Thursday, September 16, 2010

Creating Positive Changes in a Negative Situation

Today we are talking to an anoymous nanny in the Midwest who is going to share with us how her perfect job, changed to a job she hated, and how she took the negatives aspects of the job and created positive opportunities that she learned to enjoy.

When do you start this job?
Jan , 2008

Did you find it through an agency?
No, I found it through an online site.

Give us a brief synopsis of the job description you interviewed for.
The job I interviews for was caring for their toddler and a soon to be born baby. *Eventually they had another child so I was caring for 3 children under the age of 4. I was also expected to do child related tasks
Did the job fit the job description when you first started it?
There were some parts of the job that were as I thought it was going to be but there was one major part that was not.
I thought I could do outings with the children, when in reality I could not. It had to be as a "family". I could drive their car with the kids to the library. During the 1st yr going to Costco was the highlight of the week.
When did it change?
The summer of 2009 my hours were cut to part time. I tried to find another part time postiion with no luck. That was when I really started to feel like a "Parent Helper". The dad wanted to spend as much time as he could with the kids. I didn’t have a problem with that, but I am a planner and he was not. I never felt like I could do projects or educational activities not knowing what he had planned. Learning to go with the flow was challenging at times. I was tired of going places with the bosses. It just was no fun anymore.
How did it change?
I took on more household tasks ( which I was ok with) when both kids were napping. They wanted more help around the house since both kids slept at the same time in the afternoon. I was mopping the floor once a week, vacuuming the tile each day and vacuuming the 2 play areas 2-3 times a week. I was also wiping down the counters, cupboards and bathroom sink and doing laundry as needed. I was becoming a housekeeper. In some ways, I enjoyed it. At first the mom would put the clothes in the washer and I would transfer them to the dryer and then fold the clothes. The last 8 months I just did the kids laundry and folded the parents laundry. The last 8 months that I was there the dad was travelling a lot less. He wanted the kids home ALL the time. The oldest was in activities almost everyday. When he had a "free" day he was so excited. I spent a lot of time with the with the two youngest. If we did get to go to the park we had to come back so the kids could watch dad mow the lawn.
When it changed did you talk to the parents and try to find ways to make it better for all of you?
I did try and talk to them but they were just not comfortable with me driving their children. They trusted me but not other drivers.
What were some solutions that you offered them?
One solution which actually worked out to my benefit was learning to cook. With 3 kids and a mom that was working full time it was hard for her to plan meals. One day I offered to help with the cooking and she took me up on it. I have to say that even my cleaning skills improved overtime
Did you offer compromises?
I could have playdates at the house. I had a few playdates at the house and they all went great but it took me a while to be comfortable with that.
Did they try to make any compromises at all? I asked if I could take the girls to music class which was only 5 minutes away and she said yes. This helped so much. I loved Fridays. The girls loved music class as much as I did.
Why did you stay?
I stayed for two reasons. The first reason was the kids and the second reason was that the jobs were few and far between. I did go on some interviews but I think not having my current reference hurt my chances. I knew if I stayed I would win in the end and I did.
This wasn’t my happiest time in my work in the nanny profession but I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about what makes me happy in a job. I learned that I don't want to work for a work at home parent again. The Moms' office was on the other side of the kitchen with no door. Dad's office was in the same place until he moved to the basement in the fall of 2009. This was a great help because then he was separated from us and I didn’t have to try to work around him. I knew that the dad really was making an effort but it was just a difficult situation.

