By Nickey

NEW YEAR, NEW NANNY

I love New Years. I am totally “that girl”. I love the fireworks, the glitter, the countdown, watching The Ball drop, dressing up and going to parties. But most of all… I love the new beginnings.

It’s like waking up to a brand new book with blank pages just waiting to be written on. Like you’re handed a brand new pen (the kind that writes smooth like butter) and given permission to create epic stories. Adventures yet to be had, lessons yet to be learned, and goals yet to be met. Yes… I am totally that girl. I can already hear some of you thinking “Gag me. New Year’s resolutions are bogus and so is the thought that ANYTHING changes because a date on my calendar does.” I hear you, I do… but hear me out too.

I love self improvement, goal setting, journaling on the regular, and dreaming big expansive dreams. Truly. That being said I believe that doing little things well is just as important as going after the big things. Sadly, I have seen far too many “I am so burnt out and don’t know what to do about my job anymore” posts popping up in the nannysphere. Do I get it? 100%! I have been on the burn out wagon more than a few times. It truly is awful and does take time and making some changes. But it also makes me sad, because your nanny heart is so valuable. Your job truly does matter... even if you don’t feel like you are seeing the fruit of your labor.

So it got me thinking. Let’s talk about some New Years “Nannylutions” if you will. Let’s head into 2019 strong, and not just trying to stay afloat. You deserve it and so do your precious little nanny kiddos.

Ok sweet Nanny…. New year, new you.

1. FIND COMMUNITY WITH OTHER NANNIES

The Nannyhood was literally created for this very purpose. While nannying can be such a fulfilling career, it can also be incredibly lonely at times. Yes, you have your sweet nanny kiddos all day, but 99% of the time you don’t have any co-workers. I don’t know about you, but I can only take talking in third person to an 18 month old for so long before I need a little adult interaction! Meeting other nannies for support, friendship, or playdates is incredibly important.

The nanny world can be such a bizarre place… but when it’s done properly, it can be oh so beautiful. There is really no other job quite like it. You are working in people’s homes and caring for their children- it’s pretty intimate. I have been embraced by some families as an honorary family member, and flourished; and I have been treated like “the help” and been abused. If you are tired and burnt out may I give you a New Year’s challenge? Be active in seeking out a nanny friend or even a whole nanny squad. Having someone who fully understands what you are going through, can cheer you on, give you a shoulder to cry on, let you vent, provide some solid advice— they are worth it’s weight in gold.

If you don’t know where to begin, you can always start on our website. Click “Join The Hood” and find out if there is a local group near you or apply to start your own! Here are a few other ways you may find you new nanny BFF:

  • Join a Facebook group (you can join ours riiiight herrrreee)

  • Take your kiddos to classes and activities where other nannies will be hanging out

  • Be proactive in meeting other adults at the park

  • Look for local nanny groups on Meetup

2. POLISH UP THOSE CONTRACTS AND PORTFOLIOS

Have the “winds changed”? Are you pretty sure it’s time for you to have a full blown Mary Poppins moment and fly away with that umbrella to help a new family? Sometimes a nanny position can be less than “practically perfect.” It takes wisdom and courage to know if a working relationship is irreparable or if fairness is able to be reasoned. Maybe you are new to the nanny profession and didn’t realize that writing a nanny contract was even a thing. Maybe you were unaware of nanny tax laws and have found yourself in a bind at tax time and not sure what to do. Maybe you employers just aren’t the right fit- plain and simple. I am by no means telling you all to quit your jobs. I am however asking you to reflect a little. If you are having completely burnout, feeling anxiety, and not thriving in any way at your job… it maybe time to start thinking about putting the feelers out for a new one.

