nannylife

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 

10 Things Your Introvert Nanny Might be Thinking Their First Day

Being an introvert in a busy world is one struggle but to be an introvert working in a close knit setting that a nanny works in every day is a whole other battle in itself. 

I have a serious love hate relationship with working in childcare at times. I love working with kids. I could talk to kids all day long without batting an eye. Grown ups on the other hand. No thanks. The first few weeks of that first getting to know a new family stage can be so hard sometimes and I know i’m not the only one that struggles with it, so I just thought i’d do a silly blog about some of my emotions I feel on that first day of the job. 

 

1.  I’m going to walk in and say something, get the conversation going…“Good morning how are you?”

10 points for me, go me, that was perfect.

“I’m good how are you, how was your weekend?” 

Weekend….I don’t know…I remember nothing…quick say something

“Good, how was yours?” 

Nailed it. 

 

2. She’s going to want to stay to show me around right? Right. Crap.

 

3.  She’s staying home this first day to show me around? What are we going to talk about all day long? This baby? He can only save us for so long.

 

4. I can’t keep running away to the restroom she’s going to think something is wrong with me. 

 

5. Don’t play with the kid awkwardly. Why are you using that baby voice? Why does it sound like Donald Duck?

 

6. What kinds of things do I like to do in my free time you ask? I’ll tell you…when I remember.

 

7. Don’t pull out your phone. Don’t pull out your phone. 

 

8. Ok you pulled it out, but only because she got on the phone and the kid is napping, look like you’re doing something productive. Double tap nothing.

 

9. Has this been awkward enough? I’m not sure. I’m going to add a little more awkward to this first day party. 

 

10. I head out to the car, only to realize I left my keys, wallet and phone. Do I need those things I think to myself? Are they that important? I can totally uber home and boo wait.

 

More not silly posts are coming soon, I have lots of ideas that I need to get pushed out there and am looking forward to sharing with you guys!

 

-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 

 

 

Nanny Probs 02: Letting Go and Keeping in Touch

    Hi everyone! Lauren here with another semi-long rambling ‘nanny experience’ post. I recently got to go see one of my first families that I worked for a few weeks back and it made me realize the importance of keeping in touch especially when you have a deep bond with the kids you’re watching. 

    Being a nanny i’ve found that the most difficult part of the job is building a healthy, open relationship with the parents and keeping that warm energy going after having to leave. Having to leave a family is never easy whether it be moving, it not being the right fit any more or even having the kids grow up to move on and after building that attachment it’s very stressful to have to say goodbye. Working with these families week to week you’re entire routine, for me anyway, is based around when you’re going to see them and what you’re going to do when you see them next. This job is different from an office where you leave for the day and works on the table, working with kids you go home thinking about how the day went, looking at pictures and feeling like you’ve had a full day of adventure. Being a nanny is really rewarding and addicting that way. No other job seems as appealing right now for melike the one I have where I can go to the zoo and go jump on the trampoline for a few hours each day. Back to the point.

 It’s very easy to break those lines of communication with the families after leaving especially if there were any negative feelings when you had to leave. Again, this isn’t a regular job where you’re leaving an office and someone will be right back in to replace you. You’re leaving those kids that you built a bond with and share memories with. When I had to leave my first family the boys were one and a half years old when I started they were only 6 months, maybe a little younger than that. My situation at that job changed a lot and I was no longer able to work there no matter how much I wanted to. 

The time leading up to my final day there I was really feeling the stress of my situation and was ready to move on until the day came. That’s when it hit me that this was it. Seeing those kids reach new milestones and learn new things was over. I was no longer going to wake up thinking about what we would learn about today or where we would go or see them smile with breakfast in their mouths when I walked into the kitchen to tell them good morning. I felt regretful that I couldn’t make this situation work and regretful that this was my last day and there was no going back this was it. It was an awful feeling to want to make something work and after thinking about it from every angle this was the best outcome. 

