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Searching For Mary Poppins: The Stress And Struggle Of Hiring A Nanny

searching for mary poppinsOur current nanny has let it be known she will be leaving in June. So the search is on. Again. For the third time in 18 months, we’re looking for help.

Our first nanny didn’t last more than 2 months after she watched our son hang himself. Seriously. She sat on the couch while our son wrapped a blind cord around his neck, declared he was jungle guy, and jumped from a toddler table. He still has the scars, and she was fired on the spot.

Our current nanny was snagged from Craigslist at the 11th hour, and has been a great sitter for our boys. But… she’s moving on, so back to the internet we go to look for help.

It’s so bizarre, this hiring a nanny thing. You are looking for someone to become a surrogate parent. You are hiring someone to be your proxy in the home. You need someone to share your love of your children, your pride in your home, and your instincts to keep them safe.

It’s a demanding job, and an almost impossible job description to fill when you scour the agency sites, and want ads looking for help.

It has seriously been a comedy of errors.

One prospect didn’t write our address down properly when she was coming over for an interview. 2 hours past the scheduled interview time we still hadn’t heard from her, and she said she had her phone off. Huh?

The “phone off” excuse has come from many a prospect who have skipped out on interview times. Searching agency sites has been interesting to see what people deem appropriate for a childcare profile. One candidate must have tossed up her dating/club/Facebook profile pic by mistake. A duck-lipped selfie with a red carpet pose isn’t what I’m looking for in a nanny, don’t know about you.

Then there was the “Manny.” A married man actually responded to our ad to look after the boys. It’s stereotypical to be weirded out by that, I know, but he didn’t get a call back. It just felt .. odd.

Our latest prospect went sideways quickly the moment she answered the phone. My wife started talking to the woman and could tell quickly there was a rough, husky edge to her voice. “I don’t mean to be too personal,” my wife asked. “But do you smoke?”

“Yes,” the woman replied. She was 30 and had been smoking since she was 12. She said she was willing to quit, but all her friends were smokers too.

Woah.

We had a housecleaning crew come through our home just before Christmas entertaining, and one of them was a smoker. After they’d spent 2 hours in our house cleaning, we had to go back and air freshen the whole house. I’m a pretty militant anti-smoker, if there’s ever a deal breaker in my world, that’s it.

Never mind the first hand smoke, there’s the second hand stuff, and then the third hand smoke. After the cleaners left I fired an email to the company to express our displeasure that someone coming to clean our home had actually polluted it. The company said there was nothing they could do about people’s habits in their spare time.

Hmm. I didn’t buy that response. We had the same problem with roofers who did work on our house in the summer. They sat on our back deck puffing away while hauling gear up the side of the house. Being summer, our windows were wide open and the stuff blasted right in.

It was disgusting.

I asked my tweeps if they would hire a smoker as a nanny, and all but 1 immediately, and vehemently said “NO!”

One person, however, didn’t think it was a problem if she did it out of the house, and found it offensive that my wife and I would discriminate based on someone’s smoking habit. She even questioned the legality of us even asking the question.

Regardless, I will not be hiring a smoker to look after my children. Not going to happen. Ever.

So it’s back to the stack of resumes of people who work as carpet cleaners, and hardware store clerks but “really love kids” and “want to work in childcare.”

Why is it so hard to find a nice, normal, responsible person? How did you hire your nanny?

Follow DadCAMP on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or catch up on all of his posts here on Babble.

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Image via StarryNight_012

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