What is a Nanny Share?
The definition is a bit self-explanatory for this one, but there are a few ways to go about it. The basic idea is sharing a nanny with another family. Having a nanny sort of sounds like an opportunity available only to the rich and famous, but sharing one is actually a very affordable childcare option. This solution to childcare is all the rage in our neighborhood in Colorado, and several of my mom friends are involved in shares too!
For our family, we have a wonderful nanny named Megan (yes, we share a name!) who we “share” with another family with a son three weeks younger than ours. She works with our families three days a week, nine hours per day. We rotate homes each week, so each boy gets some time in another environment. We each have a pack n play in a guest room at our homes, and now that our boys are both off bottles, they just eat whatever food is at the house they're at for the week. Our families align with our nutritional choices, so it made sense for us to have to prepare and bring less to the other house when it's not our week.
It's a wonderful opportunity to get our son socialization, while still receiving a lot of attention and interaction from a caregiver. She takes them out and about to various activities, usually two days of the week. She submits a travel costs spreadsheet to us as she starts to fill it up, and we share that cost along with her wages with the other family.
Other mom friends of mine are in a share with three or four families. This will definitely save you more money and can provide the opportunity for the nanny to receive a higher hourly wage due to the fact that she's caring for more little ones. The families I know who do this also do not rotate homes. There's a host family and the host family pays less in return for having everyone at their home. The babies also tend to sleep in one room in separate pack n plays in these scenarios. This option also makes it a little bit easier if one family's situation changes and they need to leave the share. Then you're not out too much more money until you can find a replacement family. Typically these are also full-time situations, rather than a few days a week, due to the difficulty of finding a caregiver who wants part time hours and families whose needs align.
How did we find our wonderful nanny and the family we share with? Well, our neighborhood rocks and we have a Facebook page of moms specific to our neighborhood! The awesome mom we share our wonderful nanny with posted on this group page while she was expecting,that she was looking for a caregiver option several days a week after her maternity leave ended. I replied that I was due around the same time and asked if she had considered a nanny share option. My husband and I met her and her husband for breakfast, they seemed cool! We met again for dinner when we were further along in our pregnancies (we're both planners!) to chat more logistics, what we wanted in a nanny, and how we would approach finding the perfect one. Luckily for both of us, our families happen to get along really well and everything has been smooth sailing since!
Our situation is unique, but I think the same thing can still be accomplished in other neighborhoods! Check if your city has a local Facebook page similar to ours, see if you have a NextDoor.com site, chat with your doctor's office about it, ask your future pediatrician's office or children's stores in your neighborhood, check with yoga studios that offer classes for expecting mamas or seek out any local groups for expecting moms – get creative!
We waited until we were on our maternity leaves to hunt for our nanny, and boy were we both in a new mom fog! But, we managed to pull ourselves together enough and both moms posted our job description to several neighborhood sites and I signed up for a Care.com account (we split the cost) and posted it there as well. Luckily we found our amazing nanny on Care.com. The other mom and I chose our favorites and split up our list and phone screened about three applicants each. We ended up only meeting our the applicant who became our nanny for a face to face interview. We each called two of her references and they had great things to say! It was pure luck that we found someone who already had a job Mondays and Fridays and was looking for something new Tuesday-Thursday since her previous family's littles had recently started school.
Our nanny has officially been with us for a year as of earlier this month! Time really does fly. We're planning a casual dinner performance review for all of us early next month, and will provide her with lots of positive, as well as a little bit of constructive feedback, and a raise! We're so very lucky that everything has worked out well for our childcare situation. Having someone care for your child while you're away from them is a big, important deal, but this option has been fantastic for our family and is one I highly recommend to others!
Would you consider a nanny share for your childcare solution?