Meet Nickey!

I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and talk with Nickey, a professional nanny and the founder of The Nannyhood. Read on to hear her story!

  1. I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and talk with Nickey, a professional nanny and the founder of The Nannyhood. Read on to hear her story!

Would you please tell me a little about yourself?

Hi! I’m Nickey. I have been a professional career nanny for the past 13+ years and have had the privilege of working with some pretty rad kiddos all over the world! Some of my jobs have included travel nanny adventures and working in high profile positions. I am also the founder of The Nannyhood! The Nannyhood creates community & fosters friendships for nannies in their cities through “Hoods” (meet up groups)! It places value on resources and advocates for Nannyhood.

And just so you can get to know my personality a little better, here are some INCREDIBLY important facts about me (you may want to write these down):

  • Disneyland is my happy place. When I lived in LA I used to spend my days off there journaling and munching on churros.
  • I had a moose who lived in my backyard growing up and sometimes I’d feed it pancakes.
  • I name random strangers and try to guess their back stories. A lot. It’s a real problem.
  • I have a major taco addiction. I could eat them for every meal.
  • I make my bed everyday-even it its before I go to sleep.
  • I pretend I’m in a movie on a daily basis.
  • I collect people’s stories and turn them into art. People are the coolest.

Let’s be friends! You can link up with my adventures and The Nannyhood here:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, website

How did you get into nannying?

Honestly, (like many others) I fell into it. I have always adored children and grew up sitting all the time. I was offered a full-time nanny gig by an acquaintance when I was 18 years old and I never looked back! #NannyLife

3O2A3971 (1)

Nannying definitely comes with its own stigma. How have you worked to fight this in your personal nannying experience? Do you have any advice for those facing the judgmental and ‘less than’ treatment from others?

Yes! This is most definitely a pet peeve of mine. . . and I try to handle it with as much grace and patience as I am able. I will admit, after being told, “you need to find a ‘real job’!” or asked, “you’re STILL just babysitting?” a thousand times. . .I occasionally feel like I may explode (I am human). I find that at the end of the day, battling this stigma is just as simple as educating people who simply don’t understand. I have to calmly explain the difference between hiring a babysitter for a day night vs. employing a nanny as a full-time employee. A nanny is a luxury item- they are private in home childcare. When I explain what it is that I actually do all day and that I’m like a surrogate parent. . . I find that 80% of the time a light switch goes off in their countenance.

What has blessed you most about working as a nanny?

Being welcomed in as part of an extended family. There is something so beautiful and humbling about parents entrusting you to care for their most precious treasures. When I find my unicorn family for that season and truly share in the milestones, the hard times, the sweet moments. . . I thrive. I love that I have extended family all over the globe now that I stay in contact with, travel with, and continue to love.

I also love the magic. I love that I have the opportunity to keep the magic of childhood alive everyday while I am at work. When I think about how much my childhood impacted me and how often I think back on it- I am always trying to be mindful of how I am treating and what I am teaching the littles in my care. I heard quote once that “they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. I want them to remember that I made them feel safe and special. I love to get them using their imaginations and seeing all of the wonderful stories, worlds, and artwork that they create. It’s all magic.

NICKEYLICIOUS-687 (1)

How did you come up with the idea to start The Nannyhood? Would you tell us a little about what you hope to do with your business?

After a few VERY difficult nanny jobs and a lot of burn out, I realized as a nanny that my life was WAY better when I wasn’t doing it alone. No one really understands a nanny life another nanny- and community/support is SO important. I left my sweet little Manhattan apartment and drug my tired self to Colorado Springs to be around family and refocus. I started a local nanny group in Colorado and made us a social media handle to use throughout the month in between our outings. Turns out people liked it! It’s been a super humbling experience to revive emails from nannies asking for my advice or requesting Nannyhoods in their city. I am definitely enjoying watching it all unfold.

What kind of leader do you strive to be for the nanny community both personally and through The Nannyhood?

I strive to be the ultimate cheerleader and connector in everything that I do. At the end of the day (when it comes to The Nannyhood) I am passionate about connecting nannies to lifelong friends, mentors, resources and anything else that will edify them in their nanny career. I hope that I would always come off approachable and kind- and that The Nannyhood would feel like an oasis for all who are lonely or burnt out.

NICKEYLICIOUS-493 (1)

Where do you see The Nannyhood in the next 5 years?

