It’s no joke that finding a nanny can be extremely difficult. I see questions and anxiety about nannies all the time, and it reminds me how lucky we are to have the nanny that we do. So, I’m offering some sound advice for finding your own nanny.
First of all, don’t be afraid of vetting nannies yourself. But you have to understand that this will require much more time on your own part. You can use nanny-finding services and pay a premium to have someone else check people out for you, but I actually encourage you to do it yourself.
You need to start EARLY. With Ava, we started searching for nannies around pregnancy week 8. As soon as we told our parents, we posted a job on Care.com. Why do you have to start early? So that you can spend the right amount of time getting to know the person that it eventually going to be left at home with your child.
Yes, Care.com. I’ve heard horror stories, but we are a real success story. Again, it takes work to make this work for you. When it comes to finding a nanny, it won’t just be a quick job posting and someone is hired.
Before posting your nanny job on Care.com you need to decide what you actually need and want from your nanny. For instance, my husband and I have random schedules that sometimes are set in stone until the last day of the previous month. We have days where we are on call for 12 hours, and other times where we are on call for 72 hours. Sometimes we are both on call, sometimes we have meetings, sometimes we are completely free. My husband and I are also only children, and learning to live with each other was hard enough. We knew learning to live with a child wouldn’t be easy, so learning to live with yet another person at the same time seemed too difficult. So we wanted a live OUT nanny and they needed to be VERY flexible with the schedule and even consider being “on call” themselves.
With that posting, we got well over 100 responses. We opened every single one. Some were very easy to weed out–their rates were too high, they were too young, they didn’t live close enough, their reviews weren’t great, they weren’t experienced enough, etc. That eliminated about 50% of the first applicants.
That left 50 more people to try to figure out if they were worth it. So, to make sure these people were truly interested, we sent another (very long )message to all of them. This included information about us specifically–our jobs, our lifestyle, the 5 dogs we had and expectations of being a dog lover, we further described expected duties (helping with laundry, cooking meals for the entire family, expectations for time at our home/sleeping arrangements, rules about significant others, diet restrictions, a brief description of expected schedules. This was followed with multiple questions that required answers that addressed our concerns (Are you comfortable with dogs? What salary/hourly rate do you expect? Are your hours flexible? Are you willing to do other chores/errands for our family? etc).
That long email with our most important questions was able to eliminate about 50% more of the pool. So now, we really only had to research/further talk to 25 people. We decided to do a maximum of 15 interviews. We picked our favorite 15 and began setting up dinners with them. Once or twice a week for about 8 weeks, we had dinner or coffee with random people we had never met before. For all but 2 of these visits, my husband and I were present at the same time. Some of the nannies we met were absolutely amazing and showed us albums of their previous families, their resumes, and what they wanted to do with our daughter to aide in her development. Others drank too much on an interview and were easy to weed out. Others just didn’t make us feel like we “clicked”. We also took lots of notes on the things we found important or as concerns. After all that, we narrowed it down to 4 girls that we would have been very happy to have as a nanny.
Only then (less than 5 people) did we start doing background checks and reference calls. I didn’t have time to do 50 reference calls or the money to pay for 25 background checks, so I didn’t feel it was important to do this until we had narrowed down the field. Our top 4 had great references and super clean background checks. The one we chose literally had a reference say “She’s the best nanny we’ve ever had.” and when I asked if there was ANYTHING negative, the mom couldn’t come up with anything. Not a thing. Can you say, HIRED? One of our other top 4 ended up being a nanny for a friend of ours! (Lucky dogs, we had already done all the vetting for them!)
We offered our top choice a job around the first of May (a full 3 months before baby showed up) and she took it!! We took her out for another meal (with her boyfriend), got to know them even better, and we realized just how happy we were with our choice. We talked about expectations and signed an informal but binding contract. We also had her start a few weeks before we expected to deliver. She came by the house and got to know the dogs, her way around the house, her way around the area for errands, and we got to know HER before she got to know our child. This was really important to me, and made it much easier for me to be comfortable living baby at home when it was time to return to work.
Finding a nanny doesn’t have to be hard. Eventually you can travel together, half way across the world, just to enjoy time with your whole family. But if you start early and take the necessary time, you, too, can find the next member of your family. And you’ll find that paying for your friends is more than worth it, because it truly takes a village to raise children. And we couldn’t imagine our village without our nanny in it!
A Few Questions to Consider When Trying to Find a Nanny:
- Do you want a Live-in/out nanny? Part/Full time? Regular/Flexible schedule?
- Is proximity of their primary residence important to you?
- How much are you willing to pay? Do you want to pay hourly or a salary?
- How much vacation do you plan on giving them?
- What will you do on days where the nanny is sick or has their own emergencies to tend to?
- What do you expect of them when they are on duty?
- Do they have their own transportation or will you provide this for them?
- Are they CPR trained?
- What experience do they have?
- What can they offer you as a parent?
I am happy to help you in your process so that you can find the best person to help you BE YOU. Feel free to email me or comment below if you have other questions!