Nannies who bring their kids to work - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 03-25-2013, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I’m in the process of interviewing nannies for my 19 month old daughter. After talking to several people, I finally found one who I really like. Her parenting philosophy matches mine to the tee. I’d describe myself as pretty crunchy (co-sleeping, EBF, vegetarian, EC, gentle discipline etc.) and so is she. In her ad as well as the in-person interview, she came across as pretty genuine and deeply caring. Her references all had good things to say about her.

 

The only issue (for lack of a better word) is she would like to bring her kids to work (2 girls, 4 years and 12 months). While I welcome the opportunity for socialization that this provides my daughter, there are a few things that concern me: will the care of my child be compromised with the 2 other kids around? A parent’s natural (and rightfully so) instinct is to put their own kids first. What happens in case of an emergency? I know which child I would chose first if an untoward accident occurred.

 

So, I’m looking for people’s experience who’ve gone through this, specifically:

1. If you ever had a nanny who brought her brood to work with her, what was your experience? Would you hire someone like that again?

2. Did you feel that the care of your child was compromised because of that? Did you have to cut down on your child’s activities 3. How did you handle situations where say your or the nanny’s child(ren) fell sick? Did she come to work (either ways)?

4. Did she bring the food/high chair/diapers etc. for her kids or did you provide those?

5. Did you have a contract with your nanny? What did that contract cover?

6. In terms of pay, my thinking is a fair compensation for this situation should be like a nanny share. In my area, nannies make anywhere from $15-18/hour. Couple of nanny shares that I talked to said each family (1 child) paid about $9/hour. How much did you end up paying?

 

 

Much appreciate your thoughts and comments!

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#2 of 8 Old 03-25-2013, 09:31 PM
 
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If the going rate for your area is 15 to 18 dollars an hour, I think it's fine to pay her on the lower end of that because she's able to bring the kids with you, but I don't think it's fair to offer her significantly less than that ($9). It's not a nanny share, there's not someone else paying her. She's a nanny with kids.

 

If her kids are sick and it's more than just a cold (stomach virus, fever, etc), I would expect her to find alternate care for them that day. I would be ok with the occasional sick day (just like any other mom with a job who has to stay home with a sick kid), but most of the time, I need her to be at work. 

 

"Did she bring the food/high chair/diapers etc. for her kids or did you provide those?"

 

I would happily provide the food. Any baby gear she needs or diapers, she would need to bring with her. 

 

"What happens in case of an emergency? I know which child I would chose first if an untoward accident occurred."

 

I can't think of any situations where this would become an issue. I have five children of my own and I've never had to choose between them to keep someone safe.


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#3 of 8 Old 03-25-2013, 10:19 PM
 
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I brought my child with me when I was a part-time nanny a few years back, so I can offer you that perspective if you'd like :)  I only had 1 at the time.  The usual pay around here is 12-15 per hour, and I agreed to 12 since I was bringing my daughter.  I think 9 is way too low-your nanny will still be caring for your child, presumably the same as any other nanny without children. 

 

 I brought all the food and diapers, etc., though the family was nice enough to offer my daughter the same snacks/meals that the child I was watching had.  I believe that I stayed home with my daughter when she was sick (so I called out), but this was not a huge issue for that family because I was only part-time and they coudl fairly easily rearrange their schedule/work with a neighbor to get coverage. 

 

As for dividing attention or giving more attention to the nanny's own children..yes, that could get a little tricky but I was never in a situation where safety was an issue.  My daughter was also significantly younger than the child I was nannying, so it was less of an issue in that they weren't trying to do the same things mostly, if that makes sense. 


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#4 of 8 Old 03-26-2013, 06:00 AM
 
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We discussed this when we were searching with a nanny and ended up deciding against going with a nanny who would bring her own children.  We also didn't have as much of a connection with that particular nanny, so there were other variables involved.

