How do you know?
by Glenda Propst
You can find books about being a nanny, books about what a nanny needs to know, and books about how to hire a nanny but you can’t find a book that tells a nanny how to heal her broken heart when she either outgrows her job or the job ends. When I left my first nanny family in 1993 after being with them for 8 years (4 as a live in) I could find very little information about getting through this difficult time. I used what I learned as I worked through my own grief to develop a workshop called “Gentle Transitions” which I have presented at professional nanny conferences and support groups over the last 17 years. In 2009 I was inspired by Dr. Lynn Kenney “The Family Coach” to brand my “Gentle Transitions” workshop and start my blog “Nanny Transitions”.
The subject of leaving a family, and the grief that follows, is a topic that very few nannies or parents have a desire to talk about.
If we do our job and do it well, we work ourselves out of a job.
One of the hardest aspects of the nanny profession is that no matter how hard you work, or how well you do your job, it is inevitable that your job will come to an end.
Sometimes you can plan for those endings and sometimes they come unexpectedly.
Jobs end for many reasons:
• Children grow up
• Parent change jobs or have to downsize or lose their jobs completely
• Parents find alternative care that is cheaper
• Nannies find jobs that pay more
• Parent and nanny no longer agree on lots of issues
As a professional your goal should be to sit down with the parent talk about the upcoming transition and plan for it together.
But more often than not it ends badly. Even when you are trying to work together to make it a good parting, it can still end badly.
If the nanny chooses to leave, sometimes the parents can feel hurt or betrayed.
If the parent decides to end the relationship, sometimes the nanny can feel hurt or betrayed. No matter who chooses to end the relationship, it is always highly emotional and difficult especially for the nanny and the child/children who have formed very close bonds.
If the writing is on the wall, you need to pay attention and make a plan because if you don’t, you might find that your employers will make that decision for you.
It is much better for you to choose to leave, than to be told the job is over.
Emotionally, even though it is still painful, when it is your decision, not someone else’s you have a tendency to feel more in control.
To better prepare yourself, it is smart for you to know what the warning signs are that a job is coming to an end.
How do you know when the writing is on the wall?
I asked nannies online what are the signals that it is time to move on and here are their top responses:
1. When you stop communicating.
2. When the parents stop trying to be respectful or accommodating to your needs.
3. When the parents start to take on responsibilities that used to be yours.
4. When everything is an issue and you feel like you can’t do anything right.
5. When everything is an issue “for” you and you feel like the parents can’t do anything right.
6. When the parents don’t back you up even after a discussion on the importance of doing so. For example: *You tell your charge no TV while eating breakfast but you walk in every morning to the TV on and the kids eating breakfast in front of it.
7. Your paycheck bounces.
8. Lack of respect.
9. Your employer belittles you in front of others.
10. Parents correct you in front of the children.
11. Parents disagree with everything you say.
12. When you start the day and wish it was already over.
13. When you dread going to work.
14. When your employer avoids you.
15. When you avoid your employer.
16. When the parents stop responding enthusiastically to plans you have made or things you have done.
17. When your employer asks you to return all credit cards etc. in an effort to use only cash to better track expenses.
18. You stop having regular meetings.
19. Your employers start going back on promises that they made you.
20. You don’t get a raise.
21. When you are asked to make unusual concessions.
22. You feel like you are walking on eggshells.
23. The children have outgrown your level of expertise.
24. Mysterious phone calls or messages.
25. A general feeling of being left out of the loop.
If you are seeing any of those signs in your job, it’s a good bet that changes are coming.