For all the new parents out there, figuring out and deciding who’ll take care of their baby can get stressful, exhausting and frustrating.
Even when a new mother might not be physically or emotionally ready to head back to work, she’s left with no alternative rather than returning before her maternity leave ends. While some are lucky enough to have relatives who can keep an eye their baby, others are left with limited choices, one of which is enlisting a nanny.
A nanny is a care provider who is responsible for nurturing and stimulating a positive environment where your children can learn and develop skills. Usually, there are live-in nannies who live in the house and take full responsibility of the baby or there are live-out and weekend nannies who are flexible enough to work according to your busy schedules.
Hiring a nanny is an important decision so both its negative and positive aspects should be meticulously evaluated. The positive outcomes you attain are more parental control, individual attention and flexibility. You get to balance your work and personal life which makes it even more appealing, but these glaring advantages come at a cost.
One of the major issues is the expense. Along with that, comes the legal and financial responsibility since you’re their employer. There’s a high possibility of conflict due to the difference in the parental style between you and the nanny. Moreover, the thought of leaving your child with a stranger might not sound appealing or practical to many. Is it actually safe to trust your child’s safety over a stranger?
If you’re a new parent deciding on whether to hire a nanny or not, we’ve listed the pros and cons to help you figure whether it is reasonable for you or not.
Table of Contents
- The History of Hiring a Nanny
- Advantages of Hiring a Nanny
- Disadvantages of hiring a nanny
The History of Hiring a Nanny
Although the word “nanny” was first documented in the 1700s, the job stretches back to as early as the 1300s where they were referred to as either a “nursemaid”, a “wet nurse” (if they breastfed the babies) or a “dry nurse” (if they didn’t breastfeed).
The origin of the word “nanny” is questionable. Some claim it to originate from the Greek work nana, which translates to aunt; the Welsh word nain, which means grandmother; and the Russian word nyánya, meaning a nursemaid. Others claim its roots, simply, to the fact that the word “na” is one of the easiest words for the baby to learn.
In the 1700s, the word nursemaid was officially replaced with the word nanny. Back then, the role reported to the lady of the house. Their job ranged from keeping an eye on the baby to assisting the maids for house chores or even tutoring the children if they were educated.
Although their job didn’t compensate a lot, it allowed girls to work and live independently even in a conservative time period.
During the Victorian age, in the 1900s, nannies were finally viewed as domestic staffs and even senior staffs. As the world’s population started skyrocketing so did the profession’s demand. Traditional agencies and institutions which provided nanny training were established, making the process easier for both parents and nannies.
In the 20th century, the recognition of the importance of proper childcare increased the demand for nannies. Unlike the old days, the profession is now well respected with an impressive salary and it has become common to even find males nannies in the business. There are new agencies and associations such as the International Nanny Organization that provide courses and training to prospective nannies.
Advantages of Hiring a Nanny
1. More Parental Control
Having a sense of control gives mothers reassurance. With a nanny at home, they get to have better control over their child’s schedule. This means they can plan when their child will eat, what he or she will eat and even their play or their nap times. Furthermore, parents can even ask the nannies to keep them updated with detailed information and send pictures throughout the day.
If you’re a doctor, having a normal schedule can be an impossible task since you might have night shifts or get emergency calls anytime. In cases as such, enrolling your child to a daycare centre, which opens and closes at the same time, wouldn’t be the smartest move.
When you are on the process of hiring a nanny, you can search for someone who’s more flexible according to your schedule and decide on a reasonable pay rate for her extra time, beforehand.
With a nanny at home, you will no longer have to rush to work in the morning without getting some self-time for yourself.
3. One on One Attention
Constant care from a nanny means that your child gets undivided, individual attention which he wouldn’t get on a normal daycare setting. Moreover, there is no competition for attention but a strong attachment which helps him react calmly in any new environment.
Having a nanny at home makes it easier for working parents. If you forget to do anything at home, you can call and ask the nanny to do it for you or if there is a repairman coming to the home, your nanny can let them in. On top of that, they can help with lighthouse chores such as vacuuming, doing the laundry or cooking your child’s meal. This will give you more time to catch up with your work or hobbies.
5. Constant Care
Your child will be constantly showered with love even when they grow up. Some nannies tend to live and take care of generations while others stay in touch and become a part of the family.
Socializing becomes much easier for all the parents out there. They won’t have to worry about commuting to the stores with their babies since the nannies can stay home and look after them.
Disadvantages of hiring a nanny
One of the glaring disadvantages of hiring a nanny is its cost. These days, a live-in nanny has an average cost ranging from £302 to £351 per week and a day nanny costs about £405 to £476. Of course, the price varies on where you live and the intensity of their work hours but their pay rates are, usually, expensive.
2. No Oversight
In general, the agency through which you hired a nanny does the background check on him or her. Since there’s no requirement or a degree to become a nanny, they might not have adequate knowledge regarding child care, hygiene and health. Some may be CPR certified but it’s advisable to run a background check before hiring them.
3. Parents are the Employer
Nannies are household employees so you will have pay taxes and deal with a lot of legal tasks. You need to create a contract with them and discuss their holiday entitlement and their sick leave days. This process invests a lot of your time and is a hassle so you might even have to hire an adviser.
4. Dependent on one Person
Leaving your child constantly with a nanny makes both the child and the parent dependent on her. If their nanny falls sick, the parents need to find a backup child-care quickly. And if a nanny quits, finding a replacement can be even further troublesome.
5. Lack of Privacy
Lastly, parents won’t have as much privacy as they’d want since there’s a non-family person every day at the home taking care of the baby. The nannies get used to your normal schedule and can find personal details about you.
Hiring a nanny is an important and difficult decision. While choosing a nanny, think about your child and your family needs, consider the cost and your schedule.
The process tends to get frustrating and might upset you but remember that this is a temporary decision. You can always find a new nanny if your current nanny doesn’t have the proper knowledge or experience.