Nannying is a wonderful job! The experience you have varies from family to family and year to year. I’ve been nannying for seven years and love almost every second of it. This last year, in particular, has been amazing – I’ve worked with a fantastic set of families and their kiddos. I’ve found, however, that many people are hesitant to become a nanny. Why? Here’s what I’ve been told:
- “Nannying isn’t a real job.”
- “Nannying is just for teenage girls.”
- “‘Nanny’ is just another word for ‘Babysitter’”
- “Nannying is dangerous.”
- “As a nanny, I can’t start a business because I’m just an employee.”
But, you know what? These are all MYTHS! I’ve been frustrated with these for a long time because they’re absolutely false. Today, we’re going to expose these myths and show just how great nannying really is.
MYTH #1: Nannying isn’t a real job
Many people have in mind what they think a “proper” career is, but when they think of their nanny, they imagine it’s someone’s first job. In reality, while many started nannying straight out of high school, a high number of people have made nannying their life-long careers.
But wait… Is this a life-long career of minimum wage slave labor?
Back when I started, I didn’t know anything about business, so I way undersold myself. Over the years, I’ve learned how valuable a service nannying is. Nannying isn’t just babysitting (more on that later), the nanny plays an integral part of the family, child-rearing machine.
So, how much can a nanny make? You might as well ask, “how long is a piece of string?” How much nannies charge varies wildly. While many do severely undercut themselves, there are nannies all over the world, making a real living. For instance, Heidi Joline makes $30 an hour with more pay for overtime, travel, and overnights earning her over $100,000 a year (you read that right – one hundred thousand). Don’t get me wrong; she has to work for that 100K, though. Heidi has learned to do more for her clients. She’s earned an education in child-rearing, and health, prepares a monthly curriculum, plans activities to help them learn multiple languages (Spanish, French, and Mandarin), and a lot more. A receipt keeper can help with keeping track of how much you spend on the kiddos.
I don’t think you could find anyone on the planet who wouldn’t call this a real job.
MYTH #2: Nannying is just for teenage girls
Let’s take a Rorschach test: when I say “Nanny,” what sort of person comes to mind? Probably a young, bubbly, teenage girl. There’s a reason for this: there are a lot of young women who nanny. Many of them do so during college to make some extra money on the side. However, these are not all nannies, and let’s be real; the best nannies are past their teenage years.
The fact is, it doesn’t matter how old you are, or what your gender is: if you’re a responsible adult, you love kids, and you have the proper skills, you can become an excellent nanny!
Let’s take a look at one of the uncommon variants, the so-called “manny.” Instinctively, many people think male nannies are out of luck.
“Who would want to hire a male nanny?”
You’d be surprised. It’s not unusual for parents to want their sons to have a male figure be their day-to-day caretaker. Some parents are more comfortable with men being around the house. Then, of course, many parents don’t care one way or the other if the nanny is male or female.
Parents – by and large – just want a good nanny.
MYTH #3: ‘Nanny’ is just another word for ‘Babysitter’
No other myth on this list grinds my gears more than this one.
Nannies and babysitters ARE different. I’m not trying to say anything to belittle the babysitters out there. The function of a babysitter and nanny are different. One is not better than the other, but there are distinct differences that are important to understand.
Babysitters come in temporarily to help. Often, they watch the kids while parents go out on a date or when the kid’s and parent’s schedules conflict. A responsible adult needs to be there to make sure nothing goes wrong, and the kids have adequate care. As a plus, many babysitters are excellent at keeping kids entertained, ensuring that the children are in a good mood for the parents.
Nannies are a part of the family.
Usually, the nanny is there almost every single day. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the nanny to spend more time with the kiddos than the parents do during a typical work week. Because of this, a nanny is often a beloved member of the household, which makes every other aspect of the job all the more enjoyable.
Beyond just the time spent with the kids, nannies can make a meaningful impact on the lives of the kids and their families. Like Heidi Joline, all nannies can offer additional, specialized services that babysitters can’t. One of the most important and valuable ones is that nannies can teach an entire curriculum to their kids. If you know a second language or have the skills to teach, your demand as a nanny just went up.
MYTH #4: Nannying is dangerous
How scary does it sound to work in someone else’s house with strangers?
It’s a premise many would find unsettling. But, the fact is, nannying is an extremely safe job. Common sense will go a long way in protecting you from perverts and psychopaths, but you can add to that protective layer by taking a few preemptive steps.
“the fact is: nannying is an extremely safe job.”
It’s common for parents to have nanny cams scattered throughout the house to keep their kids safe. Parents, however, are not the only ones who can leverage the power of modern technology to keep them and their safety.
If you feel uncomfortable about working in someone else’s house, be upfront with your family and tell them that you like to take precautions for everyone’s safety. You can offer to bring your own Nest cameras and set them up in their house during your work hours. Then, just get someone you trust who can check in on you every now and then. This way, you’re safe, and the family knows it.
Before you’re even hired, you can start being safety conscious during the interview. I usually prefer to interview in the family’s home; however, if safety is of the utmost concern during this stage, you can make it your policy to the only interview in public spaces. Interviewing in a public area ensures you’re in a neutral and safe space. One item that can help once you get the job is a first aid kit.
Here, we busted four of the most common myths keeping potential nannies from getting their dream job. But, there is still one myth that we haven’t yet tackled:
MYTH #5: As a nanny, I can’t start a business because I’m just an employee
This, however, is a topic for another day.
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If you have any questions about nannying, leave a comment below or hit me up through my contact form.
Until next time.