How Should Nanny Approach Employer About Live-in Proposition?

Received Monday, February 9, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN Please I Need Advice!!! I am currently an unemployed full-time college student. I have been a part-time live-out nanny for 5 years now. Although I go to school on Mon, Wed, and Sat my schedule for work is quite flexible. I am still going on interviews for a permanent P/T nanny position. This is where my situation is getting ugly. Until today, I have always lived with my family, but I am now going through family issues. It’s why I now find myself in a situation where I have to move out of my house. I just turned 20 and my parents don’t pay my college whatsoever or support in anything. All they provide for me is shelter and food (which I am thankful for), but the rest I take care of on my own. This is where I need your advice please.

I work on an as-needed-basis for this nice cop single mom, whose baby I adore and is now 6 months old. She doesn’t make much and has her baby in a daycare, but when she needs me, she pays me a fair rate of 13/hr. I am her first babysitter. She trusts me and has left her apartment and cat under my care when she goes away. She lives by herself with her baby in a 3 bedroom apartment 15 minutes away from my house. She only occupies her bedroom and has the other 2 bedrooms pretty empty. I never have come across with the idea of becoming a live-in nanny because I was never in a need to. I feel uncomfortable doing it with a stranger family. I still don’t want to do it now, even though I am now in a need of it. This is why I am talking about this lady. I am thinking about talking to her about my situation and asking her if she would be interested in having me live with her. Since this would be similar to a live-in nanny situation, I don’t know what to really offer in exchange of a bedroom free of rent.

This is what I am thinking about: Every month, offer a certain amount of free babysitting during the week and maybe I can pick up the baby from daycare and bring him home and babysit a couple of hours at night during the week. I can offer 1 or 2 weekends of night babysitting. I can definitely cook, bake, run errands, and clean the apartment, make baby’s bottles etc. I am not sure about laundry because she does not have a washer and dyer at home and apparently just has the laundry services take care of that. I would do all these so that I can compensate the rent that I won’t pay. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, in a non-rich neighborhood, so it’s not that she lives in a luxury apartment. Rent for one bedroom in this area are about 400 per month and some do include utilities and some don’t. Actually, I can only afford around 300. She has cable and internet service, but I don’t know whether to pay for them or have it included within my services. This is where I am confused. I like her, but I don’t want to put myself in a situation where she can take advantage of me, or I won’t have enough time for school and my prospective 30 hours nanny position I might find. Please nannies, especially live-in nannies:
• How many weekly or monthly babysitting hours should I offer?
• What about the cleaning, cooking, errands? How many hours and how often?
• Should I expect utilities or food to be included? Actually, I think I can pay for my own food.

Thank you so much for reading this long story. I will appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this.


mom said...

Has she offered for you to live in yet?
I would gently broach that subject with her first, without a bunch of details and terms right off the bat. She may not be interested having a rooomie and you don't want to make her feel put out out or awkward.

If she likes the idea, then start to negotiate after that. I suppose enough hours of babysitting to cover that $13.00 per hour for whatever you will be getting from her, utilities, cable, etc. would be good...pLus maybe a few extra hours to make it worth her while to have somebody in her home even at times whens he wants privacy. Don't go overboard and offer to do her laundry and cleaning, etc., unless those are figured in at that $13.00 rate too. If you end up being basically her housemaiden, you will be earning far less per hour than you would by just getting a regular job and your own apartment, you won't have time to earn money for food, etc., or have any spare time for fun, and you will become resentful in the end.

Good luck!

Nanny Taxi said...

Won't the baby need one of those rooms eventually?
Ask her gently. Try to "sell" her the idea without getting too silly over any extras you may offer, or the two of you may end up disliking each other quickly.
Remember some of her expenses will go up, i.e. hot water.
Living at work is ok for some people others may never take to it, just be sure it's want you want.
Good Luck!

ericsmom said...

Can't u live on dorm with other roomates

Or I am sure near the college you attend theres some other females college students that may be looking for a roomate.

Bad idea to ask the mom if you can live with them. Period

ues nanny said...


I am a nanny in Manhattan and live right by the 116th and Lex subway, we could make some room for you for the next few months or so for 300 a month if you want. If you're interested put your email up.
4 bedroom apt filled with a bunch of 20 somethings.

Best Seller said...

I disagree, ericsmom, I don't think it's a bad idea... a bit forward, yes! Maybe this cop mom would be open to the suggestion, who knows? She is single, that's a plus. Maybe she wouldn't mind having someone else there for company.

It could go either way, OP. Your employer could be very receptive to the idea of having a live-in because being alone gets... well, lonely. OR, she could be set in her ways, and enjoys her private time. Only you know her for sure and if you think she might be open to it, I say "go for it", what could it hurt to ask? All she can say is "no". :) Please update us as soon as you know what happens! This is one P&O I can't wait to see the outcome to!

nellicat said...

I think if she wanted a roommate or a live-in, she'd advertise for one. I know this is a stereotype, but many cops don't want to see/hang out with another person when they get off shift. They just want to decompress and relax. I'd look for another place to live, and maybe throw it out there in casual conversation, like "I'm looking for an apartment - do you know anyone with one to offer?"

ericsmom said...

