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Saturday 21 October 2017

Marisa Mackle: Mugging up on how to choose a nanny

I then had the daunting task of sorting through CVs to find somebody new. Now I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but the truth is everybody does -- which is why I always insist on a photo along with a CV.

I don't particularly mind if my nanny is more beautiful or has a better figure than me. However, what I do want is a friendly face because I feel that somebody with a friendly face will smile a lot at my son.

Apart from the bartender who claimed to have no childcare experience but "wouldn't mind giving it a go", I got plenty of CVs. It's a real sign of the times when you get more Irish nannies applying for the job than any other nationality. Believe me, this wasn't the case even a year ago. But some of the applicant photos looked like criminal mugshots.

Why would somebody wanting to work with children not even smile for a photo? The photo that made me laugh the most was one of a Dublin lass wearing a tank top and a mini, clutching a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and leaning against the sink in what looked like the ladies of a nightclub. I wondered if this was her idea of a joke.

Then there was the CV with the two girls wearing identical eyebrow rings. Oddly enough they stated in their CV that they didn't mind if they weren't paid just as long as they could be together. Honest to goodness!

Of course, I had a very definite type in mind: the nanny would be female and she would be quiet as I'm a writer and living with somebody loud would be my idea of hell.

Hiring a nanny is not the easiest thing in the world because this person is not just an employee; she lives with you, comes on holidays with you and puts your baby to bed most nights. She spends more time with you than any family member or friend. The last thing you want is to open your home and your life to somebody who isn't going to fit in.

One girl seemed fine on paper and looked normal enough in her photo. But during the interview all she wanted to know about was her time off and she made it very clear that she didn't want to be exploited. She never even asked to see the child.

I was beginning to lose hope when a lovely blonde Dutch girl turned up. She was well-dressed and immaculately turned out. The first thing she did was give my son a hug. He fell for her and so did I. She moved in with us the following afternoon.

Unlike the bartender, she doesn't know how to mix a cocktail. In fact she doesn't even drink. But she plays with Gary all day long and when I'm writing in the room next door I can hear him laughing out loud. It seems my boy has found his Miss Right.

Marisa hosts a one-day 'Write A Bestseller' course in Dublin, Saturday, October 16. Tickets €95, www.bigsmokefactory.com

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