Sunday, April 13, 2014

Is There a Right Way to Give Notice?

Whether a nanny works at a job full time or part time, whether she stays a year or 10 years, when the time comes for whatever reason, for her to move on, it is seldom an easy goodbye.
I don’t know the statistics I just know my experience in talking to other nannies that goodbye is such a hard thing to say.
It seems that no matter how hard we plan, no matter how we try to figure out the right way to do it, it is just so difficult.
I have talked a lot about how hard it is for nannies to be told that their job is ending but today I want to talk about nannies who choose to leave.
Sometimes nannies choose to leave because the children have grown beyond their level of expertise, sometimes they leave because they feel they have a different parenting philosophy, sometimes they make a career change, or their spouse gets transferred or they get a better job offer….there are lots of reasons nannies make the decision to leave.
More often than not the reason doesn’t matter. When a nanny leaves a family the parents usually feel rejected. Once the parents feel rejected a host of other emotions take hold and even in the best working relationship a good nanny employer relationship goes downhill very quickly.
So is there a good way to tell your nanny family you are leaving your job?
Most nannies out of a sense of loyalty to their employers and knowing how much their employers count on them try to give their employers as much notice as possible, but oftentimes it backfires.
A nanny decides to leave her job for whatever reason and she goes to her employer and gives them 6 weeks notice. The nanny does this because she wants to help the parents with the transition to a new caregiver. In a perfect world the nanny and the parent sit down and talk about how they might go about finding a new caregiver. The nanny might offer ideas, suggestions, agency names or even names of other nannies that might be available and together they come up with a plan. The nanny might suggest that they bring the new caregiver in for a 1 or 2 week part time overlap so that they can transition together.
The parents thank the nanny for her honesty and her help and tell her they will write her a beautiful letter of reference and work as a team to make the transition as smooth as possible. They might even say something like “We hope you will still be part of little Susie’s life and come back and visit and maybe even babysit on occasion”
I said a perfect world, right?
Well unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and when a nanny tells her employers that she is leaving, the parents hear one thing. No matter what you say the parents hear “I have decided that I no longer want to be part of your child’s life” The parents feel rejected. They feel that you have rejected them and their child and this elicits some very strong emotions. Rejection can trigger pain from other times of being rejected, even if you try not to feel hurt or angry, rejection triggers some very deep emotions. The first thing the parents do when they feel these deep emotions are to go in protective mode for their child. More often than not their reaction is not rational. Their reaction is to get you away from their child as quickly as possible so that you can’t inflict anymore pain.
At a time when you might be expecting an employer to thank you for helping care for their children, you instead find yourself unemployed…and even though unemployment laws differ from state to state, usually once you give notice, you have quit so you are not eligible for unemployment benefits and chances are that the parents will challenge it.
So….what’s a nanny to do?
The very best protection you can have in your job is to never work without a work agreement. A work agreement that very clearly defines the protocol for giving notice by either party. A work agreement may or may not hold up in a court of law but it is a trust agreement between two parties that states “This is what we agree to do”
In your work agreement a fair notice is anywhere from 2-6 weeks but the work agreement should state what happens if either party doesn’t give the proper notice.
You may also think about a clause that states if the nanny or family find job/care in that time, nanny will be paid for the duration of her agreement.  You may also want to agree upon a severance agreement if you have been with the family long term. When you are terminated for cause, severance is not usually paid.  For more details on work agreements I suggest you go Regarding and read their series by Kellie Geres : Anatomy of a Work Agreement

Other things that a nanny can do is to ask for a yearly review and ask her employers for a written evaluation that she can keep in her portfolio.
The best thing that you can do is to keep the lines of communication open with your employers. Always have your resume up to date, some money in the bank and a back up plan especially if you know that you will be giving notice on your job.
Just know that goodbyes are never easy, especially when they are initiated by you.
When giving notice on your job ends in a negative way, there is only so much you can do. You can try to make your employer understand that this is not personal, but they are not usually in an understanding frame of mind.
As always the best thing you can do is stay on the high road. Don’t badmouth your former employers in job interviews or on message boards and don’t let it stop you from being happy about the positive changes that are coming in your future.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What do Other People say are Your Positive Personality Traits by Jenn Farlow

