Note: Special thanks to our guest blogger, author Marta Perrone (The Professional Housekeeper). Marta is an expert in the household staffing industry. We are pleased to share her discussion on transitioning a nanny to the nanny/housekeeper role. Marta is a professional trainer of housekeepers, nannies and household managers.
A common difficulty when hiring a nanny is the discussion of what entails “light housekeeping”. Everyone has a different view on this, especially the nanny. The new mom has her hands full with a first child and is overwhelmed with the idea of caring for an infant along with cleaning and organizing a home. Her only hope is that the nanny she just hired will jump in and assist. Typically most nannies are asked to do “light cleaning” but would prefer that it be referred to as “household chores”. Somehow when a professional nanny hears the word “housekeeping” they cringe like having heard nails on the blackboard. You can call it anything you want; the bottom line is that it comprises the very basic concept of “cleaning” and is a mandatory function of nannies as it relates to the children.
So let’s break it down so we clearly understand what “Light Housekeeping” really means. Here is the list:
- Maintaining the child’s room and bath clean and organized*
- Cooking for the children and cleaning the kitchen after meal preparation – including sweeping floors and cleaning the breakfast table, washing necessary dishes, cleaning counters and removing trash
- Organizing the playroom, family room or any room where the children play
- Organizing and keeping toys sanitized
- Light dusting and vacuuming in rooms where children convene
- Laundry belonging to the children
*Sometimes a family has a housekeeper either 1-5 days per week who may be responsible for cleaning all the bathrooms and bedrooms. If so, then the Nanny would be relieved of this duty.
If a nanny is accustomed to doing these household chores and doesn’t have an issue with it, then as the children grow up and transition to full days at school, the nanny (with more time on her hands) may increase these efforts and become more of what is known as a “Full Charge Nanny/Housekeeper”.
After several years, often nannies become so close to the family that they choose to make this transition in spite of the change in responsibilities. However, if a nanny wants to primarily work with infants and toddlers without being overloaded with housekeeping, she will electively not make this transition and move on in search of a new family. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but rather solutions that match the needs, skills and desires of all parties involved.