Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nanny to Mommy

Many women start their careers as professional nannies in their early to mid 20’s, often before they are married and have children. For the career nannies of the last 25 years, many of them were working nannies when they started their own families. Going from nanny, to mommy, to working mommy/nanny is a huge transition.

Today we are talking with Andrea, Kristen and Penny. Three career nannies who also become mommies and continued to work in the profession.
Andrea had been a nanny for 4 years before her daughter was born in 2004.

Kristen had been a nanny for 19 years before her son was born.

Penny had been a nanny for exactly 10 years when she and her husband found out that she was pregnant.

Andrea was working for a school teacher at the time. She didn’t discuss the pregnancy with her employer before she got pregnant. Her daughter was born at the end of summer. She went back to work 2 weeks after her daughter was born. Andrea didn’t discuss the pregnancy with her employer before she got pregnant. They also didn’t really discuss whether or not she would bring her daughter to work with her, it was simply understood.

Kristen did discuss this with her employers after she had been working there for a couple of months. At that time they told her that if she got pregnant, they didn’t want her to bring her child to work with her. Kristen did not get pregnant for 7 years. At that point in time her employers offered to let her bring her son to work with her. They felt like the children were old enough because they were in school and the baby did not interfere with their daily routine. They told her they would do anything to keep her. Kristen went back to work 10 weeks after her child was born. Her maternity leave was unpaid.

Penny’s pregnancy was not planned so she didn’t discuss it with her employer until after she was pregnant. They were wonderful and shared her excitement.Penny’s employers agreed to give her eight weeks but after her son was born they went the extra mile and gave her a gradual return to her full time duties. She didn’t have to work full time until her son was over a year old. The parents helped out and also used other family members to fill in the gap. Penny did discuss bringing her child to work with her and her employer was fine with it. It was never an issue. Penny said that she been so much apart of their family and their lives that adding her little baby to the mix didn't need much discussion

Was it hard to be a parent and nanny?

Andrea said that "At times it was but her charge was 3.5 so that helped. Her employer was easy to get along with and they worked well together. It was hard to be at someone else’s house all day when all her childs' things were at home. One of the things that all 3 of the nanny/mommies did was have a place at work for their child’s things so that they didn’t have to drag things back and forth. Andrea had a bed, changing area, toys and a swing. As her child got older she didn’t want to nap anywhere except her own bed, so that made it a little difficult at times.

Kristen said that the hardest part for her was the commute. I would drive a half-hour to the train station, then take a 48 minute train ride, then get off and have to walk to their house with the stroller. It was hard during the winter months, and easier as it got warmer. The kids adjusted well and were very excited about my son being there. They were old enough to do things on their own. Plus, they loved to play with all the baby toys.

What surprised you the most about being a mother and working nanny and how was it different?

Andrea said “ I was suprised how different it was just knowing and feeling the difference in my relationship with my child and my charge. I of course loved my charge, but the love you feel for your own child is not easily explained. I didn't treat them differently, but my daughter certainly treated me differently! Being a Mom is different than being a working nanny. It means you are at work all day every day, you get up with your child and you go to bed with your child. I found it hard sometimes to separate myself from that and I quickly learned that not only did I have a relationship with my charges but my daughter did as well.”

Kristen was surprised how easy the transition was .Being able to take a lot of things for my child to work and leave them there instead of dragging things back and forth made a huge difference. Everything was so smooth and I really didn’t have any problems, except with that long commute. As a mom I don’t have to answer to anyone. I can do what I want when I want with my child. If I want to stay someplace longer and have my son have a shorter nap, I don’t worry about it. I know he will be fine. I feel more relaxed and I think it is easier. I enjoy being a mother and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Penny said “She was most surprised by her reaction to her baby.”As a nanny, I have always been so sure of myself. I know what my charges need. I know how they tick. As a mom, I was lost right from the start. I was nervous, unsure of what to do at any given time. I felt everything was out of my control and it terrified me. Things got better as he grew but there are still times when I am unsure. I am thankful I have all my nanny experience to lean on. I believe being a nanny will absolutely help me be a better mother.
My charges think it is cool to have a "little brother", especially my 10 year old. He meets us at the car every morning to get his baby-hug fix and help get us inside. He is more than happy to entertain a few minutes here and there while I put laundry away or prepare dinner in the evening. I keep telling him he will make an awesome nanny someday.

Did becoming a mother make you a better nanny or did being a nanny make you a better mother?

Andrea said” I don't think being a mom made me a better nanny but being a nanny made me a better mother. When I was growing up I never felt the need to have a child of my own so taking care of children I learned a lot firsthand and I learned a lot by reading and taking classes. I was really prepared for having my own child and had already learned most of the ins and outs of having a newborn in the house.”

Kristen said “I think being nanny made me a better mother. I had been a nanny for so long that I was a heard it, read it, seen it person. I enjoy reading as many different child care books as I can. I don’t think there is one solution for every parent, but taking different things, from different books made me a well-rounded nanny. So when I became a mother I really didn’t have the first time parent jitters. I think I had the same concerns, like is my child breathing, since I don’t hear him making a sound. Taking my knowledge I had as a nanny and applying it to myself, really helped not only me, but my husband. My husband told me I was kind, patient and helpful to him. He always says he is grateful for my career as a nanny, because it helps him be a better parent, since I am so calm and relaxed.
The one thing that I think makes it harder is that people that I know, who know I was a nanny always tell me, your kid is going to be the best kid, he will know so much, and be the most well behave child. I feel like there is added pressure that I always do my best. Not that my son will be the most well behave or smarter than other kids. I just feel like I have more eyes on me, watching me, critiquing me.”

Andrea still takes her child to work with her almost every day.

Kristen stays home with her son now.. After she worked for about 9 months, her employers wanted to cut her hours drastically, to the point that the commute would not be worth it. She stays at home with him now. She said that she really enjoys that she is able to be with her son and do all the things she did with her charges, with him. She has the best of both worlds.

Do you think that having a child has hampered you in the job market?
Andrea says “YES! Having your own child makes it at least 80% harder to find a job. I think it also depends on where you live. We just moved to California. Most parents are very familiar with nannies and they don't like having a nanny who has her own child and family. Back in Ohio it was never an issue.”

Kristens says “I think it has hampered my efforts to find part-time work. I think parents think that you will favor your child over theirs. I do understand that.”

Penny says “I am thankful I am not looking for work, for I firmly believe having him would hamper me in the job market. I know other mom/nannies in the area who are struggling to find positions.”

How old is your child? And when the time comes will you send them to pre-school?
Andrea’s daughter is 5. She is starting Kindergarten this Fall. She did send her to pre school.It allowed her to be with her peers and it allowed Andrea to have time to focus on her work and the children she nannied for.

Kristen’s son will be 2 on October 8th. She will definitely send him to pre school when the time comes. She is now a certified sign language instructor and will be doing classes in the future.

Penny’s, toddler is almost 18 months old now. He will probably be coming to work with her until he is in school himself, whenever that turns out to be.

Do you think that your employer relates to you differently as a mother than she did when you were a nanny?

