Most Popular Posts

Monday, May 02, 2011

Motherhood Mondays: On babysitters

My lovelies, for this Motherhood Monday, let's talk about babysitters.

Our very first babysitter was Naudia, who is still with us. (In the photo above, she's reading Toby his favorite story--he was only 3 months old.)

One thing that really surprised me was how hard it was to leave Toby with a babysitter for the first time. (How old were your babies when you first got a babysitter?) For us, Toby was two months old. Alex and I had planned to go to lunch and take a bike ride, and Naudia came over to babysit. But as soon as we walked out the door, I wanted to turn around and walk right back in. (My heart was racing!) Alex encouraged me to take a break and enticed me with the promise of roast chicken and fries at a nearby French bistro. I downed a glass of wine during lunch to calm my nerves and then took a wobbly bike ride while obsessing about Toby the entire time. I must have texted Naudia 1,000 times during our three-hour date! It's funny because I knew rationally that nothing bad was going to happen, but I felt so anxious--my heart was in my throat. As a new mom, my emotions were so heightened. (Did you mamas feel the same?)

Thankfully, each consecutive time that Alex and I went out, I felt more and more comfortable, and I'm so glad that Alex encouraged me. You don't always realize how much you need a break until you take one. I would return home a much more relaxed, refreshed and reinvigorated mother. (And now, of course, it's all much easier now that Toby's older!)

Nowadays Naudia is like part of our family. We completely adore her. She now babysits Toby while I work from home. When she arrives in the morning, Toby peeks over the banister and yelps and kicks with excitement. She has cute nicknames for him, takes him on "dates", and she even has his photo as her phone's wallpaper. And it's funny how quickly the walls break down when someone works in your home: She's seen Alex and me half asleep, in our pajamas (and one embarrassing morning--when Alex didn't realize that she had arrived yet--without pajamas), with messy hair, without makeup, worrying, laughing, even crying. Since I work from home in our teeny apartment, we're around each other so much; it's such an intimate relationship. It's hard to imagine ever not having her in our lives!

(By the way, years ago, I read a fascinating book called Searching for Mary Poppins, which features a collection of mothers' essays about the complex relationship between mothers and nannies. I'd highly recommend it.)

I'm so curious: Have you babysat before? If you're a mom, do you like your babysitters? Where did you find them? Have you ever had not-so-great babysitting experience? I would love to hear...
(Naudia giving Toby his very first massage. She kept saying, "He's found his utopia!":)

P.S. More about motherhood, pregnancy and babies.

187 comments:

Chelsea said...

Great post! I was a live-in nanny for three consecutive summers for a family of three little ones under three, and now, five years later, their family is still a huge part of my life! I could totally relate to everything you said, and from the standpoint of the babysitter, it is so nice to have an amazing family to work for! Naudia sounds great! :)

goodnightstars said...

I'm a nanny 2 days a week and one of the fun things about it is the mother of the twins was my jazz band director in middle school! But gosh I love those munchkins.

It's interesting to here a mom's perspective. I had no idea how hard it can be to leave your child with someone else for the first time!

claire said...

This is such a great read. I am not a mumma yet, but I love learning about 'all things babies' through your blog. Toby looks so comfortable with Naudia. It's beautiful to read how much her presence is appreciated xo

Reyna @fashionmist♥ said...

Aw, great post! Toby is adorable, as always! xx

Girly Notes said...

you have to make sure that Naudia read this post haha

http://girlynote.blogspot.com

oh, lovely day! said...

i work as a babysitter for a just-turned-two year old. his parents treat me like family. often, when they get home from work, we sit around and chat while we all watch the little one. they even invited me to his birthday party (as a guest not a worker :) i don't know what i am going to do when i graduate and move away!
you are so blessed to have a great nanny! and she is lucky to have such a great family (you guys!)
i think being a babysitter (or nanny) is incredibly rewarding! i enjoy it so much that i hope to open up my own small pre school someday!
sarah

gemma said...

without pajamas! haha i want to hear more ;-)

Alaina Buzas said...

I currently nanny for two boys three days a week. I've been watching them since November and my connection with their family was almost instant. I feel so lucky to be in their lives and absolutely love watching them learn and grow. Thank you for sharing your perspective as a mother. It sounds like you and Naudia have a similar relationship to myself and the mom I work for.

Colleen / Inspired to Share said...

What a sweet post! So glad you found someone you trust : )

Joanna said...

Babysitting at the moment actually(and FINALLY everyone is in bed)! I babysit for one family on a regular basis and some other various families on and off. I have been at this gig since I was 12. Ten years later I can honestly say I have learned a lot about myself, children, families, etc. It has been so amazing to get to know so many different families and watch the kiddos grow up.

I know it's hard for mom's to leave their kids when they go out for a break. But like you said, I always see a difference when they return home. Much more motivated and upbeat than before.

I love babysitting! :)

Kelsi said...

I'm kind of a "professional" babysitter, and I cannot think of a more rewarding job. I love the three children I babysit almost as if they were my own. I have such a unique relationship with each of them, and I've formed quite a relationship with their parents, too!

Pamela said...

Cool post! I just finished writing about my thoughts on early motherhood and posted a photo of myself as a baby with my nanny in our village then I saw you had written this!

Our little girl is 6 weeks old today and I feel 100% OK leaving her with her grandparents (who are always keen!). Coming back from a couple hours to myself, I feel like a new person and I think it's much nicer for my baby to be around me when I'm relaxed.

I can imagine it will be harder when we don't have her grandparents around though... you are so lucky to have found someone so wonderful to look after Toby. I can only hope we have a similar experience!

Christine Morrow said...

Hi Jo,

As well as being an auntie to 2 kiddies I babysit fairly regularly. I really enjoy spending time with both of them and it's great because my sister trusts me with them.

My niece now has a habit of coming into the spare bed I sleep in when I stay over so I get to appreciate the early wake ups my sister gets every day!

xc

Kate said...

Excellent post as always. I have to say that I wasn't worried in the slightest the first time I left our son (he was about eight weeks old) I always felt like that made me a bad mama but I was so ready to get out of the house.

Our first babysitter was a dear family friend who had the audacity to go off to college so I had to find some new ones. Luckily, I have always been able to find amazing, sweet, smart, wonderful sitters either through family friends or, more recently (my babysitters keep moving away to college) through care.com, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Luke always adores his sitters - to the point that the next morning he always asks where they are. That is the only part that I don't like. The whining, "where's rachel/sarah/kerstin?!" However, the best thing is that he doesn't ever (at least so far; he's 2.5) throw a fit when we leave. He's usually ushering us out of the house so he can have someone completely devoted to him and his train set until bedtime.

Babysitters, and his preschool teachers, are my sanity. I have always maintained that a happy parent is a parent that gets a break from his/her kid. I realize I am lucky beyond lucky to be able to have such a great support system in my husband, sitters and teachers.

Oy, this is long but it is such a great topic. I'll shut up now.

Anonymous said...

I remember the first time I left my children. I actually thought I heard them cry - but they weren't around. Everything sounded like a little yelp to me at the time.

Alissa said...

Loved this post--I'm a nanny to a 21-month-old girl while I finish grad school and I absolutely LOVE it! Toby is lucky he lives in NYC and is close to a lot of fun sights and activities. I can't wait for the weather to improve out here in Seattle--my favorite days include pushing the baby in the stroller while we go to a coffee shop or park. Glad you found someone great to work with you!

Anonymous said...

The nice thing about getting out when you have a baby is that you are so excited to come home!

Kate said...

Those are the most adorable photos! Toby's face is so expressive. Love it!

Lili said...

Toby's expression while getting a massage is priceless!! Ok, the reading face is, too, but the massage face just cracks me up! :-D

Relatable Style

Kierra said...

I started babysitting my little sister when I was ten and from there it went. I watched her and her little friends and have grown up watching little and big ones for as long as I can remember. I am now 21 and work for several families at different times of the year (one during the school year and two during the summers at home) and love every second. It can be very hard at times since I watch all ages, from an almost two year old (who I have watched since 3 months old) all the way to 10 year old twins and their 5 year old little brother. It's a tough job, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Being a nanny is the best! Plus, it's like pre-mother training, so I know I'll be a great mom one day (crossing my fingers).

Gaby [The Vault Files] said...

I would love to have a babysitter!
When we were in Toronto I used to leave Matthew with his aunt (she's also his godmother, and she happens to live in the same building). But now here in New Cal I have no one, and it's hard for me to get a nanny without recommendations you know? How did you get yours? It would be such a nice break to be able to work with full attention (I work form home too).
Naudia seems very nice, you're very lucky to have her! ;)

Courtney Ann said...

My only paying job is babysitting. My favorite gig is with a 13 month old who wrinkles her nose when she giggles. And in the few months i've been at her house, i totally noticed her mom relaxing. She works from home as well and i've seen her in every state. it's so cool.

My worst experience was with 3 kids, all within 3 years of age from each other. I got payed half of what i do for 1 child. They all had colds and fought over toys and attention constantly. Not cool.

If you raise your kid right, then the right babysitter will love their job and make it so easy for you as a mom. xoxo

Anonymous said...

After babysitting for a family for 5 or 6 months I became a live-in nanny for them over the summer. They have two kids, who at the time were 2 and 4 and now are 3 and 5. I absolutely adore the kids. I had (and still have) such a strong connection to the younger one that when I moved several states away I was in an incredibly rough place emotionally. I missed her more than I could have ever imagined. She is often the wall paper on my phone, and the family as a whole means so much to me. They are like family to me, and I am beyond elated to nanny for them this summer, if you can even call it nannying at this point.

Molly said...

After babysitting for a family for 5 or 6 months I became a live-in nanny for them over the summer. They have two kids, who at the time were 2 and 4 and now are 3 and 5. I absolutely adore the kids. I had (and still have) such a strong connection to the younger one that when I moved several states away I was in an incredibly rough place emotionally. I missed her more than I could have ever imagined. She is often the wall paper on my phone, and the family as a whole means so much to me. They are like family to me, and I am beyond elated to nanny for them this summer, if you can even call it nannying at this point.

