Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What a Nanny Would like on her Last Day With Your Family

by Glenda Propst
(with help from  Keyanna, Kimberly Ann, Laura,and  Tara)

In a perfect world nanny jobs would last forever. A family would hire you when their children were born and would pay any amount of money to keep you until their children were grown.
In a perfect world all of our paychecks would be direct deposit. Every family would use a nanny tax company so that we never have to worry that our taxes are not being paid.
In a perfect world, even if that job ended, there would be a relationship that continued with you and the child for the rest of your lives.
In a perfect world if and when that job did end your employers would sit down with you, tell you how much they appreciated all that you did for their family, give you a glowing letter of recommendation and send you out the door with a sentimental and thoughtful gift to commemorate your years of working with them, and maybe even a nice cash bonus “just because”.
Sounds sort of like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?
As professional nannies there are some things that we know are guaranteed.
Most nanny jobs last 2-7 years, depending on whether or not there is more than one child in the family.
When we work for dual career families and one or both of them land their dream job it’s usually in another state and most of the time the nanny does not get to move with the family.
If a family begins to have financial issues we are the first thing to go.
We fall in love with the children in our care. We know that they are not our own. We know that they have parents that love them. We know that we are part of a parenting team, but we can not change their diapers, prepare their meals, clean their clothes, kiss their boo boos,and cheer them on through each developmental stage of their life, without falling in love with them.
Our job is demanding, unpredictable and often emotional.
Parents often wonder what they should do for their nanny who is leaving, or nannies who are leaving a family wonder what they should do with the children in their care on their last day.
I asked nannies who are in the process of leaving their job what their ideal last day would be like and to share with us what they wish their employers understood about their leaving. Here are some of their responses:

I would like for my last day to be all about spending time with the children. I would like a day stress free of errands and laundry and just time to focus on time with the children and making a few great memories.
I would like for my employers to look me in the eye, and say goodbye and let me know how much they appreciated me.
I would like to hear them say the words “We are really going to miss you!”
I would like the opportunity to tell them “Thank You!” for sharing your children with me, allowing me the opportunity to do what I love, the job that I am MEANT to do” Love and Care for children.

I wish the parents would talk about it with me instead of acting like it isn’t happening.
I’d like for them to ask me how my job hunt is going. Remind me that it’s not personal so that it doesn’t feel so personal.
I want the parents to reassure me that I will still be able to be a part of their children’s lives.
I wish they realized how much I love their children and the contribution I have made to their lives.
I would love a sappy heartfelt card expressing their appreciation for what I have given to their family.
I want my employers to realize that this is more than just a job for me, being part of their lives was a huge part of my life.
I wish my employers understood that my relationship with their children is not the same as theirs. Their children are losing an important person in their lives.  As a nanny, I can never replace a parent (nor would I ever want to) but honor and respect that I was important to their child so that we can all help each other through this.
Please don’t shut me out of your life. If your children ask about me, let them talk to me. Let me see them, let me have visits with them. While my pain is so fresh, please include me in their lives. You might miss my help, but they miss what I gave to them on a daily basis.
If I choose to leave, don’t take it as personal insult.
Please don’t use your child to get back at me because in the end, the person who gets hurt the most isn’t me, it’s your child.
Honor the relationship I have built with your child.
Validate the contribution that I have made to your life and to lives of your children.
Talk to me about what our relationship will be like after I leave your employment. Will I be allowed to see the children? Will you ask me to take care of the kids on weekends sometimes? Will our relationship change? Or will it simply end?
If you are a nanny “in transition” you probably echo these sentiments. If you are a parent who is losing a nanny, I hope that this article helps answer some of your questions about your nanny’s last days with your family.

I want to thank a very special group of women who are sharing the ups and downs of this loss and supporting each other throughout their transition. Special thanks to Keyanna, Kimberly Ann, Laura,and  Tara for your contributions to this article. If you are a nanny in transition and need support, email Nannytransitions(at)Gmail(dot)com

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How Do You Say Adieux in Nanny?

One way to deal with the emotions of leaving a family is to put your thoughts and feelings on paper. For those of you who don't enjoy writing I wanted to share with you another beautiful blog post about saying goodbye.If you are a nanny in transition that needs support, we have a wonderful group of nannies in transition that support each other through this process. If you are a nanny in transition, email nannytransitions(at)gmail(dot)come for more information.

Thank you Keyanna for sharing your heart with us today.

