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Nanny Sharing: Does it Ever Really Work?

Mary Poppins

Is even the best nanny well-equipped enough to handle non-related toddlers?

I’ve long-since given up on the idea that I can have it all, realizing with some amount of finality that while I can, in fact, have it all, I don’t have anywhere to put it. And I’m never one to underestimate the importance of adequate storage.

My older daughter stayed home with me until she started preschool at the age of 3. The plan is for my younger daughter Peony, 1, to do the same. Except I just can’t handle it. My work load is now such that Peony is shooting daggers out her eyes at my computer, falling at my feet and weeping until I power down my laptop. Both she and my work are suffering. Something has to be done.

A friend recently suggested I share a nanny with a friend of hers, which I’m considering. At the same time, I feel like the whole thing is doomed to fail.

It was a tough decision to work from home after my older daughter was born, but one that was important to me. I don’t poo-poo daycare for anyone else, whether they need it or just want it for themselves and their children. But I didn’t want it for my daughter. I wanted to feed her lunch, put her down for naps and kiss her owies.

It was a rough three years at home, though. I work full time, so adding full-time child care to my daily to-do list was no small feat. And as my full-time work load has increased even more right as my toddler is becoming more mobile and verbal, my days are even more chaotic.

My friend’s friend’s nanny is a familiar face; I’ve seen her at the music and gym classes I go to with my daughters. I’m sure she’s lovely. I have no doubt Peony will be happy a few days a week getting out of the house and hanging with another little girl close to her age doing things I don’t have time to do because I’m working.

But I’ve worked hard to keep my girls out of daycare for specific reasons — frequent illnesses, change in routine, to name a few — and I’ll be giving in to all of that even if she’s just sharing a childcare provider with one other toddler.

I loudly preach sharing to my kids, but I’m not always such a good sharer. Is sharing a nanny really the best route for Peony? What happens when one girl gets sick but the other is healthy? What if my kid breaks something at the other kid’s house? What if it turns out Peony is a biter? Does the other family keep the nanny if their daughter turns out to be a hitter, or do we get her if we declare a nanny-share divorce? This seems like something that will either work magically, or not at all.

I’m sure it’ll be fine in the end, if that’s what we end up doing. But I’m also not so sure.

Have you ever shared a nanny or babysitter on a regular basis? Did it work out? If not, why?

Photo credit: IMDB.com

More from Meredith on Toddler Times:

Read (even) more from Meredith at Babble’s Strollerderby, follow her on Twitter, and check out her weekly syndicated newspaper column at MeredithCarroll.com

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