The hidden costs of hiring a caregiver

When people talk about hiring a nanny vs. doing daycare for their young baby, they usually talk about the usual things, such as higher costs for a nanny vs. daycare, higher likelihood of being sick more often with daycare vs. at home with nanny, more flexibility with nanny vs. daycare, more socialization at daycare than at home with nanny, etc. Those are the usual topics and debates you will hear. You hear about the high rates that nannies charge. Some may tell you about costs you didn’t think about upfront, like insurance costs you will have to pay out of pocket, assuming you are paying your caregiver on the books. What you don’t hear about, though, are the hidden costs of having a nanny in your own home… like, an increase in purchasing household items like hand soap, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, and even wipes.

There’s really no way to get around telling your nanny to be less liberal about how much dish soap to use without coming across as cheap. There just isn’t. Realistically, she shouldn’t be using THAT much dish soap. I cook and prepare all of Kaia’s food, so she never has any pots or pans to clean. The most I ask the nanny to do is cut up food or peel fruit, plate it, warm it up, and serve it. So there’s just a small handful of dishes and utensils to be cleaned at each meal since Kaia started solids. Yet despite that, ever since starting solids, I cannot even believe how quickly we have gone through dish soap in this apartment. Once, I watched our nanny while washing dishes, and she used two massive squirts of dish soap just to clean TWO PLATES. I use barely a dime-size amount to clean 10-15 dishes; how can she possibly use that much soap to clean two of Kaia’s plates…?!

Chris has also recently pointed out to me that he doesn’t understand how we could already almost be out of our Costco box of wipes. The last time we restocked these was in October during our last Costco run. We only used one large packet out of ten in December since we were in Australia. So how did we possibly go through a thousand wipes, and we’re not even through March yet? And let me just say: the Costco wipes are extra large; they are more than enough for one pee diaper. And given we just sized Kaia up to the next diaper size, there’s more than enough room on the bigger sized diaper to handle wiping off residual poop prior to even using any diaper wipe. So you really only need one wipe (at most two for the huge poops/blowouts) to get her fully clean. I’m all about maximizing the things we buy, so since the beginning, I’ve gotten really good at minimizing the number of wipes we use and maximizing every last centimeter of space on each wipe to get her unsoiled. So where the hell did all our wipes go? Is our nanny just being super liberal about the wipes, too, and using one wipe for each centimeter of Kaia’s butt each diaper change? Or worse, is she using them for herself to clean her own hands…? I’ve also noticed parents and caregivers in public using diaper wipes for tasks just wiping their children’s mouth or hands. There are cheaper ways to clean your children’s faces and hands, people!!

Again, there’s no way to control for these things because you have no idea since you’re not there watching her every second. And to try to ask about it just makes you either come off as a micro manager and/or cheap. But… we suck it up because it’s our (privileged) choice to hire a nanny to care for our baby.

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