Before I had kids, I never considered I’d one day have a nanny. I thought they were for rich people who didn’t want to raise their own children, or for people who worked long hours and traveled a lot. When I wound up pregnant at the same time as a co-worker, friend and neighbor, we checked out a daycare center together that was near our office. We both left silently, terrified at the thought of leaving our unborn children in the care of the place we had visited. Now, granted, it was no five-star daycare, but still, we looked at how many babies – young babies were under the care of just a few women and knew we just weren’t comfortable with what we’d witnessed.
I just figured I’d find another daycare until my co-worker said “Have you ever thought about nanny-sharing?” I didn’t even know what that meant, but we somehow (through a friend of another co-worker) found the most AMAZING nanny that we welcomed into our families to care for our two newborn babies in the fall of 2012. Because we were sharing a nanny, it was affordable and a win-win for everyone, including our nanny who gets paid by two average families (instead of one wealthy family). “Nenny,” as our kids call her – has been with our families ever since, and before she joined us, I couldn’t have imagined all the benefits my children, husband and I have experienced as a result of this amazing addition to our family.
Here are the top reasons I continue to choose a nanny for my family.
- My kids are LOVED. Our nanny LOVES our children like they are her own, and let’s be honest, they ARE hers. While in some ways it pains me to say this, she spends as much time with my children as my husband and I do. She cheered on their first words and their first steps. When they are sick, they fall asleep in her arms and get extra snuggles. If we can’t be around, I want them to be surrounded by just as much love and attention as we’d be giving them and Nenny does just that.
- Experiencing Life. While some might think nanny children live a sheltered life, my kids LIVE life to the fullest. (Some days I wish I had a nanny!) They have visited every museum, library, park and indoor playground in Wake County. They play in puddles in the rain. They go to the zoo, bake cookies, go to the pool, and even meet their mommies out for lunch once in a while! These kids haven’t lived a sheltered day in their lives.
- Learning. Our nanny is a rockstar and literally puts together lesson plans for the kids. They learn letters, shapes, colors, sing songs, read books and work on themes just like preschools and daycares do. They are learning all day long and I can see it in their development.
- Less Structure. Is it just me, or are kids today too scheduled, structured and confined? Children are already in school for 13 years as it is – at a minimum, followed by structured higher education and then most likely a structured workday. When they’re young, can’t they PLEASE be kids? While Nenny gives them plenty of guidance and instruction, she also encourages independent play and imagination.
- The Great Outdoors. All kids LOVE to be outside, right? Many days, our kids are outside for HOURS. They go to the park in the morning and are almost always playing outside with sidewalk chalk when I pick them up. Spring days are filled with picnics and parks, summers are spent at the pool, fall days are spent playing in piles of leaves, and on winter days, they still get bundled up and get outside.
- Growing Up Together. Before I had my second child, I never thought about how important it was to me for my kids to play together and enjoy one another’s company. I grew up with six siblings and we spent all day playing together, doing whatever my mom put us up to. With Nenny, my kids are together all day – there’s no separation like there would be if one were in a 1-year-old class and another in a 3-year old class. I hope this helps them build the lifelong bond I have with my siblings still today.
- Convenience. While most of the reasons I choose a nanny are for my children, I won’t lie, it certainly makes my life a LOT easier, too. I don’t think I’d ever be embarking on my third child under the age of four without her. While mornings are not calm in my house, they are also not insanely stressful with everyone rushing around. That’s because my kids can stay in their pajamas all day if they want to. If they sleep late and haven’t had breakfast yet, no problem. Forgotten lunches…not an issue. There are no $1 charges for every minute for a late pick-up. Fever or illness? There’s no 24-hour rule and Nenny can often meet me at the doctor’s office if my kids need to be seen. With Nenny, we can just enjoy life and one another with a little less stress than the structure of a school day brings.
This list doesn’t even scratch the surface, literally. There are no words to explain the unbelievable experience we’ve had with our nanny (Nenny!). With my soon-to-be growing family and added stress, I am beyond thrilled that childcare is one thing I never have to stress about. In honor of Nanny Appreciation Week, my husband and I want to thank our NENNY for everything she does for my kids and family.
What are your best and worst childcare experiences? I know there are some GREAT stories out there…please share!!