5 Things I Wish Moms Knew About Nannies
by nicola manton.
1. We are invested.
I was with my previous nanny family for almost five years. When I had been with them for about two years, MomBoss made a passing comment about me not being as invested in decisions about the children's future because they're not mine. She meant well and had no idea that this comment would stay with me four years later, but it has; it got under my skin. I invest the majority of my time to ensure the little ones in my care are safe, happy, and healthy. It isn't a small task, and when you've been with a family for so long you do feel invested in their futures. Of course, it will always be different than the investment of a parent, but I for one would like moms to know that I am putting my all into ensuring that their children reach their full potential academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.
2. We are professionals. I have a plan. I am not showing up in the morning with just the hope that we’ll make it through the day. As professional nannies, we are educated in child development and more importantly, we have the experience to know what we need to do to meet our charges' needs. I plan specific activities to help them learn and grow through play and fun experiences. I am your child's teacher, nurse, friend, chef, cleaner, advocate, and more and I take this role very seriously. I do my best to remain positive and calm, as I know your job is stressful and that when you come home, you are coming home to your sanctuary. A lot goes into creating an environment where the children are ready for bed and the house is clean and tidy. It’s not all part of my job, but I want you to know I do it for you because I care about your family. I don't need to be told how to steam broccoli or that the baby’s diaper needs to be changed after his nap. However, when you do tell me these things, I will listen with open ears and an open heart, as I know they are your world and it is important that you feel a part of their daily lives.
3. We have lives. It never fails to surprise me when I’m nearing the end of an eleven-hour work day, and MomBoss texts to ask if I can stay a little later, saying, “I hope this is okay." It actually isn’t okay. I love my charge like he is my own without question (see number 4!) from 8am to 7pm and beyond, but at the end of the day I still have a wife to go home to, errands to run, bills to pay, an apartment to clean, and a cat to feed, among other things! Most of the time I agree to stay as a result of my nanny guilt; the feeling that my not wanting to stay will come across as an unwillingness to be flexible or a desperation to leave. I have been lucky enough to work for families who do respect my time for the most part, and I understand that things happen beyond your control and sometimes you are running late. However, it's nice to know that my time as a nanny is respected, and it’s important for MomBoss to know that my desire to go home doesn't mean I love her son, or my job, any less.
4. We love your children and they love us, and that’s okay.
It shouldn’t need to be said, but we love our charges. I hope you can tell that my fondness is genuine by the way he runs to me in the morning, the way that we giggle when we play, and by the way he respects my word and responds to my hugs. He loves me too, and that's okay. He doesn't love you any less, even though it may sometimes feel that way after you come home and he's tired and cranky. You are his world and he loves you too.
5. We are human. Sometimes I have a bad day. I'm tired when my shift ends, and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with my charge. Sometimes he's fussy, tired, refusing to eat, or just generally having a bad day, too. The day is long and at the same time, too short to get everything done as any parent and nanny knows. There’s laundry piling up, cooking to do, cleaning, shopping, classes to get to, and playdates to keep. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. I am human. As professional as I may be, life is hard sometimes, but I know that tomorrow will always be better.