Finding a Nanny Is Like Trying to Mine Gold

We recently were “blessed” with a little screaming, grunting, rooting, writhing “bundle of joy” in the form of a baby boy. My wife took approximately 2.5 months off to be with him, using a combination of disability leave and vacation. As all moms do, she fretted over having to put him in the nursery at our older son’s daycare. There’s nothing wrong with it really; it’s small and it seems that anytime you go in there, there are 4-5 screaming youngin’s. It’s just not the calm, nurturing environment you want your children put in.

But, that’s life.

But then, as mentioned in an earlier post, we found out how much the ladies at daycare are paid and we thought, “Hey, let’s get a nanny.” Great idea! (at first)

We embarked on a search for a nanny through various channels and here’s what we found:

  • friends don’t wanna give up their sitter or nannies, so don’t bother asking them for a good name
  • online, so-called “Nanny reference services” run the gamut of everything from “fresh off the plane” foreign nannies, for which you pay a premium up front, but who are generally cheaper on the back-end because they live with you, to simple classified listings that are free for the nannies to post to, but for families looking for nannies, cost anywhere from $19.95 per month, to $200 per month.
  • free classified ads like those found on Craigslist

The problem with paying for one of these online listings is that you’re never really sure if the ads you can “preview for free” are real or not. So you may see some great listing, pay your money to access her contact information, only to find out (via e-mail) that “Oh shoot, I just accepted a position this past week.”

Therefore, we went the Craigslist route and received many responses, most of which were college-age girls with horrid MySpace sites that intimated everything from drug and alcohol abuse, to an abhorrence to children. It was truly mind-boggling.

After I screened and contacted several potential nannies (yes, that’s right “I”, as in “Me and not my wife”), I showed them to my wife who just kindof hmm’d and haaa’d over a few, without showing much interest. See, apparently my wife’s first reason for wanting a nanny was to make it easier for her to get out the door in the morning, but since she started getting up earlier, rather than at the last minute like she used to do, she’s been able to get herself and the boys ready (with my help I might add) with a minimum of fuss. So, Reason #1 for a nanny…GONE!

Reason #2 for a Nanny became the whole daycare thing, and how it’s just not a healthy environment for a newborn.

So, all this time that my wife has been back at work, we’ve had two different “nannies” helping us with the newborn during the day because we can’t get him in daycare till June anyway. Both are very nice girls, but all they want to do is lounge around and watch TV. Our son, who is now 3 months old, gets almost no stimulation until we come home and take over (I work from home sometimes so I see what goes on during the day). As time has gone on, I’ve run this whole nanny business over and over in my head and come up with the following reasons why a nanny may not be ideal:

  • while cost-effective now that we have two boys in daycare, when our oldest son starts pre-K and then kindergarten, and will NOT be in full-time daycare, it will not be cost-effective to have just one being cared for by a nanny
  • given the complete laziness exhibited by both nannies thus far, I fear how little exercise and artistic activities our children will be given. Currently, our eldest son plays on the playground for almost 2 hours a day, and does at least two different craft activities, on top of learning Spanish (at 3 years old). I don’t see a nanny doing all that
  • external social interaction will be much less with a nanny

After nearly two weeks of almost no nanny searching by my wife, I recognized that it was time to bring up my points. I did it subtely one evening while watching TV, “So, what do you want to do about a nanny?”

Subtle huh?

Her reaction was much the same as it had been for the last two weeks at which point I finally laid out my reasons why I was now against it. She agreed, but still wouldn’t commit to ending the search.

Another week went by and I’ve got three nannies awaiting a callback and finally I say, “So, are we done with the nanny idea?” Put on the spot she finally says, “Yes.”



I’m done. No more postings on the Internet, no more searching Myspace and Google for e-mail addresses and names to see what inane postings by these women I can find. I’m done! Fini!

In retrospect, as a friend pointed out, I should have realized by her lack of desire to be the one looking for a nanny, that it had become a non-issue. A momma-bear who isn’t taking the search for a surrogate caregiver firsthand, probably isn’t really into the search anyway.

Had I let her do it, I could have saved myself a lot of time and hassle. Sometimes I’m really dense.

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