Remember that time I introduced myself to you guys & told you I had a nanny? We still have her, Marcie, and she’s still totally awesome. ::dusts off working mom shoulders:: We’re still 100% confident in our decision for this form of child care in our house. But, through a few recent discussions I’ve had, it’s been made pretty clear that there’s a lot of unknowns when it comes to nannies. So, I’m here to dispel a few rumours, tell the truth about some hard facts and brag a little about the highlights.
PRO: Flexibility. My husband works in retail management. That means his schedule is fairly unpredictable. His days off are not the same from week to week, his hours may change from day to day. Where this week he was off Wednesday, next week it’s Thursday. Today we commuted together 8am-5pm, but last Monday he was home til noon and worked til 9pm. For us it came down to a decision of are we paying daycare more often when we don’t need it? We just couldn’t wrap our heads around dropping the girls off at daycare and then Ryan driving back home to sit & wait for work in 3 hours. Or worse, paying for a day they didn’t need to be there at all, since Ryan was home on his day off. Financially, we just couldn’t justify it. And a daycare centre can’t possibly fulfill our extremely specific and random needs, while still maintaining their business model. Marcie works most often Tues/Wed/Thurs, but is completely flexible if we happen to need her the Friday instead of the Wednesday…or even the Friday as well. Her schedule is our schedule.
CON: Inevitable Sickness. No, my kids sporting a 101 fever never means I have to take the day off work. Total bonus. When Bella pukes at school, I drop her off to Marcie and head back to the office. Total bonus. No 24 quarantine, no head lice outbreak monitoring, no waiting for the flu that’s making it’s way around the day care. Awesome stuff. High fives. FULL STOP….what if Marcie gets sick? In a nutshell? We’re screwed. We have no alternative. If she has to take a day off? One of us takes it off too. In a huge pinch we could probably get one of our parents to help out…but for the most part we are 100% reliant on Marcie’s health and ability to come to work.
PRO: Cost. When we hired Marcie, part of the reason we knew she was the right fit for us was she asked us to pay her what we could afford. Our childcare is pretty dang cheap, but it is the most expensive “bill” we pay every month. We had looked around at day cares in the area, figured out what our costs there might be, compared it to what our budget said we could pay and presented her with a number. We didn’t want to cheap out (if I’m cutting costs somewhere in my spreadsheet, it ain’t gonna be child care!) but we also didn’t want to pay for what would amount to the upkeep of a day care centre. But here’s the kicker: if she doesn’t work, we don’t pay her. The weeks we only need her two days, she only gets paid those days. Now, since we love her and do not want to lose her, we make financially sure she isn’t looking elsewhere. For instance- two of our daughters are gone to their grandparents’ for the entire month of July. (I know!) But Marcie still gets paid as if they were here. She’s working the same hours, we figure she’s worth the same amount of sacrifice to us. The best part for us in all of this is that I feel like we had a lot of input into the price we pay for our child care. It was up to us, not a defined figure based on the kids’ ages and the days they would attend. It fit into our budget, we make it work based on our situation. It makes me feel like it’s more personalized in that way.
CON: Lack of social interaction & structure. My kids don’t know a thing about a structured day until they hit junior kindergarten at age 4. They lack the structure of a centre with behavioural and cognitive goals. There is no list of what they ate or how many times they went to the bathroom. They eat when they’re hungry and they usually get what they want- not just what’s being served that day. There’s not a lot of variety in their offerings for meals, and I have to buy and stock this food they’re wasting or eating. (mostly the former, which grinds my gears) This month? While Mae is alone at home? She’s really just…alone. There are no other kids to play with. No social interaction save for the few times it’s not scorching hot and Marcie brings her to the park. No one is teaching her to play nicely with peers, she doesn’t practice her manners with like-minded children. It’s an issue we chose to become OK with when we chose the nanny route. Our oldest two only ever had family members and myself taking care of them and they didn’t start out school totally socially warped, so we’re hoping Mae is OK too. ::fingers crossed!::
PRO/CON: Dealing with a personality vs a day care centre. This is properly marked both a pro & a con. I love that I know stories about Marcie’s son, I’ve been to her house, I take her husband’s medical concerns completely to heart. She buys my daughters birthday and Christmas gifts and calls the odd Sunday to see how the weekend has gone for us or to tell us a funny story about one of the kids. It’s so endearing and really makes me feel like she’s more than just a glorified babysitter. But, there are time when it’s difficult. We had one minor incident a few months ago where we didn’t see eye to eye. It was admittedly really difficult to get up the courage to confront her, since we really are dealing with just this one person. I ended up getting stressed over nothing and it was worked out in a 10 minute conversation. Whew! It was really stressful and made me kind of jealous over the rules and regulations at a day care centre for a moment.
It’s not for everyone, the nanny route, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of what comes with hiring a nanny for you. Ours doesn’t live with us (I’m more of a share-my-life-on-the-internet girl than a share-my-house girl) and she doesn’t hang out before or after work. It is a job, we’re very fortunate that we found the kind of person that just works so well with us. I can say that I never worry about what’s going on at home when I’m at work…and that’s worth a million bucks to me. I think that’s what we all strive for in our “ideal” childcare situations- the ability to feel comfortable and confident that our kids are loved and respected and cared for while we can’t be there to do it ourselves.
If you’re considering hiring a nanny and have specific questions or something you’re concerned about- don’t be afraid to ask me! Email me or find me on twitter. I promise you 100% honesty and a sympathetic ear…and I’ll probably make you laugh, but that’s like a gift-with-purchase for me:) I’m here to help!
Photo Credit: http://www.thefilmpilgrim.com