How did you move from being frustrated and ready to quit, to being motivated to making it work?
The Summer of 2009 when my hours were cut in half I worked part time that summer but in the fall they wanted me to go back to full time. I knew I wanted to end on good terms and the summer of 2009 was just too rocky. In the Spring of 2010 I became more and more frustrated. I was frustrated because I could not go anywhere that was not within walking distance. Music class had ended. Dad had moved his office again and this time it was moved into the dining area. It was impossible to keep 3 kids under the age of 4 quiet in the play area while he worked. I didn't feel like I was a nanny anymore, I was more of a housekeeper. I knew I needed to move on.My friends were so tired of hearing me talk about my job frustrations.I either had to do find a new position or just accept the situation.
What was your biggest support during this challenging time?
My friends supported me through this. I have a few nanny friends and lots of other friends. They were all very supportive in letting me vent and sometimes tried to offer solutions. I also belong to a some great Yahoogroups that gave me great support and advice.
What was the best advice you got?
One of my former bosses told me find things about this position that I liked and enjoyed and if I couldn’t do that, then I needed to move on.
Do what you can to make the families life easier so the parents are able to enjoy the children in the evening. I felt like if the parents could see that their household ran smoother because of me, I had done my job.
What steps did you take to make positive changes?
I learned to cook and discovered that I really enjoyed it. I always told myself it would benefit me in my future positions and I really think it will.
Did the parents notice immediately that you were putting forth this effort? or did they ever notice?
Yes they did. My broccoli cheddar cheese soup was a hit. I made it almost every week for 6 months. Dad looked forward to it and I would always try and make it when he was home. Dad did compliment me a lot through the 2.5 yrs I was there. He was the one who was there the most and he noticed  what I had done for the kids. He was the one who thanked me for everything on the last day I saw him. As frustrated as he made me he was the one who noticed the little things as well as the big.
Can you tell us how changing your attitude, changed you? And what you gained from it?
I just made the best of it. Having 2 work at home parents has been the most challenging job so far in my career. Some days I was in charge other days I was not. On one hand, I was glad that the parents wanted to spend time with the kids. They worked at home and I felt like they should be able to see their kids when they wanted to. On the other hand, it wasn’t always clear who was in charge so there was a lot of confusion in our roles. I did learn to improve my communication skills. I learned that when the time comes to talk to the bosses it was helpful to have a list of my concerns and solutions ahead of time.
Can you tell us what the greatest lesson you learned from this was or what you will take with you from this experience.
The greatest lesson I learned was that the kids loved me and they appreciated what I did for them. The parents and I worked very hard to teach the kids good manners and to respect adults. On my last day I had presents for the kids.Each of the them got their own framed picture of just the 2 of us. The oldest said “awww how nice." I also gave them a photo album. They had to look at it right away. They must have looked at the album half dozen times by the end of the day. I also made them shirts which said "Someone in KS loves ME". The oldest one wanted to wear his to the park. He wanted to bring the picture frames to the park to show another nanny we were meeting. That made me feel really proud. I had 3 wonderful last days filled with lots of hugs and cuddling.
How did this job end?
One day in May of this year at the end of the day, we were all in the kitchen together. The parents told me that they were moving out of state and that Aug. 6th would be my last day. I was so relieved. I had started looking again and I was dreading having to give them notice. Since they were moving, it worked out well for all of us. I could leave on good terms, get a great reference and still have a connection to the children.
Did this change how you interviewed when you started looking for a new job?
When I started looking for a new family, MB was very helpful when I started interviewing. She gave me suggestions on what I should wear to my interviews.
We  went shopping for shoes and make up. I don’t wear a lot of makeup but my she helped me pick some out and showed me how to use it. She also helped me with my nanny portfolio. Dad made a point of telling me that they would help me in anyway they could to find another family.
What is your best advice to a nanny who finds herself in a situation where a job suddenly changes and is suddenly not the job she signed on for?

Find ways to make the position better because it will make you feel better about yourself.

Don't expect anything in return.

We are there for the children.

I know I make a difference in the life of each child I care for. This is my job as a nanny.

When you have lemons, make lemonade.

Try to always find the positive side to every position.

List the positives and list ways you yourself can be the best nanny for the family.

Find other nannies to talk to and network with. No one understands better than another nanny.

There are so many resources today for nannies. Take advantage of them. There are yahoo groups, nanny support groups in many states as well as National Support groups. If you search the internet there are lots of resources.

Go to nanny conferences!

Go to Child Related Conferences!

Continue to educate yourself each and everyday.

Do what is best for YOU!

Remember that you need to look out for yourself because it is human nature for a family to look out for themselves first.

You need to come first. Often times as nannies we forget this but it is important to remember not to be a doormat..

