Monday, March 21, 2011

Where The F*ck is Mary Poppins???

My childcare situation is in chaos right now. My sister, who is the closest thing to a nanny that I have, is currently trying to get a full-time job which would render her unavailable for babysitting while I work. My mother, who watches D one day a week has proven herself somewhat unreliable, selfish, and often more trouble and inconvenience than her service is worth. (But that's a whole other post.....)

So I have found myself in the unfortunate position of trying to find a nanny. As much as I abhor the idea of leaving my son with a stranger, I am running out of options. I can't afford daycare because of the minimums they charge and I only need 2 days a week. Plus with D's age, (9 months), he is beginning separation and stranger anxiety and the idea of dropping him off in a new place with new people and all sorts of strange kids would make me suicidal with guilt.

I went on FB and asked my circle of peeps where they would recommend I start my search. They suggested sittercity.com, care.com, and nannies4hire.com (which had the highest fees, so I'm skipping them.) I also inquired to College Nannies, but their hourly rate starts about 70% higher than what I am willing and able to pay.

I discovered a couple of things in my searches. First, I am swayed much more by a nanny's looks than I would like to admit. There are just way too many hot, young nannies out there - no wonder so many dudes get into trouble. Second, because of how young many of these women are, most of them are only available for evenings, weekends, and summers. That doesn't help me at all, especially since I get summers off from work like a teacher. And finally, the idea of having someone come to my house, take care of my son the way I want them to, and do some light housekeeping like unloading the dishwasher, prepping for dinner, doing the baby's laundry - is such an enticing thought that it helps to assuage some of that guilt I experience for considering handing my son off to someone I don't know from Adam.

I've never been an employer before, so this is an interesting experience for me. When a potential nanny applies to your job, you receive a message from them that is somewhat akin to a cover letter. I have noticed that while some of these people definitely know how to apply for a job, many of them don't have a clue. For example, my job posting clearly states that I am hiring for the academic year, and that hours woud be reduced over the summer to the minimum we would need to keep my son comfortable with them so that when they return in August for real, I don't have to worry about him freaking out. Not to mention the job posting clearly shows a weekly calendar where I checked off the days and hours that I am looking to fill. One girl sent me a message that says "Since I am a student I can not travel during class, but I would love to be considered for the job during the summer." Um. There IS NO job during the summer. 


Another applicant made mention of her "collegiate knowledge" as an excellent qualification, explaining how she has a B.S in teaching. I certainly appreciate an educated candidate, but my son is only 9 months old. He likes to lick things. Unless she took a class in getting babies to stop licking things, I don't see how that necessarily makes her qualified to change his poopy diapers and watch him bang on his Leapfrog table all day. 


D is everything to me. What I want more than anything else is someone who will truly care about and for him. Someone who is reliable and will be around for awhile.

Someone who won't care that I don't have cable.


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, the young applicants are too hot!?

and:

"And finally, the idea of having someone come to my house, take care of my son the way I want them to, and do some light housekeeping like unloading the dishwasher, prepping for dinner, doing the baby's laundry - is such an enticing thought that it helps to assuage some of that guilt I experience for considering handing my son off to someone I don't know from Adam."

Why should a nanny unload your dishwasher or start your dinner? What does that have to do with caring for your child? Nothing! It doesn't sound like you are paying the best rates either, but you are sure ready to take advantage of the situation.

JLK said...

God I hate anonymous commenters.

I didn't say that my "being swayed by looks" had to do with them being too hot. 2 separate statements. 2 pics side by side - one of a sweet looking girl with a genuine smile hugging a little boy, and the other of a bleached-blonde, too much makeup girl in a low-cut tank top without even a smile - who are YOU going to hope responds to your ad?

And secondly, not only am I paying ABOVE the average rate for a part-time nanny watching only one child, but these women check off "light housekeeping" as one of the things they are willing/not willing to do as part of their job. Same thing with potty training and taking care of a sick child. One of them even stated in her ad "Your house will be cleaner than it was when you left it, that's one of the bonus services I provide."

I wish I had realized my post about nannies would serve as troll bait.

Micro Dr. O said...

Ugh - I hope the search starts revealing some better candidates. Too bad they don't offer discounts for part-time infants at daycares. The nursery workers at our center take off days that are lighter because of the part-time infants, yet all the infants pay the same rates. Seems a little odd to me.

BTW, have you considered sharing a nanny with someone close by? I have a few friends that do this, and it saves them some money. Might be something to look into, if you know anyone around you that you wouldn't mind D hanging out with. ;)

Oh, and Anon needs to shut their pie hole.

Anonymous said...

"There are just way too many hot, young nannies out there - no wonder so many dudes get into trouble."

I don't think it was a misunderstanding. And I work as a nanny but do nothing *ever* that is unrelated to childcare. Only the exploited portion of the workforce does this.

JLK said...

@Anonymous - See the thing is, I'm the one who wrote the post and therefore I know exactly what I meant. That means I get to determine whether or not you misunderstood me. The fact is, you did. This entire post was meant to be pretty lighthearted and half-joking, but you apparently took it very seriously. I don't know if you typically read my page or not, but my sense of humor seems to be lost on you.