Anna said...

I love the relationship you have with your babysitter! I am actually moving to Germany (two weeks from tomorrow! acks!) to aupair a two year old girl & her 5 month old brother for 9+ months. I am anxious/nervous/happy/elated beyond belief. Luckily my sisters have babies so I know their "behind the scenes" feelings on babysitters. (All good! Just typical interaction things.)

I am really excited to stay with this new family & bond with their mom and dad. So far I think she will be like a big sister to me. I adore her. (From emails & phone calls.)

Definitely love to know more of the mom's side of things. ; )

Thanks for this lovely post, it's encouraging!
xoxo

Ashlae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashlae said...

I spent 16 months nannying for a family, and eventually left to focus on school. I still visit regularly and celebrate holidays with them when I can't make it across the country to be with my family. They're literally my second parents, and the little guy is my favorite thing in the world. The bond I formed with his mother is definitely one that will last a lifetime - I, often times, feel like I am more like her than my own mother! It's frightening, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Nicole said...

I know it's crazy but I've never left my 4 year old with a "babysitter". I've been lucky to live near family so she has never been watched by anyone but my parents, sisters or sister in law. The bonus is I've never had to pay to have someone watch her!

Cath said...

How sweet is that message photo! I love how Toby is so chill and love how Naudia has such a great and adorable smile... such a beauty.
Speaking from the other end of this parent/nanny relationship, I used to be a nanny while going through college and grad school. The evolution of my relationship with the children in the families I worked with was one thing... such a wonderful thing, for sure. But my relationship with the moms and dads, in addition, was so fulfilling. We all keep in touch to this day and a couple of times a year I get photo updates and little notes from the "babies" now all grown up (graduating from junior high and high school... yikes, makes me feel kind of ...er...old.). They all called me Mary Poppins because I'd arrive each day with a carpet bag of art supplies, books and toys... and NOT because I could sing beautifully (that I most certainly cannot.)
That said, Joanna, having such a lovely relationship with your child's caregiver is incredibly rewarding (for all parties involved!) and I'm so happy to hear you are loving it.

shahleens said...

Hi Jo!
I love this post. I've been a nanny for nearly 13 years, (it's my career!) and it's really nice to get some recognition for the important part that "alternate caregivers" i.e. nannies, babysitters play in some families lives. I'm so happy that you and Toby have Naudia, and I wish you nothing but happiness!

p.s. Did you see this? http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/04/amy_poehler_out-delights_every.html

Amy Poehler is amazing!

Sonishka said...

I am a nanny as well. I had 3 families I worked for in last 4 yrs. It was always hard to say goodbye because the kids grow on you.
And yes, being in the family means you see family things, but this job is a family job so nothing is unusual.
Unusual was only when one of the mothers didnt really care about the kids, she never asked me anything about the kids, what they ate, what they did while she was away and she didnt even call for goodnites.
I find that really weird. I think its better to call or text million times if everything is OK than the other way round.

Cath said...

Whoops... *massage*. Should have spell checked BEFORE I hit "publish"!

SK said...

I think it's a two way street! As much as the babysitter has to have certain qualities and responsibilities, the parents have to have those responsibilities as well! It was lovely babysitting Toby for you and Alex in Los Angeles! :) I think the skype interview kind of brought the human element to it all before we met in person. I hope all is well!! Besos desde Mexico!

You Are My Fave said...

I used to babysit a lot. The two most important things for the parents to do are 1. Trust, don't make the babysitter feel inferior and 2. stock your kitchen with good treats!

Evelina said...

Awww... such a sweet post! "Don't Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late" is Emil's favorite bedtime story. :)

Designwali said...

This is a tough one...I always find it a little challenging to let go. I'm waiting for my 2nd nanny and as always feel a little anxious!

erica said...

I didn't have a babysitter or any kind of alone time until my boy was 14 months old. Believe me when I say that the break was much needed!! Still, even at 14 months it was hard for me to leave him behind. Now at 26 months I spend a lot of my babysitting hours thinking about my sweet boy and wishing he would drop by for a coffee break.

Annie G said...

i've been a live-in nanny, a "mother's helper", and just a plain old babysitter. i'm currently a nanny for a pistol of a four-year-old. it really is such an interesting relationship between a mother and a nanny... she's given me so much insight to motherhood (and kid politics!), and in turn, i've given her a fresh, outside perspective on her wonderful little boy! thanks for the book recommendation, i can't wait to check it out!

Diane said...

Have you seen the clip of Amy Poehler's speech at the Time 100 Gala? She thanks her nanny/all the nannies out there, and I thought it was really sweet and touching. It made me love her even more!

abigail said...

wow, looks like you scored huge with Naudia, baby massage and everything! She looks great! Our daughter is 6 months and I've done the occasional run to the post office thing or out to the store but unfortunately I have yet to really have a proper date with the Husband. sad town. When we do I know it will be tough to leave, as you said, but also so incredibly necessary! I agree that you don't know you need a break until you have one! word up.

Kathryn said...

I think that the feelings you described are completely normal! We are lucky enough to have my parents live not far from us, so our first outing was when our daughter was 4 weeks old, for our anniversary.

It's lovely that you have a babysitter who fits in with your family!

bushesandbeans said...

I was a babysitter in much the same way Naudia is. I worked for a family where the father worked from home every day, and the mother was a college professor who also sometimes worked from home. I felt a little awkward at first, being there when they were home, and I think they felt strange at first also, but soon I really felt like part of the family. I haven't worked for them in six years, and I still love that little girl like she is my own. It's amazing the connection that you make with the family. It's a bizarre but wonderful relationship. I hope when I have a baby (hopefully soon!) that I can find someone who loves my baby and us as much as I love the family I worked for and they love me.

Anonymous said...

Naudia looks so lovely. That first picture is a classic!

missmehoneybee said...

Yes, It was sooo hard to leave the first time, we texted like every twenty min. to see what he was up to.

I currently am search for a babysitter but don't really know how to find someone trustworthy, since our lil guy has mostly only been with my mom. How did you find your lovely babysitter?
We are in desperate need of some alone time.

Kathy Besser said...

Hi Joanna!
Our first nanny (in her 60's, from Russia) made the biggest impression on me. She took our 4-month old baby out in ALL KINDS of weather and I have to say she helped create the healthiest toddler to pre-teen I know! (I briefly mentioned this in dirt & sunshine, I think). I love that this was a completely normal thing to her. It taught me that I had a lot to learn from other moms and other cultures! kathy

Marty J. Christopher said...

I started babysitting when I was in 4th grade. It was for a family friend who worked from home. She was upstairs and I was downstairs with the baby (who is now 21 years old!). I continued working for various families through college. Then when I went back to school, I nannied for various families. The relationship with parents has always been amazing. And I've loved keeping in touch with families and watching the kids grow up. Three of the families I babysat/nannied for came to our wedding. I totally get your anxiety though, and it's completely normal. It's awesome that you've found someone you love and trust. That's the best remedy. : O )

Michele said...

I was so nervous the first time I left my little one so I can relate. I still have a hard time leaving them. I don't think that makes me a better parent or worse. Everyone knows what they feel comfortable with and what works for them. My husband probably wishes I would use a babysitter more so we could go out alone more often. When I was younger I would babysit children and stay overnight with some of the families--you kind of feel like part of the family. I've yet to welcome someone in our home like that who isn't family. I guess this makes me aware that I should probably be on the lookout for a good babysitter like you have. You're very lucky.

Jennie said...

wow - what a great post!

I've been on both sides now -
I was a nanny in London for 10 years before we had our two girls.
I always encouraged the mums to ring if they wanted, while they were out. And I remember feeling the same thing, when we went out and left our young baby with the MIL! Its so awful the first time!

As for finding someone you trust, word of mouth along with fully trained and up to date first aid certificates would be a start for me. As well as spending quite a bit of time with the children and the nanny/babysitter before taking them on.

MEGAN said...

I was a nanny through college. You have found a GEM, if you work from home and both get along so well! Those can be awkward days when the mom I worked with was home, because you know the kids are hers, but I was the one providing for all their needs from 8am -6pm. Cute pictures of her with Toby.

Robin said...

Great post...I love this series!
You are super lucky!!!
The 1st time we left Micah, he was only 10 days old (sob) but it was the wedding of a very close friend. We brought him with us to the ceremony and he did great, then we went home, nursed him and set him up with my mom, my dad, my brother and my brother's girlfriend. I was a wreck and my mom said, there is 1 of him, and 4 of us, we will be FINE. Well...they called us a little over an hour after we left and said we had to come home immediately because he would not stop crying. I have never seen my husband drive faster! When we got home, he calmed right back down - but the whole experience was so traumatizing that we didn't leave him again until he was 10 months (for another friend's wedding...it went much better!) Now, at almost 3 we have actually left him at my parents for 2 nights for quick trips (twice!) and he loves going there and they love spoiling him. But I wish I had a nanny or babysitter besides my parents, it is a different relationship when you are paying someone!

Mary Catherine said...

What a sweet post Joanna!
I have babysat since I was in 6th grade (those were trusting parents!) and now at 23, continue to nanny and babysit for families that have become like my own family.

I think it's important for both the parents and the nanny to understand where the other is coming from. Nannies keep children as their profession and sometimes it's easy for parents to forget that and accidentally take advantage of a nanny's time.

My best advice as a babysitter/nanny is
1) treat her like she is a part of your family, not the hired help.
2) never "share" a babysitter with another family; meaning hiring one babysitter for two families for an evening and paying her less. (so sad and wrong!)
3) Let her know how you like to run your house! It helps so much to know how Mommy does it :)

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to have a further discussion about having a baby when you live away from your immediate family, and what kind of support systems people have set up to deal with that. Though we don't have kids yet, I often wonder how hard it may be having both sets of our parents and sibling in different states when we are ready.