My mantra that I have adopted for my life is
"A true professional nanny is willing to grow as a person in all areas of life."

This job was really hard to get through, but I did it and I am stronger and smarter and more appreciative of my new family because it.

As a  Christian it was helpful to me to remember to have faith.
With patience and God's timing the right family will be come along.
And they did...I started a new job in September and I am thrilled with my new family!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Preparing for Transitioning to School by Glenda Propst

Nannies go through all kinds of transitions at different stages of their jobs.
The longer you stay with a family the more transitions you go through.
One of the biggest transitions a nanny and a parent go through is when the children go to school.
Even if a nanny works full time most children do go to some kind of structured pre- school to prepare them for Kindergarten.
No matter how well your kids do with short separations, when it comes to that harsh reality of being away from you for a full day sometimes it is a bigger adjustment than you were expecting it would be.
Here are some tips to help your child through this transition.

1.      If you are a nanny, you need to talk with your employer about the upcoming changes. You need to discuss positive ways to implement these changes into all of your lives and be sure that you present a united front.
2.    Prepare children for what will be happening. Always talk about this change in a positive way but be sure they understand that he/she will be in school for a longer period of time.
3.    Start easing the child into the morning routines a week or two before school starts. Think about what time your child needs to be in bed each night and if they have been staying up late during the summer, discuss with the parents about making their bed time earlier so that the changes are gradual. The same with the morning, if they have been sleeping until 10 AM, start getting them up at 9, and then 8:30 and so on until they adjust to getting up at the time they have to get up for school. Anything you can do to make changes early will help so that there are not so many changes when school finally begins.
4.    There is usually a “meet the teacher” before the first day of school. Discuss with the parents who will be taking the child to meet the teacher,whether it will be both of you, or if you will do this by yourself.
If the parents will be taking the child, you might sit down together before that visit and think about what you want to show the child at the school.
Here are some ideas:
Be sure that your child is familiar with their school and the classroom. Spend some time walking around the school so that the child knows where the office is, where the lunch room is, where the bathrooms are located and the way to get into his classroom. Also go over where you will pick them up each day or where they will go to wait for the bus. If the child is going to be walking, you might want to go over the route with them and point out things along the way that will help them know they are going the right direction.    

5.    Work with your employer to create a morning and afternoon routine. Children gain a lot of security from structure and it is very important for them to have a morning and afternoon routine so that they can know what will happen each day. (Of course there will be days when the routine gets changed but be sure to try and warn them when things might be different so that they know what to expect)
6.    Work together to create calm, peaceful mornings to set the pace for the child’s day. Try to lay out their clothes the night before so that they can get up in the morning and get dressed without having to go through the decisions about what to wear.
7.    If the child will be taking a lunch to school, allow them to have some choices about what they will take and try to put together as much of their lunch as you can the night before. Establishing these routines at the beginning of the year will make it much easier to get on track.
8.    Encourage independence and always focus on the positive aspects of this big change in their life and yours. If your child has questions, or fears or worries be sure to re-assure them that there is nothing that they can’t talk to you about, and don’t laugh at their concerns. Some of the most minor things create the greatest anxiety for children.
9. If you (as the nanny) don't go to the "meet the teacher day" most parents are great about letting the teacher know about you and the importance of the role you play in the family. If for some reason this doesn't happen, be sure that you make the opportunity to introduce yourself to your child's teacher.

Here's hoping we all have a wonderful, educational school year as we watch our charges grow and learn.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mary Jean Rippon

Congratulations MJ please contact me so that I can get your INA membership taken care of.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Win a FREE INA Nanny Membership

This one is for all my professional nanny friends who are NOT members of INA.
In honor of my 35th anniversary in Childcare, I am going to give away one INA Membership.....but you have to work for it!
If you are an INA Member already share this with someone who isn't please.
Here is what you do: sign up to follow this blog.
Then  tell me the best advice you ever received about getting through leaving a family.

Post it on my facebook page, or post it here, or email it to me 


I will choose a winner via on Sunday.
Feel free to share this on your Facebook pages, or your yahoogroups. If you do that, let me know and I will give you extra entries.

