Friday, July 30, 2010

how to lose a teacher in 10 days...?

This week began my adventure in teaching.

(Before you all get a frenzy about how I'm going to loose all my material now that I am no longer a nanny maybe you should take a seat in the cozy corner like we'll tell our three year olds to. I have enough of a back log to keep this blog going for years friends. Don't worry, more nanny posts are coming!)

Today was teacher meet and greet, the real adventure begins Monday. For two hours wide eyed parents of even more wide eyed 3 year olds wandered in and out of our perfectly decorated classroom (i.e. cozy but not over stimulating, I'm proud, so sue me). We had talkers, criers, jumpers, a few shriekers...and I'm talking about parents here. The things they say. It amazes me. I'm going to refrain from giving to much detail but it definitely made me think of this blog. In teaching, like nannying, it is most often the parents that drive you crazy. Children run from table to table, exploring new toys, meeting new friends while grandma ask if she can sit in on a few classes (because that'll make the separation anxiety better, right?) or mom gets mad that we prefer she not bring in ice cream on brithdays.

After meet and greet was over we had a school wide teacher meeting (our three old program is a collaboration project and we are housed in a local charter school, neat huh?) and tensions felt kind of high. You know why? We're teachers, we have no patients for adults. I speak three year old, I don't sit for long periods of time (& at 5'2"I prefer things to be at eye level). Catch my drift?
Oh, parents. Can't live with them, can't live without 'em ;-).

Here's to the best parent- teacher/nanny relationships we can create!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

if the crown fits.

So sometimes (ok always) the best part of being a nanny is the kids. They really do say the darndest things. I was babysitting one of my favorite little ones a few weeks ago and she informed me of something very important. "I've been to Cinderella's house!" She stated matter of factly while we played a Disney Princess Wii game. I said, "really, where does she live?" Her reply? "Disney World".

(Of course, I should've known.)

Then came the real kit and kaboodle. Without a thought to it, she said "I'm really good friends with all the princess'!" I guess that makes me a pretty lucky nanny then ;-)!


Sunday, July 18, 2010


Ok, blog world, lets get this post over with. Today's subject: Money.
It has to be addressed. We're talking about a job here not a hobby.
First I would LOVE for ya'll to comment and maybe leave what you think should be the going hourly rate these days (my first try at an interactive blog, ya like?). Honestly it varies so much I'm going to try and get some feed back before that specific area is covered. Have no fear though, there are plenty of other issues concurrent with the subject of money.

Let's begin with a fairly simple concept. Allow for regular bonuses (and the occasional {deserved} raise). That's all. Don't you want the same at work?

Now onto our main subject: nanny expenses. I'm talking about two things specifically here, gas and "activity expenses". Make sure you consider gas expenses for your nanny. Obviously you should cover gas when your children are be transported (some families even offer to pay car insurance which is such a dream :-). You can do this by giving the nanny a credit card for gas, which I've had (and it was SO wonderful). Consider making it a credit card you get rewards on (points, frequent flier miles, etc.) and then you get a bonus! If you have a nanny who gets a basic salary and no other benefits consider paying for ALL gas. It's the least you can do when considering how many personal expenses nannies have.

Now onto my real soap box here. I loathe the family who says "If you just pay for it, we'll reimburse you later." WHAT??? I'm a NANNY and I most certainly don't have a disposable income. I live on a budget (try it, you might like it). I can't afford to use $50 to buy movie tickets, snacks, museum tickets, dinner, lunch, and anything else your little angels want. Just have a nanny credit card. It's so much easier (but please have one that is widely accepted, I can't count how many times I've had to call a place to see if they accept the specific credit card I was given). It can be a little complicated to work out but since you have a nanny chances have the time to work this out. Now, I know there are families out there grumbling saying "Well I don't have a regular nanny/babysitter so having a card is difficult, blah, blah, blah..." Solution: go the atm and get CASH. It's this paper form of money that is still accepted EVERYWHERE. Crazy I know.

Bottom line? Respect the salary/hourly rate your nanny receives. You know how much it is- we know how much it is- and we both know it's purpose is for personal expenses.

Here's to less nannies being "reimbursed" ;)!


P.S. Any specific topics you think should be covered?? Please let me know!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

liar, liar, pants on fire

Lying. It's wrong. We shouldn't do it. This is a lesson parents and caretakers alike drive into children daily. Unfortunately it's usually a "do as I say not as I do" moment.
I expect the kids to lie to me...but their parents...

Picture sitting in a interview for a nanny job. You're one of a few people the family is interviewing. You're resume is solid and you know your references check out- this is probably true for each interviewee. So, what makes a family pick one nanny over another? It's hard to know. As a result, usually the interview ends up turning into the family selling the nanny on the family. They want to convince you that working with them will be blissful. A blissful nanny heaven full of obedient children, long naps, and peaceful carpool lines ( I am convinced the latter does not exist).
I understand that no parent is going to make their family/children sound anything less than upstanding...but do me a favor and be honest. Little Johnny has not grown out of that temper tantrum stage. Mom, you're not home by 4pm everyday. Dad, you don't turn off your cell phone. Ever. While we're at it, please stop trying to convince me that "the kids practically take care of themselves". Why in the world are you hiring a nanny then? Spare me.

