My take on this week is a little different than most I think so I wanted to share.
Next week from Sept 22 to the 29th is National Nanny Recognition Week. If you are reading this blog you probably already know about NNRW. It was started a few years back by a few nannies and agency owners who wanted to showcase the important work that nannies do.
Times have changed in the past few years since the first NNRW. The nanny profession has increased its visibility and there are more nannies working in the states than ever. Nannies have been featured on television as childcare experts and we have started to connect to each other and educate ourselves in larger and larger numbers.
NNRW is often promoted as a chance for families and others to appreciate nannies. But I really think that this is a chance for us to celebrate the whole nanny universe. What does that mean?
I think it is a time to recognize the families that employ us. We work for some amazing people. I think that nanny care is the best choice you can make for your kids. But it is not easy. It is a remarkable thing to hire a nanny and let that nanny into the family. Nanny care is usually the most expensive care option. And it is emotionally much more difficult. Parents know that they will miss moments that the nanny will see. They know that the child will come to love the nanny in a very personal way. There will be a moment when the child calls out for the nanny instead of the parent. They put an extraordinary amount of trust in us. They do what is best for their child at the expense of their own ego (not to mention pocketbook). Not to mention the work of building a strong nanny/family relationship! It is not easy and it should be celebrated. If we didn’t have them, we would not have a job.
I think it is a time to celebrate the kids who come to love us. I am thrilled to be a part of the lives of my kids. It is an honor. I am thankful for every shared moment and I like to take time each year to think of those times and be grateful.
I think it is a time to celebrate nannies. The nanny profession has changed a lot in the past 10 years. There are more of us than ever! We are more visable and there is a greater diversity. During NNRW I like to think of the wonderful people who have come before me, who have helped me learn about this job and shown me the way. I like to think of those who are nipping at my heels, to thank them for sharing their innovative ideas and enthusiasm for an occupation that I love.
It is a time to celebrate all those in the business community, the agencies, tax professionals and the like that have made being a nanny so lucrative. Agencies can get a bad rap, but it is a tough spot and most agencies really do care about the placements. These businesses support us and our families and make it easier to get paid, find jobs and work with families. They deserve a spotlight moment this week too!
Sure, I love a little recognition. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. And there have been so many times when I felt like I got little or no thanks for the blood, sweat and tears I put into my work. However, perhaps as Dr. Seuss would say, NNRW doesn't come from a store. Perhaps it means just a little bit more. The reason for the season for me is to celebrate all the people in my life who have made this job, this calling if you will, a part of my life that defines me in so many ways.
Not sure if you heard- but I love training! I love going to a workshop, webinar or conference. I LOVE new ideas.
There is nothing like the spark that happens when you are talking through a problem and you connect with others. You gain perspective and get a fresh take on what you might think you know or what you might be struggling with.
No matter if you have been a nanny for 100 years or 1 year- there is always more to learn. Kids are like onions, there are more layers than you can imagine (they also can be sweet or sassy and can make you cry but more on that in another post!).
My passion for training for myself and sharing my experiences has led me down the road to Nannypalooza and the work I do with webinars and this blog etc.. But it also makes me seek out new places to find inspiration. That is why I was excited about my friend Kellie Geres' new website www.nannytrainings.com. This website aims to be a clearing house of sorts for all kinds of opportunities to connect to the best and brightest resources for nannies. From nanny schools to online venues, Kellie is working to create a one stop shop of professional development.
Not all experiences will be for every person. That is what is great about this resource! Shy and wanting to be more on your own or ready to reach out and personally meet someone, there is an opportunity for you!
Please stop by the webpage and check it out. And be sure to like her page on Facebook and follow her on twitter! That is a great way to stay on top of what is coming up!!
Note- this blog post was previously published in 2011
The first steps. Oh the first week when you are dancing around each other trying to figure it all out. You nervously wonder if the house is always this clean or if they are trying to impress you. The kids look at you every day with a certain “what the heck are you doing back here” glance then try hard to ignore you. Mom boss might leave a note or two, but she is careful to include phrases like “if you want” or “could you please”. You are optimistic and employers seem surprised that you keep coming back every day.
The honeymoon phase- you remember this phase! It is when the employer comes home early from work and says why don’t you go ahead and leave it has been a hard week. When mom boss thanks you every Friday afternoon with tears in her eyes, as she assures you no nanny has ever done so well with the kids and they don’t know what they would do without you. Everything is as it was promised- sometimes even better. You don’t mind doing nice little things like taking out the trash, or cleaning up the coffee maker. You are a team player! Christmas and birthday gifts are extravagant and thoughtful. The kids can not get enough of you and wait by the door for you to arrive and ask you to come to birthday parties and gymnastics meets. You feel like everyday you can really affect change in behavior, teach a child to read, make the blind see and the kids put their darn socks in the hamper. Super Nanny!
Then you settle into the routine part of the job. You come into work mostly on time. MB starts to leave lists absent of little smiley faces and full of errands that almost cross the line but not quite- like could you please pick up the groceries for this weekend’s dinner party since you will be at the store anyway. Do you mind reorganizing the towel closet while the baby naps? You find yourself coasting a little with the kids. Don’t get me wrong, you are still doing a good job, but Mary Poppins seems like a lot of work. You stop doing the little extra things because you know that if you take out that trash once, it will become your job always and you didn’t sign up for that. You notice that you have to start asking to be paid. And while the employers still say nice things about you- it is more often than not to the neighbors and teachers and not directly to you.
Then there is the descent. When you go to work angry, sure that they have left a mess. And they have. When you find yourself looking at the clock every hour waiting to be done. When you carefully avoid each other, avoid confrontation because you feel as though it won’t make a difference anyway. Your job description has grown to include a multitude of jobs that you not only didn’t agree to, but that you resent doing each and every time they come up. When you can do your job with the kids without even thinking, it becomes automatic. Which again does not mean less than stellar, but it is not as thoughtful or with the same passion. It is time to move on.
Honestly, we all go thru all these cycles. And for different amounts of time. Finding ways to recharge yourself so that you remain thoughtful, engaged, excited and patient is the trick to keep from sliding to the dark side.
Have I missed any stages? What phase are you in right now??
What do you bring with you to work each day?
Do you bring materials to use like cotton balls, flour or markers?
Do you bring your lunch, a snack or a good book to read?
Do you bring with you your patience, caring, and your sense of humor?
Perhaps you bring a wealth of information on raising kids, or an article that you read or a book you studied.
You might bring a few things to work with you that you maybe should try to leave at home. You probably bring with you your own parent's parenting styles, scars (both good and bad) from past nanny jobs and preconcieved notions of what will or won't work.
You might also bring along outdated information, emotions from your own personal life and your own physical condiditon.
No matter what you bring to the table- it is worth taking a moment before you start your day to breathe.
Being a nanny is a pretty difficult job. And the main thing you bring to your job is yourself.
It is worth it to take a few minutes each morning and consider what you bring to your job. Are you bringing positives or negatives? How can you leave the bad stuff behind? What should you remember to bring every day?
Then leave the unwanted bags at the door and bring what works and a smile. NEVER forget that smile!!
Well, change is good right?
Sometimes though it is not easy.
This change is hopefully going to be easy and GREAT! We have a newly designed website and a new address for the blog. Hopefully you can change your RSS feed (or sign up if you haven't already) and you won't miss a thing.
I am particularly excited to utilize some of the great features of the new website. Like more videos, and a new onsite registration process for Nannypalooza. Hopefully it will work. (crossing fingers!)
So thanks for stopping by and supporting Nannypalooza. Be sure to share the site with your friends!