Robin said...

Oh, do you also have Pigeon Wants a Puppy? It is hilarious too!

Bridget said...

Oh, Joanna! I love this post. I was very lucky to be able to babysit for many, many families in my teens. I babysat, then nannied for one family for close to ten years and I can't tell you how much they all meant to me. Their boys were like my much younger brothers/ sons and I still love them dearly. Their oldest is about to graduate from high school and is making me feel quite old. Now, I'm expecting my first baby and already have a hard time imagining leaving him. The funny part is that my mom is going to be the one watching him when I eventually go back to work. I'm so glad that you found Naudia. Every family needs someone like her who can give them some respite so that they can be the best parents they can be.

Amanda Swann said...

This was a tough one for me and still is! I think it's the whole "no one's going to love your baby as much as you" thing. It's hard to trust someone with your most precious treasure. I had a nanny for about a year, although she was great with my daughter, I never really bonded with her. She'd be out the door the second I got home with no report of how her day went or anything, so I really felt like i was missing out. I think to make a nanny situation work they have to feel like part of the family.

The Cheeky Cafe

Wife of a Soldier said...

We have 4 young children and 3 wonderful sisters who babysit. They play with the kids, do projects and are absolutely amazing with them :) The kids adore them, which is the best part :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you use the word "babysitter" instead of "nanny." Tina Fey has a compelling bit in her book about the difference between calling the woman who watches your child when you work a "nanny" or a "babysitter." Basically, she realized she was using the word babysitter to make it sound more like a more casual arrangement, and that the word "nanny" feels riskier somehow, potentially loaded with judgments. I very much related to this struggle to find a word that accurately reflects the relationship without attracting unwelcome judgment.

Meghan said...

Oh boy! As today was my babysitters last day...as she graduates college. She cried, I cried. She is our second babysitter that has left us after graduating college and I hate it. They definitly become a huge part of your lifes. They are apart of your home, help nuture your children, and see the worst...messy homes, tired kiddos, etc. And that is why you should pay them well!
I could go on and on... i love this post. it hit home. i love your motherly mondays!

team cowan said...

We have two boys - a 4 year old and a 2 year old - and I'm pregnant with our third (don't know the gender yet!). Every time we leave the boys with a babysitter (or even if I just leave them home with my husband) I walk out of the house thinking "I deserve this!! I can't wait to get out of here!!" But then by the time I come home I ache for their little faces and dirty hands and boogery noses. I don't know what it is. Even on extra hard days when we put them to bed and think (or say) "I don't want to hear another peep until tomorrow!!" we still find ourselves sneaking in their room before we go to bed just to watch them sleep and kiss their heads.

Wohn said...

Ha! I thought the same thing (about Tina Fey). What a great book. The first time we left my daughter for an actual *dinner* she was about a month old and I was back in an hour and 15 minutes. We're about to go away for our first weekend together, without her (she's 13 months), and I am already anxious about it and re-thinking it ... but I know we must!!

Ginny Cook said...

Joanna! What a lovely post.

I completely feel your early anxiety with leaving Toby. I had the hardest time leaving August (my now 11-month old daughter) at 2 months, and really had to fake enthusiasm with my partner Chris, who was very sweetly trying so hard to get me out to have a romantic lunch and see art, something that would normally have been an amazing break. It felt so strange to be away from her. And with breastfeeding, there's always that *physical* reminder!

Anyway, it's gotten easier and easier, and I am finally about to brave going away to Ojai for one night and leaving August with grandma, who will be in town in a couple weeks. But I can't say I'm not anxious about it already! (sigh)

Such a fierce and mind-blowing bond...
-Ginny

paige and chase said...

Being an expect mom and also a veteran nanny this goes through my mind all the time! I can't imagine leaving my little bundle with someone but I know one day I'll most likely have to. Luckily we know so many great girls and have so many family members who have already volunteered!

sumslay said...

Wonderful post!

I'm curious, though - My mom never let me babysit because (she was overproctive, a worrier, etc) she was always worried a freak accident would happen and I/we'd be sued. In this day, does anyone else have this worry? I do kind of see her point now that I'm an adult...

Yessi said...

There HAS to be an immediate connection for a nanny and a family. I've been a nanny for one family for a little shy of two years, and it's been wonderful to see the girls growing each week and the parents have also been wonderful to me with references for my post-college era these months. They have even referred me for other babysitting opportunities, and it is always cute to see parents have the first-time-worries on leaving their child behind. Perfectly understandable, and it's always a must. I've learned to even invite the mother (usually the most nerve-wrecked) to stay with the child and I for a some time (arriving early) to get well-adjusted and to ease her nerves to get the children acquainted with me. I've been told about some disappointing babysitters, who have very little interaction with the kids, or who sit the children with the tv as a babysitter. I actually found them, through my college ads (I went to an private university and through them I have found all other babysitting opportunities. I think that's the best way to start off, through small colleges! Get to meet them, ask for references, or through friends!

Saffrongraphics said...

In my country you have to be at least 14 to legally be left in charge of children (NZ), and most parents prefer older babysitters. I started babysitting for a family with two lovely little girls when I was 18 and they were 4 and 6. I looked after them for two evenings each week and for many weekends over 6-7 years.

Years later, one afternoon at university I walked into a laboratory and there was one of the girls! She was in her first year studying. She waved like crazy and got so excited to see me after a gap of many years. It brought a tear to my eye.

Babysitting can be such a wonderful experience, not to mention good preparation for raising one's own children. I loved it.

megan said...

Where did you find your babysitter/nanny? And do you prefer referring to her as a babysitter or the nanny?

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

Amazing post! Growing up, I babysat some children whose parents didn't know me at all and I was probably 12 or 13 years old. These people knew my dad, but not me and left 3 children under 6 with me for an evening. It obviously was totally fine, but now I can't imagine doing that.

We were lucky to live near family for my son's first few months, so they always babysat. There isn't anything to worry about when the people who raised you are watching your child. When we moved away, we sent him to a daycare. We couldn't be happier. While I understand the idea of a nanny, I love daycare centres. The socialization there is just priceless. For actual babysitting, outside of daycare hours, we hire some of the younger girls from the daycare who want the extra cash. Knowing that they are educated and already know my son really well makes it easier to leave him with them. But we rarely get babysitters because of the cost!

Ashley Renee said...

your little one looks so happy to be with Naudia in that top photo... it must be such a relief to have such a great person to help you out.

Yay for great nannies!

lunatig said...

is this going to become a mommy blog? i would be really disappointed if this went into that direction as I do not have children and don't want to be left out.

VLS said...

I babysat from about 11 right up through the end of college as my main paying job. I made many connections with great families and truly adored most of the children. I was even taken on plane trips, left to nanny children for days at a time when parents left town, and trusted with family cars and country club accounts. I was really made to feel a trusted and integral part of other families, and I learned very much from that trust and responsibility.
Now that I am three months away from giving birth to my first, I hope to one day find a nanny that I can take in and trust as much as those families did with me.
It takes a villige to raise a child, does it not? If we can find and build trusted community to love and help raise our child, I know we will all be richer for the experience.
Don't forget to tell Naudia how important she is to your little nest!

Lisa said...

Oh I love this motherhood series. Makes my Mondays--so thanks for sharing!

jodi said...

Your motherhood posts are fabulous Jo! And thought-provoking. My partner and I are blessed enough to have two loving and incredibly keen sets of grandparents very close by - we've never had to leave our 3.5 year old with anyone else but them. Every single time we go out though (which isn't all that often) we discuss how grateful we are for the opportunity those doting grandparents provide. Hopefully they'll be just as keen to babysit when the new little one arrives.

No doubt you count your lucky stars for sweet Naudia - she sounds like a one-in-a-million baby sitter.

Heather said...

I loved this post. I grew up babysitting. I loved the kids and took excellent care of them (if I do say so myself!) But the thought of leaving my little one with a babysitter freaks me out! Twisted I know...thankfully family lives close by...

leathermangirl said...

Great post! I was a nanny for summer once for a family with a 4 month old and a two year old. It was a great experience, and nearly felt like part of their family! I even cried when I had to leave for college and leave the family/nannying behind:)

Emily said...

I've been a babysitter since I was twelve, so for the past nine years, and I've worked for one family as a summer nanny for the past four. I love those girls like crazy and as excited as I am to move to New Orleans this June, it's also a little bit heart-wrenching because it means I won't see them again.

You do become (kind of) a member of the family after awhile. There's one family whose kids I've been watching since the oldest girl was six (she's turning 15 soon), and it's been incredible to watch them grow up and get to be a small part of their lives.

I have no kids of my own so I can't speak to that end, but being a babysitter has been the best thing I've ever done. This year, I'll be interning at a shelter, working with kids, and I will likely continue to work with kids for a long time to come.

Sammi said...

I have never babysat actual babies, but occasionally there are some small children in my life who I look after occasionally. My best friend has two daughters who are 6, and 2 and they appear in my life quite often. More often, though, is my bosses 3 children, a 6y.o. and 3 y.o. and a 2 y.o the youngest being a little girl. She is tiny and beautiful but because she is so tiny she needs a lot of looking after & she appears to have chosen me as lately she follows me around a lot, including slowly making her way downstairs yesterday to come and give me a kiss!! Adorable!

Brenna said...

I nannied all throughout college - let me tell you I loved it! I got so close with my "boys". I miss them everyday! I did feel bad though, because sometimes they would accidentally call me "momma" in front of the woman I was sitting for! You really have to trust the person you let babysit your children. They are spending a lot of time with them! In my case, I was lucky Ashley trusted me!

Bronwyn said...