As a professional nanny, I can tell you with full confidence: nanny contracts are your friend. I personally will not go forward with a new family if they won’t agree to having a contract in place. Not because they aren’t incredible people, but because contracts provide a level of security and layout boundaries from the get go. Nannying is definitely both a professional AND personal job. Sometimes emotions can get involved. I find it’s best to have a hard copy of your agreement rather than relying on how each party remembers the agreements when conflicts arise. A contract will help you and your employer’s set the tone for your working relationship, clearly outline the expectations of both parties, and provide written documentation of what you all have agreed to. It honestly helps resolve potential conflict or tension just by existing. I am not sure about you, but I don't love conflict. Anything I can do to keep things running smoothly and happily, I will do. Do your research. There are contract out there to download, purchase, or you can always write your own. Here is a great FREE contract template by our friends at Nanny Counsel.

Now, all nannies should 100% have at least a resume. The Unicorn Nannies go a step above that. We show up to interviews with a nanny portfolio in hand. A nanny portfolio will help your unique nanny magic sparkle above the rest. And if you have been a nanny for a hot minute, I am sure you’ve seen that finding employment is not always the easiest of feats. If you don’t already have a nanny portfolio but would love to make this one of you "2019 Nannylutions” here is another article about how to find your own Unicorn Family. You will find portfolio guidance right there.

3. FINE TUNE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Strong communication is one of the biggest keys to having a healthy and happy work environment in the nanny profession. Being able to communicate about how your charge’s day was, to gently bring up your contract if boundaries are being crossed, checking in on a yearly or 6 month basis to review and discuss all the wins and what may need to be improved, these are all great examples of how communication skills will help you thrive at work.

Becoming a great communicator will take practice. It may not feel comfortable all the time and it requires being a great listener. Don’t be that nanny who says yes to absolutely everything if it’s at the detriment of your own health and well being. If you are already working 50 hour weeks and you are not up for doing weekends as well, let your bosses know that you do appreciate them coming to you first, but that you need and value your time off to recharge, take care yourself (and your family).

4. GET YOUR SELF CARE ON

I don’t know about you, but this can be hard for me sometimes. We are nannies, and our job is literally to care for others needs first. But you can’t pour into others from an empty cup, Nanny. Making sure that you are well taken of care of is just as important and as taking care of those charges. It maybe a little tricky at first, but with intentionality and practice it will become second nature to you. Here are some ways you can fill yourself back up and be a recharged nanny:

  • Stay hydrated

  • Meal Prep

  • Workout

  • Nap time soul time

  • Make time for friends and family

  • Go get a massage, mani/pedi, facial

  • Use the vacation days you have in your contract

  • Read a good book

  • Treat yoself

  • Journal

There are all sorts of ways to take care of yourself, but we could be here all day. Do things that will keep your body/mind healthy and your should happy. You are so worth it and everyone will reap the benefits.

5. PRACTICE THE ART OF GRATITUDE

Practicing the art of gratitude is one that will pay back 100 fold. Did you know that being grateful actually has an impact on our overall health and well being? Studies show that people who practice the art of gratitude on the regular actually sleep better, have less headaches and overall pain in the body, improved immune function, stronger/more relationships, better self esteem and mental health, and a stronger sense of purpose. Umm… sign me up! Over the years as a nanny I have found that keeping myself anchored in gratitude has made a world of difference to the way I show up to work, interact with my littles, think about and treat my employers, and so much more. Here are a few ideas to get those thankful juices pumping:

  • Keep a gratitude journal

  • Make a Joy Jar

  • Write a thank you note

  • Pray/meditate

  • Give back

6. BE PRESENT IN THE NANNY MOMENTS

Being present. It’s easier said than done on most days. I don’t know about you Nanny, but I can easily fall into routine and then realize I am serving it, instead of it serving me. Over the years I have found that sometimes making memories is more important than worrying about making messes. Washing the mud out of little jeans, mopping the floor of rainbow colored glitter, bathing a toddler and leaving a green ring in the tub after a finger painting session— those things are so worth it. Watching your nanny babies create new masterpieces, seeing them get lost in their imaginations, laughing together until it hurts…those moments will always trump the messes. A mess can be cleaned up in a matter of moments, but memories last in your nanny heart forever. 

