Finding the Perfect Nanny Part 1 {Child Care Series}

I work full-time outside of the home in the healthcare industry with a typical Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule.  My husband works even longer hours {and farther away} in the hospitality industry.  During my pregnancy we weighed all of our options for childcare when my maternity leave would end.  And by “weighed all of our options” I mean stressed.  Majorly stressed.  I grew up with a stay at home mom, so daycare, nannies, and everything in between was uncharted territory to me.  Aside from the obvious worries about entrusting someone with your most precious treasure in the entire world, I worried a lot about the cost.

The option that we decided suited our schedule and needs the best was for a nanny to come to our home.  Deciding what you prefer is really the easy part.  Making it happen is a whole other story.  I am by no means an expert as I’ve only done this once, but it worked for us – so I’m happy to share my tips.  It’s probably the most asked question I get since becoming a mom.  That and when is your next baby due since I’m still carrying a little tummy pooch – ha!

Finding the Perfect Nanny{Click image above for more posts within the series.}

Step One :: Research

Before you even make the decision that a nanny is the way to go, I recommend visiting a few local day cares in your area if you haven’t already done so.  This will give you an idea about cost associated with daycare vs. nanny in your specific neighborhood.  Even if you still want to proceed with finding a nanny, having a daycare chosen as a backup plan might put your mind at ease.  I also suggest doing some browsing on sites like to get an idea for what people in your area are charging, qualifications you want, etc.  You can browse the site for free.

Step Two :: Make a Plan

Sit down {with your partner, if applicable} and come up with a list of must-haves, possibilities, ideal schedule, and what you can afford.  There will never be a perfect candidate, so this list shouldn’t be the end all, be all, but this exercise will be helpful in finding someone that you both are happy with.  What are you flexible on and what is a must-have?  For instance, Jason and I were looking for someone who had their own transportation {flexible} and would work in our home daily Monday thru Friday {must-have}.  We were not looking for someone to clean, cook, or run errands – just a caregiver for our one child, but someone who was comfortable with our small dog {must-have}.  Although this was not our preference, we were open to the possibility of someone living with us during the week if that made more sense financially and due to transportation.  We also had an idea of what we could comfortably pay, although in the back of my mind I had an ongoing list of ways we could save if the perfect candidate was slightly outside of our ideal budget.

Step Three :: Starting the Search

Three main questions I get asked: how did I find my nanny, when did I start searching for one, and how much do we pay?  I will answer two out of the three today.  For the question regarding pay, you can email me directly.

I found our Nanny on Facebook of all places!  My neighborhood happens to have a private Facebook Group dedicated to Babysitters and Childcare.  Within the group, people can post if they are both looking for work or looking to hire.  I posted within the group that I was looking for a nanny.  I included the basics {not too detailed} of what I was looking for and asked for interested candidates to email me their resume and a list of references.  Many people commented on the post, but I stood firm on emailing a resume.  I figured that the serious ones would take the time to do this.  Of the people that emailed me, I was interested in pursuing three.  I called each of them to set up an in person interview at our home at a time when my husband was available too.

Regarding timing, for you planners out there, this will be a hard one!  It certainly was for me.  My due date was the beginning of May, and we did not start looking for a nanny until mid April.  Gasp!  It seems very last minute, doesn’t it?  I was dying to lock-in childcare much sooner, but realistically, I didn’t have a job to offer them not only until the baby arrived, but once my maternity leave ended in July.  If you find the perfect person too early, you risk them finding another job in the meantime.  In my original Facebook post, I mentioned when we needed someone to actually start.  This worked out great since the three candidates we were serious about all had jobs ending about that time.  This is where having backup plans also comes in handy in case you don’t find the perfect person in time.

During your time in waiting, start talking!  Use your connections and word of mouth to let the world know you are looking for a nanny.  This will lead you to ways to begin your search whether through social media, local churches, a site like, a network of moms, etc.  A great place to start is with friends {or just mere acquaintances} who have nannies – where did they start and does their current nanny know of anyone looking for work?  My entire 9 months of pregnancy, I grilled every mom I came in contact with about their childcare choices!  Little tip :: join a prenatal yoga class in your area.  It’s filled with moms and moms-to-be that all live near you…a wealth of information!

Step Four :: Interviewing

My husband and I interviewed each of the three candidates at our home when I was 9 months pregnant.  Not only did we want to get to know each person better, but we wanted them to get a sense of who we were.  We definitely looked at it as a two-way interview.  I found this Nanny Interview Sheet to be helpful in thinking of topics to cover and questions to ask.  Of the three interviews, one person stood out to us, but we also felt great about another.  The third was asking for more money than we were willing to pay.

We planned to ask our top choice over for a second interview, but during this time I was put on bed rest and then had a baby!  I kept in communication via email with both candidates, but put the search on hold for a week.  We ended up doing a second interview in our home with the baby.  This gave us a great sense of how this person was with a baby.  We made an offer after this interview, and just like any other job, waited anxiously for a formal acceptance and to work out the terms before getting too excited.

Step Five :: Getting Started

Our nanny started two weeks before I went back to work full-time.  It may seem silly to pay someone when you don’t quite need the help yet, but I was nervous about starting back to work anyway, so I thought a transitional period would help me ease into it.  It did!  I used these two weeks to show the nanny how I liked things done, where everything is, etc.  I would leave the house for short periods of time, again just to transition me into being away from the baby.  Selfishly, it was great to be able to get a few things done sans baby before jumping back into work – hair cut and color, grocery shopping, pedicure, etc. We also paid for the nanny to take an infant CPR and baby care refresher course during this time.  It was the same one that Jason and I took months before at Baby’s 1st Furniture, so we knew it was a good use of time and money.  By the time I started back to work, I felt comfortable and content with our childcare decision.

 Finding a Nanny

Be sure to check out Part 2 as Tiffanie shares her tips and experience in finding the perfect nanny – and good luck in your journey!  I am not even going to say to relax because even if you are armed and ready, it is a tough process.  Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email to chelseaphmb {at} gmail {dot} com if you have any specific questions.


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