Lindsay Thomason-Owner and Founder of The Nanny League
Meet Lindsay. She is originally from a small town on the outside of Philadelphia. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and little dog. She attended Syracuse University to pursue an undergrad in Communications. When she graduated (Cum Laude), she very quickly got a position working in Political Marketing and Advertising. This wasn’t something that she envisioned herself doing, but it was definitely a way into the LA scene, which was what she wanted. To trade the snow in for sunshine was a dream for her! She moved to Los Angeles in 2005 and began working as a Page for NBC. Fairly quickly, she found herself working her way up within Publicity and Production. Though this was an amazing experience, especially at 22 years old, she was a little disappointed. There was no one around her that she really looked up to as a mentor. It was around this time, Lindsay recalls, “My heart strings were really pulling me back into childcare. Children have always played an integral part in my life. I grew up being the oldest on the block, and since I didn’t have any younger siblings of my own, I kind of adopted all the neighborhood kids and did my fair share of babysitting.”
How did you get into nannying?
I had become a little frustrated and at my wits end with publicity and production. One night, I was on IM (instant messenger) with one of my girlfriends and was expressing my frustration with the situation. She suggested, “Why don’t you become a nanny and work for a wealthy LA family? I hear about people making a great living at it and you can travel! Look into it.” So, I randomly went on craigslist and saw this amazing nanny ad. I applied, got a call the next week and got the job the following week. I worked as a live-in nanny for them for about a year and continued to nanny with them as a live out nanny for another year and a half. Having this nanny position has led me to where I am now. It was a huge stepping stone for me. I took that leap of faith, left entertainment and became the help. It was something that I was kind of embarrassed of at first, but what I found was that it was quite possibly the most rewarding and incredible job i’d ever had.
A live-in nanny position definitely comes with its positives and negatives. Can you tell me one of the best and worst things about being a live-in nanny?
I think one big positive is the convenience. You’re also saving a lot more money. In my situation, though, I actually was paying for rent so I didn’t save as much as someone else might have. In hindsight, I may have been a little smarter in negotiating. But for most people, a real positive is that you can save money and pay off student loans! I also put money aside to enter into the next chapter of my life. I think working as a live in nanny proves your dedication. The position in and of itself is just so unique. It’s definitely not like a corporate job. You’re having dinner with your boss every night, doing their laundry, and learning those intimate details that you’d only find in this line of work. It’s the position that really makes you feel like the superhero and such an important part of the child’s life because they’re choosing you. It’s something that’s very fulfilling.
Now the downside I think, is taking the job with you. There’s that boundary that can very easily be crossed. You can be very easily be taken advantage of. You have to be mindful about making sure you’re getting compensated for those middle of the night wake up calls. Whether you are a work horse or not, everyone has to refresh and turn off their job. So, I believe the most challenging part of being a live in nanny, would be placing and keeping these boundaries successfully.
What has surprised you most about working as a nanny?
It’s so much more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be! I think this would be because it’s so ‘tangible’. It’s not something you can put down on paper. It’s that common sense, that former life experience that you pull out of a hat during various situations. And you ask yourself, “Where did I come up with that? That was PERFECT.”
What prompted you to go from being a nanny to starting a nanny agency?
I will say this, I think that the stigma correlated with being a nanny is just so wrong. I think so much of my passion in starting this agency has come from me wanting women, especially college educated women, to really be proud of this profession and own it with a badge of honor! It’s such an important career that we all need to celebrate rather than look down upon. So, I think that its really important that we change the conversation about nannying as a career.
What kind of leader do you strive to be for the nanny community, both personally and through The Nanny League?
Well, I treat all the nannies I work with as friends. We are all on an even playing field. I am the connector and the matchmaker. I am not your boss, mom or dad. I am not going to tell you what to do, but I will give you advice. I will tell you what I believe is the proper way to handle a situation vs. the improper way. I believe there is an importance of showing up on time and for that matter showing up at all. The importance of being fully present. You can show up physically anywhere, but if your heart and mind is not in it, especially with children, they will read you immediately.
Part of why I exist is to help nannies get the best package at their time of hire, but also after their placement I strive to be there as a shoulder to cry on. I try to extend a helping hand when its needed. That’s something that I really wish I had when I was a nanny. It’s hard to talk to your friends or your spouse about your work when you’re a nanny. People really don’t understand if they haven’t been there themselves.
I think that the nannies within The Nanny League really appreciate not only my candor, but also the fact that I know what I’m talking about. I strive to treat them with the same level of love and respect that I’d want in return. I love offering extra events as well as networking with other brands and companies to get our nannies extra money. I believe that people should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. This work is personal for me, it’s a friendship.
We have also just recently started a new nanny training program which I think is so important. This program educates nannies on sexual abuse and teaches how and with whom to hand it. We are trying to mandate this training for all of our nannies. I think it’s so important to be educated on this topic. We should know what to look for and how to handle this type of situation should it arise.
Where do you hope to take The Nanny League over the next five years?
Yea! I mean, I want us to be everywhere! I want it to be a national and international brand. I truly believe that the light of the tunnel is infinite! It’s really about growing and touching people’s lives. It means something to me. I’m working toward the Nanny League stamp of approval being the A++ in service. I want families to be sure that with The Nanny League they’re getting the best nanny, and the nanny is getting the best agent to represent them. I hope that we become a leader in this childcare industry!
Getting to speaking with Lindsay in depth about her journey through college, nannying and ultimately owning her own agency, was inspiring! I know that I’ve personally been encouraged in a few different ways. 1) Nannies who are college graduates don’t need to feel ashamed of the profession that they love! Nannying is a real job and a GREAT one. 2) Nannying provides the opportunity to put various and diverse skills to use that you might not tap into with other careers. It’s not a boring job, that’s for sure! 3) You can become whatever you want to be! The sky is the limit for those nannies who have a dream, a passion and the work ethic to make it happen. To be a nanny doesn’t mean you can’t have your own children, doesn’t mean you need to give up your idea of becoming something more over time and it definitely doesn’t mean you’ve failed in career choice!
Thank you, Lindsay, for your honest answers and hard work to impact the nanny community in such a positive way!
If you would like to learn more about what Lindsay is doing with The Nanny League, definitely check it out here!