Interested to hear if anyone has positive/negative experiences employing a nanny AND a housekeeper, and what tips you have to make it work. Especially:
- How do you divide tasks? - Is one person in charge or do both report to you directly? - What are the most likely conflict areas? - How do duties change during school holidays? - In general, do you feel this arrangement works or are there better ones (e.g. nanny + au pair + cleaner)
Advice from nannies and/or housekeepers also very welcome!
We are a medium sized family (3 kids: 7, 5 and 18mths) with two working parents (demanding jobs). We have had various arrangements over the years, but we are currently looking at hiring a live-out nanny and a live-in housekeeper.
[p.s. yes I know, two staff is a luxury, but as long as we can afford it, it saves our marriage...]
Maybe you could start off by writing a list of all nursery duties and then give those to the nanny, and then all other household duties are for the housekeeper? You might want a cook/housekeeper who does all your shopping and catering.
You're not paranoid - you need to be careful when recruiting that they will be able to work together because they will be spending a lot of time in the same house!
Who is it more important that you get along with: the nanny or the housekeeper? Or who is it more urgent to have in place? Recruit them first and then at least take their opinion on the recruitment of the second.
I have refused jobs because I didn't get on with the other staff employed and it would have made working hellish but when it works it works very well, I got on brilliantly with the housekeeper in my last job and it ran like clockwork!
There we both reported directly to our employer but in theory I could direct the housekeeper, and sometimes did in school holidays, to change her routine to fit mine. If I wanted to do painting in the large downstairs room because it was a wet morning but she was going to clean there then I got first dibs IYSWIM. Also if, during school holidays, I was behind with any child-related but not directly child-care tasks (returning books to the library or keeping rooms tidy) then I would ask her to do them, but in the same vein if we were going out she might ask me to pick up bread or milk. Theoretically I did nursery duties but sometimes if she had time spare she would do them which was greatly appreciated, especially during school holidays!
Conflict areas from a nanny POV are: room usage (playing vs. cleaning), food (make sure they have similar ideas on nutrition if the housekeeper is cooking), the housekeeper getting overly involved with the children (yes, it's lovely that they get on but the nanny is in charge and if she says no treats then the housekeeper doesn't get to slip them chocolate biscuits), housekeeper interfering with discipline or not respecting time outs and not communicating about playdates or double bookings. It may happen that it's a horrible day and nanny has to pick up the 7 and 5 year old, the 18month old is ill and shouldn't go out in that weather but the housekeeper has just gone to the shops - had they communicated they could have worked something out where the housekeeper watched the 18month old/went to pick up the elder children and done the shopping at another time, or picked up the children on the way to/from doing the shopping.
Basically get 2 people who can work well togther and you'll be fine Good luck!