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Should I Consider Hiring a Nanny Who Is a Mom?

You are preparing to recruit and hire a nanny.  What if a prospective nanny has small children of her own?  Should you consider hiring a nanny who is a mom?

From a legal perspective, many states have laws prohibiting employers from making adverse employment decisions based on an applicant’s motherhood.  Additionally, federal law may be construed to prohibit “employment discrimination” of this sort as well.  Thus, if you choose not to consider a prospective nanny solely because she is a mom, you may run afoul of both state and federal laws.

From a practical perspective, a nanny who is a mom brings with her a host of strengths and risks.  Let’s discuss those now.

Strengths.  A nanny who is a mom has an intimate working knowledge of the intricacies of raising kids: she knows what it’s like to walk in your shoes because she actually does walk in your shoes . . . in that she is a mom too.  If her kids are the same age (or nearly so) as your kids, your kids could make great new friends in their new nanny’s kids.  If her kids are older than your kids, her kids can be excellent role models for your kids . . . and additional eyes and ears for you and your nanny.

Risks.  A nanny who is a mom may miss work more frequently than a childless nanny because her kids have illnesses (i.e., the cold, flu, etc.).  What happens when the nanny’s kids don’t get along with your kids or are poor role models for them?  A nanny who is a mom may exhibit bias in favor of her own kids, thus disadvantaging your kids.  The larger number of kids in your home may be difficult for your nanny to supervise properly.  Additionally, if the nanny has older kids who come to work with her, your kids may feel that they have too many bosses (i.e., the older kids may behave in a supervisory manner toward your kids). 

In sum, you should consider your prospective nannies, moms and non-moms alike.  In considering your prospective nannies, you are well advised to look at the specific strengths and risks of each prospective nanny to determine whether each prospective nanny is a good fit for your family.

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1 comment to Should I Consider Hiring a Nanny Who Is a Mom?

  • Judy

    You have made the assumption that when you hire a nanny who is a mom, that you are getting the nanny’s children as well. This need not be the case, at least to start out or on a regular basis. Many working nannies have childcare for their own children and don’t expect their employer to solve their childcare problems for them.

    All of these issues need to be discussed long before the job starts. The interview questions you might legally ask if “What would be some reason that might prevent you from coming to work?” You should not ask “Do you have care for your children if they are ill?”, as you mentioned, that is a protected category.

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