Nobody ever said co-parenting was easy. When you are a Nanny, you are in a sense co-parenting with your Nanny Family. Together, you are working to take care of the child(ren); ensuring they are learning, happy, healthy and safe. Every Nanny schedule is different. Some Nannies work Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 5:00pm. Having the children in their care during the week for a longer duration than the parents do. When it comes to following through, discipline and consistency, it can always be tricky when you and your Nanny Parents aren’t on the same page.
Let’s use the glorious world of “potty training” for example. I can honestly say I have yet to talk with a Nanny who has not ran into the issue (myself included) of experiencing a lack of consistency from their Nanny Family. When you have a two year old whom you are attempting to potty train, it is crucial that you and your Nanny Family are on the same page daily and are being consistent with the process. Nannies typically go into potty training full force; getting rid of every diaper in the house, making “potty charts”, buying “big kid underwear” and making it part of your daily routine to put your Nanny Babe on the toilet periodically throughout the day. Yet when you get to work the next morning, you walk in to find your Nanny Babe wearing a diaper… Or you come back from the weekend and the parents inform you, “ We just didn’t have time to follow through with potty training this weekend.” After you cringe at the thought of all your dedication and hard work invested toward this transition pretty much being thrown away, you find yourself in a sticky situation. What can you say? What can you do? After all, you are not the parent. Do you just smile and say okay?
In my opinion, not at all! You are being paid to perform a duty – enriching children’s lives and their development. If you find yourself in a situation where the child is not having consistency where it is needed, it is your job to address it. You are doing a disservice to the child, yourself and your Nanny Family by not addressing situations that need to be addressed. You know your Nanny Parents the best. Don’t be afraid, hesitant or worried to talk to them. They have asked you to join their family and help raise their child(ren) for a reason! If they didn’t trust you, weren’t interested in what you thought or weren’t open to hearing your opinions, then you wouldn’t be there! I feel my many years of Nannying and now being a mother allows me to make this bold assumption.
For a while I kept quiet when I found myself in situations like this. I would just roll with whatever the parents thought even if that meant going against my own experience and education. It was not until I started to respectfully share my thoughts and opinions that I found myself enjoying my job a lot more, along with seeing a positive shift with the children and parents. Once the children recognized their parents backed me up and saw us working as a team, they became more emotionally invested with me. They had always taken me seriously, but there was a shift in the respect they showed me, even at their young age. Once they saw the consistency between their parents and myself, once they understood I mean what I say and I say what I mean, even after I went home, my whole world of being a Nanny changed. When I found my voice and learned how to share it, the parents grew to trust me more. When I would ask a question, I would often hear, “Whatever you think- we’ll back you up.” Instead of them telling me how they wanted something done. They liked my input. They wanted to hear my thoughts! After all, I was spending so much time with their children; they respected that and in return respected me.
As a mother, I thought I knew it all. I Nannied for over 10 years- I knew exactly what I was getting myself into having a baby of my own… Ummmmm NO! Parenting your own child as opposed to helping someone parent his or her child is very different. I am thankful to have an amazing husband who is very hands on with our Mia. Yet there are times throughout my day when he is gone where I question if the choices I am making for Mia are right. What I would not give at times to have a Nanny by my side! To have his or her input and perspective would be ideal in most situations I find myself in. To be honest… I may not even hire a Nanny who did not respectfully share their thoughts and ideas when it came to Mia’s well-being and development. If someone were spending quality time with my child, I would want their perspective on things! They may be able to give me insight or an idea of another way to approach something.
Now, it’s important to remember that there are parents who want it done their way and aren’t really interested in what you have to say! Trust me- I’ve met a few. These type A Parents can be extremely hard to work with for a take charge Nanny! When looking for a Nanny Family to work with- don’t commit to a family who is not interested in working with you and who are not open to listening to your input. Find a family who wants to hear your thoughts and who are open to you taking charge, a family who is willing to back you up and work together to provide consistency for their child(ren)… A family who will let you do your job!!!!!!!
As a Nanny, I promise you will find yourself in situations where you don’t necessarily agree with how something was handled or you may have input you want to share. Please take the time to be heard- in a respectful way! Ask to sit down with your Nanny Parents to chat when something arises and you feel it needs attention. For your sanity and for the well being of the child(ren). Most of you have years of experience and education working with children. You may even be working with first time parents who would LOVE to hear your input!
Feeling appreciated and respected is always huge for Nannies. The ability to express your thoughts and being heard is one of the many ingredients needed for a happy, healthy and long lasting relationship with your Nanny Family. If you ever need advice on how to approach a certain situation, please do not hesitate to reach out!