Thi is the fifth in our series of essay submissions for the Nanny Transitions INA Conference Scholarship. What do other people say are your positive personality traits? Jennifer Farlow Essay Submission for Nanny Transition INA Scholarship Looking through the essay question choices it was hard for me to choose which one to write about. I finally settled on this question because I think that nannies are often givers who spend their lives taking care of others and it can be difficult for us to sit back and hear the nice things that others say about us. Additionally, we as a society often go through our lives skimming the surface and not digging deeper, which is a direct result of the on the go world we live in. My current position caring for infant triplets is a very busy one. Our everyday life can be hectic and I know personally that I often brush off compliments that my friends, family, employers and even strangers we meet on our outings give to me. I thought this would be a good exercise for me to really absorb the positive attributes that others see in me. To get me started on this assignment I dug out all of my reference letters from past employers. Instead of skimming them as I have in the past, I sat down and really read them. After reading each one I tried to really soak in the positive things my employers said about me and reflect on each position that I have held. As I was reading each letter, I started to notice some themes and similarities. Almost all of my past employers wrote how loving, caring, responsible and active I was with their children and how they wouldn’t hesitate to recommend me as a nanny or even hire me again if they had the chance. Several wrote about how I was very hardworking, gave 110% to my job and was a self-starter who needs little direction once I settle into a job. Others wrote about how I was always friendly, sweet and had a positive disposition around their house, even when the circumstances of the job may have been difficult. The next step in this assignment of self-exploration was to ask some of my friends and family what they thought my positive attributes are. Some of the answers I got back were I am funny, loving, hard working and always willing to help out those I love. My brothers told me how brave and adventurous I am for traveling and volunteering around the world and how the envy those traits in me. Both of my Sisters in Law told me how much they treasure having me in their children’s lives and how happy they are that my nieces and nephews have an Aunt like me. Finally, my mom told me how caring, sweet and dedicated I am to my family. The final step in this process for me was to ask my current employers the positive attributes they see in me. My mom boss told me how she knew I was the right nanny for them almost as soon as I walked into the interview and how incredibly happy they are to have me as part of their family. She went on to tell me how much she appreciates that even though it’s difficult to get out of the house with three babies, that I am so active with them taking them on regular outings. Both mom and dad added that that they both love how knowledgeable and patient I am with the babies and that even when they are all crying at the same time, they have never once seen me lose my cool with them. Finally, they told me how much they appreciate how organized and hard working I am and how they have never had to remind me to do anything no matter how small the task. In conclusion, this wasn’t the easiest choice of topics for me and I almost changed my mind several times during the process. What started this as a way to possibly save some money and win a scholarship to the International Nanny Association conference from Nanny Transitions has turned into so much more. In the process I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself and how others see me, which more valuable than anything I could win.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Biggest Challenge and How Nanny Transitions Helped Me by Lisa Willis

Here is the fourth in our series of the top 5 Scholarship Essays.
This one is by Lisa Willis.
She answers these 2 questions:

What has been your biggest challenge as you have gone through your job transition?

What has Nanny Transitions help you learn from it?

I think the biggest challenge has been to accept the change in circumstance in my life and nurture

myself. As a nanny I’ve always put others first without thinking about myself. Last year was full of

surprises; it’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride to say the least. In June I will be retiring as a nanny

due to an impending disability.

 I’m retiring sadly but not by choice. I was diagnosed with a hereditary degenerative eye disease over

11 years ago. My eye sight was stable for 10 years and Jan.2013 was the first sign of change and on May

1st of 2013 I was told I could no longer drive. My peripheral vision classifies me as legally blind but my

central vision in my left eye seems to be holding on for now. My current employers refused to let me

quit. I’m forever thankful for their trust in me and wanting to keep me on board for as long as possible.

We had to quickly brainstorm as you know driving is a major part of a nanny’s role. My awesome

husband quickly jumped in and became our “chauffer” and is now running his company at home (mostly

from our car, when we’re at play dates, school and other activities). My current family and I have come

to terms with the fact that our employment will end June 2014 due to my need to prepare and get ready

for what lays ahead. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy, at times I’m scared but I see it only as a change in

circumstances. I’m blessed to have the greatest husband on earth and I’m surrounded by an awesome

support team.

One of my main concerns is the impact this change will have on my charges. I have been with them for

3 ½ years. The family will be relocating as well, so they will have many changes happening at the same

time in June.

Nanny Transitions has been an amazing resource as no one knows what a nanny deals with as much

as another nanny. I was able to vent my worries about the kids and their future. Glenda gave me so

many good suggestions so many I couldn’t write them all down fast enough as we spoke on the phone.

She had so many great ideas for me to implement. Sharing and voicing my concerns and fears out loud

helped me to analyze and put into perspective what I can and can’t change or control. This really woke

me up to the fact that I need to make these last few months special and memorable for the kids. I feel

it’s also helped me be more present and intentional with everything I do and say with the kids on a daily

Glenda emailed me many resources to read and ponder on. She has a big heart and just talking with her

you can feel the love and passion she has for her fellow nannies or the Nanny Sisterhood as some call us.

I’ve been a nanny for fifteen wonderful years and will cherish all the memories for many years to come.

I’m learning to take it one day at a time.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What Do Other People Say Are Your Positive Personality Traits? by Kenda Horst

International Nanny Association Scholarship Essay by Kenda Horst

What Do Other People Say Are Your Positive Personality Traits?

