Moms are notorious for trying to do it all without letting any balls drop when it comes to keeping the kids happy and busy, the house relatively clean and the pantry stocked with plenty of food. But how much easier could each day be with the right nanny to help out?
”We always pretend, I got this, I got this. But at the end of the day, we’re so exhausted and there’s nothing left,” says Agnese Zdanovska, owner of Nanny World, an agency specializing in connecting parents and nannies, night nurses and house managers in Chicagoland. “Women have to enjoy life and motherhood a little more.”
That’s where a nanny can really help, says Zdanovska, a mom of one child who had 16 years of nannying experience under her belt before starting her own business that focuses on helping families find a perfect fit.
But she also understands parents looking for their first nanny, or those looking to change nannies, might have some trepidation as they explore their options. “If you find the right fit, your lives literally change for the better. You really have somebody you can rely on,” she says.
Zdanovska offers three tips to break down the process to find a match.
Safety is the priority
It goes without saying, parents want their kids to be safe. That’s why Zdanovska puts background checks and education checks at the top of her priority list for parents when they are seeking a nanny.
“Sometimes you meet a person and they can tell you what you want to hear, but the reality doesn’t match,” she says. So, she recommends families check two to three validated references and other available background checks before even moving forward in the hiring process.
Experience matters, she says. While babysitter-type nannies might be a cheaper option, they often don’t have the experience or background to match that of a professional nanny who has dedicated his or her career to taking care of families.
For a worry-free experience, parents can work with an agency like Nanny World, which does intensive background checks on every nanny they hire. “We are very careful and choose only appropriate candidates and do a heavy background and reference check, so parents can rest assured their kids are safe,” Zdanovska says.
“You get what you pay for, literally,” she says, adding the downsides might be no long-term commitment, frequent excuses for being late or missing work and a weak background in caring for a child.
The nanny meet and greet
Often, Zdanovska has seen the entire decision about hiring the nanny placed only on the mom’s shoulders. But she says it’s so important that the whole family — especially the kids — get involved, too. Kids older than 2 ½ can tell right away if they like the person, she says.
“As a mom, you have that instinct, a feeling. On paper it might be a good fit, but when you meet the nanny in person with the whole family, you can see how she is around everybody,” she says.
Particularly look at her interaction with the kids. “Is she really happy, joyful, asking questions, right away jumping into the position as the nanny? That’s the first sign you can tell the nanny is really interested. If you see the interaction in the first couple of minutes, you can see if it’s a good fit or not,” Zdanovska says.
She says there are also a few red flags to watch for: Little interest in the kids after the first hello; showing up late to the meetup, which just absolutely kills the family’s excitement immediately; the nanny’s appearance, such as long nails and heavy perfume; and the nanny answering the family’s questions with attitude.
A deeper dive
After the meetup, if everyone feels it’s a good fit, invite the nanny for a paid trial day, she says. Make it at least six hours so that you can see how she handles everything involving the kids and household and is truly the perfect fit, she says.
If it is, great! Make an offer. In addition to a solid hourly rate, nannies usually receive two weeks paid vacation, with one week the nanny’s choice and one the family’s choice, all major holidays off with pay, and two or more paid sick days.
“Finding the right nanny changes your life,” Zdanovska says. “You have somebody who is going to take care of your kids and your house, making parents’ lives easier.”
Learn more about Nanny World at nannyworld.biz.