Since both my parents work (my mother was in her residency when she had me!) we had lots of babysitters growing up, and a lot of them became extensions of our family. Now, however, my sister is old enough to be home on her own and to walk to and from school, so we don't have babysitters anymore.
We've had some great ones and some not so great ones over the years (my mother has stories of us sitting on high stools unattended at about half a year, about television when it's off-limits, and about pepper soup for two-month-olds), but I know that when I babysit I find myself falling in love with the kids I watch, both babies and older kids. I love reading them stories at night when their parents are out on dates....

windeater.blogspot.com

C said...

I'm not a mother but I am a nanny and I absolutely love my job. I think it's such an honor and a blessing to have someone chose YOU to invest in their child and care for their most important love in the whole world. That takes courage to invite someone else into your life!

Jenni Austria Germany said...

oh goodness. i was once naudia.

i was a nanny for the most precious princess of a little girl for 6 years. i first started ''keeping'' her when she was 3 and i would pick her up from pre school every day and drive her home. of course, we'd always make a million stops on the way home (the park, the frozen custard stand, the mall, etc.). she was literally like my best friend. i had a photo of her once as my wallpaper and i would tell stories about her to anyone who would listen. i was super close with her mom, too.

i was their nanny for 5 years and then i moved to europe. leaving her was actually much harder than leaving many of my family and friends and i was EXTREMELY apprehensive about the girl who replaced me as her nanny!

i have lived in europe for the past few years and now she is almost 11. i don't get to see her that often but i called her last thanksigiving. she answered the phone and i said ''hello!'' and she immediately screamed and said ''JENNIFER!''. she recognized my voice from one word!?! i'm getting teared up just thinking of it. :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

and what C said, above me:

I think it's such an honor and a blessing to have someone chose YOU to invest in their child...

i could not agree more!

Allison said...

I was a babysitter for many years (from occasional nights in high school to 3-4 days a week in college) and I grew so attached to my "babies" that sometimes my heart still hurts when I think of them because I miss them! I hope the when I have children and need to look for childcare I can find a sitter who loves my babies like I loved the children I sat for. It sounds like you have a lovely babysitter!

Hannah xx said...

Beautiful Post. I work as a nanny in Sydney Aus and I to be honest I still can't believe I get paid to hang out with two of the most beautiful children in the world. I love being a nanny and it is such a privledge to be invited into a family (to love so much and to be so loved)
And - I am learning so much from the mum i work for -- she is incredible.

xx

ceo said...

This is so true... I still sometime get that racing feeling when I leave my 2 year old Sophia. I left her for the first time to do a charity fashion show at 10 weeks.

Thanks for sharing

CEO

nickandnoragettingmarried said...

Naudia sounds like such a great babysitter! When I was little, my dad's cousin was our main babysitter. She taught my brother and me about the phases of the moon, played baseball with us, and told us stories about the pets she'd had (including a suicidal fish and a rabbit who loved spaghetti). There's something so special about a great babysitter!

Martyna said...

It's nice reading how look babysitting from mother side, anyway what do you think about employ AuPair ?

blackbird said...

I am a long time away from babies and nannies but I had to tell you how happy those pictures made me!
Naudia and Toby clearly love each other (you lucky thing).

antique engagement rings said...

Love your photo.. just wonderful!

Marianne Eee said...

Our parents have been babysitting a few times.

When I had a baby I knew that the baby would be extremely dependent on us. But my biggest surprise was that I was so dependent on the baby. I turned down offers to babysit the first months simply because I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself.

Now my son is ten months old and we leave him with his grandparents regularly. Now he is old enough to really enjoy them (earlier he would only cry for mama), they have a good time with him and my husband and I get some alone time. Win, win, win.

But as I said, my need for the baby was (and is!) overwhelming. It's almost a physical feeling that draws me to him.

Marie-Eve said...

The first time I left my youngest son, he was about 2 months old. My sister in law send us to the spa so we could relax and go to dinner. Let me tell you, it was the most unrelaxing massage ever. I was so stressed even if he was with family. What's interesting, the first time I left my second son for the first time was as hard.

Next month we are going for a second honeymoon and I am so stressed to leave them for a whole week. I know they will be in good hand, but I'll bet there's gonna be some crying involved at the airport !

WA Blog Team said...

Hi Joanna,
Toby is just adorable and so is his sitter + friend Naudia! What a lovely post for new moms. Getting a break and having some fun on dates out is perfect for moms and babies. We love Motherhood Mondays ; ).

Emma said...

My job as a nanny was the most rewarding, fulfilling career choice. My days were filled with making mud pies and BMX races, tractor driving and teaching 'my' little Monty-moo to whistle the cattle dogs. The day he went off to school and no longer needed me I was very sad, but proud. His mum is one of my best friends still. Oh and P.S. I LOVED nannying boys after having no idea about them, boys rock!

Vivian said...

Absolutely adorable photos and yes, my best friend left her five week old baby for a wine date with me and was stressing out about the same rate as you. It happens to everyone, I imagine. Baby hormones are still in effect!

jennifer said...

my girls are 8 & 4 and i've still never used a babysitter (that includes grandparents!) I think motherhood has made me crazy!!

Val said...

Hi Joanna, this is my first comment on your blog (may you excuse my poor English). Congrats on your job, so far you've made me laugh, cry, smile, think...sometimes all of the above alltogether!
As for babysitters...I have a 6 year old and I still find myself struggling with a certain amount of anxiety each time I leave her with a sitter...it is necessary and healthy though, for both the kid and its parents...I am already quite crazy as it is, just imagine what it would be like not having those "free" moments!
That reading pic of Toby...PRICELESS! Thanks for sharing!

Jessica said...

I struggle with how to find the right one. we've been lucky enough to have my mom nearby to sit for us and its been wonderful but we are moving and need to find someone new. where do I even start to look? when i find someone, how do I know that they are the one. I can't help but fear the worst!

Rachel said...

I started babysitting in 5th grade. WHAT KIND OF PARENTS LEAVE THEIR ONE MONTH OLD WITH A FIFTH GRADER??? But that experience taught me that as long as you trust someone and know they have everything they need, it will be okay.

Stephanie said...

Yay, I love Mo Willems' Pigeon books!!! My husband even got a signed copy of The Pigeon Wants a Puppy for Valentine's Day one year. ;-)

No kids for me yet, but I've been babysitting since I was 12 and I've always loved it. I'm not sure how I'll feel about one day leaving my kids with a babysitter, but I know both sets of grandparents look forward to babysitting and since I never really got to know my grandparents (both grandmothers die before I was born, one grandfather died when I was only 7, and the other lived halfway across the country until I was about 16, and he passed away in 2003 when I was 20), I love the fact that our parents live nearby and our kids will get a chance to spend lots of time with them.

qüinch & qüinchy said...

my boy Joaquin is 4 years old and we had a nanny when he turned 1.
i think it is basic that we trust our instintcs when we are going to leave our baby with someone for the first time, my very first nanny was a mess, she leave the baby crying in the crib to watch tv, and had the worse attitude ever , the second one was an angel and she stay with us for 2 years but then she wanted to study and of course i had an ugly moment because i really wanted her to study and be happy but on the other hand i was feeling so sad, of course i was happy for her, but i was sad because she was leaving, anyway, a year later a new nanny came and she´s such a lovely human being and Joaquin just adore her i can leave home without feeling insecure, of course i call like 4 times to check out everything is ok but that´s my control freak part.
The thing is now that i´m pregnant and have stay at home i spend a lot of time with Joaquin and i feel so bad to leave him when i have to go out to do whatever, it is strange because i feel like when he was a baby and i didn´t want to stay away from him, on the other hand i just want to rip the baby out of my body, i know it is amazing to be pregnant, dont take me wrong, i love it, but this last month was SO HARD for me and my body, anyway, that´s my experience.

have a great day! :)

Andrea

Connie said...

I babysat for nearly all of my teenage years. Some for relatives, some for my sister's friends' parents (I'd pick the kids and their siblings up after school and take them to their house and hang with them till their folks came home). But my very favorite experience was with the two little girls down the street. They were sweet and imaginative and it was SO fun to play with them. It was great to have such a long-lasting relationship with the girls and their parents. When I was reaching an age where I was soon to leave for college, I started bringing my younger sister (who was still definitely old enough to babysit too), and gently 'passed the torch' to her-and so my sister babysat the girls till they had reached an age where the older sister was able to be home alone.

jessa said...

As a mama to a 9 month old, reading all these comments from the babysitters gives me courage :) I struggle with leaving my sweet girl with anyone I am not related to (and even sometimes when I am..haha) and do not live near family, so my husband and I have been contemplating finding someone we can bring into our family as a babysitter. I love hearing how much the families mean to the sitters and it makes me feel like when we find the right person(s) it won't be so scary!

In other baby related news, I watched the Pampers "Babies are Miracles" commercial on YouTube this morning and totally cried. Nothing gets the emotions going like thinking of my baby girl! :)

chelsey meyer said...

it is so wonderful that you posted about your nanny. i nannied for a family for 2 1/2 years - until i got pregnant and they got weird. and was ridiculously and weirdly close with everyone involved. i spent most of the week at their house with the girls and went on over a dozen trips with them. but whenever they would post photos on facebook, etc. they would never put any up of me with them. as if to portray this image that they were with their kiddos the whole time - which they hardly ever were. and that kinda hurts and is disrespectful to someone that is "so close to the family" and then of course they would only refer to me as a babysitter when i was definitely a full time nanny. it's a lot of work and it can get emotionally and physically demanding and not feeling like the appreciate you or respect you by not acknowledging all you do or show that you exist to their friends is the worst. so i really think it's great you did this whole post about her, i bet it means a lot to her.

Jhope said...

Just family, until she was 14mths. Then pre-school at 2.9 yrs. Hard not to hover in front of the school on the first day!

Heartstop said...

Joanna I simply adore your blog. Such real issues that you discuss. My niece (2 year's old) has a wonderful nanny who is also a part of the family. Remember they say that it's not the amount of time spent with a child but the quality of time spent with a child. You are a great mum.

