Monday, February 18, 2013

On proper etiquette; working as/hiring a nanny

If you simply type into your Google search box, "things your nanny won't tell you" as I just did, the number of results you'll generate is a whopping 2,550,000. Literally.

This is clearly a communication problem that can easily be resolved by creating an environment that is open enough to where topics deemed forbidden can be openly discussed. This can and will save you from having to find a new nanny at the expense of your current, seemingly content one. If he/she is experiencing the 'last straw' syndrome, they might turn to finding new work before giving you a chance to openly converse about whatever unspeakable issues may be at hand, which you may be oblivious to as a parent. 

My advice to parents is to educate yourselves. Coming from experience, it is awkward for nannies to approach our employers about touchy subjects such as the etiquette of proper payment, possibly feeling taken advantage of, needing a break, and other areas that may create friction or discontentment in your child's caregiver. 

As for nannies, sometimes it is necessary to break that discomfort and open up to your employers about matters they may not be familiar with yet. For example, some parents with infants are first-time nanny-havers, so they don't quite know the ropes of having a nanny, and how it all pans out. Sure, they can do the research, but sometimes it's the simple fact that they don't even know what to search or where to start. I, for one, know that I was completely unaware of the proper etiquette of paying a nanny before my first full-time gig a few years back.

I had no idea that we are supposed to be paid even on days that they don't need us; ie. days that the children are sick or the parents have the day off work or they choose to take a vacation for even a full week. I had no idea! But, I was delighted to learn that this is standard. To be a nanny is to have a job, after all, and if it is not at our fault that we are not working, we should be compensated as if we were working the same way that any other employee is compensated for vacation time.

It's fabulous to learn tidbits such as this, but it's also necessary to inform new employers if they are unaware so that you are treated fairly as you know you should. It's a bit awkward and uncomfortable at first, but if they love you and appreciate your services, they'll be sure to compensate you properly in order to keep you around. Nannies are in high demand, and parents are very aware of the difficulty that lies in finding a reliable, compassionate nanny above all to care for their pride and joy.

Below I've shared a couple of links to the concrete rules of nanny etiquette. Feel free to use these as resources when conversing with your employers in regards to being properly compensated, or in regards to any other issue that may have gone unresolved for far too long. It is very possible that they have no idea, so be sure to give them the benefit of the doubt before letting that 'last straw' syndrome take over!

Find a babysitter- Nanny etiquette - do's and dont's

Best of luck to all mommies and nannies alike. May we communicate freely without unnecessary boundaries and keep our environments comfortably open to little talks! :)


Brittney Schering

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