Let’s just start by saying, finding great help is a task that is near to impossible. However, once found, it can be life changing. We feel like this applies to so many scenarios, whether it be for the home, business or anything else.
For the most part of our lives growing up, Mommy Vaid had a nanny in the home to help her with the three of us because she and our dad had full time jobs. In those days, they weren’t as lucky as us to have a ton of family and friends around to help whenever needed. Between the housework, cooking, cleaning, kids’ commitments, the business and the list goes on, it would have been impossible to do it alone. It also helped teach the three of us the value of hard work as we were required to learn and help with everything. They were fortunate to find nannies that were hardworking, loyal and took great care of us. To this day we are close with all three nannies we had growing up.
Now that the three of us have kids and are trying to juggle these same responsibilities, we have come to the point where we need help. Even though we are fortunate enough to have a lot of family and friends around, it is a huge bonus to have someone in the home to help with our needs. Our moms and parents are amazing and nothing could replace their nurturing and loveliness, but even they are starting to get worn out by these active little people and their never ending bouts of energy. Sheena and Dipti luckily have retired in-laws who are a huge help for them. Sheena relied on a nanny full time when the boys were younger and doesn’t see the need as much anymore. Now she uses a sitter for date nights when needed. Dipti, because she is still nervous to leave Diav with a nanny, utilizes the help of both sets of parents when she can. Of the three of us, Nina has had the most diverse experience in hired help and so we wanted to share her pros and cons of each situation from her point of view.
The Au Pair
Nina had an au pair for 9 months when Niva was born and Naya was only 15 months old. Her au pair was from Venezuela and was 26 years old. The way the program works is that the au pair stays with you the whole time, requires her own bedroom, is required to complete some educational credits, and is under contract to work a certain number of hours a week.
PROS: She was always there and available, she would put in extra hours if we needed her to, she taught the girls a little bit of Spanish, she helped with all the kid stuff, she was very friendly with the kids and loving towards them, and the girls adored her like a big sister because she was always there.
CONS: She used Nina’s car (and dented it once) and therefore came with quite some liability, her responsibilities were limited to only kids’ things, she usually wanted every weekend off, there were some personality differences but nothing major, and she was always in the house so there was a little lack of privacy.
The Part-time Babysitter
After the au pair, Nina flew solo for a bit and then landed her current job. At that time she realized that she needed an extra set of hands with the girls, especially because she was getting home at 5:30pm and that didn’t leave enough time for her to make dinner, do baths, and the rest of the stuff we know all you amazing moms could understand! She ended up finding the best babysitter ever (after going through a few not so great ones). She was 27 years old when she started and was with them for 2 years. She came in from 4pm – 7pm and helped with all the kids’ stuff.
PROS: She was part time so budget-wise it didn’t break the bank, she had an hour before we got home to finish things like tidying up and laundry, she was there when it came to doing baths and entertaining the girls so that Nina had time to make dinner, she was an extra set of hands during dinner, and then she left when daddy got home when they had some family time.
CONS: Not many. If she had to pick some, there was limited help with cooking/prepping for Indian meals and her nanny’s circumstances could change at any time if their day-job/other gigs took priority.
The Live In Indian Nanny
So for the last 8 months Nina has been flying solo with the kids and Nylo. She tried a couple of part time sitters but all were a fail for various reasons. Up until Nesa was born, she felt like she could manage everything; the housework, the cooking, the kids, the dog, the activities, her work and her hobbies. BUT now, she feels completely overwhelmed – not so much by the kids but by the sheer amount of stuff to do. She feels like she cannot get on top of all that’s going on. There is always laundry, the house is a mess (toys and stuff everywhere), she maybe manages to cook 3 meals a week and ends up repeating the same dish two days in a row (where she used to make something fresh everyday for the kids) and her complaints go on. We know it is all relative, but everyone has their own self expectations and Nina totally feels like she is not meeting hers anymore. Not to mention she is working on her own kids line that she will be launching soon!!! So with that, she has decided to try a live in Indian nanny, like the kind we had growing up. She recently signed with a live in nanny and will definitely do an update post on how it all pans out.
PROS: She cooks! This driving force will hopefully free up a lot of time for Nina. Other pros of live-in are that it will be easier for Nina when she has to run random quick errands or even be able to go to the gym without having to drag Nesa along, hopefully she will teach the girls how to speak in our mother tongue, Gujarati, and being an extra set of hands for the housework and laundry should hopefully get Nina back into her groove again. Lastly, having a weekly salary, there is no hourly clock – so she can ask for help randomly as things come up.
CONS: Though she’s going to be living with them during the weekdays, she needs to be picked up and dropped off on Sunday and Friday nights, but since it isn’t every day, it hopefully won’t be too bad. A con that they know all too well is that the nanny will be living in the house, so again that feeling of limited privacy and always having someone there. Of course with Indian aunties in general there’s the not always welcomed advice of how to raise kids – but hopefully she won’t be too heavy on that. Overall, it will be a different experience to what she has had so far, but she is trying to stay optimistic about it!
In terms of finding her different types of help, she used Care.com to find her au pair and sitter and she used Sulekha.com to find the Indian live-in. She has had people tell her that they have had success by asking at the local Indian grocery store and by doing nanny shares as well.
We will be sure to keep you updated on how it all turns out! What kind of help have you found the best fit for your family?