There’s also nothing like a toddler to make you slowdown and actually be present in the nanny moments. I have to admit, sometimes when I am nannying a toddler, there have been times that I have gotten frustrated at the time it would take for us to walk from one end of the street to the other. They take 3 steps, pick up a leaf, and marvel at it as if it were the only leaf on the face of the planet. It was as if their little minds are convinced that you had just made a life changing discovery. The truth was, they have. It was the first time they had seen a leaf. Let their wonder in the little things always challenge you, Nanny. Slow down and be present.

7. CONTINUE YOUR NANNY EDUCATION

Knowledge is power. Maybe you are newer to the nanny profession and you feel like you are drowning in a sea of child related vocal words, brands, and trends. Staying current with parenting trends, new research in the child development world, and continuing your learning to be the best nanny you can be is super valuable. It can also help boost your self confidence as a care giver, empower you, and take away some the nanny fear you maybe experiencing. While there are a plethora of ways to continue your nanny education and stay sharp, here are a few resources for you to check out:

Become an INA Member (International Nanny Association)

Attend an INA Conference

Attend a Nannypalooza Conference

Attend (Inter)National Nanny Training Day

Read parenting and child development books

Find local child development conferences/classes/seminars

Become a certified NCS (Check out Newborn Care Solutions)

8. LET YOURSELF BE A LITTLE EXTRA

An Extra Nanny goes a little bit above and beyond. She is confident in her job, has great boundaries in place with her nanny family, and knows that lending a helping hand from time to time outside of her job profile can go a long way. She loves her nanny family as a whole and loves to create a space for them to thrive when she’s there and when she is off. We are kind of passionate about this subject here at The Nannyhood. Here’s a whole blog post about being an Extra Nanny, if you’d like to check it out!

I hope that you are having a great start 2019 so far. If it has been a struggle I pray that these words are like a cold drink to your soul and a compass for your new year. Keep going Nanny, you’re doing amazing!

Nickey Andree is a professional career nanny with 14+ 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. 

HOW TO FIND YOUR UNICORN NANNY FAMILY

Unicorns.

Though you maybe accustomed to seeing these magical blue-eyed horses with pearly spiraled horns on nearly every hipster mug, 3rd grade backpack, baby onesie, and novelty pillow you pass by… they are actually quite rare. Ironic isn’t it?

I mean, if we actually took a look back at their history… Unicorns are elusive. Although they are stunningly beautiful, they are also fantastic at blending into their surroundings. Who knows… maybe you’ve passed one today and didn’t even know it. They are believed to have healing powers and one weakness: purity. They too are pure hearted and are always in search of someone who can match them in the spotless department. A sweet, innocent maiden can almost always lure a unicorn out of hiding. And when it comes finding a nanny family, I have found that the principles can be the same. Stay with me.

If you have spent a hot minute hanging out in the nanny social media sphere, you have seen mention of them. The elusive “Unicorn Families”.

“Found my UNICORN FAMILY!”

“WHAT IS A UNICORN FAMILY?”

“Where is MY Unicorn Family?”

“Where did you guys find your Unicorn Families?”

“Is there an agency that’s only for Unicorn Families?”

“Don’t lose heart. YOUR Unicorn Family is out there waiting for you!”

Aside from carseat safety and vaccination debates, never has a subject invoked so many nanny emotions (I kid… kinda. *wink). Some argue that they don’t exist and putting this label on families is holding them to unattainable standards. Some think they know they’ve come across a unicorn in an interview- while others argue it’s impossible to know that soon. I mean, I get the emotions. I have had those seasons where I’ve enter into a working relationship with the complete opposite of a unicorn. Let’s call them donkeys. (Note: there is nothing wrong with sweet little donkeys. I am sure you understand the illustration for symbolism sake.) Working for donkeys is incredibly challenging. Burnout is so real… and I am a total advocate of boundaries and caring for your nanny heart. It is a little sad when someone gets to the place where they believe they will never find their nanny/family match. I mean as nannies, aren’t we supposed to believe in a little magic?

