Working From Home With A Nanny

Setting The Boundaries

I work from home. There is a pretty huge trend in moms trying to find a balance in their career and therefore trying to switch to a home office, but this was never my issue.

I’ve had my own home business (doing competitive intelligence) for nine years, so I had already worked out most of the usual kinks before my husband and two boys entered the picture. Now that I have my brood of boys, I think everyone will agree I’ve got the best of both worlds.

Hubby leaves for work at 8am. By 8:30, the boys are dressed and fed, and the nanny shows up to bring my eldest (he’s 3) to nursery school. The baby goes along for the ride. I wander up to my office with a cup of tea and sit down to check email, facebook and eventually get to work.

So I’m here when someone falls down, I’m here when first steps are taken, when art projects must be flaunted, when they wake up from naps and need a hug... it’s all pretty good. I even manage to get work done. But there are pitfalls to avoid with this lifestyle, and I’m not just talking about the relationship you develop with the contents of your fridge.

If you leave for the office in the morning, and leave your kids in the care of a nanny, I salute you. Most days I struggle to find time for a shower, never mind to actually get dressed into something presentable and put on lipstick. I don’t know how you do it! But when you stay home to work, and there is someone else in your house taking care of your kids, there are other challenges. When I hear crying, or a battle over nap or lunchtime, it’s really hard to stay rooted to my desk and not go running down to put in my mommy’s two-cents. But it’s essential.

You have to let your nanny have the same authority she would have if you aren’t there. You have to trust that she is going to do the right thing by your children. By all means, hang off the banister and eavesdrop every word, and talk to her later about how you would have liked it to go differently next time, but in front of the kids, she has to be the caregiver with the weight to call for time-outs, or compromise, or whatever it takes to resolve a situation.

If you get involved, you end up having your kids scream for you every time they aren’t happy with how something is going with nanny, and it’s hard to remain professional on a conference call when there are children pounding on your door so you can be the one to say if they get a treat or not.

When you “leave” for work in the morning, say “Bye guys! See you at lunch, have a great morning!” And then disappear. Your career and your nanny will thank you.

Krysta Davies Foss runs a business from home, doing market research for corporate clients. She researches her clients market space to figure out how they can be more competitive. She is on the board of her 3-year-old's nursery school, pastoral council at church, and is working on a tv show about terrorism. Mom of two gorgeous boys, wife to a loving and patient husband, Krysta lives in Toronto.