Leila said...

When I was in college I worked in the infant room at a day care. I worked there for 2 years and babysat for a lot of the babies in my room. I learned a lot about caring for infants, when my friends started having kids I was giving them advice even though I have no children myself yet. After the day care I became a nanny for one of the babies and her 3yr old brother. I loved being a nanny but in the end I resigned due to tension in the house. I had been watching the baby since 6 weeks old at the day care then came to nanny for them (I nannied for 1yr) and the mom was jealous of the bond the baby had with me and was paranoid about her husband. She would flip out if she found out I was ever alone with her husband and kids (he came home at lunch some days to see the kids or some days got home from work before she did). She couldn’t handle how intimate the bond is between the nanny and every member of the family. I was never anything but professional while working with them, I just think having a nanny isn’t for everyone. I ended up resigning because the tension wasn’t good for the children or the parents.

It’s so great you love the bond Toby has with your nanny and treat her like part of the family. Its very important for the nanny to feel welcome in order to do their job properly. And even though babies love their nannies they love their parents 1000x more.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I've had lots of different arrangements for my kids (1 and 2), but what I have now is: Mondays I work from my home office with both kids; Tuesdays the kids go to the sitter's house (who they ADORE!! My son goes absolutely ga-ga for her! She also has a son who is the same age as my daughter and they are best friends) from 9-5 and I take client meetings, etc.; Wednesdays, my husband works late and doesn't get home until about 9:30p, so I use that day to spend with kids at the park, library, around the farm, whatever; Thursdays are the same as Tuesdays; Fridays I work from home with kids, but cut-out of work a bit early so we can start the weekend a few hours sooner. Working with the kids means sometimes having to work late-nights/early mornings, but it's worth it. My husband is a college professor, so our night/weekend sitter is one of his students and it's been working out great!

Giulia said...

We first had my grandparents babysit while our daughter was sleeping, that gave us time for dinner and a movie. Once we had our second I waited until my son was 1 before we got a 'real' sitter. She is a college student and they love her. We book her once a month just to force us to take some time away from the kids.
My kids did start daycare though when they were 10 months old and I went back to work. Our daycare is in a school setting which made me feel very comfortable with the situation. (albeit the first day was hard as you worry if they are doing ok, will they like the food, the teachers, will they sleep, etc.)

jenn of boy howdy daily said...

I baby sat when I was in highschool. I was a regular babysitter for a 7 year old and 3 year old little girls. My dad works in a hospital so I usually babysat for doctors he works with because I would hang a flier in their break rooms. It was fun, and I got to share some of my fav things growing up with them (like the movies: secret garden and a little princess).

jill said...

Hi Joanna,

This post is especially interesting to me because I am trying to balance the work from home/sitter situation. My concern about it is that even though I have a sitter here, it's hard to turn off one role and turn on the other. Do you find this to be a problem? How does Toby respond when Naudia is there, knowing you are too? This arrangement is very intriguing,and very desirable to me.

thank you!

the lil bee said...

I love this, Jo. She seems so sweet and fun! I'm having such a hard time today, being back in an office for the first time since having Blake. I miss her and Devon so much. Our parents have always been our babysitters. We're very lucky. I know eventually I'll have to find a babysitter that isn't maybe a family member--that it will probably be good for me--but I know my reaction will be just like yours when I leave for the first time. It's scary! I cried this morning. Ugh, it's the worst:( Thankfully it's only temporary. I need more work-at-home jobs! xo

Nat said...

I used to nanny for our next door neighbors- 3 kids who when I first started sitting them were 8, 3, and 6 months. Now, 6 years later we are still the best of friends even though I've moved out and don't babysit them anymore. Sometimes when we care for my parents house the kids join us for a movie night. I love those three like they are my own, it is because of them that I want to be a mother some day.

Deanna said...

I went back to work when my little girl was 3 weeks old. It wasn't an ideal situation, but necessary at the time. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I was fortunate to find someone who was able to keep her at that young age. Now she is almost 12 and I still get anxious when I leave her- even if it is with her grandparents! I don't think that will ever change :-)

Heidi said...

Joanna, you have such a gift. I'm not yet a mother, (although have nannied from time to time-luckily enough once for a family in Germany!), yet your words have a way of explaining the most complex human emotions and experiences in a beautiful, simple way. Although I'm sure I won't come close to understanding motherhood until I one day have a baby of my own, your Motherhood Mondays reveal such an intimate glimpse into life as a mother- a life I cannot wait to have. Just one more example why reading your blog is one of the special moments of my day. Thank you and happy Monday!

Anonymous said...

I worked as a nanny for many years in New York. It was always amusing to see the different ways parents would label the relationship, even when I was working similar hours for the different families. There was the West Village couple that called me "babysitter"! There was the Upper East Side family that called me "nanny" and had no problems with that. And then there was the new age California parents that called me "co-parent"! I personally always felt like "nanny" was the most appropriate. Babbysitter implies a once a month for datenight kind of arrangement.

Sarah said...

I first starting babysitting at the age of 12 and didn't stop until I graduated from college. I love children, they keep you honest and make you smile no matter what. I have had about 4 families that over the years have been extensions of my own. It is such a blessing to think that they allowed me into their homes and to become so close to their children. I have drifted from these families over the years and always wonder how the kids are and what they are doing today. I am even friends with some of the older ones on facebook! You are truly blessed to have a wonderful nanny. Hopefully she and Toby will remain in touch as he grows older

Eileen said...

Love this Joanna! I am a long time babysitter and have since launched my own babysitting placement service in Chicago. The anxieties you expressed are so endearing and natural. All great babysitters (and nannies) naturally become apart of your family. I love the photo of Naudia and Toby reading. The expression on his face says it all.

Kali said...

I was a nanny for a family with a 4 month old and a 2 year old. It was so fun and I completely fell in love with the kids...Its hard not to when you're with them all day and providing for/comforting them. i don't nanny for them anymore but can stay caught up on their lives via Facebook!

mckenzie said...

I'm on vacation right now and it's almost killing me to not have my kids with me. But I also feel really relaxed and I know that I will be more focused when I get back. I'm always nicer and clearer in the head after a break from my littles.

Anonymous said...

Love this post. I'm a full-time nanny for a 7-month-old. I love him so much. Everything about him from his sweet smelling skin to gummy (well, now two tooth) grin makes me melt. I started when he was 3 months and I think it is so sweet how his parents can't wait to get home to see him. I have tons of pictures of him on my phone and I often send them to my mom. She frequently reminds me that he's not mine. Ha! Sadly, I start grad school in the fall and will only see him a few hours a week.

I had one awful nannying experience in the past. I always remind friends that the person who cares for your children has the most important job in the world. You should treat and compensate them as such.

JMI said...

I have to say, I've had very strange experiences with babysitting. I babysat last summer for a friend of a friend. I was newly unemployed and needed some extra scratch--plus I love kids so I thought it would be a win-win. The kids are not the problem, I assure you. I babysat a two-year-old who was funny and warm and curious. We had a blast. What was humbling and uncomfortable was the reaction of other moms on the playground once they knew I was the babysitter and not the mom.
I would get plenty of, "Oh your son is so cute," and when I would respond that I was babysitting--that is where the conversation ended. Abruptly. I felt a very palpable class difference when I was around my charge's other little friends and their moms during "play-groups" at the park.
I am a savvy native NYC woman with a college education and impeccable style--I just happened to have a few off months and wanted to try something new.
Maybe I felt insecure that I was taking some time off to write. Maybe I felt insecure because my husband wasn't wealthy. Whatever it was, never again will I subject myself to the dismissive comments and looks from the downtown mommy set. Which is sad because I enjoyed my time with the kids and I'm a great teacher/care-taker.

The family I helped out was kind to me but they haven't kept in touch even after my repeated emails inquiring about the kids.

My advice to someone seeking a babysitter: Treat them with respect and demand that your fellow mommies do as well. Lead by example.

Bre said...

Love this post! You're so lucky to have found a wonderful babysitter, it's great that you have a relationship with the person who helps care for Toby. I was a nanny and I loved my nanny baby-he was/is an adorable little guy and I loved the time we spent together. Nannying is a tough job but SO rewarding! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Bethany said...

Babysitting was how I made my money as a teenager. Family friends at our church needed a regular babysitter so that they could have a weekly date, and it was SO fun playing with their 3 little boys. The relationship between me and their family was very close and I felt like those boys were my own in some ways. I loved every second of my time with them.
Babysitting can go horribly awry, though on both ends. I had two experiences with other families that made me question whether I ever wanted to be a parent. With one family, the father was a doctor and the mom was his nurse practitioner. They NEVER came home on time, but they had 4 kids! And they always delayed paying me, and they would forget to buy groceries and diapers. It was a nightmare, and the kids hated me because they just wanted to be with their parents. I quit after 2 months. I think some parents don't realize that the babysitter is there to watch over their kids - they're not there to raise them.

karin said...

I have two kids 7 and 5!! Good nannies are like angels for parents, it is good to have someone you can trust the most important thing in your life!!! Enjoy!! www.stylepicture.blogspot.com

Mother Minion said...

I have a 15 month old, and I have only ever left her once, really. (I have heard it before, clearly I am THAT crazy Mom).

My husband and I went to Arizona to see his parents who vacation there during the winter..and one evening, while our little one was asleep for the night-we went out for a late dinner and had Grandma and Grandpa stand guard by her baby monitor.

I was SO stressed leaving her-even though she was asleep. The thought of being away from her, without my husband or I around filled me with so much anxiety.

The only time I can ever leave her is when I pop into work for 2-3 hours, and she is with my husband.
I am definitely not ready to have anyone babysit yet while she is awake..and I understand that this is more my problem than hers-so I need to do it in baby steps!