A unicorn family is a nanny family who is hard to find “and catch”. They are almost too good to be true- your perfect working match. And while finding them maybe a mission, there is one way to attract exactly what you are looking for: BE a Unicorn Nanny! One who is hard to catch and find. I have a secret for you… they are looking for YOU too. When a Unicorn Family and a Unicorn Nanny sign a contract together I am sure something magic happens somewhere on a planet made of candy. But more importantly, it creates a healthy and safe environment for children to grow, families to thrive, and nannies to succeed at their jobs.

So let’s get to it. Here are some ways to become a Unicorn Nanny and to find that awesome match!

1. Professional Nanny Resume

I am shocked at how many nannies I have come across recently that claim to be professionals and do not have a professional nanny resume. I am not sure of any other profession where you apply for a job and are not expected to present your resume. If you want the unicorns… you’re going to have to first be one. It’s best to keep this baby as streamlined as possible so it is easy for any future employer’s or nanny agencies to navigate. Make sure you are including the musts! Your contact details, qualifications, past experience/positions you’ve held, educational background, and certifications should all be listed in this bad boy. Some nannies also choose to include a head shot at the top of their resume for a bit of a personal touch. Totally up to you.

2. Nanny Portfolio

Now, all nannies should 100% have at least a resume. The unicorn nannies go a step above that. We show up to interviews with a nanny portfolio in hand. A nanny portfolio will help your unique nanny magic sparkle above the rest. And if you have been a nanny for a hot minute, I am sure you’ve seen that finding employment is not always the easiest of feats. Ok, let’s get that portfolio poppin’! Here are some great things to include should you choose to put together your own…

Cover Letter



First impressions are important! This is many times your first introduction with a potential (unicorn) family. Make sure to highlight why you chose nannying as your profession, a little about your background, maybe a bit about your childhood, and anything else you think will make you more eye catching to future employers. Let yourself shine through! Nannying is such an intimate job. Finding a family that you genuinely mesh with will go a very long way.

Resume

We have already touched on this a bit, but every nanny portfolio must include your professional nanny resume. It’s best to keep that baby as streamlined as possible so it is easy for any future employer’s or nanny agencies to read. Make sure you are including the musts! Your resume is one of the most important pieces in that magical portfolio.

References

You should get a written letter of reference from each family that you work for. I do suggest that you get letters from your nanny families while you are still working for them. This will ensure you are set up to win in your next job search, should things not end ideally. Most families are happy to provide them after you have ended your position with them. It is completely up to the family whether they include their personal contact details in your letter of reference. Some families will prefer that you provide their contact details separately to a family if they are really interested in hiring you. That way your information is not circulating all over that place. Totally understandable.

Sample Nanny Contract

Ok, let’s talk briefly about contracts! As a professional nanny, I can tell you with full confidence: nanny contracts are your friend. I personally will not go forward with a new family if they won’t agree to having a contract in place. Not because they aren’t incredible people, but because contracts provide a level of security and layout boundaries from the get go. Nannying is definitely both a professional AND personal job. Sometimes emotions can get involved. I find it’s best to have a hard copy of your agreement rather than relying on how each party remembers the agreements when conflicts arise. A contract will help you and your employer’s set the tone for your working relationship, clearly outline the expectations of both parties, and provide written documentation of what you all have agreed to. It honestly helps resolve potential conflict or tension just by existing. I am not sure about you, but I don't love conflict. Anything I can do to keep things running smoothly and happily, I will do.

Do your research. There are contract out there to download, purchase, or you can always write your own. Here is a great FREE contract template by our friends at Nanny Counsel.

Photos

A picture says a 1,000 words. It’s always a little more personal to add some photos of you and your nanny kiddos out about about. Use photos that show your special bond, activities that you love to do together, crafts/sensory play projects you have created for them, etc. Always make sure you ask for permission from your Mom and Dad Bosses before using or posting any photos of their children.

