Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I'm A Bad Nanny


"Again. How could I forget again!"

Those of you that know me know that word doesn't come out of my mouth easily, but it did that day. Twice in one week I had been in such a confused hurry to get out of the door with Bear and Bug I forgot to finish strapping Bug into his rear facing car-seat, TWICE IN ONE WEEK! Because if forgetting once in a nanny career wasn't bad enough, that day realizing a mile from our house that I had forgotten twice might have put me in the running for worst nanny of the year award. 

Looking back I can take that moment and let it define me as a nanny or I can throw up my hands say "it happens" and move on. We all have our moments of feeling like we are bad nannies. We may even have more than one moment. But the truth is if you are taking the time to read about other nannies and their stories you probably are a decent nanny, I might even venture to say a great nanny. 

Being the great nanny you most likely are, take a few minutes and enjoy some horror and some laughter with these other nannies* as they share their "I felt like a bad nanny when..." stories.

"...I was holding Mr.1's hand as he was climbing up the stairs. He slipped and the movement jarred his shoulder. I spent the next 1.5 hours icing it, comforting him and his parents while his brother played through the whole ordeal. I've never been more happy for a first aid certificate then in that moment."
"...I was hanging clothes to dry, heard Mr. 1 giggling and found him holding a dead rat!"                                    - Nanny Emma

"...Once S was enjoying me twisting him on a swing, so I twisted him AND pushed him. Yeah. He smacked into the pole. I felt TERRIBLE!"     - Nanny Olivia

"...once at the park the potty was closed and C needed to poop so I opened up one of J's diapers and had her squat to poop on it."       - Nanny Sophia

"...the time I bent down to give E a good night kiss just as she attempted to sit up and rearrange her blankets. My teeth hit her forehead. MB was in the next room and came rushing over." - Nanny Emily

"...I was at Target with my 12 year old Nanny-Kid and she really wanted this one dress, but Mom-Boss told me that she could only get a pair of shoes...So I told her she couldn't get the dress, but she was like 'can I please use your phone and ask, I really want it!' So I let her do it and Mom-Boss texted back saying yes, but I deleted the text and just said she never answered because she was being so annoying and she is already beyond spoiled. I felt SO BAD after!"     -Nanny Abigail

"...my bad nanny moment was actually yesterday. I was very frustrated over a lot of things but especially the kids not cleaning in the half hour I have them to (constant reminders, check-in, etc) so after putting them in timeout they started laughing, and then were laughing when I was frustrated telling them to stop. So I yelled, like for real yelled, which I have never done with them or any kids I've watched."        - Nanny Madison

"...recently I have been working with a family that I haven't been feeling it, so I've been sticking the kids with very independent play and I will sit on my phone looking up and applying for other jobs."
"...the time I was bathing the two year old and he slipped. The only way to save his head from slamming into the tub was to grab the back of his neck. I grabbed so hard I left marks and he cried for over an hour out of being scared. I replayed that moment over a hundred times how I could have done it differently."          -Nanny Charlotte

 "...my second week with ex Nanny-Family, the boys were wrestling (like always) and 3 year old knocked 2 year old into the bed frame and his nose started gushing blood. I had to call Grandma because Mom-Boss was in a meeting, It was the first time I met her."        -Nanny Amelia

"I was making homemade play dough with 2 year old. I turned for literally 2 seconds she put her hand right on the hot burner. Luckily it didn't leave any marks or anything. I still felt terrible though."            -Nanny Grace

"...the time when the triplets were babies I accidentally dressed G(boy) in girl's clothes. It even had a hat. Once I realized what I'd done I took pics so his parents could embarrass him when he's older."
             - Nanny Victoria 

"...the time when we were 'making a movie' and R (5yrs) hit W (6yrs) with a light saber and he had to get stitches."        -Nanny Chloe

"...there was the time I burnt L with a curling iron because she moved her head and I caught her ear. I felt so bad."   -Nanny Zoey

"...I went to send a text and 5yr old tipped back in his chair, fell, smacked his head on shelves behind him. Needed stitches."        -Nanny Addison

"...by accident I locked myself out of the hotel room - 3yr old and 6 month old baby were left alone while I ran to find a housekeeper. Luckily my boss thought that was funny. It wasn't for me." 
             - Nanny Natalie

"...I locked all 5 girls in the un-started minivan on a 97 degree day..."        -Nanny Hannah

