5 Life Lessons I've Learned Being A Nanny
Updated: May 17, 2018
Being a Nanny has taught me a bunch about kids, family dynamics, myself, and life. I've learned through many experiences some good and some bad. Looking back these are some of the lessons that stand out.
Time Management/Organizational Skills
I wasn’t necessarily lacking in time management skills, but pre-nannyhood I wasn’t very organized. Previous to my first professional nanny job all of my experience came from family or date nights. As long as I fed and put the kiddos to bed on time then cleaned up after, time management and organization weren’t super necessary. Going from that to being a full time nanny for 3 kiddos, all with different overbooked schedules, and their helicopter mom scrutinizing my every move I learned pretty quickly how to get everyone where they needed to be on time.
How to Interview
Unfortunately there are a lot of families that don’t respect our time. They have you drive out for an interview only to change everything they need, try to offer you less than your minimum, or just don’t ever call you back. Combine this with our job not having much longevity per family we end up doing a lot of interviews. Being a nanny isn’t the job were you blink one day and 25 years have gone by, so we interview and interview and interview. After all of these interviews, I’ve really honed in on what to ask, how to make sure my needs are met, what to wear, and how to deal with those curveball questions. I still have room for improvement (who doesn’t), but I no longer feel awkward or stressed walking into an interview. Someday if I decide to leave the nanny life all of the interviews will help me find that next job and nail it.
To stand up for myself
I see nannies getting walked over by families and even the kiddos constantly. Sometimes we all do things we prefer not to because occasionally just washing that one dirty dish will make life easier for us. However, that doesn't mean families can assume you will do all of their dishes now. I feel like these things start out small and pile up. I wasn’t normally the type of person to be pushed around in my everyday life except I always wanted to be great at what I do and please my bosses. I (like many nannies) got taken advantage of, had tasks added to my day, and a had families encroach on my personal time. I wish I could say I learned this lesson quickly, but in reality, it took a couple years. Today though I still have things I’d rather not do, just like in any job, I am no longer pushed around by inconsiderate or oblivious families.
To Value Personal Space
Being a nanny means you are taking care of kids and the majority of them are little. Babies and toddlers haven’t learned quite grasped the concept of personal space yet. They also more often than not like physical touch to be comforted whether its a hug, patting their back, or maybe even kissing an ouchie. The smaller the kiddo the more carrying we end up doing. Needless to say, kids are in your space all the time. I think it’s important to teach them about personal space as they get older, but that doesn’t mean they won't ever be in our bubble. I absolutely love holding hands on a walk or getting a big hug from my little ones, but let me say that by the end of the week I LOVE sitting by self and not having someone all over me. When I first starting nannying, I was supposed to have an in-law suite to myself. Then the mom set up a gaming system for the kids in my living area, I woke up to kids literally in the same room as me many times on my day off. I was also kicked out of the room for other guest multiple times. At this point in time, I really started to appreciate anything I had to myself. Now I really value having my own place to live and a bathroom that kids don’t use.
When to keep routine and when to break it.
I’m a huge fan of routine, especially when it comes to kids. They really thrive on knowing what to expect. I also believe they throw fewer fits to get something when they know the rules aren’t changing when they scream. I hate when parents set a schedule for naps or meals then change it every week. I’ve always taken pride in my ability to be consistent with kids. After a month or so with a new family, I get into a nice routine with the kids. Of course something will change every so often, but for the most part, they know that after lunch we do this activity or on Tuesday we go to this event. Now that I’ve been Nannying for several years I’ve really learned when to break from the routine and just go out for ice cream or nap a little early. This isn’t an exact science. You just have to feel that today is a day for something different. Let’s go for a walk in the park, let’s watch a movie, let’s paint instead of color or whatever! This has really helped my personal life too. Sometimes I say not today and do something different. It keeps life interesting! Remember to keep your head up and make every situation a learning opportunity.
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