Saturday, January 23, 2010

Experts Everywhere

I admit that I love to read childcare books by "The Experts". I enjoy taking bits and pieces of all the advice out there, and melding it into my own personal theory. When I look back over the years I've spent as a nanny, I think about how I've moved through Spock, visited the "What to Expect" kingdom, quickly swerved in and out of Ezzo, and toured Sears, Rosemond, Ferber, and many others. I want to check out the "No Cry..." arena soon as well!

But what about people who pick a method and hold onto it tightly through good times and horrible times? What happens when your chosen parenting method isn't working anymore at all, ever? Can people that might be described as heavily invested in parenting like Sears ever come to terms with using other methods and ideas? Or is modern reliance on "The Experts" eventually stifling and limiting?

For new parents, the temptation must be very strong these days to decide that if Expert X says to raise kids with breast milk, co-sleeping, and slings then that's exactly and precisely what they'll do. If baby would rather ride in a stroller, or sleep in a sidecar crib, or just can't figure out breastfeeding, do parents continue to insist that they must do what their expert tells them to do, regardless of how it impacts the family? Can new parents, already exhausted and overwhelmed, really add "Read more parenting books." to their endless to-do lists?

That's where another kind of expert might come in handy. Parent Coaches might seem to be yet another gimmicky way for parents to spend money, but if a PC is knowledgeable about a wide range of issues, and has a variety of parenting tools to share with parents who are overwhelmed, why not get that help?

And just as a side note, I think the best nannies are Parent Coaches. We listen, offer creative problem solving advice, and support parents as they make all the decisions that have to be made. We don't criticize, but we do offer alternative possibilities. And in the end, if what's being done isn't working, a few alternatives are a good thing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Things it would be good to know BEFORE the interview

Suddenly the market has picked up a bit, and I have interviews this weekend! I do my best to screen potential employers (and I google-stalk them when possible) but somehow I didn't get a lot of what I think is pertinent information from the family I met with today.

So, without delay, here are 3 important things employers need to remember to mention to nanny candidates.
  1. Our house is being heavily renovated. You can't see the house number, but we are the joint with the huge construction dumpster in the front driveway.
  2. You know we said we had 2 kids under 2? Well, we forgot to mention their 13-year-old half-sibling who lives with us 75% of the time. But you won't have to do anything for him. No, really!
  3. We really want a nanny who speaks spanish. Did we mention that?

And, just for any employers who say they once worked as a nanny, here's a tip. Tell us all the details over the phone when we ask. Don't wait until we are face to face to tell us how you were a nanny at the age of 12. Because any career nanny will find it hard to not snigger at you when you say that, and we can cover the sniggering with a cough much better over the phone than in person.

So I go forth tomorrow to 2 other interviews. Wonder what new craziness they will bring into my life?