I am a professional nanny- and yes, I do get paid to play. I am not negating that in the slightest. The playing is definitely one of the greatest perks of my job. Not once have I thought to myself, ”Gee…. I wish I were in a cubicle somewhere instead of pretending I am a fairy princess at this tea party.” I enjoy playing with bubbles, making sand castles at the beach, hugging sticky toddlers covered in strawberry jam sandwiches, and finger painting rainbow animals. I love that stuff. I don’t, however, enjoy it when people (who usually mean well) inform me that I have an easy job and merely play picturesquely all day long. I also do not appreciate it when they say, “Oh, Nickey… are you STILL babysitting? Are you planning on ever getting a real job?” as if coming alongside a family and helping them co-raise their children is not a real job, but merely an after school pocket money venture. False! Nannying is real job.... and it's a super important one too.
Ok, let's clear up what the differences are between and a babysitter and a professional nanny. A nanny is someone who is hired to provide private childcare on a regular basis in a family’s home. She is an extension of the parents. She may have a degree or certificates/training to help with her expertise in her nanny career. As a nanny I think “big picture”. I communicate with my charge’s parents on a regular basis and discuss how to best make sure that their household is running smoothly. I make sure that I am meeting each one of my charge's physical, emotional, and intellectual needs. I will plan and host playdates, take the children on educational outings, assist with potty training, organize kid's rooms and clothes, run errands, help with bottle and pacifier weening, care for sick kiddos, monitor all those exciting developmental milestones, help with sleep training, provide light housekeeping pertaining to the kids, and follow through with discipline as implemented by the parents... just to name a few. Nannying is unlike any other job on the planet. It's intimate. It's messy. It fills up your whole heart.
Before I breakdown what a babysitter is, I would like to say I am in no way saying that babysitting isn't important. It totally is. Heck, I sit for a little extra cash on the regular! I just want to set the record straight about the differences between a nanny and a sitter because I know how big of a pet peeve it is not only for me but probably about 90% of the nanny community. A babysitter is someone a parent will hire occasionally, usually for shorter periods of time... such as a date night. Parents will most likely leave detailed instruction and the sitter will make sure that the children are fed, safe, and entertained. Is it valuable? Absolutely. Is it the same as being a professional nanny? No.
And while I have you may I say, hats off to single moms & dads everywhere (and parents in general). It’s no easy task packing lunches, making meals, dressing babies, bathing children, driving them to sports, doing homework, cleaning, sewing, doing laundry, kissing boo boos, checking for head lice, comforting scared little ones, settling fights between siblings, disciplining, spending quality time with each child, cuddling, checking for monsters under the bed, cutting nails, braiding little girl’s hair, checking teeth brushed, making school projects, helping floss, parent teacher conferences, teaching how to tie shoe laces, wiping boogies, learning to be a juggler and jack or jill of all trades… oh, and the list goes on– All by yourself. You are doing amazing. I honor you. Your job may be overwhelming at times- but you are making a difference.
Children are precious. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to go through the process of looking for a nanny to help you care for your children… the most precious things entrusted to you on this planet. Only the best will do. As much as I know that I am a great nanny, sometimes I actually don’t feel good enough for the task, purely because of the weight of value a child holds. My favorite thing to do as a nanny is to kindle that warm and special feeling of a magical childhood. Imagining, creating, exploring, reading, and making memories that children can cherish forever. I love creating a safe and nurturing environment in the home, coming alongside parents to help their family succeed. Sometimes being a nanny is incredibly challenging. Sometimes it’s a blast. Sometimes it’s stressful. But when it’s all said and done…. loving, believing in, and caring for a child is always worth it.
So, yes… I do get paid to play. Thanks for asking.
Nickey Andree is a professional career nanny with 13+ years experience working with children from all over the globe. She is the founder of The Nannyhood. The Nannyhood creates community and fosters friendships for nannies in their cities. It advocates for, resources, and places value on Nannyhood. She is passionate about helping nannies find their squad and assisting them in eliminating burnout. When she is not nannying, you can find Nickey singing Disney songs at the top of her lungs, leaving out gifts for strangers, or exploring new places.