Looking for the 'perfect' nanny: Experience or up-to-date 'expertise?'
A nanny's years of experience raising children wasn't enough for one mother looking for the 'perfect' childminder. Have babies changed so much in the last few years that child-care providers need the most 'up-to-date' expertise?
Our beloved nanny who worked for us for five years – Joan – recently called to say she’s on the job market again. She’s been working for the family after ours for the past decade, and they’re helping out in her job search, of course, but could we help, too?Skip to next paragraph
Lenore Skenazy is “America’s Worst Mom.” (Google it!) The New York City columnist-turned-reality show host got that title after letting her 9-year-old son take the subway alone. In response to the media blowback, she founded the book and blog, “Free-Range Kids,” launching the anti-helicopter parenting movement. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.
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With pleasure! I put a notice on a local parenting website: “Our extremely kind, smart, warm, funny, organized nanny seeks new full-time job.” I got a call from a woman who had been tasked by her pregnant daughter-in-law to help out in the nanny search.
Great! I told her how I’d met Joan when I was home on maternity leave and hanging out at the same playground where she took the kids she was babysitting at the time. We became friendly, and I dearly wished she could be my kids’ nanny – that’s how much I liked her. Then, lo and behold, the family she was working for moved away, just as I was getting ready to go back to work. Such serendipity! Joan came to work for us, and I got to be a happy, non-stressed mom going back to my job, because I felt my kids were in such capable hands.
The lady on the phone was listening to all this but finally interrupted: “So you say she hasn’t worked for you for 10 years?”
“Well, then she hasn’t worked with a baby in that long?”
No, I explained. The “new” family she went to work for eventually had three kids. The youngest is 4 or 5, so she worked with a baby about three or four years ago.
“I’m sorry,” said the caller. “This isn’t going to work. My daughter-in-law wants me to find someone with recent baby experience.”
“Well, four years is kind of recent, isn’t it?” I swallowed and tried not to let my voice go shrill. “I guess I should have mentioned that Joan didn’t only help raise my kids, she’s raised four of her own. The youngest is in college now. So it’s not as if babies are something new to–”
The woman apologized again: “I see what you’re saying. Believe me, I understand. But my daughter-in-law made me promise to find someone who is up on the latest baby information. You know, so much has changed in just the past few years. She wants a person who’s up-to-date on all the new things. This is such a crucial time for the baby’s development.”