Just because she is single doesn't mean she wants another woman living in her house. Maybe, she has a boyfriend that likes to come over. Maybe, she just wants to relax in her own home without someone there

Best Seller said...

I never said being single would be the reason she would be open for a housemate, I just said it was a "plus", meaning she might want the companionship because living alone CAN get lonely, even with a child because they tend to sleep a lot. I'm not trying to argue here, all I'm saying is it's worth a shot just to ask her employer.

Anonymous said...
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nannyontherun said...

as good of a deal as this may sound, your employer simply may not want a roomie. i'm in just the opposite position, as i'm a live in nanny and have a sweet deal, but would be willing to cut way back in my budget just to live out and have my own space (see post "Switching Rooms?")

with that said, you know your employer better than any of us. you should be able to gauge her receptiveness to a conversation about this. bring it up lightly and mention that you're in a crunch. Let us know how it goes for you. Also, look at the comment from UES nanny. If it weren't for the long commute, I would take her up on that offer personally ha.

just a suggestion said...

There usually isn't too much of a difference in pay for a live-out and live-in nanny. If your employer is open to the idea, I would maybe suggest your rate being dropped to $12 an hour as a live-in. So, if you work 20 hours a week, you would be getting paid $80 less per month, to cover utilities and rent. If that seems high for your cost of living maybe go with $12.50.

just a mom said...

UES Nanny, you are so nice! Seriously, to offer up a place to live is totally generous:)

The original gimmeabreak said...

Just being generally nosy here since I live in Brooklyn also, but, where in the world can you get a one bedroom for $400 a month?????

Denise said...

Oh, and if you are living with your parents and they are providing room and board-then why do you need to move?

a curious nanny said...

Rent for i bedroom is $400 a month in Brooklyn??
Can you pray tell where that area is?
I live in Brooklyn and pay close to $800 a month, and that is supposedly a good rate.
Also, I don't think its a good idea to ask someone to live with them for free.

ericsmom said...

Best Seller

Sorry, I didn't mean to come off as argumentative. However, you spell it : )

I just feel she is young, and maybe it would be better to live with other young ones. Parties, etc.

the original gimmeabreak said...

a curious nanny:

I can't imagine where in Brooklyn she sees one bedroom apartments going for $400! I think $800 is a bargain and that is still much much cheaper than the area I live in.

but, I bet you could do $800 or 900 in Bay ridge, Bensonhurst, Midwood, etc.. But, $400? yeah, i want to know where she lives too-LOL!

Skeptical Urbanite said...

I paid $400 for the use of one tiny bedroom *in a 3 bedroom apartment* in Brooklyn, in the late '90's. And my roommates were friends giving me a deal, so that was a low price even for then, and it wasn't a particularly nice neighborhood.

I just can't imagine that it is possible to rent an apartment of any size in Brooklyn for $400 in the year 2009! Is this place in the middle of some cracked-out block in East New York???

Adria said...

I live in Boise, Idaho and my rent for a studio apartment in the desirable downtown area is $395, not including my power bill. A one bedroom in Brooklyn for $400 a month sounds...meth lab-ish.

Also, ues nanny, that's really, really wonderful of you to offer that up for her. We need more genuine people like you around!!

ATL Nanny said...

I think the OP means that the cost to rent a single room in someone's house or apartment would be $400, not that a one-bedroom apartment would be $400. Those are two totally different situations. I have no experience in Brooklyn, so I can't comment on the rent there, but I do know that here in Atlanta it would be very possible to rent a room in someone's house, or to split a three bedroom apartment with two roommates, and wind up paying around $400. However, a one bedroom apartment in the same neighborhood would go for $800-$900/mo.

OP -- I would broach this subject carefully and try not to get ahead of yourself thinking exactly how many hours you would work, etc. My guess is that this woman is not interested in having a roommate or a live-in nanny. If she was, she probably would have done it already. I would let her know that you are looking to move out and you are interested in finding a live-in position. Ask her if she's interested. It would be great if she says yes, but be prepared for her to say no. Then continue interviewing for other live-in positions and look into roommate situations as well. If she IS interested, then I would start worrying about the list of hours and duties, etc.

Anonymous said...


To clarify a few things for some who don't seem to understand what i thought i wrote clearly:

1. I was talking about just 1 bedroom in a shared apartment for around $400. I DON'T want a 1 bedroom Apartment, because obviously i would never afford one for now.
2. My boss is single, but has a bf, who is the baby's dad, but he lives in another state and only comes every now and then, or she goes to him when she can.
3. Like i said she has a 3 bedroom apt, and even if she wants one for the baby, which she is not using now, there would be another bedroom empty for me to use..if she is ok with that.
4. I appreciate everyone's thoughts and yes i understand i have to be gentle when i do bring it up....BUT i also know very well that she is a down-to-business woman. This is why i need to ask her and propose to her at the same time how i think i am going to compensate the rent with my services. Especially that i know she has no clue about live-in nannies, since she is just a new mom.
5. Yes, u are right i am not sure if she wants a roomie, but maybe because i know she pays pretty cheap for the great appartement she has, so maybe that's why she was never in a need of a roomie. Plus, she has no one to live with , since all of her family and bf live in other states. She is pretty much on her own in NYC.

