How to Find a Nanny

After more than a year without any childcare, and finally getting through frontline treatment, it was time. We started looking for a part-time nanny. Things have changed so much since the start of the pandemic. It feels like a lot to have someone in our home, but it felt worth it to try to find that perfect fit. Since I’m not going back to my company, I was looking for help to 3-4 days a week. I need time to work on Anecdote, my blog, to work out, get things done, and hello self care. Finding someone isolated that would come just 3 days a week was not really possible. We did find someone who was open to 30-32 hours of work and she’s just so wonderful. So let’s talk about how to find a nanny.

How to Find a Nanny


Where to find a nanny

I worked with Shannon of Just Like Family, who did all the upfront work for us. I mentioned this in a previous post, but we paid for her services. She searched, scheduled initial interviews, background checks, and forwarded on candidates that were a fit for us. By the time I spoke with the five nannies I interviewed, I knew a lot about them. We have to be so careful with Margot and no one knew anyone that was a fit. If you can’t find someone through a friend or family member, it can be tough. If hiring an agency isn’t in your budget, I’d try or see if there’s a neighborhood email or facebook group for parents.


Knowing when to hire a nanny

I went back to work full-time when Margot was three months so there was’t really another option. Daycare is a wonderful option but did not feel right for our family. I worked from home most days and wanted to be able to see Margot. Before the pandemic started, she went to multiple classes a week so she was able to get out, and I loved that she had one-on-one care specific to her needs and interests. Sleep was so hard for her, too. Not sure how that ever would have worked outside of our home.

When COVID hit, it no longer felt safe for us to have a nanny. I was just so nervous, and we paid our nanny for a few weeks and made the very difficult decision to part ways with her. Margot was diagnosed with Leukemia two months later, and I took a leave from work to get her through the next eight months of aggressive treatment, and three of those months were spent on “maternity leave” (if you can call it that) after having Kate. I love my girls so, so much, but being with them all day every day is the hardest job, and I want to work. You have to do what feels right for you, but I knew that I needed that, so the plan was always to have help again.

It’s been a lot trying to keep up with everything and our oncology nurse told me it would be fine to have help if we were safe. So I reached out to JLF, gave Shannon my protocol, and she did a search for us. We found someone who is vaccinated and isolated about a month later – feels like the perfect situation. 


Nanny salary and benefits

Shannon took care of all of this for us. Our last nanny was given set paid vacation days and holidays (this one is, too) and I’m in the camp of these angel humans are caring for my babies, and I want to take care of them. Treat them well and be generous if you are able. I value this relationship and our nanny feeling valued. 


Finding the right nanny

Our situation is unique since we are isolated and have a toddler who is high-risk. I had to have someone vaccinated or about to be vaccinated, who is isolated without any extra exposure (no kids, no roommates etc). Shannon spoke with a total of 27 nannies and I spoke with 5 of the 27. Many were wonderful but ruled out because of living situations or wanted full-time. Finding someone on your own can be tough, but it’s possible. I also believe you will know if they’re right when you meet them. 


Nanny interview questions

There were a lot I didn’t have to ask, but I asked about previous experience with babies and toddlers the same ages as my girls, what she likes to do with them, and talked a lot about what we want for our family. Having someone I didn’t get along with and mesh with wouldn’t work for me at all. Really needed warmth in my home – someone who feels like family but also a friend. Maybe that’s not for everyone, but I loved long chats with our last nanny. 


How to trust a nanny with your baby

This is a hard one. When our first nanny started with us, Margot was three months old and I was not ready to hand my baby off to someone else. I remember wanting to ask our nanny not to cross the street the first time they went for a walk (I didn’t). And I didn’t feel great about someone else caring for my baby 40 hours a week. I fully respect the decision to have that much (or more) help for working parents, but for me, it felt like too much. It was a struggle but I remember that it wouldn’t be best for Margot not to go on walks, or to the park, or eventually, to classes. So I just had to let it go and remind myself of what was best for Margot. Interacting with other kids was best for her, so I just did my best to find someone we trusted and remember that I can’t control everything. 


How to make sure it’s a job the nanny values and enjoys

My advice on this is like first dating. When we hired our nannies, there was an immediate spark – an “it’s you” moment. I was upstairs changing quickly when our last nanny came to interview and heard her with Margot and Conor, and I knew. She was the one. No question. When we got on FaceTime with our current nanny, the way she said hi to me and then to Margot felt so good. She had this incredible energy and I saw how they interacted even through a screen, and I knew. With the process of working with JLF, I had the added benefit of knowing all about the candidates before meeting which also helped. I already knew she was qualified (degree in early childhood education, experience watching almost 20 kids at a daycare etc). Then she was just this gem of a person. 


Nanny tasks

I’ve heard it’s pretty normal to ask for light cleaning, the kids’ laundry, and tidying up after meals. Our last nanny who we love cared for one child, so she had time to help during naps. I’m realistic and know firsthand out hard this is, so I expect less when she has both girls. I’d love for our nanny to help with their laundry if and when she can. No household task is more important than the girls. We talked through this a little bit. If Kate is napping, she’s happy to help with the girls’ laundry and a few other things, but I’d only really expect that if I’m doing something with Margot. The kids need to come first. 


Onboarding a nanny

It’s not too formal. I’m going to be home and will show her around, answer questions, and be here to help however I can. When I was working full-time, I planned a day where I could be around to help. 


Our nanny’s hours

Right now, our plan is to have our nanny here 4 days a week, 9-5AM. I’ll have the mornings 6:30-9 with the girls, then dinner and bedtime, and all day Wednesday. The thing I’m most looking forward to is being able to take the girls out for solo time while our nanny is here. That’s something I want to do a lot of with Margot this summer since it’s harder to bring Kate with naps. There’s not a ton we can do but we can go to the lake, park, and zoo, and can hopefully see friends outside. 


Where I work while our nanny is here

My old office is now Kate’s room, so now, in our sunroom or at the dining table. Depends on how much I need to focus. The girls’ playroom is in the basement so during winter months, they’re down there a lot. If I have a lot to power through, I can always work at Anecdote or my mother-in-law’s house.