Some days my goal is just to get thru the day.
Some days my goal is to raise the next President of the United States, Supreme Court Justice, Barbara Streisand, or Pablo Picasso.
Some days my goal is to just hear the world "thanks" without the prompt.
Some days my goal is to not say the snarky comments going thru my head when I walk into the messy kitchen.
Some days my goal is to help a child filled with anxiety to breathe before taking the stage.
Some days my goal is to breathe myself before losing my temper.
Some days my goal is to say just the right thing, at the right moment, that will stick with this kid so that later, when times are tough, they can hear my voice and overcome an obstacle.
Some days my goal is to find that last blasted sock so that the pairs all match up.
Some days my goal is to say the right words to my fellow nannies so that they will remember the important work that we do.
Some days my goal is to LISTEN to my fellow nannies so that I can grow as a professional.
Some days my goal is to go to the bathroom in private.
Some days my goal is to have my 2 year old finally put her pee in the potty.
All my days the goal is to remember the feeling of a hand clasping mine, the sound of a giggle or the smell of sunscreen on a sweaty kid's neck long into my twilight years.
Watching my 2 year old try over and over to pour a large amount of water into a small container and observing her dogged determination that there was a solution to this problem, I was struck that kids are natural scientists.
There are some things that little scientists have in common with the big guys.
Scientists ask questions.
Why is there favorite question. AND if you spend even 5 minutes with a 3 or 4 year old you know WHY is a favorite question of the younger set as well. Kids don’t just accept the given explanation. They challenge and question why and even more important why not.
Scientists are interested in the world around them.
Scientists are interested in nature and the order of things. Their curiosity of the natural world leads to discoveries and new ideas. Can you imagine a 5 year old Darwin out in the backyard catching ants or spiders? Kids collect rocks, taste everything, dig, explore and are always riveted by the natural world.
Kids and scientists are problem solvers.
Most of the great discoveries of our time come from a problem that needed to be solved. Kids invent new ways to do things all the time. Just watch any 2 year old who wants to reach something on a high counter as she defies the laws of physics to stack things to climb on and reach her goal. Children naturally push boundaries, which makes for a great inventive scientist.
Scientists are creative thinkers.
To be an effective problem solver you have to think outside the box. At no time in a person’s history are we more creative than when we are young. Kids are able to take flights of fancy and wonder “what if?” which is exactly what science compels us to do as well.
NOTE: this entry was previously published in 2011
Nannies are often more than child care experts. But some of the things we do for families are hard to put into marketable phrases. I mean, I can’t put “dealing with stupid plumber” on my resume. Or can I? (insert dreamy music and wavy daydream image here....)
successfully oversaw extended delays, picky interior designers, re appropriated living spaces and translated contractor speak into english-- Contractor Liaison-
got 3 kids, two parents and a dog out the door each morning with smiling faces and hope--Motivational Speaker-
dealt with multiple extended visits with grandparents, uncles, aunts and assorted family members where no one ended up in tears or in jail--Multigenerational Coordinator-
convinced 2 year old that spinach, broccoli and carrots would not, in fact, kill him--Nutritional Expert-
fostered a non combative relationship between family and entitled, over reaching, annoying neighbors--Community Mediator-
coordinated hundreds of school papers, bills, invoices, memos, notes, grocery lists, scraps of paper, reminders, permission slips and calendar notices--File Clerk-
go between and communicator of unpleasant household news and parenting decisions--Marriage Counselor-
got everyone where they needed to be even when they didn’t want to go or didn’t know where they were going--Logistics Specialist-
returned numerous boxes and packages from careless internet shopping, mailed hundreds of Christmas cards and thank you notes--Shipping Whiz-
made numerous blanket forts, hideouts, and cardboard princess homes --Non Traditional Materials Architect-
Now you try it. What would you add onto your resume?
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!!
Some lessons are hard to teach.
To really give these gifts to a child you have to live them.
This is a great idea to help live gratitude daily within a family!
I originally stole the idea from Martha Stewart (don't most good ideas come from her) and then Pinterest (where the rest of the good ideas come from). But the prompt was "i love you because..." which implies that love is conditional based on behavior or actions. Not the message I was looking for.
You just frame a pretty piece of paper along with a prompt that you can hand write or print off in a funky font. I used "today I am thankful for...".
You need a glass marker (Vis a Vis) or a dry erase (but dry erase mandates using a wet napkin then a dry one).
Each day at breakfast we take a minute and take turns thinking of what we are thankful for. Mom and Dad get a turn too and so do I. Even though my little one is just 2 - she gets it. And I love that while her thankfuls are usually for her balloon or her stickers, mom and dad's are more global. This demonstrates in a very real and non preachy way that it is good to be grateful for family but some days it is equally important that we are grateful for a chocolate cookie.
