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Hi...I live in the Dallas area and have 2 small children. I have a dilemna that has permeated every facet of my life for the last 6 months and am looking to others for help. We have had 5 nannies in the last six months and the turmoil and change it has created in our lives is just out of control. The reasons we've had so many vary - from going back to school, pregnancy, debilitating automobile accidents to unacceptable on the job behavior. We are now in the process of trying to find out 5th nanny and I just pray someone will come along and be "normal", loving, and caring. It breaks my heart to have to send them to daycare so we are trying to avoid at all costs. One recurring probelm is this: we communicate our expectations up front, in writing and ask the nanny to sign. But when it comes time to follow these expectations, they fall short and do not follow our desires (i.e., 30 minutes of reading time a day, no TV, etc) or if reminded, they will follow for a day or two only. My husband and I continually walk on egg shells because upon discussion, our fear is the nanny will quit and leave us hanging (one quit by emailing us at 11pm one night saying it "wasn't working out" after we reminded her of our policy of not using our computer while the children were awake). So my question is this: is there anyone else out there who has a nanny (we pay ours $400 a week, net, to watch 2 children, one of which is only there 3 days a week) and do they live in constant fear she will quit or just not show up? How do you deal with that and how does one find a good nanny without spending a fortune on agencies (we used Care.com and a few other websites)? What about emergency child care as we do not have any family near us!! I just need someone to talk to who has been through this because I'm so exasperated that I'm in tears! ”





8 replies so far...

  • I found a wonderful nanny through the pennysaver, and one through the YMCA bulletin boards.

    Go to the Park where you see a lot of nannies, observe and then ask if she has a friend like her.
    Good nannies usually hang together because they share the same values.

    Maybe up the salary a bit and see who you attract and maybe it's just $50.00 .

    I understand the T.V. thing but a DVD or noggin once in a while isn't the worst thing.

    It's so hard finding a nanny. You really at the end of the day want someone loving and nuturing for your kids. You want your kids happy and healthy.

    Best of luck







    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 16th November 2008

  • We actually found our best nanny on Craigslist but after about 9 month with us (our longest tenure for a nanny), her parents were really hounding her to go to college which is why she left. We do reference checks, background checks, etc. I'm convinced that luck does play a big part. We also show our nannies appreciation by buying them gift cards on the spur of the moment, bonus' and paid time off. We are more than fair with them as I am a manager in the corporate world as is my husband. I try to treat those that work for me the way that I want to be treated. I'm adamant about daycare because my daughter caught RSV from her first daycare she was in. Because of that, has a lowered immune system and is more suseptible to getting sick than the average child. Our interim nanny called in sick today so we again had to scramble to find child care today. My husband and I just don't have any more days of work left to take off because we've been through the gammit so many times this year with child care. We are now in the process of finding a new nanny along with a backup - Thanks for all of the replies....

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Sue on 11th November 2008

  • I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I am a daycare user and I love it!! Not sure why you are so against it, but everyone has their own views. Just quick pros as I see them: They are always there, ie. no nanny quitting on you, calling in sick, or not showing up. Also, your childs gets to interact with other children thier age, which is priceless. Lastly, I have a hard time trusting one person, a stranger none the less with my children, I take comfort in the fact that there are more checks and balances in a daycare. Multiple teachers, the manager, etc.

    I think the best way to find a nanny is from a referral of someone you know. Easier said than done, I know. How old are your kids, are they old enough to tell you if the nanny is mistreating them, or doing something wrong? Wish I could be more help, GL with everything.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Evansmom on 11th November 2008

  • I think you have to remember that a nanny is a human being. When you hire her she becomes part of your family. To not be allowed on the computer during the day may be asking too much. Why not? People don't like to be treated like bad children. I think you have to ease up a little and find someone you trust, and let them do their job. These are people you are talking about. A nanny has to love the kids they are taking care of. If you constantly talk down to them, they are going to resent your kids. What is wrong with daycare? We love our daycare provider.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Pam on 11th November 2008

