WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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Nannies

Our nanny’s move means I’m tasked with finding new childcare.  This used to be easy.  When my children were younger, I handpicked from the undergrads I taught and offered working for my family as a sort of gap year after graduation.

That system ran its course and I joined the countless parents scavenging for childcare.  Without the advantage of getting to know potential nannies through teaching them, my selection skills plummeted.  I’ve found some real doozies. 

It took me months to realize the former barista I hired wasn’t former.  My 3-year-old wreaked of coffee and asked for venti-sized milk because he, too, was pulling a shift at the coffee shop.  Another nanny quit because she had to pray so often for our family, she didn’t have time to pray for hers.  There are other examples, but mostly our helps’ eccentricities swung the pendulum as I overcorrected from one hire to another. 

Last year a dear, no-nonsense friend felt such pity for my nanny woes she determined to make the year’s hire for me.  She used an on-line service and I pinky swore not to look at the applicants until she screened them first.

My friend found me a competent, balanced, reliable caretaker.  Our hire required the children to tidy their messes, follow the rules (she made some), and exercise each day.  She suggested reward charts and strategies for various household challenges with great tact.  She was perfect. 

Part of me knows I should find someone just like her, but not all of me.  I’ll miss her and I appreciate her efforts to train us up and rein us in, but all that structure makes me a little nervous.  I like the idea of charts, but the follow through feels tedious.  A little chaos keeps me centered.

My friend says she’s ready for this year’s selection process.  I’ll gladly accept her help, but I’d like to get a touch of crazy returned to the mix.  I won’t go so far as to choose my own nanny, but I might act excited about the ones who seem extra organized just to throw her off.  If that doesn’t work, I hope I’ll at least get first dibs at the reward stickers.


Image Credit:  Grannies Kitchen. (2010).  Vintage Disney Mary Poppins Plate by Sun Valley Melmac.  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/grannieskitchen/4893191658.

Whitney Cain