Andrea said “No, I actually think the family I was with when I had my daughter learned a lot more from me and I helped them with a lot of parenting issues that I had already learned about in my past as a nanny.”

Kristen said “On some levels, we related to differently. I breast fed and so did she so we talked a lot about that. Everything else, we really didn’t talk about.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with nannies who are contemplating doing both?

Andrea says "I have so much advice I would love to share. My first advice would be to make sure you plan everything, IF you are planning to have a child you need to make sure everyone involved is prepared. If you get pregnant accidentally you need to make sure you handle properly and make sure you tell everyone as soon as you are comfortable doing so. If you are looking for a job and already have a child I suggest NOT telling prospective families right away. I always get familiar with each family before I tell them about my daughter. It makes things easier and I even wait sometimes until after the first interview to tell them. I have had a lot of success doing it this way, it does seem deceptive, however, it shortens the amount of time being wasted if in fact they don't click with you."

Kristen says”
“My advice I would give other nannies who would like to do both is, first make sure you are secure financially. That way if it doesn’t work out you are not frantically looking for just another job to help pay the bills. I would have something in writing so if you did get pregnant or you bring your child to work that almost everything has been discuss. Secondly, do it on a trial basis, that way if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t gotten yourself into a long-term commitment”

Penny says “I would advise nannies who are thinking of doing both to have good communication with their employers. You have to know they are willing to accommodate your and your baby's needs if you cannot afford or are unwilling to send your child to daycare.”

Thank you ladies for sharing your personal experience with us. As more and more nannies choose to stay in the profession after becoming moms, this is great information!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tips for Finding a New Nanny Job By Genevieve Thiers

Tips for Finding a New Nanny Job
By Genevieve Thiers Founder and CEO of

It's never easy leaving a nanny job and leaving behind a family you've come to truly care for. Complicating matters is the fact that you're also left without a job and without an income to support yourself as you've been doing – no doubt about it, the transition period is a tough one. As the founder of, I've seen countless babysitters and nannies in transition and looking for work. To help nannies in transition find a new nanny job, I've put together some tips designed to give you an edge and get back in the game.

Get Connected
The only way to find a job is to put yourself out there. From frequent networking to online searches, connecting with people is going to help you a great deal in your job hunt.

• Reconnect with references. Not only will you need these references to vouch for you in the very near future, but they or someone they know may also be looking for a nanny while you're looking for a job. If not, they can still keep an eye out for you and pass along any job leads they come across.

• Post your profile on On Sittercity, a job is posted every 5 minutes. Head over there to create your detailed nanny profile so you can apply to those jobs and get in front of hundreds of thousands of parents looking for caregivers! Make sure your profile is as complete as possible (pictures, references, background check, etc.) so you'll rise to the top of parents' searches.

• Be a backup for friends. If you have friends who babysit, let them know that they can feel free to refer you to a family if they can't make it to a job and need a back-up caregiver. Focus on Standing Out In this economy, many nannies find that they're up against stiff competition when it comes to landing the best jobs with the best families. Now more than ever, it's so important to do everything you can to help yourself stand out in the crowd.

• Update your resume. Make sure your resume includes any additional experience you gained while on your last job (did you sit for multiples? Were you responsible for driving the children? Did you often cook meals or do housework?) as well as any new training or skills you may have acquired, such as CPR or first aid.

• Use your downtime wisely. While you're looking for a new job, use your downtime to get more safety training or to volunteer in a child care-related field. This will not only help keep your skills fresh, it can also help you network and connect to other potential jobs.

• Get a background check. Running a background check on yourself is simple (you can do right on Sittercity) and is a great way to show parents that you're professional, trustworthy and eager to find work.

• Learn the tricks of applying to jobs. Applying to a nannying job might sound simple, but you'd be surprised how many people overlook the little details that make a big difference!

Click here to read an article that fills you in on all the dos and don'ts of applying to a nanny job.

Put Together a Nanny Portfolio
Before you head out on any interviews, make sure you've put together a detailed nanny portfolio that you can give to parents to show them that you're organized and professional.

Here's what your portfolio should include:
• Updated resume, complete with your contact information

• List of references and their email/phone number
• Availability schedule

• Copies of certifications or diplomas you've earned

• Copy of clean background check

• Copy of your driving record, if you'll be driving the children

• Printed version of your online profile to help parents remember you

• Printed version of your online reviews, if you have them

• List of activities/games you like to play with children

Prep for Interviews Like a Pro

Whether or not it's been a while since you've been on an actual nanny interview, it's important to set some time aside to prepare yourself for the meeting.

Review interview questions. In addition to reviewing the common questions you'll be asked on a nanny interview, you should also prepare your own list of interview questions to ask the parents. This shows that you're engaged, thoughtful and well-prepared to handle the position.

• Review your nanny portfolio.
Make sure you have several copies of each document in case some juice or coffee gets spilled on the originals, and double-check to make sure everything is up-to-date and spelled correctly.

• Dress for success.
Wear a clean, wrinkle-free outfit that is free of stains, tears or faded fabric. Since most parents use the interview period to introduce you to the children, you should wear something modest that allows movement, so don't pick anything too formal or anything you'll be uncomfortable in.

Follow Up After your interviews, send a polite, gracious email to the parents to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Keep it brief and tell them not to hesitate to contact you with any additional questions they may have.

Genevieve Thiers is the founder and CEO of, the country's largest and most trusted online source for child care. Through Sittercity, she has been able to transform her vast child care experience into an award-winning company and the industry leader in online care. In addition to literally writing the book on child care, titled "Love at First Sit," Genevieve has also shared child care tips, tricks and trends with hundreds of audiences across the country, from those of the TODAY show to Babytalk Magazine

Monday, July 6, 2009

Introducing Regarding Nannies

Introducing: Regarding Nannies Together with Alice Shaffer and Kellie Geres, we have created a new blog that will focus on all aspects of being a nanny. Each week we will bring you: Monday Moxie – is a roundup of nanny tidbits, news from the industry, some of our favorite websites and more. Tuesday Tip Jar – the best and most useful tips to help you in your personal and professional lives. Wednesday – Let’s Be Creative! Join The Creative Nanny as we bring you crafts, recipes and activities from guest contributors and some of our favorite websites and blogs. Table Talk Thursday – interviews with some of today’s top nannies, profiles of nanny support groups and guest writers bringing you perspectives on issues we all face. Financial Friday – The Financial Nanny brings you tips and resources for savings, spending and being financially secure. We will also have giveaways, product and book reviews, and much, much more! To kick things off we are giving away FOUR INA Memberships – one each week, starting today, July 6. The details of this give away will be released later today. Visit every day, tell your friends and become a part of the site dedicated to YOU!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sitter City Article

I am excited that Sitter City asked me to share some tips on Leaving a Family. Most of what I said is included on this site but I wanted to share the link with you anyway.

Monday, June 22, 2009

There are all kinds of transitions

We all go through Transitions.
Whether they are transitions in our jobs, or transitions in our lives, transition is a part of our day to day existence.
When we think about transitions we think about "new beginnings" but the fact of the matter is that the first part of all transitions is an ending.
In his book "TRANSITIONS: Making sense of life's changes" William Bridges says that endings are the first phase of transition. The second phase is a time of lostness and emptiness until life becomes patterned with a direction again and the third phase is beginning anew.
Transitions often involve relationships but they can also include new places, new beliefs, new challenges or goals.

