Having a baby in Taiwan is an incredible experience – the perfect combination of high quality and low prices.
First we had 20 days in a postpartum center aka a luxury baby hotel. Then we had 20 days of in-home rent-a-Grandma.
After 2 weeks completely on our own, we have formally entered Stage 3… we hired a full-time nanny.
Hiring a Nanny
Hiring a nanny wasn’t something we were too sure about… is it a good idea? Justifiable? Reasonable? Will we be shunned by civil society or lose frugal street cred?
But then after a few sleepless nights and subsequent rough days, it became obvious that it is a GREAT idea!
So we signed a 3-month (extendable) contract with a Canadian-Taiwanese mother of 2. She had already been in our home a few times when we first left the postpartum center, so we were already mutually familiar.
Now she spends the full day with us, Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm. Her primary responsibility is caring for our baby, but she also helps out with laundry/dishes/etc…
We will all evaluate in 3 months if we want to extend. At this point Jr2 will be 5-months old and potentially (hopefully) sleeping through the night.
Cost & Alternatives
Total cost for our full-time English-speaking nanny (plus Mandarin, Cantonese, German) comes to 38,000 TWD/month (~$1,325 USD/month.) In addition, we either provide lunch or pay 100 TWD/day for food (~$3.50 USD.) This comes to about $7.65/hour.
According to the Internet this is around half the cost of a daycare center in San Francisco (data) but is 25% more than childcare at Jr’s Montessori school (30,000 TWD or $1,050 USD/month.)
Alternatively, a small in-home childcare (4 kids / 1 caretaker) might charge 20,000 TWD/month ($700 USD.)
Another common practice in Taipei is a 24/7 live-in nanny. As I understand it, this also costs between 20k-30k TWD/month ($750-$1,050 USD) plus room and board. Often these nannies are from from a nearby country (Philippines, Indonesia, etc..) and may have overstayed a visa…
And of course the ultimate alternative is to do everything ourselves, which is priced right but has it’s own cost. (This was our default with Jr as we were traveling extensively – he has now been to 40+ countries at age 5.)
Rest assured, whichever option we chose we can offset the cost with a nice $2,000 Child Tax Credit.
So Far So Good
Our main goal in hiring a nanny was to ensure adulting and childcare aren’t mutually exclusive. The idea is that we get to be nearly full-time parents and empowered individuals with lives, both.
This rules out childcare outside the home… we want to be together. Case in point, I’m writing this on my laptop on the sofa while the nanny is playing patty-cake-type games with the little one from a book she brought from the library (in Mandarin.) The closest thing I found in English is Miss Mary Mack… (Amazon affiliate link.)
Schedule wise, this is sort of how we spent time last Monday:
|6 am||Bike Ride||Eat|
|8 am||Breakfast & Bike with Jr to school / Get groceries||Bake bread||School||Poop (before nanny arrives)|
|9 am||Hang with baby|
(feed, change, bathe, play)
|10 am||Art class||Cry|
|11 am||Maybe write some stuff|
|4 pm||Pick up Jr from school|
Go to park
|5 pm||Jr drum class (bike to/from)||Drums|
|6 pm||Dinner||Dinner||Dinner||Cry during dinner|
|8 pm||Bedtime stories (English)||Bedtime stories (Chinese)||Bedtime stories (both languages)||Sleep|
|10 pm||More poop|
|11 pm||Bed||Bed||Cry some more|
Time outside the home highlighted in blue – total during school/nanny hours is maybe 2-4 hours/adult, with some overlap.
Because Winnie is breastfeeding, her schedule is less flexible and she is awake more often at night. My schedule is now revolving more around Jr’s activities.
* baby still not following the written schedule, will bring up at next family meeting
Having a nanny is really nice – we are able to have the best of both worlds, spending time as parents while also having some independence.
Things are a little more complicated with 2 children… with just 1 young child, we were able to roam the globe without limitation. If we didn’t sleep at night, we just napped during the day. Now our schedule is more rigid – Jr’s school doesn’t appreciate me napping past the end of the school day.
As we get more settled and the baby is able to sleep through the night, flexibility probably isn’t as important… we will assess in 3 months. But at these prices, I wouldn’t mind continuing for much longer.