Nannies: Live-Out Versus Live-In

Contributed by Ayo Iyiola-Olumide

Times have really changed, our great grandparents will be amazed at how this generation of kids are being raised. Half a century ago, hiring a nanny was not as common as it is today. Even with more families having fewer kids and the automation of house chores, we have gradually grown to be very dependent on nannies. It is almost tipping to the extreme as the next generation do not have any inkling of how to take care of themselves or help out at home.


At the different stages of our journey of motherhood, we shift gears between having live-in or live-out nannies. Some have had really bad experiences and vow they will never have a stranger share the same roof with them. Others are not as risk averse or are desperate and do not mind anyone taking the work load off them.

As the Chinese proverb says, ‘you need a village to raise a child’. Part of that village includes having a nanny but one has to be very careful. With recent news of kids being abducted even from churches, one needs more than a background check before you open your doors to this new addition to your family.

Live-in nannies are great especially when the kids are very young. They are handy to pick up after you, help with the newborn as you recover from pregnancy and delivery. They soon take up the demanding task of raising and nurturing the child if and when mummy needs to get back to work. Many mums are wiser these days and would opt for their kids to be at a crèche than stay home alone with this stranger.

Over the years, most mums have relinquished most of their roles to these live-in helps, hopefully they are not losing more than they are trying to gain. The nannies practically do everything except that the kids do not call them ‘mummy’. The kids are so close to the nannies. I am sure you would have heard of babies who refused to be carried by their mums who returned from work later in the day or kids who drew their nannies as part of a family picture when asked for a drawing in school.

A nanny who lives out has little or influence on your kids. You can plan her chores such that she comes in when the kids are not around. Kids are watching and learning daily and one has to ensure the people you allow your kids to be with must add value and be strong role models.

Influence is subtle. Won’t you be surprised if your kids start behaving in a certain way or saying some strange words. No one teaches the kids what not to say, they just pick up these things as they go along and the result is clear to everyone. Sending your kids to the best schools is not enough if the child minder is not a good influence.

BondingSome kids even make an artwork at school and get home excited to show their nannies they made it for them. Kids are innocent and they will cherish those closest to them who care for them. Live-in nannies have a tendency to stunt the kid’s growth. This nanny would even feed them, take their plates to the kitchen and clean up after them. She would pick them in school and carry their bags and bottles as the kids walked empty handed to the car.

A lady who asked her nanny to leave was surprised her kids could bath, brush their teeth and dress up independently. They never had the opportunity to practice as this nanny did everything. Like a baby always pushed about in a pram every day, no one knew she could walk.

You never know how much you could save if you switch to a live-out nanny. You go shopping and you are buying stuff for the kids, you just hurriedly get something for her so she doesn’t get jealous and start acting funny to you or your kids. With domestic abuse on the rise even with younger kids, a live-in nanny poses a lot more risk.

Some live-in nannies go no further beyond their room outside the house and the kitchen. Others have free reign in the whole house, maybe weekly access to madam’s room. You lose your privacy when you have a live-in nanny. They listen in to your phone conversations unless you both speak different languages. They share your gist with the driver. They know when and where you are going on holidays. They may even know or see you and your spouse have an argument. A lady said her nanny told her she noticed her hubby had got a new pair of shoe while she cleaned their room.

Live-in nannies are not as efficient as those who live out, they have the whole day to do whatever they want to do. Apart from the peak periods when the kids leave and return from school, they might as well be sleeping or watching TV. They may even feel entitled to more as they feel they have left everything behind to serve you.

Why pay for a stranger to stay over in your home to wash clothes manually, go shopping or take the kids to school when you can do your laundry with a washing machine, buy your groceries online or let your kids join the school bus. Whatever your live-in nanny is doing at the moment can be done differently, you only have to explore other ways to do it.

Nannies that live out come in for a few hours a number of times a week. They come in, do their work and leave. There isn’t any familiarity and keep up a minimum level of professionalism. They do not see you shopping and become sassy and start threatening for a pay increase.

Putting lots of tasks on the nanny is also unfair. Some require their nannies to do the meals, laundry, cleaning besides getting the kids ready for school, babysitting, checking that the homework has been done. This is a daunting task. Some mums might even scream and threaten to send the nannies away if they cannot keep up.

Never forget that the nanny is just there to pick up the extras and not there to oversee affairs in your home. Mums please wake up and take control of your home. Spend quality time raising your kids. You cannot pass that on to anyone. You will be responsible for who your kids become tomorrow.

Some mums in unique situations definitely require much more help as they are either disabled or have had multiple births but if you are not in that category, get actively involved in taking care of your kids and managing your home while the back end is left for the nanny.

Many mums are exploring new ways to manage their home, why not talk to other mums to see what they are doing differently and give your kids more tasks to do as they grow older. So whether, your nanny shares a roof with you or not make sure, she is adding value, is efficient and does not have any negative influence on your kids.

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