Well, that is such a brilliant question! I want to keep some things up my sleeve (wink*) BUT I will say that I want to see thriving & flourishing “Hoods” popping up all over the place. We are looking to launch some Hoods internationally later this year, which is super exciting! I love watching our little group from Colorado grow not only locally-but all over the planet! It’s so much fun to watch!

 

A special thank you to Nickey who took the time out to share her story! I admire her drive, her passion and her conviction to help others in the same way that she needed help a while ago. She has a heart of gold and I am happy to say that she has become a great friend! I look forward to working with her more in the future and I know that The Nannyhood has a very bright future ahead. To learn more about The Nannyhood and what they are doing, please remember to skip over to her site: The Nannyhood.

 

Have a blessed day, ya’ll!

 

Xx

NannyBeth

Ultimate Guide: Traveling with Your Nanny Family

So, you’re about to travel with your family, huh? Well, here are some things to consider and hash out before you make that Jamaica dream a reality.

So, you’re about to travel with your family, huh? Well, here are some things to consider and hash out before you make that Jamaica dream a reality…

Get EVERYTHING down in writing.

I know that many of you may have working verbal contracts with your families and that’s fine, but when you’re traveling with your family, especially for more than a day or two, it’s so worth it to write your terms down. This protects you. This protects them. Plus, if you do your write up and they refuse to sign it, you’ll know something’s not right. Then you’ll want to nix the trip altogether. I’d also suggest typing your terms ahead of time and presenting your draft to them. Make sure all points sound fair and you agree on each one. Then whip out a pen and get those John Hancock’s down to bind the agreement. With this signed, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re covered and comfortable with all the expectations. And should there be any disagreement on your terms later on, you’ll have the contract to refer to. Two copies should be made, one for you and one for them. 

Clarify what YOU are paying for and what THEY are paying for.

You don’t want to be half way around the world before you have that dreaded money or responsibility talk. Get it all out on the table now, trust me. Ultimately, everything revolving around this trip is all up to you. Worst case scenario, you could decide you just wont go and they can’t make you. So stick to your guns when you are discussing what your services and time is worth. I would suggest that you have them at least pay for the minimal: the round trip ticket, your time while you are on duty, your SEPARATE room, your food when you eat together and all travel while you are there. Beyond this, you may have individual agreements as to who pays for what. 🙂

Get your own room.

Did I say that already? 😉 Well, good. It’s important! There’s nothing more awkward than sharing a room with another couple and their kids. (well, maybe a couple things) You’re not family as much as you may feel like it. And even if you were family, you still wouldn’t wanna be stuck in a room with a couple and their kids while they’re on THEIR vacation. Its just awkward. Save yourself some very tense and awkward situations, and just have them book you a very separate living space, OK? And remember me when you are able to take an uninterrupted shower, nap on your bed or stroll on your oh so quiet patio. 🙂

Write down your hourly schedule. Be very clear about when you’ll be on and off duty.

Most likely while you’re away in Rome, Greece, Ireland or wherever you’re flying off to, you’ll want to explore. And you should! In order to make this happen, you’ll have to be forthright about the YOU time on this trip. Yes, you’re going with them to work, but just like them, you would like to have a break from responsibility at various times too! I’d suggest starting no earlier than 7 am, taking a midday break for at least an hour or two, enjoying one meal separate from the family responsibilities, and ending your work day by 7 pm. Again, this is all up to you, but be kind to yourself and don’t overwork girl!

Things will run smoother if when you are on duty, YOU are the only one.

This will be the time when the parents can get a spa session, take a walk on the riviera or go out to dinner a la solo. There is a very good reason for this. Things can get very complicated and confusing for the children (and us) when there are more than 2 adults “in charge”. The roles are blurred. This begins to create tension between everyone. Maybe you’re traveling with more than one child. Great! The parents take one child to a park or zoo and while you keep the other around the resort. Then switch. I’m just saying, if they’re looking for a tag a long who is going to corral their little ones, wipe their noses, sing distracting songs to them while waiting for dinner to be served and carry the diaper bag around, then make sure you know that. If you go into this trip thinking you are going to be assuming the same roles as when you’re a nanny during a normal work week and they think you are going to be a travel helper with all the messes and tantrums, then this will make for some tension. You’ll begin to build resentment over not being respected as the professional that you are. Open and pre-trip communication is key. Know what you’re getting yourself into before you commit to be in an inescapable situation hundreds of miles away. Doing this will make roles, duties and everything a little less awkward and messy.