"...it is funny now but, Oh my goodness. Let me set the scene. Great kid (boy) about to turn 4 years old, lovely November day. Played for over an hour and he kept begging for one last turn down the slide. So this was the last one, we went doubles down on a the slide - his right foot bent backward as there was a turn on the slide. He started screaming and crying and I thought he sprained his ankle. I also thought he was being dramatic...once home I tried having him walk on it - as he tried to get off the couch he shrieked and screamed in pain...a doctor visit and x-ray later turned out he broke his leg. A stick break! Happy Birthday to him!!"         -Nanny Harper

"..that time I zipped N's penis in his pjs then had to unzip it to get it unstuck."      -Nanny Evelyn 

I asked these nannies to share their stories, not so we could sit and judge each other. But so that we can see we all have our moments. Moments of feeling like a failure in our profession. We all have those moments were the uncontrollable happens and everything seems to go wrong. 

Remember these moments don't define us, if anything they make us stronger. So shake of the feeling that you are a bad nanny when things don't go as planned and as Anne of Green Gables says “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... Yet."

*all names have been changed for anonymity of each nanny and her employer


Friday, December 11, 2015

I Am Severely Underpaid

I realized the other day that even though I don’t have much experience I am severely underpaid for Seattle” the newbie nanny and I had met up for a play date. We somehow got onto the conversation of pay and she opened up to me. As of lately it seems like most nannies all feel the same way, that they are underpaid.

What are you making, if you don’t mind me asking”? I inquired, wondering what a new full-time nanny of just under 3 month considered underpaid.

I make $X an hour for 2 kids. I mean yeah this is my first time as a full-time nanny, but shouldn’t my years as a day care worker count towards experience? I didn’t really know the Seattle market when I moved up here or I would have asked for more. I love my job and I knew what I signed up for so I can’t really complain.”


Can I be really honest with readers? It was really refreshing to hear her take responsibility for her pay. That she recognized that she didn’t thoroughly do her research and she agreed to the pay rate at which she is working at (which in my opinion wasn’t underpaid at all but right on par for her experience).

Hear my heart on this, I am not judging you, disagreeing (or agreeing with you), or hating on you for feeling you are underpaid. I just heard of a nanny making $325 a week taking care of twins. In my book that is underpaid. In someone else’s it might not be. 

What I want to do is take a minute and ask you, are you really underpaid? When you hear of the nanny across town making $25 an hour or even $22 it is easy to feel like your $15 or $18 is underpaid. But let’s take a step back and ask a few questions.
  • How much TRUE Full-Time nanny experience do you have?
  • How much training and/or education do you have?
  • What certificates do you have?
  • What skill sets do you have that set you apart (bilingual, musical training, sports, etc)?

Truth? I overqualified myself when I started out as a nanny. I thought that all my years of babysitting should count as nanny experience. I thought that all those years as a part-time nanny should count as stronger experience than it did. I thought all my book knowledge and personal development should count as much as an accredited course or class. But it didn’t/doesn’t. All that experience, yes makes me a better nanny. All my years of babysitting helps me understand childcare better than if I hadn’t babysat but they don’t have a thing to do with my resume to make me a more sellable nanny. 

Yes I have watched children for over 15 years. Yes I have been a nanny for 9 years (because nothing before 18 years of age is considered professional on a resume in the nanny community). Children are second nature to me. I have been called a baby whisperer on more than one occasion. The natural math instincts that my engineer friends have, I have with babies. But the difference in their pay scale and mine is that they have an education in their field. My engineer friends honed in their natural instincts and went to college, they took classes and studied for years. They paid their dues with internships and lower paying jobs before they worked their way up. They continued to take yearly courses to stay on top of their game. 

Back 3 years ago I thought I was worth more than I was. I thought all my unaccredited experience and knowledge should count for something. After turning nannying to a career from a side job I have realized a few things. 

The biggest being that to be a professional nanny I need to act like a professional nanny. From everything to furthering my knowledge with classes, training, and personal development to knowing the current nanny industry in which I live. This means stay in touch with other nannies, attending local events and conferences. Being a professional also means knowing a realistic value of what I am worth in my current area. It’s knowing how to negotiate a contract that is realistic, meeting the needs/wants of the family and of you the nanny. It means being willing to have the hard money conversations. Being a professional means I take responsibility for my actions.

