Merry Christmas and Happy Nanny Search
So Christmas is here and most of us will give our nannies a break, no, all of us should give our nannies a break. Online platforms are filled with mums wondering how they will cope without a nanny, well it’s time you got to understand how much they do or how little depending on your nanny. So the next time she doesn’t do the dishes before bedtime you know how much work she put in during the day.
So now that you have given your nanny a break, for some of us it’s oh dear! I hope she comes back and for others it’s I know she is not coming back and yet for some others it’s, finally I get to release her I have been waiting to fire her for months now, all of us come January we will either be grateful that she is back or back on the searching board looking for a new one and hopefully one who will stay for a bit longer than the last.
Hope you gave her a bonus and a little extra cash for fare, she lives with you or in Nairobi and she will need to travel to Butere Mumias, the most affordable bus for her around this time is about 1,800/= and she needs to travel with her three children who will probably have to stand, sit on their bags or take their turns on their mother’s laps as the hills roll and probably get a cake and Afya juice to keep them full through out the journey as they look forward to finally breathing some fresh air and have their grandparents pamper them from the usual ‘hujaosha vyombo, nipate mumetoka hapo mutaniambia, unalia nini? Wacha nikuje nikupatie sababu ya kulia…’ Assuming you are one of those good employers who pay the government stipulated amount, about 10,700/= she will need to pay her house rent, spend about 4,000 on travel and then still be able to buy a few nice goodies coz it’s Chrsitmas, by the time she comes back to your house in January she will barely have anything left for the month…
Oh this post was not about that, but I digress. if you hope your nanny will come back, 2 tips.
1. Talk to your nanny.
If you are hoping she will be back and you had agreed on a date when she is coming back, call her about a week before to find out how her Chrsitmas was and wish her a Happy new year and also find out if her family is okay. End the conversation with ‘haya tuonane tarehe 4.’ If she doesn’t pick your call or return it try the next day if she doesn’t pick or return start looking for a new nanny. If she picks and confirms you will see each other on 4th call her on 3rd to wish her a safe journey and just confirm that she is coming and if you have and extra 1,000 send it to her for fare- an unexpected favor she will not forget.
2. Clear the air
If you have not given your nanny a break yet and are going to, have that conversation with her, give your gratitude for the work she put in through the year and just let her know that if there was something she was not pleased about she can say it, if you did her wrong knowingly or unknowingly let her know that it was a mistake and hope the new year will bring on a better relationship. This makes them feel appreciated and their feelings valid.
So if you find yourself in the category that needs to look for a new nanny come January here are a few tips I would like to share with you as you search and interview.
1. Start early to look for a nanny.
Ask your friends and relatives if they can give you a referral. I prefer this method because someone else knows the person you are about to employ, they have a little background information, their former employer, where they come from etc. If you can’t get a referral, ask your friends who have a good nanny from a bureau to refer you to the bureau, we actually have some good bureaus in Nairobi.
2. List your interview points
Most of the time we think our brain is super and we will remember everything we have thought of. That is often not the case the moment she enters your door, you start judging her and half your questions disappear as you make a physical judgement of this person. Know what you want to ask her and write it down.
a. What is her name and age
b. Where does she come from?
c. Her family, how many are they her parents any siblings in town?
d. Has she worked as a househelp before? How long?
e. Has she worked with babies before? How old were they? Does she love children
f. Is she married? How many children if any, how old is the youngest?
3. List your expectations and scope of work.
This is important because you get to let her know what she will be doing incase she accepts the mission. Give your family information, we have 3 babies 2 go to school the youngest is 1.5 years and will be going to school in 6 months, the house is this big etc. This time also includes some of the basic house rules that will help her make the decision, what time she wakes up, what else she will be doing other than care for the baby and house work e.g washing the car, gardening incase you have a garden etc.
DO NOT TELL HER WHAT YOU WANT TO BE PAYING HER AT THIS POINT. Why? You ask, because after giving a list of expectations they are either feeling overwhelmed by the work or thinking they need the job so whatever amount you give goes, then 1 month later she is feeling like she got the raw end of the deal.
3. Find out her expectations.
Most of the time we as employers come and just ask the questions give our expectations and hope she will take it or leave it. Ask her WHAT SHE HOPES TO BE PAID this gives you an idea of how she values herself, most employers will say ‘nitakulipa 7,000 na hio ndio tunaweza’ but you don’t have an idea how much she expected to be paid.
I know a lady who interview her help and asked her how much she wanted to be paid and the help said 4,000 esp those who have come from the rural area, their pay expectation is severely low because that is what they pay in Makieni anyway. If she quotes an amount that you cannot afford, let her know that okay I know you would like to be paid 10,000 but we cannot afford that at the moment, as things get better for us we will sure review your salary in 3/6/9 months and see if we can increase it, this shows that you acknowledge her value and have put her in your plan and you had better keep your word and if things don’t get better for you let her know.
Discuss off days YOU MUST GIVE AT LEAST 1 DAY OFF THE WEEK it doesn’t matter wether you got her from Kakamega and she doesn’t know anyone in Nairobi, if she chooses to spend her off day in the house then fine but take up duties on that day, take your family to church and don’t have to drag her along if she wishes to come with you then fine but remember you are on duty. Talk about bonus and holiday breaks as well as leave days. Remember she has come to help you at your home.
Finally give her time to think and if she is agreeable with your expectations, rules and role. Set a day when she can call if she is fine with the agreement don’t take weeks on your decision to call her back as well.
When you settle on a help and she reports to work, give her a more detailed house rule, about your children, discipline, TV rules, cleanliness, etiquette, etc. please do not leave anything out, write down if you must so that when you are talking you don’t leave anything. Write down a chore list for her daily chore and weekly chores and if there is a baby at home give her a timetable for your baby (I know some of us have no clue about our baby’s timetable take this time to write one) give her the meal plan and remember that the first 3 months will require you to teach, show remind and be patient with her, it takes up to 6 months for them to master somewhat that is the time we take on probation ourselves anyway.
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