Our guest post today comes from Nanny Lindsey Kanis Ayers. Read the how and why of her nanny journey and how it’s almost a family tradition …
I often find that once people find out what I do for a living they immediately do two things. First, they assume I work for someone wealthy beyond belief, powerful and/or famous. Second, they are interested in how and why one becomes a nanny.
The first assumption couldn’t be further than the truth. I’ve been employed by a variety of people, none of whom where rich and famous. In fact, I’ve worked for a stay at home mom, a single parent, an entrepreneur, doctors and business people. It is true that professional athletes, politicians and billionaires often have nannies (and likely several other domestic employees) but that doesn’t mean that everyone who has a nanny is in that boat. Some people simply see the value in investing in a nanny rather than conventional drop-off daycare or extended school day programs. To start, the convenience is incomparable. Someone is there to let the plumber in, grab a couple of groceries and sign for packages. They can design their own schedule and skip the hassle of a drop-off and pick up time at a daycare center. They want someone to build a mutual respect and trusting relationship with their children just as they would. One person –the same person– has their children’s best interests in mind every single day. Having a nanny in their home is comforting. They know their children will often get to explore the world outside of their home and a classroom. A nanny can be another leg to support the family unit and help run a busy household. What parent doesn’t need a helping hand?
As for how and why one becomes a nanny… well, it depends who you ask. The nanny world is a very unique and diverse field. Since the answers vastly vary, I’ll just give you my take on the “how and why”. The “how” is pretty natural for me. You see, my mother was a nanny. Out of college she took what she calls a “governess” job for a family with two children. She lived with them, cared for the children and even traveled with them for a number of years. After marrying and starting her own family she transitioned to staying home with her own children until we were all in school. She stayed in touch with her charges through high school, college and even attended their weddings. Once we were in school she found herself in a budding real estate career. Though she enjoyed her job, it was stressful and the schedule was grueling. One of her former charges came to her asking for a referral for hiring her own nanny. My ever enthusiastic mother dropped everything and got back in the nanny game. She’s been with the children of her former charge for nearly eight years. And guess what, both of my sisters and two of my aunts currently nanny. My own husband was a manny when I met him! I can’t make this stuff up!
I nannied for a number of families through college, mostly in the summers. In college I took quite a few child psychology and education courses along with tons of fine and visual arts. I knew I could work with kids until I found my niche. I’d been babysitting and working at summer camps since I was twelve. I took a part time nanny job out of college in conjunction with another job in the fitness field. I unexpectedly fell in love with those kids. The family ended up going through some hard challenges and big changes. I hung in there for a long time, as long as I could because I loved the kids. I left when I felt the time was right. It was on good terms and still have deep, amazing relationships with all of the kids and the parent.
I started the hunt for another family. I found one through my mother’s own employers. They gave me such a raving review (I believe it was something along the lines of “If we couldn’t have her mom, we’d have her.”) that my current employers hired me days after my interview without even requesting my references. I’ve been joyfully employed by them for 5 years this summer.
But why? Listen, when I was little I never said, “When I grow up I want to be a nanny,”… Not once. I said I wanted to be an artist (check), a pilot (check… really.) and a teacher. The teache
r has its own check mark. I get to teach everyday. I teach manners, grammar, bike safety, respect, color theory, geography, life lessons… the list goes on. I think people expect me to say I nanny because I love kids. I do love kids but that isn’t why I nanny. I love seeing the world through the eyes of children. I have the joy of watching children discover the world. I once got to watch a toddler discover that a reflection in a mirror was his own. Then I watched him approach the mirror and kiss it. And I caught it all on camera. Don’t get me wrong, I have trying days. I occasionally deal with vomit, no lunch break to speak of, emotional temper tantrums, melted crayons in my car, spilled juice and muddy shoes. But the good far outweighs the bad for me. I get to give and receive love each day. LOVE! Love is a part of my job! How cool. I love that every day is different. For example I also get the be out. I’m not in a classroom, an office or a meeting. No. I’m outside… I’m at the zoo, the park, on a hike or playing soccer. I recently had a friend text me from her windowless cubicle asking “What is it like outside today?” I promptly responded telling her that it was dark and rainy. She called my bluff and then I sent her picture of me doing cannonballs at the pool with the kids with the bluest sky in the background. True story. I guess I’d say nannying is my calling. I feel like it is exactly what I should be doing. My heart is in my work and I hope it shows. I am helping mold the next generation of the world. And one day I’ll be depending on that generation. Sometimes people will say things about how my job takes a “special person”. I don’t disagree. But nurses are special people. I couldn’t be a nurse. And teachers, accountants, police officers, baristas, architects…. all of those professions take a special person if you ask me. I guess the point is that you need to love what you do. So why am I a nanny? Because I love it.