Guest Post

ADDING TO YOUR NANNY CREW

“I’m pregnant!”

Most nannies get excited to hear those two words. After all, it usually means a little job security. It also means adding a new personality into your perfect little nanny pack. How do you navigate this new territory? Is your heart big enough to love another nanny kid? Will things be the same? Different? How so? So many thoughts and emotions!

Time to be real. Change is hard for me. Once in get in my groove, I struggle to adapt to new changes long term. The thought of adding a new tiny human permanently was so exciting, but also incredibly scary. I immediately started making lists of everything that needed to be done and imagining how my relationship with my singleton would change.

Welcoming a second (or third or fourth) nanny kid can be tricky. You don’t want to step on toes when it comes to nesting and maternity leave is on the horizon. Yikes! But, the best advice anyone will give you is to schedule a sit down with both parents periodically throughout the pregnancy.

Things that may be helpful to discuss:

  • Pay Raise
  • Parental leave – how will it affect your hours and pay; when will pay increase take place; how often will you have older siblings, baby, or all children, etc.
  • Baby prep – open a line of communication with the parents on what they want/need help with. Volunteer to jump in with baby laundry, washing bottles, etc.
  • How they want to work with older siblings on welcoming the new baby. Offer to help with research and different books to read. Offer advice if they seemed overwhelmed.
  • Flu season (if born during the late fall through spring)
  • Vaccinations – whether you will be required to get the T-Dap and/or flu vaccine

Once you get that all laid out, it’s time to prep for the new tiny human! There’s a learning curve and adjustment period when adding another baby to your crew, so don’t be afraid to ask other nannies for help and advice. It’s important to remember that each child is different, every situation is different, and we can’t know how to handle every situation perfectly. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to baby wear, but you don’t know how. Maybe you have an older sibling who is truly struggling with accepting baby. Maybe you suspect Mom Boss is dealing with postpartum. Maybe you’re stuck on what double stroller is the best. Ask! Ask for advice and different strategies. Many nannies have already been in your position and can offer some help!

Now let’s talk matters of the heart. Many of us get attached to our nanny kids to the point where we can’t imagine adding one more person (or sometimes multiples) in. But there’s good news. Your heart is big enough and you will always have room to add more love! The love may look a little different because every child is different, but the amount will be the same.

My oldest nanny kid loves cars, trucks and trains. He would much rather play by himself and he keeps to himself at home. At the most we’ll read a couple Thomas books and sing the theme song about 20 times. The rest of the time he’s off on his own playing with his giant train set up. However his baby sister is a diva. She loves being the center of attention and rough-housing. If I sit down to catch my breath, she’s right there climbing up on me and throwing herself back for flips. If I’m prepping lunch in the kitchen, she’s right there trying to climb my leg. They are two very opposite kids, but they each hold half of my heart. It’s taken me 10 months of having baby sister around, but I’ve finally realized that even though things are so very different, I wouldn’t change them for the world.

Stephanie Crabill is a former preschool teacher turned nanny. With an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education, 9+ years of teaching experience, and nearly 5 years of nanny full time experience; Stephanie is passionate about children and care givers. When she isn't wrangling her nanny kiddos you can find her curled up with a book (most likely Harry Potter), going on adventures with her Husband, Jason and their dog, Gary. You can follow along with Nanny Steph on her blog www.thenannyjournals.com

How to be your own Advocate

 

 

The nanny profession is unlike any other. There are laws and standards that apply specifically to the nanny profession, and because of that, things can get really confusing. Unlike other professions, nannies do not have an HR Department. This means, for the most part, nannies are solely responsible for being their own HR Department. This can be incredibly intimidating and oftentimes nannies simply do not prioritize nor put in the effort, to be their own advocate. But here’s the thing, being your own advocate can literally make the difference between you being paid illegally and getting taken advantage of and you working for a family who pays you completely legally and treats you the way you deserve. So, let’s dive right in and talk about the 3 steps you can take to become your own advocate:

1. LEARN THE NANNY LAWS/INDUSTRY STANDARDS. The first step in becoming your own adovacate, is to learn what it is you are advocating for. If you don’t know your own profession like the back of your hand, it’s going to be really hard to fight for what you deserve. This step takes a lot of work, but it’s really something every nanny should do. There are many resources out there to help you learn the nanny laws and industry standards, it’s just a matter of reading through article after article to ensure you know what you’re talking about! There isn’t enough time to delve into all these laws and industry standards in this article, but here is a brief summary (including links for more info) of the topics you NEED to be well versed on if you’re in the nanny profession:

  • Nannies cannot be paid salary. Per the FLSA, nannies are non-exempt hourly employees. This means, legally nannies must be paid hourly for every hour worked and cannot be paid a weekly/yearly salary.

