Nanny Job Duties and How They are Different From Housekeepers

Joint Conclusions from MBF and our Nannies

A big topic of conversation right now among the nanny community is distinguishing their duties from that of a housekeeper. Nannies are frustrated about what parents expect, and we, too, often get calls from potential client families asking for a person who will cook, clean, AND care for the kids. We have to educate parents and reset expectations, giving the industry perspective on what it means to be a nanny, and what areas are off-limits.

Some families are understanding, and others do not choose to work with Mom’s Best Friend, but we are firm because we value all of you as professional nannies. We asked our nannies to provide some of their thoughts regarding appropriate job duties for the Nanny industry. The input we received was so helpful, and it reinforced many of our assumptions.

Here are a few conclusions we came to based on our initial outreach + the responses.

The definition of a true nanny:
  • Providing all care, including dressing, changing, putting down for naps (depending on age), etc.
  • Engaging the children in indoor and outdoor activities, such as books, music, walks, play, arts/crafts, tummy time (baby), games, activities, etc.
  • Keeping the common areas and children’s area tidy (e.g., wiping down counters, loading/unloading dishwasher, cleaning/sterilizing bottles for babies, doing children’s laundry)
  • Preparing children’s meals and snacks
Certain tasks that are hard nos/off-limits for most of you:
  • Deep cleaning kitchen, bathrooms, toilets, etc.
  • Dusting
  • Outdoors cleaning – patio, patio furniture
  • Emptying litter boxes or picking up animal waste in the yard
  • Vacuuming, Mopping, Sweeping, or Swiffering – unless it involves taking care of a mess made by children
  • Pet care (letting in/out and refilling water bowl was fine for most of you if it was in job description)
  • Making beds (unless it’s the children’s)
  • Family laundry
  • Organizing (unless it’s the children’s rooms/items)

There are a number of other duties that you all were open to, as long as the expected duties are spelled out. This gives the nanny a chance to choose – or not choose – to apply for a position, knowing all that it entails. Child-related duties should typically outweigh non-child-related duties, and they should be realistic in terms of the ability to complete, as nannies need to keep their eyes on the child(ren). They should also be compensated accordingly as the list of extras grows. Nannies are concerned that if they do something once to be nice (taking out the trash if it’s full or doing a sink full of dishes), it will become an expected part of their job.

If any of you have questions or concerns about your specific position and would like to chat, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our team members.

Thank you all for taking the time to reply to us, and we hope to keep the conversation ongoing!