Discussing the Dynamics of a 2 Nanny Home

Received Thursday, January 13, 2011
Opinion 4 A couple weeks ago at my charges school I noticed something I have only heard about on TV. A child in my charges class has 2 nannies! There are four children in the family and I guess they find it necessary. Both of the nannies work at the same hours every day. I didn't want to be rude and was pressed for time but I am very curious as to the dynamics of all of this. Does anyone work in a 2 nanny home? Or perhaps more? How doesn't work? Is anyone the "leader"?


N is for Nanny said...

I sort of used previous family hired a night nanny after the birth of each child, until the child was around 5-6 months old. The night nanny and I worked different shifts. I was M-F 8a-6:30p and she worked Su-F 9p-7a. It was a bit odd to have to call someone, outside of the family, to find out how my charge had slept/ate the night before. Since the night nanny also did sleep training, she set the sleep/eat schedule that ALL (myself and the parents) of us followed. Beyond that, she didn't have much of an impact on my days - I decided if we would go for a walk, to the library, or play at home. I'd say we were cordial to each other, but as very different people, not friends.

I have a of nanny friends that work in a situation like you mentioned above - two nannies, one family, same shift. For them, it is that there are multiple kids, on multiple schedules - think of the SAHM who has a FT nanny. My nanny friends in these situations are almost always with the same kid(s) from the family at the same time - i.e., they don't trade and have the infant one day and the middle schooler the next. The nannies do spend some time together, but a lot of it is that baby needs to nap and big kids need to be picked up from soccer. I've had times where baby hasn't really gotten to nap (or it's been in the stroller/car seat) because of pick-up/drop-off of an older sibling, and while I could see it being does seem a bit excessive to me, as I think that can be part of being in a family. The nannies I know typically have specific duties, so it isn't like one is in-charge of the other, and they are usually equals/co-workers.

nycmom said...

I have had 2 caregivers working at the same time for brief periods. Mainly after the birth of my third child, for the first year, I had 2 caregivers when DH or I were not around. There is a 5.5 year gap between #2 and #3 so my older kids were schoolage and doing homework when new infant was born. For that first year, I had a live-in aupair and a full-time nanny. For part of the time it was two nannies.

It worked okay. It certainly wouldn't be my first choice, but for times when my husband was traveling and I was working 12-hour shifts, I really felt that was too long to ask one nanny to watch 3 kids. Also, for the 2-4 hours afterschool it was very hectic with very different needs. My older kids needed a healthy, adult meal and to get homework done. My baby was a difficult baby who needed a lot of attention, including wanting to be physically held and colic, much of the time.

There was definitely rivalry and problems that arose. Although I initially thought I could keep the duties separate and have them co-care peacefully, that did not work well. Partly this was because my au pair was, as au pairs tend to be, a somewhat immature young woman. Ultimately I put my regular nanny "in charge" officially and let her decide who would do what. There was still tension. For example, if the kitchen counter was left full of crumbs and dirty dishes, I had to "police" to try to make sure neither person was being rude to the other. I suppose in a perfect world you would have two happy, amazing, responsible nannies who got along perfectly and never fought - but I think that is rarely the case. Even when I had both great nannies working together, I still found it difficult because if there were issues, they often got deflected as being a combination issue. I think it would also work better if you did have one nanny assigned absolutely to certain kids. But I found that hard too because I did not overlap all hours. So one nanny might work 8am-5pm and one 3pm-9pm. Thus, the kids probably were not in the habit of reporting to one or the other. It would be very, very expensive to have dual coverage the entire time and only have one nanny ever care for certain kids, but that would be the ideal.

3 Amigas said...

I have worked in a 3 nanny household. There was one infant who was 3 months old. We had a am shift nanny, pm shift nanny and weekend nanny.

We had a great relationship with each other.

I'm too tired to explain our maybe later. :)

a mom said...