Local Activities

Gathering a little list of activities to do in your area shows potential unicorn families that you have researched the area and your stuff. Some great things to include are parks/playgrounds in the area, educational spots, age appropriate classes such as music, gymnastics, etc., This is especially great if you are a new transplant to a city. Parents like the ease of mind knowing that there caregiver knows the lay of the land. I added this to my portfolio when moving to Los Angeles and my mom boss later told me that the local activities list was part of the reason she and her husband chose to hire me over another gal. Do not under estimate the power of the local activities section of our portfolio, ha!

Certificates + Certifications

You should always include copies of certificates from classes and conferences that you’ve attended as well as copies of any saftey certifications that you have (CPR/first aid, lifeguarding, carseat technician, etc.). Make sure those CPR/first aids are current! Most CPR and first aid certifications are only valid for 2 years. Showing up to an interview with “I took is back in 2007” isn’t the best look, nor is it safe! Keeping those precious charges safe is number one.

These are the staples that I include in my own personal portfolio. If you feel like spicing it up a even more, some nannies will include:

  • Recipes that showcases cooking for picky eats or children with dietary restrictions

  • Age appropriate actives and craft samples

  • Templates for things such as emergency contacts, daily schedule samples, etc.

  • Proof of identity/address

  • Background checks

  • Driving records or copy of current diver’s license


Now that your portfolio looks well organized, be sure to make and bring along copies of any pages you want to leave behind for parents to reference later after your interview. Your portfolio won’t be staying with them. Families will often than not have several candidates to review during the hiring process. If your information is easy to reference and stands out, you are more likely to secure a second interview and hopefully land that unicorn nanny job you’ve been dreaming of!

3. Continued Education

Staying current with parenting trends, new research in the child development world, and continuing your learning to be the best nanny you can be is super valuable. While there are a plethora of ways to continue your nanny education and stay sharp, here are a few resources for you to check out:

Become an INA Member (International Nanny Association)

Attend an INA Conference

Attend a Nannypalooza Conference

Attend (Inter)National Nanny Training Day

Read parenting and child development books

Find local child development conferences/classes/seminars

Become a certified NCS (Check out Newborn Care Solutions)

4. Skills

Do you speak another language or sign? Are you a carseat technician? Can you teach your charges to play an instrument? Are you educated in the art of deep sea basket weaving? Ok, I don’t think that last one isn’t really a thing. The point is, many families love it when their nanny can impart a new skill to their littles ones. Having a fun or useful skill can definitely up your unicorn factor.

5. Your Gut + Screening

This one comes with experience and intuition. The more you are in this profession, the more you will get better at reading the red flags. Your nanny intuition will grow. You will know instinctively if you are sitting in front of a donkey or potential unicorn magic. If you are a newer nanny, don’t lose heart! You will become better and better at learning red flags, trusting your gut, and advocating for yourself. I won’t lie, it can hurt sometimes. But you can do it!

6. Be a Little Extra

If you are a little extra, families will write about it in your letters of reference. They will rave about you to potential employers. An Extra Nanny goes a little bit above and beyond. She is confident in her job, has great boundaries in place with her nanny family, and knows that lending a helping hand from time to time outside of her job profile can go a long way. She loves her nanny family as a whole and loves to create a space for them to thrive when she’s there and when she is off. We are kind of passionate about this subject here at The Nannyhood. Here’s a whole blog post about being an Extra Nanny, check it out!

The truth is, nanny… you won’t really know 100% that you’ve landed yourself a unicorn until down the road. When life has been lived and shared. After things have gotten messy and bonds have been formed. It’s one thing to know it’s a good fit… it’s another to label them a unicorn. And remember, just because there may be conflict from time to time doesn't mean it isn't a magical match. I am not aware of a family on this planet that hasn’t butted heads from time to time- but that doesn’t mean they lack any love for each other.

So here’s to you finding your very own Unicorn Family. Magic attracts magic. Be the magic you are longing to capture first- it’s attractive!

