Rolling With the Punches as a Nanny

Learning to Work in Someone Else’s Home
By Marni Kent, Career Nanny

Having been a nanny for more than two decades I have gained some of my greatest knowledge working at the jobs that literally drove-me-crazy! I have learned that if I can do what my employers want, remembering who is boss, and staying one-step-ahead of the parents, I eventually earn their trust and respect and the working relationship improves.

Here is how I learned to work with the following difficult situations:

1. The Sterile Phobic Parent:
Remember to adapt to your employers idiosyncrasies and not the other way around. While cleanliness may be important to you as a nanny, you can’t force parents to change and keep things as clean as you would like them to.

2. Recognition and Acknowledgement:
Although you want and deserve to have your employers acknowledge your diligent efforts, all the parents are compelled and obligated to do is give you your paycheck in a timely manner.

3. Rendering You Defenseless:
Situations may arise where an employer will assert their position as master-of-the-house. As the ruler of their domain they may conquer and dismiss your decisions or actions. Family dynamics can over shadow your decision making and render you defenseless, and as the employee, you’ve got to swallow your pride.

4. The Blame Game:
Although it may seem unfair that you should be blamed for the snafus that occur within the home, this often happens when you are the most convenient scapegoat for a family member to use. This occurs to employees in all occupations. You have to learn how to pick your battles. It may be more important to let it roll-off-your-back to ensure the parents are happy with you and keep your job, than confronting this issue.

5. Record Keeping:
Most nannies hate having to talk to their employers about money. But occasionally discrepancies will occur. Both you and your employer should keep records of what hours you worked, your overtime hours which warrant a higher pay, and the duties you have performed. Have the courage to point out mistakes.

6. Being Barked-At:
Some parents sound like they are yelling at their hired help. Hopefully you will be able to screen out parents that use aggressive tones during the interview. But, if you find a parent is talking to you in a demeaning tone, they may be doing this to others as well. So, respectfully bringing up the subject should benefit you. By explaining it hurts your feelings when you are yelled at, the parents may apologize and explain they didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, and even try to speak to you in a more respectful manner. If you aren’t the only person they sound like they are barking at, try not to take it personally.

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