Stop Asking Me When I'm Going to Get a 'Real' Job

Oh hey you! Yes, you with your judgmental views and assumptions about what I do for a living and whether or not being a nanny qualifies as a "real" job. I'm just curious what you think I do all day at my pretend job? And what do you think I do with all that pretend money I make? I must use it to pay my pretend bills...All too often people think that nannying isn't a REAL job. Even worse -- some people don't just think it, they voice it as well. Don't believe me? Just take a look at these judgmental remarks real nannies have been subjected to.... (PS. The worst offenders tend to be a nanny's own parents, friends, significant other, and *gasp* even the parents of the kids they nanny):

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I'm a Nanny, Not a House Cleaner

I want to start this article with a question for parents: Would you ever ask your house cleaner to change your child's diaper, or take your child to the park, or prepare and feed your child lunch, or pick your child up from school, or assist your child with homework, or take your child to the doctor, or research and plan a developmentally appropriate sensory activity, or set up and host a play date, or sleep train your baby? I bet your answer is a resounding "No". Why then, do parents often ask and expect nannies to take on house cleaner roles? I truly don't get it. If you wouldn't do the reverse and have your weekly cleaning person take care of your child, why then is it okay to expect your nanny clean your home? A nanny and a house cleaner are two VERY different jobs and generally speaking, most nannies don't decide to become a nanny so they can clean houses -- they decide to be a nanny because they love children and are passionate about investing in them.

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Why Your Live-in Nanny Shouldn't "Pay" for Room & Board

Employing a live-in nanny can oftentimes be a little confusing. Many parents think that because a live-in nanny is receiving "free" room and board, they can pay their nanny less by deducting room and board from their nanny's monthly income, or pay them a lower hourly rate, or simply have their nanny work in exchange for room and board. A nanny who doesn't have to pay any rent, electricity, water, internet, cable, food, etc. surely should make less money per hour! While I understand how at first glance this seems like a fair deal, the industry standard is to pay a live-in nanny their full hourly rate...not a reduced rate. Legally live-in nannies must be paid for all hours worked, including applicable overtime (live-in overtime laws vary state by state, so it's important to check your specific state laws). In fact in some markets, such as Chicago, live-in nannies actually make MORE per hour than live-out nannies. Why? Because being a live-in nanny is extremely hard work and a huge sacrifice.

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How Not to Respond When Your Nanny Calls in Sick

Let's just dive right in. Nannies get sick and will miss work from time to time. There, I said it. Sadly, all too often, parents seem to forget that nannies are still human. I can only assume that lots of parents think their nannies are superhuman (which we kind of are in some ways), based on the countless nannies I encounter who are told they HAVE to come in even when very sick or are simply made to feel guilty for calling out. One nanny says she has been made to feel so guilty for calling in sick, that she hasn't taken a sick day in 6 years. Many nannies have even reported being guilt tripped for needing surgery -- like it's something they can control.

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When Families Go on Vacation Without Their Nanny

All too often parents expect their nanny to make their family a priority, while not offering the same in return. Parents, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you expect your nanny to prioritize your family, you better plan to prioritize your nanny. If you expect your nanny to offer consistent availability, you better plan to offer your nanny consistent pay.

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