This series called “New Directions” features interviews with former nannies that branched out into another aspect of the business, had to add something to be able to stay in the profession, or left the profession entirely.My goal during the course of these articles is to show you that you have choices, and that sometimes “new directions” can take you to new growth.
How long were you a nanny?
I switched from a 7 year career in Early Childhood Education to one of a professional nanny 5 years ago when my husband and I moved from Massachusetts to San Francisco, CA.
How long have you been out of the field?
In the past I was fortunate enough to bring my first born with me to jobs (with the amazing support of my clients!), but once we decided to have a second child, I decided to stop working full time as a nanny. Bringing one child to “work” with me was one thing, but two!? No way. I am still the on-call caregiver for most of my former families, and have been working as a date night nanny since becoming pregnant. Only time will tell if these late nights are a new path I seriously pursue once the baby is born.
Was it difficult to come to the realization that you were going to have to leave the nanny profession?
For me, YES! it was difficult to leave the profession for two reasons. First, each one of the families I worked for had become such a part of my family’s community. Their willingness to accept my son into their homes, as well as their children’s daily routines, opened the door to brotherly friendships and strong family ties. We still maintain these relationships of course, but there’s nothing like a 3-5 day a week guaranteed “play-date”! Second, working as a nanny always kept me fresh as a parent and an advice giver! There’s nothing in a book that compares to a toddler in action, that’s for sure!!
Did it come to you gradually, or was it an epiphany when you realized there was something else you wanted to do?
I decided I wanted to help parents, through the creation of an advice blog, probably a couple months before we decided to have another baby. The idea had always been in the back of my mind, but really began to take shape once I realized I was being asked similar parenting questions from each of my clients about every 6 months or so. Lamenting not having written down my advice from the previous instance, I would then relay tips and tricks, suggest books to read again, feeling like I may have missed important bits here and there! So it was time to write it all down!
Did you view it as a positive change or a negative change?
I absolutely view my decision to go into blogging as a positive change. It does take up almost every nap time and evening I have, but it has enabled me to really focus on my own child and prepare for the new one! Also, I love that I can help more than just a few local parents, but parents of infants and toddlers from across the country who check the website weekly for tips, or anonymously write to me and get customized help for any troubling situation!
Do you stay abreast of what is going on in the field today?
Absolutely – some of my most loyal readers are nannies themselves looking for advice for a certain issue they may be facing with a charge, or fun books to read and suggest to clients!
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now.
I started AskaNanny.com, an advice website for parents of 0-3’s, a year ago. Parents and caregivers write to me anonymously, and based on the complexity of their question I provide a tailored answer within 2-7 days. The advice I give is specific and customized to their child’s temperament and environment, as well as objective and with an open mind to all types of parenting styles. Within an answer a parent will receive cognitive, behavioral, and emotional information on their child’s developmental, tips and tricks from my own experiences, and parenting book suggestions (with specific page numbers to read) that they can use as on-going guides.
What advice would you give to nannies who are still in the profession but struggling with whether or not they should stay or go?
I think everyone’s situation is different, and once you establish a bond with a child, it’s pretty difficult to just walk away. I think if you are ready for a change, then go for it! But there’s nothing wrong with staying and truly making an emotional investment as well!
What advice would you give to other nannies?
Don’t be afraid to really communicate with your clients. Most mix ups and stressful workplace situations can be cleared up with a simple meeting and a good talk. Don’t save up frustrations – this will only lead to getting burnt out!
Would you ever consider working as a nanny again?
Absolutely, and I will consider going back part time once my children are grown and in school full time! To maintain a relevant voice on my blog I must continue to have new experiences with children and parents, so hopefully I can keep from becoming too removed to begin with!
Don’t forget to check out Stef’s site Askananny
If you would like to be featured in our “New Directions” series contact Glenda(at)regardingnannies(dot)com