  • Legally nannies must be issued a W-2, not a 1099. Many parents think that their nanny is an independent contractor and can be issued a 1099, but they can’t. When nannies receive a 1099, they pay double taxes — they pay their portion of taxes (employee taxes) and their nanny family’s portion of taxes (employer taxes) as well. Never ever ever, under any circumstances, accept a 1099 from a family.

  • Because nannies are hourly employees, they are entitled to overtime on anything over 40 hours in a 7 day period. So, if you work 50 hours per week, 10 of those hours should be at a rate of time and a half.

  • Banking hours is illegal. Banking hours is when parents have their nanny “make up” hours without pay. For example, if a family goes out of town for a long weekend and the nanny gets Friday off and is still paid because they have guaranteed hours, the family cannot save those hours from Friday and have the nanny make them up at a later time. As mentioned above, legally nannies must be paid for every hour worked.

  • Guaranteed hours. This is not a law, but an industry standard that just about every nanny receives. Guaranteed hours means in exchange for guaranteeing your availability to a family, they will in return guarantee your pay. So in the banking hours example above where the nanny has Friday off because the family goes out of town and doesn’t need them to work, because the nanny has guaranteed hours, the family still pays the nanny for the day.

  • It is industry standard for professional nannies to receive 1-2 weeks paid vacation per year as well as some sick days (less for newer or part-time nannies and more for experienced/full-time nannies).

  • If you use your personal car for work, you should be getting reimbursed at the IRS reimbursement rate (53.5 cents/mile as of January 1, 2017). It is completely unreasonable for parents to expect their nanny to drive their kids all around, and not reimburse them mileage. It’s not recommended to agree to a flat gas stipend, because it’s not just gas that needs to be accounted for, but also the wear and tear on the vehicle.

2. Once you’ve thoroughly learned all about the topics listed in step 1, it’s time to make sure you’ve got a solid contract in place that addresses all these items. This step is actually pretty easy because there is an amazing free nanny contract out there to help you. Nannies refer to it as “the learning contract”, because you literally learn the laws and industry standards as you fill it out. It’s a great option for nannies who are nervous to speak up and ask for what they deserve, because the contract does the talking for you. This contract covers everything mentioned above, plus more. Click HERE to download your free copy.

3. Now that you’ve learned the laws and industry standards and have a comprehensive contract in place, the only thing left to do is gain the confidence to clearly communicate with your employers. Even with steps 1 and 2 in place, it is still possible to get taken advantage of! Oftentimes parents start adding more responsibilities to a nanny’s plate that are not listed in the contract, and suddenly the nanny is doing significantly more work without a pay raise. Another common problem is parents habitually arriving home late and not respecting that their nanny has a life outside of caring for their kids. Because of issues like this, it is imperative nannies learn how to communicate. It can be really intimidating to confront your boss when you feel you are being mistreated, but if you don’t, you’re only going to get resentful and start to dislike your job. A great way to reduce the anxiety of having to confront your employers, is to practice what you’re going to say with a friend. For these types of role plays, practicing with a nanny friend who “gets it”, is the best option. In fact, connecting with other nannies in general, is a great way to hold yourself accountable and ensure you are properly advocating for yourself.

As a nanny, having to advocate for ourselves can be exhausting. It’s a huge responsibility and if I’m being completely honest, takes a lot of practice. It will take a while to become truly well versed on the nanny laws and industry standards. It will also take while to learn how to effectively and professionally communicate. But, if you’re passionate about being a nanny and this is your career choice, it’s worth putting in the time to make sure you are taking care of YOU.

Brooke Weglarz is a professional nanny of 10+ years with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. She is a passionate nanny advocate and the creator of nannycounsel.com, an advice blog for nannies and parents. Her goal is to help foster fair and harmonious relationships between families and nannies. She resides in Nashville and in her spare time is a lifestyle portrait photographer. You can also find her on instagram @nannycounsel.



 

Nanny Shares Aren't For the Faint of Heart

Ok. Picture it. It’s a gorgeous winter Wednesday. I am a nanny share nanny, so at the time, I’ve got a 16 month old and a 13 month old. Normally, both are happy and content to play independently. But not today. Not this morning.