Goodness knows that I am not perfect in being a professional. That having those hard conversations still scares me. That I look back at how naive I was 2 years ago and know that in 2 years I will look back to now and see how much I still had to learn.

But that is the difference. 

When I started out as a nanny I thought I knew it all and my skill set was totally sell-able. Whereas now I have a desire to grow and learn. I want to learn how to grow my skills and not settle. I want to take courses and classes, read as many baby books as I can. I want to meet and talk to as many nannies as I can. I want to learn from my Mom-Boss and Dad-Boss. I want to keep growing. 

I want to know if I ever truly complain about being underpaid it’s because I have so much experience and education under my belt that people can’t afford what I am worth. Speaking of which I off time to sign up for the www.nannyjamboree.com where I am going to meet some incredibly professional and awesome nannies.  


Friday, December 4, 2015

Autumn Winds and Missing New York

September hits every year hard with a bang.
 The air grows crisp. 
Everything I. MEAN. EVERYTHING turns pumpkin spice. 
Riding boots come out. Scarves, hats, even mittens now become appropriate daily wear.
 The days grow shorter and the nights longer. Kids are heard playing on school playgrounds and parents sighing in relief for their normal days back. And slowly, oh so slowly I start to miss the beautiful seasons that New York offers it's citizens.

Walking the fall filled streets with crisp air.
This time of year New York starts turning splendorous shades of orange, gold, yellow, and reds. Faded memories of late night bonfires with country music blaring out of the back of a pick-up truck, hard cider in hand, and late night conversations with good friends start to return. The yearnings for a long drive in the midst of the hills and vast colors calls my heart. Every September I am reminded that I do someday want to settle down in a small town buried in the hills of some east coast state.
The colors that capture one of our favorite spots
However, this year I decided to embrace Seattle and the displays of color that etch our water encompassed land. This fall I captured little moments of beauty and color here on the west because although different, the beauty here is still of radiant. Beauty from one side of the country does not negate the beauty on the other side. So here is my journey of enjoying the beauty out here on the west coast.

When houses have great foliage in their yards.

Or just really cool looking trees to walk under!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Would You Tell Them the Difference?

I've read several blogs in the last year about how frustrating it is as a nanny to be called a babysitter. Usually I shrug them off. I mean yeah there is a difference between being a babysitter and a nanny. A big difference. But is it worth the energy getting mad?

Last week our Hispanic house cleaner in her broken english told me as she smiled at little Roo "you good babe-sat", I interpreted it as you are a good babysitter. I found it rather endearing and sweet. But as my cousin asked me this Thanksgiving "Are you still out in Seattle babysitting"? I suddenly felt degraded. 

I mean I haven't seen her in years so I can't fault her for her not really knowing what I do - so I didn't bother to correct her. But as my sister introduced me as a "professional babysitter" to all her friends I flinched. Visibly apparently, as my brother commented on the fact that I must really not like being called a babysitter. Which I guess I officially don't.

For the first time I felt degraded. Really degraded. Here I am a woman in her late 20's, making great money, taking courses and classes yearly to stay up to date in my field. A full-time working woman with certificates spending countless hours reading for professional development and I am compared to a high school part-time job. A part time-job that I spent many years doing. I paid my dues, I spent nights working my way up the pay-scale (as I will continue to do as I keep taking classes), I have graduated from my babysitting title.

So yes, it may seem little. A person might not know the difference between a babysitter and nanny - assuming they are the same thing. But it is not little. The difference is real (both in pay-scale and job description).

Next time someone calls me a babysitter, I might just speak up for our field and inform them of the differences. Because most people mean no harm in calling us nannies babysitters. They just don't know that there is a difference between the two. Would you tell them the difference?


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oh, the Places You'll Go...

"...You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights."
                       -Dr. Seuss

When nannies start talking about some of the perks that comes with our job a variety of ideas start gathering; guaranteed hours, nanny car, never dressing up for work, play-dates, fun trips to the local sites, vacation days, sick days, on and on the list goes. This almost non-exhaustive list is because each family is as different as the snowflakes that fall each December in my hometown, but one perk is usually stands out above the rest. A perk that most nannies hope to be asked to join in...


