Nannying is one of those jobs that people seem to think are a walk in the park, but in reality, it's anything but. There are so many misconceptions about what it actually takes to be a nanny, so I reached out to one to get a little more clarity on what their job is actually like.
I spoke with an anonymous source who has been nannying consistently for about four and a half years. Here's what they shared with me about their job:
1.Most people don't understand the difference between a nanny and a babysitter.
2.Nannying jobs tend to require more in-depth, personal interviews than babysitting jobs, and often include a trial week before the job is actually offered.
3.During most weeks, this nanny — as well as many others — balances both consistent nannying jobs and one-off babysitting jobs.
4.Working as a live-in nanny, or au pair, is a thousand times harder than regular nannying.
The nanny I spoke with spent some time living with a family they worked with, and the experience certainly has its pros and cons. It's very immersive — they were provided a room and bathroom in the home at no cost, the family bought them groceries for the first couple of months, and they had no commute to work. However, they were also unable to have guests over, were paid less than their usual jobs, and — of course — didn't have much personal space. Going to make food, for example, often means making small talk with the family or spending some time with the kid even if they're off the clock.
5.Nannies hate when parents try to overexplain basic childcare things they already know.
It's understandable that parents are hesitant or scared of leaving their kid or kids with someone they don't yet know well, but nannies know what they're doing. It's totally fine (and encouraged!) to explain things the nanny needs to know about your child specifically, but they know the basics, like to cut grapes into quarters for small kids so they don't choke.
6.Unlike babysitters, nannies don't always get tipped.
7.The biggest misconception about nannies is that they all want kids.
8.Nannies aren't just responsible for a kid's basic needs — they are also in charge of tracking and awarding milestones.
9.If you hire a nanny and cancel less than three days before the job, it's common courtesy to still pay the full price.
10.Nannies don't get as much free time on the job as you probably imagine.
11.The best thing a parent can do is engage in conversation and ask personal questions.
12.Despite what you may have seen on TV and in movies, your nanny is probably not trying to steal something from you or sleep with your husband, like, at all.
Trust me, they've already got their hands full.
13.A green flag for nannies is when the parents offer food or snacks.
14.It's also a red flag when parents don't want to do a trial week with the nanny and their child.
While you probably assume the trial week is a chance for the parents to make sure they are happy with the nanny, it's also an important opportunity for the nanny to assess if the job is one they want to accept as well. Getting hired on the spot usually indicates a larger problem in the future.
15.The biggest problems nannies face are rarely the kids — they're actually the parents.
Because nannies spend so much time with a kid, it's important that the nanny and the kid's parents work together and not against each other. The nanny explained to me that kids are easily adaptable — they generally want to fix things and, at the end of the day, just want to be loved and taken care of. A disconnect between the parents and the nanny over something like disciplinary style can undo a nanny's work very, very quickly and make saying no much harder or impossible for them.
16.And finally, the thing about nannying that has surprised this nanny the most is that the families with less almost always offer more.
The nanny I talked to has worked with families of all different financial backgrounds and has noticed that wealthier families tend to nickel-and-dime them the most. Wealthier families tend to charge by the minute, whereas less wealthy families are more likely to tip or occasionally provide food.