Today I will be sharing Carli's essay with you but over the course of the next couple weeks I will share some of the other essays as well.
Sixteen years ago, when I was just beginning my career as a professional nanny, I had a chance meeting with a woman who is a very dear friend to this day. She shared with me all that she had learned over the course of her career. Knowing that nothing is more valuable than the wisdom one nanny can share with another, for the Nanny Transitions essay, I’ve chosen to write about a few of the ways I would advise a new nanny.
First, a professional nanny is an educated nanny. Beyond the basics of refreshing our First Aid and CPR skills, we always need to be evolving to meet the needs of our charges. As they mature, we need to be ready with new challenges to stimulate their physical, mental, and emotional growth. Many libraries offer workshops, there are often online webinars, and even reading books and discussing topics with other nannies will help you gain knowledge.
Next, it's important to find other nannies. No one but another nanny will understand the extent of your job and the closeness of being a member of someone else's family. There will be times when you need a safe place to vent, and times when you need help with delicate situations. While there are many avenues for advice about children, no one but another nanny will be able to help you with the relationship nuances between a nanny and her employers. You should seek out any local nanny groups, and if there isn't one, start your own! You should also seek out nannies on a national level to deepen your perspective. National organizations such as INA, or Facebook groups such as Worldwide Nannies and Nanny Care Tribe will put you in touch with nannies from all over the world.
Last but not least, every professional nanny needs a signed work agreement in place before she begins any position. More important than the piece of paper you sign, is the time spent sitting down with your new employers discussing the details of your position. There is much more to being a nanny than rocking a baby all day. It’s critical for you to know exactly what is expected of you, and it’s just as critical for your employers to know what you expect of them. As time passes, often the lines of professionalism blur into friendship with your employers. Having a signed work agreement lessens the discomfort of needing to address an issue with them in a professional manor.
I can honestly say that meeting Susan Schmidt was a life-changing event for me. What started as a babysitting job has blossomed a 16-year (and counting!) career. I know firsthand the importance of being taken under someone’s wing, and now as the more seasoned nanny myself, its time for me to step out of my comfort zone and mentor others as Susan was a mentor to me.