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It's Harder to Find a Nanny Than a Husband

Photograph by Getty Images

When I hit the ripe old age of 33, I had no dating prospects in sight after months of online dating and blind dates. I proclaimed to everyone who would listen that finding a husband was impossible. My married friends gave me nervous smiles and let me vent; my single friends agreed with my assessment and offered to buy me drinks. I held firm to my belief that finding a husband would be the most challenging thing I would ever do.

It was, until I needed to look for a nanny.

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Finding a caregiver for my kids has made the search for a suitable life partner look about as hard as finding germs at Gymboree. And my criteria for a husband were about as stringent as those I have for a prospective nanny. I’m not asking for the moon here—I just want someone with a little experience with kids who can help me out while I am at work. Sure, I’d love a non-smoker with a flawless driving record, and in a dream world I’d snatch up an early childhood development specialist who wants to spend her afternoons crafting with my children. Because of my professional obligations, I have to employ someone who is legally authorized to work in this country. I plan to pay the going rate, offer generous vacations, sick days and holidays and not be a psycho boss from hell.

Why is this so hard?

One candidate, whom I fell in love with on the phone, failed to show up for the interview.

I’ve met wonderful women who haven’t been good matches for us. Some of them don’t drive; some want more hours than I can offer; and still others didn’t click with me or my children. One candidate, whom I fell in love with on the phone, failed to show up for the interview. Another one wanted double what we could pay for only half the hours we needed. One of them demanded we promise her 50 hours a week, and I had to explain that I wasn’t going to be "Leaning In" quite that far.

Like online dating, I tried the services meant to link up nannies with families. And just like online dating, I scrutinized the pictures and the language in the profiles. I prayed to be open-minded, but struggled to picture myself hiring a woman whose most prominent features were her heaving cleavage and inability to write a sentence without an emoticon. The process was draining, demoralizing and time-consuming.

Just like dating.

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After talking to other mothers who’ve undertaken similar searches, I’ve decided it’s a toss-up whether it’s harder to find a husband or a nanny. I just hope I can find one before my kids are old enough to watch themselves.

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