If you go on a diet, you change your mindset about how you look at food, how you work food into your day, making time for excercise and making healthy choices.
If you move to a new home, you change where you keep your clothes, how they are organized, where they are stored, the route you take to work, the time it takes you to get to work.
When your baby becomes mobile, you change the way your house is arranged, you babyproof, you have to be more cautious of doors and stairs and be sure they are closed and gated.
So transition is a part of our life everyday.
We will be discussing transitions from all aspects of life and our jobs.
If you have a transition you want to write about, share with us, or want me to blog about, please contact me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Like a Second Mother Winner

The winner of a copy of "Like a Second Mother" is Christy
Christy, please contact me so that I can get your book in the mail.
Thanks to all who supported Jenn through her journey.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Last Day

Today was it.

The final day of working for my nanny family. I am NOT taking nanny to A, K and M off my signature for I am their forever nanny :)
Tonight was perfect. We went to dinner. My bosses were warned by me no tears or sad talk. I plan on seeing them lots and really my goal was to not loose it in front of those kids. We are nannies.We stay strong for our kids. I wanted them to be ok with the changes.
My bosses gave me a necklace. It is gold with diamonds and the hanging down three gold strand with each kids birth stone. My mom boss said those are our kids stones. I almost lost it then. She started to cry and I stopped her saying "no way dont do it. This is a celebration!"
She gave me a card and told me not to open it till I got home. In keeping with the not sad theme, I gave them a letter I had written and said the same "no opening till you get home."
There was a beautiful note inside that made me cry. M had written Jenn Jenn you are the BEST ever! xoxoxox Love, M That's was priceless. They also gave me a generous bonus. I will write a thank you note and send it to them.

The night was perfect. I didn't want a goodbye dinner but now I am SOOO happy i went. I'm soooo happy we did it. It validated a lot for me. All my years of being there.
I feel at peace tonight. A good friend told me the anticipation is worst. She was so right. We will all be ok because we love each other.
We said that we would see each other a lot. The kids are coming to my fundraiser for the local library Sunday. They are forever"my kids" and I am forever their nanny. :) Thanks to everyone for everything. All the kind words meant so much the last few week. You have all touched me heart.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

1 Day left

1 day left
Today was a great day. I took the kids one by one and gave them their gifts. The moments were special and I'll treasure them forever. The kids LOVED everything. They thanked me. I held it together. I didn't cry. I got choked up a few times but I told them it wasn't a goodbye gift but an end to the everyday. I told them I'll still see them tons. They seemed to get it. Even the youngest. They expressed knowing that we will see each other often.
My family is taking me out tomorrow mb,db and the kids. They wont tell me where. They said it is a surprise. The kids also said they have a surprise for me. I HAVE no idea what it is. I dont love surprises but, Im rolling with it.
I feel surprisingly ok tonight. I am really happy with the job Ive done. My kids will be ok cause they know I love them. I know they know it. I know they know ill be in their lives. I know they know they can call me anytime. These things make it easier. I feel at peace with it tonight.

Im excited about our dinner and at first I was dreading it. But now i feel like we do deserve to celebrate something wonderful.
A life long friendship and almost 16 years of devotion to them. I have come a long way since just 10 days ago. I am not un realistic. I know that there will be more ups and downs in my feelings but today I feel ok and that is something.! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

3 Days Left

I have three short days left till the end of my job. I had a great day today. The kids were a bit under the weather so they stayed home. It was actually good becauseI got to spend the whole afternoon with no rushing around with the kids. I really enjoyed that. I am going to come in early Friday and spend more time than I usually do there. That will be a nice thing too.
I am happy that I am taking a long 5 hour car ride with them to their grandparents house. My friend lives in the same town. I also have some dates to see them lined up and that makes life easier.
I think in the summer it will be easy to see them. The Fall will be the hardest when a schedule goes into effect. Im hoping by then I feel better.

Today would have been my bosses baby's 4th birthday. He died at birth. So it made this a day for thinking about other things.
3 days left..

Monday, June 15, 2009

4 Days to go

4 days to go.. I had a bad day yesterday.
Well last night I was very sad crying and it was a very emotional night. I had a great group of nanny friends that helped me a lot...
It made me feel better. I had a good day today. Work was good and I took M out to dinner.
I started cleaning out my car of all the kids stuff!! I want to make sure they have all their things.
I am feeling ready yet it is hard. I know I'll see them a lot. I can see myself hanging out with them and taking them places and it gives me comfort.
I want to give them their things this week .I am excited about it but worried that it will make me sad. Today I feel ready for this. I don't know how it will be tomorrow it is one of the those things your feelings change day to day.we shall see how it goes the rest of the week.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

5 Days

5 work days till I leave my charges of almost 16 years.

This weekend I have a lot of down time and I’m a bit scared of it.

How will it be?

Will I be sad most of it?

I do have some fun stuff planned to. I am going to see my youngest charge on Sunday at her game. That will be nice. I may invite the kids to a drive in movie to Saturday. I'm going with family. These things give me peace. I see "my kids" a lot when I'm not on work duty so I keep telling myself how special things like that will be.
The last few night I have worked late. So weird to me that I am working late, doing all the things I always do like helping M clean her room, or helping K do homework and yet they will have to take it over in 5 short days. It’s crazy. Life goes on. I think that their summer will be fun.

Camps and hanging with friends. I think the hard part for my bosses will be the fall. That's when things kick into high gear.
I have been thinking how much should I see them when I go? Should there be a limit? If I want to see them a lot will people think I’m crazy? I don’t know. I love those kids and if they get" free sitting like someone said to me I really don’t care. I’m not seeing them to give a break to the parents I’m seeing them because I love them. That's it.
5 days to go...Oh boy............

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

7 Days

Today is Thursday I have 7 days including today days left at my job.

It’s a sad day for me today. I am really feeling the end and not wanting it to come. I have been so good about preparing and thinking positively and today I have allowed myself to feel pure sadness. I have been sad, but today it is really hitting me. It is almost done. I won’t get to see them everyday. Hear about their day. Know all the little things I know now.

I hate it actually. This whole process.
I am hoping for no fanfare when I leave. I know some people will think that sounds weird. But for me I just don’t want a big thing.

I do not want a dinner. I don’t want any sort of big deal.

I won't see you next week. I can’t handle it. I can't do a big thing. For me it would be worse. I know myself well enough to know that I would get too emotional to have a big send off. Plus for me I am not seeing this as good bye. For me it is just see you soon.

I plan on being in their lives so I don’t need a big goodbye.

Its not goodbye. Does that make sense to anyone?

9 Days

So yesterday I said I had two weeks left on my job. I realized today that two weeks is only 10 work days. It mad me sad. I had a busy day with car issues and it helped take my mind off it until this evening.

