I believe that my number one responsibility as a mom right now is to keep my babies’ nanny happy. Research shows that the best predictor of happy kids is happy parents. By extension, the same applies to their full-time caretaker- if she’s happy, the babies will be happy.
So, how can I keep my nanny very, very happy? More money would be a good start, but my budget is already tight. I started asking friends who have nannied and nannies I know “What can I do to keep my nanny happy and feeling appreciated?” The response was unanimous, it’s all about the perks. Tickets to events, use of the car, free meals, that kind of thing.
At first I thought, oh nooooooo I don’t have any perks. I work for a non-profit, not a tech company or in fashion with cool freebies. But, little by little, I found hidden perks here and there that I could offer Asia, our nanny (we actually use the term babysitter). Here’s what I came up with:
1. We share an unlimited metrocard (totally legal). One of us is always home with the babies so we pass the card back and forth and we come and go. Asia get the metrocard for the weekends because I’m definitely not going down subway stairs with a double stroller anytime soon.
2. She crashing at my place a few nights a week because (A) I live a lot closer to where she goes out with her friends than she does and (B) it prevents her mom from staying-up late and worrying for her
3. I encourage her to have friends over and there are two friends come over regularly. Both girls have filled out the SCR clearance forms (necessary for being around foster kids often) and I’ve hung out and had dinner with them several times. They are gems and the babies love their attention as well.
4. I make sure to keep up netflix, hulu plus and aereo accounts for her.
5. All holidays off with pay, unlimited paid sick days, unlimited paid vacation days. If she gets sick her mom comes over for her and I pay them both (we’re at $60 a day now). Her sick days are rare and when she plans vacation I plan mine at the same time to stay home with the girls. I also pay her when I’m on vacation. In other words, I hand the girls’ foster care stipend over to her in full each month and she can rely on that.
6. I provide unlimited free laundry (a genuine perk in nyc) for her. I have laundry in my building and a laundry card that I keep filled up for her. She does all her laundry at my place while babysitting.
7. I do her dishes every night (and she frequently cooks). She hates doing dishes and I don’t mind them so this was something I learned as a way to make her happier.
8. I try to surprise her with deliveries. I once had someone call her a la singing telegram style with an original, corny song of thanks. I send lunch, flowers and bring home treats. I also hide treats which she loves.
9. I connect her to more babysitting opportunities. Susan, a friend who just had a baby, drops her son, Leon, off for a few hours a few days a week while I’m at work. Asia also has babysat for another friend of mine, Ara.
You can read more about my relationship with our nanny, Asia, here and elsewhere on my blog.
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