  • We actually found our best nanny on Craigslist but after about 9 month with us (our longest tenure for a nanny), her parents were really hounding her to go to college which is why she left. We do reference checks, background checks, etc. I'm convinced that luck does play a big part. We also show our nannies appreciation by buying them gift cards on the spur of the moment, bonus' and paid time off. We are more than fair with them as I am a manager in the corporate world as is my husband. I try to treat those that work for me the way that I want to be treated. I'm adamant about daycare because my daughter caught RSV from her first daycare she was in. Because of that, has a lowered immune system and is more suseptible to getting sick than the average child. Our interim nanny called in sick today so we again had to scramble to find child care today. My husband and I just don't have any more days of work left to take off because we've been through the gammit so many times this year with child care. We are now in the process of finding a new nanny along with a backup - Thanks for all of the replies....

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Sue on 11th November 2008

  • I have a nanny who was referred to me by a fellow board member on a nonprofit board. I had done a lot of research and interviewed a couple of people from gonannies.com, but I couldn't get comfort from them. In retrospect, this may have been due to somewhat unrealistic screening criteria. I looked into a nearby "English nanny" school that is associated with my grad school - they have a pretty comprehensive course that costs about $10K so I figured I'd get pretty serious candidates there - but the cost and legalities were more than I was willing to pay at the outset of my search. (But, what I ended up paying was also higher than I originally planned, so if I had it to do over, I might have given their alumni a try.) In my initial screening, I ignored candidates much older than myself, because I had two one-year-olds and they were physically rather high-maintenance at the time (they wiped me out, and I am pretty healthy). Well, the nanny I finally hired is old enough to be my mom, and we've never had a problem with physical limitations.

    Our nanny has been with us since January. She does NOT do all things exactly the way I want them done. For the most part, she tries; it takes time to learn some of my unconventional approaches. In some respects, she seems to think she knows better than me and rather than argue, she does her thing when I'm not around. But sooner or later I call her out on it and, if necessary, we go over my reasons for why I want things a certain way. Her English isn't perfect, so she doesn't understand everything I say, and our wires get crossed more often than I'd like. But, on balance, she's a wonderful nanny and I would rather accept her human limitations than keep searching for the "perfect" one. She really loves the kids too, and I know she too makes some sacrifices to make this work. I try to remember to show my appreciation for all the good stuff and pick my "battles" very carefully. Having said all that, it's still an employment relationship and she could leave any time if she got a better offer.

    I feel that it's important to focus on the positives and really nurture the relationship with your nanny. I can't tell from your question, but I wonder if, on balance, you are showing your nannies that you do appreciate what they do right, which is probably most things. Another thing you might consider is looking into more expensive but more reliable options. The nanny school I researched seems to keep an ongoing relationship with its alumni, is invested in successful placement (via a fee), and I assume they'd help with advice or negotiation assistance or maybe a reality check if things got difficult. If you really feel a nanny is the best solution for your family, a few more bucks is probably worth the hope of greater stability.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 11th November 2008

  • I know this may be something you don't want to hear, but...you said "It breaks my heart to have to send them to daycare so we are trying to avoid at all costs." Have you explored what might be behind your reasons why the possibility of daycare seem so unacceptable? I recognize daycare is not the option for everyone, and I realize you have absolutely no obligation to explain to anyone why you're against daycare programs for your kids, but I just thought I'd tentatively ask. Anyway, GL with your nanny search. It sounds like you've been through a lot. - Paula.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by tkd_mama on 11th November 2008

  • Sue, first of all, I've been there and it is heartbreaking. :(

    Finding a great nanny is really tough, whether through agency or not. We have friends who are on their 3rd nanny from an agency. Some say that you should only hire people whom friends can recommend but I can say that our best nanny came from an ad on craigslist, if you can believe it.

    Unfortunately I don't think there is a formula for how to find a great nanny, luck has a lot to do with it. But have you talked to friends at all? It might be good to put the word out that you're looking for someone.

    Do you do reference checks on the nannies before you hire them?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 11th November 2008

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