|Posted on November 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM|
Kevin and Marina Krim
On Friday, 25th october, I woke up early and logged in to check my e-mails as usual. It was in tears I read about the tragic incident in my own neighborhood, the Upper West Side about two children found stabbed allegedly by their trsuted long term, legal Nanny. A naturalized legal resident with a child of her own. When I started the business in 2007, my greatest fear was that I would place a unsafe caregiver in a private home. Following through a very long and gruelling process with each of the applicants considered by Mom to Moms along with a open dialogue with my Clients who work very hard along side me, to date, I have not had any surprises. I do not trust anybody except my Clients, the NYPD , FBI, and my amazing business attorney Charles Gaynor when it comes to the screening process, irrespective of how great the references are of an applicant.
Over the five years I have been screening applicants who wants to work in child care, I have met in person 1000s, but only a handful has got placed. I would say one out of every 100 applicants or more would be successful at being placed by Mom to Moms. Some I never see again and many are unsuccessful at following through a very long, gruelling screening process in place. Vast majority of my Client base are attorneys, doctors and investment bankers who are very smart themselves and having met them all in person to begin the process, we establish a very open, honest dialogue between Mom to Moms, the family and the applicants. Unlike other service providers, my search process does not run on the clock - the quickest I have placed a Nanny is within 3 days, but am known to spend on occasion weeks and months in searching and screening to ensure we have done everything possible to ensure an applicant is safe to be working with children in a privare home setting.
In today's fast paced moden life in the Western world, a lot of families are liviing away from their extended family or in some cases, there is no family members around to help out with child care. Even if a parent is not working, we are today expected to do so much more than a parent from a generation ago starting from facing the challenges of running our homes along side with raising our children, participating in schools, meeting family commitments and ensuring we remain sane. Raising a family in Manhattan has its unique challenges. From the day you give birth, after a day, you are sent holding a baby with no post partum care offered by the State. So, unless you can afford paid help, you are left holding a newborn, now knowing what to do next. If you then survice the post partum period without developing post partum depression, then the next challenge would be facing the challenging process to secure a pre-school place, a day care or a Nanny and still be able to pay your mortgage or your rent in Manhattan. Even if you do secure a place in a private pre-school for your child which has a range of fees between $15-40k per annum, you are still expected to particiapte in your child's school as often as every other week and also to be able to make donations - preferably more than the Jones' and the Smiths' otherwise your child might not get preferential treatment as the high donaters:)
Hats off to those parents who can juggle it all without hiring help, but most of us need to hire help to remain happy and sane. I am a true believer in doing everything possible to stay a happy Mom and encourage all my girl friends and Clients to do the same. As if Mamma is not happy, then no one is happy. I chose to hire help even before I started my business and ofcourse it was a luxury, but looking back, I also feel it was a real need as I was able to work on myself, the woman I was before I became a parent which is so very important.
Whether you are a stay at home parent, a work at home parent or a full time working parent, it is ok to hire help. This tragic incident should not deter you and make you feel guilty about having help or should lead you to be more anxious and paranoid if you are considering hiring help. There are good, credible, trustworthy caregivers out there and provided you allow sufficient time to screen and check out an applicant, you would have done everything possible to ensure he or she is safe with your child.
It is important to work out a schedule with your caregiver that is sustainable in the long term and to maintain an open dialogue and regular meetings to discuss your child's development goals, any concerns either you or the caregiver has and also to drop in at unexpected times to be drop in on your caregiver to see if he or she is conducting themselves around your child the way you expect him or her.
Since this tragic incident, I was asked whether psychological testing in addition to the tools I currently use would help to weed out applicants who could develop mental illness. The answer is NO - no one can predict mental illness in an individual and that would just be an expense parents can do without as it will not give you the guarantee you might be seeking about a caregiver.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCT is the best advice I can give you. I live, breathe and dream about my Clients. To me, their child and mine is all the same - and vast majority of my Clients have multiples just like me. I never rush through screening an applicant, however urgent a Client says his or her needs are and keep on emphasizing the importance of following the screening process through as thoroughly as possible.
Tomorrow, 8th November, 2012, I will be hosting a FREE Seminar on everything you need to know about hiring a Nanny - please join me!