Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Daycare Dilemma

Our Childcare Crisis.
The Nanny Nightmare.
The Babysitting...I don't have anymore alliterations.

For the last two years, Hubster has stayed home with our boys. It has been absolutely wonderful. They had spent more of their lives up to that point in daycare after daycare. So to have them be able to be home, with someone who loved them, was a dream come true. Not to mention how much money we were saving.

With Hubster starting dental school next month, our current arrangement was obviously not going to work. Our original plan was to have the boys in the before-and-after school program at their elementary school. We signed up on the waiting list over a year ago, and then did just that...waited.

As spring came around, and we still had not heard if the boys were in the program, we started getting antsy. There were meetings, phone calls, and e-mails, in which we were always given the same reassurance. We were 8th on the waiting list. Last year, there had been 20 children on the waiting list, and they had all gotten in. They were confident we would get in.

You know where this is going, right?

We got an e-mail the first week of June saying the boys had a spot in the before school program, but not the after school program. So now, with just 2 1/2 months before Hubster starts dental school, we had no childcare plans.

We instantly started calling every single daycare in the area. Since Hubster and I would have to be at work/class in the afternoon, we needed a daycare that would be able to pick the boys up after school. After calling nearly 20 daycares, we were still empty-handed. There were plenty of daycares that had spots for both boys, but not a single one that would pick them up after school. Apparently, our sons' elementary school is just too far out of the way.

I contacted the local university for the list of occasional childcare providers, which are university students who are able to babysit after their classes. I sent out a dozen e-mails and got a dozen negative responses.

At this point, pure panic set in.

That's when I decided to do something we had never done before. I placed an ad in the university job website for a nanny.

The response has been amazing.

And this is where I need your help!

I've never hired a nanny before. I know what I want from one. I want them to be nice, and clean, and reliable, and friendly, and to play with my kids, and help them with their homework. But what do I ask? Are there questions that I should be sure to ask, and questions that I shouldn't ask? If you've ever hired a nanny before, what things did you wish you had known? What things should I look for? How should I organize the interview? I've already reviewed their resumes, and call all their references (all of which gave glowing reviews of each individual.)

And here is the other thing. Currently, we have four people lined up for interviews. Hubster thinks this is too many. It means that we will have to tell three people no. I have several more e-mails from people that would like to interview. Do I just tell them no, that we have enough candidates? Or do I just keep interviewing, with the fear that the one person I end up not interviewing would have been "the one?" This is worse that dating, I tell you!

I'm nervous, but I'm excited. I think this will end up being the best thing for our family. It will be a single individual watching our boys. They will get to be home, instead of at an unfamiliar setting. It will end up being more expensive, but since we're using Hubster's student loans to pay for it, what's an extra $10,000 of student loans at this point?

Our first nanny interview is this Thursday. Wish me luck!


  1. YAY! I'm thinking of Mary Poppins. I don't have children and no experience with this, so I'm just offering my support! I'd think the number one thing is hiring someone dependable and responsible.

  2. I've never hired a nanny before either. Some guesses: call their family-- what do parents and siblings see in them, how are the point of origin relationships? Nothing sure their, just more information.
    More important: before anything is said and done see how they and the boys interact, is there a connection. 1/2 the interview can be observation time with the view from a window, unseen.
    Ask how they motivate and discipline and what are their options in a frustrating moment. Be sure your boys know they can tell you anything!

  3. I say you interview, interview, interview. And if it makes you feel better, be honest with the women and let them know you have several people to whom you are talking.

  4. I don't have kids (yet) and so I've never been in your shoes... but my cousin just hired a nanny and she's thrilled. She said checking references and asking a ton of questions at the interview is key. Also, trust your gut. If someone gives you a funny feeling, keep looking. Good luck!

  5. Interview EVERYONE that you feel comfortable with. Just because someone sounds good on paper doesn't mean you want to leave your children in their hands.

  6. Good luck. A coworker loved her nanny for just the reasons you mentioned. I would interview as many as possible. Do the kids get to check out the nanny as well?


  7. I don't think 4 is too many to interview. That is going to be one of the most important decisions you've had to this point.