M said to me see you tomorrow, I'll miss you.
I was thinking to myself she'll miss me?
I'll see her in less than 24 hours.
What will she do when she doesn't see me for days or weeks?
I don’t want this child to hurt. I spent the last 16 years making sure she didn't get hurt and now I’m going to be the cause of her pain. I know it is no ones fault and it is a natural end BUT it still is a fact she will hurt.

It will be because she misses me. It is terribly hard to take. In the beginning I’ll be seeing the kids about once a week or so. That will be super for them. After a bit I’ll extend it.
For now I need that for me as much as they do! Funny thing I said to one of my sisters-in-law how hard it will be and she said “Oh it will be good ….you are too attached to them." I was so angry.
Don’t tell me that!
It is the last thing I want to hear.

How would you like it if I told you that you had to stop seeing your kid’s everyday?
I didn't say it but I thought it... LOL. I know they are not my kids but my love for them is very deep and being told it's good to be ripped out of their day to day lives is the last thing I wanted to hear. Really..... I go back and forth. I know "my kids" will be alright in the end. Kids are strong. Lucky for me and them that they are not loosing me in their lives. Our relationship is just changing. That gives me some peace in it all.
9 work days left.. UGH

remember to leave a comment for Jenn or a message of support to be entered into the "Like a Second Mother" book giveaway.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jenn's Countdown

Two weeks left..........
I have two weeks left until the end of my time with my nanny family. I have been with my "family" for almost 16 years. I have watched them grow. I have helped raise them. I love them. They are family. This summer my charges will be 8,12 and 16. I did what I wanted to get them through to school. I even got to stay longer than that.
Its heart wrenching. It’s crying all the time. But other days feeling ok. It’s knowing because we are so close that they will forever be in my life. Does it make it easier? Ill let you know in two weeks.. Scratch that.
I probably won’t know for a few weeks after that, maybe months.
I feel so many different things it is hard to put down in words.
Sad, hurt, accomplishment, love, heartache, happy, ugh the list goes on and on.
I bought gifts. Personalized frames for the boys and a necklace for M. She wears half I wear the other. I haven't given them to the kids yet.
My MB and I have yet to really say anything to each other about it. Funny. and strange. I think it is easier for us both not to talk about it.
Today I've said enough time to just stop,till next time.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Leaving a family after 16 years

My friend Jenn will be leaving her job this week. She has been with her family for 16 years. Her kids are 16, 12 and 8. Since I have been with my family almost the same amount of time she and I have a very close bond.
She has been blogging her last 10 days to help her through the sadness(thanks to Buffi for a wonderful suggestion) and she will be sharing them here starting this week.
I hope that you will all offer her some support and ideas as she goes through this transition.
I will be putting all the postings of support and encouragement into a drawing for a copy of "Like a Second Mother" and the winner will be announced Sunday June 21.

If you have never read this book, here is Joyce Farmers' review of the book that was first published in the National Association of Nannies Newsletter.

"Like A Second Mother" by Barbara Blouin"

Books Fall Open. You Fall In." Do you remember that reading program slogan? I immediately fell deep into this book, and I will tell you why. As I read each story, I put myself in that nanny's place. I experienced each of them as fully as I could, based on the facts given. For some of the narratives, that meant reading between the lines because some stories were told by the nanny's charge.This book was published as a part of the Inheritance Project, an organized effort to explore the emotional and social impact of inherited wealth. It was written as an effort to acknowledge and honor the many caregivers who unstintingly gave their love and support to the children in their care. While written about people of wealth, it nevertheless holds the joys and frustrations of nannies everywhere.Like A Second Mother is a series of interviews of employers, nannies and charges. The beginning stories are of early nanny/housekeepers from the first half of the century. Others are mixed statements from employer, nanny, and charges. The end of the book contains more stories just by nanny. Some are definitely interviews, while others are beautifully descriptive stores by gifted nanny writers.It is hard to read about the earlier nanny/housekeepers because we want our profession to advance beyond the low pay/recognition into a respected and comfortable career choice. Efforts towards this goal made by NAN, agencies and others are discussed in the Introduction.I experienced some vertigo while reading some chapters, because there was so much between the lines. I realized (from my own job experiences) how the events described by employers would appear from the nanny's perspective. One story was written entirely about how nanny fit into the employer's life. A single line about nanny getting married made me realize that nanny had a whole complete life outside of this narrative. Nanny sustained this family, and at the same time (albeit invisibly?) provided for herself emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.Common threads appear as you read along. It is disturbing to read of alcoholism, dysfunction, and abuse in wealthy families. It is difficult to glean how nanny succeeded in her work (at times, she didn't) while overcoming these obstacles. It is nearly inexplicable to read about how hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on landscaping, only to read of the low weekly pay of the person whom those children totally depended on for their quality of life. I found myself counting the times in these stories where nanny was required to forgive and forget about class distinctions, cultural differences, and financial comparisons, in order to provide emotionally for these wealthy children.Love is the enduring theme in all these stories. While the parents shrugged off these issues, the charges struggle to reconcile the life they enjoyed "below-stairs" with nanny, versus the social life of wealth and privilege that they were expected to live "above-stairs." Charges often speak of the enjoyable warmth of the kitchen and caregivers, versus the cool reserve of parental social expectations.Nannies have "immense personal strength" but no material security, the apparent opposite of their charges. Our employers pay for our time and effort, but the love--freely given--cannot be purchased. In some of these stories by charges, they have tried to repay these invaluable gifts by honoring and caring for their caregivers during their later years.You have heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this book, one line can equal a thousand words. It took me a long time to read this book, because I would continually have to stop on one of these lines. My heart would respond with joy or sorrow to these truths about nannies and the way we affect our charges' lives. I will share a few of these here, although most of their power is derived from the story that the statement is taken from.Nanny Ann: "Whatever you put out is what you get back." "You can change the world with being kind to people."Charge, Missy: "It feels real good to talk about her because I don't feel like I can give back enough what she gave to me."Charge, Tracy: "Nellie figured out ways to create a loving circle around her in the kitchen."Nanny Mildred: "I'm like a mother to those kids. I lived every day for them. I love 'em until death.Employer, Diana: "Susannah got a different kid of parenting for a few hours a day--a less analytical, less intellectual and maybe a more basic kind of parenting." "I know that Di loves my children totally and realistically, much in the way that a sister or grandmother would."Charge, Sylvia: "I would like to spare my kid what happens when a nanny leaves--because part of your childhood goes with her."Employer, Lois: "There was a group of kids for Holly to grow up with, and all the other children were being babysat by their babysitters. So Theresa provided Holly with a social life that was absolutely important to her. Holly made friends at the park, and they went to each other's houses all the time."When asked if she thought Holly was more attached to Theresa than to her (the mother), Lois said: "I thought she was attached to Theresa differently than she was attached to me."Nanny Catherine: "I love all three children. I measure my love for them by how much what they do and say can affect me." "The biggest drawback to this job is that nannies are not looked highly upon. With people I know, I speak up about that. But you can't really change people's opinions because they have to highly regard children in the first place in order to highly regard nannies."Nanny Patricia: "It almost saddened me to realize that Andrew would never be able to recall his own innocent moment, and that I would be the only person to tell him how tender and gentle he had been. What truly amazed me that day was a child's capacity to take an ordinary moment and make it something incredibly special."Employer, Kakie: A child's caregiver is part of your intimate life--like it or not. I think it calls for a lot of consciousness on both sides, and when you get a good fit, it can be so enriching. And when you don't get that fit, it can be so destructive."Nanny Maria: "Sometimes it was very intense: they need all your energy, and they can take it all."Employer, Wendy: "I also think it's very possible that Zoe bonded with Maria as well. Children bond to their mother and their father, so why can't they bond to mother and babysitter?"Each story in this book is worthy to be slowly absorbed on its own. The experiences of other nannies and how they handled common situations are a very important part of the networking foundation that is needed to help standardize our industry. There is definitely a need in the world today for books that present the nanny's view of the issues. Telling stories from the family's perspective can help nanny to understand both sides of the issue. This book does an outstanding job of trying to cover both of these perspectives. I would recommend this book for any nanny's library.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A very special birthday message for Harriette

