Nanny Gossip! What Your Babysitter Doesn’t Tell You {Part 1}

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A couple months back on the playground, I was talking with one of my mommy friends, and we were discussing the topic of sitters and nannies, what we were asking from our nannies, and sharing babysitter stories.

You know the playground talk that happens – some call it gossip, some call it a comparison game. Whatever you call it, it happens. But did you ever think about the fact that our sitters and nannies do the same about us (moms) when they are at the playground? I recently did! And with that thought, I did a little interviewing with some Scottsdale babysitters and nannies (mine included) to try to dig up some gossip on the playground from the sitters’ perspective.

First, I would like to say I became a little confused about the whole definition of what a babysitter is versus a nanny? I actually had no idea what the difference was. I thought it was just a matter of semantics, but I was wrong. Here is what I learned during this interview:

Babysitter

A babysitter typically works in your home. They typically earn an hourly rate and babysit for multiple families. They are typically more part-time caregivers, and majority of sitters ages are between 18 and up. Some babysitters can start as early as age eleven.

Nanny

A nanny usually travels to a family’s home daily or lives with the family. A nanny typically receives a weekly salary and considered full-time employees. Some families can employ part-time nannies, but typically that nanny will work for two families at a time.

Now for the fun part. I went to my Nanny to get some dirt on the world of babysitting and nannies and here is what I learned. *Note: Answers are a result of several different babysitters and nannies in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area.

What is the craziest thing a parent has asked you to do?

A Mom asked me to bite her kids! Her kids were going through a biting phase and she wanted me to bite them back as punishment!

What is the hardest job you have ever done as a Nanny?

Being a live-in nanny. The parents did a lot of traveling and it would break my heart when the kids would cry and say I was the only one that loved them. It was hard when they ask if they could call me “mom” because theirs was never there. It was very hard for me to explain to them why mom and dad couldn’t always be there, and I didn’t feel I had the parent’s cooperation in explaining that.

Saddest story a child has ever told you?

Sometimes the stories can be sad. I once had a child tell me that her parents were fighting a lot and she thought they were going to divorce. It was very sad and uncomfortable for me to discuss with her parents.

What things do parents do that drive you crazy?

When parents come home late at night blabbering drunk!  My advice, if parents want to drink in excess, please do not come home and sit on the couch and talk to your babysitter like you are best friends. I am probably tired from watching your kids all night all I want to do is go home and go to bed! If you have had too many drinks please try to have the babysitter’s payment ready. It is not fun to watch a parent attempt to count out my cash with one eye shut.

What things do you wish all parents would do before hiring a babysitter?

Have a written schedule that includes, dinner time, bedtime routine, bathing routing and emergency contacts. Sometimes families have multiple children and it’s hard to know each individual routines every time I babysit. For the older kids, it’s great to have a written schedule handy when they try to argue about bedtime I can show them moms note saying bedtime is 8pm they can’t stay up late!

Please plan ahead for the kids meal. It is always nice if there is a selection of food for the kids and the sitter too. Pizza is always good for a babysitter night in. It is really nice if everything is easy to find or already out. Every family organizes their kitchen differently, and it’s hard to go searching for kitchen utensils when hungry kids are waiting on you.

I always appreciate when parents can tell me where they are going and what time they are planning to come home. I hate not knowing how long I will be at the job. I really appreciate if I get at least a text saying they are going to be late or on their way home. It is also good for me to know this so I can have time to pick up the house and get everything ready for their arrival.

 What our babysitters/nannies want us to know:

Always treat your nanny/babysitter with respect. A common complaint I have heard from other nannies/babysitters is the moms they work for don’t ask for, or trust their opinion. I have been blessed with super kind families, and while I have always done whatever mom and dad have wanted first, I have always felt that the families have been interested in hearing my opinions too. Most moms will ask how I have done things in the past so we can come up with a plan of action together.

The most common complaint that I hear from nannies/babysitters is that they have a hard time going to the parents when they have a question or a concern. A sitter/parent relationship is really complex and unique. A good nanny/babysitter should really feel like a friend or a member of the family. In a normal job if a person has an issue they can go to the human resources department or another supervisor for advise on tricky situations, but a nanny is forced to be much more direct and often doesn’t have the outside resources to help. Make sure your nanny or sitter feels that they can come to you and talk about anything. Set aside time when the kids aren’t around and nothing else is going on to ask them questions like:

How do you think things are going?

Is there anything we can do differently?

What is working best for you?

Are we doing anything that is not working for you?

Always remember that if your nanny and/or babysiter is happy, she will be more fun for the kids and the kids will be happier too!

So all you SMB mommies out there, the next time you go to have a PNO (Parent Night Out), maybe keep some of these things in mind on your quest of hiring a babysitter that is right for your family. Afterall, hiring a nanny or babysitter is a very diffiult decision because we are trusting them to care for our babies. I’m lucky that I have a nanny that is amazing and I really couldn’t have managed the past couple years without her. Thank you for all you do LP and hope to share many more playground stories in the years to come.

For more great information on babysitting in Scottsdale, please visit Joy’s three part series:

Babysitting in Scottsdale Part 1 – How much do you pay your sitter?

Babysitting in Scottsdale Part 2 – Do you refer your babysitter to friends?

Babysitting in Scottsdale Part 3: Start a babysitting co-op

Stay tuned for {Part 2} of Nanny Gossip! I’ve got more dish from our sitters and answers to the popular question, “How much are we supposed to pay the babysitter?”

Photo credit:The Babysitter by Drunken-Novice 

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