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!