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Don't Poach My Nanny

Lisa Tabachnick
July 25, 2017

What to do if your nanny or babysitter is "stolen" away

You wake up on a Monday morning ready for a big cuppa coffee and a brand new day. You and your husband busily get the children fed and dressed, arrange snacks and meals, tidy up the house and the dishes and wait for your nanny to arrive so everyone can begin their day. Once your nanny arrives, something seems amiss: she's not as cheerful or vibrant as usual. You ask her if anything is up and receive this dreaded response: "Someone's offered me another job."

Whether another parent in the 'hood has actually "poached" your nanny--that is, offered her a job knowing that she currently works for another family--or your nanny went out and made the connection on her own, no parent-employer likes to be hit with this kind of news. What do you do when this happens to you?

Counter the offer

If you are pleased with your nanny's performance, you may want to try to win her back. Have an honest conversation about any issues she may have working for you (preferably when the kids are not around). Is it the new salary that's more appealing? The hours? The commute? The chores? Find out why your nanny feels a new job will be better and see if you can counter the offer. If you can afford to pay her more money, offer it. If that's not an option, you may be able to be more flexible with her hours: perhaps she can leave early on Fridays or use the kids' nap period as an extended break.

Be creative

This solution is more complicated but could work with the right arrangements. If your nanny has found a new job with evening hours or after school only, and your family can deal with mornings only, you may be able to put together a nanny-share arrangement. Many nannies would love the opportunity to work two jobs (without getting burned out, of course) and make extra money. Speak with your nanny and the other family (if at all possible) to work out a win-win arrangement. If you or your partner can make a change in working hours--say, work from home certain days of the week or work in the evenings after the children have gone to sleep, it may help the situation.

Speak with the "poachers"

If you're really peeved, you might want to chat with the poachers and explain your side of the story. The poachers are the people/person who spied your nanny at the park and approached her about working for them. Good nannies are hard to find and having someone offer your nanny a new position on the sly is not exactly ethical--especially if the culprit is a friend or neighbor. On the other hand, child care providers are just like any other employee: they want a position with great hours, kind and loyal employers, well-behaved charges, a diverse workday, and of course, the best pay possible.

Let her go

Once you've had an opportunity to think about the situation, you might decide that it's best to let your current nanny go and either find another caregiver or consider a new arrangement altogether. If your nanny has already conversed with the new potential employer, chances are that she's not interested in working with your family any longer. And, if she's gone behind your back to do all this, you may feel that she's not the best person to care for your children. Unfortunately, nanny poaching is all too common. It's hard to deal with--especially when children's loyalties are involved.

Whatever you and your family decide, do your best to stay calm and rational and to keep your children's best interests in mind. Try to see it as an opportunity to creatively reassess your family's needs. Care.com offers interim and temporary babysitters for hire. This may be the best route to take before a final decision is made about hiring a new long-term caregiver, such as a nanny.

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