As nannies the relationships we have with the parents of those in our care is complicated. There are several types of connections we have. Over the next few weeks I am going to explore three different dynamics of these relationships. It is important for us to learn these in order to move smoothly and seamlessly between each style. A lot of heartbreak and frustration as a nanny can come from expecting your employers to respond to you in one way and having them respond in a very different way. When you consider your employers to be family because most of the time they treat you like family, but suddenly are responding to you like your boss, this can be very confusing and distressing.
Obviously the parents of the children in your care are your employers so we will first look at the dynamics of this connection. This comes as no shock to anyone I am sure. However often because of the nature of our relationship with their children, we naturally think of ourselves as closer. If you remember them as employers you will understand that they are and should be monitoring your job performance to insure you are doing a good job.
A good employer in a business setting will keep careful watch on his or her employees to ensure that they are following through on the responsibilities they have been given. He or she will want to make sure that the employees are doing their jobs with excitement, care and concern, that they are on time and ready to work and that they are focused on the job at hand while at work. The employer might even want to see a good employee going above and beyond the job description. This is a sign of enthusiasm and commitment.
We have to remember that not all but many of our employers view their relationship with us from this viewpoint alone. Not only do they work in the business/office field where they either have this type of relationship with their employers or they are the employers and have many other people working for them, connecting mainly on this level. But they have added confusion of the relationship because they hired you to care for the most important thing in their lives. They are also asking you do it in their home and often like things a particular way. Understanding the parents’ perspective of you can help you to see why they are so particular about how you care for their kids, are defensive about how and when you get paid and can often suddenly change their minds about things. They are worried about everything far more than they would ever let on.
Some nannies have also worked in this type of business setting, but the majority of us have never really understood this dynamic. It is always important to attempt to get in the head of those we work for but it is never more important than when you are a nanny because our minds very rarely gravitate toward this aspect of the relationship. We often don’t like to think about being an employee because we want to think of ourselves as family to the kids in our care.
Fortunately this is not the only aspect of the relationship. Look back in a few weeks for two more categories in the parent/nanny relationship.