Written in collaboration with Rachel Zecher, aka @nannying_in_nyc of Instagram.
Being a nanny is a wonderful gift. Sure it’s exhausting and difficult at times, but ultimately it’s highly rewarding. You get to experience the world from the view of a child, teach valuable lessons, and love other people’s children like your own. But it doesn’t last forever. Eventually it will be time to move on — sometimes naturally and sometimes by choice. Because caring for children can be emotional, it’s often difficult to know when to bow out. Ask yourself if you’re experiencing any of the following signs that it might be time to move on from your current nanny position.
Your employers are not upholding their end of the contract.
First of all, having a contract to outline pay and expectations on either end of a nanny agreement is crucial. It allows both parties to be on the same page with a physical document to come back to in situations where someone seems to be slacking on their end of the arrangement. Don’t ever let that person be you. If your employers are home more than they had originally communicated, expect you to do excess housework, or aren’t paying you according to your contract, it’s important to stand up for yourself and remind your nanny-parents of your written agreement. If they continue to disregard that arrangement, it might be time to move on.
Communication is lacking.
This is similar to the previous section, but is more about verbal communication than a written contract. It may happen that situations in a family change or that they discover something they had originally communicated with you no longer applies. That’s okay; it happens. What isn’t okay is when they don’t tell you about the change. No matter how big or small the issue, everything within a nanny/nanny-family relationship should be spoken about. Communication is key. Another issue outside of simple lack of communication is when your employers say one thing and do another. That’s confusing for a nanny. A nanny’s job is so intricately involved in her nanny family’s lives that she needs to know what’s going on and where her obligations lie. If your employers are not communicating (especially after several attempts to fix the issue), are indecisive, vague or contradict themselves, it might be time to move on.
You employers don’t trust you or show you respect as a professional.
Micromanagers. A nanny’s worst nightmare, am I right? Experienced nannies know how to do their jobs, and know how to do them well. We don’t need someone telling us what to do every second of everyday, especially considering most nannies share the self-starter and perfectionist traits. It happens that parents feel anxiety when leaving their child with someone they really don’t know. I can understand that. Unfortunately, if they choose to hire a nanny, the most important thing they can do for your relationship is to trust you. If your nanny family restricts you from leaving the home or occasionally gives you permission to take them places, it means they don’t trust you. It likely has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Certain types of parents are not meant to employ nannies. They either can’t trust people or don’t respect nannies as professionals who can mange themselves. Either way, it may be time to move on.
You’re unhappy or feel bitter going to work everyday.
This might seem obvious, but feelings of unhappiness or bitterness are not necessarily a reason to leave a job. Some weeks, or even months, can seem difficult and cause you to feel discontent with your job or nanny family. If the issue lies in a clash of personalities, communication, or understanding about job responsibilities, it might be time to move on. It isn’t fair to you or the kids to feel resentment going into work everyday.
You’ve tried everything and it still isn’t working.
You love your nanny family and have fallen in love with the kids, but there are issues you haven’t been able to resolve no matter how hard you’ve tried. Nannying is a difficult career because, not only are you raising other people’s children and managing their home, but something most people don’t think about is that you are your own Human Resources Department as well. No matter how much your nanny family loves you, they will not fight for you; you have to do that…alone. So, when it comes to a point where you can’t reach an agreement or you constantly feel unappreciated, it may be time to move on.
Nannying isn’t just chasing around kids all day and folding laundry. It is a messy job, both literally and figuratively. At times you will experience moments of pure joy. At other times, you might feel undervalued or disrespected. It’s important to recognize the difference between a difficult season and exigent circumstances. Hopefully, you have been able to take a step back and evaluate your situation with clarity. Whether you choose to continue working with your current nanny family or decide to move on, we wish you the best of luck and want you to know you’re not alone.
Rachel Zecher is a full time nanny in New York City. She has been a nanny for almost four years. She graduated with a B.S. in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University. She is currently a nanny for a 5 month old baby girl. She loves being a nanny because it’s one of the most rewarding and fulfilling jobs out there! You can follow her nanny adventures on Instagram, @nannying_in_nyc.