Your nanny may be many things, but there are jobs for which it is best to find another employee. Here is my advice for identifying what your nanny is NOT:
A Housekeeper. If your nanny is already doing your children’s laundry and dishes, and tidying up the playroom and kitchen every day, it can be tempting to ask her to do more. But if the nanny is fully responsible for caring for your child all by herself, heavy cleaning (scrubbing bathrooms, doing all the laundry, vacuuming the entire house each week) should not be her responsibility. If you are looking for someone to keep your home spotless, hire a housekeeper. Don’t put it all on your child’s nanny, unless you are at home a great deal and can watch the children while she is cleaning.
As any stay-at-home parent will tell you, caring for children all day long is more than a full-time job. Working parents who have full-time childcare may not realize the energy, patience, and creativity that is needed. Children must be engaged, fed, happy, and kept out of trouble from the moment they wake until bedtime.. If a nanny struggles to balance childcare because of an overly ambitious list of chores, not only will her stress levels rise, but your child will also be shortchanged. The last thing you want is for your nanny to skimp on bedtime stories because she needs to clean the upstairs shower.
An exception to this rule would be Partner Nannies or Executor Nannies; they work with parents who are at home, or at home part-time, and do only limited amounts of hands-on childcare. Partner/Executor Nannies may also be good for school-age children who are more self-sufficient and gone all day. In these scenarios, it may be fine for a nanny to take on more responsibility around the house, assuming that she’s willing to do so.
A Personal Chef. Just as you should not overload your nanny with housework, be cautious when it comes to extensive meal preparation.If you are looking for someone to meal plan for the entire family, shop for food, and have an elaborate dinner ready for everyone when you get home from work, you need a cook, not a nanny.
I once worked with a family who had three young boys all under the age of five. The parents were at their wits’ end because their nannies kept quitting and they couldn’t figure out why. When I dug deeper, I learned that the boys were extremely rowdy, that the parents wanted the nanny to prepare fresh-cooked, organic dishes for every meal (dinner was supposed to feed the entire family), and that they had a rule about no TV. I asked them how on earth they expected the nanny to chop and prepare ingredients, cook gourmet meals, feed the family, and keep an eye on three boys when she couldn’t even use the television to get them to sit still for a half hour!
Parents may think that nannies are miracle workers, but preparing meals takes time and focus, and is especially challenging if the nanny has very young children under her care. Additionally,there are safety issues: hot pots and burners, open flames, and knives left on counters are all dangerous if a nanny is distracted. Unless there is a parent at home to help manage the children, or the children are old enough to keep an eye on themselves, your nanny should be allowed to focus on feeding your children, rather than being a personal chef.