Friday

"Just a Nanny" Knows What Works...

rant 1
I've been a nanny for years now and time and time again I see the same thing: people discrediting me simply because I'm "just a nanny". Everyone nanny knows that her job with the various families she cares for allow her to put a variety of parenting styles that most people only read about into actual practice. We see a lot. I saw a five year old who didn't know how to feed herself ( cultural...) and dealt with severe childhood anger disorders. We learn what works and what doesn't. We know every trick to get a child to eat and have potty trained dozens. So why doesn't our opinion matter? If we had our own children you can be sure it would.

When my husbands cousin got a girl pregnant who just couldn't seem to lay off the cigarettes or weed, I became the bad guy. Why? Because I was quick to point out that it wasn't a good thing. Public knowledge! But of course she told me I was " just a nanny". The child is three now and extremely ill mannered... but being just a nanny I keep my mouth shut.

At family functions when all of my cousins gather around and talk kids, I offer my input to a group of rolled eyes and "oh you are still doing the nanny thing?". I can't even share a funny story or recommend a children's museum without being completely ignored. And we nannies know how it is at playgroups or libraries... once they find out you are the nanny... prepare to be shunned.

Does anyone realize I have parented a total of 12 kids... from newborn to teen. How many women in their twenties can say that? My own father tells me I should get a real job. And my mother frets over if I will ever have kids of my own. Being a nanny is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And by the time I have kids... I will know every trick. But I can tell you right now... I have no desire to join mommy cliques or parent forums. You have treated me like dirt for doing the same thing you do... parent and love your kids.

27 comments:

MissMannah said...

I feel like I could have written this post. My father asks me all the time when I'm going to get a real job! When I offer child-rearing advice, people raise their eyebrows and say "Do *you* have kids?" Because 11 years of nannying and teaching amounts to nothing I guess.

Jedd Meir said...
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Nannycaroline said...

I agree, I could have written this too. At the library, I believe the moms think I am a teen mom (I'm 22 but look younger) and I don't reveal that I am the nanny. We understand on this site and the children are lucky to have you. Just try to hold your head up and be proud of the good work you do.

Teddy Westside said...

It all depends on who's asking. Some moms value my advice but most disregard it. I once also nannied for my three nieces, and for some reason being a relative gave me markedly more clout among the neighborhood mommies. Go figure.

Experience has taught me NEVER to give advice unless a person comes right out and says "What should I do/I need your advice." Even when a mom vents to me about a problem with her kid, all I do is commiserate. I learned this one the hard way!

Phoenix said...
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Phoenix said...

Ok. I actually think that you are a very rude person. Clearly people don't want your opinion on things and you are giving it anyway. Just because you are a nanny doesn't give you the right to butt in all the time. You sound like an irritating know-it-all. Then you get mad when people don't recognize your only right way to do things opinions.

Perhaps people don't like you because of your personality not your profession

MissMannah said...

Phoenix that's not necessarily true. She's probably just coming off that way because she was annoyed when she wrote that. I understand what she means. Plenty of times I'll have a mom friend specifically ask for advice (say on facebook) and when I try to offer some, it is usually shot down by all the other mommies because they all assume I have no idea what I'm talking about because I haven't "been there." I think the OP was saying the only time she gave unsolicited advice was with the chick who was smoking through her pregnancy and that girl sounded like she needed a good smack upside the head.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Most of the moms in my area are career women who waited to start their families in their 30s. Moms in their 20s tend to be mistaken for au pairs! As older, and perhaps more mature moms they don't seem uncomfortable asking for advice and opinions from a nanny. I never give suggestions unless I am asked however. I think Phoenix has a point there.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I am seeing a theme with Phoenix who seems to think of worst of everyone! I know Phoenix and is not a nanny and perhaps that's why she can't relate here, in which case she probably shouldn't have offered "advice" but that's beside the point.

nannyP said...

Wow was this post written by me? I have met other nannies who say the same thing. Though, my mom and dad look at all my charges as thier psuedo grandchildren. Though my dad has saidto me get a real job, But now that I am also taking care of my sisters baby, he no longer says that to me.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

OP, you say, "Does anyone realize I have parented a total of 12 kids... from newborn to teen. How many women in their twenties can say that?"