Happy nannying.

Nickey Andree is a professional career nanny with 14+ 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. 

Extra Nanny > Basic Nanny

Alright all my millennials…. I have a confession.

I am super EXTRA

It’s true. I am an over the top, love hard, talk loud, feel everything, sprinkle glitter on whatever I can type of gal…. and I am fully embracing it. I used to think it was a negative thing... like I was "too much". But being happy in your own skin and embracing the core of who you are is actually really beautiful...so call me extra. I am owning it. 

For all my friends out there who aren’t down with all the millennial slang- let me and the Urban Dictionary break it down for you:

Extra

  1. Over the top
  2. Doing the absolute damn most. For no reason.
  3. When you have to be better and overly go up and beyond for unnecessary reasons.
  4. Someone who is over the top for completely unnecessary reasons. They will go out of their way to prove this.

(See… I gave you multiple definitions just to really drive this point home.) #extra

Basic

  1. Used to describe someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary, or just simply worth devoting time or attention to.
  2. Only interested in things mainstream, popular, and trending.

So let me ask you this, Nanny... when was the last time you did something for your nanny family out the kindness of your heart? Something that wasn’t listed in your contract? Maybe you took the trash out because it was literally over flowing. Washed a window because the baby kept smacking it with those sticky little strawberry jam fingers? Pulled in the boxes off the front porch that were delivered? Filled the dog's water dish up simply because you noticed that it was empty? Folded that load of Mom and Dad Boss's towels because you saw they were down and you had a moment. They may seem like such tiny things, but in a nanny/employer relationship these little things can go a long way. 

Okay, let’s get a few things straight before we delve into the heart of it all. As a nanny advocate I do 100% believe in the power of a great nanny contract (if you are need of a contract, here is fabulous one by my friend Brooke at Nanny Counsel). I also believe in healthy communication with the families that I work for and that boundaries are oh so important. But I also believe that when these three things are being exercised in a healthy way on both ends, there isn’t a need to constantly worry that you are going to be taken advantage of. There are just some things that I am going to do from time to time even though they aren’t in my contract… and I am going to do them with a happy nanny heart. In a healthy nanny/employer relationship there is a natural ebb and flow of give and take. Look out for each other- you're on the same team! 

And before I address the basic nannies I would like to clear something up. There is a difference between being legitimately basic and being basic because you are wounded. When you are wounded, being basic doesn't always come from a bad place, it comes from self preservation. I definitely went through a season of being a wounded/basic nanny. I had been so battered and beat up emotionally by an employer that I was terrified to go that extra mile for quite some time after finding a new family. Maybe that's your experience. It's incredibly hard to be an Extra Nanny for a family who is late every night, doesn't pay you on time, or asks you to do things outside of your job profile on a daily basis for next to no pay. I get it. The natural response is to stick to the contract or to create a callus of "just business". I understand. 

It's the being basic just for basic sake that has been riling me up lately. Watching young nannies who have less than a year experience complaining that they should be making just as much as a seasoned career nanny of 10+ years. Having "nanny rants" because there was a note asking you if you could be so kind as to do the sink full of dishes as Mom Boss would be getting home right at 5pm and has company coming soon after. Charging top dollar but not being willing to ever go the extra mile when a family needs a little extra help with something. Sometimes in nannying entitlement needs to take a backseat to helpfulness and considering what is actually fair. Being a nanny is a professional position, but it's also very intimate. You are caring for people's children and often times their homes... if you don't genuinely love serving or caring for others, may I be so bold as to ask you to take a look at the career path you've chosen? What's your heart position? Living generously and being kind will never be something to look back on with regret. 

I dare you...  try to be a little more of an #ExtraNanny

ExtraBasicDECAL.PNG

Nickey Andree is a professional career nanny with 14+ 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. 

Paid to Play

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. 

Dear Mom Boss...