 

I would talk with her about what she considers a fair rate.  Since our nanny is providing loving care for our daughter, it has always been important to us to make sure she is making a living wage. At the same time, I do think that two children, especially another baby, does distract from your daughter.  Many daycares, for example, limit babies per caretaker to 4 to 1.  In this situation, it doesn't seem quite fair for you to pay the going rate since it is, in some ways, a nanny share.  At the same time, $9 seems too low for what is normal in your area.  I would consider splitting the difference and offering something like $12.  I think this takes into consideration the fact that you're paying for something that provides levels of care that are closer to an in-home daycare than the one-on-one that nannies traditionally provide.  But again, you don't want her to feel taken advantage of, so telling her your concerns, making an offer, and seeing what she says might be a good way to go. 

 

I agree with the PP that baby gear like diapers and so on would be her responsibility.  We cloth diaper anyway, so I wouldn't share those in the first place and providing disposables for two would be expensive (and unnecessary).

 

If you do decide to go with her, you could look into buying a used double stroller so that your babe could get outside the same amount as usual (when we were looking into a nanny share, they were about $50 on craigslist).  That would be my main worry -- that with three kids, two of whom are toddlers, they might get less outdoors time. 

 

Another thing to talk about would be transportation.  Do either of you have a car that would fit two car seats and a booster seat?  That aspect of things would make me somewhat (but not overly) nervous.


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#5 of 8 Old 03-26-2013, 07:48 AM
 
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When I did childcare for another child close in age to my own I found it very hard, mainly at nap time when they both needed me to get them to sleep.  Though in this case the 4 year old might be able to play with other child for a few minutes.  If your child just lays down by themselves for nap that wouldn't even be a problem to consider.

 

Whatever option you choose definitely have a clear contract, even if it's nothing really formal.  I learned this the hard way doing childcare.  The contract simply lays out everything so that there is no gray area or confusion for either of you: Sick days, vacation days, and payment (how often, how much), hours you expect her to work, who will provide what items (food, etc.), any info you may need for filing taxes, extra duties you expect such as cleaning or laundry, amount of notice you'd want if she decides to quit/notice you will give if it's not working out, sick policy (how sick is too sick?), your policy on where she can take your child, and list any major rules in your house she would need to follow like no eating in the living room or tv limits.

It might also be helpful if you gave her a written out loose schedule of your child's routine just to make things clear so there is less stress, and she might get a better idea if her kids could mesh with your household.  

 

The hardest part about providing childcare for me was the instability of being paid.  When I didn't have a contract the parents could just decide not to come one day and then not pay me, even though I'd already planned to provide child care for them that day.  A lot of parents don't want to pay when they don't bring their child, but how are nanny's supposed to keep a budget and pay the bills if the parents don't provide dependable income?  If your child is sick at the last minute the nanny was still planning on providing child care that day, so essentially you're paying her to be on call for you.

 

Giving a certain number of unpaid sick days and a week of unpaid vacation for the family hiring the nanny is reasonable.  I gave my clients two weeks total that they could stay home and not pay me out of the year.  Beyond that I still needed to be paid. I found this to be normal childcare policy with good providers.  

I wouldn't pay her significantly less for bringing her children.  She's still coming out to your house on a daily basis, and you want her to provide the best care for your child.  It almost seems demeaning to pay her so much less because she has kids too. Taking care of someone else's child is a lot of work, especially if you are expected to arrive on time daily at their home just like you would at any work out of the home job!


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#6 of 8 Old 03-26-2013, 08:29 PM
 
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Our nanny has a daughter that is a few years older than our kids and she often "plays over" for holidays, vacations, and the like. That is not really the same as full time care and that would require some compromises or course. If I not known her or her daughter or had this experience I would have been very leery of it for all the reasons you mention.

 

It really can work though. When her daughter is around my kids are really happy. She is actually kind of the rock star in her life. Our nanny manages them all *very* well and if anything, if I happen to be around, the only time I ever step in is when I step in to more or less protect *her* daughter. There have been plenty of whispered conversations in another language which are clearly let X have the toy when it is not her turn etc. or not correctly generally rudeness by my kids. I have spent time also thinking about making sure her daughter was treated as a guest in our home and not as a third wheel. I can't imagine how terrible it would be to be 8 and feel like the staff or the daughter or the staff. I've seen that a few times at friend's home and it just looks awful. 