The most recent lie parents I worked for were caught red handed with is not a pretty one. I remember leaving this specific interview full of hope. They sold me. I drank the kool aid. The line that did it went something like this, "We understand that you work hard and we won't always need you, you'll have time off- if we see you've been working hard with the kids one afternoon, we'll give a day off here and there." Liars. Nine months and this never happened once. There was the occasional weekend out of town when all I had to do was pet-sit. That doesn't count though.
Oh, wait, there was the time I had the afternoon off...because I had strep throat, which I got from THEIR children.
Nope, doesn't count either.

Just be honest about WHO you are and WHAT you need. Everyone wins when we all know what we're getting ourselves into (this might be true of most things in life). Next time you interview a babysitter, stick to the truth, and you're adorable {no tantrums, long nap taking, healthy eating, polite} children will learn by example.

Here's to honesty!


Sunday, July 4, 2010


Happy Birthday America!!!
I post this photo not to display its artistic excellence...but lack thereof. It was taken last 4th July from a condo balcony...where I was nannying. That's right ladies and gentlemen, I spent our country's last independence day driving to Florida in a packed suv. Upon arrival my only form of celebration was watching these fireworks way off in the distance. So it goes without saying that this year I am particularly thankful for freedom.
This is the perfect opportunity to address the nanny holiday/vacation topic. I have no actual evidence but I would guess that about half of nannies have holidays like the 4th, labor day, and memorial day off. The other half don't. If you're being compensated, working a holiday or two is fine. I think the key (ok, this is the key to ALL nanny/family issues) is communication. Don't assume your nanny is going to work labor day weekend because you planned to go out of town. It's called labor day for a reason (clearly, I had to work last labor day weekend). Nannies, make sure the family you work for gives you a chance to celebrate holidays on your own terms. Families, when you're gracious, we'll return the favor...besides, what's better than being surrounded by kids on a summer holiday?

Now, vacations are a whole different ballgame- and this last one I went on takes the cake. Ok, wait, before I start let me insert that going on vacation with a family as their nanny can be really incredible-given the right situation (it just so happens I've never had one of those). Now, onto to my experience(s). I compare above the 4ht of July vacation to foreign language immersion. You see, I had only babysat for this family a time or two before we spent a week at the beach. I was just out of college, unemployed, and I thought, why not? "WHY?" Is all I can think now. I was going to continue working with the family after vacation, but I nipped that in the bud real quick. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to learn everything about this family; eating habits, discipline (or lack thereof), sleeping patterns, television rules, relationship dynamics, all in a very short period of time and in a very small space. I learned two important lessons. First, sometimes you just know when you are not a fit for a family. Trust your instinct there. Second, I learned a vital piece of information for families. Please read this carefully- give your nanny space on vacation. For example, her own bed. True story, I slept on the couch and then shared a bed with mom (yeah, it was awkward). Goodness gracious, if you are taking your nanny on vacation, make room for her!! I'm not saying a nanny needs her own room (that would be nice though) or a couple days off (also nice)- but for the person taking care of your children all week (or longer) there has to be down time. This is non negotiable. You take a nanny on vacation to take a bit of stress off of yourself, don't pile it all onto your nanny. Share the load. A nanny should be an additional partner for parents not a replacement for...but that's another topic for another day.
I hope all you nannies out there are experiencing a relaxing holiday and if you go on vacation with your little munchkins this summer, I hope it's everything you dreamed of.

Here's to freedom and the soldiers who fought for it! God bless!


Friday, July 2, 2010


I thought I would title this premier blog post "Bonjour" as an ode to the more sophisticated French title for a nanny, "au pair". We all need to glam up our life a little, right?
Merriam-Webster online defines the above terms for us; they write an au pair is "a usually young foreign person who cares for children and does domestic work for a family in return for room and board and the opportunity to learn the family's language". A nanny is defined as "a child's nurse or caregiver".
I am young, I am not foreign (to my current residence that is), I've done my fair share of domestic work, I received room&board for a short time, I learned what felt like a foreign language (i.e. binky, snuggie, etc...), I was often a nurse (sans nursing school), and I was most certainly a caregiver. So I think it's safe to describe myself as either.
With that cleared up, let me describe what this blog is about. It's a place for me to express, from personal experience, what NOT to do (or say) to your nannies. There is nothing better than a great nanny position, but more often than not nannies go through a few sour experiences before finding the right family- or they simply give up. I gave up. More accurately, I decided it was time to move on (to teaching).
However, I think it's appropriate to share my experiences (good & bad). I hope that you, as my (adoring?) readers, enjoy my stories, rants, and lightly given advice (for you parents with nannies, might I recommend that you read, think, and cautiously apply).

Here's to less nannies giving up...