On Harriette's birthday, I had a very special comment on my blog that I didn't want you to miss.
It was from Sylvia, Harriette's first charge.
If you read the book "Like a Second Mother" by Barbara Blouin, you might remember the very poignant chapter in the book called "Closing the Nursery Door" which Sylvia wrote about her beloved nanny that she affectionately called "Rat"
Next week I will be posting my give away for the month of June which is a copy of the book "Like a Second Mother" by Barbara Blouin but right now I hope you enjoy this note from Sylvia.

Happy Birthday to Rat!

You know how people say you never truly appreciate your parents until you have children yourself? The same holds true for your nanny.As I fumble through raising my daughter and son (10 and 8), I sure wish Rat were here to give me advice ... and make me laugh.

I knew the young Harriette, who let my sister pierce her ears with a needle at the kitchen table and loved Elvis. I never got my chance to take her to Graceland.

BTW, I am at the start of a long and slow project to write a biography of Harriette, who moved into our house at age 19 to be my nanny and never dreamed she'd be a labor activist. If you'd like to share a memory or comment about Harriette ... or would be willing to let me interview you about Rat, the nannying profession, or any other tangent, please drop me an e-mail at

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Harriette!

Today would have been Harriette's 67th Birthday.Maybe you are thinking " So...I didn't know her why are you telling me?........but what Harriette did in her life, impacted all of us.I made a promise to Harriette before she died that I would never let her be forgotten. As time goes by and more and more I realize how much I miss her and how important she was to me, I also realize that I probably would have done that even if she hadn't asked me to.
So for those of you who did not know her, here is her story, and why it matters.
Harriette Grant passed away on June 30, 2002. She had been a nanny for 40 years. You can read her story in the book Like a Second Mother but here is my tribute to her life and her enormous contribution to nannies everywhere.
The following article about Harriette Grant first appeared in the NAN Newsletter in June of 2001. In November of 2001, Harriette was diagnosed with Leukemia and she passed away on June 30, 2002.
A nanny for the ages by Glenda Willm Propst
These are some newspaper headlines from 1961:U.S. Breaks Off Diplomatic Relations With Cuba;John F. Kennedy Inaugurated as President of the U.S. Peace Corps Established by Kennedy;UN General Assembly Condemns Apartheid;‘Freedom Riders’Attacked by White Citizens in Anniston and Birmingham; Bay of Pigs Invasion; Kennedy and Khrushchev Meet in Vienna to Discuss Disarmament; Berlin Wall Constructed; Actor Gary Cooper Dies at Age 60.
These are some popular books from 1961:Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein;Catch-22, by Joseph Heller; andTropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller (the first legal publication in the U.S.).
Some of the popular movies that year were:"West Side Story,""The Hustler," and "Judgment at Nuremberg."And among the most popular songs were:"Love makes the World Go Round,""Moon River,""Where the Boys Are," and "Exodus."How many of you remember any of these events and cultural markers? How many of you were even born in 1961?Well, even if we are among those who were not yet born in 1961, there was an event that in some way affected all our lives that year. This event did not make the headlines, but it changed our lives all the same.
In July, 1961,Harriette Grant began her career as a nanny. At that time there were no newspaper articles about nanny salaries or benefits there were no formal nanny training programs in the United States, there were no nanny support groups, and there were no nanny organizations.Harriette was just 19 when she started taking care of Sylvia Whitman. In the book "Like a Second Mother," Sylvia writes about a very different Harriette from the person we know. Sylvia's "Rat," as she affectionately called her, changed her hair color every week, and their house was the best patrolled in the neighborhood because all the policemen had a crush on Harriette.Harriette was with the Whitman family for nine years, and she maintains a close relationship with Sylvia Whitman, who is now all grown up with a family of her own.In 1970 Harriette moved to Washington, DC, to care for the Brown children, with whom she stayed for 20 years. Even after the children were teenagers, Harriette remained and helped the Browns part time (she took a second part time job with another family in the neighborhood). Harriette was there when one of the Brown children graduated from Princeton University, and when her other "child" graduated from High School. While she was in DC, Harriette began to get serious about solving the problems surrounding the lack of support nannies had.Harriette Grant was one of the founders of the very first nanny support group in the USA. It was called ADCAN - the Association of DC Area Nannies. The group still runs strong today, and prides itself on being the oldest nanny support group in the nation. If you have ever tried to start or run a support group, you will understand what an accomplishment that is.Harriette was also a founding member of International Nanny Association, served on its board of directors, and was the INA's first Nanny of the Year in 1990.She co founded NAN with Glenda Willm Propst and Eva Harkness in 1992.When Harriette moved to New York City in 1999, she became one of the founders of the Professional Nannies of New York.I first met Harriette Grant at the INA conference in Vail, Colorado, in 1988. We were going to be serving on the INA Board together. It did not take long for us to realize that we had the same concerns, the same vision, and the same passion for the nanny profession. After the conference, we burned up the phone lines on a regular basis.We became very good friends, and in 1992, along with Eva Harkness, we founded the National Association of Nannies.
In 1997, when Harriette asked me to run with her for Co-President of NAN, one of my greatest concerns was that it might hurt our friendship. We promised each other not to let that happen. I think we would both admit that at times it was a struggle, but we served as Co-Presidents for four years, and were still on speaking terms. We did not always agree, but we always respected each other and we have always tried to make what was best for NAN our top priority.
NAN benefited from her vision, her professionalism, her steadfastness, her wisdom, and her commitment to the Nanny profession.It's a little overwhelming to think of all the things that have happened in the last 40 years, and of how far the nanny profession has come. I think of all the changes Harriette saw and of all the nannies she encountered on her journey.When I think of Harriette Grant, I think of the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail."
Harriette led the way where there was no path. She blazed a trail for 40 years, .As her torch is passed, we can all learn a valuable lesson from her life, her example, and her dedication to her career.
It is up to each of us to continue the work that Harriette started. We are pioneers of the nanny profession, and it is our job to continue to blaze the trail.
Harriette, you have been our friend, our leader, and our inspiration. We will never forget you and we will work hard to continue your legacy.You leave us with many wonderful memories but a hole in our heart that only you could fill.
Rest in peace dear friend.I miss you every single day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

INA Membership Contest Recipient

Over the past two weeks, Alice and myself, have given nannies the opportunity to win an INA membership for the upcoming year. It is valued at $95. We tallied the entries from the 31 nannies who entered and used to draw the number. The winner is:

Number 18

belonging to


from Minnesota!

