What Being a Nanny is All About!

National Nanny Recognition Week
It is National Nanny Recognition Week. While this is a week parents are encouraged to show appreciation for their nannies, Be the Best Nanny Newsletter will share stories from caregivers expressing why they love working as nannies and why their profession is so important.

Our first essay if from Josiah Laubenstein, a manny (male nanny) from Minneapolis who is just finishing his 14-month nanny assignment working for a family with three children.

What Nannying is All About!
By Josiah Laubenstein

In the past year working as a nanny I have been punched, poked, kicked, bit, scratched, bled on, pooped on, and sneezed on. I have also had my hair pulled and braided and had my nails painted (not odd for most nannies but I am a man). I have had a mechanical hamster named Num-Nums hurled with pinpoint accuracy at my right temple. I have been bruised, have bled, and have had my family jewels assaulted on at least five, terribly vivid, occasions.

If anyone else had done any of these things I would have a restraining order to keep them away from me.
Working with children can be stressful. Children exist in a world of sharp objects that are fun to run with, imminent death on wheels, and precipices from which to fall. It seems like anything that is fun to do for a child is either messy, obnoxiously loud and repetitive, or dangerous.
Kids will do anything and everything just to get what they want, while they have a staunch refusal to do what you want.

And so, nannying is about endurance. One can endure anything, because eventually children will have to go to sleep. Or, you could just give them the attention they want and deserve. This past year I have learned that children really just want attention, love, affirmation, to know they’re special, to have fun with you, and to know you care. They literally wear their pretty little hearts on their grubby little sleeves.

So, nannying is also about love. I feel confident saying this, for in a week or two after I leave this job, when my blood pressure lowers and my mental acuity returns, when the screams stop ringing in my ears, and the bruises (physical and mental) fade, I will miss these children. And when I think back, it is the bad that will sublimate and dissipate, and the good that will remain.

For Ella, I will remember her startling intelligence and wit. I will never forget how she read the entire Harry Potter series in the year, her touchingly genuine mothering of Joe and Abby, her wild laughter, her spirited imagination, and her fierce need for hugs.

For Abby, I will remember how her emotional poise was slightly out of place for a four-year-old. I will remember how she loved to get up early on Wednesday mornings when no one else was up and help me make pancakes. I will never forget her inability to pout without the tiniest slip of a smile peeking out and how she never failed to come up and calmly slip her hand in mine.

For Joe, I will always remember he first time he called my name “Yaya.” How could I ever forget potty training? I will remember the first morning he was excited to see me, and the first night he cried when I left. I will never forget how he hated to put on a diaper after using the toilet, preferring to run around in the nude. I will remember the times he fell asleep on me and how when held him in my arms he would giggle. I will never forget him rubbing his tiny hands against my beard and press his cheek to mine.

As for their memories of me: I hope they’ll forget the occasional frustration, anger, and the yelling . I hope they will not remember the times I didn’t want to play and the times when I just wanted to leave.

Instead, I hope they remember the times I stayed for dinner and making Joe’s birthday cake together. I hope they will remember swimming lessons and walking to the four-block park, donut time, being excited to see me after school, and climbing trees at church. I hope they remember the wild and crazy stories on long, hot, car rides.

I hope they will remember airplane rides, dance parties, and being thrown in the air so high it scared them, but they still wanted to do it again. I hope they will remember the eyes that watched their tricks, the hands that held their hands, the shoulders that caught their tears, and the lips that kissed their hurts.

And I hope they will remember for a brief moment in their lives they were content, in the still of a bleary-eyed morning, to come downstairs and sit on my lap, lean their head against my chest, have my arms wrapped around them, and just be held by me.

I think that’s what love is.

And that, I think, is what nannying is about!


  1. Just lovely. I have met several male au pairs but yet to meet a male nanny so it's great to see this. Men feel same emotions as women when it comes to caring for children. Josiah, just lovely. I appreciate your thoughts. I hope the family reads this as well. What a lovely tribute for nanny recognition week!

  2. I never knew there is a nanny rec week. How do we get our boss's to know? If I don't even know. Even those who know can't bring it up to their boss. That's like telling people "it's my birthday give me a present." How do we let them know?Good essay Josiah!

  3. What a wonderful way to remember nannies this week. Josiah, it was so great reading your essay. I think I laughed and cried at the same time. We are lucky to have you in our community and your little ones are lucky to have you in their lives.

  4. Wonderful article! I love how Josiah was honest about the the good, the bad and the ugly. Truely a touching story. We are blessed to have your in our profession!~Andrea- Nanny in NJ

  5. Thank you Josiah. It's so important for us to remember the WONDERFUL MANnies in the profession. You express so clearly how I feel daily. No one else can beat us up physically and mentally so much but make you miss them each weekend and want to hug them constangly!

  6. Dear Josiah,What a great father you will be someday!What a wonderful way to honor nannies for Nanny Recognition Week.Thank you!

  7. No kidding, this is the hardest job I have EVER had! No joke. I wish I had your positive attitude. I wish my employer's knew it was nanny week. Instead I come in Monday morning to a mess in the house and post it notes all over the place telling me what to do. I am just one person while they have four adult hands and more when extended family arrive on the weekend. It's not about the money it's about the appreciation. Nothing worse than feeling unappreciated, like I am feeling today.

  8. Great job Josiah! So true. It's a tough job but the rewards are so worth it.To anonymous above, I really hope your employers do realize it's nanny recognition week and you get a few "thank yous" sounds like you need them.

  9. Thank you Josiah. I want to cry!

  10. And that love for the kids will never fade even as they grow into adulthood. (At least in my experience).Imani ONY NY

  11. This is a great story! Love it.

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