When I was growing up my Mom was the child care provider for almost everyone in the neighborhood. I know she watched all o the kids on our block and at some point their kids also. There were always tons of kids at our house and they hardly ever wanted to go home. When My Mom had foster children they always wanted to stay. When the parents or case workers would come they would beg and plead to stay or a few more minutes or ask if they could come back later and pick them up. My Mom didn't mind and would always let them stay longer, free of charge.
My husband on the other hand grew up with an Aunt Maude. Aunt Maude took care of his Mom who was an only child and then was gifted to her after she got married to raise her children. Aunt Maude raised Gregg and his two older brothers as well as a few foster and adopted children that his Mom provided their care.
When I went to Brearley, many of the girls had nannies. On my way to school I would see tons of nannies pushing strollers of kids who obviously did not belong to them. I remember someone asking me one day if my Mom was my nanny when she came to pick me up. I said, "No! That's my Mother." The little girl then said that her mother never came to pick her up. I asked if she was at work and was surprised when she said that she didn't work, she just didn't have time to pick her up. I thought that was sad.
I always thought it was so expensive to have a nanny and something that if I lived on the upper east side would be a necessary thing to have. I always thought that I'd be with them most of the time so she'd be more like a mother's helper. When I found out I was pregnant with twins we seriously started considering and interviewing nannies. We then spoke to a few Au Pairs. I had not decided if I was going back to work or not and then we started to think about the budget. We were able to get a friend who was a pediatric nurse to watch the boys when I needed to go out so we were truly blessed to have her in our lives. We also had my Mom around for a little while although she was very sick with Cancer and we didn't want to impose, she wanted her grandsons with her.
I have been thinking of joining a nanny share with a woman in one of my Mommy groups. She has a wonderful nanny who is bilingual and that was a big plus or me. If I could get a chinese or spanish speaking nanny to only speak these languages to the boys then it would be worth it since I was a SAHM for some time and we homeschool.
My (Gregg) reason for having help around the house is for just that; help around the house. I want a life; with children. The approach that I'd take, is to acquire a vigilant multi-lingual individual who's specialities were: laundry and housekeeping, with occasional nightly childcare responsibilities. We are busy people who have the luxury of taking our children to work with us. So, normal childcare issues do not apply, but I like to still think of Darleen as a naughty girlfriend; the kind that one needs to shower affections, like starlight dinners and dates to Cipriani. We may even stay overnight. That's where having help around the home becomes most essential.
So the decision; it's up to you.. The decision of employing a Nanny, House-Keep, Au Pair or just a babysitter are for us, an important budget item that speaks to the heart of our daily living regiment. Choose wisely, but do consider the choice to boldly live while you are still able to enjoy your life with children.