Joanna Goddard said...

oh, anonymous, that's so fascinating! i always say "babysitter" because "nanny" makes me picture an old-fashioned british household where the nanny dresses in a uniform and the kids never see their parents, ha! it's funny to think of the words we use -- i would love to do a post on this, too!! thank you for your insight. xo

Joanna Goddard said...

heidi, that is so, so nice of you to say :) aw, that warmed my heart. thank you for all these amazing and honest and fascinating comments!!!

Joanna Goddard said...

jill (and others who asked about working from home) -- i am SO excited to be planning a series about this the week of May 16th. working from home has both ups and downs, and we'll be talking about it openly. can't wait to share!!! it's such an important topic, i think. xoxo

Joanna Goddard said...

JMI, that is *fascinating* -- you know, there is a "nanny bench" at the playground hear us, where all the nannies sit, and moms don't ever really sit there. i sometimes sit there anyway, and i've made some lovely friends who are nannies, but i think it's sort of frowned upon by some of the moms. totally odd/fascinating about the class divides--even in 2011.

Sara said...

Even though I don't have kids yet I really enjoy your Motherhood Mondays posts :) Does anyone else get anxiety about employing people to help you around the house? For some reason it makes me feel elitist or something even though my husband and I both work full time. Maybe it stems from the fact that my husband is South African and the system there is so hard with the white middle class employing live-in staff at super low wages (which takes them away from their families and offers no hope of improving their lives). I have employed housecleaners in the past and it was really nice to have one less thing to worry about, but I still struggle with it a little. Anyways, just wondering if anyone else has ever felt this way.

Amanda Dionne said...

Hi : )
Lovely post. I was a nanny throughout high school and then full-time during the summers. I wouldn't trad those experiences for the world. There were some situations that were better than others but I have always had a soft spot for children. Being able to give them all of your attention, work with them one on one every day whether it is on potty training, math homework, or simply reading endless hours of stories... I am grateful for working with incredible families and for the precious memories I have of the miracle of childhood. As I am about to graduate college and enter the work-force, I miss my days of playing at the park, giving piggy-back rides, and letting the kids make a mess while baking cookies... I think having a nanny is the way to go if you need to work, need a break etc. So much more personal than daycares (In my opinion!)

Anonymous said...

I was a live-in nanny for almost two years, starting at age 20 (!!!). Looking back, what great faith the Mom had in me! I started when the children were 4 months and 2 and a half! I made up nicknames for them because I never wanted to to use their real names at city parks, (the crepos!). I called them Fred and Ethel! The funny thing, looking back, is they responded (but we did get some weird looks). They're now 7 and 9, and living back across seas, but I still miss them every day and see them as an extended part of my family forever.

judit said...

Oh Joanna, I love your Motherhood series! I'm an old follower of your blog, here I can always find new insprirations,and your posts can cheer me up on my bad days.
I'm not a mama yet, but i hope i will be soon. Can I ask you an intimate question. Did you have any difficulties on getting pregnant? I know you have baby fever, before you announced the big news. Because I'm so disappointed every month when I find out I'm not pregnant yet. You, know I thought that's easy. Everybody has kids, right? I will be pregnant, if I want it. But we realized it isn't easy at all. And it makes me soo sad, see my love is waiting for it with full heart too. But we are trying cause every new month is an opportunity, and I know it will come, whenever it wants.
I'm so sorry to pour the whole things on you. Keep going! You are such a great mother! I hope sometimes I will be like you.

Claire said...

I think having a great family to work for is really important for the babysitter, but there are also specific stances on how they want their child raised that need to be consistent and articulated for all parties involved to thrive.

I worked for a great family here in NYC. They treated me well in many ways, but the mom and dad had different, fuzzy and inconsistent standards for their children, so it was really difficult when I was there. The mom would say that they were not allowed to jump on the couch, but I would sometimes arrive at their home to find them jumping on the couch with their dad looking on with glee. This inconsistency meant that the kids (3 and 5yrs) could justify any of their actions because at least one parent had said yes to them in the past. Some of these actions I refer to are ones that could put them and other kids in danger... like playing with sticks in the playground, or the rules with regards to scooters on the sidewalk.

It's also very important for the babysitter and the parents to have similar values (not 100% the same, but similar. For the babysitter, it's difficult to act on things that he/she doesn't believe in. For the parents, it's difficult to allow things that they don't believe in to be done with their children.

JMI - I felt the same way as a babysitter. As a young, Asian woman, I neither "belonged" in the full-time nanny category (some of them would give me condescending advice or warnings) nor in the UWS mommy club (not even a glance).

Veralynn said...

As a former nanny, I've had so many different experiences! I was a live-in nanny in Germany as well as home in Santa Barbara. I always tell the mothers I work with that I am here for them as well (and let me you, some of the conversations I've had with moms I worked for- sex, motherhood fears, job drama)! I don't know if it's different in New York, but any nanny position I've had has always become a close bond with the mom. And with that comes trust and the best care situation for the baby!

Victoria said...

I loved babysitting when I was younger--especially the 6-18 month range when they still really liked to be held/cuddled. In fact, I would sometimes miss the little angels after I left. However, it made me realize how HARD it is to be a mom and how the work is so thankless and never ending. It sounds like Tobi has a wonderful relationship with Naudia---love that pic!

Libby said...

I am a nanny and have bene with the same family for 7 years now, how crazy is that?! ryan was 5 months old when I started and now he is 7 1/2. His sister was 10 and now she is just about to turn 17. they are 150% my family and I would do anything for those children. ryan thinks i'm his girlfriend and it's adorable!

kendra said...

i am the babysitter. most of my friends have kids now, and i am the one that watches them. The good thing is, starting out, i knew more about kids than they did. I was their kid's first babysitter. So they were really calm and comfotable. They left me long lists with every phone number imaginable, but no phone calls, not texts.
For one couple, i watch their 3 girls every other Wednesday. We have done this for 5 years. I am their aunt. I get b-day presents and pictures for my fridge. I went to the hospital when each girl was born. They have often been the wallpaper on my phone. They are my family.
Knowing that you are valued by a parent (especially when they are a friend) is huge. Their kids are all very much part of my life. I think a lot of parents don't realize how invested WE become

Paula said...

ohh!!! I want a Naudia! :) my daughter Laura is 7 and a half months old and I still don't have a sitter. I also work from home but it's difficult sometimes to concentrate obviously! We have only left her with my mom as for now, but I think I'm ready now, if only I could find a good caring person... Toby looks happy and confident in the photos, you are so lucky!

s a m said...

Joanna, my sister and I have been babysitting a set of twin girls since they were 6mo. They're now 6 years (I can barely believe it!) and I can't tell you how much I love them. We spent our summers together, and my sister and I used to call the twins our best friends. I have so many wonderful memories of us sitting in the back yard plastic pool, or playing "I spy" with the pottery barn catalogue (fun for everyone).

I can understand the apprehension of a new mother. I'm so glad you found Naudia. A great babysitter will love your kids like they love their own siters or brothers - because when you're a babysitter you are welcomed into someones elses family!

Stephanie said...

It's great to see so many fellow nannies comment. I have been a full time nanny for 4 years now and have been blessed with a really wonderful family. However, now that I know how intimate this relationship is, I won't be having a nanny of my own for my kids. Being in someone else's home for 50 hours if my week is tricky. It's my "office", but someone else's home. And you are right, the boundaries get very blurry. I don't think I could handle it if it were the other way around, I like my privacy and control over my environment.

How lucky for both of you, to have found eachother! :)

Donald Trumps said...

I always wonder about integration of the ethnic make up of the subjects in the blog. I finally see something about a person of color on here and its your nanny.

Heather said...

I was super lucky to find some great nannying gigs! It gave me great experiences with very tiny babies and watching kids grow and helped me be super comfortable with all children! My favorite thing about it was knowing two things:
1)Those kids loved me like an older sister or an aunt! I was a special guest star every time I appeared!
2)I was there to play! And have fun! And take walks! And make tents! And tumble on the carpet!
I also had great relationships with the families, and I think they loved to have an additional person that had their kid's best interests in mind all the time!

Kristin said...

i LOVE our babysitter! and she just broke the sad news to me that she's moving back to Virginia in the summer, which breaks my heart. She started with us a month after the twins were home and my husband went back to work, and we clicked instantly. you mentioned that your nanny is like part of the family, and that is exactly how i feel about her. she is so great with my littles, she takes wonderful care of our house, and i am going to miss her so much. the bar has been raised so high I feel bad for any new babysitters who have to follow in her footsteps. and now i feel bad that i have to start the whole trust-building process over with someone new.
xo, kristin

Mrs. C said...

Great post! I wish I could relax and find a sitter. I'm so nervous to leave my little one.

http://tosots.blogspot.com/

janul said...

I worked as a babysitter when I was 22 - I cared about 5weeks old baby! And it was my first baby to ever care about... His mother was quite relaxed, and not too much worried. I have to say, I loved that baby (I stayed until he was 2years old). Also, it´s much harder to look after someone else´s child than your own. When he was napping, I was always freeked out that he died in the sleep and generally much more worried than with my own child now :).

Rachel Joins the Fray said...

Ugh, I know that feeling, because after 2.5 years (today), it hasn't gone away. Except, when the babysitter is grandma, grandpa or nano. Oy vey is me ; ).

Steph said...

LOVE this post. I love it when successful moms acknowledge those who help raise their kids. (And successful dads, too, but that happens less often, doesn't it?)

style-for-style said...

well as a former nanny that relationship certainly goes both ways!
I have worked for families that I adored, and also for families that erm... not so much.
It really is about creating a relationship and feeling like part of the family and not just hired help.
It is also a thousand times better for creating a bond with the children.
Let's face it, this person is caring for your child you want them to have a special bond, and not be threatened by it.

Mommy is always the best, now and forever and ever.

but nanny may be there for those first steps (and I was)
and will kiss those boo boos, and cheer at all those soccer games.

