Friday, October 7, 2011

Do Mothers Make Better Nannies?

10 Reasons to Consider a Nanny Who is a Mom by

Finding the right nanny can be a really difficult and frustrating experience and it’s true that some parents go into it with preconceived notions of what a nanny should or should not be like (young and fun or older and experienced). We aren’t really sure why that is the case but over the years I have had some parents tell me that they would prefer to not have a nanny that has her own children. I think that’s really too bad because there are many reasons to consider Moms. Just being a Mother doesn’t mean that they are good or bad, better or worse, but it should NOT be a reason to exclude them from a search. In fact, you should see their experience as a parent in many ways consistent with “on-the-job” training that should help them in their career as a nanny. We are going to give you a few reasons to consider hiring a nanny who is a mother, but we want to stress that these types of life skills can and often do exist in people that have chosen a career as a nanny.
  1. Experience – Colic, croup, teething, “terrible two’s” and a cast of thousands of first-hand experiences will be helpful for your nanny.
  2. Empathy – Being a mother takes things from the hypothetical/theoretical to a practical level, and those with the “experience” are more apt to have a “feel” for their charges.
  3. Behavior Recognition – Mothers see the progressions, regressions, aggressions and digressions in your kids because they have been through it with their own children.
  4. Skills – Mom’s can have learned some skills that are hard to teach effectively from dealing with kid’s that know how to push their buttons to holding a sick child’s hand while they lie in bed with a fever. Some of those life skills can really come in handy in ways that are just hard to describe.
  5. Discipline – Nannies with parenting experience have learned to balance the use of the carrot and the stick. Again, all nannies should have this well under control but getting your kids to accept discipline for some reason can be even more challenging than doing the same with other children.
  6. Nutrition – If a nanny has been successful at getting her own children hooked on healthy foods then there is a chance she has a few tricks up her sleeve for getting kids in her charge to eat their veggies and more.
  7. Knows the Routine – Doctors, dentists, pictures with Santa, after-school activities and a slew of other appointments and activities are nothing new to the nanny who is also a mom.
  8. Education – Typically, a nanny who has school-age kids of her own will be better prepared to help in the educational process if that is something that you are looking for from your nanny (tutoring and/or interactions with the school as needed).
  9. Instinct – Humans don’t like to be compared to other earthly fauna, but many say the motherly “instinct” is alive and well. Once again, this can be strong in nannies without their own children as well and is much more intrinsic to the person on a case-by-case basis.
  10. Intangibles – Almost a compendium of the previous items is the overall presence of a nanny who already has child rearing experience. The total package can be greater than the sum of the parts.
Motherhood is certainly NOT a requirement for a great nanny by any means. There are many fantastic caregivers that have never had children of their own (in fact through their nanny experiences they will likely pick up nearly the same life skills). With that said, it’s common when you are looking for an experienced nanny to find out whether or not candidates have been a mother and to delve into questions surrounding their own experiences. It can go either way, but one thing we are sure of is that you should not ignore candidates who have been a Mother, in fact we hope we gave you some good reasons to include them on your interview list.

What do you think? Do mothers make better nannies?


AuPairDebbie said...

Being a mother is not at all enough to judge if someone will be a good nanny! I know some terrible nannies that are mothers too. They yell at the kids, watch soap operas instead of watching the kids and don't even keep the kids clean.

Another problem is I have a nanny friend that is a single mother who can't find a nanny job! The parents admit they don't know what my friend will do with her baby!!! Of course she'll get childcare too! It makes me mad that at any other job it would be discrimination to ask if have kids or are pregnant but in nanny jobs it hurts your chances of getting the job!

Parents who work really long hours are right though. What happens when a mother who is their nanny needs to attend meetings at school for their own kids? Have a sick kid and can't come to work? Needs to leave early so she can pick up her kid at school and feed them dinner and take them to after school activites?

I feel there are plenty of bad mothers I wouldn't want caring for my child full time. But, at the same time it's unfair that being a mother sometimes hurts a nanny's chances of getting a job too.

Michelle said...

I have found my nanny friends that are moms have been disqualified from jobs due to the long hours of the jobs the employers hire younger, unattached nannies.

Anonymous said...

Parents care most about money. They always seem to hire au pairs and young nannies because they are cheaper. I personally don't know any nannies that are mothers of young kids. I know "retired" mothers with grown kids as nannies in my area. Parents who hire nannies usually want their nanny available much longer than a mother of young kids could ever work.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see support of mothers who want to be nannies. I have found most moms of infants and schho aged kids don't get nanny jobs. Mothers with kids that are empty nesters find nanny jobs easier than moms of younger kids because they have more flexible schedules + become nannies because they want to not because they have to

Kathy said...

Being a mother does not in itself create a great nanny.