Imagine that you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant with your first child. This is something that you’ve been dreaming of your entire life. You’re elated. Overjoyed. You celebrate the happy news with your partner, your family, and your friends. You’ve always loved children (it’s one of the reasons you became a nanny), and now you will have a child of your own! Then, reality sets in and your mood moves from excited to anxious. How are you going to tell your “nanny family” that you’re expecting?
You wonder if they will share in your joy, or if they will be disappointed maybe even angry. Will you keep your job? Will they agree to let you bring your baby to work with you? Surely they will understand!
Before you sit down with your bosses, it’s helpful to take some time to create a plan. You will likely have to convince your employers of the benefits for them for you to return with your child after you have your baby. It’s important to go into this discussion with as many answers to their potential questions as possible.
We recently spoke with a group of “Nanny Moms” (professional nannies who bring their child to work with them) about the unique challenges and benefits of their positions. We asked about everything from how nap time works to who pays for activities and food for their child.
What do you see as the benefits of you bring your child to work with you?
Kim shared: “…a nanny mom whose child is allowed to come with her will not only be grateful to the family (and therefore loyal) but will not suffer from “mom-guilt”, which could negatively affect her performance while at work. She won’t have to worry about her child and wonder about the level of care s/he is receiving.”
Shell added: “My NKs (nanny kids) & [my child] love each other…they also teach each other. I’ve seen them both blossom tremendously since I’ve started.”
Rhonda explained: “My NK will be an only child, but because my kids are always with him, he will never feel that way. He calls my daughter “Sister”. It’s very cute and loving”.
What are some of the potential drawbacks and how have you worked to make them better for the family?
Rhonda said: “It’s been hard scheduling appointments for my child [outside of work hours]. We worked out I have one personal day a month if I need it for that.
Kim added: “It can be difficult if the family’s discipline style is different from yours. I felt judged by my NF (nanny family) whenever I didn’t respond punitively to my son’s behaviors. We had to sit down and talk about how we all felt about discipline and explain our points of view. It was a tough conversation, but we worked it out together.”
Amy shared: “Respect for each other’s parenting decisions and compromising when needed to make the working relationship work. Also, respecting each other’s time and space. Communicating is sometimes challenging when you have all the kids running around, so making sure you take the time to communicate about… what’s working or not working as things change”.
Do you feel that the level of care you provide for your charges (nanny kids) is more or less when your children are present? Can you give examples to back that up?
Kim explained: “I feel like it varies throughout the day. Any mother of more than one child will tell you that it’s impossible to provide the same level/amount of care to each child simultaneously. Sometimes, someone has to wait and that’s OK! When my older NK has to wait patiently before going outside because I am changing my son’s diaper, he is practicing patience. When I take a few minutes to comfort my son while he cries, my older NKs learn gentleness and compassion.
Lauren added: “[I don’t provide] more or less [care] just different. When my son is there we tend to do more music, art, building and floor play. The days he isn’t with me we are able to play outside games…basketball, baseball, etc without the baby in the stroller”.
What, if any, sacrifices do you make as a mom when you bring your child to work with you?
Leigh explained: “…my child has to wait for meals and naps, has a later bedtime, and is often woken to get to work on time. Then she has an hour in the car each day. [I am] definitely harder on my daughter as well. We are on vacation this week and I’m realizing how she has to conform so much more at work”.
Are there any sacrifices that you feel the family has to make when they hire a nanny who brings her child to work?
Janna shared: “They have to adjust to their child not being the only one. It’s not the same as in home care or a center”.
Amy added: “Space [for baby equipment] or allowing a space for naps or extra toys or even space in the fridge. When my daughter was younger she had a milk issue and needed all special food. Many of my families provided appropriate food or space for her special food”.
Who pays for the food your child eats when at work? How about when you take the kids to activities, who pays for your kids? Any other supplies that your child uses when you are at work, who covers those?
Janna explained: “I always brought my food. [My son] ate what they were eating. On outings, MB paid for all of us. I just packed snacks. As for supplies, she was in diapers then. MB (mom boss) bought me a box for each to have”.
Jennifer explained: “We do a mixture. I bring food for us and to share and we eat their food. It’s never been an issue; I just try to keep it fair. I pay for [my] own child’s food or activities. They pay for art/craft supplies. I bring diapers and wipes to keep there”.
If your kids still nap, how and where do they nap in your nanny house?
Chantel shared: “When my son was little, he napped in a pack n’ play in the den or spare room, or many times in the car on the way to NKs activities”.
Angie added: “I baby-wear, so my daughter took many a nap in a carrier…when she was very small. Now, she occasionally takes a nap in a carrier when out and about with the toddler NK. Otherwise, she sleeps in my NF’s [portable crib] in their spare room”.
As you can see, there are many benefits to both the nanny and the “nanny family” when a beloved and trusted nanny is allowed the opportunity to bring her child with her to work. There are also challenges, and these issues will need to be worked out well in advance for the transition from Nanny to Nanny Mom to go smoothly. Ongoing communication with your nanny family is paramount in any position, but even more so when you are bringing your own child with you. With careful planning, you and your nanny family should be able to avoid major problems and enjoy the special bond that your children will no doubt create.
Kimberley Roberts has over 20 years of childcare experience (17 as a professional nanny). She is a former kindergarten teacher, reading specialist, nanny advocate, avid baby-wearer, night nanny, and RIE-ish parent/caregiver. Kimberley has worked for High Profile families as a nanny and house manager, and enjoys working with multiples, preemies, and children with special needs. In 2014, she received the title “Mama”, and began to bring her son, Simon, to work with her. As a nanny (and a mom), Kimberley’s goal is to help the children in her care develop into wholesome, adventurous, independent, peaceful and happy adults who will aspire to change the world. She enjoys mentoring young/new nannies and staying up to date on the latest research on child development, psychology and sociology.