I'm no longer a nanny but I still visit "my family" regularly and even do dinner dates with my husband and the parents for all the updates.

but it's certainly given me a new perspective for when I have my own children, and hire a babysitter, or nanny

Emily said...

I love this post! I'm 32 and I started babysitting at the age of 12! Over the last 20 years I've probably sat for over 100 families, but I do have a few families that I grew to love, and who showed me wonderful ways to treat and love your children that I hadn't seen before. But I don't have children yet and loved hearing about your experience, Joanna. Thanks for writing about meaningful experiences of motherhood.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh yes, I do have a babysitting experience! My husband and I had driven four hours to a friend's formal wedding. Upon entering, I noticed the photographer had brought along his six month old baby and was attempting to take photos in addition to watching the little fellow. I mentioned what a cute little baby he was, and the next thing I knew, I had been handed the baby along with a "Oh, would you watch him for me?? You are such a doll to do this. Thank you so much". Bear in mind, I hadn't uttered any such offer, but what's a girl to do? As it happened, the church in which the wedding was being held had a "baby proof" room in the back of the sanctuary. All glassed in with tiny little folding chairs. That way, if baby wails, no one hears. So that's where I spent the entire wedding, in my fancy frock, while this little chap pulled on my earrings and drooled on my shoulder. A wedding to remember.
He was awfully cute, though.

acp said...

loved reading this...i work from home as well and have 2 kids- almost 2 yrs old and just 4 mon old. we have found the most amazing nanny and hopefully she never leaves us! it is so reassuring to be able to leave your kids with someone and know they are having a great time yet being well cared for at the same time. i would be lost without my nanny and like yours she has seen us at our best and worst around the house and has become a part of our family!

Kim said...

Hey! I love being a babysitter, it gave me cash in high school and now I always run into my old moms in the grocery store, etc. when I'm back home.

Also, thought you might enjoy this little bit about Miranda Kerr (a VS model) breast-feeding her newborn on the job :)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/03/miranda-kerr-breastfeed-photo_n_856875.html

Lindsey said...

I've been babysitting for a beautiful 2.5 year-old little girl once a week since she was about 2 months old, and it's been so cool to watch her grow up. The only thing I always want to warn parents or parents-to-be about though is now that she's in an intense "Mommy phase" where she'll cry hysterically if she knows her mom is about to leave, her mom will take WAYYYYY too long to leave and it makes for a very uncomfortable, awkward situation for me as the babysitter. Once mom leaves, little girl is totally fine in 3 seconds, but drawing out hysterical 2-year-old crying for 10 minutes because you feel bad is a truly mean thing to do to your babysitter.

Ok. I'm off my soapbox now.

fine little home said...

my boys are 6 1/2 and 3 and i still can't leave them with anyone. yes, i am a bit of a nervous nelly but i also just can't find anyone i trust. i suppose i could do a better job looking but i haven't reached that point yet. this is all kind of ironic because i was a nanny for the same family for 7 years on and off. 17 years later we are all still very much dear friends(i get to play auntie) and i still have a huge soft spot in my heart for my long ago babies, who are both taller than me!

Joanna Goddard said...

these are SUCH fascinating comments. lindsey, that is a really good point -- sometimes we take forever to leave and i keep going in to say goodbye to toby -- but after reading your post, i'm never going to do that again!!

Joanna Goddard said...

donald trumps, don't worry, just look through the blog! there are many people from different ethnicities! also, we have an indian side of our family. xo

Joanna Goddard said...

sara, i've had that feeling sometimes, too! and judith, i know SO many people (including my very best friend) who have had fertility issues; my friend wrote a really beautiful guest post about it, which i'm going to share soon. it must be so hard to wait and see every month--and then be disappointed. xoxo

Rachael said...

I miss babysitting. When I was 13 or 14, it was always a thing that you called the teenage girl in your neighborhood for. I guess the recession threw more adults into the mix, because now it's people with Early Childhood Education degrees who couldn't find teaching jobs or people who have been a nanny for one family for years. I'm not old enough to have that experience, and I'll never get it if people won't hire me without it. I'm hoping that the town I'm moving to in June has families who understand that the college girl who lives next door can do a great job, too!

Jeanine said...

I babysat for a family for 10 years; I started at the ripe old age of 14, right after they had adopted a baby boy from Russia, and they already had one of their own. They were mutual friends of one of my mom's friends, he a college professor and she a lawyer/professional Democrat. By the time I left them at 24, they had grown to 9 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 2 parents, and a sorority of babysitters through the years.

After their first Russian adoption, they adopted another baby from Russia, a 10-year-old boy from Russia and then took in 2 toddlers, sisters, into foster care. The sisters' mother had twin boys, who we took home from the hospital, and then another baby girl a year later, who we also took home. I was a senior in high school by then, and spending many of my afternoons changing twin boy diapers, dodging flying formula puke, and learning how to cook. I learned invaluable life skills taking care of them (like what to do if you find out the dog swam halfway across the lake, the hamster ends up IN the mattress, what a 102 fever looks like, what one does at an autism play group, and that its ok to cry along with a 1 year old who cries for 60 minutes without stopping) and what's more, I love them as much as anyone in my own family. They ARE my family; I grew up right along with them, and was a babysitter before most of them were born. They will always hold the dearest corner of my heart.

And the parents--they called me the daughter they never had. She taught me to be a feminist and a better woman. He taught me to love learning, teaching, fishing and football. Growing up with a single mom who worked at least two jobs, got her masters and got breast cancer, having this extended family gave me a place in the world that I was constantly seeking. It wasn't just that I took care of them, they took care of me as well. I know I wouldn't be the person I am today without them.

Amy said...

I cried reading this post. It is such a wonderful reflection on how amazing it can be to bring a nanny into your home. We have a wonderful nanny, Maria, who takes care of us all - but most importantly, loves and cares for our daughter as if she is the center of Maria's world. It is a beautiful thing to have a person like this in your life - and your child's life. We are lucky mamas!

the soft soled said...

First of all: oh my goodness Toby is CUTE!!! That first photo of him just makes me want to squeeze his cheeks and make him giggle.

Second of all: I was a nanny for the last year and a half for two little boys. I started before the second one was born and watched him until he was about a year and his brother was two. I was (and still am) absolutely enamored with the two of them. Originally just a post college job, I quickly formed a bond that still amazes me. Getting to watch them grow up and truly feeling like a part of the family was such an incredible experience. To this day I still attend birthday parties and outings, as well as the occasional stop by just because.

Although stressful leaving for the first time (I can't even imagine!!) I know from experience that having a nanny or babysitter just means there's one other person out there who cares about your kids as much as you do.

Desi said...

wew... you've been lucky to have a nice babysitter... ^^

Fenny Setiawan said...

I left my baby at day care when she was 2.5 months and I have to be back at work, I felt very sad and worried. Call and checked my baby sitter very single hours. Now She is 13 months and she enjoys the time at the day care, I also get used with the situation already. But I still think to be a stay at home mom and spend more time with my child(ren)someday.

AngelaB said...

I was a live-in nanny in Paris for a year and thought there were some really good times I found it difficult to remain in that much of close quarters with the family. I started to spend more and more time in my room because there was just NO differentiation between time off and working time. I was like the mom but without the as much love or respect.

Part of it might have been that I worked as a preschool teacher for a year before that. I can't get that attached to every kid I babysit, especially when they are out of control and crazy. I still work as a babysitter/nanny for about ten families but there's only so much real love to go around. I enjoy it but get exhausted fairly quickly. Many parents have no idea how to train children and that is a nightmare for babysitters.

Mr Poppy and mole's confusion said...

I'm a nanny, I look after Rupert (3 1/2) and Flo (1 1/2) 3 days a week. I totally love them, and feel its a really huge thing to be taken into a family and trusted. I love my littles, and they love me too, but there's never any confusion as to who is mummy, daddy and who is loved more! The other day Rupes told his friend (when he asked if I was Rupert's mummy) "no. (turning to me) you're not my mummy are you? you're my eddie!"
gorgeous moment of the week for sure :)

Alex said...

Great post!

I nannied for a family in my home town for almost 6 years. I can't even begin to describe the closeness, complexity, and wonderfulness of the relationship I have with this family. I saw their daughter go from a shy little 6 year old to an outspoken, rambunctious pre-teen. There were some moments that made me want to never have children but I love her and her parents so dearly. Now that I am in graduate school in another state, I receive weekly phone calls from the family and they have very generously offered to host my wedding at their lake house.

I babysat for several families throughout college and it's so important to know that the parent's trust you. Life can be miserable for a sitter and parent if there is any doubt in the relationship. I've enjoyed all of the families I've worked with but I definitely found that super special connection with one. I know they will be my family forever!

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I love this post as I do all of your mommy posts. We hired an amazing Russian nanny for our twins and like you, she has become part of our family and we can't imagine life without her. I love your book suggestion, as I had struggled alot with leaving my kids with another woman at first as well. In fact, I'm buying it for my Kindle as we speak. I'm wondering, could you recommend more Mommy books. My boys are 10 months, so close to Toby's age. Also, how about a post on Father's Day gifts!?!

xo
Lisa M

Leslie said...

Thank you for this post! I am a first-time mother and although my daughter is 5 months old, we still have not left her with a baby-sitter. I know it's not healthy and that I need to learn to "let go" and trust others to take care of her, but it's hard! I think it would be good for my husband and I to make this leap and find a baby-sitter who we like. One issue has been that I don't have any leads on good caregivers, but this post has inspired me to find someone.

theglossarie.com said...

i've been babysitting for 18 years, and know that i'm knocking on 30's door it's still something i love to do. i'm always so honored when parents trust me with their children and as a newlywed looking to start a family in the next couple of years, i know i will panic leaving the babe with a sitter. even though i have sat for 50+ families over the years without incident, it will be hard to turn the tables! looks like you found a gem in naudia and that's so important - toby looks so happy with her!

amber said...

