From Professional Nanny to Mother's Helper

Received Friday, July 23, 2010
perspective and opinion I'm a nanny with 8+ years experience & almost 2 years experience as a night nanny for triplets (2 differents sets). The going rate in my area is $17 minimum a *professional* nanny for triplets. I interviewed with a family that doesn't want a nanny, but a mother's helper. My question is this: what is an appropriate amount to request for this position? I haven't worked for less than $14 since... well, over 4 years. I'm getting the impression from the parents that the $13/hour I originally suggested is too high... DadBoss mentioned their "other sitters" were asking less, but didn't specify how much less. What would the readers suggest? To clarify, mom or dad would be home & not working the entire time, the infants are 13/14 weeks, were born at 30 weeks, and while two have the usual feeding issues with premies, one has some health issues as well.


Brandie said...

That last comment was from me, not sure why it said

wouldn't do it said...

You are used to making a higher rate, and I think you will regret it if you go lower. While being a "mother's helper" may be easier in some ways (I can't imagine caring for 3 preemies by oneself all day) it will be harder in others. Especially if, and I'm guessing here, you are dealing with first-time parents who used fertility treatments to have their long-awaited babies and are likely to be highly concerned about every detail (Please note: I am not saying anything is wrong with that, I'm just saying it will make it harder for the nanny).
Bottom line- you know what you're worth, and what the going rate is, and it sounds like they're looking for a "babysitter" not a nanny.

no moniker said...

repost for anonymous:
A few questions are in order:
What state do you live in? How many children are you helping with? How old are the children? How man hours a week will you be working? Are you driving the children to and from activities?

I think 13/hour is a fair wage for a mothers helper. In the past I have worked as a mothers helperefor 15/hr which was very generous, but I can understand not everyone can afford this. Will you be working along side parents equally? Or will there be times that the parents need to go grocery shopping or need some down time.

student nanny said...

I work p/t as a mother's helper. Mom is a WAHM, dad is usually around the house doing stuff, and will help me out with stuff. The kids are 5 and 2.5 and I make 12/hr. I'd say for someone with as much experience as you have, watching 3 premies, you should be making well above that. Even 13 still sounds low to me, so I certainly wouldn't go below that.

Village said...

This is a con. They change the name of the job, the pay is lower. This reminds me of a REALLY REALLY large box store. Anyway, don't work for them. They will nickel and dime you to death. They have already started.

Find somebody with triplets willing to pay $17 an hour.

Bostonnanny said...

I'd walk away, if they have other babysitters willing to work for under 13 then why are they trying to hire you?
With all your experience I wouldn't even consider a mothers helper position, nevermind the fact they want to pay less then 13 for 3 infants.
Your'll get no benefits, crappy pay and new parents harassing you all day. Get away before you get screwed.

nycmom said...

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't understand how this is a mother's helper position. Since there are 3 infants, you will likely have full charge of 1 or 2 at all times. It's essentially a regular nanny job split between two people (you and parent) due to the sheer number of kids. To me, a mother's helper is a teenager or inexperienced young woman who is always assisting mom, rarely having full care of the kids.

I would say your rate should be similar to that of a professional nanny caring for a singleton (at the least) or twins as this will be your role. $13 is the absolute lowest I would consider paying in nyc area and $15 seems more reasonable.

Nanny Sarah said...

I agree w/the other really depends on where you live at. I live in San Diego CA and for your position w/all of your experience, I would charge no less than say..$14/hr...$13/hr is too low.
I agree w/the poster who said "Mother's Helper" is a title used to justify lower pay. Since you will be caring for 3 babies,even w/duties split...the workload can be comparable to caring for one to two babies on your own, etc. + Working alongside another parent can be much tougher than a nanny who's bosses are not in the home since you will be constantly monitored, scrutinized and told what to do. You will have no autonomy in this position.
If they can find someone to work cheaper, then more power to them. But w/8 + yrs of experience, you should not work for less than what you know you are worth.
Good Luck.

don't do it said...

I would not take this job for less than the $17/hr you normally make. Premie triplets would be a ton of work-and then you have the added stress of a parent with you all the time. They have someone else willing to work for less, so let them hire that person.

world's best nanny said...

Back when dirt was new I was a "mother's helper."
Yeah, I helped alright. She cared for the newborn twins and her 2 year old. I washed the dishes, by hand. She made her own baby food, her own bread etc so there were tons of dishes, bottles, flatware...
I cleaned the kitchen, wiped counters, appliances and washed the floor. I scrubbed both bathrooms with straight ammonia. There was at least 3 loads of laundry daily, she used cloth diapers. Then I vacuumed the entire house. So yes I was helping mom so she could spend time with the babies, but I got no child care experience.

Find out what your duties will be and then adjust your rates accordingly.

pro-nanny mama said...

I agree with the others that this "mothers helper" distinction, whether intentional or just naive as they are first time parents, is a way to pay less. OP will be doing full time child care. That merits full time nanny rates. Mothers Helpers in my area are tweens looking for extra money after school, and play games with older kids while Mom catches up on the laundry, that type of thing.

OP said...

OP here:
I live in Denver & the triplets were 12 weeks old (2 weeks adjusted) when I interviewed. They orignially said they were looking for 2-3 days/week, balancing when grandma & friends were not available to help. I knew I would struggle with the pay cut, but being between jobs... I was willing to try!
I've haven't heard back from them after the first and only day I was went well, considering the poor baby with "intestinal issues". They said they'd be calling to talk about the calendar.
I just booked a night nanny position with twins for $17/hour yesterday, so I guess it worked out in my favor!

Marta Perrone said...

If you have many job offers that are paying more money, then you should definitely consider them first. $13/hr for triplets is certainly low, but this may be all that the family can afford.If you are desperate to work and this is the only job offer you have available to you, then why pass it up. You will gain experience working with triplets that will look good on your resume and you will be employed. Which could be better than "nothing". It isn't always just a question of pay. Analyze the job from all perspectives when deciding if you should take this job.

Nanny Sarah said...

OP I am so glad you got a new position. I think the fact that the previous family didn't call back was your true blessing in disguise. You would NEVER have been happy w/such low pay and it is weird that they offered you less than $14/hour. I am sick of hearing how "well that is all they can probably afford." I cannot afford to drive a Mercedes, yet you do not see me going into the Mercedes dealerships telling the car salesman how I really want to drive a Mercedes and yet all I can afford to pay for one is such and such amount. I don't go into Macy's and tell the salespeople I really want a nice sweater to wear, but all I can afford to pay is such and such, etc. Why do people do this to nannies? If they cannot afford a nanny, they need to put their children into daycare. If I cannot afford to drive a Mercedes I need to buy a Hyundai, etc. It's life people.