Thank you for creating this scholarship opportunity for Nannies to attend the International Nanny Association conference. This will be my second time participating at the Conference. For me, these gatherings provide a way to inform and enliven the career that has become my life’swork. It is a great joy to meet and talk with other Nannies from across the country and aroundthe world. These conversations, together with the presentations and workshops, help equip me in new ways as I grow with my children and families in this ever-changing field of work. I recently read the book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook. In the book, she cites a study that women are more likely to affirm another person’s accomplishments than they are to affirm their own. To say this another way, the study says many women find it easier to brag about what other people do than to toot their own horn. This is part of why I particularly appreciate the essay question, “What do other people say are your positive personality traits?” I happen to be one of the people who find it challenging to identify or to affirm my own accomplishments. That said, I have been told by past employers, and by others who know my skills, gifts, and abilities, that I am highly dependable, constant, and predictable. This essay is my attempt to toot my own horn about how these three personality traits play out in my day-to-day work life.

Dependable: to be counted on in various areas of your life.

Constant: to be reliable and predictable over a long period of time.

Predictable: to perform and to do things in a way that is reliable and constant in a daily routine.

When I think of these three words, I am reminded of the kind of Nanny I am, and the kind of Nanny I continually strive to be. The three words can be interchangeable, but they also each stand on their own. Parents find me dependable in that they can ask me to step in and do almost anything in their home and it will be done. I am constant in the ways that I interact with the children and the adults in their lives. The families that I have worked with talk about how I am faithful in providing and supporting a regular, daily routine for their children. I am also consistent with discipline, setting clear limits for children and supporting good boundaries for them as they grow and learn. Parents find these three personality traits in me to be a comfort in how I interact, not only with their children, but also with them. My dependability or reliability is found in the fact that I can be counted on to show up for work each and every day. Parents discover that their children will be cared for in a way that is consistent with their own model as parents. For example, I try to hold the same rules with the children that their parents maintain. Parents also find me dependable in that I will work to make their home and family life as smooth and efficient as possible. I work to ensure that the time I spend with their children is the kind of time they would like. I will also take on additional tasks around the house as needed, to help parents optimize their time with the children when they are home.In my experience, children also find these traits as a source of comfort. I believe that children will thrive when they can explore in a safe space. When I give children consistent boundaries it allows them to extend their roots and spread their wings. When I establish and maintain a regular routine for specific tasks and responsibilities, including meal times, bath times, getting dressed, and picking up toys, children learn a sense of self as well as independence. The constancy and familiarity helps provide a center or a foundation for children as they grow and learn and The question that came to me after reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is, “How as a professional Nanny might I be an even better support to the parents and families I work for? I believe that the three traits listed above will help in a significant way. I would like to see the conversation move to an even deeper place, to a discussion of what families as a whole need in order to thrive, to help provide opportunities for more women to move into more leadership roles in more fields. This is one of the conversations that I would like to have with other Nannies, with my professional colleagues at the INA conference.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Motivation by Katherine (Katie) Dallmeyer

Here is another one of the INA Scholarship submissions. This one is also about Motivation.

INA Scholarship Essay - Motivation by Katie( Katherine) Dallmeyer

He can hear the door opening. The squeak of the hinges and the sound of the latch have captured his attention. His movement pauses. Carefully he concentrates on the low step shuffle dance. The toy that had been so assiduously chewed falls to the side, dampening his cheek on the way down. A voice sounds. It is muffled in the way sounds can only be before the sun has risen.  Could it be…?

“Good morning” and now he knows. Tiny arms wave, legs kick, and he accidentally pokes his own eye. He does not mind though. He knows who is here.


Getting out of a warm bed into the chilly air is always hard, especially if the sun has not even bothered to show his bright countenance yet. It is an even more unwelcome task to scrape the foot of snow that unexpectedly fell overnight off of the car while shivering in sub-zero temperatures. Traffic will be terrible. It may be winter for half the year here, but that will never stop people from forgetting how to drive in inclement weather. Longing thoughts of soft sheets and a warm comforter consume her mind.

She is running late of course. Has there ever been a time breakfast was eaten before the drive? Her stomach grumbles, and she eyes the toasted bagel slowly freezing on the passenger seat. The pros and cons of eating with fingers she can’t feel versus leaving the gloves on and attempting a reheat at work are carefully weighed. Attention is turned back to the road; fingers are truly lovely appendages after all.

Sitting in traffic allows for some last minute planning of the day. A promising nap yesterday points to good moods for a visit to the museum today. A full, exciting day will then hopefully lead to more slumber, giving her the chance to do classwork. Education is important. There is always something new to learn, something new to discover. She finds it on her own through research and school work, and finds it too through his eyes.