I will post the winner here on Sunday night.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gentle Transitions Guide

Gentle Transitions
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.
Sometimes you can plan for those endings and sometimes they come unexpectedly.
Jobs end for lots of reasons:
Children grow up
Parent loses job and has to downsize
Parents find alternative care that is cheaper
Nannies find jobs that pay more
Parent and nanny no longer agree on lots of issues
In a perfect world a parent and a nanny can sit down and talk about the upcoming transition and plan for it together.
But...more often than not it ends badly. Even when you are trying to work together to make it a good parting, it can still end 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.
Lets talk about signs that point to the end of a job, ways to prepare the children, and ways to take care of yourself.
In a perfect world, when the job is ending, you have the opportunity to talk with the parents and plan for it. You can plan to slowly transition the children. Financially it is not always feasible.
I have been with my current family for 17 years. In that 17 years there have been many changes but we always talk and we always try to have a plan. We started talking early in the relationship how we would phase my job down and also how important it was for us to always be a part of each other’s lives.
Sometimes, financially, for a nanny this is impossible but if you can make the changes gradually it is helpful for all concerned.
In most cases, that is not an option.
Whether you stay with a family for 6 months or 6 years, it does not take long to fall in love with the children, and when that job ends, it hurts.
Even more so if it ends unexpectedly or without warning.
If the writing is on the wall, you need to read it and heed it, because 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.
Emotionally, even though it is still painful, when it is your decision, not someone else’s you have a tendency to feel more in control.
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
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 youwill 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.
Dealing with the stages of Grief
Often times when nannies see the writing on the wall, they go into the first stage of grief.
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.
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.
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.
I want to leave you with a few more tips:
These tips on how to survive leaving a family were part of the "Gentle Transitions" workshop at the 1999 NAN Conference.
Thanks to all of the great survivors out there who wrote to me and shared their tips on how they got through it.
I suggest that you keep this for yourself. You can also find this online at
Maintain Contact.
If at all possible, take some time for yourself to re-energize and clear your head. Try to avoid leaving a job on Friday and starting a new one on Monday. Even if you can only manage 2 or 3 days, take a break.
Allow yourself to grieve. You have loved and cared for these children. You have a right to be sad, you have a right to feel a great loss and you need to grieve.
If you are moving away, you can send cards, or letters, or email. Many nannies say that this is what helped them the most.
Save some money out of your paycheck every week so that you don’t end up leaving a job with no prospects in sight and no money in the bank.
Take lots of pictures so that you will always be able to go back and look at them.
Make sure the children understand that it is not their fault and it is not that parents fault that this is happening.
Make sure that they understand that you will still love them and that they will be in your heart and you will be in theirs always.
Have your picture taken together so they will have a visual memory of you with them.
Keep one for yourself.
Talk about the fun times you have had with them.
Try to focus on the positive even the last few days.
Make a memory book with them or for them (Make one for yourself too)
Have a special song that they can sing when they miss you, and tell them when they sing it, know that you will be thinking of them too. (You could also do this with a book)
Keep in touch with them. In the beginning this is crucial for all of you. As time goes by, it will get easier.
Help them set up email accounts.

Remember that the love you gave to these children is something no one else could have ever given them, and no one else can take away.
Remember that a good nanny always works herself out of a job.
Remember that these are not your children, and eventually you will have to leave.
Teach them that you have come to do a job, and your job is to love them and care for them and teach them to be independent.
Help them to understand that you will not be there forever but you will always be in their lives and you will always love them.
Remember that time is a great healer.
Remember that as nannies our job is to help give them roots, and those roots will always be there.
Remember that you are a better person for loving them, as hard as it is to let them go.
Keep your correspondence and actions with your employers as professional as possible up to the last day of employment. It is tempting to reciprocate "ugliness" or "rudeness" with the same behavior, but do not allow yourself to do that.
Maintain your professionalism.
Give your employers as much notice as possible in order to help them find another nanny

You could also provide them with lists from local sources and names of several people that have expressed an interest in the position.
If you will be in the same area, make friends with the new nanny. If you like and respect the person who comes after you, it will help you to know that those children are in good loving hands.
Remember that recovery from grief and loss is a zigzag. You will have good days and bad days especially in the beginning.
Let go of your pain and anger.
Keep a journal
If the children are older you might consider getting a journal that you send back and forth to each other.
Remember that love looks forward.
Believe that what happens is what is meant to be, and there is another wonderful family out there just waiting for you to come and be a part of their lives too.