If you work as a nanny, you could be contributing many helpful things to this discussion but you're choosing not to do so. The entire point of my post is to say that I have no idea wtf I'm doing, and you're basically trying to call me out and tell me I'm an asshole because of the things I said in jest.

I mean, "exploited"? Seriously?? Are nannies on Care.com now the equivalent of sex workers on Craig's List? If I hire a nanny because of how great she is with my son, and she happens to throw a load of his laundry in the wash or empty the diaper genie, do I need to feel as though I'm exploiting her somehow?

I would really love to know what your impression of me is that leads you to believe that a) I truly have a problem with young, attractive nannies, b) would exploit another human being and c) would choose childcare for my son based on the person's willingness to sweep the kitchen floor.

Your comments bother me much more than they probably should, but for some reason I can't just ignore it when someone thinks I'm a douchebag when I'm trying to be funny. It really upsets me.

JLK said...

@Dr. O. - I don't have very many friends with babies. Of the few that do, all but one family have their kids in daycare at least 3 days per week, and the one family has a mom who stays home. Her daughter is a month older than my son and we frequently have playdates. I had talked with her about the possibility of trading childcare hours, but we both agreed that it would be like trying to take care of twins only without the benefit of the routine that actual twins develop. Simple questions such as "If I need to put one of them down for a nap, what do I do with the other one in the meantime?" are what stopped us from working out some sort of trade system.

And because she doesn't work outside the home, she doesn't need the nanny hours and can't really afford it as an occasional luxury.

I can't even remotely afford a full-time nanny. I'm already paying them more than half my hourly wage. If I couldn't cut it with only 2 days of paid childcare a week, I would have to quit my job.

Daily Dose of Dahl said...

Oh man - the childcare dilemma. I do not envy you! I had good luck with sittercity last year, but now that my oldest is in kindergarten and my youngest is in preschool two days a week, I can ususally work around those schedules to get done what I need to get done. I'm grateful for that!

Just to chip in with my two cents - I think a certain amount of 'light housekeeping' is well within reasonable expectations when it pertains to care of the kids. I'd never ask a sitter to pick up my dry cleaning or clean my gutters, but I do expect that they clean up after meals (theirs and the kids), pick up any toys played with, change the crib sheets if the diaper leaks or there's spit up...just common sense, common courtesy things..not rocket science or explotiation involved.

Brooke

Anonymous said...

Brooke,

That all sounds very reasonable. Way to twist what I said! I said things related to the kids are fine! (also it is understood that the childcare worker eats for free if they are there during a meal time). But counting on the nanny for other housework is a no-no. And so are things beyond the immediate (wash dishes clean up messes etc)that are related to the child such as laundry unless a nanny is employed full-time at high wage plus benefits.

It is legally risky for a childcare worker to spend ANY time not in direct or close observation of the child in their care. Unless your child sleeps for 4 hour stretches in the daytime, I would forget about add-on chores. You want the best person, who your son will have the most fun with!

JLK said...

Anonymous - my son regularly naps for a total of 4-5 hours just during my work hours, and often naps for 3 hours at a single stretch. Are you suggesting that a good nanny should sit by the crib and watch him while he sleeps because I'm paying her to be with my baby? Let's be realistic here. It is no more unfair for me to ask that a few simple tasks be completed while the baby is sleeping than it is for a nanny to expect to be paid to watch tv, surf the internet, or text message friends while the baby sleeps.

chall said...

I'd think about asking my friend since it seems like she's being at home with a child of her own and that you might not need a nanny/sitter for that long (I mean, all the years til school?). Not for trading hours, but maybe even for money? It depends on what kind of friendship you have. My friend and I would be ok with it since it would be help vs help (she's not hurting for money but would be happy with some extra)

Other option that my friends have looked into is an older woman (with a husband who works for example) and who would want to do something, "grandmother like". The flipside is that she might have already raised children and not being unexperienced, that would be the flop side too though... that she might have some ideas?

There isn't anyone (stay at home mother) at church (common where I live) who wants an extra child for two days a week for some extra money? Just some thoughts.

Selena said...

Here's an idea. Go to meetup.com. Look for a mommy meetup in your area. Join the group. Then use their message board to start asking them who they use or if they know anyone who is looking for part time babysitter work. I did this in AZ. In the summer (or if you have some time) you can go to some of the meetups and make some friends (I made ONE and we blew off all the rest of the meetup meetings and just hung out). I hate to admit that I used a sort of "mommy dating service" but you know that we are kind of the same personality types and it really wasnt that bad. Just check it out. It may or may not work, but it's a way to get real-mom recommendations.

JLK said...

Thanks, Selena. I checked it out and it looks like there's only one group near me that isn't one of the Stroller Strides groups (I'm not into working out at the mall on saturday mornings). I'm not sure about it because of some of the stuff the organizer says in the description, but there are quite a few members so there have to be a couple of normal people......right? We'll see if I'm accepted. lol

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