Dear Mom Boss,

When I accepted the position to be your full time nanny I had no idea all that it would encompass. I was ready to dive right in with your kiddos. To love them, protect them, teach them, guide them. What I didn’t realize was, that you were actually going to teach just as much about motherhood, as your kids were going to refine me as a nanny. And for that, I want to say thank you

Thank you for allowing me to love your children with my whole heart. No reservations. The fact that you entrusted me to care for your most precious treasures was one of my greatest honors. You empowered me as a caregiver to give all I had by not being threatened by my bond with your babies. Thanks so much for sharing them with me. 

Thank you for showing me what it means to be super. Showing me how to “do it all”.  I admire you for doing your job so well and still coming home to correct 6th grade homework, read books in bed, listen to your 5 year old recount the day over and over again, work out, eat dinner, answer those work emails. You have real life magical powers. I hope that I have managed to acquire some of them too. 

Thank you for not getting offended when I offered my advice and for asking my opinion often. Me teaching YOU was an honor. 

Thank you for all always letting me share in the firsts. Whether that was while I was on the clock, texting me a video of those first wobbly steps, or a picture of that first tooth cutting through. They were always a highlight for me. I loved that we could always celebrate together. 

Thank you for all of those afternoons you came home from work at nap time with ice cream and red wine to watch DVRed episodes of The Bachelor. It may sound silly, but those moments that you connected with me as “Nickey” and not “the nanny” really did my soul well. It made me want to do my job better. 

Thank you for being a safe place to learn boundaries. I have had a few jobs in the past where I was taken advantage of and put in incredibly awkward situations. Thank you for always being willing to communicate with me and remember that I am person with a life outside of work. 

Thank you for inviting me to the kid’s birthday parties, baseball games, ballet recitals, musicals, and family days at Disneyland. In those moments I knew I wasn’t just the hired help- but also an honorary family member. I thrive in family… thank you for identifying that. 

Thank you for the Christmas bonuses, paid days off to recharge, plane tickets to visit my family, helping me fix my broken down car. Those gestures were not just incredibly generous… but also made me feel so valuable. 

Thank you for introducing me to The Container Store. My little borderline OCD nanny heart was so elated. It’s amazing what organizing a kid’s craft cupboard can do for a nanny. 

Thank you for demonstrating healthy marriage to me. Being a nanny is such an intimate job. We see more than anyone realizes. Thanks for demonstrating the communication, humor, love, and respect you have for one another. I took mental notes. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn how to be a mother. Everyday I sent working with your kids was the best “practice” I could ask for. It was so fun to watch them pick up both of our mannerisms and quirks. They’re basically the coolest kids on the block. 

A nanny always knows how hard it is going to be to eventually leave her charges when a job comes to an end- but I never realized how hard it was going to be for me to leave my employer as well. 

Thank you for everything. I admire you. I honor you. 

Love, 

Your Nanny

 

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. 

The Value of Your Nanny Heart

Oh, Nanny. I see you.

I hope you know just how valuable that nanny heart beating on the inside of your chest truly is. Nannying can be such a beautiful and rewarding job… it can also be incredibly difficult. I get it. There’s really not another job quite like it on this planet- it’s strangely intimate. If you have been blessed with amazing nanny families every single time who treat you like gold, that’s amazing! I am so so glad- you deserve it. Unfortunately, that’s not everyone’s story. For many of us, burnout has been a real struggle.

I remember sitting on the floor of my room during an abusive live-in gig. Knees pulled to my chest and tears falling down my face. I wanted to throw in the towel with nannying altogether. I was tired of being yelled at, begging to be paid, not clocking off because my MB wouldn’t come home, being put in very uncomfortable & awkward situations… the list goes on. My nanny heart was definitely bleeding and I was most definitely feeling the pressure. But I loved working with children, so I made a decision to channel that pressure into growth. For me that looked like quitting that particular job (I am by no means telling you to quit your job. If that's whats best for you, go for it!) I had to. I believe there are 3 things over the past 14 years that I have despised in the moment, but in hindsight have made me into a better nanny today. They are messy. They don't feel good. But if you lean in and decide to grow from them… they can be worth it.

