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Why families are opting for dayburgs instead of live-in nannies

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It is a narrative of new choices, emerging preferences, and a reimagining of childcare in today's fast-paced world.

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Step into the world of modern parenting, where a quiet revolution is taking place: the shift from full-time nannies to day burg nannies. This change hasn’t just been influenced by schedules and availability, it is a profound reflection of evolving lifestyles, parenting priorities and a new understanding of what it means to balance work and family.

But what really drives parents to choose day burgs over live-in nannies? From the desire for more flexible childcare solutions to concerns about privacy and the importance of socialisation for children, we explore the multifaceted reasons behind this growing trend. It is a narrative of new choices, emerging preferences, and a reimagining of childcare in today's fast-paced world.

Meet Gladys Wainaina, a mother of a one-year-old infant. Right from the beginning, even before she gave birth, she was more inclined towards walk-ins than full-time nannies.


Gladys Macharia, a mother of one, has never employed a full-time nanny. 

Photo credit: Pool

Her decision to choose a daytime nanny over a live-in nanny was driven by a desire to preserve private and intimate family moments. Additionally, she harboured concerns about full-time nannies potentially sharing personal information with neighbours.

"You see, the moment you let them in, they will see almost all sides of you and your husband. For instance, I really fear them sharing our misunderstandings with our neighbours," says Gladys.

Coupled with her desire for privacy, her decision was also influenced by a scare stemming from a troubling experience a friend had with a full-time nanny. This incident reinforced her preference for a daytime nanny.

"This nanny crept out of the house late at night, leaving the gas open. With this in mind, I imagined a disagreement taking place during the day between me and her, only for her to do something that would hurt us in retaliation. I shiver just thinking about it," she explains.

Additionally, the news about the chilling death of Kilifi County Chief Officer, Rahab Karisa, at the hands of her live-in house-help, reinforced Gladys’ decision never employ a full-time nanny.

However, in spite of this, her journey with dayburgs has not been without hiccups along the way.

"The very first time, after I delivered my child around October 2022, my house-help requested that I let her travel in early December since she wanted to visit her children for a week. She brought in a friend to step in for her, but she was not a good worker. She only pretended to be working when she saw me," she narrates.

Tired of the substandard work, and the failed promise of return of the first dayburg, Gladys looked for another help.

"The first house-help returned shortly after I hired someone else and begged me to reinstate her, but I refused, unfortunately, the one that replaced her had side hustles that made it impossible to give my house enough attention, so I sacked her,” she says.

She eventually got another, whom she has been with up to date.

"She comes to my home only three times a week to clean the house, clothes and shoes," explains Gladys.

Like her, Gloria Muthoni, a mother of two, aged three and two, has always preferred dayburgs to full-time nannies. This she attributes to having personal reservations as far as her ‘me-time’ is concerned.

Though she enjoys the help that comes with having someone assist you with household chores, Gloria feels that night-time is her designated time to fully relax and not have to behave in a certain way because there is another adult in the house.

"I've always been of the idea that it is important to have a healthy work-life balance, which is difficult when you have a full-time nanny because you will have pulled them away from their world, and they have to adjust to your world in every way. They have to conform themselves to your schedule, rules and way of life generally," she elaborates.

An engineer with a strict 8am to 5pm schedule, those nine hours are fully dedicated to her employer's needs, and it is only after she clocks out from work that she sets aside her professional responsibilities and wears her mom/wife hat.


Gloria Muthoni, an engineer, is a mother of two toddlers.

Photo credit: Pool

Gloria notes that all the dayburgs she has had so far have a different personality from hers.

"Do not get me wrong, there are times we can chit chat, but only to a certain extent to avoid breeding familiarity."

Despite their differences, she goes out of her way to ensure a smooth coexistence. During the day, when her dayburg is present, Gloria is careful to create a comfortable atmosphere, permitting her to carry out her chores without supervision and occasionally engaging in conversation, especially if she is working from home.

The daily routine is structured so that her workday wraps up by 4.30pm.

"If she finishes her work earlier than this, she looks for something else to do, but if I'm around, maybe on leave or even working from home, I release her early," she adds.

But there is a downside to such an arrangement, such as being unable to attend work-related events outside office hours, for example.

“Also, whenever she has issues, either domestic or, say, when one of her children is sick, I have to fill in the gap, which becomes difficult when I'm extremely swamped by work. At first, it was happening too frequently, eventually, we agreed that on days when she needed to care for her child, she would bring her with her to work, unless she was hospitalised.”

Though this arrangement places more responsibility on her, Gloria says that accommodating her dayburg’s needs allows her to ensure her work is done, even as she tends to her child.

Unlike Gladys and Gloria, Peris Mwangi, a mother of two, a three-year-old and a one-year-old, has experienced both groups of house helps.

At first, she had a full-time nanny whom she stayed with for two years until her familiarity bred contempt.

"She became disrespectful and contemptuous towards me and I let her go," she begins.

For Peris, the straw that broke the camel's back was when the said nanny posted ill things about her on social media, besides bad-mouthing her to her in-laws.

"When we would go visit my in-laws, she would come along, eventually she got to know them and they would communicate. I got to know about it, but the last straw was when she started to constantly post on social media how hard her life was," says Peris, adding that before this, the house-help would post photos of her children on social media, something she did not approve of.

"The first time I saw my child on her social media account, I asked her to pull the video down and warned her against repeating it, but she kept doing it," she says.

After terminating her contract, Peris says that hiring another full-time nanny briefly crossed her mind but she quickly discarded it and opted for a dayburg instead.

"I thought and still hold the opinion that it makes more sense to be more independent as a family. When you live fulltime with an employee, you are bound to lock horns from time to time,” she explains.

Drawing from her experience, Peris believes that a harmonious relationship is more likely with a dayburg since at the end of the day, everyone retreats to their loved ones.

Additionally, there is less time overlap between the employer and the employee, since each one of them is not in the business of the other.

"Her relationship with us involves reporting in the morning, doing the household chores, tending to and feeding the children, and then leaving once we get home from work," she explains, but like other mums who prefer such an arrangement, one of her challenges is having to step up more in the running of the household, alongside her responsibilities at work.

Peris attributes her good and respectful relationship with her dayburg to mutual respect and offering fair compensation.