I've used live-out nannies, mostly found through newspaper ads. There are no agencies where I live. My experiences have not been good, but there are people on this board who have had good experiences. I have had nannies who neglected my children, left them in dangerous situations, and bad-mouthed me to my neighbors when they didn't agree with me. Based on my experiences, if any of my children were ever to use a nanny to care for my grandchildren, I would strongly recommend the use of a nanny-cam.
Then again, I have also had bad experiences with day-care homes. (sent my kid to one where they didn't change his diaper ALL DAY). The best experience I had was with a large commercial child-care center, though I wouldn't recommend those for little babies. When there are other adults around to keep an eye on each other, I think there would be fewer problems.
also the larger day care centers follow rules to a T usually so that they can remain open. we've had a decent experiecne with home day cares luckily but my concern is when we move for residency.
Regarding APs what about the cultural aspect? I feel like crossing cultural and even racial lines might be even tougher for everyone involved. what have your experiences been along those lines?
We considered the possibility of an au pair for a little while. My sister-in-law works for Au Pair Care, an organization that pairs up Au Pairs with families. Lots of families are happy with their au pairs, but we had reservations.
The cultural differences didn't bother us that much, as long as English was fluent and we could communicate. Our concerns were that most of these girls that au pair are very young, early 20s, and chances are we would end up parenting a young adult, in addition to our new infants. Some have childcare experience, but not all the same levels. In addition, often it is the 1st time they are living away from home and they are in a new country. (remember when you got to move away for college for the first time??) Leaving 2 helpless newborn infants at home with essentially a young student who might easily get distracted with other things didn't seem like the right thing to do. Not to mention, with the 45 hours limit they are allowed to work per week, that isn't nearly enough help we need.
We decided that daycare would not work for us. Most of them only open from 8am-6pm and charge PER MINUTE that you are late picking them up. Since I have to be at work by 8am, I would not be able to drop them off in the morning, and my DH has to be the one to pick them up in the afternoon, so he can't leave later. It would be hard with traffic for him to get to daycare by 6pm to pick up the kids. Unfortunately, the daycare center on campus is impossible to get into with over 700 people on the waiting list.
So we are going to hire a nanny, most likely a live-out. However, it ends up being pretty expensive. Going rate is $15/hr for an experienced nanny where I live, and for twin infants, the nannies I am interviewing want $18-20/hr. I need 50-55 hr/wk in order for me to go back to fellowship, so it ends up being about $1000/wk. The nanny placement agencies charge a lot (15% of the 1st year of the nannny's salary) so if you will paying your nanny $52000, then the placement charge you pay the agency is over $6000! In addition, they advise that the salary is what nannies expect to take home, so if you want to do everything legit and pay SS, taxes, and disabilty, you have to back-calculate from a higher salary so that the nanny does take say $1000/wk home! I never realized childcare was this expensive.
As you know, even as a fellow, you don't even earn as much as a nanny! So essentially, we'll be taking out a 2nd mortgage to pay the nanny until I graduate from fellowship and get a job. I'm trying to find a nanny who has experience with infants on my own so I can avoid paying the extra nanny agency fee.
A live-in nanny would be great since we wouldn't have to worry about rushing home and it costs less, and she could help at night. But as I mentioned, we live in a 2 bedroom condo. Some people suggested putting the 2 cribs in the hallway or in our room, but I don't think it will work with twins. Also, my husband is uneasy with having a non-family member living with us.
We live in an area where people don't use trained professional nannies. We found an older lady in our community who comes to "housekeep" for us. She has already raised two children, doesn't have the distraction of grandchildren yet, and is pretty efficient at managing things. She does light housework, makes supper, and of course watches our children (three, all schoolage now). All of this for only $10/hour - granted we live in a rural community.
I feel for some of you who are struggling with the high cost of childcare. It is FRUSTRATING that it is so hard to find good help, and so costly too! :weeping: I envy couples who have family members nearby and willing to help with childcare - such a blessing!