When you start to interview again, don’t try to compare one family to another family. There is no way to measure one family against another.
Don’t hold back on your love. As painful as the end can be, remember what you learned from these children and how much you gained from the time you spent with them.
"The roots of love sink down and deep and strike out far, and they are arteries that feed our lives, so we must see that they get the water and sun they need so they can nourish us. And when you put something good into the world, something good comes back to you (Merle Shain)
I would like to leave you with one final thought from the movie “Hope Floats”
Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad. The best part is in the middle and hope floats. You just have to wait for it to rise.
Copyright: Glenda Propst/Gentle Transitions 1999

I can't believe it's been a year

Its' hard to believe that has been a year since I launched this blog because so much has happened in this last year. I want to thank those of you who have visited the blog and hope that it has helped ease you through your transition.
One of the things that I discovered over the course of this year is that was hard to direct people to the blog because they had to read it backwards, so in celebration of my one year, I will post the highlights of the workshop in one blog post.

I hope that you find it helpful and hopeful and I hope that the last year has brought not just change to your life but growth.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Table Talk Thursday:Catching up with Jenn, who left her job last June.

This week we are going to catch up with Jenn, the nanny who shared with us the 10 day countdown of her last days with the family she had been with for 16 years. For those of you who are going through a transition, her story should give you hope, and for those of you who are about to go through transition, she has some great advice for getting through. If you will notice she used a lot of the ideas from the Nanny Transitions workshop to help her through the hardest times.

Jenn, thanks again for sharing your story with us, and thanks for the update. Much of the ease of your transition is due to your desire to make it succeed.

An update by Nanny Jenn
I left my job of sixteen years last June. It was so hard. I was an emotional wreck. I think I handled my end as their everyday nanny better than I thought I would. No, I know I did. I cried and mourned the loss of the everyday interaction. I talked to them often. I saw the kids about once a week in the beginning. I still see them pretty often. I see M (8) and Kyle (12) every 2 weeks or so. I alternate between them. I make a point to see them about once a month, sometimes more if I catch one of their games or other activities. The oldest is 16.5 .I see him about once every other month. He really doesn't have much time, as I said, he is 16.5 ....enough said on that. HA HA.
The middle child and I were very close and still are. He texts me about 5 times a week to say "hello". I talk to him on Facebook too. I know how lucky I am that I am able to see them so often and that my former employers are so good about it.
M the 8 year old did much better than I thought she would. In the beginning she called me all the time. These days it's about once or less a week. She seems to have grown really close to her dad. He is the one no longer working who stays home with them. I really like that.

I credit the transition going so well on a few things.
1. We had a natural end
2 .They were never made to feel like they couldn't call and in return they never felt like I wasn't a phone call away (as they say)
3. I made sure I had something in place for the youngest to get out her feelings. I gave her a journal when I left and a necklace. She wore half and I wore the other half. The journal we would swap every time we saw each other. I think it helped. In the beginning the messages were a lot of complaining when she fought with mom and dad. Now they are more about just what her week has been like.
4 We planned the first visit for me to come back after I left, before my final day so they knew I was coming back.

I still miss them. I think of them everyday. The time we spend together seems to go so fast. I had the youngest all day this weekend and still it seemed like time flew.
I know by little things that are said and things that I see that my kids miss me and things are not the same as they used to be but they are making it as a family and that is what is most important. I am able to let the little things go now and look back and feel good about the work that I did with that family for all those years.I guess I want to close by saying that it gets easier as time goes on. The memories and the bond that you build with your long term charges does stay with you.

I am happy to say that I am a nanny to a little girl who makes me very happy and I have amazing employers who really appreciate me. I shared my birthday this past week with old and new employers and it felt like a family. That is more then I could have ever hoped!