At this point, I will go ahead and say it is pretty safe that everyone here knows the difference between a nanny and babysitter, right? If not, you can check out the International Nanny Association’s definition of these terms. Cool! So let’s archive that topic and move to a new discussion on which I have a lot of opinions.
It hasn’t been long since nannies started labeling themselves as professional or career nannies. I have seen these terms being used interchangeably, but I feel there are a few differences. If I had to come up with definitions, it would be these:
Career Nanny – Has chosen to be a nanny as their career path and has worked as a nanny for a significant amount of time. He or she has made a conscious choice to remain in the field and has no intentions to leave.
Professional Nanny – Meaning, they treat this job as they would any position in any other field. They have a signed a contract, negotiate pay and benefits, attend training and invest in professional knowledge that is relevant to position, etc.
While career nannies can be professional nannies and vice versa, I have seen several career nannies whom I personally would not consider professional nannies. They have made a conscious choice to be a nanny for a career, but that is it. They don’t invest in furthering their education, they don’t seem concerned about how they present themselves as nannies, nor about the industry in general. Sometimes, it is “just a job” that has become a lifelong career.
On the other hand, I have come to know some amazing professional nannies who have not made nannying a career. Some of them I have met while in college, working as a nanny during a transitional period in their lives. Though they may not have chosen to nanny as a career, they were still dedicated, professional and invested in themselves and training directly related to nannying so they could still be the best at what they were doing in that particular stage of their lives.
This has become a greater focus for me after hearing parents exclusively asking for career nannies when seeking a nanny for their kids. While I understood what their intentions were, I also realized that they did not fully understand what they were asking for. Some career nannies were nannies for over 20 years but were still doing things the same way. They lacked the knowledge of developmental stages and appropriate activities. After seeing this, I realized that family was actually missing out on great prospects who, may intend to be nannying only for three or four years, but are still knowledgeable and dedicated to being professional this field of work.
Career nannies are not necessarily professional nannies and professional nannies are not necessarily career nannies. When you can’t get both, I would argue that professional nannies would be the ones most invested – even if temporarily – in the position.
So, nannies, what are you?
Tatiane (Thaty) Dias de Oliveira is a Career Nanny and Childcare Specialist in the Boston area, working with children and families for nearly 20 years. Thaty holds a Master’s of Education in ESL/Bilingual Education, a Master’s of Management in Leadership and Coaching and a Bachelor’s degree is in Multidisciplinary Studies (majoring in Early Childhood Education). In addition, Thaty is also a certified Happiest Baby on the Block Educator, Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, Parent/Family/Professional/Life coach, to name just a few. She is the Co-chair of the Nanny Workshop Committee, is the Education Chair, Co-Chair of the Exam Development Committee, and Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee.
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