by Glenda Propst
When you enter into the nanny profession, some of us know from the beginning that this is what we want to do for “life” Some are only doing it for a few years until a goal is met. Even the best laid plans can change. You get married and move to a different city, you have children of your own, the children you care for go to school,something unexpected happens and your employer loses their job. Jobs end for lots of reasons, the industry changes, the economy tanks and there it is:
The fork in the road.
Yogi Berra (the famous baseball player) put it like this:
If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
This series called “New Directions” will feature 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.
I was fortunate that I started my career in 1985. I got in on the ground floor of the nanny movement that swept the country. I started my career at a time when there were good jobs, good benefits, and the nanny profession was a good career choice.
After 26 years the good jobs are still out there but hard to find, the good benefits aren’t always offered anymore and staying in this career doesn’t work for everyone. If you are one of those nannies who is standing at the fork in the road, it is my hope that something here will inspire, uplift and encourage you to find the direction you need.
The first person who responded to my questions is Nanny Jenn. You might remember Jenn. We did a series of articles counting down her last days with the family she had been with for 16.5 years. Her career has taken a new direction and I thought she would be a great person to kick off this series.
How long were you a nanny? I was a full time nanny for 18 years.
I still provide very part time care for my kids that I was with for 16.5years. It’s great because I still have the opportunity to spend time with them.
How long have you been out of the field? 1 year
When did you realize that it was time to make a change? As soon as I left my position I felt that I didn’t want to start over with a new family. I couldn’t see myself attaching that way ever again. It was so hard to leave a family after that long.
What prompted your change? I was working part time for another family and the mom’s job ended. After that happened I decided if I was ever going to do something different this was the time!
Was it difficult to come to the realization that you were going to have to leave the nanny profession? Yes, But I always say my foot remains solidly in it! I still own an online support group. Within a few months of starting my new job my old family asked me to work about 3-5 hours a week. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. It’s nice to have a foot in the profession but at this point I am also ok with pulling out.
Did it come to you gradually, or was it an epiphany when you realized there was something else you wanted to do? I realized it gradually. I think I started thinking about it a few years ago when I went part time with my long term family. With the kids in school they didn’t need me as much and I started another part time nanny job. I started to realize that changes were coming.
Did you view it as a positive change or a negative change? Sooo great! I am sooo happy! I get to work with children everyday. I had an AMAZING nanny career and now am on a different path. I love that.
The change has been awesome. People do it all the time. You meet nurses who are now business people. You meet teachers who train to be nurses, so why not nannies who now do something else?
Do you miss working as a nanny? No. I don’t. I can’t believe it! I think it’s because I stay in the touch with the nannies in my online support group. I am not regretful at all.
Do you stay abreast of what is going on in the field today?
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now. I work in Youth Services at my local library. I do the children’s programming. I am in charge of book clubs and story times working with ages birth to teens. I’m the story time lady!!!
Tell us what you learned as a nanny that is helping you in your current job, career or profession? I have learned so much. I have learned how to interact with kids and their parents. I know what kids like so that makes a big difference.
What advice would you give to nannies that are still in the profession but struggling with whether or not they should stay or go? I think you have to try to imagine yourself in a different job. Talk to others who have done it. I would be happy to talk to anyone who wants advice. Do something you love. If you love kids like I do, you will know you have to work with them. I knew my job would have to have kids in it. I couldn’t do a job that required sitting at a desk all day. I found a job where I still get to work with kids and do other things that I enjoy. Part of my job is buying children’s’ books. It is so exciting to know that I get to be a part of introducing children to the world of books and helping to instill a love of reading. I also get to plan special programs with performers.
I also have a teen tutor program where I can see kids learn from their peers. It’s all the things I loved doing as a professional nanny and more. It’s amazing!
What do you wish you had known then that you know now? I wish I would have known that it would work out. I was so scared! One thing I realized is with my experience I could go back to the nanny profession if I wanted to. I am still learning to have confidence in my ability.
In hindsight, do you think your decision was a good one? Yes
Would you do it again? Yes