Should your nanny be your housekeeper, too?
Yes, nannies can be magical. They love and feed your children, and make sure everything is alright when you are away. And yes, some nannies can do housework, too, spreading that sparkle into the messy kitchen and laundry room, as well. But is it always a good idea to try to have it all?
If you're pondering whether to have your nanny do your housecleaning, too, know that there are pros and cons. Success also largely depends on the nanny herself and your own situation. Here are seven questions to ask yourself before :
Can your nanny perform double-duty?
Most nannies take on housekeeping tasks and meal prep that fall under the realm of child care. For example, they may help keep a child's room organized, pick up toys, or wash the dishes your child used. But if you're looking for a nanny housekeeper to clean your messes, that's a different position that requires extra compensation and clear expectations. You'll need to ask your nanny if she does that type of work and would be willing to.
What does your family need?
Before you hire a nanny, it's important that you figure out what your family needs. Candidates applying for a nanny-housekeeper position are different from those who are solely seeking a nanny job. Not all candidates will be identical to Mary Poppins, and it's important to figure out what suits your family's needs best.
Things to take into consideration are the age of your children, how much attention they need. and how much time you'd like your nanny to devote to housework. Asking yourself the last question will also help you determine if hiring an actual housekeeper would be a better alternative.
"I hired a 'nanny only' because I already had a housekeeper that I intended to keep," says Rose Lane, a mother of two from Hinsdale, Ill. "I also wanted the entire focus to be on my infant and not on cleaning my house. I think one needs dedicated alone time to clean a house. When I found myself at home with my young children, I couldn't find the time to clean my house on top of caring for them. I think the dual role would be difficult unless the kids were in school."
Lane says even though she had a separate housekeeper, she asked the nanny to keep her house in order and picked up so it was organized in the evenings. "My nanny offered, and I agreed, that when my child, and later children, were napping or occupied, she would do the kids' laundry twice per week," Lane adds.
What will your nanny's responsibilities be?
"It's important to spell out your nanny's responsibilities during the hiring process," emphasizes Bugbee. When you post a nanny job, include what will fall under your new employee's job description. If you need anything other than child care, such as light housekeeping or cleaning, make sure you're clear and detailed about what you expect.
During the interview with the potential nanny, discuss what you're looking for and see if she is willing to do those tasks.
Learn more about How to Interview a Nanny »
How much time will the tasks take?
Caring for a child and keeping the house in order are both daunting tasks on their own. If you're looking to hire a nanny who can take care of household chores while you're away, make sure to outline a potential schedule to show candidates so that they will know how much time they would be devoting to each of them.
Jane Duncan,* who was hired for both housekeeping and babysitting services, says, "I cared for two small children and found it difficult to give my full attention to both my responsibilities -- housekeeping and child care -- and, eventually, had to leave my job because my employer didn't want to hire another person."
Once you make the hire, outline the duties you require, the days they should be done, and the time of day they should be done. Discuss with your nanny how best to fit them into her regular child care routine. For example, suggest a different room be deep cleaned each day of the week during your child's nap. That way, your nanny can get the whole house clean over the course of the week by spending time housekeeping while your child is napping.
What will be your nanny's #1 priority?
Think about what you want your nanny's priority to be; is it your child or your home? Do you really want her taking her attention away from your little one so she can vacuum the floor?
How much extra will you pay?
A nanny who is doing extra tasks deserves to get paid extra. Check out our babysitter and nanny pay calculator to figure out how much people pay nannies in your area, then add a few dollars per hour if your nanny does additional household tasks.
What will you include in a nanny contract?
After you hire someone, it's a good idea to prepare a nanny contract. It allows you and your nanny to make concrete the specifics of your working relationship and helps prevent any misunderstandings further down the road. Your nanny may know that you want her to help with the laundry, but she may not realize that it's one of her required daily tasks.
Create a section in the contract about additional duties and write down exactly what you expect your nanny to do and when. Give her the opportunity to ask questions and make changes.
Read more about what to include in a contract and decide: Do You Need a Nanny Contract? »
*Name has been changed.
Jennifer Geisman is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. Her work can be found here.