The Autobiography of a Former Nanny
I have been really inspired by a few recent autobiographical posts so I decided to write my own! I probably have one of the shortest-lived nanny careers out there but I wouldn't take back my nanny experience for the world. I prefaced my nanny career by starting to babysit at the young age of about 13. I mostly babysat for my cousins (I have a lot of them!). I usually didn't get paid because my aunt and uncle would pay me in vacations and gas (they own a gas station) and I definitely didn't complain. I know that babysitting for family members is a whole different situation but children are children nonetheless and I learned a lot; mostly how to get children to trust you and also how to trust yourself with children. I have babysat for them since then but sadly they are now 15 and 8 so they don't need me as much.
I also began babysitting for other families, who I met through online nanny searches. I was really nervous to do this but have had nothing but success with it. About 3 and a half years ago when I returned for summer break from my out-of-state college, I was in search of a short-term babysitting job before I left to work at an out-of-state sleepaway girls camp (I just can't seem to get away from kids!). I found a family online who lived in a neighboring town to mine. I LOVE this family. They have two boys who were 3 and 5 and the most rough and tumble boys you'll ever meet. The parents also loved me and used me whenever they could, mostly just a few hours per week. It worked out perfectly because the same week I was leaving the state for camp, the family was going to live at their summer house for the remainder of the summer. I have continued to babysit for this summer since meeting them (mostly on my breaks since I went to college out-of-state) but I kept in contact and would send them mail, which they loved!
The following summer is when I decided I wanted to be a full time nanny while home on summer break. I had from May until the end of August so it was a good chunk of time to fill. I was new to nannying and didn't really know what to look for. I settled on a family that was about 30 minutes away from me, they had one boy who was 6 years old. He was actually a gifted child, meaning he was very bright and intellectual, reading at an 8th grade level while in the first grade. As you can imagine, this was quite challenging because he was really smart but his behavior was right on target for his age. We often went to his town pool, went to museums and aquariums, and had playdates. Overall it wasn't too bad but his mother gave me a run for my money. She was easygoing but so scatterbrained that I couldn't keep up. They had rules like one hour of screen time per day, one dessert per day, etc, which I liked because it gave him boundaries. Their house was always a mess and she was always last minute with my hours. I didn't know any better and was naive so I just let a lot of things go. I was satisfied with the money, though, so that's one good thing. The thing I hated the most was that she was often home during the day because she could work from home, and I didn't like that at all. It's not that I am doing anything wrong but it just feels weird having a parent home. Also, the mother had a health issue that often landed her in the hospital unexpectedly. At first I didn't mind the extra hours because I knew they didn't have local family to step in and help. It was actually kind of nice to be needed, but then it started to get stressful. I would be stuck at their house for really long hours and I just didn't feel comfortable. I swore to myself that I would not return to that job the next summer. But guess what... I returned the following summer! How does that happen?! I think I was just lazy and didn't want to have to look for a new job so I agreed to work for them again. It was basically the same as the previous summer; same struggles and annoyances. I finished out the summer but have not spoken to the family since. The mom was just too pushy and wouldn't leave me alone. She wanted to know everything about my life and I am just more of a private person. Often I do miss the child and think about him and what he is up to. It is a shame that sometimes the parents can ruin it for a child.
This past May I graduated from college and returned back home. I began looking for a full time job in my field. I went on a few interviews and got discouraged because most places were telling me I didn't have enough experience. I decided to "settle" with what I knew and go back to nannying because I only had about a year before I would be going back to school for my masters degree. I use the term "settle" not to belittle nannies or nannying in general, I mean it was sort of a safe decision for me, not pushing me to grow and be out of my comfort zone. I eventually found a family with a newborn and started with them in August while the mother was on maternity leave, planning to switch to full time in October when she went back to working full time. Everything was great, I loved the child and the family but then I became unhappy with the situation. I had underestimated the commute and it would often take me an hour and a half to get there each morning! It was exhausting and I was already so tired by the time I got to their house at 8am. I had considered finding an apartment closer to their house but it was just not a good decision financially. I decided that I needed to quit the job. We didn't have a contract (yes I know, big mistake) so I gave them a two week notice and told them I had unexpectedly gotten a job offer in my field that I couldn't pass up. I felt terrible lying to them but I felt really bad that I had wasted so much time when they could have found a nanny who lived closer. They were sad to see me go and I was also sad because I loved the baby.
That was almost two months ago and I have since found a job in my field, outside of being a nanny. As I said before, my nanny career was very short-lived but worth every second. I do work with kids now, and probably will for the rest of my life, so my babysitting and nannying have benefitted me so much! As much as I loved it, I do not miss being a nanny one bit! I still babysit here and there but being a nanny is a whole different thing. I am not a fan of the seclusion, having to deal with parents, feeling like a stranger in a house you are in more than your own, and always being compelled to say "yes" when I want to say "no". So, I give all you nannies out there a big round of applause because I just wasn't cut out to stick around and make it my career.
If you have made it this far (sorry this is so long!) I have a question for allyou retired nannies out there who went on to find jobs outside of nannying. I was wondering what careers you have now? Like I said, since I stopped being a nanny, I have found a job in my career path, and that is being an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist for children with Autism. I do home-based
services in and around my town for children in Early Intervention. Thank you for reading and I hope to hear back from other nannies out there. Happy holidays!
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