Both toddlers are a bit clingy on this day. It’s housekeeper day, and I’m trying to get all the toys picked up before they arrive. I’m also expecting a repairman to arrive before our departure. We’ve got to get out the door to pick Grandma up on our way to gymnastics, so I’m gathering snacks and sippy cups; I’m tossing toys in baskets; getting shoes buckled on tiny feet; doing last minute diaper checks; and waiting for the cleaning crew and repairman. Then I realize I need to go to the bathroom myself…. So I haul both crying kids to the upstairs bathroom. Now, I don't normally bring my kids in to the bathroom with me, I'm a closed-door type of gal; however, like I said, the kids were both off kilter and I didn't feel like torturing us further (ironic, I know). I sit and do my business, with screaming, grabbing, runny-nosed children literally clawing at me, begging to be held. I grab the youngest and lay him at my feet on the rug, which seems to help settle him; meanwhile, my 16 month old is losing her mind. I mean, she’s seriously unhappy, for reasons unbeknownst to me. This wasn’t an uncommon occurrence, just unfortunate timing for her. I finish, well, uh pooping, flush the toilet, and immediately dread overcomes me. You see, the toilets at my nanny family’s house are all sensitive. They require you to flush before you wipe, and I just failed to do so. So….brown, dirty water begins to rise in the toilet bowl, while panic is rising within me. Remember, we’re literally on our way out the door. Grandma is waiting for us at the other house. And this can’t be happening. A million thoughts run thru my head “I can’t leave this for the housecleaner. I can’t. I’d die. But what am I to do?” I happen to know, from experience, there is NO plunger to be found in this house. Like I said, I had already learned the hard way about the toilet situation. The kids are standing at my feet, still screaming. I need to get us all out the door. I’m freaking out over the toilet about to overflow….when finally the water recedes! I send up a silent and very sincere prayer to God to “please, please let the toilet flush”. I take a risk, flush the toilet, and glory be, it all went down! I quickly wash my hands, grab both kids, head downstairs. We’re now sitting on the entry floor as I put on my shoes, when the cleaning crew walks in the door. Followed closely by the repairman. I don’t mention a thing to either of them, I shoot MB a quick text asking her to grab a plunger on her way home, grab the backpack, the kids, and we’re gone.

Dear blessed Grandma could tell something was up when we pulled in the driveway. I laughed as I recounted to both MB and Grandma the entire situation. Kids crying at your feet, while you sit on the toilet is the epitome of a Wednesday-hump day, amiright?

Nanny sharing isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s real. It can be dark, it can be crappy (pun 100% intended), but it is so rewarding. My little’s are each other’s best friends. It’s so beautiful to watch them share and empathize with each other. And it’s precious to hear one walking around the house calling for the other, Marco Polo-Style. Do I think everyone should nanny share? No. Not everyone can handle it. But for those who can, I encourage you to jump into the deep side of the pool and let’s kick ass together!

Here are a few tips from a pro, to help you find a lasting nanny share:

  • Compatibility! Find families that match your style, not necessarily each other. YOU are the caregiver, so you need to make sure you are comfortable caring for each child in the manner in which their parents desire.

  • Grace! Be gracious to your families, and they will *hopefully* show it back to you. Chaos happens. Shoes get lost. Tires go flat. Being understanding when one of your nanny families has family in town, or needs you to pick up an extra task or two for a few days, or any number of possibilities. These are busy families; just remember everyone needs grace from time to time.

  • Speak up! Don’t be afraid to voice concern over a safety issue. Or a scheduling conflict. I have had to tell families “I understand your child doesn’t care about stairs, but our share friend does; and therefore I can not work without the stairs/chemicals/dog/fill-in-the-blank being properly taken care of.” In a nanny share, having the kids on a similar schedule means more time to get out of the house, some down time for you, and is just all around the ideal way to go. This doesn’t occur to first time parents, so talk to them about it! Nothing ever changes if you don’t bring the issue up to discuss.

For more on nanny shares, you can check out my blog pieces on the Pareday.com website!

Britney Fredrickson started out as an infant and toddler teacher in a Montessori center, while pursuing her B.A. in Child Development. After several years teaching, she transitioned in to the nanny sector, and now specializes in infant and toddler nanny shares. She also serves as the Community Manager on the Pareday team, a nanny share website devoted to helping families and nannies connect to form successful nanny shares. A California native, Britney and her husband recently relocated to Colorado with their dog and cat. You can follow Britney at www.itsfinallynaptime.com, @itsfinallynaptime on Facebook and Instagram, or on Twitter @finallynaptime, for real-life anecdotes, nanny tips, and creative learning activities

Nanny Share Specialist
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The Heart Behind your Nanny Box

Hi! 

