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How To Hire The Perfect Nanny

Fat Mum Slim /

This next sentence you’re about to read might be the most obnoxious thing you read today, but I don’t know how else to word it, so here goes. A few years ago I had a session with my business coach 🙄 who told me that I really needed to hire a Nanny 🙄. It sounds extravagant with the business coach mention alone, right? But I tell you it was one of the best investments I’ve made for my business. I kinda fell into business and needed help, and I got it from a super successful business woman and she was right, I needed help {of the childcare kind}.

I used to be a Nanny. I looked after loads of kids for over 12 years, and I loved it… but I vowed that I would stay with my kids as much as possible… because it didn’t make sense to invest so much time into other people’s kids and not do the same for my own. I was very, VERY hung up on that. {Everyone has their thing, and that was mine}.

So when my business coach, Lyndall, suggested that I get help, I resisted for a little while. I met not-so-great nannies in parks and at schools over my 12 years nannying and I didn’t want just anyone spending time with my kids. I wanted to spend all the time with my kids. The reality was though, that I was running myself to the ground, I was struggling to separate work from home life, and I was totally burnt out. I also didn’t have the luxury of not working. I had to work, and I quite like working too. I wanted to do it all, but I wasn’t. So I gave in, and I started interviewing Nannies.

Lyndall told me to figure out what I wanted and to go for it, and to not falter on my must-have list. Lulu was still only little {just nudging over the one year mark} and I was still breastfeeding a lot, plus I’m an anxious mum. I wanted someone that would just do a few hours a couple of times of week, so I could smash out work. I also didn’t want them to drive with my kids in their car, and I didn’t want them to go out. I wanted them to stay home so I knew where they were. I was pretty much the nightmare boss, that I would have run away from in my own Nanny days.

I sat down with a handful of people, and I interviewed them. It was weird being on the other side of the interview. So weird. I get asked a lot, about how to find the perfect Nanny for your family. And you could read a million resumes, and do a whole heap of reference checks, but it really is going to come down to your gut feeling. You’ll know when you know. And when I met our Natalie, I just knew. She didn’t roll her eyes or feel concerned {or at least she didn’t show it} when I shared my rules. She didn’t judge me when I cried and told her that I just wanted someone to love my kids as much as they could. She promised me she’d do just that. But most of all, I felt that she was the right person. She had a softness that I knew would be beautiful with my kids, and I could tell from her eyes that she was caring. I just knew.

I learned in my years as a Nanny that when you ask people to clean, do laundry and do things around the house, it really takes them away from the kids. Of course that’s totally fine, because the alternative is that it could potentially take you away from your kids when you or your partner have to tend to that stuff later… but for me it wasn’t something I wanted someone to waste their time on. I wanted them to be with the girls, share their passions and talents with them, and have fun with them while I was powering through work stuff.

We had our beautiful Nanny for three years and she became of the family. She started doing just a few hours sporadically, to having regular days where she came and hung out with the girls, and became part of the routine {and yes, I let her drive with them after a short while too}. A Nanny can be a big expense for some families, which is why I also started out with just a few hours, and then I justified the cost in my business because my productivity went up when I could get more things done when the girls were in her care. A few months ago, we said goodbye to our Nanny because this is my final year with Lulu home and I want to soak her up. Of course that’s meant a bigger juggle with work and life balance, which is challenging, but it is what it is right now.

So how do you hire the perfect Nanny for your family? It’s all about gut for me. You’ll know when you’re chatting, but you’ll also know when your kids are interacting with them too. You should definitely know what you want from someone {i.e. the details of the role you’re offering}, and make sure that person ticks those boxes. Know beforehand – what hours do you want them to work. Do you want them to take care of homework? Household duties? Dinner? Get a clear idea of what you’re looking for. I think a working with children check and blue card is important, as well as knowing children’s CPR and first aid.

You can find Nannies through local agencies, through your local paper, Gumtree, FindABabysitter, your local Facebook groups, and by word of mouth. Having been a nanny, I didn’t love going through agencies because I felt they complicated things, but they take the stress out of it for some people.

I feel like I should have put a disclaimer at the top of this post, because I don’t want people to be up in arms because a Nanny isn’t for everyone… but it’s something I get asked about a lot {a LOT} because of my experience as a Nanny and now having someone care for our kids in our home now too. I know when I was a Nanny, people used to bag out my employers saying that if they had kids they should have looked after them themselves. I used to always roll my eyes and zip my lip, because there’s a bigger picture to understand. The women and men I worked for were amazing parents. I only worked for families that I loved and respected, who became part of my own family. They were amazing, inspiring business people that I learned so much from, and when they weren’t working… they were amazing parents because they’d created these boundaries where they got to be fulfilled at work, provide for their families, but also spend that down time with their kids too. It’s hard to explain, but as a Nanny you get the privilege of seeing the real side of families, that you’d probably only be privvy to in your own family… and I saw so much love and respect. {And those people that were bagging out my employers were also putting their kids in another form of childcare, and aren’t we all just doing the best we can? And perhaps childcare and carers don’t detract from our kids lives, but perhaps make it richer? No judging, I say!}.

For me, I knew I wasn’t doing that juggle well at all. I wanted to do it well, but I wasn’t doing myself any favours, and I wasn’t being a great mum, because I was distracted and stressed with work… and thinking of all the things that I wasn’t getting done. It’s been a really beautiful few years, and I’m sad that we don’t have our Nanny at our house each week, because she became such an important, lovely part of our family. We’ll always be part of each other’s lives… because Nannying is that kinda job, where you don’t clock off and leave… you remain in each other’s hearts.

@Fatmumslim