Dear Nanny

Such an honest and sweet letter from Jessica Pallay to her nanny.  TLC for Kids is so proud of all the hard work nannies do every day.

Thank you for being a partner with us to make parents lives run a little smoother every day.

Dear Nanny,

I met you just a few days before my baby came. I’d never interviewed a nanny before, and I had no idea what to ask you. I read every article, and printed three pages of questions I’d found on the Internet. But I didn’t ask a single one. Instead, I rubbed my belly and tried to imagine the baby that would soon be on the outside — what life would look like in a week, in three weeks, and in three months when it was time for me to go back to work. It just looked murky and abstract.

I interviewed two other nannies, mostly because I thought I was supposed to. And I couldn’t picture leaving my baby with any of you. But I knew I was going back to work, and although I didn’t know much about motherhood, I had heard that leaving a three-month baby home alone wasn’t an option. So I trusted the moms whose children you had already raised, and I hired you.

A week before I was due back at the office, you arrived at my door. I handed over detailed notes about everything the universe had so far revealed about my baby. I showed you how bouncing on the exercise ball calmed her, and how she’d only finish the bottle if you tilted it just so. I lectured you on her likes and dislikes, I quizzed you on her daily routine, and I made you swear up and down and back and forth that you would do everything JUST like I did it. Because after all, I was the expert. Then I cried when I left for work, just 12 weeks after my baby was born.

Those first few weeks, and even months, were incredibly difficult. Each day, I second-guessed my decision to go back to work. I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake, if I was outsourcing motherhood to you. You were a relative stranger, and you were raising my baby! Would she grow up feeling abandoned by me? Or unloved? Would she forever blame me for leaving her in someone else’s care for the better part of her days?

But as the weeks and months wore on, I watched her melt into your warm embrace each morning. I heard the sweet giggles you shared while I got ready for work, and witnessed the knowing glances you exchanged at the end of the day. It turned out that hiring a nanny didn’t mean she was losing me. It meant she was gaining you.

Thank you for letting me have the milestones — I know she first rolled over under your watchful eyes. But you didn’t tell me, and you shared my excitement on that Monday morning when I regaled you with stories of baby’s incredible feats.

Thank you for letting me take the credit — while I’m at work all day, you patiently teach all those “please” and “thank-you”s that impress all the mommies at the playground.

Thank you for letting me keep my role — she’s never once acted confused about who her mama is, a fear that anyone with a nanny knows well.

You’ve quietly become the glue that holds us all together. You remind us to buy milk, you surprise us with a home-cooked dinner on those extra-long days, and every so often, you trade in your warm bed for my pull-out couch, so mommy and daddy can have a much-needed date night. Thank you.

When I was home again on maternity leave with #2, we became a caregiving team. And this time, instead of imparting my alleged baby wisdom upon you, I asked for yours. I willingly handed her over when I couldn’t get her to stop crying, and begged for your advice when something — anything! — seemed wrong. Never once did I tell you how to take care of her. You already knew. You knew it all along.

You suddenly got sick this past summer, and I was distraught. You, who I once couldn’t imagine in my life, now I couldn’t imagine life without. Suddenly, it was my turn — our turn — to take care of you. And as we nursed you back to health, we realized that aren’t just our nanny, you are our family.

On your birthday this year, we threw you a surprise party. We invited the children who called you their nanny, the families who you watched over for so many years. All the girls (yes, they were all girls) used familiar sayings (your sayings) and told warm stories about your life before you walked into ours.

And they were all so amazing, those generations of girls… the kind of girls I hope my girls grow up to be. The kind of girls I know they will be. Because you’re raising them, dear nanny. You’re raising us all.

Big Savings on TLC Summer Nanny Placements!

St. Louis’ Premier Nanny and Childcare Agency for over 25 years!

Big savings if you act now! $100 off your placement fee if you complete the family profile to hire a Summer Nanny by March 7, 2011

It’s not too soon to plan summer care for your children.  TLC has a great option for you, hire a TLC summer nanny!  As you know, many of the caregivers on our temporary staff are college students, and with no classes for three glorious months, many of them would love to use their free time to make sure your children have a safe and fun-filled summer!

Your nanny will create individualized weekly plans for your children that include:

~Transportation to activities, camps, and lessons

~Outings to the Zoo, Science Center, Six Flags, etc…

~Supervised swimming and other fun summer activities

~Learning activities, arts & crafts, and games

~Even tutoring!

To start the hiring process, simply log on to TLC’s website at and fill out the parent application.  You can even indicate what personality type you’d like (athletic, studious, etc.)! I will personally assist you in finding the nanny that best fits your needs.

As we get closer to the end of the school year, more and more families will be searching for a summer nanny; getting your application in now will put you ahead of the pack. Some of our nannies are available to start interviewing right away.  It’s never to early to start thinking about who will care for your children when you can’t be there.  Give me a call if you have any questions.

Enter code: MRSN11 in “How were you referred to TLC” to receive discount.

What about other types of in-home childcare?

Recently, I have had a lot of inquiries from parents in St. Louis who are looking at different alternatives to the standard live-out nanny placement. There are other types of nanny placements that are just as successful as the live-out nanny, it’s just that they are less common.

Hopefully, this will make it a bit easier to understand the different types – all of which TLC placement counselors can help with. Other types of in-home childcare:

Live-in caregivers generally are on duty 10-12 hours per day, five days a week and an occasional evening. They eat meals with the family and share in the cooking and cleaning-up duties. Be assured that nannies will expect most nights and weekends off, unless previously arranged.
Most live-ins require a private living space, use of the family car, and specific hours off-and on-duty. Both you and your live-in nanny may have to make concessions regarding visitors and curfews, but it is your house and you have the right to set reasonable rules.
Live-in nannies help out with emergency care and babysitting and, depending on your personal preference, often become more a part of the family than live-out nannies. It does, however, require special care on your part to realize that your nanny has a life beyond the job and she is not at your beck and call.
While it may seem more convenient and less expensive to have a live-in arrangement, it can also be more difficult to keep the relationship professional. Live-in relationships are the hardest. It can be very difficult spending so much time under the scrutiny of your boss. Could you live with yours?

Shared Care
A third, less talked-about yet more economical alternative is shared care. This situation involves one nanny and two neighboring families. The nanny works in one home and might spend part of the day at the other home. The nanny cares for both families’ children in one home. For a live-in nanny, the family that provides room and board may pay a smaller portion of the salary.
Before you and your friend or neighbor decide to share a nanny, discuss and agree upon a philosophy for childcare. You need to discuss exactly what each of you will want the caregiver to do on a day-to-day basis. And realize when hiring this nanny she must be able to handle all types of personalities in order to please two families at once.

These are other options that each parent can also weigh when deciding on what type of in-home care they need! Next post, I’ll talk about other alternatives to consider such as hiring an entry-level nanny, mommy-nanny and tips for doing it your self!

Do you employ a live-in nanny or are you considering reaching out to a friend or neighbor to start a shared-care search? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers, Jessica