Transitioning to a New Family
by nicola manton.
I was with my previous family for almost five years before I had to move on. We have been through a lot together and they are like my family. On my first day with them, MomBoss went into labor with her second child. I stayed home with the two-year old big brother. It's truly amazing when you become a part of your Nanny Family. We went through some good times as well as hard times together. I’ve witnessed breakdowns and financial problems and I reduced my hours to help them get through it all; I know that had I been struggling, they would have been right there, supporting me through it. They helped to plan my wedding, and in doing so they met my family; MomBoss even did my hair and make-up! I know them through and through. The baby, now 7 years old, has especially become a piece of me, and her parents would agree! Unfortunately, it no longer made sense financially to continue working for them, as they could no longer guarantee me the hours I needed to survive in NYC. It was time to move on. At first, I was anxious, but mostly optimistic about starting again with a new family. I needed more money to pay the bills and, also to have a life outside of work, so I looked forward to the idea of not struggling financially. The idea of bonding with a new little one was also appealing to me. I knew I would miss my old nanny family; the kids were like my kids and the idea of leaving them broke my heart, but I knew I'd see them often, and I do.
When you move on, there’s always some grief at losing what you had, but it is also an exciting time when you become a part of another Nanny Family’s journey, helping them through the joys and challenges that come with raising little ones.
Common transitional concerns:
• Feeling a sense of loss at no longer being with your previous Nanny Family.
• Feeling regret and guilt at having left them (even if it was a necessary move for your future and well-being).
• Having to build a whole new relationship with a family who you don’t yet know that well yet and having to prove yourself to them at the same time.
• Possible disputes with your new Nanny Family over contractual issues such as salary, hours, holidays, etc.
Tips for a smoother transition
• Assuming that things ended on good terms with your previous Nanny Family and neither of you moved away, be sure to make a plan to visit them a few times in the month following your last day. This will help both sides see that the relationship is not over; it hasn’t ended just because you no longer work for them. I still try to see my previous Nanny Kids at least once a month, whether it be for a simple dinner or a day trip. It definitely helps us all to remember that we’re still a big part of each other’s lives.
• Don’t expect your new Nanny Family to take the place as your previous Nanny Family. I wanted so much for my new Nanny Family to feel the same way about me as my previous one did. It took me a while to realize and accept that it took 5 years to reach the level of comfort, trust, respect, and mutual love that I have with my previous employers. These bonds are not formed overnight and it’s not fair to either party to hold such unrealistic expectations. Give it time. The relationship you had with your previous Nanny Family has not been lost; it is not something that needs to be replaced.
• Expect that there will be an adjustment period where you’ll have to acclimate to the new family and their lifestyle. All families are different and have different philosophies and practices, whether they be small things like whether or not they buy organic, or larger things such as co-sleeping or CIO (Cry It Out) methods. Much of this should have been discussed at the interview stages (remember that this stage isn’t just about them interviewing you; you are deciding if they are a good fit for you as well), so you should have a good idea of what to expect. However, it is normal that there will be things you’ll need to get used to.
• If you’ve given it a reasonable adjustment time and you are still feeling uneasy about your new role with your new family, arrange to have a chat with them (either formally or informally, depending on what you feel makes more sense for you). Use this time to discuss how you think things are going on your end, and to bring up any concerns that you may have. This idea was very daunting to me. I am terrible at confrontation, and I tend to forget everything I had wanted to say. It helps to write down everything that is on your mind and have that with you during the discussion. At the very least, you’ll be able to see how they react to your concerns; a good indicator of how the future with them will be. If they disregard your concerns, maybe this isn’t the right family for you to be working for.