For all practical purposes, your marriage is over – but you and your spouse still have young children whose needs have to be considered.
As their parents, one of your biggest concerns is probably providing a sense of stability for the kids as you work through this transition time. That means trying to keep child care as consistent as possible, so sharing the nanny (rather than each hiring your own) between two households seems to make the most sense.
Or, does it? Communication is key when you want to share childcare with your co-parent, and it’s not always easy to make things work.
What do you need to discuss with your co-parent?
With that in mind, the best piece of guidance you can follow is to try to sit down with your co-parent, table all other discussions and hammer out the following details:
1. How will the cost of the nanny’s salary and other benefits be divided between the households? What method of payment will be used to make sure the nanny is paid timely? If the nanny is provided a car for transportation, who will pay for its upkeep, insurance, registration and other costs?
2. How is the nanny expected to pay for child-related costs, like gas for the car when they’re being transported to their study sessions or dinner when they need to grab a bite after dance practice? If it’s a credit card, whose name will it be in and how will the bill be divided?
3. How will communications be handled with the nanny? In order to keep everybody on the same schedule and avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s wise to make use of technology – including online calendars or communication apps, but everybody needs to understand the system.
4. Can you keep the nanny out of the middle of your conflicts? Nobody is going to want to work with you or your children over the long-term if you and your co-parent are constantly warring for control over the kids, fighting over the nanny’s responsibilities, trying to coax the nanny to “take your side” in some custody dispute or using the nanny as a messenger.
If you’re very lucky, you already have an established nanny in place and that person will have enough confidence in their relationship with you to move forward as the situation develops. However, it’s definitely time to clarify their work agreement and make some compromises with your co-parent, where needed.