Hey Joanna (and other mothers!),

I am 26 years old and have been working as some form of 'babysitter' for 14 years now! I started babysitting when I was 12 and then followed that up with jobs as a camp counselor, daycare employee, tutor and nanny (both live in and not). I specialize in families with kids (and sometimes parents) who have developmental or emotional disorders, so I have definitely had some pretty wild experiences on the job. Please don't worry about your babysitter seeing you without makeup/in your pajamas/with the house a mess/in tears. Your a mom! We don't expect you to be perfect! As long as you love your kids, we will never judge what you or your house look like. We work with your kids, and we know how hard it is.

I can totally relate to the nannies out there feeling crappy about the class standards. I graduated from college tree years ago and chose to continue working with kids rather than getting a 'real' job. I have NEVER regretted my choice, but I still am questioned almost daily by my parents/their friends/my friends and peers about when I'm going to get a 'real' career. Please, please treat your nanny or babysitter like the professional that they are. Try to remember that they are parenting your child while you, the parent are not there. I promise if you love and respect your sitter, and treat her like an extension of your family who you VALUE, she will love and care for your children just as much as you do.

I am very lucky with my current family who pays me well and on time, and I receive a bonus twice a year on both my birthday and Christmas. Both the girl I work with and her family are an integral part of my life; she is 14 and has bipolar disorder, mild aspergers and a developmental delay. I am with her 40-60 hours a week, and while I will be her 'date' to her 8th grade dance, she will be a junior bridesmaid in my wedding a few months later. (There will be 14 kids at my wedding from families I have formerly sat for and am still close with!) But I have also had the reverse experience and had to leave a full time nanny position in the past when an emotionally unstable single mother left me with her 3 kids and disappeared to Vegas for a weekend, refusing to pay me when she came home...

As moms, you shouldn't feel bad about needing or wanting a break. I assure you it will be easier and more effective for you to be a good parent if you aren't over exhausted and stressed. In my experience, children who have been with a babysitter from an early age have an easier time making friends in preschool or on the playground because they have learned in dependance and the ability to communicate with people outside of their immediate family. It isn't healthy for a mother and child to be each others only friend!

So, moms, listen to all of these lovely babysitters! We have a lot of experience, we love your kids, and we are good at what we do. Take a break, take a nap, go on a date; we've got it for a little while.

Reyna said...

I have had three nanny jobs and all have been incredible. My favorite person in the world is the mom of the first family that I was a nanny for. Who'd have thought she'd become my best friend and wed hang out all the time? Being in someone's home like that builds wonderful relationships and I am so grateful for my fantastic experiences.

Gracifers said...

I met a family almost four years ago through a recommendation when they were looking for a sitter. We instantly connected, the mom even gave me a hug after my first time sitting for them. The oldest is now 13 and can watch her two younger siblings, but the mom and I still regularly meet for coffee or lunch. The kids call me Auntie Gracie, and I refer to the parents as my other mother and other father. Its a sweet deal :)

Anonymous said...

Amber,

What a lovely comment.
You brought tears to my eyes.

xo
Lisa M

Lola said...

I was an au pair in France for 3 months and the hardest thing I found was that the lack of discipline from the parents to the children meant that I couldn't really do anything but watch them. I didn't feel like I could contribute anything to them growing up because they wouldn't even listen to their parents let alone me. I really wished that the parents would step in when the kids misbehaved, but I think they were too afraid of the kids "hating them". Just like in the Nanny Diaries, a babysitter or nanny would love to become a part of a child's life, but there has to be a good base of parenting if they're going to have any impact.

Charly said...

So sweet! I cried reading this...! Thanks for sharing.

Andrea Nicole said...

I am 21 and I simply adore babysitting! I currently babysit for a myriad of different precious families, but there are three little munchins in particular, of whom I have a special fondness. Their mother used to babysit me, and it is so sweet to now be watching her children. They always want to hear stories from when I was a child, or stories I invent about the adventurous Pitusa and Petrikio. We play in "narnia" every time I come to visit, and we go on oh so many adventures. I've been to their star wars birthday parties, I play dress up with them, I sing them songs to sleep, I kiss their tears away and take them on picnics, in which we pretend we're eating on a ship out at sea. They can't say my name properly so they call me Andarina (or Susan...from narnia). I absolutely adore them, and they make me so excited to have children of my own one day. They are just the tonic I need from studies and often complicated adulthood. I think one of the reasons I love them so much is I can freely express the innocent childish giddiness that still resides within the deep crevices of my heart. Toby seems like a darling dear little soul...I wish I could meet him, I think we'd be great friends.

Caitlin said...

I love this post! This is so sweet and I love the photos of Toby and Naudia (Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late is one of my favorites to read to my nephews...actually any book by Mo Willems usually makes the cut!) My husband and I are starting to talk more seriously about when we will start trying for our first baby and the conversation surrounding babysitter/nanny/day care is what we're on now. So thank you for sharing!

Hollie Edwards said...

This summer I am au pairing for a family in France with two kids aged 2 and 4 and I can totally understand where you are coming from. From my point of view having to build up trust with the kids and the parents is the biggest task and once you get past that its all go. The children love me and I love them back. I now cant imagine my life without them! Thanks for this post it made me really appreciate what I am doing.

cécile said...

Hello Joanna,
this post is speaking to me in a very strong way. I am in the process of searching for theperfect nanny for my 3 months old baby girl Margaux. we actually saw someone yesterday, but it wasn't love at first sight, i mean she seems nice enough and warm and has eperience but i guess i'm just not ready yet. and it's so difficult here in Paris to find someone good, there is a real shortage of professionnals.
my heart is heavy at the idea of leaving my baby all day and not see her only a little in the morning and evening, plus weekends of course.
i need to go back to work at the end of the month, so it will have to be settled soon.
anyway thank you very much for this blog, i enjoy reading it a lot and your Toby is adorable.
i just set up a little tumblr with pics of our new family, maybe you'll enjoy them.
http://c-b-m.tumblr.com/

cécile

Jennifer said...

I babysat for children from under one year old through 10 years old during the decade or so I was a sitter. I formed bonds with many of the kids I watched, and can still remember them several decades later. I don't have children myself, but I do know how difficult it was for my very close friend to leave her five month old son (my "nephew") at home with a sitter when her maternity leave was over. You are very lucky to have found Naudia, and she was just as lucky to have found Toby and his parents. The photo of her reading to Toby shows how much she loves him, and he looks so content. Wonderful!

jen Walpole said...

I was a part time nanny for two families. I loved one family and loathed the other. I think it is really important when you look for a nanny that you make sure you both have the same ideals and thoughts on raising children as it can cause so much conflict.

I was so unhappy with the family where we had differing ideas on raising kids. The hardest part for me was that I believe kids need consistency so I would always back up the methods of the parents but it was so depressing! Like having to discourage the 6 year old from entering the talent show because his parents thought he would embarass himself. Or forbidding him from wearing the "hippy" tie die shirt he made himself. So if you have those sorts of ideals then make sure your nanny feels the same way!

With my second family we agreed on all the fundamentals and I always felt that the family backed me up, which is the number one complaint nannies seem to have. So as long as you agree on the basic principles of raising kids and follow up on discipline enforced you should be in nanny heaven, both of you!

wakako said...

this is such an interesting post to me since we're still at "no day-care/nanny" situation with (almost) 11 months old roo.

we decided to take an advantage of our flexible schedule (i work for myself and my hubby teaches at design school) and divvy up our week in two. He takes half and I take another half.

It has been working for us so far and we enjoy witnessing her grow everyday... but I know someday "the time" has to come and we have to let her go in our own way.

until then....

xo
-w

rosalia said...

Oh Joanna!
I'll be leaving my 13 mth. old at a daycare in about a week & I'm excited for the new experiences she'll have with having kids around her & getting into a stable routine. However, I'm also nervous because it will be the first time being on her own with out her family around or me knowing what's going on. Up until now, her dad has been watching her & we've had our ups & downs re: that situation, but mostly, it's been ok. We decided to put her in a daycare because he began to work & we were juggling her all over the place. The daycare we're putting her in is a Montessori daycare, so I'm excited to see how independent she becomes. It's hard, but the comfort of knowing they're in good hands feels good, but you have support & love. :)

p.s. I also wanted to add I also have the books "Don't Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late" & "First Words". :)

Stephanie said...

Hello! This is a first time read for me, and this post really resonated with me. I am in my 20's, without children and am at strange period between teen babysitter and parent. I have always considered myself to be a very good sitter, and am glad to get some insight from a parental perspective. I hope that as I continue to sit for a few long-term families, they feel close to me as you do to Naudia. I love their kids very much!

Mollie said...

Jo, this was such a refreshing post to read.

I had my son in my second to last year of college. Very different situation. Before he came about, I paid my college expenses by routinely babysitting for a family with two toddlers.

The family was very warm, welcoming, and open about everything and two years went by with me as their sitter. I love their kids dearly and we maintained contact.

The mom (fifteen years my senior) decided to have her third when I was three months along. I mentioned the pregnancy at six months. They were delighted and maintained the same openness. The invitations to come back to work for them still flow in.

I also worked as a full-time sitter for their sister-in-law after they recommended me, when I was just doing weekends for them. She was a stay-at-home working mom. Completely different dynamic. Our sons were mere days apart, and it was a nightmare from day one of sitting. Our sons didn't get along, and the age gap with babies the same age was awful.

In short, I decided having a baby drew the line between working as a full time sitter and staying at home.

For a bit, I hired a sitter when I decided it was time to get a real job. It's very difficult maintaining the right dynamic with someone who's in the home.

What you've got for your son is gold! I'm so glad you found good people to be in your home.

www.castellon-3d.com said...

The author is absolutely right, and there is no question.

Omor Faruq said...

I am really glad !! WOW, what a nice site and helpful shared to baby sitters.
baby sitters

Site design by Apartment One
Federated Media Publishing - Style