Some time ago, I had two part time nannies that worked about 30 hours each per week. They overlapped for a few hours of each other's shifts. The one nanny (older/mature) was basically in charge of a baby and housekeeping (she was formerly my housekeeper and took on the baby care for more money) and the other (college student) was in charge of the two school-age kids. We never had any conflicts. The older nanny was paid a higher wage because she cleaned and watched the baby. They seemed to get along well, but this was for a period of a little over a year starting when my 3rd child was born.

LovingNanny said...

I would never work for a family with several caretakers. My first thought was, oh the parents don't want to spend any time with their kids and I believe this plays a big role in having 2 or more nannies.
Isn't it part of being a family to be understanding and considerate? So if the baby needs the bottle or extra attention the older kids have to live with it. That's how they learn to be considerate and treat so. with respect. Same goes for the baby. The baby learns from the beginning that there are more children and everyone needs attention and special care.
It is something else if you have a day Nanny and a night Nanny, but having two day nannies seems obsessive to me.

Nanny nanny bo banny said...

Heck-if you've got the money and can afford to employ 2 nannies for the same shift, then go right ahead. As a nanny myself, I enjoy taking care of only 1 child at a time, and these are usually the jobs I seek out. I would be open to working with a co-nanny if there were multiple children.

TinyDancer said...

I worked with a conanny once, however we pretty much always worked different hours. The famil just seemed to think they needed help all waking hours 7 days a week. Sigh. The other nanny was actually a really good friend of mine before she got hired so there were definately no problems.

Ashley said...

I worked for a family with 7 children and we had 4 nannies! Only 2 nannies would work each shift, but because both parents had high profile careers, we needed at least 2 adults just to shuttle kids around.

I worked the most hours - 50, yet we all had equal pay and responsibilities. we all got along great and it worked out well. The kids definitely had their "favorite" nannies though.

My current employer has a night nanny and as I am currently expecting my first baby in May, I imagine they will hire a second nanny as I will no longer be able to travel with them and work extra shifts, etc. I'm not looking forward to sharing my position, but it's necessary.

sharon said...

i remember a post from the past where there were 5 nannies,a high profile family, one of the nannies was the obnoxious boss and they were all on pins and needles all the time toe-ing the line

the OP got fired because one of the other nannies stole her uniform before an important family event and she confronted the thief in whispers - they had security give her the bum's rush. We all can be thankful not to be subject to a situation like that

nanny2 said...

I've worked with in two situations with a co-nanny. In one scenario, we were each responsible for two kids. Occasionally we would ask each other for "favors" but we each had a defined role. It worked well.
In the other scenario, it was just generally two nannies and whoever had seniority was more "in charge." In this scenario problems are more likely to arise, because the roles are not clearly defined. You're more likely to have personality conflict as well as uneven distribution of the workload.

As far as the "need" for two some situations it is really helpful. For instance in a city where you rely on stroller transportation, it would be difficult to get 3+ stroller-age kids around by yourself, and school pick-up is hard if you have a napping toddler. Of course it also depends on the number of children and their required level of supervision (e.g. children with special needs, active toddlers, etc.)

Duffas Friend said...

I have never worked with another nanny but when I'm on holidays and another carer comes in I always feel like I'm missing out on time with 'my kids' :( haha but I don't htink I would ever be rude or 'bossy' to someone.
I'm in Australia and about to move to either USA or UK is there any good agencies that cater more for the high profile families?

aaagh! said...

thats actually my 'specialty' as a nanny, i've worked in 4 jobs with multiple nannies. tough as heck to manage those dynamics.

only one duo was bad, lazy hot 24 year old would leave a trail after her all day every day.

lotta said...

I worked for one year as an aupair in a family of 3 school age kids who already had a full time nanny. The nanny made the dinner. I took care of the dishes.
It was a very easy job.

NannyJenn said...

We had a second nanny for almost a year after my third charge was born in my long term position. The older two were only 3 and 16 months at the time and dad was a pilot who traveled several days a week, so it was necessary unless I wanted to be working constantly. She came in around 3/4 and worked until 8/9. She helped me out until I was off at 6 and then was with my mom boss or very rarely by herself for the rest of the shift (if mom boss had to work late). They paid her a pretty high hourly wage and I suggested the hours so that it was worth her time.

