Steven Covey’s most famous phrase is “Begin with the End in Mind”. That could also apply to hiring a nanny. Although hiring a nanny is a difficult process and one we wish not to go through repeatedly, we all know that there does come a time when a nanny has either worked herself out of a job or a family’s needs have changed. There are those cases where a nanny becomes a nanny manager and then a household manager and may transition into an adult care provider. Those are rare indeed. However, many nannies stay with one family for 5 to 10 years.
There are many reasons that you might need to end your relationship with your wonderful nanny. The family is relocating and the nanny cannot move with them. One or more parents have lost their job. One parent has decided to stay home after the birth of a second or third child. One parent decides to work part time and only needs a nanny part time and a nanny needs a full time job. The natural turn of events is the children no longer require a full time nanny as they are in school full days. And of course, a family can no longer afford having a nanny. Through no fault of her own, a perfectly wonderful nanny is losing her job. Both families and nannies are sad.
On the other hand, there are often some of the same valid reasons that nannies choose to leave a job. Families often see it as a betrayal by the nanny and are sometimes resentful of the idea coming from the nanny, rather than coming from the family. Preparing yourself ahead of time may be the best strategy.
Some of the reasons that nannies might choose to leave a job are:
- The job changes so drastically that the job is no longer viable financially; going from living on a full time salary to living on a part time salary is sometimes a deal breaker.
- Mother or father deciding to work from home after the nanny has had full charge of the children may be a transition a nanny chooses not to make.
- Some nannies just love caring for babies and when babies grow up, they want to find another baby to care for. These circumstances are, for the most part, out of her control.
Even in these difficult economic times, nannies may choose to leave their job once they sense the “handwriting in on the wall”. Communications that were happening face to face are now by email, text or note. There is an uncomfortable tenseness and a nanny might feel her employer is trying to avoid her. Or, a parent might become more critical of previously acceptable performance or not be supportive of nannies interactions with the children, or even try to undermine her authority. More blatant signs to a nanny that it is time to leave is being asked to do more and more housekeeping without any additional pay, or parents disregarding a nanny’s time by being continually late coming home. (This does not justify a nanny being late to work most days). And not receiving pay on schedule or receiving an invalid check or not receiving the increase in pay as agreed upon in the nanny/family contract.
Any of those things might cause a nanny to want to leave. Even when employers are directly contributing to the nanny wanting to leave, it does not mean that they might not still be resentful. After all, parents have to go through the whole process again of finding, screening, training and evaluating another person to care for their children and home. It is inconvenient and time consuming, which is why some parents just hang on to the status quo, even when the relationship needs to be terminated.
Whatever the dynamic between nanny and family toward the end of the relationship, both parties need to think about “Beginning with the End in Mind”. Children are looking at how you are handling yourself and you are modeling their future behavior. On rare occasions, parents have chosen to not allow a nanny to say goodbye to the children due to negative feelings about the nanny. This can be very detrimental to your child and lead to feelings of abandonment. Thinking ahead about how the relationship may end, even at the beginning of the relationship, prepares everyone for one of those painful life transitions. Remember, children are losing someone they love, who has cared for and nurtured them. That alone is worthy of having the best goodbye possible.