A Perspective for Parents
I'm 32 years old and have been a professional full-time nanny through a highly respected agency for 7 years now. For 3 years before that, I was a preschool teacher, and for 6 years before that, I worked in a daycare, and had various babysitting jobs all throughout my teen and young adult years. I have worked with kids for about 17 years now, from newborns to age 12, and in a variety of formats. I love what I do, and the reason I do this job is because I'm confident in all aspects of child care, I've been trained, and have experience, I genuinely love taking care of children, and I feel blessed that I can get paid for doing something I love. For me, it's a rewarding job. Recently the family I had been with for 4 years as their full-time nanny, domestic manager, and personal assistant moved out of state. I started interviewing for a new job, and that, combined with reading this website and also other online nanny agency type of sites, just made me want to get a few things off my mind and I figured this was a good format to do so.
What really prompted this was the number of interviews I seem to have had back-to-back lately where parents (especially first-time parents) seem to be so high and mighty about so many things concerning hiring a new nanny. I realize that your first priority as a parent is to protect your child, and I respect certain questions I am asked. I think good parents SHOULD ask a number of questions about someone they are considering to take care of their children. But I had an interview with a couple recently who had a newborn (their first) and GRILLED me on infant care and the do's and don't's past the point of what I felt was normal. They seemed extremely condescending and actually even handed me a "quiz" they had printed out on baby care. They then informed me that if I took the job, I should know now that I would be recorded on cameras all througout the house at all times that they could look in on while they were at work. In theory, I get this. However, even though I have nothing to hide, this makes me uncomfortable for obvious reasons. What if I have a personal phone call I need to take, or make? How do I know these cameras aren't included in the bathroom? What if I need to change clothes for some reason, is there a safe room to do so? Etc... but also the camera thing bothered me because you either trust me or you don't. If you're such an expert on children and babies just because you recently gave birth to one, but haven't worked in child care for 17 years like I have, and if you're so paranoid that someone does it right, then WHY on earth are you leaving them with someone else? You're sitting here interviewing a nanny to care for your child for 10 to 12 hours a day because you don't want to do it, yet you act as if I'm stupid and don't know anything because I haven't given birth to a child and I'm not a mother. So you're willing to leave your baby with this person who you don't really trust, and then watch videos after the fact to see if anything bad happened?? Basically what you're doing is testing the situation out on your child if you really don't trust the person you're leaving them with in the first place.
Some other things have bothered me in jobs off and on and in interviews that I think parents can't see the nanny's perspective on, and maybe if you tried to, your nanny wouldn't get overwhelmed or burned out so easily. Kids are great, amazing, and fun, but also very draining and tiring at times. Especially in certain jobs where there might be a heavy schedule to adhere to, activities to get to, or extra chores for the nanny to do besides watching and working with the children. We sometimes feel the same as a stressed-out mom, and that is understandable for mothers, yet nannies are expected to be "on" at ALL times, and perfect in everything they do, and always high-energy, fun, and engaging. I feel like about 90% of parents that hire nannies expect them to never sit down and take a break, make a phone call, check their texts, be in the bathroom for any length of time, sit down and enjoy lunch, read a book they brought or GOD-FORBID watch TV. *gasp* The TV thing is getting rediculous in jobs I've had. I am NOT one to sit down, watch tv and ignore the kids. And I'm not even talking about watching TV for myself but when COUNTLESS parents over and over and over and over that I've worked for, or interviewed for stress so much that they don't want their kids watching TV, but yet the kids tell me that's all they do in the evenings or on the weekends, or when I come each morning to get them ready for school with JUST enough time to do so, and all morning they've been in front of the TV while their parents are getting themselves ready, it gets irritating.
I had a job where this happened every day, leaving me to rush the kids through their morning routine in order to get them to school/playgroups on time. This job was from 7am to 6pm every day. One child had school until 3, the other had half-day preschool and then nap. They both had after-school activities and we ran around like crazy all day until about 5pm. I would bring them home and TRY to get dinner prepped or things from the day cleaned up for their parents like they requested that I do, and during that LAST half-hour when we had done all we could do all day long, the kids were antsy and hyper, and I was trying to finish things up for the day, I would let them watch TV while I did. It helped me immensly and they were still right in my view at all times. The parents would get home and they wouldn't be able to see the entire day of running around and things we did. All they saw was the kids watching TV every time they came home so they assumed that's all they ever did and told me to not let them watch it anymore. Yet EVERY MORNING when I would come in, they would be getting ready and have those kids in front of the TV.
I understand how evil and vile tv can be... i know you want your kids to get fresh air and be outside and be active. But parents, please put yourselves in our shoes sometimes and see things from these different perspectives. On days like weekends that you're home with your kids, do you make phone calls? (Probably, and this is ok! It's NORMAL!) Do you CONSTANTLY engage and play with your children? (probably not, and this is ok!) Do you hover over them and follow them around at the park and not let them just play with other kids? (I sure hope not). Please stop hiring someone to act as a perfect parent when you don't want to be one, and then get upset when they turn out to be human. Please see things from a different perspective if you can once in awhile. Are your children alive and well when you get home? Are they clothed, fed, feel safe, have a roof over their head? These are the things that matter! My job is to keep your child safe, and make sure they stay alive! I nurture them, play with them, and do other things a MOTHER would do with them because I LIKE to and feel that's what's right! I am good at what I do, and am always requested by people and have excellent references. I've never had an interview where I wasn't offered the job. So if anyone reading things in here thinks I'm a "bad nanny" for anything I've said, you don't know me and you're wrong. I'm just feeling frustrated lately by the attitude I get as a caregiver and felt some of this needed to be said.
at 5:51 AM