I need to find a nanny and no one cares. Let’s back that thing up. No one IS on care.com, my go to online resource these past five years in seeking out childcare for my offspring. There are many candidates on there, qualified with years of experience and the right amount of sugar in their voice, I’m sure. But I’m looking for the Latina Mary Poppins. And right now she’s eluding me.
I’m Peruvian and it’s very important that my kids be raised bilingual so they can understand all the nagging from their family abroad. It would also be nice to find a nanny in my price range, that lives within five miles and has the perfect amount of neurosis related to child rearing. Someone that will sanitize my baby’s foot within 30 seconds of my dog gnawing on it. All that in a perfect world.
But the world is far from perfect. So for now I would settle to find a nanny experienced, trustworthy, punctual, and yes, with a little bit of sugar in their voice. Up until yesterday I thought I had found a potential candidate.
One my girlfriends, who went to find a nanny on care.com, was gracious enough to give me a heads up that her nanny’s friend was moving into town directly from South America. I jumped at the chance to have another Spanish speaker in my home and did a preliminary interview with her via Skype. It went pretty good. Still, I felt a little uneasy about not being able to use stateside background checks to evaluate her and that she did not have experience with newborns. But I figured that since I worked from home I would be able to vet her with time.
She flew into town this week and was suppose to meet at our home for a formal interview, this time with my husband present. When she was not here at 15 minutes past the hour I looked at my husband wondering what her version of Latin time was going to be.
Well two-and-a-half hours later I got my answer via an apologetic text followed by a number of calls. But it was too late. The damage had been done. I found myself back at square one with my nanny search and I’m stressing. But why? I have five years experience in finding the most awesome women to play Starsky to my Hutch when I’m working. I could pull this off again, right? Well this time it was different. I now have two littles, one being an infant who is completely clueless as to what personal space is. So before I hit the Josh Pino Noir (my latest wine flavor of the month) to decompress, let me review how I find a nanny and the search protocol from past years to walk me off the ledge.
Ways I Find A Nanny
1) Have candidates complete an application in their handwriting and include a section on favorite hobbies on there as well.
The first is in case you need handwriting analysis during a criminal investigation. I know, I’m crazy but if you’re reading this then there’s a slight chance you may be crazy too. But hey. Having more information on someone is better than having too little so that’s the way I roll on that one.
The latter is a great ice breaker in getting candidates to talk about themselves and peel back a layer of their persona. My goal is always to get candidates to talk freely about their lives as if I were their friend all in an effort uncover any hidden red flags. Before they know it they’re telling me how their boyfriend broke things off because they didn’t approve of said person staying up late in the music studio recording country songs instead of studying. Aha. Busted. You don’t like rap music. Next.
2) Look candidates up on social media.
Using their email or name look up your nanny-to-be up on all the biggies: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Heck, you may be able to uncover some good stuff on those oldies, MySpace and Friendster.
To this day I’m still flabbergasted, but grateful, at A) what people will post on their social media accounts and B) that they don’t bother making their posts private. If you’re going to have a college photo promoting your keg stands from ’05 then you better get with Zuckerberg’s privacy changes in ’15 and turn those posts to private. If you’re too lax with your online presence then you’re probably not going to care that my five-year-old is in the crib playing WWE with my baby. Next.
3) Use your county’s clerk of court website to get the goods.
With just the first and last name of a candidate you can find out a bunch of nitty-gritty on them, such as arrests, driving violations, divorces, and evictions to name a few. I use the information I find on there to reconcile against what they fill out on the application and essentially get a sense of how forthcoming they are with their history.
I also appreciate the site being free. Many times I have been on a budget without being able to afford the substantial dollars it costs to get a full background check on someone. And so the clerk of court has been my savior. Oh really. You’re okay to drive my kids to the park and back? Well let me ask the officer that clocked you going 60 mph in a school zone back in ’08. Next.
4) Google the crap out of their name.
Thank goodness for Larry, Sergey, and the rest of the Google gang that came up with the necessary algorithms for me to conduct online investigations on candidates. (No thank you for making me waste time by constantly Googling my name for fun.) It’s nice to be able to look up someone’s digital fingerprint in cyber world. My most productive finds have been done by searching the candidate’s name followed by a certain piece of information they provide like home state, past school, and even their email. I don’t always get something salacious, but once I did find a candidate’s blog, which was full of her colorful, sexual, poetic license. Need I say more. Next.
And so as I prepare to dive once again into the nanny search I must remember that my refined system above works best in cohesion with the sixth sense. The information superhighway is no substitute for a mother’s intuition. So be mindful of that as you find a nanny for your family.
Pam Morales Worsham is a Peruvian-American and mom of two. She and her husband own a parasail company and live on Florida’s Space Coast.
Category: Guest Author