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Many new business owners and freelancers feel some level of guilt billing people for doing what they love. Maybe they wonder if they’re charging too much, or otherwise taking advantage of their clients. As noble as this sounds, this guilt focused attitude keeps business owners from having success in their work. 

Today, we’re going to be looking at how this feeling affects nannies and what you can do about it if you suffer from nanny-guilt. 

You’re a professional 

Professionals don’t need to feel guilt for charging their clients/customers for their services. If you buy a pizza, how much do you pay? $15? $20? $30? Then, there’s a tip on top of that. Now, how much did that pizza cost in ingredients? $1 to $2? Why the difference between costs and price? THEY NEED TO MAKE MONEY

This is how every successful business operates, including nannies. Remember, you are a professional. You provide a service, you have costs, but you need to charge beyond your base cost to be successful. 

You provide value

What is the most valuable thing in a parent’s life? Most would say “my children.” As a nanny, your primary responsibility is to care for these parent’s most valuable possessions – their children. This alone shows just how valuable you are as a nanny. Don’t undercharge for such a huge responsibility. 

What other value do nannies provide?

Nannies essentially take on the roles that the parent is not able to at that time. Nannies often:

  • teach
  • protect
  • feed
  • entertain 
  • launder clothes
  • clean the home
  • care for animals
  • organize and tidy
  • manage the household

Imagine paying 9 different people for those roles. That would add up fast! A nanny is a lot of bang for your buck. Charge for that guilt free!

What if parents say your rate is too high?

If you give the parents your rate and they reply “that’s a bit steep for us. Could you consider lowering it?” don’t be afraid to walk away.

When a parent asks you to lower your rate you have two options: 

  1. Reduce your services
  2. Walk away

As a nanny, you may typically offer different forms of tutoring or household services. If the parents say they can’t pay your rates, remove these services until you reach a point they can pay. Still too much for them? Remove even more services. Beyond reducing services, you can also offer to simply lower your hours at your normal rate. 

If that doesn’t work, don’t budge on your rate, walk away from the job. It’s better to have to look for a new client than to work for someone who doesn’t value your work. If you did work for someone like that, you would start to devalue yourself, and that’s not a healthy way to work. 

Walking away

I recently left a job. I was stressed all the time. The demands were unrealistic. I was getting nausea and headaches. My job was badly impacting my emotional and physical health. I didn’t have to to focus on myself. Life was becoming miserable. I walked away from that job. 

If you ever find yourself feeling miserable because of your nanny job, it’s ok to walk away. If you’re being overworked, underpaid, and burnt out over your job, it can badly effect your health. That’s a situation that you need to get out of. 

In any other field, a professional would do the same if they cared about their own well being. Often, you’re being upfront – yet respectful – and walking away will help the parents to better respect future nannies. 

As a rule of thumb, you need to walk away from a job if it causes you to lose your love of nannying.

Don’t get taken advantage of 

Just because you love the family and the family loves you, that doesn’t give them any right to treat you less professionally. You still need:

  • to be paid your full rate
  • to be paid on time
  • to have your work/life boundaries respected
  • to have your time be respected

We often treat family worse “because they’re family.” Not out of animosity, but because we’re so comfortable with them, we think “it’s fine. They understand. They’ll forgive me.” 

Once a family starts to feel close to the nanny, this attitude may start to creep in. However, this is why you need to have a contract. Anytime a family/nanny relationship starts to slip from professional to family, you can point to the contract to correct matters. 

This is often an issue with au pairs separating their paid time and unpaid time. By pointing to the contract, you can help to make sure you’re not being unintentionally overworked by a family that is comfortable with you. 

You don’t need to feel guilt for keeping your work/life boundaries in place. 

If nanny-guilt is something you currently struggle with, let us know. If you used to struggle with nanny guilt, share your experience down below.

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