That was when I told myself I absolutely had to keep in touch and make myself keep in contact with the parents especially if I ever wanted to be able to go back and see how the boys were growing and learning. I’m not the world’s most social person and i’m probably the world’s worst texter but forcing myself to put effort in during the holidays and birthdays and even just regular check ups and to always respond to whatever the parents message to me has kept our relationship friendly and warm which i’m thankful for. It’s great for if I ever have a free day to be able to ask to see the boys and it not be completely awkward when I go over there and I get to see pictures of the boys as they grow older. It’s not the same of course as going on a daily basis but i’m still always grateful for update pictures and hearing about what they’ve been up to now. Do they have any idea who I am? Most likely not BUT that will not stop me from running up to them and squeezing them like crazy. 

Nanny Probs 01: The Part Time Nanny Dilemma

Scheduling your different families around each other. Feeling guilty when having to prioritize a family over another. The exhausting feeling that comes from going to multiple families in one day. Along with the most difficult worry of not wanting to quit any of your families to find one full time family.

Going through college having multiple families who needed different times throughout the week worked great for my school schedule. It’s not easy to find a job that allows you that much flexibility all the while supporting you financially. However it was no way easy. Going to different families with kids of all different ages can be a strain on anyone and can be exhausting. Especially on my kid to play meter. Working with children is such a great joy but matter how much I love the work it gets exhausting to have to do the same routine multiple times in the day all the while holding on to your patience and keeping up with whatever routine you follow for different families. Then there’s the added bonus of kids are not always the most cooperative. Dealing with one family all day where the child might be having a bad day and then going to work for another family whose kid is on a rampage can be stressful and tiring and more tiring! Especially with all of lives other normal stressful things going on. 

I really don’t have a solution to any of these problems besides the obvious. Deciding what you personally want for your nanny career and going for that no matter what. 

I’m at a point where I don’t want to keep having to drive multiple places in one day when I don’t have to anymore but i’ve been with some of my families for so long thinking about leaving is almost scary. For some of my families I feel like i’ve outgrown being there and others I feel i’ve grown with them and i’ve made the biggest life changes with them around. Being a nanny really does create this sense of family and community that you just don’t get from any other job! 

Then there’s the small fear in the back of my mind about going somewhere new and having to start over. What if me and the other family don’t click as well? What if it doesn’t work out and i’m back to square one without the family that I loved? I go around and around in circles very melodramatically in my mind almost daily now and I know i’m coming to a point where I need to decide what’s best for me and where I want to head in life BUT how could I just leave my families?

The whole situation is kind of a headache so i’ll figure it out soon...if my procrastination doesn’t get the best of me.

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

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 

Education for Toddlers

Hey there guys! I have decided to start an "Education for Toddlers" series. I am a huge education advocate. I feel it is important to insert learning as much as you can and start young! Learning can be so fun, and we have to instill that mindset in children. So, these post will be about the different ways I have incorporated fun learning for toddlers! (We all know that can be difficult with their small attention spans!)

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So, last Friday I took L & S to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to see the exhibit called "The Shadow Monsters." It was SO COOL! The kids loved it and I honestly had a great time. We also went and saw another exhibit called "Haslbsburg Splendor." It had cool pieces from Vienna's Imperieal Collections.

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Always trying to take his things! 

Always trying to take his things! 

So after going through both exhibits, there was a little shop with things you could buy. L saw this huge monster puzzle and of course had to have it. He absolutely LOVES puzzles and for a 3 year-old, he does them pretty fast! So we bought it and went home. Last night we pulled the puzzle out for the first time and I was blown away. It was the perfect learning puzzle. All of the monsters were a letter of the alphabet. So, to put it together, I had L recite the alphabet song every time to figure out the next letter. Then he had to find it and put it together.

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After saying it so many time I actually had him pronouncing L, M, N, O, P. Instead of sounding like he switched to Spanish! He did not even get bored until about letter W. And that is only because Kate and Mim Mim came on. This puzzle was awesome. It stimulated his brain and went over his letter recognition. Perfect! My advice is to always incorporate learning in something you KNOW they love to do. Then throughout the activity, pump them up and encourage them. I tell L, "WOW! You are so smart!" He then gets so confident it pushes him to go further. 

 

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 So, as you can see, he was proud of his puzzle and it was so much fun! Until next time guys!

-Brooklyn