friend just lived with us for 5 weeks while in between housing situations, and as soon as she left, my brother started living with us 4 days per week while he works a local teaching job. We have very little family time these days. Its not easy to make communal living situations work!


Loving being a stay at home mamma to DD 10/07, and newly arrived DS 7/26/10
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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Do you a work agreement? A job description? A contract? If you don't now might be the time to sit down and discuss to formalize expectations.


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