How Do You Say Adieux in Nanny?by Keyanna

For over a month I have been planning to post a blog about how I said goodbye to 4 of the most important people in my world. Scott & Kara- my employers and their amazing sons Syler & Jonah.As it turns out we survived the most emotional week together and no one even had to say goodbye!Kara and I share an affinity for love of a plan, organization, and the people that make these things possible in our collective world. Colonial Moving Van Lines is NOT on the list of those people. To make a very long, stressful, ridiculous story short- this moving company never showed up to move my Bugs and their parents across the country.Yes. You read that right. They just never arrived to pack, load, and ship the belongings of 4 people that paid them to do just that.I'm not good at finding the silver lining in things. I'm just too logical for that. I really need the lining to be pink if it's going to grab my attention... But this time around it found me.The original plan had the boys landing in California right about now to meet up with their Mom and Dad. The amended plan has all 4 of them still here in Columbia and this means that I get 5 extra days to figure out how to say goodbye. I will be hanging out with the Bugs a little bit each day next week while also picking up substantial part-time hours at GAP. (Which has always been my plan until I start FT with my new charges... They're infant twins and you will meet them later!)I have been trying to prepare myself to somehow part ways with the two little guys that I spend at least 45 hours a week with. We are the best of friends, if not by choice then by circumstance; although I like to think that given the option of Nannies the boys would pick me!As of late Jonah has not been pleased to see me at 8 AM, mostly because I always take his binky away and in his eyes, that's like high treason or something. I comforted myself by saying that maybe our separation would be easier with his being resistant to me recently, but by the afternoon he was snuggling and giving hugs and kisses- so that theory went out the window!So... how does a Nanny say goodbye?

Go to Keyanna's Blog to read the rest of her story.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Red, White and a Tiny Bit Blue

Tara Lindsay is leaving her job at the end of the summer. Today she shares with us why a tablecloth brought her to tears.

It was the plastic star spangled tablecloth that did me in.

Every summer, for the past 5 summers, the tiny people and I have thrown a "Red, White, and Blue Playdate Party."  It started our second summer together as a themed excuse to have lots of friends over all at the same time.  I thought it would be a one off, but the children had other plans...and thus, a tradition was born.  We've had plenty of other variously themed playdate parties, but one thing has been constant:  Every summer, some time near the 4th of July, we host this one.

This year, there was a niggling bit of sadness tucked into a corner of my heart as we planned our party, our fifth...and final...Red, White, and Blue fiesta.  As we sorted through Pinterest for the children to choose which colorfully themed snacks, games, and crafts we'd have I was awash in memories of past parties:  The year the Twincesses had just learned to walk and spent most of the event fighting over a wagon (it made for adorable photos!).  The year that weather sent us scurrying inside and the children all picnic'd around the area rug in the den, unfazed by the dark clouds outside.  Two years ago, when I taught all three (then ages 3, 3, and 5) to recite a portion of the Declaration of Independence.   Last year when, for the first time, Little Litigator took a seriously active interest in every detail of the party planning. 

This year has memories just as sweet.  The day was a whirlwind of preparations, people coming and going, a backyard full of nannies, moms, kids, sprinklers, water balloons, beach balls, and the noises of happy, frolicking children. 
Read the rest of the story on Tara's blog: Red White and a Tiny Bit Blue

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Towels and Socks

I'm doing laundry today.
What's significant about the laundry I am doing today is that it's my oldest charges’ laundry. Since he graduates from High School tonight, and I don’t work in the summer, this is probably the last time I will be doing it.
Yippee! We all hate to do laundry right?
Except that as I load his laundry in the washing machine one last time
I think about 18 years of laundry.
When he was little I did his laundry twice a week. I loved to fold those tiny little sleepers and cute little socks, warm from the dryer and comforting to touch on a cold winter day. I folded laundry when he napped and carried it upstairs in the bright blue laundry basket to be put away when he woke up.
It was always a little sad for me when he outgrew one of my favorite outfits and but it was so much fun to watch him grow.

