Get Your Role On!Posted: September 4, 2012
Now in my sixth year of nanny life, I’m on a regimented rotation with several families, however in the whole of my nannying thus far, I have had commitments spanning from exclusivity with a single family, to juggling up to five on a regular schedule. Each family has a different dynamic -different number of children, range of ages, spectrum of childcare needs- and so I adapt my Miss Cheryl persona per house accordingly. I walk in the door, ready and in character! Lines memorized, no second takes.
With one family I nannied for, I essentially co-piloted with the parenting at times, in some households, the lines between nanny and secondary caregiver can blur very easily, and having made a long-term commitment to the family, when requested to become more involved and take on more-not just responsibility, but vested interest emotionally- I felt confident in my ability to step in, as much as anyone can under the circumstances, and was eager to help and keen to contribute. I worked closely with the parent on disciplinary issues, time management, emotional issues, housework, schoolwork, even so involved as filling out school questionnaires, accompanying to doctor appointments, organizing children’s spaces, etc. This was great experience for me as a future mother, and I learned a great deal from that time, not to mention forged a lifelong bond with the children. Separate from working in conjunction with the parent, I took the reins on my time as nanny in charge, relying on my individual rapport with the children to see me through the days, my authority stemming in large part from my consistency in their lives.
Some families I’ve nannied for one to three days per week, anywhere from 3 to 10 hours per day, and these jobs I’ll have on a consistent schedule for six months to several years, depending on the age of the child/ren. In these situations it’s usually infant to toddler age children whose mothers are working part-time, and/or need a morning to get errands run, ducks in a row. I see my role in these jobs as the keeper of the status quo- maintaining the sleeping/feeding schedule. I’ve learned that keeping a baby on a consistent schedule is the key to their happiness, and the family’s by extension. Some of the sweetest days I’ve spent nannying have been at these types of jobs- times when an infant and I fell asleep holding each other while rocking and reading, mornings spent rolling on the carpet together (baby working on motor skills, Miss Cheryl just caught up in the free-wheeling fun), feeding times that inevitably end in more food on my shirt than in baby’s tummy, (but I cannot stop laughing). Similarly scheduled days have been with toddlers- going to the park, taking him/her to lunch, and of course ice cream, holding hands while he/she speak broken (but daily improving) English, I love every moment!
In some homes I’m more of a mother’s helper, I watch the child/ren while the mother runs errands, then help her with the child/ren as she gets through the day’s tasks, aided by an extra pair of hands. These jobs are a great way to help children become accustomed to me, and by extension other new adults, as they will make the transition to school one day and so will feel more comfortable meeting their new teachers, classmates, etc. having spent time with a non-family member who is invested in their happiness and well-being.
Still other families I’m there on a date night basis, my role in this case is tantamount to babysitter, just completing the evening routine and sticking around until the parents get home. Though “sitting” is less responsibility, it eats up my valuable nights/weekends, so in that way it is a true commitment.
No matter the specific situation, I am constantly learning from all the families, and make a point to project positivity and proactivity in each household. Bouncing from house to house and having several different roles in one day keeps me on my toes and the utter lack of monotony is refreshing. Mixing it up as a multi-tasking Supernanny? It’s a role I was born to play! ☺