Monday, December 22, 2008

Still here

I just realized that I'd left that awful post up, and yes things were insane, but slowly, they are improving. Julius has a cold, but it's getting better, same for mine. I've done some shopping, and I need to do more but oh well.

Thing is, I gave my nanny a few days off this week because her mom is going to the Philippines at Xmas for six months, and she wanted to spend some time with her. So I'm going a little nuts all by myself. No my husband isn't here, are you joking, he's still closing friggin deals. Likely he'll still work on Xmas if anyone will let him!! Back to the nanny issue-I'm referring to my nanny as the Nanny, by the way, simply because I'm out of blog names. IRL I do call her by her first name, as she requested, just in case someone assumes I call her "Nanny" in real life, a ridiculous idea.

I used to be the big daycare fan, never was going to use a nanny, blah blah blah, but schlepping one child to daycare is a lot easier and cheaper than schlepping three around. Plus, you can only work 9 to 5, and daycare spots at a good daycare are as scarce as hen's teeth in this country and stunningly expensive. Crappy daycare I can find, but a good daycare? Very very difficult. When we had our first two in a great top flight daycare, it was literally more expensive than a mortgage on a 600K house. (I figured it out one day when I was bitter.)

I am so lucky I found my nanny, and she really helps make my entire life run a lot smoother. Lots of people have mixed stories about nannies and some hate them, and some love them, but I think it also relates to how you treat them and pay them. For example, it turns out that I am one of the few employers on the planet who actually pays overtime, stat holiday pay and vacation pay. We give her a bus pass and a cell phone, because we expect her to have one when she has our kids and is taking them on the TTC or to the park, or the drop-in. (Literally, we treat cells, etc. like work equipment, just like at my husband's business. He subsidizes his other employee's work equipment, why not hers?) We want her to drive, so we're paying for driving lessons, etc. And we make sure she has a break during the day and gets lunch. And if I'm not home to relieve her, I have found another nanny in the neighbourhood and I get them to trade off covering each other, and I pay for it, so they each get some break time.

Apparently, lots of people treat their nannies like slaves, and then are shocked when the nanny isn't their best friend. Now, sure some people don't get along with others regardless, and there will always be poor job fits, but still----why on earth would you ever mistreat a human being who is entrusted with your precious child?

I don't know, people who are crappy to nannies mystify me. I figure if she's happy, then she'll be great to my kids, and they'll be happy, and I'll be able to leave my house on occasion and not worry. Right?

So, that said, I have to run and shop, or Christmas ain't happening. Back as soon as I can be.

If you have the time and are so inclined, what do you do for childcare? Cost? If you couldn't stay at home, (or wouldn't want to) what would your dream child care option be?


  1. I just cannot believe how some people treat their employees. I don't work for free so I don't expect anyone else too. Certainly not someone who cheerfully does work that I do not want to do.
    So bonus time. What's the going rate in your 'hood this year?

  2. Been at home with them since I had the first one in 2001.
    Never had a babysitter that wasn't family until she was 3 years old.

    Now that I've got my single mom-ing takes a village.
    I make sure the teenage girls know I give bonuses and rewards for doing last minute calls and staying later short notice and such.
    The ones I have coming weekly I'd like to give them raises when they consistently do something that pleases me like unload the dishwasher for example. But they haven't caught onto that just yet.

  3. With three (almost four) kids, daycare is simply not an option -- far too costly. That said, I don't have to work and when we found out our second child would be twins, my husband was adamant we'd get a nanny. I insisted I wanted to do it on my own, and wasn't entirely comfortable with a stranger looking after my kids and living in my house. I gave in to keep peace. She's been with us for 10 months now and is wonderful. She loves the kids and we treat her well (also with stat and vacation pay and lots of little perks -- had her passport had a longer validity, we'd all be in the Bahamas right now and not freezing our butts in the Canadian winter). If I had to work, a live-in nanny would really be the only affordable option.

  4. I've got one child in daycare, and I can't imagine paying for two. It would eat up a third of my take home pay, and I make pretty good money. So depressing. But daycare works for me, and the director is receptive to complaints. And my daughter likes it there most days. But I have no babysitter, except for my mother in law, and once in a while, my next door neighbor.

  5. I've got two, a hair over three and 15 months, at a Montessori school. The infant room doesn't get too much into the curriculem, but my three year old in pre-school gets two languages and a weekly computer class. Downside? Tuition is still more than my mortgage, but I don't have nightmares about leaving them every day. I'm the primary earner in my household, so staying home is not an issue. While a nanny would be nice, I don't know if the kids would get as much exposure to as much diversity in friends or experiences. That being said, the little one will move to the toddler room with lower tuitin in March-wahoo!

