Last month, I did a post on how to know if your nanny is a keeper. This month, I'd like to flip that, and explore the tell-tale signs of if your job is the best for the long run!
You can be sure your position is the best when . . .
1) Your nanny-family respects your judgment and experience.
You aren't being micromanaged with each activity and being constantly grilled on your decisions, but instead are asked about what you did with the children with acceptance and kind guidance. When the family is faced with a hard decision about what is best for their child, they come to you for your ear and to receive some advice. Many parents have not worked around children, and this is their first time getting to know the intricacies of their development. These special families defer to your judgement because they know you've likely been there before. They know that you know their child very well, and value your relationship to them.
How can I honor their trust? It's very important to not take offense if the family doesn't follow your suggestions. It's ok-- they aren't required to, and it doesn't change their respect for you. And while it may seem obvious, respect their privacy. People who are trusted with personal ideas have a great responsibility to keep everything confidential. Regardless if you feel the information was private or not, you must treat it that way. Also know that these are their children whom you are raising, and you are hired to come in and support them, not change them, so make sure that your developmental goals and tactics line up before starting or renewing a contract.
2) Your nanny-family pays attention to the little things.
Do they thank you for the extra effort you made each day, or notice when you've gone out of your way to make their lives easier? Do they remember the special events in your life, or the conversations you've had in passing? These little things are a big sign that they really care about you as a person, and not just as their employee. They want you to be happy with coming to work each day.
How can I show appreciation for this? Accept their thank yous with a, "You're welcome". You have earned it, and they would not express their gratitude if you didn't deserve it. However, don't expect it. If you begin to do tasks only for the attention or rewards, it will affect you inwardly, which will be noticeable outwardly to your bosses. Remember that your employers aren't your best friends, so don't expect them to be there for you as a support, whether emotionally, spiritually, or financially. You are employed to support their family and children, not the other way around.
3) You're treated like a valuable member of the team.
How can I respect this? This is a wonderful environment to work in; being close and respected by your bosses is the best feeling, however it's crucial to remember that you are being paid to support and make the family's life more enriching. Families aren't there to fix or assist in your personal roadblocks, even though you are there to assist with their child's, and sometimes theirs. It can be a sensitive field to work in, but being mindful that this road does have the emotional boundaries that typical employees and employers have. Of course, say thank you for the extra ways they try to think of you and accept it whole-heartedly, but similar as above, don't continually expect this, especially since these little expressions and bonuses aren't required in your work agreement.
4) You have a balance between work and home life, and your bosses respect your personal boundaries.
Your days off are your days off, and your bosses aren't constantly trying to change the schedule or demand more of your time than originally agreed to without having a conversation about it first. You aren't asked very personal details about your life with the expectation that you'll answer them, and your employers also make sure you're not in an uncomfortable situation where you are forced to say yes to each of their needs.
How can I protect this? Your employers really appreciate your flexibility in your schedule, and your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, so be flexible when you can be without sacrificing your wellbeing. Boundaries are extremely important in every relationship. If you feel your boundaries have been crossed, consider reading The Need to Say No by Jill Brooke and integrate some new skills into your job. Your wellbeing is extremely important. When you take care of yourself, you are less likely to get burned out and quit or lose your job.
5) You find joy in the position overall.
You wake up each day happy to go to work and you don't experience regular or constant stress and anxiety. Seeing the children's faces and smiles brightens your day. Hearing their laughter and stories enriches your life. A text message doesn't fill you with dread or anxiety, and you aren't overly anxious when approaching them with any concerns.
How can I maintain this? Show gratitude! Give it your all each day, and simply put, count your blessings. Thank your bosses for their professionalism when you approach them with difficult topics, and when they show their thoughtfulness. Compliment the children on their maturity and cooperation skills. Make someone else's day as happy as yours, and share what makes your job great with other nannies so that they may have a happy working relationship as well.
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