Monday, April 12, 2010


Last week I gave you some pointers on hiring your perfect nanny. But there are 2 points I need to expand on: Look into the future and know the people around her. Let me explain.

Our first nanny was the perfect person for infant twins. The typical “grandmotherly” type of woman, although she really wasn’t all that old. She just had that personality of calm and warmth and love.chrystal ball We couldn’t have been happier with her. But as the boys grew more mobile, we found out that she was having a bit of trouble keeping up with them. And when they were about 14 months old, we moved into a 2-story house, which is when she had to admit to us that her knees just couldn’t take it. Running after them on one level was difficult enough, but two levels would be murder for her. She had to leave us.

So hiring somebody who may be perfect for one stage of your child’s life may be great for the moment, but you need to look beyond that. Try to find somebody who can grow with your child and be perfect for all those wonderful stages.

My next piece of advice is more difficult to do, but necessary. It’s not only important to know the person you are hiring, but also her family and friends. Obviously you can’t run background checks on everyone (although it would be great if you could!), but you should ask her questions about the people closest to her.

Here is a true story to illustrate why this is important. My third nanny, whom I’ll call Jane, had a male roommate. No big deal, he was just a friend (actually he was gay, so I really didn’t have a problem with it!). Because St. Louis can be a really small big city sometimes, I found out that he wore an ankle bracelet because he was on house arrest for something, but Jane didn’t know what. My mistake was not pushing her to find out, because when I finally did find out (through my own means), it turned out it was for inappropriate conduct with a minor. I FREAKED!!!

I immediately called the agency who helped me hire her to ask their advice. Here was my dilemma: I loved her as a nanny, but she showed extremely poor judgment in sharing an apartment with this individual without knowing all the facts. On their advice, I drafted a contract questions requiring her, among other things, to leave my house key with me every night (there was NO way I was letting her bring that to where he could get it) and she could not discuss my family or my children with him under any circumstances.

When I presented this to her the next day and told her what I had found out, she was (I was glad to see) horrified. She signed the contract, and to my delight, moved out into her own apartment that following weekend.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think we can know everyone in our nanny’s life, but a little knowledge can go a long way. You are inviting her to be in your home, so it’s okay to pry a little, be a little nosy, and ask a few questions about her surroundings. It’s your right and it’s your duty. And frankly, if she has a problem with it, maybe she has something to hide. I’m just saying…


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