One Question, a Million Answers

GUEST COLUMNWritten by Lyn
As every Nanny knows, there comes a time when your friends, family, and total strangers in the park, stop to hound you with questions about your career. Their words are often veiled with cutesy tones, while the face is frozen with a look of polite confusion. You know the one, a slight smile, a wrinkled brow and a head cocked slightly to the side. Always with a slight undertone of disbelief.


Yesterday I must have had that look of blissful ignorance to the perils of my job as I climbed inside the toddler slide with my 1 year old charge and landed in a huge mud puddle at the bottom. Sigh. Gravity, you beat me yet again! At least M was laughing. A nice thing to hear after his past week of miserable teething. Molars, can't live with the pain of getting them, can't eat steak without them. My 3 year old charge (T) just loves being able to go up to complete strangers at the park so that she can loudly broadcast the latest embarrassing thing I've done. Not that I can blame her. I make some pretty amusing mistakes.

"So, why are you a Nanny?" The number one question I receive from playground parents, inquisitive friends, and a plethora of family members. And I have no answer. You'd think after the 4ish years I've been doing this I would have finally settled on one short and sweet response. But who loves their career and can narrow down why in just a few words?

I am a Nanny because I love children. Your children. I am a Nanny because I enjoy creating my own work environment and planning what each day will hold. I am a Nanny because it affords me the lifestyle I want without making me feel like I've sold my soul to a corporation. I am a Nanny because I love teaching little ones about the world around them and life's infinite possibilities. I am a Nanny because of that look that flashes in your children's eyes when they finally 'get' how to read a sentence, or tie their shoes. I am a Nanny, most selfishly, because I get a rare opportunity to relive my own childhood. Because I like crafts, field trips, puddle jumping and picnics. Why not get paid to partake in these activities?

There are a million and one reasons why I'm a Nanny. But the only one you should be concerned about is because I'm great at my job.

What are your answers? Why are you a Nanny?


katydid said...

I don't over dramatize my response. I keep it simple. I like what I do and feel that being a nanny best matches by desire to care for and teach children, and help people. Not sade rudely, but with very little room for negotion.

Sometimes I'll be sassy and say because I need a good cover for my real job with a wink and walk away.

Lyn said...

Haha! I love your sassy response!

MissWi said...

I love that you said you get to relive your childhood...for me that's a big thing and it brings me so much joy
I'm a nanny because I enjoy being outside...and hate missing out on nice weather due to work. I guess I hate missing out on things in general and being a nanny insures that I can go to festivals or like today go home to see my sister in law who is visiting (charge in tow).
Besides all of the other nice normal. Reasons, there is one almost sad one.
I have an anxiety disorder. And after being homebound from Agoraphobia 4 years ago, being a nanny gave me a chance to work but work in a home which is where I feel safest. I have been able to work on my recovery (a never ending one) while still earning a very nice income.
Had I not became a nanny, I wouldn't be working. On my bad days, I can still do a good job as a nanny whereas with other jobs I would have to leave.
If I'm overwhelmed, I can go take a breather or even lay down.
This job saved me. It allowed me to have such a wonderful life financially while staying within my comfort zone. I mean its the ideal job for an Agoraphobic! You get to essentially work from home!
But that wasn't why I became a nanny, it was for the freedom I get but also because I love kids. I love watching them learn and grow.
I love these kids and my employers are so kind.
This job truly saved me.

Magen said...

OP, your post is so relatable! I love it! Made my day. I really love being a nanny and you named almost all the reasons. <3

NannyPants said...

Well...I went to school for teaching because I knew I wanted to work with children. However, after being in the classroom I realized that I wanted to make a difference in a child's life outside of the classroom.
I could not be happier with my decision and what I do. It's a cool feeling to think that these parents want the absolute best for their children, and they choose US to be that, nannies. :) I'm grateful for my job every day!

Nay The Nanny said...

Nanny Pants, I am in a similar boat! Received my degree in Early Childhood Education, and am actually hoping to perform eventually (I sing and act.) BUT I LOVE working with children...however, I really prefer the 1:1 ratio as opposed to teaching a large group of children because as much as I fall in love with my students (I taught music and theater) the bond isn't the same as when you get to work with one or two little ones and watch them grow. It is just a whole different animal. And you get to teach them about things outside of what you teach children in a get to mold them into really great little people! I am not yet living my ultimate "dream"...but man, I love my job. How many people get to say that AND get paid well to do it?