I love wrapping a baby up in a nice clean hooded towel fresh out of the bath and just holding them and taking in that clean baby smell.
This is when I notice how much they have grown because those towels seem to shrink. In the beginning you can wrap them entirely in that towel and cover their tiny little body and then suddenly one day, their toes are peeking out the ends. And so it goes. Babies grow up and they outgrow their hooded baby towels and their sleepers and their tiny little socks. The loads of laundry multiply and the size of the load gets bigger with their clothes and you need a larger space for folding.
They get a little older and their pockets have to be checked for Hot Wheels and rocks or treasures found in the yard. They don't need you for their baths and those little baby towels are long gone.
Hooded baby towels and tiny sleepers are replaced by basketball jerseys and baseball uniforms and you wonder where the time goes. 
How did 18 years of laundry go by so fast? How did that boy grow up to be so wise and so strong in spirit and so brave? 
All I know is that I've never been blessed with children of my own, but I have been given the honor and the privilege to love and care for someone else's child as if he was my own. A lot of people have a hard time understanding the role a nanny plays in the life of a child, but I have always worked for parents who love and value their children and strive to raise them to have morals and values and hopes and dreams.
Today as I type through my tears, my heart is full of gratitude to my employers who gave me this privilege to be a part of his childhood and to this young man who changed my life.
We were a great parenting team and over the last 18 years we gave him strong "Roots"
To everything there is a season and now it’s time to give him his “Wings”

Congrats FSB

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gentle Transitions Workshop as presented at the INA Conference May 2012

Gentle Transitions Workshop as presented at the INA Conference 
May 2012
©Glenda Propst/ Nanny Transitions

You can find books about
being a nanny,what a nanny needs to know,
how to hire a nanny 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.One of the hardest aspects of the nanny profession is that 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.
Realistically, this is not always possible.
The new person is starting, your new job needs you sooner or the money for the parents to keep you there is just not available.
Even when you 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.

I have been with my current family for 18 years.  In that 18 years there have been many ups and downs. The fact that I have been with this family for this length of time is not because I am the perfect nanny. It is not because they are perfect employers. It is not about money, it is not because we never disagree, and it is not because everything is perfect.
It is because we are committed to this relationship of raising their children together.
As a nanny, this is a commitment I made to this family the day I signed on with them. In the early days of my employment, we discussed how my role would change as the years went on and ideally how we would plan for that time. As time went on, it was an ongoing discussion of how we both envisioned my role in the family for the future. As nannies, it is part of our job, to plan for the end of the job.
Jobs end….and when they do….it hurts.
If a job ends unexpectedly or without warning it hurts even more. Whether you stay with a family for 6 months or 6 years, you can’t help but  fall in love with the children.

If you can transition with a family as your job changes it is helpful for all concerned but In most cases, that is not an option.
Like women who stay in bad relationships, because a bad relationship is better than no relationship. Nannies stay in bad jobs because moving on is out of their comfort zone.

If you are thinking about leaving your job it might be helpful to make a list of the pros and cons of your job. Give them a point value and see which side has the most value to you. This can be a helpful tool in making your decision.

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.
If you are having issues on your job, have you discussed it with your employer?

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, 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.
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.
From the day you begin a job, you are in transition, it’s especially true if you start with a newborn. You come from the newborn that sleeps all day, to the creeper on the move, to the toddler that never stops, to preschool, to school. 
If you are more aware of these transitions, you will be better prepared for them.
We are going to talk about 5 Specific areas of Transition today.

The Life Cycle of a Nanny Job
Signs a Job is Coming to an End
How to Prepare the Children
Taking Care of Yourself
Moving Forward.

You may not realize it but there is actually a Life Cycle to a nanny job.

When my friend Marcia Hall read my Nanny Transitions workshop she suggested that defining the Life Cycle of a Nanny Job might be helpful to nannies so that they can recognize the different changes as they come. Marcia  and I put together a rough draft of the Life Cycle of a Nanny Job.
We wanted to give you a brief overview of what that Life Cycle looks like so that you can think about where you are in your job.

Nanny Job Life Cycle –

Interview Process:
It is up to you to define the kind of job you want:
What kind of family you want to work for and what ages do you want to work with?
How long the family anticipates needing you and do you want a short term job or a long term commitment?
How do you define a long term commitment? ( 2-5 years) (5-10 years) (10+ years)
You Are Hired!!
When you are hired everything is new. The family may still be adjusting to a new baby in the house or just adjusting to a new person working in their home. You are adjusting to the way their household operates.
At this point you should have a signed work agreement.
(For your own protection don’t start a new job without one)
The Honeymoon is when the kids and parents are basically in love with you.  Professional nannies are usually extra energetic and on top of things, trying to set a great example and get noticed. Things are wonderful - everyone is generally following through on the “promises” made through written work agreements and even following through on verbal agreements
First Year
The first year is when everyone starts to settle in and get comfortable. There will most likely be some (issues) – not normally big ones, but some small misunderstandings and disagreements. These might result from things that were not clear in your work agreement or unexpected things that pop up.
 It is essential that you establish good communication techniques from the beginning so that you can find positive, workable solutions.                                                                                                              
 At the end of the first year, be sure to ask for a one year evaluation.
This will say a lot about how the relationship will progress and also give you insight into how your employers see you fitting into your role.

