Monday, May 18, 2009

Facebook is making me feel old...

Why? Because I found 4 former charges on facebook last week. When I last cared for them, they were 6 and 5, and 10 and 8. Obviously far too young to have a FB account, right?

So the fact that they are now 17, 16, 15, and 13 is a bit of a rude wake-up call. I mean, I know the years are passing by, and all that jazz, but I do enjoy being able to revel in my belief that I am really just 28 or so, and all the kids I ever have cared for are kind of frozen in time at the age I last knew them.

The good news is, I am still apparently enough of a cool person to have been friended by all of these teenagers who I knew as elementary schoolers.

So maybe all is not lost after all. I can still be a decade (Ok, fine 12 years!) younger than I really am in my imagination, and I get to enjoy getting reaquainted with some fairly fabulous teenagers.

"The Honeymoon", we are in it...

Whenever you start a new job with older kids, i.e., NOT infants, there is always a bit of an adjustment time that I like to call the honeymoon. During the honeymoon, the kids, parents, and nanny are all on their best behavior. It makes for some easy days and it's quite tempting to think that the new job will be a breeze.

But eventually, the honeymoon comes to an end. Generally speaking the nanny and the parents are better able to hide any grumpy feeling that pop up when they realize that the new situation is not, in truth, practically perfect in every way. But the kids? That's a different story.

I have a slight advantage in my new job. I know the kids fairly well, and have seen both Destructo Boy (1.5 years old) and Prickly Rose (4.5 years old) at their not-so-best. So I know there will be stormy days ahead, when they let their defenses down and start testing to see what might make me angry. Doesn't mean it will be an easy road, but I do have some sort of map.

If you are starting out new with older kids and find yourself without a map, just remember that all kids save their worst behavior for those they love the most. So one day, when all heck breaks loose, step back, take a deep breath, and think, "Well, at least I know they're finally comfortable with me and feel secure with me if they are acting THIS horrible!"

Then toss around some significant discipline, and take an Advil or two. And smile, because the job is just starting to get exciting.

INA membership giveaway!

In an effort to win a membership to the INA, I am reposting this entry from! Feel free to spread the word and enter to win by following the directions below!


Since returning from the INA Conference in Dallas 3 weeks ago, my good friend Alice and I have been brainstorming about how to get the message out to nannies that we can't simply sit around lamenting about the lack of respect our profession gets. We have to be actively working to improve the image of the nanny profession and one of the most important ways to do that is to be actively involved in a professional nanny organization.

We both knew and loved the late Harriette Grant. Harriette was a Co Founder of the first and longest running support group in the United States. Association of DC Area Nannies (ADCAN). She was a founding member of INA, a board member of INA and the first INA Nanny of the Year in 1990 We will be posting her story on her June 3rd Birthday and in honor of her upcoming birthday Alice and I decided we would work in conjunction to give away an INA Membership on our blogs.

Alice has 2 blogs. Her first blog is This is a blog about her adventures as a nanny, helpful tools for parents and nannies as well as other items of interest.She was also inspired by Dr. Lynne Kenney at the INA Conference to brand herself. She is launching her new blog, The Financial Nanny that is focused on helping nannies (and others) save money and invest wisely with the start of this contest.

My first blog is about nannies in transitition and how to deal with the emotions of leaving a nanny positions and other changes that happen when you stay with a family for a few years. It is called Nanny Transitions. My second blog is just for fun and it highlights my creative side as The Creative Nanny.

Starting on Friday, May 15 and running through Monday June 1, we will offer you the opportunity to win a one year INA Nanny membership (Valued at $95) If you are already an INA member we will pay your membership for the following year.

You can gain entries by doing any or all of the following.

1. Sign up to follow either blog. (Each blog counts for 1 entry so if you sign up for all 4 you will get 4 entries). Please leave a comment at each blog stating that you signed up to follow or already do.

2. Talk about this give away and post a link to our blogs on your blog, post about it to a yahoogroup, or post about it on a message board like Nannynetwork, or NannyislandTwitter it, or put it on Facebook.

Send us a copy or a link and each one will count as an entry.
Send it to (put INA Giveaway in subject)

3. In addition to that you will get double entries for posting on any of our blogs :

a. Why you want to be a member of a professional organization, or

b. What it means to you to be a member of a professional nanny group

The winner will be chosen from and announced on all four blogs on Tuesday June 2, 2009. Good luck!

For more information on the INA please visit their website, their blog, their facebook fan page or twitter.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Changing jobs, mourning losses

Two months ago I was let go from a job I had held for 4+ years due to the economy. I cared for 2 girls and had been their nanny literally since they were born. I spent a good bit of time crying, mourning a sudden and dreadful loss of daily contact with 2 kids I loved so very much. Beanie and Buttercup were no longer in my care, and I worried about them.

I didn't miss the dysfunction that had infested the job. I didn't miss the crazy. And I felt guilty because I was enjoying not being involved in the 24/7 crisis mode, and that feeling of relief was so strong it almost overwhelmed the mourning I was going through simultaneously.

I got very lucky and found a new job quickly, due to a combo of changes in a friend's job status. I started caring for a preschool girl and a toddler boy this past week. I've known both of these children through my nannyhood network since they were about 3 months old, so we're fairly familiar with each other. Hopefully that will ease the transition pangs a bit, as they get used to me and I get used to them.

It's odd to get accustomed to a new job while still actively mourning a job loss. I find myself wondering what "my girls" are doing, if they have what they need, and even thinking about what I would be doing if I were with them , instead of at my new job. I know I will like my new position, but the demands are much lighter, and the kids are generally less dependent, which leaves me at loose ends occasionally.

I also miss the girly girl atmosphere of my old job. I am sure I will eventually get more used to meeting the needs of a tomboy who loves bugs and reptiles and a toddler boy who mainly enjoys whacking things with invented weapons, but some part of me misses barbie, dress-up, and polly pockets.

In a way, being a nanny means knowingly opening your heart to eventual loss. If you love your charges, moving on is a grieving process that can't be ignored. If you are lucky, you will remain in touch with former employers and charges. There's not much that's cooler than getting to move from "nanny" to "friend" after you leave a position. I hope with all my heart that I will have the chance to be a friend to Beanie and Buttercup. I hope their parents recognize and accept that the girls have experienced a loss as well, and that the pain of that loss can be muted by maintaining a relationship.