Perhaps you know the feeling. It’s the end of a long work week, and you’ve finally put the kids to bed. And what awaits? No, not a chance to binge-watch the latest Netflix comedy or, even better, get some quality time with your partner. Instead, you need to make sure that scheduled deposit went through, RSVP for your son’s school friend’s birthday party, put away toys from this afternoon, wash the dishes, make the kids’ lunches for tomorrow, call the doctor about that last bill, and if you’re lucky, maybe get a little sleep in there somewhere.
What you might need is a nanager.
What is a nanager?
Part nanny, part household manager, a nanager is a nanny who also helps manage the house, taking care of everything from cleaning to even budgeting and financial planning. He or she is almost like a butler-fixer hybrid who also changes diapers, like a wild combination of Michael Clayton, Mr. Belvedere and Mary Poppins.
The concept started in Australia, where an enterprising nanny realized she had organizational skills that went beyond her duties as a nanny. She coined the term, and it’s been spreading ever since.
Wait. What’s a household manager?
The term gained attention recently when Gwyneth Paltrow described someone on staff that way to a writer, who then wondered how this person was different from a butler. (In Gwynnie’s case, it seems like the difference was essentially in the title.)
But it is a real thing that can really be useful to real people like yourself, even if (especially if?) you didn’t star in Shallow Hal. Think of a household manager as someone who takes care of things that you lack either the time, the inclination, or the aptitude to handle yourself. For example, scheduling doctor’s appointments or tracking your household budget. All those supposedly little things that actually add up to a serious chunk of your time and energy.
Just know that household managers don’t come cheap: According to Care.com, they can make between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.
So how do I find a nanager?
Given that particular portmanteau is still gaining traction, you probably won’t be able to just google your hometown and “nanager” and go from there. (In fact, you’ll likely encounter your search engine asking you if you meant to search for “manager.”)
Instead, head to a site like the aforementioned Care.com—a great spot to find people to take care of your kids, either regularly or on one-off occasions—and start searching for people whose skills match your needs. Budgeting, for example.
As with hiring a nanny, you’ll then go through the usual system of interviews, reference checks, seeing how the caretaker gets along with your child, etc. Depending on what management needs you have, you’ll also likely want to have a frank talk about what the role entails. And if your needs include exchanging private information—for example, disclosing your income for budgetary purposes—you’ll want to be extra-sure this is a person you can trust.
Do I need a nanager?
This is really something you alone can decide. One way to think about it is to ask how much an hour of your time is worth in terms of dollars-and-cents. If you can afford, and justify, paying another person to take care of things, then it might be worth it—especially if the upshot is spending more of that precious little free time with your family.
This much is clear, though: More Americans are working longer, harder hours than ever. Getting help with the things that cause you stress and confusion could allow you to focus on the things that really matter. Namely, yourself and your family.
Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children. This article is sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency. Opinions are his own.