Nanny Story

There is no other relationship like the one between a Nanny and her long term charges.

Nannies are not babysitters, like parents or big sisters. They have the advantage of being companion, teacher and caregiver.

My first Nanny Charges.  They are all gown up now and married. Taken in Palm Springs on vacation 

As a mom with four kids now ages 10, 12, 14, and 16 - and a Nanny with a career going back to 1988 that includes full time, part time, and temporary Nanny positions, I have a unique perspective of the Nanny life.

At least I like to think so.

I really wanted to be like Jane Eyre.  Long puritan dresses, strong convictions, hired by a grandmotherly housekeeper.  I'd work for a brooding, changeable and  rich male and teach his young ward, an adorable child  who is desperate for attention and will mostly do as I ask without back-talking.

I was nineteen when I started my first job.

It could have happened that way.

But it didn't.

I'm not your fairy tale nanny.

In the end I married a second grade teacher who had a smile that reminded me of Elvis that melted my heart enough we ended up with four beautiful kids.

Full Time Live Out Nanny Position.  He has graduated college now. 
I can tell you, there are indeed, some things about being a Nanny that are quite a bit like being a parent.  Nannies change diapers, solve disputes, run the kid-taxi, often plan the entire day of her charges in the same way that Mom's do.  Nannies multi-task, pick up toys, clean up messes and make judgement calls about how much t.v. is too much t.v. - just like Mom's do.


A Nanny has one job, one focus.

A Nanny has one job, one focus.  It's not on the upkeep of the home, it's not on a job outside the home, it's not a relationship with the Dad of the house, it's not anything but the care, education, safety and entertainment of her charges.

Mom's can often get by without planning that last one -  My job as a mom is to teach my kids to be independent adults. Sometimes I plan their entertainment.  But that is not my goal for the day, and as a Mom, never has been.  Have I wanted my kids happy?  Absolutely.  But if I'm not in the mood to entertain them, then, I have the free choice as a Mom to expect that they entertain themselves or at least turn something on that will entertain them.

To me, this is one of the big distinctions between being a Nanny and being a Mom.

My wedding day. 1995
Mom's are not companion's or playmates.  Sometimes yes.  Great Mom's play with their kids, engage them talk to them and laugh with them, but not usually for ten hours a day.

Nannies are companions and playmates. Nannies are the portable entertainment system.  Depending on the home-rules, sometimes we never turn the t.v. or game system on while we are on the job.

We are friends and teachers at the same time.  If you've never been a Nanny, it's hard to describe.  It's such a unique and beautiful relationship.  During my long term jobs,  a trust has always developed, a special connection that is different from the parent bond, but a powerful bond none-the-less.

Twin boys, also all grown up now.

I know my presence has long term effects on the children I work with.  My 10 hour days with them helped develop character traits, temper attitudes, and explore new horizons. I know this because their parents and their grandparents have told me so.

A Nanny brings her unique character and talents into the family and shares herself with the children with love and confidence.  She is as much a professional at the 5 a.m wake up call as she is at dinner time, bed time, and in the middle of the night -

Parents can grumble, make mistakes, ask forgiveness. We all know that real parents are less like June Clever and more like Rosanne (only with more divorce.) Parents have baggage, get emotional, and can be selfish.

Being a Nanny is a JOB.  I get the big bucks to be professional when I am feeling hot, tired, overwhelmed and worn out.

I've made fewer mistakes as a Nanny than I have as a parent.

Not everyone is cut out to be a Nanny.

Every family is different and it would be impossible for one Nanny to fit every family.

To be a Nanny one must do more than just love them.  I've found that most kids are easy to love.

To be a Nanny one must really enjoy children.  A nanny truly enjoys the stages of development in a child's life, she enjoys being with them, holding them, interacting with them, laughing with them and making them laugh.

That is the key for me.  I love making them laugh.  At any age.  Even the pesky, sometimes difficult tweenagers.  It is my goal for the day, in the first hour, to make every kid I'm with - laugh. This is difficult, because I can never remember the punch-lines to stupid jokes, but I have my ways...the smile blooming on their face and ensuing giggle is it's own reward.

Jane Eyre taught French and Mathematics.  I make 'em laugh.

Yes I like making my own kids laugh too...but sometimes I just want them to go to bed and give me a break.

Making other kids laugh- that's what I'm paid to do.

And that is what makes being a Nanny different from being a Mom.

What is your perspective?  As a Nanny without do you think you will feel differently about your own?

And as a parent with kids- what do you expect from your Nanny?
  A craft and story activity for young children.