Congratulations on receiving the INA membership from Creative Nanny, Nanny Adventures, Nanny Transitions & The Financial Nanny.

Thank you everyone who shared with others and entered our contest.

Please consider joining INA.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The INA Contest

The INA Contest has ended.
The winner of the INA Membership will be announced tomorrow probably in the afternoon because Alice and I both have things going on tomorrow.
Thank you to all who participated.
Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions with me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I hope that as the INA promotion comes to a close you will all work toward getting some more entries. I wish I could give a membership to every person who entered because I do believe that INA has played an integral part of who I have become as a nanny and I would like for every nanny to experience that personally.
I was a founding member of INA. I served on it's board for 5 years, was the second Nanny of the Year and I believe that if I had not found my roots in INA, we could have never had the courage or the connections that gave NAN (The National Association of Nannies) it's wings.
Being a nanny can be an isolating job. Becoming a part of a national or international organization that is working to improve the profession connects you to a bigger part of our industry. (Yes Myrna...I did call it an industry) It connects the nannies and the agencies and tax companies, and other businesses related to what we do and it gives us all a stronger voice.There is great strength in numbers.
The internet has changed the industry a lot, it has connected nannies in a stronger way, it has given nannies an avenue to share their voice, and it has brought nannies together in international online discussion and support groups. These are all wonderful things but they are free.
Investing in a membership in an organization that is working for you every single day might seem like a lot for some nannies, they might think that they can get the same thing for free online, but you really can't.
Even when NAN was in operation, I was on 22 different online nanny groups and I actively participated in them, but the women that I worked with in NAN were my "true north" when I needed support, advice and direction.
I hope you win the membership but if you don't, I hope you will consider investing something in your career and investing something in an organization that is trying to make the profession better for all of us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dealing with the stages of Grief

Dealing with the stages of Grief
Often times when nannies see the writing on the wall, they go into the first stage of grief.
1. The first stage of grief is denial.
If I pretend this is not happening it won’t be, and I won’t have to figure out what to do or how to find a new job or most importantly, how to leave these children that I love so much.
2.Then comes Anger
“After all I have done for this family I can’t believe that they treat me like this!
Then comes
If I can just focus on the children it will be ok.
Then you move on:
You either realize that loving the children is not enough and that you have no choice but to move on, or the parents let you go and the decision is beyond your control.This is the time that you find yourself sinking into that dark hole of sadness and pain.
4. Depression
You know that you have to make important decisions but you just can’t find the energy. It is hard to get from one minute to the next and impossible to think of your life in terms of tomorrow, much less the future. This is also the time when you might say to yourself, I will never be a nanny again, this is just too painful.
Eventually you are forced to accept that the job is ending and you need to decide what to do next.
Sometimes, even when a job ends, it is still hard to move on to the stage of acceptance. Sometimes not being able to accept that loss contributes to not being happy or successful in our next position.
Change is always difficult and it is always an adjustment when you change jobs. Oftentimes, when nannies change jobs, if they are a live in nanny, they also change their place to live.
It is also harder for a nanny because unlike a job where you work in a factory, or sit at a desk all day our job elicits emotions of love,compassion caring and tenderness.
How do you just turn those feelings off when the job ends?
So when we leave a job, we also have to deal with an end or a change to a relationship.
It’s easy to say that this is a part of our job and that saying goodbye goes with the territory. It’s easy to say that we “just have to be professional” about it. It’s easy to say “ You just focus on the positive and move on”
It just is not “EASY” to do.
When you are going through the process of grieving, it is important to have a good support system in place to help you stay focused and help you deal with your emotions.
Grieving is a process that you have to work through in your own time on your own schedule.
Let yourself feel, let yourself hurt, let yourself cry, and then most importantly
Let yourself heal.

When we have to say goodbye, for whatever reason, we often feel betrayed by the parents who entrusted us to love and care for their children.
It is hard to be rational with a broken heart but it is very important to accept what you can not change and look to your future.

In Merle Shain’s book “Hearts that We Broke Long Ago” she said:
“ People do not usually set out to hurt you, but sometimes you get in the way of what they want or what they need."

If you stop and think about that statement, there is a lot of truth to it.
When that family hired you, they did not say, let’s hire a nanny, keep her until she gets attached to the children, and then let her go.
It is just a natural process of our job.
Sometimes when a job is ending, the parents feel emotional too. If the nanny makes the choice to leave, the parents might feel rejected, and wonder “What did we do to make her want to leave us?”
At a time when they might want to say “We don’t’ know how we can live without you, their actions might say “We couldn’t care less that you are leaving”
Sometimes it is hard for parents to admit what an important part of your life they are, and if the parents are letting the nanny go they might try to send the message that they will be just fine without her.
Never forget that your first priority is support the children through this transition. This is quite possibly one of the most important lessons you will teach the children in your care, and it is crucial that we set an example that they can follow.
It also helps to focus on the good times you have had with this family and the happy memories you will take with you.
At a time when it is easier to see the negative, try to remember the great experiences you had, the opportunities you were offered and what you learned from the time you spent there.
We usually learn more from the hard times in our lives than we do from the happy times.
If a position is ending badly, and you wish that you could pour your heart out to the family, you might try just writing a letter to get your feelings out on paper. You don’t have to mail it but just writing your thoughts down might be helpful in processing all the emotion you are feeling.
When you allow yourself to forgive, you can move forward but until you can forgive (Whether it is for treating you badly, or letting you go, or keeping you from their children) you can never truly move forward and you can never truly begin to heal.
If you choose to hold on to the wrong that was done to you, you choose to drag a heavy load around with you and it will weigh you down and hold you back. It will also keep you in the pain.
Dealing with the pain is not something that is going to go away in a week or month or even years. .
Children grow up in spite of us, whether we are there, or not. I sometimes find myself looking at old pictures or videos of my charges when they were little I truly miss them being at those stages of their life but I also enjoy seeing them grow up and learn and know that I have had a part of all of that.
If you are leaving a family on good terms it is important for you to talk about how you are going to deal with telling the children.
Who is going to tell them, what they will be told and whether or not you will be a part of that.
The nanny should never tell a child she is leaving without the parents ok, and she should never tell the child that the parents are making her leave or firing her.
Even though you might be hurt or angry, you should always take the high road as you transition to the final days in this position.
You will never be sorry you took the high road, but you may regret it if you take the low road.
In the book "How to Survive the Loss of Love" they talk about the stages of recovery taking place in three distinct, yet overlapping stages.
They are :
understanding/acceptance/moving on
Each stage of recovery is
a part of the healing process

Having said all of that, sometimes, the pain is more than we can bear alone.
If you think you need help, don't hesitate. Get it at once.
If you are feeling suicidal--or even think you might be feeling suicidal--call a Suicide Prevention Hotline at once.
You should also seek help at once if you:
feel you are "coming apart"
are no longer in control
are about to take an action you may later regret
have a history of emotional disturbance
turn to alcohol, drugs or other addictive substances in time of need
feel isolated with no one to turn to
repeatedly find yourself in loss situations
Sometimes, we all need a little bit of extra help to get through a really difficult time. It is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Friday, May 15, 2009

INA Membership Giveaway: Joint Promotion with Nanny Adventures

Since returning from the INA Conference in Dallas 3 weeks ago, my good friend Alice and I have been brainstorming about how to get the message out to nannies that we can't simply sit around lamenting about the lack of respect our profession gets. We have to be actively working to improve the image of the nanny profession and one of the most important ways to do that is to be actively involved in a professional nanny organization.

