Tomorrow morning my nanny starts and this is not something I take for granted.
I had a nanny for almost five years, she now wants to only work part-time so three months ago, I went about looking for a replacement. Yes, amazingly, it has taken me three months to find a nanny.
There are so many things about this search that were painful. Amazingly, despite the slump in the economy, experienced and affordable nannies are hard to come by.
In our area, the cost is crazy - most nannies value themselves on their hourly rate, feeling that they are entitled to at least $15/hour. Well, that's fine except that they also want all the benefits of being on salary - like vacation, sick leave, personal days, health benefits etc...for my husband who runs his own company, this drives him crazy because because we are paying more per hour than his (more formally educated) office manager and this 'hourly' rate that nannies use doesn't include the 'true' cost to us - the real baseline is $17/hour since we have to pay social security and unemployment on top....(painful since these are all AFTER tax dollars).
The second most painful thing was finding the right person. I hired one lady who I thought was perfect, and she didn't show up for work the first day because of something 'personal'.
Then I hired another lady who was cheaper, a little less experience but willing to work longer days and she just had no instincts about caring for a baby (mine is now 10 months). Plus, she was missing her own two kids while working long days so that didn't last but a week.
Third, I hired a 25year old student who was taking classes on the weekend. I was really excited about her because she was young, energetic and would live with us so we would have the flexibility of having her babysit in the evening. So we moved all 3 of our kids into one room to accommodate her (yes, I really thought I could manage with all 3 in one room...). The second day she was watching TV, on email while my baby was sitting under the table. The next day my Mom came to check in on them and she was barefoot in the garage, trying to adjust the stroller while she had the baby PROPPED UP on a box...ultimately she confessed that she had no time to babysit and we both agreed it was not a good fit.
The fourth lady seemed amazing on the phone but it turned out she had NO filter. When she came over for the first time, she expressed many opinions including inappropriate commentary about my kids in front of them. She also only provided references from five years prior and didn't show up to her second day on trial because she thought it would be ok....when I called her to tell her she didn't get the job she really let her words sneak out of her mind and I was reassured that I made the right decision.
Finally, we found our current nanny who has been with one family for the last 8 years- she's wonderful. We found her from a teacher at the preschool.
I must have interviewed over 30 ladies on the phone and brought 20 ladies home over the last few months. I bought subscriptions to all the nanny websites and as good as their services are, the nanny I loved came from a personal reference...which in the final analysis is really the best way to find a caregiver.
For anyone who's interested, Here are the sites I used:
enannysource.com - good listings, good sample documents to use
care.com - utlimately the best site I found, I got a lot of responses from this site and found the spectrum of young and mature
sittercity.com - found most of them to be quite young and a lot of people who just want part time work
sulekha.com - the indian classified ads, people willing to work for good rates, good hours but most want cash
Others include: dcurbanmom.com; whitehousenannies.com
I would be happy to share many more pearls from the nanny hunt for anyone who's interested. For now, I'm just enjoying all the free time I have!