Nanny sharing

A month in, and I’m pretty sure I’m already behind on my resolution to post more than just pictures here. This week, I had a great question from a new mama friend about our nanny share — positives, negatives and any advice as they consider whether to do the same.

For me, the best thing about going back to work has been the nanny share. While there have been logistical issues along the way that had to be worked out, never once have I had to worry about the quality and reliability of the care she has received.

What I have liked most about our nanny share:

  • E has one dedicated nanny who has spent the last decade figuring out new babies and getting them on a great schedule of napping and eating. She has been a huge reassurance to a first-time mama. (She also happens to cook some great Indian food for us from time to time!)
  • E has a great playmate who is just a few months older … someone to watch, learn from and play with …. all without the germs of a daycare. It is the perfect combination of socialization yet personalized care. She also has a great, child-proofed environment with all kinds of toys we didn’t have at home right off the bat.
  • Our nanny share “family” had the same nanny for their first daughter. For me, seeing their older daughter interact with our nanny the first time we met everyone was the best advertisement in the world — she was a happy, smart and curious little girl who clearly was very at ease with her former nanny. Another benefit of our share family having employed the same nanny previously was that they knew potential issues that might arise — over communication style, pay, etc. — and could flag them in advance. (They also kindly advised on all the tax implications of becoming an employer, which is one of the more complicated parts of a nanny share.)
  • We had the benefit of being the “second” family in a share where the family had already been through a share with the same nanny. This meant there was a system in place for many things: what the “sick” policy would be, what the written report of daily activities would include, etc.  This made everything easier.
  • We have had several power outages during the course of the time we’ve had the share. Twice, we have been invited and taken advantage of our share’s fully furnished basement bedroom — and freezer for breastmilk. Amazing.

What I would do differently in a future share:

  • In an ideal world, if we did this again, I would love to have a share at our house or on our street. The convenience of those (few) extra minutes in the morning and the evening would be great if the timing allowed. Since she started sleeping through the night, E has always been on the “early” side of bedtime, making the mad scramble at the end of the day all the more, well, mad. Sometimes it means only 15 minutes of time with her from the time we get home until she is asleep. And while I know we definitely benefited from not always having to have our house clean, a future share that could also integrate our dogs would be convenient.  
  • I would do a better job up front of coordinating holiday schedules. We have a slightly different schedule than our share family who is on the federal holiday schedule. In retrospect, we should have compared our annual holiday schedules earlier and made the days we both needed care and which days were holidays more clear.

Other things to take into consideration for any nanny share:

  • Our nanny is a grandmother, whose grandchildren who live in other countries. While she takes a vacation to visit every year, we have never had to worry that she would have kids or grandkids who were sick and might require her time.
  • While our nanny lives very near to our share and will walk or take the bus during nice weather, she does not drive. So on most days, our share family picks her up and we take her home. This is relatively minor, but a few minutes on top of an already-long commute.

But the most important thing about any nanny? That she holds your baby like she’s the best one in the world. Like this.

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