We both knew and loved the late Harriette Grant. Harriette was a Co Founder of the first and longest running support group in the United States. Association of DC Area Nannies (ADCAN). She was a founding member of INA, a board member of INA and the first INA Nanny of the Year in 1990 We will be posting her story on her June 3rd Birthday and in honor of her upcoming birthday Alice and I decided we would work in conjunction to give away an INA Membership on our blogs.

Alice has 2 blogs. Her first blog is This is a blog about her adventures as a nanny, helpful tools for parents and nannies as well as other items of interest.
She was also inspired by Dr. Lynne Kenney at the INA Conference to brand herself. She is launching her new blog, The Financial Nanny that is focused on helping nannies (and others) save money and invest wisely with the start of this contest.

My first blog is about nannies in transitition and how to deal with the emotions of leaving a nanny positions and other changes that happen when you stay with a family for a few years. It is called Nanny Transitions. My second blog is just for fun and it highlights my creative side as The Creative Nanny.

Starting on Friday, May 15 and running through Monday June 1, we will offer you the opportunity to win a one year INA Nanny membership (Valued at $95) If you are already an INA member we will pay your membership for the following year.

You can gain entries by doing any or all of the following.

1. Sign up to follow either blog. (Each blog counts for 1 entry so if you sign up for all 4 you will get 4 entries). Please leave a comment at each blog stating that you signed up to follow or already do.

2. Talk about this give away and post a link to our blogs on your blog, post about it to a yahoogroup, or post about it on a message board like Nannynetwork, or Nannyisland
Twitter it, or put it on Facebook.

Send us a copy or a link and each one will count as an entry.
Send it to (put INA Giveaway in subject)

3. In addition to that you will get double entries for posting on any of our blogs :

a. Why you want to be a member of a professional organization, or
b. What it means to you to be a member of a professional nanny group

The winner will be chosen from and announced on all four blogs on Tuesday June 2, 2009. Good luck!

For more information on the INA please visit their website, their blog, their facebook fan page or twitter.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Working Together to Prepare the Children

In a perfect world a parent and a nanny can sit down and talk about the upcoming transition and plan for it together.
Realistically, this is not always possible.
If the new person is starting, or your new job needs you sooner or the money for the parents to keep you there is just not available it creates a stressful work environment.
Even when the nanny and the parents are trying to work together to make it a good parting, it often ends badly.

If the nanny chooses to leave:
sometimes the parents can feel hurt or betrayed,
If the parent decides to end the relationship:
sometimes the nanny can feel hurt or betrayed,
but no matter who chooses to end the relationship, it is always highly emotional and difficult especially for the nanny and the child who form very close bonds.
This is a time when emotions are running very high. One of the things that nannies yearn for at this point in the transition is validation that they have done a great job. At a time when the nanny wants the parents to say "You are so wonderful, how will we ever live without you?" the parents actions are saying "We are going to be just fine without you here."
It is very important to remember that this is not the time you are going to be validated for a job well done.
First of all, you aren't gone can they miss you?
Secondly, if you look at this situation from the parents perspective, their goal at this point in time is to send their children a very strong message that "it's all going to be ok" Most of us work for very strong, very intelligent, successful families and at this point in time, they want their children to know above all else, it will all be fine.
Even though this may feel insulting to you at the time, you have to remember, these are not your children and their parents will be caring for them long after you are gone and it is still our responsibility to set the example for them, and to help them believe that it will be ok. Remember that you are a professional and that teaching these children how to say goodbye, is one of the most important life lessons they will learn.

Since emotions are running rampant at this point, the best thing that all of you can do is focus on the children and helping them get through this situation.
I have created a tip sheet using information that I have gleaned over the years from other nannies on how to prepare the children.
How do you prepare the children?

First and foremost, the nanny and the parents need to discuss who will tell the children, when they will be told and whether or not the nanny will be present. They should also discuss what they will tell the children so that they present a unified front.

Here are ways that you can prepare the children that will also help you prepare yourself.

1. Educate children from the day you begin caring for them, so that they understand that you will always love them and they will always be in your heart, but you will not always be there on a daily basis.
2. It is important that they understand that you are there to do a job and when you leave, it is not because of anything that they did wrong.
3. Make sure that if you are still going to be able to see them, that they know that.
4. If you will still be having visits with them, it is a good idea to set up a future visit and mark it on the calendar so they understand that they will see you again.
5. If you are moving away, leave them your picture, your new phone number, your email address and a way to get in touch with you.
6. Give them certificates that recognize how much they have grown and what they have learned.
7. Make a picture album together
8. Transition with the new nanny if at all possible.
9. Make friends with the new nanny.
10. Speak positively about the new nanny.
You can say things like “You and ----- are going to have so much fun together. Did you know that she can …………..
11. If you accept the new nanny, it gives your child permission to accept them too.
12. Never promise to stay forever
13. When they are old enough to understand, talk about past charges...Like, "When I was E---'s Nanny we used to………..."
14. If your current charges see you keeping in touch with your past charges you can use that to teach them that at some point you will be needed to help another family just as you moved on to help them.
15. Adopt a natural circle of life philosophy.
16. Point out when their friends change nannies.
17. Always remind them that they will have their parents to care for them.
18. Don't lie to them.
19. Make sure that they know it is nothing they have done.
20. If the children are old enough, share with them when you go on an interview,and tell them about the kids you met and what they thought and if they had things in common. This makes them feel like more of the transition process.
21. Talk in a positive way about the good things that are to come. How you can come and visit them.
22. If mom will now be at home, try to help them see how much fun that will be.
23. Set up emails and I show them how to email you and remind them that you can 'talk' all the time via email and they can call and write.
24. If there are special traditions they want to carry on, try to do that for them.
25. One nanny said that her charge was going to miss her Rice Krispie Treats - so she taught her how to make them her “special way”
26. Make an extra effort to remember their birthdays and Holidays
27. Have a special picture made together
28. Talk about the great memories

Remember that you are the adult in this situation and always take the high road.

Gentle Transitions ©Glenda Propst 5/10/2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How do you know when the writing is on the wall?

Jobs end for lots of reasons. They don't always have to be bad reasons.
Some are happy reasons.
If the nanny decides to have a child of her own,
or if the nanny gets married and moves away those can be happy reasons.
But the most common reasons that jobs end are:
*Children grow up.
*Some parents just don’t see the need for a full time nanny once their children are in pre school and often times pre-schools offer extended care.
*Parents lose their job and have to downsize
*Parents find alternative care that is cheaper
*Nanny finds a job that pays more
*Parent and nanny no longer agree on lots of issues

If you are on the fence about leaving your job you might want to make a list of the pros and cons of your job. Give each pro or con a point value and see which side has the most value to you. This can be a helpful tool in making your decision. Sometimes it's sort of like counting your blessings, we often take the best things for granted.