Getting Comfortable
When the honeymoon phase is over and you get through the first year, everyone will begin to get comfortable. Both parties may begin to “bend” on some of the agreements made.  Schedules will change, more trust is developing so more freedom from the parents might be given and more flexibility and sacrifice might be offered by the nanny.
 By this point you should have experienced some of the bigger issues like either party getting stuck in traffic and being a few minutes late. Sick days, extra vacation etc.

During the 2-5 year period you will mostly likely experience at least one major conflict.  It will be at this point that both nanny and parents will be evaluating the relationship and if it should continue.  The outcome will be determined by the temperament and desires of both parties.  It is not unusual for a large conflict to end a relationship.  Sometimes when these conflicts begin to happen frequently it might be a good idea to consider ending the relationship.
Remember: Not all nanny positions are meant to last 25 years.  Even if in the beginning, if your employers told you they wanted you to stay forever, life happens. Things changes and the best of intentions don’t always work out. Some relationships just need to be over.  The nanny may not be willing or able to deal with the issues that are brought up and the family might not see any value in continuing the relationship either.
Again, if you have developed good communication with your employers from the beginning you might find ways to continue on but if you find yourself constantly complaining, finding fault with everything your employers do or say, it is probably time to move on. A successful employer employee requires mutual respect.

Long term position
Once the nanny and parents understand that they have been able to make it through trials and conflicts and are committed to continue for the long haul you have a long term position.
Like any good relationship, communication is strong and problems are worked through to a mutually agreeable solution.
Some families (especially if they have no extended family where they live) might need the nanny to stay even when the children go to school full time. They might find that it is conducive to have someone that picks the children up for after school activities or be available to care for sick children or provide care on days when the children don’t have school.
The parents might realize that what they pay the nanny to be available is worth the investment.
 However, it is also possible that at this point the job becomes a part time position. Some of this depends on the nanny and whether or not she is willing to go with the flow and ride the waves of change.
Sometimes if the nanny needs full time work she might find a part time job in the morning with another family or in some cases the parents might even help her secure another part time job so that she can continue on with their family.

Transitioning to “house-manager?”
It is at this point that nanny needs to decide if she wants to transition to “Household Manager” and do the parents want her to transition to that role? You might have already seen some of these changes when the children went to pre school but taking on the job of Household manager involves much more than picking up the dry cleaning and going to the grocery store.

 It is crucial to always be in communication about the changes and direction of what your job is. Even in long term positions there comes a time when things will have to change.

This is where you will find the Nanny Transitions Workshop helpful. 

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

Signs a Job is Ending

How do you know when the writing is on the wall?
I asked nannies online what are the signals that it is time to move on and here are their top responses:

                   1.            When you stop communicating.

                  2.            When the parents stop trying to be respectful or accommodating to your needs.

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

                  4.            When everything is an issue and you feel like you can’t do anything right.

                  5.            When everything is an issue “for” you and you feel like the parents can’t do anything right.

                  6.            When the parents don’t back you up even after a discussion on the importance of doing so. For example:
*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 your employer avoids you.

               15.            When you avoid your employer.

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

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

               18.            You stop having regular meetings.

               19.            Your employers start going back on promises that they made you.

              20.            You don’t get a raise.

               21.            When you are asked to make unusual concessions.

              22.            You feel like you are walking on eggshells.

              23.            The children have outgrown your level of expertise.

              24.            Mysterious phone calls or messages.

              25.            A general feeling of being left out of the loop.

If you are seeing any of those signs in your job, it’s a good bet that changes are coming.

©GP Nanny Transitions

Once the decision is made by one or both parties that is time for the nanny to move on, emotions are 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.

 ©GP Nanny Transitions

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.

  1. 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.

  1.  Make sure that if you are still going to be able to see them, that they know that.
  2. 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.

  1. 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.         

  1. Give them certificates that recognize how much they have grown and what they have learned.               

  1. Make a picture album together
  1. Transition with the new nanny if at all possible.
  2. Make friends with the new nanny.
  3. 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 …………..

  1.  If you accept the new nanny, it gives your charge permission to accept them too.
  2. Never  promise to stay forever
  3. When they are old enough to understand, talk about past charges...Like, "When I was Ellie's Nanny we used to go to this park too"  

  1. 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.

