Having a Nanny while Working at Home

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions


Being a nanny for work-at-home parents

Nov 2010

I recently began working as a part time nanny for a 7 month old girl whose parents have a home-based business. I work there every Tues. and Wed. Since this is the first time she is being cared for by someone other than her parents, the separation anxiety level is sky high. The baby begins crying hysterically the moment I pick her up. Even when I take her for walks she will sometimes get upset from missing her parents. All this comes as no surprise to me. I was wondering if there are any work at home parents here in similar predicaments? If so, how have you handled this? Many thanks


Ofcourse, this is totally normal. 7-8 months is the age for stranger anxiety to start in babies. It has nothing to do with you. Hang in there, be friendly and upbeat and the baby will get used to you, and eventually regard you as her friend.


This sounds so tough on you. I have been on both sides of this - I took care of a very clingy baby for 2 years and later I worked at home while my nanny took care of my baby. I can clearly remember calling Bananas in tears pleading for advice, while the baby I took care of screamed in the background.

I only have a few bits of advice but maybe it will help. First off, 7-8 months is the prime clingy baby age and you know it will get better, but right now it's at its worse. Also, this is a new situation for the baby and she is not used to you yet or to the new routine. I would ask the parents for suggestions about how to calm the baby - maybe a pacifier or a bottle or a favorite distracting toy. My clingy baby liked stroller rides, moving pretty fast, and even bumpy rides. Or animals to look at. Or bigger kids at the park. So you cycle through your bag of tricks and resolve yourself to get through it. If you get panicky the baby will pick up on it, and she will be even more anxious. So you have to try to be calm.

The other thing that comes to mind: the parents have to try really hard not to interject themselves into the baby's day when you are there. Even if the baby is screaming like crazy they have to grit their teeth and let you handle it. If you need to talk to them, communicate by cell phone. You are only working two days a week, so it will be hard to establish a routine of you being the primary caregiver if they are popping in and out. Once some time has passed, you can relax this. The more you can get out of the house with the baby, the better. Otherwise she'll keep expecting her parents. Good luck and hang in there! anon


Babysitter while working at home

Jan 2005

We're thinking of hiring a babysitter to care for our 3 month old one day a week so I can work at home that day. I don't see much on the Network about this set-up. What I'm wondering about mostly is cost and the best place to find someone. It would seem to me that if I'm home and the baby will be brought to me for breastfeeding, the cost shouldn't be as much as for an in-home nanny. My understanding is that nannies are paid minimum $10 or $12 to care for one baby, so how much should the babysitter be? Or is there not really a distinction? Should I look for a Cal student who might be enticed by being able to do homework while the baby sleeps and/or while I breastfeed? I know Bananas is great for nannies; are they the best place to advertise for student babysitters too? Thanks.


There is no cost savings when a baby is brought to the mother for breastfeeding. You must pay for the entire time, beginning to end, that you are reserving a person's time - it is no benefit to the caregiver to bring the child to you. You cannot dock pay for this - you are suggesting a situation like... I'll pay you for 45 minutes of this hour and 15 minutes you can sit here and do what you like, with no pay. It seems unlikely you'd find someone willing to go along with this arrangement. HOWEVER, you can offer slightly less per hour to end up paying exactly what you really want to pay, and then everyone feels like they got a decent deal. Also, just so you're aware, nannies have the freedom to do as they wish, on the clock, when babies are sleeping anyway, so that's not a perk. It is true some nannies also handle a small bit of child-related household help, so if you want your day nanny/babysitter to handle some of the baby-only laundry on his/her workday, most caregivers are willing to do this. This might be a way for it to be more reasonable for you, since you appear to be looking for a cost-savings. This way, at least you end up with more free time each week. All that said, yes, you can pay less to a student or a very young caregiver with little experience. Sometimes you can find a non-English speaker for less money. Someone with poor English is a good deal at this age, where the baby doesn't need to learn language skills as much as s/he needs to feel loved and cared for. Best of luck finding a good, fair match.


I work at home too. I actually don't believe it's that much easier for the babysitter when I'm there so I didn't pay less than when I was out of the house. I've used students occasionally, but found that a long-term relationship was better for my children. You want someone who's able to handle the small things and let you work. Once your child is mobile, they will be knocking on your office door; hire someone who can distract, entertain, and keep them happy. Ann


I don't see the difference between having a nanny when you're at home and having one when you're not. I work at home, and I paid standard nanny rates for my son's nanny when he had one. nelly


I freelance and work from home. What I found as I looked for babysitters is that most didn't have a different pay structure for a mom who was home. Except for the breastfeeding (which now that my son is 9+ months is not nearly what it was when I first hired her) she is primarily responsible for my son's time, needs, and wants. I definitely don't feel she is doing any less since I am nearby - it's my choice whether I will go upstairs and have a 15 minute visit with him, and I consider that my bonus. Interestingly, I have been looking for a NIGHTTIME babysitter for my son, who is asleep no later than 7pm on any given night and stays asleep. Everytime I contact a sitter from BPN about sitting at night, they ask for $12-$14 an hour (I pay my siitter $13 during the day). When I express that the baby is asleep, you can do homework, eat, watch movies, talk on the phone, etc, they basically tell me no way. I am fine with paying $13/hour for someone to interact with my son, but that's a little more than I can stomach for the nighttime scene. Good Luck anon


Sorry -- the price is the same whether you are there or not. As long as you want the person to actually care for your child while you work -- it doesn't really matter to them whether you are there. The nursing thing is nice but doesn't really change the job for the nanny. If anything, man! y nannies find it MORE difficuult to take care of a child with mom in the house. Be careful to set up a clear pattern in which the NANNY is the caretaker during the time she is there and if your child understands that and s/he is a good nanny, this will work great. anon


Regarding your question of whether you should be able to pay less because you are breastfeeding, my opinion is no. (I am a mother of a 16 mo. old and have an in-house sitter/nanny twice/week.) While the sitter may not be feeding, she is still at your house and therefore at your service--i.e., it is not her time. You need to pay for that time, regardless of whether that person is doing homework or whatever. Who wants to sit at someone else's house to do their own work? They are there for your convenience, regardless of whether the baby is napping or breastfeeding. As for resources, you should post your need in the BPN Childcare newsletter. As for cost, you might expect to pay a tad less for a once/week babysitter than an everyday nanny, but not much. You probably would get the best deal from a college student or teenager. Best wishes. Tracy


I had a babysitter while working at home and paid her $10 per hour (her hourly wage). While I was breastfeeding she would sit and talk with me or read a book. It worked out well. I have a friend who works from home and she hired a UC Berkeley student to care for her child. (She found the sitter by placing an ad on CraigsList). This arrangement has worked out very well for her, as she has a flexible work schedule. One thing to consider when hiring a student is that their class schedule typically changes each semester/quarter. The going rate for one baby is bet! ween $10-15 per hour for one child. My philosophy is that if I pay closer to $15 per hour I expect the person to do more (e.g., light housework) when my child is sleeping. Good luck! Anonymous