The vast majority of nannies that I know hope that at some point their nanny-family will ask them to travel on some wonderful vacation with them. Whether it is a weekend on the coast or a week in Paris traveling with a nanny-family can be a great way to see new sites at very minimal cost to the nanny (before it seems all rainbows and butterflies, usually the nanny is still required to work her normal work week in addition to extra hours in return - still a great deal in my opinion).

For me the places that I'll go have been more because who I have met in my profession instead of traveling as a professional. The relationships I have built with the families I worked for bled into their families and friends. I have become the "additional" daughter, sister, and auntie in some of these families. I have felt honored and blessed to be able to grow from an employee or "the nanny" to much more. 

In 2010 one such relationship led to me to one of the most beautiful places I have explored thus far, Hawaii. Now in 2016 I will get to enjoy the perk of who I've met because of nannying by joining the high fliers to China. My exMom-Boss has a twin and this twin currently lives in China. With an upcoming break and an incredible ticket price I decided to take up the offer to visit her and her family. With an excitement in my heart, a future stamp in my passport, and the need to buy a new suitcase I am grateful not only for the places my nannying takes me but the people it brings into my life.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Roo is in his crib fighting sleep. As he fights his essential need for rest I am reminded of men and women who have fought for our greatest desire freedom.

Pearl Harbor War Memorial, 2010
In America it is easy to look at the last 30 years and wonder if we still need a military to fight for our freedom. We haven't had an actual battle take place on our soil in what 70 plus years? The last time we were truly attacked by another formal military was Pearl Harbor (this is not a researched statement just an assumption). It is easy to think of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afganhanstan as fruitless wars. I am not a history buff nor a professional historian so I am not going to make a validating or invalditing comment on that thought process, none the less when we hear about sending our men and women over to these "hell" like situations one wonders why.

We have our freedoms, we fought against the Brits to win our freedom. We fought against the world in WW1 and WW2 to keep our freedoms. America has even fought itself to keep the rights of the states and the people within the states. So why do we keep fighting wars that don't seem to be ours? Why do we keep risking and loosing lives our men and women? Well France of course.

I think France as why we continue to fight battles that might not necessarily be "ours" to fight. In 1781* when the French navy ships finally reached an almost hopeless American soil, spirits lifted and the airs of change began. France decided freedom was worth the fight, not just their freedom but freedom of their fellow humans. So they set sail and helped Americans finish the fight for freedom.

Whether you agree with they whys of war or not, please don't forget that men and women are daily fighting for not just American freedom but the freedom for other nations. A freedom that we honestly take for total granted here in the states. So before you take another shot at our military power or governmental strong hand, before you go all political on the rights or wrong of war, remember. Take a minute to remember the men and women that have served and fought for you to be able to voice your opinions on war. Remember the soldiers who have suffered their own personal hell and come back to people hating them for it.

Most importantly if you see a veteran today, not matter your opinion of war, thank them for serving. Some veterans choose to serve, some were drafted to serve while others wish they had never served - but the reality is they all did. They all went to war in our place. Please thank them for fighting for humanity's deepest desire, freedom.


ceconner© 11.11.2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Perfect Nanny Day

Driving home through rush hour traffic yesterday I called my sister to help pass the time and finalize some Thanksgiving plans. Like all good sisters do she inquired about my day, causing me to stop and think about how my day was.

We all know that kids can be unpredictable meaning a work day with them can be unpredictable. Goodness knows that I have had my rough days as a nanny, the days that I wanted to throw in the towel after the 4th cup of water was spilt, the 3rd tantrum wouldn't end, and both naps were missed. Those days where going home to a glass of wine, Netflix, and box of chocolate seems like the most wonderful thing in the world.

As I mentally re-played my day with Roo to answer my sister, I realized I had as close to a perfect Nanny day as could possibly be. The ONLY thing that would have made it better was if I had remembered to bring my sneakers for a run. Other wise my day went by with a 2 fabulously long naps, 3 bottles fully drank, and a variety of pureed baby foods tried and liked by Roo. In between all this napping and eating was only 1 nasty diaper, wonderful tummy time, and lots of baby cuddles.

The reason I share this is not to brag, because it is nothing I did, but to take a minute to be grateful for a great day. Far to easily I end up complaining about the no-nap days, the fussy days, and the couldn't get out of the house days. While today is only half over it is already turning out to be another great (but not quite perfect) nanny day. So here is to those days, the days were more things go right than wrong. To the days where babies take great naps and love the new foods you give the. To the moments of cuddles, kisses, and laughter. I am grateful for you today!

