Chat with the Recently Crowned Queen of Nannydom

Photo by __ via Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo by __ via Flickr Creative Commons.

Nanny Magazine chats with Street Team member SHERI LOPEZ, who also happens to have recently been crowned Nanny of the Year!

We've got the full scoop on the hopes, dreams, and inspiration sources for what it takes to be crowned Nanny of the Year. And you, Dear Reader, get to be privy to it all!

Nanny Magazine (NM): How do you hope to use your new powers as the 2014 Nanny of the Year to do good within the nannying community?

Sheri: First off, I would say that I am honored to have been chosen to be the 2014 International Nanny Association’s Nanny of the Year. I love my chosen career and could not imagine my life’s path going in any other direction. I want to share with every nanny that they are special people; not everyone can do what we do. A nanny has to wear many hats and remain calm in all sorts of situations, even when we are having a rough day. With this in mind, I desire to share with families that having a nanny care for their children is an investment in their children’s lives, that a nanny is so much more than someone who cares for the children’s daily needs. Rather, a nanny is a teacher, a supporter, and a mentor, and can make an amazing difference in the lives of every member of the family.

NM:What is your biggest complaint about the current state of the nannying field today?

Sheri: I don’t know if this is a complaint or a frustration, but I can say that it frustrates me when the roles of a nanny and housekeeper or house manager are combined. I am an old-school nanny where the primary focus is on the care, education, and well being of the children. I do not see how a nanny can provide all of that when she/he is doing endless loads of laundry or running errands for hours. My primary focus is on the children in my care.

NM: What do you think makes you truly stand out as spectacular among all the other nannies out there?

Sheri:I do not think that I am better than any other nanny; we all have something special to add to the in-home childcare industry, and I continue to learn from new and seasoned nannies alike. I can say that my desire to always learn, take classes, and receive training and certifications in various areas has helped me along the way. The in-home childcare industry is always changing and new parenting styles and methods are created, so to remain relevant in this industry, you have to keep learning.

NM:What is your favorite age group to work with?

Sheri:I have worked with all ages over the years, however, I really enjoy working with newborns to age 1. I market myself as a birth to age 1 (growth, development, and milestone) nanny. Being a newborn care specialist, I care for the newborn in that role at nights until around 12 to 16 weeks, then change to the nanny role until age 1, focusing on development and meeting milestones.

NM: If you weren't nannying, how would you be spending your days?

Sheri: I would be bored! I like to be busy. I like to be active, sharing, and learning. Other than the occasional vacation, I could not imagine being anything other than a nanny.

NM: Where do you get your inspiration?

Sheri:I get my inspiration from the children I care for. Every child is precious and they teach me a lot about life. They teach me the things that really matter, that hugs and high fives are special. I know that I and every nanny have the ability to make a difference in the life of a child and to me that is priceless.

NM: How many diapers do you think you've changed since becoming a nanny?

Sheri:That is a really good question and one I do not have an answer to. I guess that maybe it would be close to 70,000, according to my calculations. Many have been disposable diapers, but I have changed my share of cloth diapers too.

NM:How do you keep from feeling isolated on the job?

Sheri: I belong to some local nanny groups and once a week I will get out with my charge and meet up with them to do an activity or have lunch. I also created the Professional Nanny and Newborn Care Specialist of Arizona Group and we plan outings as well. However, overall I have to say that I really don’t feel isolated when I am at work. I am very used to working alone and I would rather have it this way than work in an office.

NM: You're stuck inside on a rainy day and tensions are running high. What Mary Poppins magic do you pull out to keep the kids from going crazy?

Sheri:Well, I am not a fan of TV, and I don’t have a Mary Poppins umbrella, so that would not be a part of the rainy day routine for me. I can think of a lot of things I would do, but when I cared for older children, one of the things we would do on a rainy day was to create a tent with blankets, make popcorn, read books, take turns telling stories, and pretend we are camping. It was always fun and lasted a long time. If we grew tired of that then we would make crafts, color, and play pretend school (the children really liked being the teacher).

NM:What's your favorite Nanny Magazine article?

Sheri: I can’t say that I have a favorite article because I love reading the magazine from cover to cover and online. It is impossible to have just one favorite article; that is like asking me to pick just one favorite chocolate candy, which I can’t do it, because I love them all. Nanny Magazine is an invaluable resource for me. I learn new tips, crafts, and ideas to implement in my nanny career every day.