National Nanny Recognition Week was last week September 20th to the 26th. There was quite a large celebration including social media posts, group outings and the state of Michigan proclaim Nanny Appreciation Week! But if you missed it- it is not too late! Check out this conversation with Alene Mathurin of My Nanny Circle.
In honor of National Nanny Recognition Week I sat down with one of our 2015 Nannypalooza speakers Alene Mathurin to get her thoughts on the nanny community and what we can do to help and support ourselves.
Alene is an author, blogger and certified life coach who provides services for families and nannies including: nanny acclimation, orientation, mediation and support. She resides in New York City with her 12-year-old son. Alene is also runs the popular My Nanny Circle blog. Her book, entitled “A Guide to Developing a Successful Family and Nanny Relationship” can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
Sue: For the audience, especially parents, who have never heard about “National Nanny Recognition Week” would you explain to them why this week is important to nannies?
Alene: The week was founded in 1998 as a way to draw attention to the positive aspects of nannies instead of the negative ones that the press often shares. It has come to be a celebration for nannies, by nannies and families, and is the perfect time for all who choose nanny care to take a moment and reflect on the incredible gifts that nanny care gives to children and families.
Sue: Does lack of recognition and appreciation by the hiring family have any adverse impact on how nannies approach their jobs?
Alene: I think anyone, especially those who spend most of their working hours caring for others, enjoys being appreciated. Nannies who feel valued and recognized for all the hard work and long hours they put in for a family are happier on the job, work even harder and most importantly stay with families for longer periods of time. Continuity of care is vital for young children developmentally as it allows them to build trust which is a cornerstone of learning. Spending a few moments to say thanks and notice a job well done can make all the difference.
Sue: Could you explain why it’s equally important for nannies themselves to recognize the value of their own profession?
Alene: Childcare in general is not always valued highly in our society. And often the profession of nannying is portrayed as custodial care or just something you do until you have a better job. Nannies must understand, so that we can educate everyone, that there is nothing on the planet more important than helping to raise and educate young children. The more we value ourselves and the important work we do, the more we will invest in training and educating ourselves. This in turn results in a higher quality of care for those kiddos!
Sue: This week is about celebrating Nanny Care - which means in part we have to focus on ourselves as caregivers. How do you find time to take care of yourself? How can nannies celebrate in a way that restores them this week?
Alene: This is a really great question, Sue. I have a crazy schedule, but I understand the importance of living a balanced life, which includes a mind, body, and soul connection, and I endeavor every day to maintain this very intricate balance. For my body, I eat right and exercise. For my mind, I remember the power of thoughts and choose to think of what I want to attract into my life. For my spirit, I spend time with my creator through prayer and meditation. Nurturing this unique balance of the tripartite aspect of me creates an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
Nannies must recognize the need for and embrace self-love and self-care. To truly care for another in an optimal way, which is the job of being a nanny, a nanny must ensure that she’s devoting enough time to herself. Rejuvenation can take the form of a little time off to attend a spin class, a coffee date with a friend and good conversation, or a simple walk in nature. Another good way for nannies to feel restored this week is to spend time with other members of the nanny community in a physical or online space, engaging in constructive dialogue about the nanny profession. Online nanny groups like Nannypalooza and the My Nanny Circle Facebook group are great options! You will be inspired.
Sue: It is a huge leap of faith for nanny employers to hire a caregiver. They need to be recognized for their part in successful nanny/family relationships. What makes a successful partnership? What are some ways that nannies can celebrate with their families?
Alene: All people love to know that they are doing a good job. I always urge nannies to initiate candid conversations with their employers in which they thank them for contributing to the success of the nanny-family dynamic. Nannies can celebrate with their families in many different ways but especially with the children’s involvement. If nannies work with older children, they can put together a lovely art project, perhaps making a homemade card. Both the nannies and children can decorate the card with powerful yet simple phrases, such as “You are an awesome mom and great employer!” Or “Not only are you great parents but also rocking employers!” Little things like that go a long way.
Sue: Another goal of this week is to raise the profile of nanny care as an excellent option for children who need care. What are some of the benefits of nanny care? What do we need to let the world know about nannies?
Alene: I know that parents’ decision to find care for a child, especially if the parents work, is a complicated process and an emotionally daunting task. We often forget how much parents struggle when leaving their vulnerable child in somebody else’s care. Nanny care is an excellent option. The benefits cannot be overestimated. The one-on-one connection between children and nannies that develops strengthens their bonds, and builds a relationship where the children learn to trust their nanny. The fact that the children will be in their own homes is a huge plus for families, which alleviates the need for children to acclimate to not only a strange environment but also strange faces. Additionally, parents will be grateful that they need not drag younger children out into the cold to another location in the mornings and evenings.
The advantages of nanny care go beyond what I’ve just described, reaching areas such as nurturing, caring, and loving. Great nannies perform the jobs that come with nanny work, but they provide so much more than custodial care. For example, they offer cognitive nurturing and raise strong, kind, and loving children who will have a greater chance to succeed in the world. Great nannies are able to love children divinely and provide them with emotional security and a safe, trusting environment - which are essential to a child’s growth and development.
As we celebrate Nanny Recognition Week our respective nanny communities would like to recognize the business and brands that been so supportive of the nanny community. We would especially like to recognize the Huggies brand for hosting several nanny events in the New York area and initiating dialogue with the nanny community to show their respect and better understand the nanny community as a whole. We invited other brands to do the same and to recognize that nannies play a very vital role in the homes they are employed in. On behalf of nannies everywhere~ Thank you Huggies!