 

I think it would be worth a shot knowing that it is probably a love-the-kids-love-the-nanny situation. And yes, the pay would be on the lesser side of the scale. $15 or whatever if the scale is $15-18.

 

I think it would also be worth exploring if the children ever have any other schedules (grandma or whatever) so you could schedule occaional playdates or whatever with fewer kids. Also, and a big one, sickness? Yours...theirs.

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#7 of 8 Old 03-27-2013, 01:16 AM
 
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How wonderful that you have found someone who fits your family so well!  Don't let her get away =)  

I have done childcare for 15+ years, the last 2, since my son was born, he has come with me.  Here are my answers...

 

1. N/A... except now that I am in school trying to find someone I want to leave my son with I am realizing how difficult it can be to find that right person.  If they were a good fit in all those ways you mentioned I wouldn't hesitate for a second to have them bring their kids.  If I was unsure about parenting style or attentiveness or general skill with kids, it could be a tipping point away from using them.

 

2.  The other children's care was never compromised, and the alterations to their activities were present, but minimal.  I would not take jobs where I could not offer the same quality of care I did before having my son.  A few more minutes of waiting for something, or having to share - yes, having their needs or wants ignored or dismissed - no. I would ask about her children's normal routine/naptime.  My son did almost all his napping in a carrier for the first year, so he could nap while we were at the park, or playing dollhouse...etc.  Find out what her LO's nap routine is and ask how she would manage the 2, as well as get them outside to play.

The only situation I can imagine where she would have to choose between saving children is like a rowboat capsizing... and I don't imagine she'll take the 3 little ones out on a boat herself.

 

3. We handled sickness exactly the same way I did when I got sick as a kidless nanny - I call the parents, tell them my (or my son's) symptoms and ask if they still want us to come.  If their day was flexible or they had something coming up and could find someone else, we stayed home.  Most of the time we just resigned ourselves to our families sharing germs.  (Which is still way less than a daycare setting).

 

4. I brought some lunch and maybe a snack, and we would share everything. Feeding preschoolers separate snacks is a recipe for lots of frustration.  I knew me and my son were welcome to anything in the kitchen, and that contributed to a really relaxed, enjoyable time.  I also fed their daughters plenty of times, but no one was keeping track. Naturally I brought anything else my son needed.

 

5. I meant to write out a contract, and always encourage it. I have a really informal (we had a mutual friend, now we are good friends) relationship with the main family I worked for/with.  I did a kind of verbal contract with her, laying out how we handled sickness.  Like a previous poster said, income stability can be rough as a nanny (especially part time for multiple families... eek!) so I said they could drop one day a month w/no pay, 3 w/half pay and I needed the rest that I was expecting for that month.  Throughout we were just really straight forward about what we needed for it to work for each of our families. We tried our best to take care of each others needs, and it worked really beautifully.  At different times we both initiated a "how is this working for you?" conversation to make sure we were on the same page. 

 

6. First ask her. As a nanny I was a private contractor, I offered my style of childcare and my fees, and if that fit what a family wanted - then great!   It is not a nannyshare.  Those take into equal consideration the wants and convenience of both families.  She is coming to your house, when you want her and working around your child's routine.  If you were taking your child to her, and she was bringing her along while she took older kids to activities and ran her errands that would be reasonable.  But just like you, she still has all her responsibilities to take care of when she gets home from work.  Yes, the lower end of the range is reasonable.

 She will be able to sense the attitude you have about payment, so I would urge you to examine what you value and truly think is fair in this situation. I have had people who obviously were trying to figure out how little they could get away with and it feels really bad.  I have never been paid the high end of the scale because the families I know and love don't make enough and that was okay. I did charge a bit lower than the going rate when I brought my son. But if I knew you were willing to pay an 18yr old who had done a couple summers of childcare $6/hr more than me, I would be really bothered.