If you ask nannies who either left jobs by mutual consent or left jobs that they have outgrown, they will often tell you that they saw the signs, they just did not want to believe that their job was coming to an end.
If you are unhappy in your job, the chances are great that your employer is also unhappy.Over the years I have advised countless nannies in person or via the internet about problems they are having on their jobs. The first question I ask them, is if they have talked to their employers, they always answer NO.

Being a parenting partner in a family is very much like any relationship.
Relationships can not grow, they can not solidify, nor can they survive if you do not have good communication.
There are lots of ways to communicate: Daily logs, phone calls, weekly meetings, monthly dinners, email or a combination of these. The bottom line is that if you are not using any of these, you can’t expect your job to last long term.
More than once I have talked to nannies who say they are unhappy in their jobs. Once they decide to start looking for a new job on the internet, they are completely SHOCKED to find their job being advertised online.

So, to better prepare yourself, it is smart for you to know what the warning signs are that a job is coming to an end.
How do you know when the writing is on the wall?

What are the signals that it is time to move on?
I solicited feedback from nannies online asking them the signs that it was time for a nanny to move on.

The number one response to that question was:
1.When you stop communicating
I could type all day on just this one topic but the bottom line is that this is a relationship and when you don’t communicate there is no relationship.
When there is no relationship….soon there will be no job.

2.When the parents stop trying to be respectful or accommodating to your needs. As a nanny you have the right to a life beyond your work. In fact, you will be a better rounded nanny if you have a life beyond your work. Do not allow your employer to diminish the importance of your life over theirs. You have the right to be sick, the right to go to the dentist and Dr. and the right to take care of yourself.

3. When the parents start to take on responsibilities that used to be yours.

4. When everything is an issue .

5. When everything is an issue for “you”.

6.When the parents don’t back you up even after a discussion on the importance of doing so. You tell your charge no TV while eating breakfast but you walk in every morning to the TV on and the kids eating breakfast in front of it.

7. Your paycheck bounces

8. Lack of respect

9. Your employer belittles you in front of others

10. Parents correct you in front of the children.

11. Parents disagree with everything you say

12. When you start the day and wish it was already over.

13. When you dread going to work.

14. When the parents stop responding enthusiastically to plans you have made or things you have done.

15. When your employer asks you to return all credit cards etc. in an effort to use only cash to better track expenses

16. You stop having regular meetings

17. You feel like you are walking on eggshells.

18. The children have outgrown your level of expertise.

When you are unhappy in your job…..Your employer is probably unhappy with you.
If the writing is on the wall, you need to read it and heed it.
If you don’t, you might find that your employers will make that decision for you.
It is much better for you to choose to leave, than to be told the job is over.
When it is your decision, it is still difficult, but you will feel more in control having made the decision than having the decision made for you

Monday, May 4, 2009

You can find books about being a nanny,what a nanny needs to know, how to put together your portfolio,how to interview a family and what you need to put in a work agreement, but you can’t find a book that tells a nanny how to heal her broken heart when she either outgrows or her job , or the job ends.
The subject of leaving a family, and the grief that follows, is a topic that very few nannies or parents have a desire to talk about.
There are many things that make our profession unique but the one thing that sets it apart from all the rest is the fact that we come into a family, we play an integral part of loving and caring for, and helping to raise their children, and our reward for a job well done is to move on.
I once heard someone say that a nanny comes when you think you need her least, and leaves when you need her most. There is a truthful irony about nannies which is:
If we do our job and do it well, we work ourselves out of a job. No matter how hard you work, or how well you do your job, it is inevitable that your job will come to an end.
As nannies it is our job to teach the children in our care not to need us.
Our challenge is to convince ourselves that we don’t need them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It all starts with communication

I always say that my 24 years as a professional nanny have taught me a lot about being happy in my marriage. All good relationships thrive on good communication.
Communication is the foundation for a gentle transition so I want to share with you my Communication Article.

Employer/ Employee Communication by Glenda Propst

Good relationships must have a foundation. Communication is the foundation of a good employer/employee relationship. Communication begins with the first interview, and is an ongoing process between the nanny and the parents.

During the interview, expectations of both parties need to be clearly defined and understood.

¨ Guidelines regarding discipline must be established and agreed upon in the beginning, and they need to be refined and adjusted as the need arises.

¨ Consistency is crucial.

¨ Children need to know they can take you at your word.

¨ Children need limits. it is important for the nanny and the parents to present a united front. This means that if one of the parents has a problem with the way the nanny is disciplining, they will discuss it in private, not in front of the children.

Communication must be implemented into the daily schedule.

Some ways to do this :

¨ Notes

¨ Journals,

¨ Conversation,

¨ Phone calls throughout the day.

¨ Short talks (come 10 minutes early, stay IO minutes late)

¨ Dinner away from the house without the children (this is relaxing, non-threatening, neutral territory.

¨ Family meetings

Things to Remember:

¨ As nannies especially when we live in, we have a tendency to take everything personally.

¨ Try not take everything personally. Sometimes your employer is in a bad mood because he/she ( or they both) had a bad day, not because of something you did or did not do.

¨ Sometimes parents don't even realize that what they are doing is upsetting us.

¨ Don't assume your employer can read your mind.

¨ Say the words.

¨ Learn to stand up for yourself.

¨ When you finally have the opportunity to sit and talk to the parents about a concern or a problem, here are some suggestions for making the most of the opportunity.

¨ Be Prepared

¨ Learn to distinguish between what is important what is not important.

¨ Take time to prepare an agenda of what you want to talk about.

¨ Under each item make a list of the points you want to make.

¨ If you write it down, you will not forget anything.

¨ The other advantage to writing things down is that it sends a very clear message to your employers that his was important to you and you prepared for it.

¨ Try to balance the negative with the positive.

¨ Try to create win/win resolutions.

¨ If you present a problem, offer some solutions.

¨ Do not place blame.

¨ Keep in mind that if you have a concern or a problem it is not going to go away. You must learn to deal with it like an adult.( isn't that one of the very important character traits you are trying to teach your charges?)

If you have a difficult time learning how to communicate effectively, take an assertiveness training class. It will be worth the time and money and it will benefit you in every area of your life for years to come

Monday, April 27, 2009


In 1999 I put together a workshop for nannies titled
Gentle Transitions

Leaving a Family with your head and heart intact
This weekend at the INA Conference I presented my workshop for the 5th time. In her keynote addressDr. Lynn Kenney spoke about the need to brand yourself. You can't make it your own until you give it away.
This is WHY I came home and started this blog.
I realized that I have something important to offer nannies.
Whether we like to talk about it or not it is important to know how to prepare yourself for leaving a family.

On this blog I will be talking about the signs that a job is coming to an end.
What to do to prepare yourself, How to help prepare the children, and how to deal with the grief that is part of the process.