I'm going to offer you a thought here - you have not parented, because you ARE NOT A PARENT. You are a nanny. You may be an amazing nanny. It stinks that your family and friends aren't happy for you that you have a career that you love. It really does. But please reconsider calling what you do "parenting" - you help parents raise their children. You care for children. You love your charges and I am sure you do your utmost to care for them in an excellent manner. You do not parent.

And I'm going to indulge in a little snark here: If you started having kids at 15 and had a kid every 15 months or so, you could certainly have 12 kids ages newborn to teen by now. If Michelle Duggar had started at 15, she would have managed that feat.

ELam said...

I, like others, can definitely relate. Mostly about being shunned by other moms when I take my charges to playgroups, park, etc., and they find out I'm a nanny. I feel like the loser at recess that no one wants to play with. It's either that or they want to know if I am available to babysit weekends. Yea, because when I'm not at work I want to do extra work on the weekend. I just want to be like, "Do you want to do your job at another location on the weekends?" Some moms just do not get it.

Village said...

Tell them you are not the nanny, you are the governess.

I am so old, when I started to care for children, I was referred to as the governess. In those days the nanny word wasn't used at all. Now days, a part time babysitter is referred to as a nanny. It cracks me up when a teenager sits for a friend, and she refers to her sitter as their nanny. It's just a status symbol today to have a nanny, and the snobbery that goes along with it.

If you are teaching a child, you can honestly use the governess description. The word originally meant a private teacher in the home, and today, with parents gone so much, governess fits, unless you are the type of sitter who just sits.

OP said...

Op here: NANNIES PARENT. if your nanny didn't parent then you picked the wrong nanny. I may not have carried a child but I sure as hell have spent long days and nights with sick kids, taught valuable life lessons, and seen the results of my contribution. I'm not trying to say I'm more important to the kids then their mom or dad but I sure as hell mean something to them...
Someone said people think they are a young teen mom... until I got married I was treated like that too. I once ran into a high school teacher who thought my charge was mine... I told her I would have been in her class and pregnant...she would have known.
I didn't mean to be rude...but I can tell that most of you see what I mean.
We wouldn't do this job if we didn't love it though...
Just wouldn't hurt to get some respect for all that we know and have learned...

MissMannah said...

OP, dictionary.com lists the 4th noun definition of "parent" as "as protector or guardian" and it lists the verb definition as "to be or act as the parent of."

So based on what the dictionary says, I would have to agree that a nanny does parent a child. Because we definitely are the protectors or guardians at times and have to act in the parent roles when they are not around.

MissMannah said...

*a protector or guardian, not as

Jedd Meir said...
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ELam said...

Anonymous - relax. Personally, I've never offered unsolicited advice and I'm not even sure if the OP does. It sounds like when discussions revolving children come up she puts in her 2 cents and gets eyes rolled at her.

As far as being shunned/ignored/etc...ummm yes, it absolutely happens. And excuse you? You are more interested in your charge? Implying that other nannies are more worried in how they are being accepted? I can do my job and still acknowledge that I am being ignored by some other women. Not every mom I have come across is like this, obviously, but there have been many instances where it happens and it's uncalled for.

MissMannah said...

Oh yeah, you hit the nail right on the head. I'm so worried about being popular in the nanny/mommy circuit that I just completely ignore my charges. Anonymous, thanks for being so self-righteous and pointing out what bad nannies we all are for simply wanting some rapport with others.

OP said...

I never offer any advice anymore... and there is no chip on my shoulder.
its not like I'm a "wannabe parent" or anything... do I love my job? Yes but I also love doing whatever the heck I please without having to get a babysitter. At this time in my life that's what works.

Go Nannies ! said...

If the person I hired to be a nanny to ourchildren did not "parent"them I could just hire the high school school student down the street instead of a person educated in child care. I too have noticed for some reason that mothers do not associate with the nannies. When the person I hired tookcare of the kids they also taught them many valuable lessons just like a parent would.
I often wonder why people who seem to dislike nannies come in here andI think they do it just so they can make rude remarks and get away with it. I anm very very greatful to the nanny we had all those years and I like Governess better than the word Nanny lol because it really says what a nanny does, they teach, love and protect.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I'm glad you are happy to have your nanny "parent" your kids Go Nannies! That's frankly unusual, at least in my experience. I don't know why, but parents tend to guard that title carefully. Besides, unless a nanny is actually making ALL the decisions regarding the child's welfare and well being, there is a higher authority, and that would be the actual parents.