 Caring for children is a very strange field because the most important skills are not quantifiable.  Does that make them less valuable?  I am not saying this all in a critical way, it is something I have tried to sort out in my own head for a while. A few years ago I worked asst managing a food service establishment while nannying part-time.  I got paid more at the food-service, but I saw that my unique gifts, and the skills and patience I had developed over the years were used and challenged so much more when I worked with children. So I quit and became a full-time nanny.  Then I had a son.  If I had stayed in food service, by that time I would have been making enough to pay for childcare and still make some money afterwards.  Instead, I was a nanny so I brought him with.  None of my talent with children, care or passion for facilitating learning and connection diminished with his birth.  Instead it gave opportunity for me to coach respectful and compassionate interactions between the children and for them to develop their closest friendships.  So should my pay have been cut in half?  No. His needs were added to the equation so my rate was slightly lower than otherwise ($2-3/hr).

 

Now I don't know your potential nanny.  Not everyone is me, or truly values the work and relationships in the same way. But if you have a gut feeling it will be a good relationship, and can work out the logistic, then celebrate and be thankful for this gift!

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#8 of 8 Old 03-27-2013, 09:34 PM
 
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A few years ago my mom was a nanny for a family with 2 children close in age to my daughter. Since I was a single mother, my parents helped me out with providing childcare at a lower cost than had I taken her to a daycare. We worked out an arrangement with the family in which my daughter could go to work with my mom and play with the children. This went on from the ages of 2 to almost 7 years old. The frequency varied as my daughter began school and as my work schedule shifted. For the most part, the arrangement worked well, but I would strongly encourage for you, as the employer, to have a thorough discussion about expectations early on with the potential nanny and then revisit that conversation as circumstances change. And, in this conversation, keep in mind that her child/ren will be a regular part of the dynamic. My daughter was an only child  so having other children to play with taught her valuable lessons early on about sharing, friendship, patience, etc. With her grandmother as the caretaker, separation anxiety wasn't an issue that she had had with other child care arrangements. 

As for snacks and meals, I would send a lunchbox with her but since my mom also did some meal preparation, all of the children usually shared and ate together. Sick days weren't that much of an issue since I would be the one to take a day off to care for my daughter at home. In cases of a mild illness for any of the children, they would still get together. I don't know how the salary was affected (or not) by my mom bringing her granddaughter to work since I wasn't privy to those discussions. However, the family did appreciate the maturity and experience my mom brought and she was paid quite well. They also offered to pay for my daughter to attend various extracurricular activities with their children which I appreciated since I couldn't always afford it. 

Admittedly, this arrangement worked better when my daughter was younger and she could more seamlessly fit into the routine of the family my mom worked for. Tensions can arise in showing preferences and attempting to maintain neutrality and there can be conflicts of interest. Sometimes my mom was overly strict with my daughter in trying to strike this balance. And, yes, sometimes my daughter had a hard time "sharing" her grandmother. Eventually I chose to seek childcare elsewhere for my daughter because once all the children reached school-age, they began to grow apart. The family had been generous over the years with passing down clothes, paying for after school activities, etc. but as the years went by it became clear that we, my daughter included, would always be seen as "the help" and not their peers, or equals, or colleagues even though we have similar levels of education and fields of employment. There were a few incidents where one of the children's toys would be misplaced and my mom was asked if my daughter stole it, for that same toy to turn up the next day. The final straw for me was when my daughter overheard their daughter (who she considered a best friend) calling her"ghetto" and that my mom was "just the babysitter" but otherwise they wouldn't be friends. 

I am in no way implying that parents who hire nannies for their children's care are elitist or look down on child care providers. Unfortunately, in our society child care providers aren't given the respect for the valuable work they do.I did, however, want to share my experience and perspective from the family of the nanny. It is so difficult finding good, reliable childcare whether a nanny, day care center, home day care, etc. so it's a blessing when we do find it. Best of luck in your search! :)  


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