By Doula Jen
I recently chatted with two AMAZING mothers of twins, Carrie and Ilene. These rock stars generously shared their thoughts on choosing a nanny over daycare, the interview process, and life with an in-home nanny. The mamas found their nannies in completely different ways and are both extremely happy with the choice they made. Hopefully their experiences can help moms of multiples and also any parent starting the search for childcare. Read on!
Did you consider daycare? What led you to choosing a nanny instead?
Carrie: We did consider daycare. When I actually did the research, however, I found that most daycares did not have openings for two infants at the same time, so that pretty much squashed the idea for us.
Ilene: I wanted my kids to be cared for at home, at least for the first year. I work often from home so this way I would miss as little as possible. Also, with twins, the cost of a nanny is pretty close, if not less expensive, than a high-quality daycare.
How did you find your nanny? Did you go with an agency, an ad in the paper, or…?
Carrie: I called two agencies to check out what their processes looked like. I ultimately went with Above & Beyond Nannies because they were incredibly personable. Erin, the director, came to meet with us in our home and made us feel relaxed and comfortable. The agency set up all of the interviews and did the background checks. There is a finder’s fee, but for us, it was well worth it. We hired our nanny over 9 months ago, but I can still call the agency any time for help or questions. The very BEST part of working with an agency is that they will arrange a temp for us if needed. Every time we have gotten a temp, they arrive within the hour. It is such a relief knowing the temps have already been screened by the agency.
Ilene: We went with care.com to find ours. The other nanny services have what I feel is a punitive placement fee, and I feel like the effort I expended was not even close to that much. I posted an ad and weeded through those I felt like were inappropriate, unsuitable, inexperienced with caring for multiple infants at the same time, or otherwise not up to par. I interviewed about a half dozen, and ended up hiring the very first woman we interviewed. We love her and it’s worked out wonderfully!
Tell us about the benefits you have enjoyed in working with an in-home nanny.
Carrie: We love, love, love our nanny! She is the perfect fit for us. She is calm, relaxed, but also motivated and a self-starter. She feels like a member of the family without stepping over any boundaries. I tell her often that I hope she will work with us until the boys go off to college. I trust her wholeheartedly. I am most surprised by her ability to clean the house and take care of the kids each day! I love how she plans activities and adventures with the boys everyday. They have a more exciting social life than I do!
Ilene: So many benefits! She takes marvelous care of our babies, and has endless patience for playing with them. She keeps our main floor very clean and organized and does pretty much all the laundry! She makes enough bottles so that on days she is with us, we are taken care of until she comes again. Since we often work at home, we get to see our babies during the day but can still get our work done. I also like that they are in a clean and familiar environment.
Were you looking for a nanny who would educate you and share her expertise or was it more important that you find one who would defer to you, the parent, as the expert?
Carrie: I would say we were looking for a nanny who would do both. We wanted someone who was an equal partner but ultimately deferred to us as the parents. Our nanny has taught us so much and always presents things as options to us. She never says, “You must do this, you must do that.” But, she has worked with more kids and families than us, so in that regard she is a professional and an expert. I am the expert on my sons though, and she respects that.
What challenges have you faced in working with a nanny? Any fears, doubts, or misgivings?
Carrie: At first it can be hard to leave your most precious cargo in a stranger’s hands. It is crucial that you trust your nanny, and that trust can only build over time. It helped that we did a transition before I went back to work, and HAD to be out of the house. The most important thing to us was communication, from the start. We wanted someone that we could be honest and open with and who would do the same back.
Ilene: We have faced very few challenges, I have to say, and they are minor. It is key to keep open lines of communications. I try to tell our nanny the things she does that I really like, and then if there are things I’d like changed I tell her what I’d like her to do instead. For example, I might say, “Today the wether is so nice that I want you to spend some time outside with the kids, even if it means they don’t get their bath.
It was hard getting used to being in the house at the same time, trying to work. I would check in on them because I missed them and I think that made her feel like I was checking up on her. That just worked itself out through our talking to her and getting more comfortable with her.
Any final thoughts or words of advice for parents embarking on the search for a nanny?
Carrie: Go with your gut and what you feel is best at the time. You can always change your childcare if needed.
Ilene: In closing, I want to paraphrase a quote I heard on “Cougartown,” one of my favorite current shows. “We have a nanny to show our children all the love we feel but are too exhausted to show!” It’s something like that, but it made me laugh out loud.
*Ah, the wisdom of motherhood—the super stellar wisdom of mothers of multiples, at that! Thank you to our dear, dear friends Carrie and Ilene for giving us the 4-1-1.*