Working from home often seems like the Holy Grail. What could be better than bringing home the bacon without ever leaving your bedroom?
I'll tell you. Bringing home the bacon without a 2-year-old perched on top of your head.
I've been self employed for nearly seven years now. During that time, I've tried managing my home, children, and business in many different ways. I've had a live-in nanny, a live-out nanny, part-time mother's helpers, and a slew of neighborhood babysitters. The only thing I never tried was duct taping my children to the wall. I hear that's a very effective way to get yourself 15 minutes of free time, and also possibly a jail sentence.
While many mothers who work outside of the home employ nannies, live-in nannies can be a viable option for those of us that work from home as well, especially if your self employment requires full-time hours. You can find a live-in nanny by placing an ad in the newspaper, going through a nanny agency, or using an online service such as www.4nannies.com. If you choose to go the newspaper ad route, be sure you check references, run a background check, and have their driver's license record looked up and on file.
Agencies usually charge placement fees, and sometimes those can be pretty steep, but if you go through an agency you can rest assured knowing all of that background-check stuff is being done for you. Added bonus: And many agencies will replace your nanny if she ends up not being a good fit or flying the coop.
Online do-it-yourself nanny resources take more effort, but many of them offer background and driver's record checks as well.
Au Pairs are nannies from another country that are looking to experience a year abroad. Established agencies are the best way to go about finding an au pair. The wages are similar to that of a live-in nanny, with the added benefit of perhaps getting a girl who can teach your 2-month-old French.
Homesickness can abound, so do your part to find out as much as you can about your au pair's country. Try learning some recipes from her homeland, and try learning a few words in her native tongue.
Communication is extra important since a language barrier may make the au pair feel isolated. Be sure you make an effort to find some common ground; listen to her music and introduce her to other nannies or students in your area so she can have plenty of opportunities to meet American friends her own age.
Still interested? Here are some things to keep in mind:
1.) Live in nannies live with you, so you need to have a spare bedroom and a bathroom for the nanny's use. While the bathroom can be one that is shared with the children, she'll need a bedroom that is all her own. Equip it with a television and a stereo system, if possible, and make sure the kids know to leave her alone after working hours. It's important that she feels she can "leave" work behind, even if it's just closing her door and relaxing without being asked to play Tic-Tac-Toe just one more time.