Future Nurse :) said...

I am a nanny because I am a natural mother who is waiting for her babies to make it to her. I am a nanny because I know just how important it is for a mother to find someone whom she can trust with the most important things in her life.. her kiddos. I am a nanny because I never get tired of hearing "I wub uv (insert my name)" or anything like that. I am a nanny because I love setting the bar high, and seeing the kids reach it. I am a nanny because I know the importance of being on a child's level and becoming their confidant, their friend. I am a nanny because I absolutely LOVE my charges.

Nanny Bear said...

I'm a nanny because I get to use my degree and earn cash. I'm only working because I'm saving up to pay for a surgery out of pocket. Once I've earned the money I want, Ill quit and have another baby. I don't "love" my charges. I wouldn't expect a nanny to "love" my children either. Id expect her to simply do a good job of taking care of my kids. Its a job. A nanny is not family and when we used nannies we kept it professional and had healthy boundries. I wouldn't hire a nanny who expressed a desire to "be a part of the family" or who confessed that she "loved" her old charges. Some people might like that, but to me its a boundry I don't want crossed.

Ditto said...

Nanny Bear,

I agree with your sentiment. Nannies are employees, not family members. Charges are paychecks, not beloveds.

It drives me crazy to read posts here from nannies who are clearly overly-enmeshed with their employers, who fear leaving dyfunctional positions because they love their charges too much or because their charges would be devastated.

It's a job, not a love affair.

just saying said...

I agree with you ditto. I think the nannies who gush over how much they love their charges and say how great they are at their jobs are just being insecure. Its unnecessary to have a long list of reasons why you have your job. We all have our jobs for the pay. Take the pay away and none of us would be working. I think nannies who are working in a screwed up family and don't leave because they love their charges aren't mentally healthy themselves. And I've never had anyone ask why I have my job.

mom of two said...

This article and several of the comments warm my heart! My family is beginning the hunt for our first Nanny and just knowing that there are women with such positive energy soothes my mind so much. It is such a personal position. Whomever employs you is so very blessed!

ur a nanny said...

Lol "momoftwo"

nannybear said...

The original nannybear here, I love my charges and my job, and I do it because it allows for everyday to be different, and because I get to spend my days playing and encouraging little minds. I'm lucky to be with a family who does consider me a part of their family, but I have been with families before where it was "just a job" and loved those positions just as much. Of course, I do it to get paid too, though I promise i didn't become a nanny to get rich, I don't think any of us do that, because let's face it, nannies don't generally make bank. But, if tomorrow the family told me they couldn't pay me anymore I would start looking for a new job, but Iw ould still be a part of the families lives, as the kids rely on me to be a constant, and now the MB is a dear friend of mine. I'm a nanny because I love kids, teaching, and making a difference in the life of a child.

they whys said...

For money.

ericsmom said...

Nannybear thats great that you could still be friends with the family you work for. Let's face it that is so rare. Usually once a position is over its over. The End

Mary Anne said...

I am a nanny because I love children.
That's my answer. It really is that simple. :)

Elaborating... I love the way children talk. I love when they learn to talk, the words they say and the way they say them. I love the way they find joy in the littlest things. I have friends who are nearly 30 years old, happy with their lives, love their jobs, etc., but who walk right past a spider weaving a web in a bush. Children don't do that. They watch the spider. I want to watch that spider.
I love the way they hold your hand walking down the stairs. I love the way rutines are repeated every single day, because my charge wants it to and I want it to.
I love the way little children take their TIME. They're not busy. Clocks and meetings and television shows don't matter to them. I love the way things take time. I love to dwell on the little things.
I love reading the same book over and over again.
I also love climbing three feet up into a tree and beliveing you're on top of the world.
I love kicking a ball high into the sky and laughing when it touches ground.
I love running because running is FUN! Not because it's exercise or healthy or necessary, but because it's just so much FUN.
I love that I have the opportunity to be around these wonderful little people. I love making them laugh and I love when they make me laugh.
I love every second of it, I love changing diapers and I love scolding them because all that is a part of being together, of being a team, and my charge(s) and me, we're always a team.
My charge(s) is/are my work, my job, and my best friend(s).
I'm a nanny because I love children.

anon poster said...