Yes I am Corny Enough to "cheers" with Baby Bottles.

ceconner© 10.28.215

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

There Those that Craft and Those that Don't.

Let us be honest, there are those that craft and those that don't.

There are people who get their kicks off DIY projects and those who would rather ram their heads into a wall.

There are caretakers who loves sensory activities and there are caretakers that feel they are just another way to get the house messy.

I fall into the later of all those categories. I'm not crafty. DIY really mean Dude In Your...Dreams. And sensory activities, well they may be my least favorite of them all. The truth is I have other strengths as a nanny and I am okay that craftiness is not one of them. But about 2 years ago I tried my first sensory activity with cornstarch and water. They said it would be easy. They said it would entertain the kid for a long time. They said it would become a family favorite. Well they lied. But you can read about that awful day here.

Well with one less Nanny-Kid to look after, a lot more free time, and a much larger support system of nannies I decided to give this cornstarch and water thing another try. After all the whole world of sensory nannies can't be wrong on how awesome it is, can they? 

So I started looking for legitimate recipes, like what is the real cornstarch to water ratio? After googling blogs failed me with their "eye ball it" and "slowly add water until you like the consistency" I went to my trusty group of nannies on my favorite social media site. I put out a desperate plea for someone to please HELP me understand how to do this activity correctly. As they always do - the nannies came to my rescue.

First tip, use a baking sheet or cake pan (personal tip: baking sheet for tummy babies, cake pan for older tots).

Second tip, about double the cornstarch to water ratio (one nanny actually gave me a measurement of about one cup cornstarch to about a 1/2 cup water). The substance should have the consistency of honey.

Third tip, mix it with your hand. This helps you be able to feel the consistency and how much more or less water should be in the mix. This also allows you to break up any cornstarch clumps that may be appearing.

The last tip, a nanny gave me was a fun fact for the toddlers, mix in little toys/trinkets for the kids to find (for Halloween plastic spiders or pumpkins) or food coloring for a new look.

After prepping our play space with two massive white towels (cornstarch washes right out), mixing the cornstarch and water to what I deemed the right consistency, Roo and I laid on our tummies to play! I was slightly nervous and skeptical after my last round with this activity but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Not only was Roo fully interested in this weird texture on his hands I was enjoying running my fingers across the baking sheet. Roo ran out of interest way before I did, but probably held his 6 month old brain for a full 20 minutes. 

Besides on small slip of goop that didn't land on the towels clean up was pretty easy, rinsing on baking sheet with hot water and soap and throwing towels in the dryer. Overall this experience was so much different than last time. Don't tell anyone but I really can't wait to pull out the cornstarch and baking pan again this week.

Oh and I can't forget Dad-Boss fully geeked out because his son was learning about a non-Newtonian substance, so this activity had is totally parent approved.

ceconner© 10.19.215

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

From Nanny to Babysitter

For the past two years I was Bear and Bug's Nanny.

Now I am there Babysitter.

Same thing right?


Because I am still living with my old Nanny-Family, several people have asked how it is going. In a nut shell wonderful! My cousin's made great employers and now they make even better housemates.

My first month back from my trip to New York I felt like I was barely home. I started a new job my first week back. Between working 45+ hours and catching up with friends I was never home. I was barely seeing my cousins much less the boys.

As August settled down and turned to September I finally was home more. Enjoying weekend breakfasts with the family, watching the boys for date nights, and taking trips to the park with them and their mom. Last Thursday included such a trip. While their mom drove the boys to the park I went for a run and met up with them afterwards. It was sweet to enjoy the not so little toddlers these guys have become. Pushing them on the swings, chasing them around the grass, wrestling them to the ground, and hearing the gibberish child conversations between each other made me melt.

It took me stepping out of their lives to appreciate them again.

I had to walk away from being their nanny to enjoy this all. To be totally honest the last few months as their nanny was stressing me out and they were great boys. They were just toddlers. I felt at times I was picking more battles with them then enjoying the above moments of laughter and joy. So when people ask is it hard to not be with them anymore I can honestly answer no. Only because I still get to see them every day.

I am now their babysitter - even though I feel more like an aunt. I get one night a week to play with them, give them baths, tell stories, and cuddle them down for bed.  Their mom told me the other day that Bear told her that he missed me. It felt good to be missed. To know that I did my job as a nanny well that he missed playing with me.