It worked out okay. There were definitely conflicts between us and I found her more annoying than helpful sometimes. She struggled to manage the kids sometimes and was really gossipy. The biggest issue was that she was frequently able to leave early because the kids were all asleep bed and everything was done. She was always paid for the time she was scheduled, so I understand this was nice for her. Well she got used to leaving early and started getting snippy if she actually had to stay for her whole scheduled shift. Once the little guy was almost 1 and the girls were both in preschool that fall we got rid of the second nanny :)

One of my best friends has also worked in a couple of different positions with more than one nanny. One high profile family had 4 nannies between two children. Each child had two assigned nannies, 1 who worked 4 days a week and the other who worked 3 days a week. She also worked in another position where cared for a set of twins with one other nanny. Each position has it's pros and cons and she has had some crazy stories working with the other nannies. I think it works best if each person has a assigned role so that everyone knows what is expected of them.

LB said...

I worked for a divorced couple and their newborn/infant twins who had three nannies.
We didn't work the same shifts but sometimes our schedules would overlap from time to time.
They had an aunt who would work 25/hrs a week (M-Thurs) me at 30-45 hrs (M-F) and another nanny for scheduled evenings and weekends.
We had to keep a log of feedings, naps, play time, etc so no one was thrown off by a crabby child, or a wide awake child at bedtime.
I have to tell you, working with other nannies was more difficult than going solo!

nannyof5 said...

I am a nanny for a family with five children and one other nanny. This is my third year working for the family and I have been the "main" nanny in this case- we have had multiple other nannies while I have been with this family for various reasons, including a move. Three of the five kids are in school during the day, so toddlers are with me and the other nanny doesn't come in until 2:30 when school gets out.
When the other nanny comes I will let them know if and who they are taking to activities, based on if I would like to do something with the other kids or be with the kid who has an activity that day. I do not like cooking, so the other nanny makes dinner for the kids and we help each other get the kids bathed and have them complete their homework. Once the kids are bathed, I usually leave because by this time all homework, meals, and school work is done and I have been working a long day. The other nanny watches the kids until their mom comes home and puts the kids to bed if necessary.
The situation works very well for us and I have to say I enjoy having another nanny helping me. While we don't work together the whole day, most of the time when all five kids are there we are working at the same time. Five kids are a lot to take on when the kids range in age from 10 to 2- with another baby on the way! It would be impossible for the kids to be in all their activities and get everything that needed to be done with school work, dinner and bathing if it was just me. I also always end up being pretty good friends with the other nanny. When one nanny must leave for whatever reason I help the family hire the next person and we look for someone who is younger and educated, like me, and someone who I have things in common with.

Dizzle said...

I was one of two nannies for a family with infant twins. They were wealthy and just wanted a one to one ratio for their small babies. The other nanny and I pretty much each had an assigned (amongst ourselves) baby. We spent most of the day together. If her baby was especially fussy and mine was sleeping, I'd offer to help, and vice versa. I liked her as a person and we got along well, but when she left, and the parents remarked that I seemed to do a great job caring for both and left it up to me whether I wanted a big raise or a new second nanny, I opted to be the sole nanny. Too much room for conflict with two nannies, I think!

JustPeachy said...

I worked in a situation similar to this for a while. At the time, I was the full-time nanny for a family with 3 children, one of them a newborn, the other 2 were school aged. My primary responsibilty was the baby. The family also had 2 part time nannies that worked throughout the week to care for the older kids, help with homework, schedules, activites, etc. Sometimes they worked the same hours as me, other times they worked on the weekend while I was off. I have to say, I enjoyed the multiple nanny dynamic. All of us got along well, which I am sure was a plus, but it was nice to have extra sets of hands, and be able to take 1 child where they needed to be, without disrupting the other children's schedules. It also give me a form of companionship and comraderie in a job where math equations and dirty diapers seem to be the main topic of the day,... every day. We were able to do great activies and outings with the children that may not have been as feasable to accomplish with only 1 nanny. I really enjoyed my experience and think it works well for certain families.