houston nannies

The Search for the Right Family: 3 Red Flags to Look for in Interviews

Hi everyone! 

The New Year has been a busy one for me! I left my nanny position of 14 months on January 5th and since then I have been interviewing with different families in hopes to find the right fit. It's honestly been a bumpy road getting back into the swing of things however I know I have avoided a lot of possible bad situations by looking for red flags and sticking with my gut. 

There have been many past situations in my nanny career that could have been avoided had I gone with my instincts in the beginning and allowed myself to make the decision that would be best for me; versus going forward with something out of feeling that sense of obligation to help. 

Here are three helpful tips that I've found best help along the way during your search.

 

1. Willingness to Compromise and Negotiate

A family willing to hear your side of things and be open to accommodating contract requests or being able to negotiate in a healthy and positive way is very important.  It is also a reflection of how they will act towards such things in the future. Parents willingness to listen to you and try to provide you with the happiest possible working environment is a big reflection on how they view their nannies and what they think their role in the house hold should be. If you know you are someone who likes to become a part of your nanny families home this can be a huge make or break as communication is, in my opinion, the biggest foundations in the nanny parent relationship

 

2. Disciplinary Styles

This is something that can be make or break. Seeing how parents would prefer or not prefer you handle discipline can make a major impact on your day to day work with the little ones. As we all know starting at a certain age some sort of disciplinary system will be needed on a regular basis for the little ones. I am not a strict disciplinarian, it's not in my personality, and so a parent who is won't like my styles in the long run and that can cause conflict. Discipline is a huge part in working with children and so to have things running as effectively and smoothly as possible make sure that this is on the table and that they do not waiver on what they have said. 

 

3. Are they Respectful of Your Time?

It is common for interviews to lead to a trial day. I always think doing a few trial days before officially signing on to a family is a great idea. You get to truly see how the family interacts on a day to day basis with themselves as well as their children We are in a very tight nit working situation and if you are someone who is very sensitive to their work environment I highly suggest asking for this. If the parent is a stay at home I like to look and see how they do hand offs at the end of your time. Do they try to extend the time by asking you to stay longer? Are they immediately coming to you at your clock off time to relieve you? If they hold you later do they accommodate the pay for your extra time? These are all things to look for as forewarning to future behavior. 

 

Nannying can be tough in the beginning, especially trying to figure out how to properly stand up for what you deserve. It can be hard to have those hard sit down talks with parents, especially since you are on your own. Another nanny put it perfectly in saying you are your own HR Department, we have to be able to have these talks with parents because no one else will.

Don't be afraid to ask for a trial day or week. If you are unsure about a family or have a feeling you can't quite place let them know you would like to sit for them one night and really see how they operate. Interviews are great for a first impression but before contracts are signed it is important to get a true feel for the home and whether or not you all would gel well in the long run. 

I hope these are able to help someone new to nannying or give input to some nannies who have been working for a while! Let us know some of your helpful tips in the comments!

 

Talk to you all soon!

Lauren 

Nanny Probs 04: Attacking the problem, not the person

 

Hi everyone! 

It's been a while since i've been on the blog and I am going to be making big strides in ending my random hiatuses in the new year! Today I wanted to talk about something that i've seen a lot of in the nanny community which is addressing problems that arise with your nanny family and how some things can get a bit blown out of proportion. Sometimes it can be as minor as deciding what the child should eat for lunch and other times there are bigger issues that can get blown out of proportion because of how the nanny and parents are communicating with each other. 

One of the most difficult things about being a nanny is coming in, getting to know your nanny kids and figure out a routine of what works and what doesn't only to have the parent say let's try it this way when you know it won't work. Small battles that feel major especially when it feels to be someone disrupting your work space and can be even more frustrating when parents do not want to listen to your side or compromise. When I was talking to someone wasn't a nanny and was explaining why I didn't want to do something the way a parent was asking me they, coming from a corporate office environment, asked me "But, that's their right to do as the parent right?"

The logical answer is yes.

I really don't have any right to demand or control a situation in someone else's household while placing rules over someone else's children and say 'things should be done xyz'. Even if someone asked me to help with a new sleep schedule or trying new foods and if i presented whatever I came up with if the parent were to shoot me down, that's their right. In our field of work we're in such an intimate space that it's difficult to separate your emotions from that since we're with the children all day and have tried things a variety of different ways and decided this is how you want to do things but now someone is saying 'you're wrong'. 

What I had to learn to make discussions about how to handle little situations like these was to step back and see things from the parents perspective. Why do they feel things should go this way and why do I feel the way I do and lets see if we can come up with a solution that works for everyone. I feel like a lot of conflict can come when two people refuse to see things any other way than what they think is right and can cause a lot of tension and doesn't make any progress. The same can be said for issues that arise outside of the child and only have to do in the home. Stepping back and listening to what the parent is saying, why they feel that way and what can you do to make this situation go more smoothly are great ways that I feel i've been able to move through certain situations smoothly. 

I feel that if I keep going this will turn into too much of a rambling blog post so in summary, what i'm trying to say is, taking time to assess the situation and what problem the parent is actually trying to tackle has really helped in coming up with better solutions where no one feels like they are being taken advantage of or opinions pushed aside. I feel like being in such an intimate situation does have a few perks in that you really get to understand your nanny family and their personalities and personality has a lot to do with how some people handle situations and in understanding that you can also better understand why they might be reacting the way they are or why they decided to handle a situation completely different than you would, and that's perfectly fine. 

Ok i'm done now. I will talk to you all very soon! 

 

Lauren 

 

 

Bittersweet Birthdays

 

Surprise guys! E turned 5 this week! I’m so happy that i’m able to watch her grow and learn, she is turning into this incredible person that I am so proud of and i’m so excited to see the new things that she’ll start doing. However, as thrilled as I am, it also puts my time with them into perspective. When I first met the girls E was 3 and didn’t talk a third of what she does now. When I would pick them up I would start most of the conversations with her and now I cannot get her to stop. Literally I cannot get her to stop if someone has a suggestion on how to get me five minutes of quiet let me know. When I first met Little G she was 2, now 3, and she was so sweet and small. She listened when I asked her to do things but now she is G, Destroyer of Worlds. Whatever you do, do not make her angry, or get in the way of her and Elmo. 

April 2015/October 2015

April 2015/October 2015

December 2014/October 2015

December 2014/October 2015

 

My point in all that is a lot has changed and seeing them every week going from place to place I hadn’t really noticed how huge they were getting not until E started pointing out (every chance she got) that she was going to be 5 soon. That means next year a new school for E and a schedule change, that means i’m getting older and my graduation date is getting closer, it means my time of picking them up from school is getting shorter and shorter and i’m not doing well at accepting that. I love being a nanny, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love planning trips to the museums and finding all the best story times around Houston and doing things like making cupcakes and playing whatever games they make up that day. I love the bond that those things create and how over time you basically become part of the family. 

Again however, being the person that I am it’s impossible to think about how quickly it could end. That even if I were to stay with E and G until they graduated high school they’d still grow up and not need me. I have to grow up and start worrying about where I want to go or where I want to work and that’s terrifying. I am horrible with change, especially when it involves a lot of different decisions being made and so even though i’m so happy that E is growing and yelling important life questions at me from her car seat like “I didn’t buckle my top belt right did the cops see us?!” (I didn’t change that quote at all) it’s a little heartbreaking. So I told myself after writing this post I will save that future planning for later when i’ll need to, for now i’m going to enjoy E and Little G as much as I can and will be sure to share our fun adventures and stories on here for you all to see and me to document. 


Talk to you all soon! 

-Lauren