Today we have a twist on our Meet Nanny You feature, we are featuring a Newborn Care Specialist. Maryann K is a former nanny with over 10 years experience who has transitioned from full-time nanny to Newborn Care Specialist.
What are 3 unique characteristics about you, that you strive to pass along to the children in your care.
When I was a Nanny, I strived to pass along Independence, learning and trying to do things on your own.
As a NCS- I will change this question around a little. I hope once I leave a family after they have hired me as their Newborn Care Specialist, that they will have the tools, knowledge and confidence to continue on a schedule and raising their baby. I find I create a strong bond with the families I work for and would always want them to call me in the future if they had a question about something I may be able to help them through.
What is the most rewarding thing about your career as a Nanny?
Finding a family that respects and appreciates the quality of care that I will be able to provide for their family. Having a job that I enjoyed doing and felt a passion for. As a Newborn Care Specialist, I really enjoy working with new and growing families who want knowledge and advice in newborn care. I enjoy meeting all types of families from different backgrounds who want the support that I can assist them with.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known your first day as a Nanny.
There will be good days and bad days like with any job. Knowing that every day you hope to instill good values and a positive environment for the child in your care. I also strongly believe that years in the profession are key. I started as a Nanny back when I was 19 years old. I learn new things everyday working with families. I also have a stronger self confidence in myself when communicating with my employers. This is something I feel you gain throughout your career as a Nanny in different situations as you work with a family. There are certain things when I go into a job that is mandatory and non-mandatory for me when signing a contract. For example, when I was a Nanny I would expect to be paid 52 weeks a year regardless of my services being needed or not. That was something I have learned over the years that is mandatory for me.
What is your daily nanny life like?
I will answer this as a Newborn Care Specialist. Depending on the type of job I am on; 24-7, nights, days or a mixture it can be different. Currently I am working with a client on a 24/7 job for 8 weeks in Virginia. I am living with the family and stay in the nursery. I am working with the parents to get their newborn son on a day and nighttime schedule. I am also helping the family to adjust having a newborn at home and a 3 yr. old. My duties include making and preparing/washing bottles, sanitizing, bathing, baby laundry, diapering, attending doctor visits, circumcision care, umbilical cord, encouraging awake time as baby gets older, keeping track of feeding times, diapers, sleep times in the binder I create for the family. I will add when living with a family you’re a team player and a guest in their home. You will naturally become very close and an extended part of the family. It is best to remain a professional at all times even when you start feeling more comfortable over time. I am a source for the parents to ask questions and get opinions and parents respect of me is important.
Are you involved in the nanny industry? (organizations, conferences, yahoogroups, blogging, websites etc)
Yes! I have always been very active in the Nanny Cyber world participating in Nanny Yahoo groups starting when I first began my career in 1998. I also had part in starting North of Boston Nanny Support Group which met once a month for dinners alone without our charges and then consistently arranging playgroups and outings with the children in our care. I had been an active member of NAN when it was running and currently an INA member for almost 3 years. I continue to read several nanny and newborn care blogs. I have attended Nannypalooza when it was in Boston and I went to INA in Vegas this past May. I found both conferences were extremely well worth going and plan to attend every year. I was given my 10 year service pin for my 14 years in the Nanny industry at INA as well. That was a true honor and something I am proud of accomplishing. I will apply for my 15 yr. pin next year at Kentucky’s INA conference. I feel that as a Professional Nanny and Newborn Care Specialist it is imperative to belong to support groups for our profession. Our job can be somewhat isolating at times and this is a great way to find support with others who do what we do!
What is something others may be surprised to know about you?
I have only worked with children as a job. My first job was working in a preschool as teacher’s aide when I was still in high school. I spent 2 years working in preschools and daycares and then became a Nanny. I have never worked the typical first time jobs like as a cashier or waitress. I jumped right into something I knew I loved!
If you weren’t in the nanny industry, what do would be doing?
Well I really enjoy travelling and trying new things. I really have always liked watching the travel channel and have envied Samantha Brown as a travel host. She has explored so many places and has gotten to do some really cool things! I really enjoy my career as a Newborn Care Specialist because I get to travel to jobs sometimes but Samantha’s job also looks fantastic!
Tell us a little bit about how you got into the nanny field?
I mentioned that I had been working in preschools and daycare’s to start my child care career. I realized that I was feeling more fulfilled and could give more attention to children on a one-on-one basis. I had a coworker of mine suggest becoming a Nanny and I researched into it a bit more. I was attending college at the time at night for my degree in Early Childhood Education. After talking with a couple agencies and interviewing it sounded like a path I wanted to explore further. I wanted my future to be working with children and teaching them new things. I was fortunate that I only went on a couple interviews and accepted a position where I was to stay for 9 wonderful years.
Now over the past year I have changed careers a bit and have moved into strictly newborn care. Before leaving New England I took Newborn Care Specialist training and started really networking with other professionals in the business. Most of who lived out in Phoenix where I was moving. I started reading more newborn care books, sleep training and scheduling baby books. It was a natural transition for me as I had really just been working with newborns and new families at the time. After 15 years working as a Professional Nanny I felt I needed a new direction in my career. I had a passion for teaching and this still gave me the ability to do so but with parents and new families this time as their families expanded. I soon started contacting different agencies and finding experienced NCS’s to speak with to answer any questions I had. I met Tonya Sakowicz and we instantly became friends and well as mentoring me. Dianna Hughes also helped me with her knowledge of sleep training and owning her own nanny agency. I knew I could be great at this and it was up to me to get the ball rolling with finding clients and jobs as an NCS. I seem to be doing very well so far with finding work and have signed with many agencies. I am hoping to continue to grow in knowledge and experience as a true Newborn Care Specialist.
What was your first job?
My first job as a Professional Nanny was found through an agency back in New Hampshire. I was fortunate to have worked for a family with two girls in Massachusetts for 9 years! I started with them when they were 1.5 and 3. The youngest just started High School this year and the oldest in a freshman in college!!! As their Nanny of 9 years I went through all stages of their childhood. I got to see them start new schools, take the school us for the first time, participate in sports, win awards, holidays, trick or treating, create age appropriate activities for them and hundreds of other adventures together. Those girls and their family went all the way to the Virgin Islands to see me get married and even walked down the aisle as my flower girls with me. Also sadly I went through a very tough time with them when the oldest girl was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was age 12. That was an extremely devastating time in my life watching her go through treatments, losing her hair and getting sick. What was hardest for me was that I was her Nanny not her parent and I kind of felt helpless in the situation. I am happy to say now she is cancer free, hair down to her waist and is attending college to become a nurse!
When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy?
I really enjoy socializing by going out for dinner/drinks with friends, trying new restaurants, watching a live band, traveling, cooking, reading on the internet, taking pictures, walking my dog Farrah and spending time outside in the sun in Arizona where I am living right now.