The roles of a nanny and a housecleaner are vastly different, yet oftentimes these two roles get mixed up. It can be easy for some to do. A client may see the nanny changing a child’s diaper or helping clean the room and think that the nanny is available to clean the rest of the house. However, this negates the important functions of a nanny’s job.
Imagine for a moment how a school operates. A teacher and a janitor have two very different roles. The teacher works with the children and is educated to help children develop. While a teacher may help clean up after students, the janitor and custodial team are the individuals that are tasked with cleaning the classroom and the rest of the school.
While some nannies enjoy using their talents to help cook and do light cleaning, when a nanny pursues a career as a nanny, cleaning a house is not the main function of their career choice. Children are better off when a nanny spends his/her time with them. Parents should ensure that their nanny is working with children rather than without them.
While children need some time to play on their own, positive child development occurs when a child is being interacted with. Cleaning is a never-ending task that is best tackled by a trained house cleaner. Keeping one’s nanny happy is vital for a positive childcare experience. A nanny who feels respected and cared for will do far more than a nanny that is seen as a jack of all trades, or whose childcare experience is diminished by having to do menial tasks.
The wages of a nanny versus a housekeeper can be vastly different. If the nanny desired to clean the home, they would likely go into housekeeping rather than childcare. This is not to say that nannies should never clean. It can not be denied that there is some cleaning involved in the job of a nanny. Oftentimes, it’s a lot of cleaning. Children are messy, and in many homes, most of the messes are a result of a growing child. Taking care of spills, cleaning up toys, wiping messes, and helping clean the child’s dishes are all a part of the nanny’s job. However, scrubbing toilets, vacuuming, dusting, doing the family’s laundry, cleaning out bathtubs, washing the entire family’s dishes, and cleaning out the fridge are separate tasks that do not fall into the realm of childcare.
Likewise, a nanny should not be expected to clean up the messes that children make while the nanny is not “on the clock.” Saving messes that are made when the nanny is not working only places an additional burden on the nanny and takes time away from the children. The entire point of hiring a nanny is to have someone to interact with and spend time with your children. To take away from this precious time, one is only doing themselves a disservice.
Time is a limited commodity, and time spent caring for the home takes away from time caring for the child. Expecting a nanny to do housework takes away from time devoted to your child’s development, learning, and happiness. Children like to be played with, taken outside, talked to, and entertained. If a nanny is busy with housecleaning, the child is the first to suffer. Even if the parents are home and interacting with the child, it is not fair to place the burden of caring for the home on the nanny. Asking nannies to do the housework only diminishes the number of skilled nannies that are on the market. One negative nanny experience can cause a nanny to leave the profession and do something else. This is a shame because quality nannies go through a lot of training and professional development and to lose one comes at a loss for the entire profession.
If you are not sure whether you would rather have a nanny or a housekeeper, consider weighing your needs and budget, or hiring a housekeeper for part of the week and a nanny for the other part of the week. Understanding that a nanny is not a housecleaner will help you foster a more beneficial client-nanny relationship that will help ensure that the nanny’s role is best fulfilled.