Thursday, March 1, 2012

Massive Leaps of Faith

This week has included two leaps of faith that dwarf the previous $30 leap of faith.  Not only did we make these leaps of faith, but I actually didn't stress over them too much, which I perhaps think is more impressive.  [There's a question at the end of this that I'd love you to read if you have household employee experience! I'll stick it in big font too since this is such a long post. Pretty, pretty please ;-)]


First off, we have a nanny in place!  I had previously decided that getting a nanny in place for June 1 would simplify things a fair bit and wouldn't increase our costs too much and would definitely provide a greater chance for the situation to work.  Wanting someone to start June 1, we had been told that we should probably plan to start looking around April 1.  Great plan, right? 

Well, I am still on the forums for my local mothers of multiples (MoMs) group from last time and I get a digest a couple of times a day.  A week ago there was a message titled "Nanny Available in March".  The description was really positive, was specific to our area and seemed to fit what we were looking for.  I had had a friend recommend that talking to a couple nannies in the area could help us finetune our job description, so I decided to go ahead and contact the current employer to get information.  I gave her a little information about what we were looking for and she replied that she thought the nanny would be a great fit as she had previously cared for infant triplets along with a toddler sibling.

I talked to the current employer the next morning and the nanny really did sound like a great fit.  Her current employer thought that she would be good with an April 1 start date and she passed on my information to the nanny, who I am going to call Poppins since I'm not sure about the etiquette here.  The current employer also let me know what she was currently paying which was well below the price point we had expected.  Poppins called me and we talked during nap time of her current job and she sounded fantastic.  We arranged to meet at our hour the next afternoon to talk in more detail and have an initial interview.  Poppins and I discussed that as a compromise since we were shooting for June 1, we would employ her at her current rate until August 1 and then would give her a 20% raise.  Poppins left me with her resume and references.

Here's a brief summary of reasons that I was excited about her and willing to consider moving forward with an earlier start date.  She lives within three miles of us, has experience carrying for infant triplets plus a two-year-old, is organized by nature, I enjoy talking to her, has communication identified as her most important job characteristic, has availability for the hours we want, is within our price point, has great professional and personal recommendations and is already CPR and first aid certified.  In addition, she not only is ok with us doing things by the book, she prefers it!  She went to a year of culinary school and likes to do meal prep for the families she has worked for.  She is willing to do the meal planning for the meals during the day definitely and even dinners if we prefer.  She prefers to have responsibility for the children's clothing and laundry.  She grew up here and definitely has English as her first language, but is also fluent in Spanish.  And she liked the dogs!

Phrases in her reference letters include: ‎"remarkably caring and responsible", "household manager", "effortlessly holds their attention and with more patience than I can and I am their mother", "responsible and reliable", "universally punctual and flexible", "active with them", "initiates own crafts projects"

She didn't blink an eye when I told her that we didn't even have broadcast television either.  And her cell phone number?  The 7 digits that aren't the area code consist of six of the same number and the seventh being a multiple of that digit.  I had it memorized from the first time I dialed it!

Based on this first interview, we decided we did want to try to go ahead and hire her at the earlier April 1 date.  Then I spoke with her current employer and found out that in the week she had been on the market, she had NINE offers on the table.  Poppins had apparently liked us, but it definitely wasn't a shoo-in.  We decided that we didn't want to lose her, so we made two changes to our contract.  First, we made it so she starts on March 19 and second, we have the 20% increased pay beginning from day one.  After these changes, we moved to the top of her list and she was willing to move forward with a contract with us after a meeting of both entire families.  Apparently the fact that we seem like nice and good people and that she likes to be considered more an extension of the family than just an employee is what pushed us to the top.

Last night, we met with her along with her son and her husband at dinner time.  Her son is in kindergarten and a little over a year older than Trajan.  Those two boy shad the best time and really hit it off.  We all got off really well and so we are moving forward!

We decided that since Chiron is paid in daycare through the end of March, we will go ahead and leave him there for this month.  She will therefore be working at the house for two weeks with no kids.  Our plan is that she will use this time to work on the general organization of the house and some of the chaos that has grown since I went in the hospital (yes, a year and a half ago, don't judge).  It will also allow her to meet the maids that we have who come for a few hours every Friday morning without having the kids there.  And she is going to do some counting and measuring to help set us up to move towards babyproofing (wasn't necessary with Trajan, but is so necessary with Chiron).

Then, we will add Chiron at April 1.  We are thinking that we won't add Trajan even for after-school until he gets out for the year at the beginning of June, so her first day with both boys will be June 4.  Then, when the girls get here (see the leap of faith!), we will work them in some as well while both of us are in the house more in the months after they are born and then when Trajan goes back to school and we go back to work full-time in the offices, she will watch the three littles.

All seems great to me, but you can see that pulling Chiron out of daycare, giving an employment contract in which we require at least four weeks notice to terminate and committing to pay a full-time household employee is a very significant leap of faith.

Second leap of faith is a friend posted the following picture to Facebook on Tuesday:
 Along with the caption "Liz & Chiron at the registration table. (BEAUTIFUL belly).

It was tagged with my name and so it received very quick comments and feedback.  Up until now, I haven't really been discussing the fact that I was pregnant with people that I don't see.  I decided to just go with it and embrace the disclosure/sharing rather than censor or anything.  So, I posted a status that I was pregnant with the twins and soliciting more name thoughts.

Leap of faith!
And the question:

Since we are starting with a nanny in a little over two weeks, I have to get my household employer stuff in line.  I definitely have worked out the details of FICA, unemployment insurance (state and federal), withholding and the like in terms of the theory.  What I haven't figured out is the best way to implement.  As far as I can tell the options are: do it myself with spreadsheets and tracking, use a software product ( and Intuit seem to have one each) or use Breedlove.  It's a tradeoff of confidence, time and money... So, what do you do?  What do you suggest?  And ahhh!!!

I just realized that working on names counts as a leap of faith too!  While I have also thought in my head that they need names whether living or dead at this point, I really am thinking of them in terms of living, breathing babies as we discuss names!


  1. Congrats on all this great forward-moving stuff!!! Having someone in your home to care for your children is the best solution in my view of the world. And it sounds like you have found a gem that will soon be an extended member of your family. It's really nice that she'll be with you for the remaining months of your pregnancy and fully acclimated when your twins come home!
    Before we had an au pair (which is super simple paperwork) we had a nanny and I did all the calculations myself on an excel sheet...but that gave me a twitch. If there is a software that takes away some of the thinking and double checking, I'd go with that!
    Best wishes.

  2. No tips on the employee front, but congratulations on having the nanny in place and having it be so smooth and speedy!
    Very cute picture and belly!

  3. Aw, that's awesome! You should have fun with this experience as much as you can! I'm glad it's all working out :D

  4. She sounds like a perfect nanny.

    Yes, leaps of faith are scary.

  5. Intuit offers Costco members a 90 day free trial then the payroll service is $24 a month. They file all required taxes and provide all the forms. It works well.

  6. Congrats on all of these developments! For some reason my RSS reader did not give me your most recent posts so I am just getting caught up! Thrilled for your nanny find (sorry no help with the tax side of it) and your belly shots look awesome!!!