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The Difference Between a Household Assistant and a Nanny

Jeff:
What is the difference between hiring a household assistant instead of a nanny? This is something that we actually care about, something that we do. But Jeremy, before I kind of share my thoughts, what would you say on this? Or why is this a topic for today?

Jeremy:
Yeah, so oftentimes when people think about getting help in the home, one of the first positions that our culture tends to think about is the nanny. So you’ve got lots of littles and you’re like, “Ah, I’m overwhelmed.” And so oftentimes, you will think about that position, but what both the Bethge’s have done and our families have done and lots of people that we know, we’ve transitioned from that being kind of the go to, sort of first place to get help, and have moved to something that we like to call the household assistant. So this is somebody who… the big difference is a nanny’s primary responsibility is to take the kids so that you can do something else. A household assistant’s primary responsibility is to do household tasks so you can spend time with your kids. That’s the difference. And a lot of times we don’t think about it this way.

Again, this is a cultural thing where we automatically think, okay, nanny, that’s what you need when you’re overwhelmed at this stage. But what oftentimes you’re overwhelmed with is all those sorts of tasks, right? The shopping and the cleaning and the laundry, and it can be having another extra pair of hands to help you with the kids. But instead of thinking of this as a way to spend less time with your kids, is there a way that a household assistant, who’s much more sort of multifaceted, is really helping you figure out how do we really thrive as a household holistically? What kind of tasks would we want to give to that person so that we could spend more time together as a family? And sometimes that even means integrating that household assistant into some of those family activities. So this is, I think, a lot more creative and more helpful way to think about getting some help in the home. If you find you’re getting super overwhelmed and in order for you to really thrive in this season, you need some help. So Jeff, you guys have worked on this a lot.

Jeff:
Yeah. We’ve done the exact same thing. And I think it’s just so helpful because like you said, it’s just a different… You need help either way and I think it’s interesting that we default to helping with the kids. When I think that just says something sometimes to us about what we feel about kids and the burden of kids and how we want to work more. There’s some other implications there that I think we all have to wrestle with. But one thing I’ll say that it helped for us is once we shifted to saying like, “Oh no, let’s just get mainly help with the stuff that’s burying us so that then… ” Here’s what I’m trying to say. I think what’s really interesting about it is when you do get a household helper instead of a nanny, it changes how you start to even view the kids. If that makes sense.

Because it’s really easy for when everything’s drowning for you then to be more short, you to be more impatient, you to be more disgruntled and grumpy and all that stuff. And so I noticed immediately once we started kind of optimizing or getting help, our money we would have spent on a babysitter or a nanny, putting that money towards laundry, groceries, food, car maintenance, the stuff that’s annoying that we all have to do once we have kids still. I started to feel a lot more free and less burden, which then gives you a different kind of demeanor with your own kids. So there’s kind of like a little domino effect that I think is really, really important that people have to think about because it is really hard to carry the whole household and all it takes for a household to run. Because once you start having multiple kids, it does start to feel like a mini organization.

It has maintenance, it has things, it has goals. It has a bunch of different spinning plates. And so why not have someone take away some of those spinning plates, but instead of it being the kids. And so that’s what I would encourage you guys with this. What does that look like? Not everyone… We’re not always in a season where we can say like, “Oh yeah, let’s afford that financially. Let’s put some finances towards that.” And some of you guys might not be as well, but there are seasons where we are and we can move things around. We can shift things around. But one thing I would say is if you’re spending any type of money on your children for nannying or for babysitting or whatever, can you immediately look at that money and say, can we actually optimize this money in a different direction to actually optimize the home, which then frees us up to spend time with the kids. And that’s just a fun conversation to have and something that’s very different and unique for a lot of couples.

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