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with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

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The Nanny Issues

Categories: Work/Life


Book Cover I cannot work without childcare of some kind. I cannot easily find reliable childcare in the rural Alaska community where I live. Without someone with my toddler during the days, providing her with undivided attention, my work day is fragmented and frustratingly unproductive.

So for the last month, I’ve been exploring the concept of a nanny living in our home. Trying to figure out the logistics of it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown.

First, where would she sleep? In order to accommodate her, the only logical space is our double home-office/recording studio in the basement which means finding a place for two desks and all of our equipment. We could move the upstairs guest room set up downstairs to be the nanny sleeping quarters, but our two desks would never fit in the upstairs guest room. My husband offered to move his desk to the weight room when he realized how crazed I was becoming trying to work out the details.

We couldn’t have the nanny sleep in the upstairs guestroom because then when in the world would my husband and I have sex? We’ve mastered the “we’ve got a toddler who could walk in any moment so we really should get that bedroom door lock fixed,” but the hubby knows that when we have guests, our home is a sex-free zone unless we can find a time when nobody is within earshot.

If the nanny’s room was downstairs, then she’d have to brave the perilous basement stairs to share the bathroom with our toddler. This could be a liability of some kind that might not be worth the risk. There is no bathroom downstairs, and we are renting so no possibility of renovations.

Next, how would we be able to stand having someone around possibly 24/7? When we recently had someone nanny for us for two weeks, my husband commented that he felt like he had another daughter in the house. Since the weather is still nice here, the nanny stayed in our modern trailer camper which was helpful that she had her own space outside of our home, however, that is not a humane option in winter where we easily get minus 60 degree F weather.

Having someone around the house who is not part of the family is actually kind of creepy to me. I’ve had a hard enough time getting used to having a husband and then an infant-now-toddler, both being foreign entities in my years of bachelorette living. I don’t think I would even know how to behave around a nanny who is a total stranger. I’d end up coming across like one of those nightmarish mothers in The Nanny Diaries, I’m sure.

And I have to put this out there because it is something I’ve thought about - not often, but it is there. The whole “men who cheat on their wives with their nannies” thing. We’ve mostly heard about the celebrity incidents like Robin Williams and Jude Law, but a girlfriend of mine has a good friend who had that exact thing happen to them. Not that I truly think my husband will cheat on me - we have a great relationship (or so I believe). But that is exactly what this other woman thought.

But like I said, I’m not obsessing over that one although I did wake up in a panic about it one night. Just one.

Anyone out there have a live-in nanny? If so, how has it worked out…or has it? And were you actually able to get work done if you are working at home?

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2 comments so far...

  • We have a live in. We’re on our 3rd, and our kids are almost 3… The first two came and went within 5 months of the children.
    I think it is a learning process regarding what is important to you (besides taking care of the children–that is a given.) The level of involvement in your family, the neatness factor, the other responsibilities…all of that is somehting you’ll figure out and something that will also evolve over time as your needs and your children’s needs change and grow.

    We have a large ranch style one story home. Long. The nanny has a private bedroom and bath off the kitchen. the “family “bedrooms are at the other end of the house, and the children’s room is in the family bedroom zone. That helps tremendously with privacy.

    Our nanny has family in the area. So she leaves on weekends and we have our house to ourselves. This is quite nice. One of our nannies did not go anywhere on her off days, and I found that irritating after awhile. This nanny is also very unobtrusive/easy to live with. She will sometimes join us for dinner, but not always. So we get to have some family-only meals. She is neat and keeps all of her personal stuff in her room. I like that too.
    She is unassuming enough so that I don’t feel (too) guilty if I’m home and I’ve asked her to take care of the children while I cook or do some work, or go out and run errands. That has been a big deal for me because our first nanny resented having to work with the children at all if I were home. She figured it was my responsibility when I was home. I’m still dealing with the wounds from that experience!

    The main thing, is “don’t sweat the small stuff”. No one is perfect, but you find a set of characteristics that fill your needs “enough”.

    spacegeek  |  July 2nd, 2009 at 1:16 pm

  • We have a live-in nanny. I was hesitant about the sharing the house, but was convinced due to the cost savings. I do have some concerns about her skill level around more than one child at a time. So, I work my schedule to usually have the older two boys and she has the baby or none. Still I’ve had to come to terms this week that I REALLY miss my space. Even though she goes out in the evenings and goes away on weekends, it is still an issue. My husband and I finally admitted that we miss having our own private family meals during the week. (We are a blended family the children aren’t always around on the weekend or he’s out of town.) Since “room and board” are part of “live-in” insists that her work hours are around meal times and she eats with us. (Might I add this does make possible schedule hours very inflexible that doesn’t happen with live-out.) The kids have behaviour issues when she’s around (especially at meals) and I’m tired of having to miss eating to deal with it. Enough. Time to stop trying to change my kids and admit that they are probably feeling what I feel- something’s not right. It’s hard to have a new member in the family. They managed welcoming the new baby, but unfortunately the nanny never quite worked out. Man, it was a LOT of sweat and tears going through the adjustment period of the first 3 months. Now another 3 months later, I realize the writing was on the wall and that’s why it was so hard. We need out space. I’m not sure what the next arrangement will be, but I’ve learned that I’m not the person who can do the live-in thing. Wish I could. I hate the idea of what to do now!

    momof4  |  October 3rd, 2009 at 5:36 am