Be clear about expectations.

Think about your expectations for transportation, the flight, meal times, different excursions, who’s responsible for packing and managing items, etc. It may seem like a little much but take it from me, you can’t be too clear about how this trip will go.

Take into account the family you’re traveling with.

There are many, many, many different personalities within a family. Now you’re adding to the mix. To nanny for a family Monday-Friday, 9-5, is completely different from being on a trip with them. Now you’re technically available 24/7. (Even if you say you’re not, technically you ARE. So think about whether or not you can stand being with this family for a week or two) Once you’ve decided, yep, I can do this. Think about the personalities you’ll have to navigate and expect throughout the duration of the trip. Does the father like to control situations and get tense when they’re out of control? You may want to prepare for some of that. Do the parents get along or will you be needing to referee some disagreements on the trip? (That could get awkward) Think about it. Weigh the pros and cons.

Power to you, Nanny, who is choosing to travel with your family! You’re serving them in a huge way. Remember: know what you’re worth and own it. Hey, why not enjoy some sunshine and beach too? Go for it!

Buen Suerte!

X

NannyBeth

Like what you read? Check out more insights and exclusives from NannyBeth by subscribing ❤

Meet Lindsay!

Read my interview with Lindsay, Owner and founder of the Nanny League!

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!

 

5 Ways to Impress the Family

As nannies, we can experience a lot of pressure from the family we nanny for. Want to go above and beyond your family’s expectations? Make an impression by following these 5 ways to impress the family.

As nannies, we can experience a lot of pressure from the family we nanny for. Want to go above and beyond your family’s expectations? Make an impression by following these 5 ways to impress the family.

1. Dress for the job

Casual and Active attire is the name of the game. When we come to work dressed formal or to ‘uppity’ it doesn’t give off the impression that we will be interactive and relaxed with the children. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Will I be able to walk at least an hour, sit on the floor play, get spit up on, or climb a ladder in what I am wearing.” If the answer is yes, you are good to go. Some ideas for comfortable work attire would be: jeans or work out pants, simple t-shirt or sundress, and definitely sneakers, sandals or boots. (I tried heels when I first started out…not a good idea!)

2. Have an art or craft to show at the end of the day

A drawn picture hung on the refrigerator, clay creation on the dining room table or a fort set up in the living room is a perfect display of the fun you and the child have had! It is so nice for a parent to come home and see evidence of their child learning and being creative. I would say though, with the fort in the living room or bedroom, to just ask the parents before you venture into this project. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to come home and find sheets, towels and pillows strewn all over. Better to ask first than be greeted by an unhappy parent later.

3. Bake or cook a snack

This is such a fun thing to do with the children and also a great sight and smell when mom and dad come home from work! By baking or cooking with the child, you have provided an example of how they could include the children in baking adventures in the future, displayed one of your skills as a nanny, and also supplied a yummy snack for them to enjoy when you leave for the day. Toddlers could be your expert pourers/mixers and older children could practice their measuring and adding skills.

4. Offer to do extra activities and take interest in the ones they attend

Switching up the ol’ routine is a great thing to do sometimes to keep you and the kids from getting bored. A few creative and fun adventures could include a trip to the Zoo, Aquarium, local nature reservation or beach. Another great way to let the parents know you care about their children’s development, interests and activities is by noticing when their current activities end and start back up. A friendly reminder to their busy parent about when the next music class will be starting is so helpful and appreciated.

5. Be reasonably flexible

It is a good rule of thumb to plan for occasional overtime hours when a parent has to work late or is stuck in traffic. The original hours that you agree upon at the time of contract SHOULD be the hours that are normally kept. If the tardiness or expectation of you staying 20-30 minutes late becomes normal, then this should be addressed. But it is good to be somewhat flexible with the give and take that comes by nannying. For example, I have been asked to come in 2 hours early on Monday because a parent is leaving for a business trip, in exchange for me leaving 2 hours early on Friday. Likewise, I have asked for an early leave one day in exchange for a little extra work on another. Some parents and some careers do not allow for such flexibility and availability, but it is good to be aware that this could happen.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to blowing your family away!