Being a good nanny is allowing me to do my job as a babysitter well. As a nanny I didn't want to spoil them to much, I was a bit more intentional on not letting the "bad" habits slide, and was more concerned with consistency in discipline. As their babysitter I have a bit more freedom to spoil them with a second cookie and extra playtime before bed. I am more concerned that the 2 boys don't beat each other up than I am they why they are doing it. I get to make up for the times I had to be strict, to teach and train them in their toddler-hood. I have more freedom to love them as they are and not correct the wrongs in their life.

So if you were wondering how it is going, you now know. I absolutely LOVED being the nanny of Bear and Bug. That season is over and now I adore being their babysitter.

ceconner© 9.30.215

Monday, August 31, 2015

My 15 Minute Bedroom Decision...

...one of the most relaxing ones I have ever made. 

Especially when it comes to the bedroom.
His bedroom.
In his bed. 
Even though his bed looks more like crib.
Well is a crib.
And he is the only one in it. 

When I started my new job with Roo one thing I really wanted to establish quickly was a good nap routine; which in return will hopefully help him establish good night time sleep for his parents. The first couple days I eased into it. Rocking him to almost sleep, going in a few times as he cried and fought sleep - to sooth him. Basically just letting him get used to me and our new routine (that is what I was telling myself anyways). 

Week 1 went great and I realized that Roo is a dynamite sleeper, like he absolutely loves his sleep. Like any baby he fought going to sleep with every fiber in him at first but once sleep consumed him he slept wonderfully! But somewhere in the middle of week 2 he started crying longer and harder before falling asleep. My little 5 month old started the game and I quickly needed to end it.

You all know the game, we have all done it once or twice in our life.
 Put baby down.
Baby spits out pacifier and starts crying.
We go in, put pacifier back in, and sing one more song.
Baby spits it out again and cries harder, this time we sooth baby - might even pick him up.
Then by some miracle we find the magic sleep spot, slowly, ever so gently put baby back in his crib, attempting to angle it just right so we can lay him down, while holding the pacifier still in his mouth, and hold our breathe in hopes he doesn't re-wake up. 

After 2 days of this game I needed it to stop. It wasn't healthy for Roo nor good for my sanity. Commence operation sleep training. I spent week 1 on the job rereading sections of a few sleep books* that I found helpful and focused on the sleep goals & habits pertaining to Roo's age group. The first day of training was a little rough. I remember tracking that he talked to himself for 15 minutes, fussed for 10 and cried for 5. Each nap that day he went down quicker and more quietly. 

Day 2 - morning nap he seemed to realize I wasn't coming in anymore and fought it pretty hard. This is when I found discovered my bedroom life saver  - the timer on my phone. Part of my hesitancy was I would hear Roo cry for a minute and start to question if I should try to re-sooth him or put his pacifier back in. My hesitancy and inconsistency during nap times for week 1 was causing a habit to form in which it told Roo that I would sooth him to sleep

Once I found my timer I started setting it for 15 minutes. 15 minutes of babbling, talking, or crying was not going to harm Roo in anyway, shape, or form. With video monitor in one hand and timer in the other I waited. 12 minutes after I sang Roo a song and laid him in his crib he was asleep. The few minutes before he zonked out were when he cried the hardest, but by this point he was already 1/2 asleep. If I had gone in there to sooth him it would have re-woken him up. 

Day 2 with timer again - 3 naps with timer set, each time he has fallen asleep before the 15 minute timer has gone off. I am now starting week 3 of setting a timer when I lay Roo down. Some days I turn the volume off if he is crying harder then others (I can still hear him muted through the ceiling and watch him on video). Other days he is out cold before 2 minutes goes by. Only once in the past 3 weeks has he fought sleep more then 15 minutes - and the grand total for that day was 20 minutes. He was extremely overtired by the time I laid him down that day. 

I share this with because it worked for Roo and me, not because it was a miracle drug or guaranteed to work in every situation. I believe works so well is that it allows me sometime to calm down and not feel the need to rush in to help him. It keeps me from feeling like a bad nanny who is letting her nanny-kid cry it out. Having a timer also allows Roo the freedom to figure out how to sooth himself to sleep so when he wakes 30 minutes into a nap he doesn't need me or a pacifier to sooth him back to sleep. It gives him the freedom to learn to sleep well and me the freedom to decide, after observing him, what he needs most after 15 minutes, me or more time to try to fall asleep.