It's a healthy boundary, people. And it's needed to keep parents from feeling ursurped and nannies from feeling they are the ultimate authority.

I've had other parents tell me that I am "just like {my charge's} parent!", and I always say, "No, I am an extension of the parents, but I certainly don't take their place! Charge is just lucky to have 3 people who love him and happily do anything needed to keep him safe, healthy, and happy.!"

Why do I say that? Because I just bloody know that if I don't, that person will mention to my employers later that I agreed with them that I am like my charge's parent. And that potential hassle, I do not need.

Besides, keeping that boundary is, IMO, a huge piece of having a successful nanny career. I adore the kids I have cared for, and I would do just about anything for them, but I acknowledge to myself that I am not the parent because I DO NOT HAVE ultimate control, and one day I will not be their nanny anymore, and will have to mourn and move on. It's tough to mourn and move on when you feel like a parent, instead of a nanny.

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

OP...I don't think us Nannies will ever get the respect we deserve unfortunately. I think it is because people still view us Nannies as "hired help" like they do maids, gardeners, etc. They think just because you need no college degree or specialized training to watch children, your job has no merit. I disagree.

Not everyone is cut out to be a Nanny. One must be able to posses excellent people skills since they need to be able to get along with both parents and children equally. One also must understand that this is a job where calling in sick JUST once can cost you your job since many families these days do not have any back-up childcare "just in case." Punctuality is important as well since if the Nanny is late, the parents are late for work and the whole day can be ruined. A Nanny must also be patient, loving, responsible, trustworthy and mature. She must be able to not only follow direction, but take the initiative as well and the child's safety is #1 always. She is a chauffeur, nurse, teacher, companion, cook, laundress and day planner. She must make sure her charge(s) are well-fed, potty-trained, clean, and entertained as well as well-rested, healthy and safe. When the parents come home, she also must make sure the house is clean and orderly since most parents prefer to focus their time on their child. If there are pets in the house, the Nanny also must make sure they are fed, have enough water and are walked daily.

Oh yeah...the Nanny must also be a smart negotiator since we all know that the majority of families out there are always trying to nickel and dime us to death.

Phoenix said...

Oh i see, because the way she wrote it made the OP sound a little stuck-up. I also still feel that she doesn't always get asked for input.

OP it's ok if people don't like your advice. If you think your way is the only way, and the parents didn't follow what you said. That is ok too

I dont really see why you would be so upset about people not taking your advice. Ignorant people do this same thing to me, when they follow simple science.

I don't think you should get so worked up over this. As long as the parents aren't putting the kids in danger then they don't HAVE to take your advice, not matter how long you've been a nanny.

Also for the haters, I've said on some posts that I respect nannies. It a job I wouldn't do to save my life.

Phoenix said...

I also should't have made the "HAVE" in upper case. The *DONT* should have been. Very tired to day not paying attention.

Tashinalove said...

A Nanny isn't a babysitter. A Nanny is an educator, and should be treated as such. To the Nannies who value their position, who are passionate about what they do...they deserve tons of recognition and appreciation. A Nanny is a luxury service, therefore every great Nanny deserves the luxury of knowing how valuable they are.

DenverNanny said...

I had a friend of mine who is a new mom tell me that she feels uncomfortable talking to nannies in the park because she is afraid of sounding stupid to them. I think the main problem is that most parents, especially new moms, feel insecure. They always worry about whether they are doing a good job at parenting. I think they realize that a nanny with years of experience may know a lot about raising kids, maybe more than the parent, and they worry that the nanny may be judging them. I think most of the time they don't mean to be snooty or condescending, but if they act as though our opinions are unimportant, they don't have to worry about what we are thinking of them as parents.

I try and never ever offer advice unless directly asked about something specific. Then I try to phrase it in a way that sounds like it is just my opinion, not the absolute right thing to do. If you can make a parent feel like you respect their parenting style, their insecurity goes away and they are much more likely to ask for and listen to advice.