The first is pressure.

I am definitely not a scientist- but I do assist little ones with science projects (that’s basically the same thing, right? Ha!)…so, here’s a little science lesson for all of us about diamonds. In order for diamonds to form, a temperature of over 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit and a very high pressure is required (The equivalent of the weight of over 4 thousand grown men standing on your foot). In the natural environment, these conditions are only found deep beneath the Earth’s surface in the layer called the mantel. When these conditions are present- carbon turns to diamonds. I don't know about you, but I don't think the pressure of 4 thousand grown men standing my foot would feel the greatest. I mean sometimes just having one of my nanny kids accidentally step on my foot hurts! But it got me thinking.

If the pressure has taught me anything… it’s taught me this: in the nanny industry I have to be my own best advocate, and to be my own best advocate I need to constantly educate myself and know the industry standards. Knowing your value and worth is imperative. Learn a lesson every single time you feel that uncomfortable pressure. Getting taken advantage of, or settling for a pay rate that you really weren’t actually comfortable with, telling your bosses that you really can’t stay an extra 45 minutes every single night. The pressure can hurt… but if decided to learn from it, it will make you into more of a diamond nanny. Let those moments refine you. Let them fuel you to be your own advocate. Becoming a great advocate unfortunately comes by experience through learning to navigate tough situations. Those scars are actually increasing your nanny value because you learned how to better handle confrontation in a healthy way. You become aware of your worth.

The second is irritation.

These are the things that just seem to chip away at you. In the moment you think, “I’ll just ignore it this time and bring it up later if it happens again”. It happens again… and again. It irritates you and you go back and forth about whether you’ve waited too long to address it- maybe it’s too late? Like coming to work and finding a whole sink and counter top full of dirty dishes from the weekend… every single Monday.

Irritations are another example of something that can sharpen you into an even better nanny. Take a pearl for example. That beautiful little ball we make into jewelry to adorn ourselves with; it’s literally produced from an irritation. When a parasite or a grain of sand works its way into an oyster, it exerts a defense mechanism. A fluid is used to coat that tiny little irritant (that feels like a giant boulder). Layer upon layer of this coating (called ‘nacre’) is deposited until a beautiful pearl is formed.

Let those irritations make you a better communicator. In those situations you can learn. You will learn where to set boundaries. You'll learn your worth. You’ll learn about grace and where to apply it. You’ll learn empathy and how to be kind when you don’t feel like it. You will learn how to see the red flags before taking a job rather than after- and in this industry, those lessons are invaluable.

The third is collision.

Ok, let’s talk about gold. I love it. I love how it sparkles. I love the symbolism of its value. And when I learned how it originally got to earth… I began to love it even more.

Again, being a nanny who assists 3rd graders in their science fair projects, I am clearly a trove of scientific knowledge (just kidding of course- Ha!). Gold is actually formed inside of massive stars when they explode into a supernova. Of course, after a star supernovas and forms gold, the gold had to travel to Earth in some way. Scientists have found evidence that gold arrived via asteroids when they collided with earth, while it was still quite young.

Allow yourself to love your nanny kids with all of your heart… without fear or reservation. Allow their little hearts to collide with yours like those gold covered asteroids collided with earth.  Knowing that you could indeed get hurt when a job ends. Allow yourself to fully invest into their lives and to learn from them. That can be difficult… but that’s were the gold lies, Nanny. It’s what makes everything else in this job worth it.

The Nannyhood Heart symbolizes Y-O-U. Worth far more than diamonds…pearls… or even gold. Produced under pressure- refined by irritation. Every geometric line etched in the heart symbolizes the value added to your nanny heart through lessons you’ve gathered along the way.  You are shaping young lives. You are championing families to thrive. You are oh so valuable.

I see you.

 
 

Nickey Andree is a professional career nanny with 14+ 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.