This drive to know all shapes how her life is lived. She taps her fingers against the slowly warming steering wheel and remembers a discussion of parenting styles. Nanny friends are the best. Who else would share her zeal and return it with a constructive chit-chat? Feeling more awake at last, she downs the last sip of her coffee and pulls into her regular parking spot. Thank you, God, for heated garages.

The hinges creak. Why is this door so loud? She tries to shut it gently, but a decisive click sounds as the latch catches. Please do not let the noise wake him up if he is still abed! She whispers her greetings to her boss, just in case, and creeps into the main rooms.

Awake, and not by her doing!

“Good morning.”

The sound of her voice produces a volley of movement. He’s excited. His heels bang on the floor, and his bright eyes seek her out. A gummy smile that reveals two tiny, perfect white teeth greet her. He rolls and reaches out in an effort to get closer. She sits.

“Ahh! Ah!”

He is lifted into familiar arms. His hands slap her face, his toes dig into her thighs, and drooly kisses are pressed to her cheek. A wave of love flows through her. He feels it too, feels it and sends a rebounding surge. This is it. This feeling, this moment, the hundreds of moments that have led to it and the hundreds more that will follow. This is her motivation.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Motivation...What Motivates You?

The next few days we will be publishing the scholarship recipients and runners up.  They will be published in random order.
Thank you again to Marni Kent who made this scholarships possible.

MOTIVATION by Susan Fordham

          According to Psychology Today:  “motivation is literally the desire to do things.  It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day.  It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals – and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control.  So figure out what you want, power through the pain period and start being who you want to be”.

          In the real estate market, you hear every day “the sellers are highly motivated” and in the professional and amateur sports fields, you hear analysts say “what motivates him or her?”  And in my chosen profession, I hear “when will you get motivated to find a REAL job?”

          Where does my motivation come from?  For one, when people say something like that to me!  My motivation comes from the smiles and hugs I get on a daily basis, the boo-boos I am allowed to kiss away each and every day, getting down on the floor to roll a ball across the floor – now that’s motivation for me.  I chose my path in life a very long time ago, but I do believe it chose me a long time before I was aware of it.  I believe I was put on this earth to do what it is I do.  I have a long history of caregiving, some of it was very, very hard and some of it had such rich rewards, it made my heart
sing.  I chose to focus on the rich rewards and not the bad stuff, I chose to get up each and every morning and look out the window for something to make me smile, I chose to set aside special time for me and me alone, in other words, I CHOSE MOTIVATION!

          Motivation comes to me in many different shapes and sizes.  Sometime it shows itself in a hummingbird coming to my feeder or in a peculiar or intriguing cloud formation.  I look for these things in my life, I seek them out – it keeps me going.  My mind is open at all times to find the good in things, even when they can be so dark and scary.  Motivation can be very tricky – you may have to scrape away a few ugly layers to find whatever you need to keep on going.  But keep scraping, you will find it.  There may be times when the motivation is there, but you can’t see it or you don’t WANT to see it.  Maybe sometimes, it’s as easy and as simple as getting up and washing your face, clearing away the cobwebs and see what is right in front of you – MOTIVATION was there all the time!

          Children are my biggest motivator.  All children deserve love, respect and the right to be heard.  It makes no difference what is going in my life, what matters most is what should be happening in their lives.  They should be receiving the best of everything and it is up to US to provide that for them.  Children motivate me to be a better person, they motivate me to be more creative, they motivate me to take more time to smell the roses.  I have the BEST job in the world and I would not give it up for anything or anyone.  So for those people in my life who are waiting for me to find a “real job”, don’t hold your breath – THIS IS MY REAL JOB, THIS IS MY PASSION…THIS IS MY MOTIVATION!!


Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 INA Scholarship Recipients

Before I announce the scholarship recipients (All of the entries have been notified via phone or email) I want to say a huge from the bottom of my heart thank you to my friend and colleague Marni Kent for making this years scholarships happen.
I would also like to let you all know that Marni has already committed to repeating these scholarships for the 2015 International Nanny Association

When I say that the essay entries were outstanding this year, I really mean they were outstanding. Nanny Magazine and Regarding Nannies you should take advantage of their writing talent! INA Newsletter, we  know some nannies that can write!
It was so difficult to choose only 3 and Marni being the generous person that she is decided to contribute 2 more gifts of $50 to go toward registration for 2 more essay entries which are contingent upon conference attendance.

The scholarships for new nannies who have never attended conference go to
Susan Fordham and
Jenn Farlow.
The scholarship for a previous conference attendee goes to

Lisa Willis.
The $50 gifts contingent upon conference attendance go to Katherine Dallmeyer and
 Kenda Horst.

INA sets up their early registration so that nannies can try to take advantage of these opportunities but if it doesn’t work out they can still take advantage of the early bird registration.

We do hope to meet you all at the INA Conference. I speak for both myself and Marni when I say that INA has made a huge impact on our personal and professional lives and it is worth the effort to be there.