Almost a year has passed since we hired our daughter’s caregiver, Kara. It was a stressful time as my family was going through a lot of change. Our previous caregiver was no longer working for us; I had unexpectedly accepted a new full-time job and needed someone ASAP; we were settling into our new home; and Mia was evolving from little baby to independent toddler. But with great change comes good things….Or so I kept telling myself.

Our fabulous blogger, Jen, wrote this excellent how-to on hiring a nanny. We chose this route, too, for a few reasons:

1. We wanted our daughter to have the comforts and security of home, while my husband and I were out in the working world.

2. I wanted her to have minimal disruption from her routine.

3. Mia was going to be attending a home-based daycare with other kids two days a week, and I wanted her to have some one-on-one time with a caregiver.

4. I am a crazy person in the morning. Having someone come to the house is great – no morning drop-off anywhere!

5. In-home care three days a week was financially doable for us.

I envisioned a nice lady who liked to bake, read stories, and go for long walks in the forest, who would help us raise our daughter with manners and old-school discipline.

This is who I pictured….except maybe a little younger.

With her humor, minus the nasal-ey voice and ’80s wardrobe.

Definitely someone like them!

I needed someone magical to distract my daughter while I was away from her.

Could I find an enchanting Fraulein Maria from “The Sound of Music” to teach my daughter to sing and dance around the streets of Manchester, CT?

We started our Fraulein-Grandma-Nanny-Poppins search by placing ads on Care.com and Sittercity.com and we had over 100 applicants respond. I was overwhelmed! Fortunately, I have a friend who works for a nanny placement agency in the greater Washington, D.C. area. She helped me sift through and narrow down the list. She also gave me great advice and tips for the hiring process. I started with an initial email, then a phone interview, followed by an in-person interview. Out of the mountain of applicants, I was surprised how many moms who would bring their children with them applied for the job. Kara’s ad jumped out at me because of her impressive background: a degree in Psychology and she’s a first-grade teacher taking time off to raise her kids.

Elementary Educator = Dream Caregiver

In all honesty though, I did have one concern since Kara would be bringing her children to work with her: What if our kids didn’t get along? As with most things I do as a parent, I took a leap of faith, hired Kara, and hoped for the best. I’m glad I did.

Thank goodness these kids get along!

If anyone is contemplating hiring a caregiver who would bring their children with them, here is a list of the positives:

1. Your child will always have someone to play with, learn to share (or argue) with, and grow with.

2. A mom has that special gift – whether it’s maternal instinct or experience – she’s got that magic touch!

3. Moms have interesting work backgrounds that can be applied to caregiving. Kara being a teacher has helped Mia with numbers, letters, colors, and music appreciation.

4. Moms know how to multi-task.

5. Moms don’t tolerate BS and they have eyes in the back of their head.

Kara and her children have turned out to be a blessing for our family. Mia has formed a bond with these kids that is so awesome to witness. She has turned out to be not only a good friend and ally, she is the working mom who gives me peace of mind everyday. I am able to make my working mom gig work because I know that every minute of the day my daughter is in good hands. And she’s way better than anyone that I could ever have imagined!

BFF’s

To illustrate just how powerful caregivers can be for working parents, I screamed out loud with delight when I read this piece on the HuffingtonPost regarding Julie Bowen of Modern Family’s speech at the Emmys because this sums up how I feel. As she accepted her award for Best Supporting Actress, Bowen thanked “Alba and Amelia,” her kids’ caregivers, calling them her “sister-wives.” I call Kara a God-send.

What do you love and appreciate most about your caregivers or daycare providers? Do you have a special term of endearment for them, such as “sister wife” or “life-saver?”

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