ISO A Mary Poppins of Your Very Own

Ah, summer.

I love it.

I’ve been having lots of fun with Monkey and Koala Bear and see Bee, Turtle and Froggy from time to time. There will be a lot of changes next year and I’m looking forward to some and am a bit sad about some others, but that, I believe, is the nature of this career path. But, that’s a blog post for another time.

So, what I thought I’d do for the last couple of weeks before school starts and my crafting and preschool shenanigans begin again in earnest, is take some time and talk about how to find a good nanny, what to look for, what to expect. I’ll also do a series of nanny blog posts about different options and pros/cons. Such as Nanny vs. Day Care, Nanny vs. Au Pair, Live In Nanny vs. Live Out, Shared Nanny vs. Individual and the like. There will also probably be a post about my worst pet peeve–being called a “baby sitter.”

I probably should save this post for after I’ve given you all the pros and cons to all the myriad of child care options available. Mostly though, well, this has been on my mind and I’m really writing this advice for one family in particular who will be soon looking for  nanny and already knows the pros and cons and whatnot.


Where do I Find a Good Nanny?

Practically Perfect in Every Way…

First, and I can’t stress this enough. DO NOT LOOK FOR A NANNY ON CRAIGLIST. Please. Just don’t.

There are many, many places to find nannies. When I first started being a nanny, agencies were the best way, I’m not sure if they’re still around, but there are places like sittercity, and there is word of mouth and yes, there is the local paper and *shivers* Craiglist. Just understand if you take those last two options, you really, really need to do a lot of work. Background checks, get a lot of references and talk to them all, criminal checks and worry about if they’re such great nannies, why are they trolling Craiglist? Why aren’t they at places that do all those things for you?

Maybe I’m being biased.

How Do I Know What to Look For?

There are a lot of great nannies out there, a few not great ones, and only a tiny handful that are perfect for you. What makes a good nanny is different for everyone. Some need nannies who are active and can run your children around, some need nannies who are also teachers, some need nannies who can also keep the house in order. And everyone needs a nanny who will love their kids and help raise them in the way of your choosing.

What Can I Expect From a Nanny?

Or something like that. :)

But for real,  first and foremost, of course, is the care of your child(ren) and seeing to their needs which include cleaning, clothing, feeding and nurturing. They should also be responsible for the cleaning of the children’s spaces and the children’s laundry. Basically, all the things you as a parent would do if you could.

Some other things you can expect and negotiate with nannies include light housekeeping, errand running and meal preparation. Some nannies, like myself, like to try very hard to do the tedious chores a parent has to do so that when they come home they too get to spend quality time with their children without worrying about laundry and dishes.

 What Should a Nanny Expect From Me?

RESPECT! OMG, that is the first thing. They are professionals doing a very important job, treat them like it. I won’t talk too much about salary because there are a lot of variables–live-in or out and cost of living to name a few. But at the minimum a living wage is mandatory. You should provide them with a car if you need them to take your children anywhere or run errands. If that’s not feasible, then there should be compensation for them for using their own car. Basically, you should treat them like a member of the family as much as you all are comfortable with.

Have Anymore Questions?

If you have an questions, would like to know something–both as a care giver or a parent in search of a nanny, please feel free to stop in at the comments section. Also, if you’d like me to talk about a particular subject in regards to nannying in future blog posts, please let me know that too.


Oh yeah, I guess I should probably put my credentials down too, yeah? Since I’m giving advice and all. I have been a professional nanny for almost 20 years. I have been a live-in, live out and shared nanny. I have worked with a lot of wonderful families who found me in a lot of different ways. I’ve loved a lot of exceptional children.

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2 thoughts on “ISO A Mary Poppins of Your Very Own

  1. wwmrsweasleydo

    And never smell of barley water!

    You are so right about the RESPECT being needed. Childcare is such a female-dominated vocation (whether for someone else’s children or your own) that those of us who do it get far too little respect. Doing it properly is highly skilled and bloody hard work. So well done to you and me and everyone else who is doing it/has done it.

    Thanks for the post & enjoy the rest of your summer!

    1. Tamela J Ritter Post author

      Right? Adds a whole new dimension that poor little Michael Banks had such an aversion to nannies who drank. 😉 Unless Barley water is something else?

      Yeah. Respect is a hard thing. It took me a long time to see it myself as a job that could be a career and one that I could be proud of, so I get it, but I don’t like it.

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