  6. We have a nanny three days a week... we could never afford daycare for our Trio. We pay our nanny for days we don't need her and we pay her for vacation as well. We treat her more like family than the 'help' - unlike the other family she works for.

  7. Lisa, I'm not sure what the rate is in the neighbourhood. There is something big and specific she is saving for, and we might help out with that.

    JMB, yeah, the one worry I have is about the stimulation, but if she takes him to the drop-in and the library, and we sign him up for nursery school a few hours a day later on, we hope that will be good.

  8. I stay at home, it is a luxury that we force ourselves to afford. I can't imagine paying a stranger to raise my babies. They are getting older so it's getting to be less of an issue. That being said, I have a very good friend with Nanny and I know she is family not help, and she is paid VERY well. Your treat the Nanny well= happy Family makes very good sense.

  9. Definitely a nanny now there are two. I just couldn't drag two of them to and from nursery on public transport (can't drive to work in this big city as nowhere to park). My nanny works when I work so 3 days a week long days. She doesn't live in. Here most don't. She does the school run for the older one and fills the younger one's day with music, playgroups etc and the siblings of the elder one. The younger one will start a couple of mornings at Montessori soon as well so I don't think socialisation is an issue.

    We pay her pretty good money and her tax and holiday pay etc but plenty don't. If she babysits so we go out thats extra cash in hand. Lots of people don't pay the tax etc but I think that is shoddy.

  10. I was very lucky and got good licensed co-op day care and pre school until my daughter was 4. It was a great fit.After that I had to hire sitters and finally just ended up staying home with her for 8 years.

  11. We have the best nanny in the world. She came to us when Monkey was 1. Monkey is still in love. We are lucky that it worked out that she can be back for the Cub (was supposed to be back for A, but...), and they are already best pals. You should hear our nanny talk about the boy. Better than one of the grandmothers, let me tell you.
    I add a little each week to her pay, because I feel like it. And we certainly give vacation bonuses. I have no idea what we would do if she ever left us. As is, it was mentally easy to go back to work because I never had to worry about whether the Cub is cared for.

  12. nanny. I always knew we would have a nanny because (i) i would go back to work and (ii) penny leach says children need 1:1 care until they are 2 if at all poss, and (iii) we had a nanny growing up so i know how it works.

    Nannies in London are pricey pricey pricey but as you say, it's a pretty important job. Ours doesn't drive although I'd like her to, and she won't learn. She has her own mobile so we don't subsidise that but we pay for her travel when she's with Pob, she gets paid vacation - it wouldn't occur to me not to (plus I think it would be illegal?) and actually she gets a good deal since I've taken Pob away for work quite a few times so she's had more than her allotted vacation already this year and she's only been with us 8 months. She got 2 weeks salary in cash as a Christmas bonus, plus 2 cashmere sweaters, a book of photos of Pob, some chocolates and a jacket. I think that counts as treating her well?

  13. I'm sorry Julia, but I think that we have the best nanny in the world! ;)

    We just hired her about 2 months ago. I run my own business out of my home, and the only way I was going to be able to work is if we got someone to take care of the baby. I don't know why, but it was just a gut feeling that I didn't want to bring him to daycare.

    So we have our nanny 2 days a week (ideally it would be 3, but she works for someone else 2 days a week is studying to be a doula so she wants a day to study). I thought that it might be weird to have someone in my house while I am home most of the day (working) but it's not.

    She is awesome with Sacha, it makes me so happy to have her around. Unlike some nannies, she made it clear that she won't do housework or other stuff around the house, unless it pertains to the baby (she will do his laundry for example). But there have been times that she has emptied the dishwasher, etc...

    We pay her what she asked (by hour), and I usually round it up to the next hour. I actually think that she is worth more, and if I need her for another day I would not hesitate to lure her with a higher pay. We don't have to give her holiday pay because she only works 2 days, and they are not days that are stat holidays. As for amenities, she has her own phone and doesn't drive, but we don't need her too as we live closeby to anthing that she may need to do with the baby.

    She's gone to visit her family for the holidays and man, do I miss her!!

  14. Hi, my little one has been in daycare since he was one. I calculated that his first year of daycare cost more than my three years of university TOGETHER (it was 1700$/month). Now he's a toddler, so it's slightly less expensive.

    When I'll have a second child we'll have to hire a nanny...