You can stamp your feet if you want. You can cry, sulk, even hold your breath until you turn blue. It won't help.
There is a nanny shortage afoot, and no amount of parental petulance will ensure that you can hire a nursemaid for your children."We can't possibly fill the demand," said Cathie Robertson, president of the International Nanny Association and a nanny-training instructor at Grossmont Community College near San Diego.
For each trained nanny, 25 to 250 families want one, said Robertson, whose group fields 15 queries daily from parents seeking more than a sitter or day care. "People are more willing to pay for excellent child care," she said.
They certainly do pay.
Terri Eurich, founder of the National Academy of Nannies Inc. in Denver, last month placed one graduate with a Connecticut family that pays $1,400 monthly. Plus major medical coverage. Including vacation provisions. Also, travel opportunities. "Those jobs are out there," Eurich said.
Nationally, average pay ranges from $200 to $300 weekly for trained, live-in nannies hired by couples who, between the two of them, earn at least $80,000 yearly, said Donna Dixon, an associate dean at the Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, Wis.
Nanny educators and placement-agency operators are hardly surprised by the dearth of trained nannies. More than 3.2 million mothers work outside their homes now. The U.S. Labor Department predicts that by 1995, 80 percent of women ages 22 to 44 will work outside the home, representing almost 15 million preschoolers.
"There are lots of babies. There are older, wealthier, dual-income people having babies," said Eric Miller, editor of Research Alert, a LongIsland magazine devoted to spotting and analyzing trends.
"Yuppies, as they've aged, buy service almost more than anything else. They don't like the paltry child care available. It's a recipe for a nanny," Miller said.
Susan Elsea, a suburban Detroit sales executive for American Express, considered a day-care center when she was pregnant. She envisioned wondering: "Are her diapers changed? Is she by herself in a corner?" By the time Carolyn was born seven months ago, Elsea had decided to hire a nanny.
"Day care - absolutely not. I just will not take her out of the house on those cold, blustery mornings. I wanted her here," she said. Fortunately, she said, she earns enough to pay for it.
Elsea used an agency rather than a classified ad to find her nanny. "The finder's fee is well worth it. The $1,000 was a drop in the bucket."
Agencies and schools, private and public, stress that nannies must be trained. A textbook is being written now for the fledgling field, and groups like the International Nanny Association are pushing standardized courses.
Training varies from 100-hour courses to two-year college associate degrees, but experts agree that nannies must know nutrition, child-care basics like when babies switch to solid foods, psychological and physical development, safety, telephone and table etiquette and how to handle emergencies.
"I would insist on training, but some families get so desperate that they don't," said Dixon, whose state school has a one-year program and also offers an associate's degree.
Linda Hice-Guastella quit law school to open her Nanny Network Inc. placement agency four years ago. Her applicant screening includes reference and police checks.
Barbara Taylor, president of the National Association for Family Day Care in Washington, D.C., makes the case for organized day care: Children in day care "get structure and the stimulation of playmates," she said.