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Please tell me some positive nanny stories!

(10 Posts)
Rebecca41 Wed 02-Sep-09 13:50:58

I'm in desperate need of some positive stories.

I'm a single parent of 2 sons, one age 4 months, the other 4 years. I go back to work at Christmas, and DS1 starts school in January.

Due to my working hours and the need for DS1 to be collected from school, the most obvious childcare solution for me is a nanny. But I'm terrified! DS1 went to nursery before, so I never had to leave him with one person. I feel anxious at the thought of leaving someone on their own with my kids, terrified I might end up with a psycho who tortures them! I know that sounds over-dramatic, but you know how it is - fear of the unknown etc.

Can anyone tell me positive experiences to make me feel better?

Thank you

MollFlounders Wed 02-Sep-09 14:00:18

Rebecca, not sure if this is what you are looking for but my nanny is absolutely fab. I went back to work FT when DD was 6 months old (earlier this year) and was incredibly nervous about leaving her with someone, after all she is my PFB wink. I interviewed lots and lots of people, about 15 in total, to find someone that I had real confidence in and with whom I really clicked as well - important if someone is going to be able to turn up at your house every morning while you're still in your PJs, plus you want to really make sure you're on the same page in terms of child-rearing philosophy, and someone you can have really good communication with. The nanny I found had the right experience and qualifications in terms of what I was looking at, warm and loving, extremely reliable and flexible, lots of fun, highly professional, committed to what she does, and very strongly bonded with my DD which, as a mother, is initially very strange but actually exactly what you want when you are entrusting your DCs to someone. So I think it can work really well. But you have to interview, interview, interview and interview some more (well, I did anyway blush). And do check the references yourself, even if you're using an agency.

Rebecca41 Wed 02-Sep-09 14:08:05

Thank you, that makes me feel better. I think I'll get DS1 to help with the interviews - anyone who can get past him must be good!

MollFlounders Wed 02-Sep-09 14:13:26

Actually that's a good point in terms of meeting your DCs. What I tried to do was first see the nanny myself, so I could get through all my questions and consider the responses without the distraction of DD. Depending on how the interview had gone, I then made sure the candidate spent some time with DD so I could see how that went. I had my mum around at the time so I got her to mind DD in one room while I interviewed and then I brought DD in at the end if I was thinking the candidate was a potential hire. Before I made any offers I got the potential nannies to come back again to spend some more time with DD. And then before I finally went ahead with the nanny I did hire I got her to spend a day with me and DD at home so we could make sure we were all happy and got on. It's a bit of a faff and takes up a lot of time but you've got to be completely happy. Some people have found the right nanny a lot quicker, it just depends how it goes. But you want to return to work with confidence (although you will have loads of pangs- I still do!)

Tavvy Wed 02-Sep-09 19:15:10

As a nanny I agree with MollFlounders. Interview, interview, interview first preferably without child so you get a chance to really chat. Personally I like a thorough interview, it makes me feel as though the parent really knows what they want and there is nothing worse than working for a parent who hasn't got a clue what they want.
There are loads of good nannies out there. The press only report the horror stories sadly because I think annies are the big bad wolves of the childcare world. We're a modern day folk devil but really - we are not all so bad. You just need to really know exactly what you want from a nanny and expect in a nanny and make that really clear.
TPersonal recommendation can count for a lot but bear in mind just because one family found a nanny fab does not mean you will. Anne of Cleves came highly recommended and look what happened there!!! It all depends what you want in a nanny. My last boss loved the fact I'm organised, calm, enthusiastic about things the children do and willing and able to get down to their level but I think it drives my current boss mad sometimes. Another boss loved the fact I'm deemed superqualified (whatever that's supposed to mean) but my current boss couldn't care less.
Each to their own.
Good luck

Oh and definitely check refs but a noncommital reference does not necessarily mean a bad nanny for all the reasons I've just said. Different nannies suit different families.
Good luck finding your Mary P

lobsters Wed 02-Sep-09 20:16:56

The first thing I should point out is that my nanny hasn't started yet, but here are a few pointers from the things I learned during the interview process

- while you might want to interview without DC's if they are little like mine you might not have much choice if naps etc don't go to plan. It can be interesting to see what the candidates reaction to a baby is. One trick I found interesting is to offer them a drink and see how they interact with DD while you have popped out to get the drink.

