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A Nanny Is Not A Housekeeper

A Nanny and a Housekeeper are both domestic workers employed by individuals to work in private homes. Essentially that is where the similarities end, so why do these two professions so easily get mixed up? This is a point of concern for both families and nannies to be clear on what a nanny is and is not, and what her job description entails. A professional Nanny has gone into this field because of her love for children not because she enjoys cleaning houses. Simply put if cleaning houses was something, she wanted to be doing she would be working as a housekeeper not as a nanny. So often this line gets blurred and crossed when it comes to parents’ expectations of their nannies’ tasks. Think about this scenario for a moment: It is Saturday afternoon and you are alone with the kids and need to run some errands. Your housekeeper is cleaning your home. Would it even cross your mind to ask her to babysit your children while you run errands? Definitely not! So why is it that families often ask nannies to take on tasks of a housekeeper? Let’s discuss tasks that are a part of being a nanny.

As an in-home childcare provider your nanny works hard. Her day is demanding as she tends to the needs of your children. Professional nannies expect to help out with child related tasks. Doing children’s laundry, changing the diaper genie bag, restocking the diapers and wipes in the changing area, cleaning bottles, preparing children’s meals, cleaning up after children’s meals, picking up after themselves, cleaning up any spills that happen, helping to keep the playroom tidy, perhaps even setting aside outgrown clothing for you to donate or save. Keep in mind that these are things that you should not leave for your nanny to do on Monday if they need to be done over the weekend. For example, if the diaper trash bag is full take it out, don’t leave it for her to do. She will take care of it when it is full while she is on duty.

What should you not be expecting or asking of your nanny? Basically, any other chores that do not fall into being directly related to your child. Even if they are for the children be reasonable. If you trash the playroom on Sunday take the time to clean it up. Your nanny does her best to leave things tidy at the end of her shift and parents should do the same. Do not ask your nanny to clean out your fridge, vacuum, dust, sweep, mop, scrub bathrooms, wash windows, and do not leave your dinner dishes and expect her to wash them the next day. All of these things are taking advantage of a professional nanny and quickly turn into having an unhappy nanny. In reality a nanny spends much of her day cleaning up after messes and meals without being expected to do housekeeping tasks. Often nannies will lend a helping hand by running the dishwasher or unloading the dishwasher if it needs it during their time, but please be sure to do it as well and not leave it for them. Nannies should not be asked to prepare food for the whole family, or to do the parents laundry.

The reasoning for this is very simple. They are two different professions, and they come with two different costs. A housekeeper often has a higher hourly rate, or charges based on the size of the house and schedules her day accordingly. You are paying your nanny for her services as a nanny to care for your children. Often nannies will want their specific tasks listed in the contract so that you are on the same page. Some nannies are willing to take on some extra duties for more money, but again unless your nanny has made this desire clear, many do not want to be cleaning and that is absolutely acceptable! It is for this reason as well that when the children are napping, your nanny should be able to take a break, relax, read, study, eat, some families even encourage napping. You could easily burn out a wonderful nanny by filling her down time with busy work. During this time, you are paying her for just that, her time, which just like yours is valuable.

The best scenario for everyone is to have both a nanny and a housekeeper. By hiring each of these professionals you can be sure that each of them is performing their job at their best which keeps your home running smoothly!


By: Anne-Marie Ferraro