Hiring a nanny online is like online dating. I was always thankful that I met my husband in the "olden days", before online dating was a thing, and I did not have to suffer through the uncertainty that nobody can vouch for that person, that I will be stood up, that the online profile will not match with reality.
When we spoke to our friends with any experience about hiring help, everyone told us that they use care.com. Ironically, this is the same organization that a school suggested for hiring a shadow, so I figured they must have a very wide pool of applicants. I took a plunge, wrote a posting and got my husband to look it over. He said: "It sounds nice, but where are we going to find a person like that?" I sent it out there into the cyberverse, together with a small prayer.
Within 24 hours, we started getting responses. There were people out there who were interested! And some of them sounded normal enough and qualified enough. Some were weird, some sent a generic response, some did not have hours that matched our needs, and one person was almost stalking. But there seemed to be people who looked promising. Now, as with online dating, there was a question of safety, and a question of disclosing a bit too much information too soon. I tried playing it safe: meet at the park, and try not to disclose my phone number.
We scheduled the meeting time for this morning. I figured that there were no coop classes, and my husband was off, so it should work for both of us to be at the park, for the kids to play (hopefully with other kids), and for us both to feel out the candidates.
The first blow was the realization that one out of three did not respond that she is willing to meet us. Then, I heard from a few homeschool moms that they will not be making it, so no friends for kids to play with. Next, as we were getting ready to go, the sky grew dark, and unmistakable rain came down. I figured, I will call the first person and ask her to meet us in the rec center instead, so the kids can stay indoors. When we got there, there was no sight of her. I tried calling her; no response. I left messages, my kids played Foosball, 1 yo played with his usual toys. At least the rec center staff was nice about us just hanging out there.
Then I tried contacting the second person, for whom I did not have a phone number. I sent her a message through the website, telling her that we are waiting indoors. Time was ticking by. My husband said that we should wait the full half an hour, give her a chance.
Oh, this was ridiculous. We do not have so many mornings off, and I felt stood up, just like on a date. We could have done so many things with those killed hours. Moreover, we are exactly where we started, looking for that outside help.
In the defense of the second person, she did call me later that afternoon, apologizing, and saying that she had car trouble. We rescheduled for Friday morning. I will not have my husband along, which increases my anxiety about making a a desperate choice, and just grasping the first person who bothered to show up as promised.
So we are back to online dating (for nannies). We are scared of what it will cost us, but we seem unable to get to the point where this would figure as part of a discussion.
In a funny twist, after all our morning adventures, 8 yo did his usual allotment of work in record time and with positive attitude. It took him less than an hour, maybe even half an hour? So pleasant, and so surprising. 10 yo, meanwhile, decided that HE will play the role of an uncooperative child, sulking and complaining, with outbursts about "grueling work". I cannot have it nice on both fronts, can I? Maybe, when 8 yo cooperates, 10 yo has a space to release his frustrations. But why do they all get released on me?