"Were you born before or after World War II?"
That's what "my" 9 year old girl asked me one night before bed.
I've been a full-time nanny of four (ages 6, 9, 12, 16) since January of this year.
And I'm realizing there's an endless supply of hilarious things they say.
If you've ever considered being a nanny (or know someone who has), then I hope this post will help in the decision of whether or not it's something to really pursue:
1. Are you okay with working 2nd shift? There have been weeks where I didn't see my mom even though I live with her because she was asleep when I got home and gone to work when I woke up. It's definitely something to keep in mind when considering being a nanny. Many children are in school, so you'll probably be on a different schedule than the 9 to 5 crowd. For me at least, the hours are fairly flexible. I can go in early to buy groceries, prep a meal, clean rooms, do laundry and dishes, or I can just be there in time to pick them up from school or get them off the bus. Then I can finish things up after they've gone to bed. Some days I'll go in at 10am then others at 4pm.
2. Do you not mind being made to feel old? Besides the WWII question, these kids can make me feel old. Last night I told the boy that I was his age twenty. years. ago. They've also never heard of things that were a big part of my childhood. Speaking of my childhood...
3. Do you want to feel guilty for your behavior as a child? I thought I was the easiest kid to raise ever. I never broke a bone, never did drugs, always made good grades. Yeah, that's great, but kids are still a lot of work and responsibility. It takes brainpower to teach a kid to be respectful while also making sure they do their homework that gives them "a headache," eat their supper that's "disgusting," and go to sleep because it's an hour passed their bedtime. I'm sorry, Mama.
4. Do you love adventure? Every week, if not every day, is an adventure. Sometimes it's a walk to the pond to throw rocks, or a visit to their school book fair, or a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, or almost an entire day in the Apple store because someone dropped her phone. Every day is different enough to be fun, but enough stays the same (like the kids' names and where their house is) so that it doesn't feel like it's my first day again. Not that my first day was bad; I just didn't know where anything in their house was or what their routines were.
|Another unexpected adventure was making an adorable Dorothy outfit for her "dress up as a book character" day at school.|
5. Do you like the idea of getting paid to read and be read to? My boss' secretary told me that the only thing he's said to her about me is, "She stays a little later than other nannies, but she reads to my kids and I like that." I was just doing what they asked me to, although I do read more than one book a night. Reading is important to most parents (& teachers), so it's a huge plus if you enjoy it!
6. Do you genuinely care about people you just met? The mom told me with tears in her eyes that it's so hard to find someone like me who really cares about their children. I didn't feel like I had done anything special; it's just natural for me to care about people. That will make your job so much easier. If you don't care about people, don't waste your time or theirs. I've had a job where they told me maybe I care too much about the kids, so there are jobs where you don't have to care so much. Being a nanny is not one of them.
7. Do you love to laugh? The 6 year old went outside in his PJs to get his dad from the barn. So when he got back, I asked him to put his shoes away. I went upstairs searching for crayons for their upcoming vacation. He finds me in the laundry room later and says, "Megan, I have something funny to tell you. I just walked all around the house looking for my shoes! Then I realized they were on my feet the whole time." It's a good lesson to learn now, buddy. I'm glad he was such a good sport about it. And I love that he wanted to tell me; otherwise I wouldn't have had that great laugh. They do and say things daily to make me laugh. Every single one of them has cracked me up! Not only is is good for you if you like laughing, but it helps them be in a better mood and see you as more approachable.
8. Are you ready to be able to relate to nine-tenths of the things moms say? "I miss my kids already, and I just left them. And I'll see them again in 2 days." I never thought I'd say that about my own kids much less anyone else's. I've also caught myself thinking, "I'm excited to fold laundry because I get to sit down." I read a post of things about being a mom, and one of them said, "You run toward vomit instead of away from it." I had just done that the week before. Cleaned it up & also did the whole "hold her hair back while she's bent over the trashcan" thing. This was so unexpected for me.
9. Can you handle being treated like family? This includes being ignored, locked out of the house, and complained to. The day after I wrote the first draft of this post, one kid said, "I'm glad you're not going to the beach with us," because I had to make her clean her room before they left. Being a nanny can be hard on your emotions. You have to be able to let stuff go and remember you are awesome even when the kids don't think you are. But being treated like family also includes being invited to lunch at school, having inside jokes, getting an unexpected hug, and being given a valentine card with a note from each one! They'll break your heart, but they'll also melt it.
If you answered yes to most of these questions, I highly recommend signing up on Care.com which is where I found this job as well as other part-time babysitting jobs. There are lots of opportunities according to zipcode, & it's easy to use. Oh, and it's free! I'm happy to answer any questions you have about it or about being a nanny in general.
If you've been a nanny, what questions would you add to this list?