With U.S. parental leave in the state it is, the question of what to do about childcare when maternity leave ends is one that many new moms face, oftentimes sooner than they’d like. Because finding appropriate childcare is a process that can take several weeks or months and must be started early, the task can seem particularly daunting—especially for mothers who have only had a few weeks to bond with their newborns. However, finding the right nanny for your family doesn’t have to be an arduous task!
So, How Do I Find The Perfect Nanny?
When looking for a nanny as a new mom, you want the experience to be as low-stress as possible. Because deciding on childcare is among the most important decisions a mother can make, it’s a good idea to partner with a professional nanny agency to ensure the candidates you see are worthy of your time. Ideally, you should start this process at least eight weeks before you need your nanny to begin working.
Using a nanny agency has several obvious benefits. As a professional, any placement specialist you work with will be able to provide step-by-step guidance through the hiring process, tailored to your family’s specific childcare requirements. They can make the process easier for you by handling all scheduling of interviews and trials, as well as providing feedback to both parties after each interview.
As you begin to meet nanny candidates, you will start to form a better idea of exactly what type of nanny you are seeking, and your placement specialist will already have a roster of candidates at their disposal who could potentially meet your family’s needs. Their invaluable knowledge of the industry will take out much of the guesswork that is involved in perusing online listings, where anyone can post a profile and pose as an experienced caregiver. Before sending you any potential nannies, a professional nanny agency will prescreen all candidates and call each listed reference, then provide those references for you to call as well.
Additionally, a reputable agency will run thorough background checks for any nanny you hire. This is a vital step in the process. At the Nanny Authority, our detailed screening process includes a criminal check in every state where the nanny has lived and worked over the past seven years, social security verification, a National Sex Offender Registry check, and, if your position requires driving, a nationwide motor vehicle check for every nanny before he or she is hired.
Bonus: Best Practices for a Happy, Healthy Return to Work
Be patient. Readjusting to a work routine after having a baby will take time. If you used to be the first one in the office and the last to leave, make peace with the fact that you might not be able (or want!) to be that person anymore. With an infant to take care of when you’re home, you might feel as though you’ve had an entire work day before you even make it to work. However, with time you’ll also find that motherhood has turned you into an incredibly efficient multitasker and a more compassionate leader.
Get everything ready the night before. To make mornings easier on yourself, try to get everything you’ll need for the day prepared the night before. Set the coffee on a timer; start a healthy breakfast in the slow cooker or prepare it and put it in the fridge; lay out your outfit; shower at night if you can. Have your nanny come to your home at least 30 minutes before you leave for work to avoid morning stress. This way, you can focus on spending quality time with your baby and readying your mind for the day ahead.
Take care of yourself. It will be easy to let yourself get swept up by work—between the office and home, there’ll always be one too many things on your to-do list. It’s in your best interest to carve out some time for self-care. The life you’re embarking upon as a working parent is not a simple one! Whether it’s alone time with your partner, coffee or dinner with a friend, or just letting yourself get a few extra hours of sleep here or there, you’ll be a much better mom (and employee) if you make time for yourself too. Don’t be afraid to let your nanny work a few extra hours a week—if it means you’re getting some time to focus on self-care, it’s well worth it.
Let go of the guilt! All moms feel it, whether they’re working or staying at home. No matter what choices you’ve made, take comfort in the fact that you’re doing what’s best for your family. If you’ve hired a nanny, be glad that your child has yet another adult in his or her life who has their best interests at heart. And treasure your time—both those moments you have to yourself during the workday and the ones you spend bonding with your baby—because all of it is important, and all of it is a gift.