- I think this was advice from Athenenocturne, if I'm honest I didn't fully appreciate it at first, but think about what kind of boss you want to be. How much do you want to dictate what the nanny does? How much do you want the nanny just to get on with things? Some of the candidtes I saw I felt would need far too much micro managing, but I bet some other people would think they were fab as they would do exactly what they were told and not do their own thing.

- don't have any preconceptions on who you're going to pick.

- I guess you will know what you're parenting style is, how important is learning numbers and colours at an early age? Do you want to do BLW? Make sure you test attitudes to the things that are important to you?

HTH

AtheneNoctua Wed 02-Sep-09 20:56:50

So much I could say, don't really know where to begin. Maybe start by listing the hours and duties you want him/her to do and then we could better advise things that you might want to look for. For example, if you want her to do nursery duties, then you will want someone who is naturally tidy. And if she is live in, then you should ask her previous employer what her room looked like? (It took me a long time to learn this!)

The truth is there are good and bad nannies out there, and there are nannies that are good but not right for you. You should probably be prepared that it is inevitable you will not find the perfect nanny, but a good nanny is worth her weight in gold.

And, I would also like to say I am most impressed about single mum with a 4 month old headed back to work (presumably full time). I take my hat off to you.

Katie14 Wed 02-Sep-09 21:41:25

It's a nerve wracking thing and the adjustment is hard but in the end it can be wonderful. I got a nanny for my daughter at 10 months (lots of tears from us both to start with)and now at 20 months she absolutely loves her and asks for her constantly (to my sometimes annoyance - no, L's not coming today, mummy's looking after you). I think if you find the right one, the benefits of one on one care are brilliant. So how do you find the right one? I guess some of it is luck but here are some of the things that I did:
Try to find one that is doing it as a career and not just because they're not qualified to do any thing else.
Find one with Ofsted registration and an up to date pediatric first aid certificate.
Make sure that they have an enhanced CRB check
Talk to previous employers.
Ask the right questions (check out http://www.nannyshare.co.uk/advice/info/nanny-interview-questions.html)
Trust your instinct
Spend a few days together so that your baby gets to know them with you there.
I hope this helps - it's hard at first but we now have a wonderful nanny. In the early days I worked from my home office and would be sitting there in tears when I heard my baby crying. Now I sit here smiling when I hear the nany singing and playing with my daugheter and hear her laughing her head off.
Good luck!

fridayschild Wed 02-Sep-09 21:50:38

My second nanny was effectively recruited by DS1, just before he was 2. The agency said this candidate didn't interview well, but was a good nanny with great references (they'd spoken to the referees). They were right - DS1 liked the look of her straight away and she answered my questions while playing hide and seek with DS1 behind the curtains. She came back for second interview/ to meet DH, and DS1 remembered her straightaway as his friend, and got her back behind the curtains. He didn't react like that to any of the others, and the previous employers were great about her on the phone. When you ring to check references, you may well strike a rapport with previous employers, and I would ask them for their perspective on your worries. The views of someone who's had nannies around for a while can be very reassuring. Having a child old enough to give you feedback on a nanny is a great comfort too.

I've always found it helpful, when recruiting nannies, to have a second interview. It gives me time to think about what was said in the interview, and make a note of the follow up questions I failed to ask at the time. Also a second opinion is helpful too - do you have a trusted friend who could help? My first nanny was a nanny share, which worked well in terms of sharing worries with the other mum. Maybe that would work for you when DC1 starts school?

Finally, sometimes people post on here with problems about nannies, which sometimes seem to be problems with the whole issue of being a boss. I think if that's a real worry for you, a child minder might be better. Also CMs are registered with OFSTED, and assessed and visited, which can be reassuring.

Work2hard Wed 02-Sep-09 22:04:19

Rebecca, along with others here I would advise you to press on with your plan. I have a great nanny who has been with me for 7 years now from my return to work after my first DS was born. She, and nannies I know who are her friends, or are nannies in other families, are a great lifsaver for working mothers. She has professional training and experience that gives her insights into health, diet, weaning, development etc that I didn't have when I was a new mum. She loves my children(there are 2 now) and is patient and compassionate with them.

As you are her only employer a nanny has no other concerns when she is working than the well being of your children, who will be in the enviroment they know best - your family home. You can't get thsoe things from nursery or a childminder and you can't agree the hours and approach that suit you, their mother.

As the other posters say, interview carefully and make sure you speak to ALL previous employers yourself on the phone. Go with your gut instinct about those you like, thoroughly check them out and take a deep breath.

I wish you all the luck in the world!

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