  1. Adopt a natural circle of life philosophy.
  2. Point out when their friends change nannies.

  1. Remind them that they will always have their parents to care for them.

  1. Don't lie to them. 

  1.  Make sure that they know it is nothing they have done.

  1. If the children are old enough, share with them when you go on an interview. 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.
  1. Speak in a positive way about the good things that are to come.

  1. If mom will now be at home, try to help them see how much fun that will be.

  1. Set up emails and show them how to email you and remind them that you can stay in touch via email. If they text you can send them short text messages.

  1. If they are old enough to be on Facebook and it’s ok with them (and their parents) you can “friend” them but be careful not to embarrass them in front of their friends.

  1. If there are special traditions they want to carry on, try to do that for them.

  1. 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”

  1. Make  an extra effort to remember their birthdays and Holidays

  1. Have  a special picture made together

  1. Talk about the great memories.

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

©GP Nanny Transitions

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
                                            3.            bargaining 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 sink 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.

Acceptance 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 think “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.
When both sides are sending such confusing messages it is helpful to focus on the children and what is best for them.

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.

·         Recovering from a loss takes place in three distinct--yet overlapping--stages.
·         They are
o        shock/denial/numbness
o        fear/anger/depression
o        understanding/acceptance/moving on
·         Each stage of recovery is
o        necessary
o        natural
o        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:
o        feel you are "coming apart"
o        are no longer in control
o        are about to take an action you may later regret
o        have a history of emotional disturbance
o        turn to alcohol, drugs or other addictive substances in time of need
o        feel isolated with no one to turn to
o        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.
©GP Nanny Transitions

 Dealing with a personal crisis such as losing your job is never easy. The fact that we as nannies have an emotional bond of love to the children that we care for makes this even more difficult.
We aren’t just dealing with the loss of a a job, but the loss of a personal relationship and so often we don’t just lose our job and move on...we grieve the loss of the daily contact and connection with the children in our care.

There is truly no easy way to get through this kind of loss but there are some things that we can do that will prepare us when the time comes.

1. Avoid the Blame Game: Don’t blame yourself, don’t blame your employers. It’s not productive, it’s not healthy and it doesn’t solve anything.

2. Avoid trying to figure out why it happened or what you could have done to fix it. Nanny jobs end.

3. Don’t try to keep a stiff upper lip. Leaving a family hurts! So in the appropriate setting you need to cry, scream, hit a pillow, whatever you need to do to get those feelings of sadness and grief out, you need to do it. And once you do it, you need to move on. If you find yourself in that place where you need to keep doing it, set aside time. If you want to have a pity party, it can only last 20 minutes. When it’s over, you are done. After a couple of times, you will hopefully find that it’s not productive and  you move on.

4. Move forward. Move on with your life. Make a plan. What are you going to do next? What does your dream job look like? What would you like to do on your next job that you couldn’t do in the last one? Don’t look back. Break down the next steps into small acheiveable tasks. Going out and finding a new job tomorrow feels overwhelming. Start with something small.Find and update your resume’. Make sure your references are up to date and let them know that you are looking for employment, and be sure they are still fine being a reference.
One step at a time, one day at a time, one hour at a time, and sometimes even one minute at a time.

Try to do at least one positive thing toward your job search everyday. More if you can manage it but if you can’t do more than one, just commit to doing one.

Find support. Whether you reach out through an online network, your local nanny support group or just a friend, find someone that can offer you help, encouragement and a listening ear.

Take care of YOU! It is so important to love yourself during this time. You may not have a lot of money to do go out and buy clothes or get mani pedis but you can still love yourself. Buy a new nailpolish and do your own mani, or buy a new lipstick, sometimes the little things can be just as important as the big ones.
Eat healthy. Don’t use this time to binge eat or abuse alcohol.

I once had a friend who lost his job and went out and spent money on a mountain bike. He said “Now I know that sounds crazy, but the money that I spent on that bike would probably only pay one or two bills, but that mountain bike will help me stay in shape and gain some enjoyment while I am looking for a job.
So  don’t get so stressed about money that you forget to take some time to enjoy life.

Try to learn something from this experience. It’s not healthy to try and blame yourself for what went wrong, but to think about what you have learned from this experience will help you not to repeat mistakes with the next family. Sometimes nannies go through family after family and just repeat the same mistakes. Turn this into something positive. Make it a learning experience.
©GP Nanny Transitions

I want to leave you with a few more tips:

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.

 If you have questions, or need support feel free to email nannytransitions(at)gmail(dot)com
©Glenda Propst/ Nanny Transitions