So, please answer my last specific questions that i asked on my post, so that i can come up with something when i approach her.

WTF? said...

I don't think there's any harm in asking if this would interest your employer, however, you're jumping way ahead of yourself.

bossy employee said...

Oh sound a little psycho.

Just get a freaking apartment yourself and get some roommates. Are your parents in a rush to kick you out? If not stay there for a little while and get your own pad.

Maybe, your parents would help you. Especially, if they want you out.

BayAreaMom said...

I am a mom with a live-in nanny.

OP, just ask the mom without details first but be prepared to offer them up if/when she is interested. I'd say a reasonable offer would be 40 hours per month free, with the following rationale: ($400 for the room + $100 for utilities) / $13 your hourly rate. Anything beyond the 40 hours she'd pay at your usual rate as well.

You may also want to offer up to have a one month trial period to see if this arrangement works for both of you. If not, no hard feelings, you'll move someplace else.

worlds best nanny said...

Stay at home and look for a real live in nanny position with an employer who knows how to make all the arrangements.

mom said...

OP You asked for advice, and yet you seem to be ignoring what everybody is telling you and asking that we echo what you want to hear instead.
The general opinion seems to me to be that you ought to first see if your employer is willing to have a live in at all instead of bombarding her with a fully planned scenario.

If you go to her with all of the arrangements in hand right off the bat she may well feel that you are manipulating her because of your need to find a place to live, instead of simply suggesting a POTENTIALLY mutually beneficial arrangement. Whether she has three bedrooms or fifteen in her place is irrelevant. How easy it may be for you to slip into her home and live in your moment of desperation is irrelevant. It's her life and her home. This is going to be glaringly obvious as just what it is if you bombard her with too much information at once...your attempt to manipulate her into letting you live in her apartmernt because your own parents are putting you out and you are desperate. If you make her uncomfortable, she may stop having you sit altogether, and that is one source of income dried up for you.
May I ask? Why do your parents want you out? As a parent of a child in your age range, my guess would be that they feel it is time for you to do some growing up and maturing on your own. Either that, or you are taking advantage in their home and they have had enough of your wanting the rights of an adult but the comforts of a child. (And that's normal for somebody your age, so no offense intended.)If either of those are the case, it might be best, for your own good, if you bite the bullet, get a good, steady job and find a cheap place to live on your own, where there is not somebody else who is ultimately responsible for the rent, utilities, etc. We have recently pushed a bird out of the nest in our own home. We have a big house and plenty of room, but we know it is best for our kids that they become responsible entirely for themselves at a certain point in life..otherwise a pattern may develop where they never learn that skill or take on that mindset that what they have in life will be no more and no less than what they, all by themselves, earn and make happen. It's cute enough and perfectly understandable to see a twenty something floundering about a bit in life, but believe me, it's really pathetic to see a 50 year old who is bitter because he can never gert ahead and feels it is because somebody else didn't do enough for him. Your parents may be trying to do a good thing for you here. Take the opportunity to make the most of it. I know how hard and scary it is to venture out there all alone for the first time...but step by step it becomes easier and more natural. And before you know it you will look back and say, "I'm all grown up and look what I have accomplished in life! How did this happen?"

Personally, if you were my daughter, I'd rather see you in a dorm or some crummy apartment with a bunch of roommmates your own age.

Best of luck to you.

worlds best nanny said...


Did I see some of my advice about spanking in your post here?

Hmm...pushing birds out of the nest?
50 year olds still floundering?

You know what? I need to get a life and get the hell off these boards!

chick said...

Well, I'll answer your questions first, then add my comments.

• How many weekly or monthly babysitting hours should I offer?

At least 30 hours a month. But then you will be without that $390 in income. Will that work for you?

• What about the cleaning, cooking, errands? How many hours and how often?

None. Make it clear you will gladly keep your room clean, and help keep common areas clean, but do not offer housekeeping in addition to 30 hours of babysitting. You could offer a conmbo deal of course, but keep the total hours to 30 in your initial discussion.

• Should I expect utilities or food to be included? Actually, I think I can pay for my own food.

You should expect to either pay a portion of the utilities or work an hourly duty trade for that, and you should certainly supply your own food.

You are basically asking to become this woman's roomie, and you are offering to pay her in childcare/household services instead of cash. That makes you a roommate, not a live-in nanny.

LI nannies make a salary in addition to being provided with room and board. If you want to move out, I would find a LI nanny position, rather than possibly alienating this woman by asking to move in with her.

Village said...

I think you should just ask her. Tell her you will baby sit for free for 23 hours a month for a room. 300 divided by the $13 per hour she pays now, is 23 hours. Tell her clearly she will have to work around your 30 hours as a paid live out nanny for someone. It might be good solution for both of you. All she can say is no.

mom said...

world's best nanny. You're going to need to clarify (if you want to.) I don't get at all what you're saying.