If your nanny-kid is struggling to fall asleep for naps or in the middle of the night give a timer a shot. It may work or it may not. Either way it will help your sanity. It will give you 15 minutes to figure out what the baby needs instead of rushing into a room not fully paying attention to the fact that the baby may still be asleep while he is crying. 

*Side note: the older the child the harder it is to sleep train and the longer you may need to set a timer. Check out "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, MD and "BabyWise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. I use a combination of these two practices for my sleep training foundations. 

ceconner© 8.31.2015


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Me and My Real Job

Today started out like any other Tuesday morning, got up at 6:30am, on the road by 7:00am, chuckled at the man behind me shaving in his car as we inched onto the thruway. I arrive a few minutes early and walked in the door of my work place. I may not have a normal desk or cubical walls and my co-workers look a lot more like two 4-legged, wagging tail animals (because they are dogs) then zombie overtired people. Most mornings I am greeted with a welcoming hello from two loving parents and an adorable giggling baby boy, Roo.

But here I am at work.

At my real Job.

I am a Nanny.

Being a Nanny I have come in contact with a lot of assumptions about my job, a lot of people who have no clue what I do, people who admire what I do, and people who totally dis-credit what I do.This last one I can usually ignore but today is not one of those days I can ignore it. After putting Roo down for his nap I popped on Twitter for a quick peek and sadly came across this post:

Now I am not going to bash Ryan - because I don't know him. I don't even follow him on Twitter and honestly I can't stand when people use social media to say really dumb things that hurt and shame other people.

However, I am going to use this tweet as proof that there is complete ignorance in our society about my profession. Ryan's two big miss-assumptions are that all nannies are college students trying to pay their way through school and that being a nanny is not "a real job". Ryan has yet to state what qualifies as a real job. Honestly I don't really care what Ryan thinks, I don't know him, I will most likely never meet him, and the reality is he is a college student trying to get followers - to become famous so he can be president in 2036. He probably just wanted to post something "funny" and controversial to get a rise out of one of his friends. I am not worried about this guy, nor will I think much about him once I post this blog because he is doing what the average college male does for s**** and giggles. He even tweeted "this tweet was supposed to be a joke" - I don't know him, so I believe him, poor guy just pissed off a whole group of nannies for one poorly tweeted joke.

Still I do care about the mind-set that is behind this tweet and can't let it go. The thought behind this not so thoughtful tweet is 'that being a nanny isn't a legitimate profession, that there is something short term or undignified in taking care of someone's children.' Along with this goes the thought that all a nanny does a is lay around in their pajamas, watch Netflix when the kids nap, and lounge in the sun while the kids are at the park. Will you allow me to debunk some of these false assumptions?

All Nannies are Not College Students:
Some nannies start off being a nanny to pay their way through college, but a lot of them end up making a career out of it.Why? Because being a nanny can often show more promise in long term benefits (yes I mean healthcare, PTO, etc.) then whatever field that were studying in school. Other nannies find out that they really enjoy being with kids on a smaller scale rather than in a classroom. While some nannies find it the best way to stay at home with their children while helping a working mom out with childcare. I am 27 year old woman who didn't find my nanny career path until I was 24. I could point out hundreds of nannies well into their 20's & 30's who had made a GREAT career out of being a nanny. So when comments are made like this one, it implies that the 40 year old nanny playing tag with her nanny-kids at the park is doing a job she should have left after college, I get frustrated.

Being a Nanny Has it's Perks:
I will be the first on to admit that I LOVE the perks that come with my job as a nanny. Most of us don't have a uniform, we can dress comfortably each day - no business attire required. We get to fully enjoy each new season because our work can take us outdoors whenever the kids want. Each family and each nanny-job is slightly different in the perks that come with it. My last job I was a live-in so I was able to go to work in my pajamas and get dressed after starting the work day. My current job has one less child who is an incredible napper so I have more free hours to blog, write, or read during his nap times. Some nannies get to go on exotic vacations with their nanny-families, others get free health care, sick time, guaranteed hours, vacation time, over time, a nanny-car, or other benefits that pertain to their particular family. Those benefits should sound familiar to you, they come from the corporate world - paid holidays, PTO, company car, benefit packages, 401K? All jobs have their perks. By definition a nanny who has a paid position at a regular place of employment has a real job.

