- Samantha -
Tell us a little bit about how you decided to become a nanny?
I think it really goes back to my foundation and how I was raised. My father worked in the public and private service industry, and it was all very fascinating to me. Watching your parents serve others, and being taught that everyone has something they can bring to the table, regardless of how small the contribution is, really sticks with you. My mom was a stay at home mom, and we were taught to be there for other people when they needed us, and to lead by example. At age 11 I started volunteering in the nursery and by 13 I had a regular afternoon nanny job, and a weekly Sunday gig. I continued to hear people say I needed to pursue working with children, but it never occurred to me that taking care of kids could be a career. Teaching was never my calling. Staying inside a classroom all day, and not being able to teach the children the real life things that were important to me, as a fellow human, wasn’t something I was interested in. How could I turn “being a mom” into a paid job!? I continued babysitting on occasion, and had a few “regular” nanny jobs. At 18, I decided to take the plunge and head into working full time for one family exclusively. I met them in 2008, they had 4 children at the time, and they changed my life forever. I became a built in family member, a big sister, a “meanie” when it was required, an assistant, a receptionist, a chef, a nurse, a clown, an organizer, a planner, a best friend, and a catch all for anything and everything they needed. I stayed with them through 4 years, 3 pets, 2 adoptions, 2 businesses and a lifetime of memories. I knew I had to continue to pursue this type of job. That was it for me – I would be the “glue” in someone’s family. If my small contribution of holding the house together could allow other people to do amazing things for society, then this was how it was going to be. I would try to help support today’s leaders, and raise up tomorrow’s. My parents had prepped me just perfectly for this job, and I can’t thank them enough!
What experiences best prepared you for this career?
I think it has a lot to do with how I was raised. In addition, I am the oldest of 3 girls, so being “bossy”, as my sisters call me, came naturally. I was an organizer, a planner, and a perfectionist, from birth, I learned my teaching and homemaking skills from my mother, and got my service skills from my father. Life has a funny way of prepping you for exactly what you need.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I think the most challenging part of my job is making sure that I devote enough time to really raising and molding the children that I work with. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day, and I find myself running around from place to place, when in reality, sometimes you just have to stop and take a minute to appreciate the stage that the kids are at right now. Take a deep breath, and just appreciate the fact that we get raise tiny humans! That high strung kid with anxiety is going to harness that and be one heck of a lawyer one day, that kid who is so kind and compassionate is going to be someone’s mother one day, that kid who doesn’t do so well in school is going to find a way to change the world. We are the ones who are responsible for making sure they get there, and that’s not always an easy job.
How would you define success in your current position?
I really think I’ve found it. We’ve got 5 amazing kids who I love more than anything! They are kind, caring, lovable kids who are going to do great things! Helping raise amazing people is success for me.
How would you explain to a parent that you are “Not Just a Nanny”?
- What are some of your best qualities that make you a great nanny and how does that explain you are “Not Just a Nanny”?
People notice a good nanny. They see things from the outside. A nanny who does everything – manages the kids schedule, does play dates, goes grocery shopping, dropped off the payment for Cub Scouts, wrote the “thank you” notes from little Billy’s birthday, and texts back even when it’s not “working time”. They see the end result, and they like what they see. They would like to have someone like this in their lives, and want to know how they can make it happen. They don’t realize that when you hire a nanny, family assistant, or house manager you are really hiring another family member. You are hiring a stand in parent for your children for 20, 40, or even 60 hours a week. You are hiring someone who will be there no matter what. Someone who will throw up on the couch with your child when everyone’s sick, someone who will be in the kids scrapbook, and someone who ultimately becomes family. The people who ask me how they can find this rockstar nanny, are often the same ones who ask me what I’m going to do after I leave my family, when I’m going to be done with school, and what job I want to have long term. They see my job as a stepping stone – something I am doing out of necessity or to get to something better. They don’t understand that this is the “something better”. This job is a choice, and at the end of the day I will always choose the path that makes the most difference in the life of a family.
- Give us an example of when you feel you went the extra mile for a family/child(ren)?
I think going the extra mile on a daily basis is what makes us special and separates us from being “just a nanny”. It’s not about us. It’s not just a job. This is someone’s family, someone’s children, and the choices we make daily are the ones that can affect them long term. Doing this job is exhausting, and not for everyone, and of course, I recommend an awesome vacation at least twice a year, but I encourage you to strive to be an above and beyond nanny. So often we roll our eyes that we are asked to do some additional task, walk the dog, pack for a move, re-design the playroom, whatever it is, big or small, ask yourself if it helps the family. If the answer is yes, then put on a smile and get it done. This does not mean take away from your daily duties, or get burnt out (so easy in this profession), but try to find a way to go above and beyond on a regular basis! Trust me, it will help everyone, and raise our collective value as nannies at the same time!