Nanny Transitions – Planning for the Unexpected

Why and How Live-In Nannies Should Plan for an Unexpected Job Loss

When we are faced with a personal crisis, our first instinct is to fall apart. So how do you keep from doing that? First of all, we have more control than we realize. Let the bad news sink in. Acknowledge that you are going through a rough time. Pretending that you aren’t won’t make it any better. It’s ok to be upset and it’s ok to be in pain.

These are all normal reactions. Many of us are strong and feel that we are weak if we ask for help. Actually being able to realize that we need help is one of the steps toward taking control of our lives again. When we go through a crisis, we immediately start to think of all the things that we have to do in order to survive. Having a plan in place will help give you peace of mind and a sense of being in control if and when something happens.

Try and break it down into steps.

  • If you are a live-in nanny who just found out that she is losing her job you need to ask yourself, “What is the first thing I need to do to get through the next hour?” Remember that this is a temporary crisis. You need to find a temporary solution.
  • When you speak, listen to your words. Avoid negative thoughts like, “This always happens to me”, “I am never going to be able to find another job in this economy”, “I must have done something wrong”, or “This is my fault”. None of these thoughts are productive. These thoughts make you feel worse and are not likely to be true. What you need most is to believe that you are going to get through this.
  • It is so important that you have a plan. Every nanny should have a plan but especially live-in nannies. Losing their job means losing their home. This is one of the wisest things you can do to prepare yourself for a transition. You always need to have a place you can go on short notice for at least 24-48 hours where you can catch your breath. Then you need a place you can go for a longer time until you can get back on your feet. This could be the same place but you might have to have 2 places. You also need to have some money put away to live on until you can secure employment. If you have this plan in place ahead of time, when the crisis hits, you can take a deep breath and know that you will have a place to sleep that night.

Having a plan should take a load off your mind. Remember, you don’t have to figure out what you are going to do the next 5 years of your life, you just have to figure out what the next step will be.

It might be helpful to set aside time each day to brainstorm about what you are going to do, how you are going to get through this bump in the road. Treat it like job research. Make lists, network, and then be sure to take some time to take care of yourself. Break it down into baby steps and just do the next thing you know to do. Think about what you want the outcome to be. Be proactive in your own future.

Instead of thinking  ”I will never survive this” think about other things that you didn’t think you would survive, but did. The reassurance you have that you have survived other hard things in your life will give you some peace of mind and confidence. Try to think about the future in a positive way. Recognize this as a transition in your life. Transitions move us forward to a place of hope and new beginnings.

Glenda Propst ©Nanny Transitions. This article is authored by Glenda Propst of Nanny Transitions, retaining all rights and ownership. Amslee Institute shared this article with permission from Glenda Propst and Nanny Transitions. For more information, visit nannytransitions.com or follow on Facebook @nannytransitions.

Benefits and Considerations Before Accepting a Live-In Nanny Job

As a live-in nanny, you will work, eat and sleep under the same roof as the family and children.

Are you considering a position as a live-in nanny? If so, there are a lot of things to consider as this is not a typical job. As a live-in nanny, you will work, eat and sleep under the same roof as the family and children. This means you do not leave your job in the same manner as others, so you will have to be disciplined to ensure you have time off and leave your job duties.

A live-in nanny wears many hats. Sometimes you will be a teacher, a best friend, a mediator, an assistant, a first aid technician and so much more. Whenever you are in the home, even if you are not ‘on the clock’, you must act as an extension of the parent, guardian or employer in regard to care of the children and household management. This means that although you may have your own style, it is imperative that you be cohesive with the parent’s philosophy on raising their children with their household rules.

There are some unique and wonderful benefits to live-in nanny jobs. These include:

1. Special bonds with the children and family. This is a wonderful way to engage on a more personal level with the children and parents as you will be there for the bumps and bruises but also the milestones and triumphs. You gain an extended family as you are part of the family day-to-day activities.

2. Save money. By living where you work, you can save money on housing, utilities, food, and other household costs like buying pots and pans. This really adds up and you can save a lot more of your income for other things.

3. Save time. Since there is no commute to work, you can save a lot of time each day and re-allocate that time for other activities such as fitness, education, or fun.

4. Benefits. Depending on the family, you may get additional benefits which may include a paid cell phone, use of a family car, domestic and international travel, and access to community amenities such as pools, basketball courts, and walking trails. Families may also invest in online training, so you can better care for the children and advance your childcare career. If you are seeking a career in a new city, being a live-in nanny or childcare provider, can take you almost anywhere you wish to go, especially big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

woman placing children in car seatsWorking as a live-in nanny is a unique job and comes with some important considerations:

1. Household Management. It’s important to know that living with an Employer is different from sharing an apartment; a Nanny is not an equal housemate. Therefore, you must be sure to discuss all information including the policy for friends visiting, overnight guests, and pets during the interview process.

2. Privacy. When moving into the house, it’s important to establish privacy rules for the quarters that are dedicated to the Nanny. This means politely but consistently asking the family, including children, to knock at your bedroom door and not to enter the room. This may be best accomplished by keeping your bedroom door closed when you are not working.

3. Professional Boundaries. As you become more comfortable with the family and they become comfortable with you, make sure you keep some professional boundaries. This is where the delicate balance of being a live-in nanny comes into play. Its best to decide which information, in terms of yourself, should remain personal or private. It’s up to you to be able to differentiate which boundaries you hold in your professional life vs. your personal life.

When interviewing for a live-in nanny position, there are a lot of things that should be discussed with the family. A work agreement or employment contract can be used as a tool to help cover all the topics. A free 30-minute class as well as a live-in work agreement template can be found at AmsleeInstitute.com/courses. Sharing this agreement and discussing the details for employment, childcare needs, and household management expectations will make sure everyone has the same expectations. A mutually agreed-to work agreement created before accepting the live-in nanny role, will help ensure you get uninterrupted time off as well as prevent job creep (additional duties that arise and get added to the job as time passes).

Mother and daughter having fun time in bed roomHaving a great relationship with the family is a wonderful benefit. You may become great friends but remember that you are also an employee. If you are going through a personal issue that may impact your work (such as learning a direct family member has a serious medical issue), then it’s important to share this information with your employer. However, if you and your best friend are having another argument, it’s likely not good to share this personal information with your employer.

Being a live-in nanny is a very rewarding experience but do not accept this type of position without understanding all the expectations. Honestly, working and living within the same residence as your employer takes a certain amount of discipline, character, and hard work. If you truly love children, and you present yourself in a professional manner both on and off work hours, you may find a live-in nanny position to be a very rewarding job.

To learn more about becoming a Live-in Nanny, a Tips for Live-In Nannies course is offered free with enrollment in any Amslee Institute program at AmsleeInstitute.com.

About the Author. Karli Ortmann is a professional nanny with over 8 years of experience including live-in and live-out positions. Karli is working on her Master of Art in Counseling from Chicago Professional School of Psychology and earned a Bachelor of Art in Psychology from St. Xavier University. Karli is an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute.

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