I’m Jada, owner and operator of The Nanny Box, a seasonal appreciation box that aims to celebrates nannies for all of their hard work (which is where our fun hashtag #celebratenannylife came from) and acknowledges their worth!  When Nickey asked me to share about the heart behind the Nanny Box to The Nannyhood, I was so excited to do so because that’s what I want to be displayed in everything we do here at TNB. From the bright, colorful, and confetti filled photos, to the messages and products we send in every package. I want everyone that comes across The Nanny Box (especially nannies) to know and see our heart. We aren’t here to be the next big “try before you buy” box, and I didn’t start a business to quit my wonderful nanny job. I did this because I believe every nanny deserves to be celebrated, and appreciated all year roun’ (in my Texas voice)!

Two years ago, I had an idea that was inspired by my nanny family at the time, and the ever so popular rise of surprise boxes showing up at your door. I have been blessed with some of the most amazing employers throughout most of my nannying career, and this family in particular made me feel so appreciated. From tangible gifts, to random “we are so grateful for you!” texts, knowing that my worth was being recognized, and what I was doing was being appreciated just fueled me to work even harder. I believe every nanny wants that; every employee wants to feel appreciated. It gives us a sense of purpose, and meaning to know that what we are doing is being recognized and making a difference in some way. But after joining several facebook groups, and connecting with other nannies in my area, I realized that wasn’t the case. Some nannies rarely heard the two simple, yet powerful words  “thank you.” Others had employers who viewed their work as nothing more than a glorified babysitter. I wanted to create a way for employers to be able to send a thoughtful gift to their nanny without having to put it together, and I wanted nannies. 

Now, back to the popular surprise boxes that were popping up around the time of my initial idea of TNB. I couldn’t believe how out of all the subscription boxes that were popping up, there wasn’t anything popping up for nannies! Even dogs had a subscription box. I wanted to change that. But I didn’t want to just create another subscription box, I wanted to create a way to send the gift of appreciation to nannies. 

You may wonder why there’s so much confetti all over our social media or our packaged boxes. It’s because we are having a party that we don’t plan on ending! We are celebrating something and more specifically, someone. Nannies are so valuable, and I have been blessed to have been able to meet some of the sweetest, creative, fun, and loving nannies out there! There are hundreds of nannies sharing their nanny adventures as their online nanny diary. 

I envisioned nannies coming home after a long day with the littles, to a box with their name on it waiting for them at their doorstep, and finding gifts that were picked out with them in mind. Gifts like a face mask saying “pamper yourself, you deserve it” or a book related to this field because it’s so nice being able to read another nanny’s perspective and to relate, laugh, and sometimes even cry at their experiences. You may receive a necklace as our way of saying, “get out of your nanny gear, and have some fun on your day off!” Or even a power bar because we know how useful one can be while out and about with your nanny babes. 

The heart behind The Nanny Box isn’t a subscription…it’s an appreciation for all that nannies do. If you’re a nanny and you’re reading this, I want you to know that as a nanny myself, I know what it’s like to struggle with saying no when your bosses ask for you to work late. I know what it’s like to feel bad when you finally get the courage to ask for a day off. I know the battle of settling for less than what you’re worth when it comes to pay. I know what it feels like to love a child who isn’t your own. I know what it’s like to think and talk about your nanny family twenty…four…seven!! When you get a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can’t wait to introduce them to your charge. You spend half your paycheck on your nanny babes because you know them so well and just want to see them smile. 

The heart behind The Nanny Box wants to reveal the heart of the actual nanny we are celebrating in the first place. Confetti is a big deal for us, and for many it means different things. But for us, we want you to see confetti as a symbol of the celebration we are having for you, because you’re worth it!

TheNannyBox - logo.design. White   background 900x900.jpg

Jada Pickett is a professional Nanny/Advocate, Media Personality and Founder of The Nanny Box! The Nanny Box is a seasonal gift box created for families and nanny agencies to have a unique and meaningful way to show their nanny appreciation. Jada is passionate about celebrating nanny life and placing value on the nanny profession. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and sprinkles a little confetti wherever she goes.