Does Nanny x 2 = Headache?

opinion 2 Advice Needed! I'm currently putting out feelers for a new job, and have been approached by a family who sound very nice; the money is good, I'd have my own separate accomodation - the only fly in the ointment is that I would be looking after the two older children while the nanny that the family has employed for the last five years will be staying on to look after the newborn. Nannies, have you ever encountered a situation like this that has actually worked? Other than this, the job sounds great, but the idea of working alongside someone who's been with the family that long is just giving me major goosebumps. Should I just forget this opportunity and wait for something else? Any advice gratefully appreciated!


Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Um, my first instinct is that it would never work - nanny has established herself there, shares a bind with the older kids, etc.

Have you met nanny? Does she seem excited by the chance to have you there? Do you get a good vibe or feeling about working with her?

How do the parents plan to establish that the kids who are used to going to nanny now have to depend on you? How does nanny plan to help make that situation work?

Best case, every adult is on the ball, and helps the older 2 adjust and bond with you. Nanny is supportive of you and tells older kids you are in charge of them now, and they have no jealousy issues with the new baby still getting all her attention. You fit in seamlessly, and while you don't do everything just like nanny, everyone adjusts to your ways and adds them to the list of "How it works at home!"

Worst case, parents are unsupportive and tell you to deal with issues yourself then undermine you WRT kids care. Nanny is resentful and jealous, and also undermines you. Nanny also treats you as her assistant, tells the older kids she is still in charge and you are just there to help, so they don't have to listen to you. Then nanny goes to parents to complain that she is doing your job as well as hers, and gets you reprimanded and then fired.

Bottom line is, *I* wouldn't take the job.

bostonnanny said...

I don't see this working out at all. I see their original nanny treating you like her employee and telling what to do. I actually had a nanny friend who's family was gonna hire a second nanny to help and made her the nanny's manager. Basically she was to train, supervise, and handle any issues with the new nanny.

recipe for disaster said...

I wouldn't do it.

The nanny will most likely think she knows best regarding the two older children. Women in childcare are generally very territorial.

No sense in not giving it a try, though. Keep us posted. It sounds interesting.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

This all depends on whether or not the other Nanny is compatible with you. Seems you both will be working as a "team" for the family's sake. Have a nice talk w/her...perhaps go to lunch and get a feel of what type of person she is. Red flags would be if she seems boastful, jealous and lacks integrity. But if she is nice and is willing to try to make this unique set up work, I think it is worth a try. Besides, the economy is in the tank still and jobs are hard to find now. At least try a trial period before you throw in the towel.

Good Luck OP. I hope it works out for you.

Sarah said...

I've been the 'old' nanny looking after the newborn and I did my best to make the new nanny feel involved and it worked very well. If the 'old' nanny is open to the idea then great, it will probably work out very well. Maybe she is a nanny that prefers babies and having you there suits her perfectly? Ask for a trial period and to meet the other nanny and make your decision based on that.

nycmom said...

I've had two caregivers at various points in our lives, everything from two live-in au pairs to two professional nannies to a combination of ft/pt. After my third child was born, I did have overlap nanny hours in the mornings and afterschool hours. My older two kids had to travel far to school and I felt it would be too much for my nanny to cart along the new baby also - not undoable, but very difficult and not ideal for nanny or the kids. Afterschool, my kids had a lot of homework and again it seemed unfair to expect my nanny to be able to help with homework, cook dinner, and care for a new baby (who incidentally was a very difficult baby, needing to be physically held most of the time, and rarely napping).

I have had both good and bad experiences with the setup from an employer POV. I think there are two key factors to making it work: 1. Employer spells out a clear division of duties so there is no confusion as to who does what. 2. Both caregivers at least respect one another and treat each other kindly. For example, one au pair would prepare a basic meal for kids and leave the kitchen a mess. This, understandably, drove my ft nanny crazy as she always cleaned up after herself and the kids meticulously.

If I were you and was interested in this job, I would ask to speak privately with the current nanny. This way you can vet her and the family. Then do a trial week before committing.

Anonymous said...

OP here - thanks so much to all of you for your input! I've asked for a trial period with the old nanny, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

I think the situation will be that the original nanny will be the nanny in charge, if only because the older children will see her as the authority figure.

If you don't mind being #2, then it will probably work out. But if you want an autonomous situation, it might be better to look elsewhere.

nanny2 said...

I've been in this situation (both as the second nanny and then as the original nanny, if you will), and I've had both positive and negative experiences. It definitely adds another dimension, as others have said, because you are kind of "interviewing" the other nanny as well. To be successful, both of you need to be good at communicating and working with other people. It could be difficult if either party has only ever been a nanny and has never had jobs with other adult co-workers. As the new nanny, it will help if you are open to learning from the old nanny, understanding that the children have an established routine with her as of now, and they will likely make a better adjustment if you keep some aspects of that routine. For her part, the old nanny also needs to be okay with you bringing your own ideas and ways of doing things to the table. It usually does help to have clearly defined job descriptions at first, although these might start to blur in time if you develop a very good working relationship. I have really loved working in this situation when it's a good fit.

JustPeachy said...

I was hired as a nanny to a new baby where the family had 2 other nannies for thier older children. They weren't so much nannies, as part time babysitters, mostly there to help with homework, etc. I was full time, caring for the baby was my first and highest priority.
It worked well for us. Eventually, the two other sitters moved off to college, etc, and I was the only nanny, but I have to say, I rather enjoyed having other nannies in the home with me. We workeed well together as a team, and it was nice to have someone above the age of 6 to interact with. I guess it really just depends on the fit and the personallities of you and the other nanny.
Maybe see if you can work out a trial period with the family, one where both parties agree to be able to walk away if it isnt working....and have an open mind. While the other nanny has been there for several years, and will likely be a more authorative figure at first, she knows the ropes, the details of the family, and could be an asset to you, rather than an opponent.
Best of luck with whatever you decide to do :)

A Nanny in Denver said...

I totally think it depends on the "old" nanny. Perhaps if you were able to talk to her and get a feel, maybe do a trial week then it would help you make a better decision.

I am currently in the position with a family who employs 2 nannies, I care for the older boys on most days while the other nanny cares for the babies. I've known the family longer but nanny #2 is around for the babies, cleaning, etc. It's worked out well and while we're very different people we get along at work and work TOGETHER which I think is the most important thing.

I would highly recommend seeing if you can do a trial, explain that while you're very interested in the position you want to make sure you're a good fit with the other nanny and the children.

Good Luck!