I also love the way this routine makes us think of good things at the beginning of the day. It doesn't take long and it includes the whole family.
Because I chose paper that matches the kitchen colors and made it kinda pretty, mom doesn't mind keeping it out in the area where we all pass by it many times a day.
This is one way to show appreciations, how do you teach this lesson??
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??
Recently my friends and I tried this great idea we "borrowed" from some mommy bloggers. And it is a GREAT idea for all nanny groups big or small.
Google Busy Bags and you will get a whole bunch of ideas for these homemade bags of fun! The idea is that they are simple activities that are made that kids can do with some direction or on their own. Preferably they will become self sufficient with them even if at first they need help.
Bags range in complexity from simple matching games or letter activities to more complex math games etc.. They are hopefully self checking so that kids can see the correct answer themselves.
Now you could make busy bags yourself and many people do. But it can get pricey and can be a lot of work to make individual bags. To get a whole bunch of bags fast- we organized a swap.
Each person in the swap makes 2 different kinds of bags. We started an email thread so we could tell everyone as we picked which bags we were making. Then we made bags for each person participating. In our group there were 7 people, we each made 2 different bags and 7 of each so we all walked away with 14 different great bags!!
I keep the bags in a drawer in the kitchen and the Caterpillar (my 2 year old) begs to do them. I introduced them one at a time and made sure that she understood each bag's activity before starting on the next one. Now she can get out something fun while I tidy the kitchen or while we are waiting for mom to come home.
Our favorite bags are the iSpy rice bottle, the fishing game, the hanging clothes game and the letter matching cards. We still haven't tried all the games we have!!
I can't wait to do this again. It was fun and cost effective- for about $50 we got the materials and walked away with so many great and fabulous learning activities that are great for transition times, waiting times and independent play.
Let me know if you have done this or if you want to try!!!
Here are some great links!
Walking by the way Blog
Motherhood on a Dime
Money Saving Mom
AND here is a link to my pinterest board where I have loads more ideas!!
YOU are the SuperSTAR!
Win a conference registration and $50 spending money to use for extended sessions, food or socializing!!
For the past few years we have used our meager talents here in the Nannypalooza Conference Headquarters to "produce" videos to promote NP. This year we want to give YOU a chance to be a star! Check out some of our past videos.
Produce and upload to our YouTube Channel your own video commercial for NP. We will share them on facebook and choose 3 finalists to compete for the grand prize. Email Suedowney@nannypalooza.com for info on how to upload to our page!
1. Videos must be no longer than 2 minutes in length.
2. Videos may NOT include any children other than your own children. DO NOT POST VIDEOS with your charges. These videos will be removed.
3. Videos must include the information
4. Videos may be uploaded at any time before June 2nd. Finalists will be chosen by the NP planning committee the week of June 2nd and voted on for a 24 hour period starting sometime June 5th. Videos will be voted on by a simple like button vote on Facebook but only on the official post by Sue Downey on June 5th.
because I want you to win!!!
Our theme this year is Every Nanny is a Super Hero!
Our conference sponsor is 4nannytaxes.com
Videos that are shared more will not only help us get more nannies to conference- they will help you get more notice by the planning committee.
You can not use copyrighted material (music) or it will get tagged by YouTube.
I have purchased so many items for families over the years. Once I bought 3 gas fireplace set ups
another time a whole set of nursery furniture. I run to the store to pick up birthday gifts, groceries, and a wide variety of clothes including the occasional items for my MB or DB.
Every family is different and handles the money in a different way. Some nannies have carte blanche to decide what and when to buy. Some families are more directed.
You might have petty cash or a credit card or maybe you don't even spend any money for your employers.
We want to find out! My friends over at Nanny Magazine and I have put together a short 10 question survey. It takes just a few minutes and will help us figure out just how much purchasing power we nannies have!!
Please share and ask your friends to take a minute to take the survey as well!!
Recently, my good friend and Nannypalooza presenter Marcia Hall wrote this great article about why we should never lie to kids. She's right and I try to be truthful. However I was thinking that there are a few lies we all might be guilty of.
Oh no- your (loud annoying) toy is broken! It won't make anymore noise!
We are all out of batteries right now.
We are all out of cookies right now.
Honey that is the most beautiful drawing I have ever seen.
Yum this tastes delicious. Thanks for making me lunch!
Cleaning up is fun.
Sharing is fun.
Thanks for helping me. I never could have done it without you!
And let's not get started with the Binky fairy!
Marica's article is serious and I am attempting to poke fun at myself- but it is a hard thing to be truthful when a little white lie will make that loud annoying toy stop singing the wheels on the bus for the 10,000th time!