It's Physically Challenging:
Amidst all of the joys and perks that come with being a nanny there are challenges; not surprisingly since all careers and jobs have their down sides. Our challenges tend to come in pint size forms with wonderful bundles of joy that don't know how to fully communicate. Whether it is the 5 month old who is trying to fight off the much needed nap, the 3 year old who wants the green tractor not the red fire truck, or the mouthy teenager who wont respect the house rules - these little munchkins can turn on a dime. I, now, fondly remember the time in my past job when both Bear and Bug didn't want to leave the park. It was lunch time so they were hungry, slightly tired, and CRANKY - picking up both boys, our backpack, and their water bottles I carried two screaming kicking toddlers to the car. I used to end days after working with two toddlers by collapsing on my bed and enjoying the 5 minutes of silence until dinner. Tired. Beat. Usually puked or pooped on and so grateful for my job.

It's Emotionally Draining:
In one comment Ryan makes to me he states "stay at home mom's usually don't typically hire nannys. Because they are at home. Raising their children". I am not going to get into the working mom verses stay at home mom side of this, each parent and family has to decide what is best for them. What I am going to say is that I don't decide if a family decides to use a nanny or not. What I do decide is how I can help raise the next generation into kind, caring, and functioning members of society. I go into all the details of why I became a nanny here, but the brief version is I saw families struggling to make ends meet and provide quality child-care for their kids.

The decision to work alongside dual working families is one of the best decisions I have made, but also one of the emotionally hardest decisions I have made. To provide the best care I can for children I get emotionally attached to them, I love them. I care for each charge as if their were my own kid, knowing full well they aren't, that I don't have the final say in some of the bigger decisions in their lives. I work in a field where I would guess the average nanny-family relationship last about 3 years. Nannies spend years pouring love, life, energy, and encouragement into their charges and in the end have to walk away. 

Nannies also walk the fine line of being apart of a family and child's life providing daily needs and support in all areas of that child, while respecting their role as nanny and the parent's role as parent. Often times even in the best circumstances nannies and parents don't always see eye to eye on what is the best thing for the child. The nanny has to bite her tongue and do what the parents want even if she doesn't agree. It is hard to walk this line and balance in an environment that often is not conducive to yes or no answers.

Rule of Thumb - Being a Nanny Gets Harder:
This is a total generalization, but often the longer a nanny stays with a family the harder their job gets. A nanny often starts off with a family while the child is still an infant, meaning the basic tasks are feeding, changing, and sleep training of some sort. As the infant grows into a toddler the tasks become harder - potty training, teaching letters, words, manors, providing nutritious and balanced meals, most of which the toddler does their best to combat and oppose. As toddler becomes pre-schooler now add homework, pre-school drop offs, alongside of all the previously mentioned tasks. Being a nanny is rewarding but when it comes to daily tasks is rarely gets easier and most often gets more challenging. 

It's Is (in my Opinion) the Best Job Ever:
When I first moved out to Washington I left a career at a radio station, one that gave me raises every year, vacation time, the whole benefits package. I left behind wonderful co-workers, better friends and all my family to come out here for a nanny job. After a few weeks people asked me if I was missing my job back in NY my response was a derivative of "honestly no, even on my bad days I love having 2 bosses that need my help with deadlines that come in the form of naps and feedings instead of 5 bosses vying for their deadlines to be accomplished first". Sure there are things I miss about the corporate world; things like lunch breaks, actual conversations, and not smelling like a diaper factory at the end of the day. Yet when I think about how every day I get to wake up, hang out with, play with, and help shape Roo into the man that he will one day become I can't think of anything else I would rather do.

So please understand, Ryan or whoever else might say these things in jest, that when you make comments implying that being a nanny is not a real job you make it harder for us nannies to gain our footing in the professional field. As already one of the lowest paid industries we need all the support we can get. We need our profession to be taken seriously not just so we can support ourselves financially, but so that we can help raise and love on the next generation while their parents are at their real jobs to support the needs and dreams that these children are going to grow up to have.  So as a community of nannies back-lashes at you on twitter I hope you understand it is because you (probably in innocence and jest) degraded and devalued something that many of us have been fighting really hard to place value and professionalism on.

ceconner© 8.25.2015