THE HOUSEKEEPER NANNY
(The ethnicity of this example below is random and is not indicative of a propensity of Thai Nannies to be Housekeepers)
Celeste, from Thailand, is a typical Housekeeper Nanny. She is a US citizen, married with five grown-up children. Her employers are restaurateurs and both parents work long hours. Celeste works a 50+hour week and is paid $12 an hour for taking care of Luke, a three-year-old boy. But Celeste is happy with her job. She considers herself to be an excellent housekeeper, that is: her employer’s home is her top priority. As a consequence she follows a strict cleaning regime. Celeste speaks little English, but she does not regard that as an impediment to her work. While Celeste maintains a spotless house and provides meals for Luke, she does not feel moved to interact with him beyond the rudimentary times.
There is no malice involved here. Celeste is a wonderful housekeeper, but she is a poor Nanny. Her priorities are wrong. However, nobody seems to have noticed. The home gleams and Luke appears well fed and mild mannered. But behind the scenes there is an unconscious withdrawal of love, stimulation, and attention occurring. From an early age Luke has learned to amuse himself. As a result Luke rarely makes demands. Instead he plays quietly in his room and preoccupies himself with a train set.
My point with this case study is to demonstrate that different people bring different gifts to a home. But if you are hiring someone to take care of your children, ensure that you have not simply hired a Housekeeper. That’s not to say that a Nanny is not expected to tidy up, but rather that her main attribute is her devotion to children.
In my next blog at look at the pros and cons of working with younger Nannies (College Babysitters, Au Pairs, Rising Star Nannies)