When you hear someone say “I am a nanny,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? What ideas and preconceived notions pop up in your brain? Do you assume this person has an “easy” job? Do you think that this person doesn’t “really” work and that they only get paid to play with kids all day? Do you believe this person is just doing this “job” to get to the next stage of their life? Do you think this person is uneducated, or unable to get a job in a different field, so they “settled” for this job? If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind, those thoughts would be far from the truth.
Nannying is a professional career for many of us. We are educated, skilled, dedicated, domestic household workers with experience and knowledge in childcare, and Child Development beyond measure. We take this career very seriously and put much hard work, dedication, passion, and love into our families, our charges, and their homes. Nannying isn’t a babysitting job where we watch the children for a few hours while parents run errands. Although that is a form of childcare, it differs greatly from being a professional career nanny. Professional career nannies perform duties in the household as an additional parents. From creating educational activities for the children, taking them to their extracurricular activities, making healthy meals, teaching them their “ABCs,” giving them extra snuggles before naps, and encouraging their development and growth.
We are usually the anchors of the families that we work for. We dedicate our lives to making the lives of our nanny families smooth, calm, and peaceful. We are truly superheroes to our families, and our profession deserves the respect any other profession would receive. Domestic Household Workers are integral parts of many families worldwide. Know that our worth is unmeasurable.
As rewarding as this career can be, it can also be emotionally and physically taxing. Most full-time career nannies are required to work between 40–50+ hours weekly. During those hours, the parents are working, and so are we: working to ensure that their household is running, and in order. We spend our days on a rigorous schedule with our charges (nanny children). We create and implement a routine that allows us to integrate education, structure, discipline, and play. We are trusted to set examples for our charges and to influence them to make good decisions as little humans. We are constantly under the radar, not only by our employers but also by our charges. We make the best decisions for everyone involved, usually on a whim. We are essentially assisting parents in molding their child’s character.
Imagine how much pressure that could be. We are entrusted always to encourage doing the “right” thing. Even if we as nannies are still learning how to navigate our ideals around moralism, and character building, no amount of experience and education will ever prepare you for the responsibility of helping raise a child. I have spent a decade working with families and children nationwide. I have worked in homes where the parent's ideals and child-rearing philosophies were completely different from mine. Over the years, I’ve had to learn how to accept that not all familial dynamics are the same and that you do more damage than good when you try to enforce your personal beliefs onto a family's preexisting dynamic. I believe it is extremely important to find a good match when looking for a family or a nanny. In the interviewing process, both parties need to be on one accord regarding how, as a team, you will all raise this child.
My Child-Rearing philosophy revolves a lot around freedom. I believe that children should be free to learn, play, and explore without much restriction. I believe in “conscious parenting, " meaning I teach through love and understanding. I extend empathy, kindness, and understanding to every child I come in contact with, and in return, they’re more open to being understanding, loving, and kind children towards me. Interacting with children using emotional intelligent discipline has been the most effective form of connection with children throughout my career. I have learned that a huge part of building a secure attachment with your child starts with giving them the space to be who they are, allowing them to make their mistakes, learn from them, and continue to evolve and grow into their beings, without ridicule or judgment. Switching the narrative of “owning” or “controlling” your child with punitive discipline and exchanging that for empathy, love, and understanding will completely shift the dynamic between you and any child you interact with.
As you can see, nannying isn’t just about sitting around with children all day. It is about being someone they can trust, depend on, and look to for love and nurture while their parents are away. Nannies are special in so many ways, but the one way that sticks out to me is that the role that we play can not be replaced. We have such a unique dynamic with our families, and it makes our position irreplaceable. We do this, not because we have to, but because we love what we do. We have a passion and a desire to work with children, and we show up for them every day with that in mind. A good nanny is a nanny who knows her role as a child’s caregiver is one of the most important relationships that a child will ever have.
I hope this has shed some light on the role of career nannies. I hope that if you had any ideas about this career that weren’t true, your perspective has changed. Most importantly, I hope you have learned the importance of the role of a nanny, and how integral we are to the families we love so much.