Over the course of the last few months, I've begun searching for a job.
Now, in the current economy, finding a job is presumably harder than it used to be. So it goes without saying that I figured it would take me a while to find something that is suitable. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would still be searching after a year and a half had passed since my last employment. I have a proven record in child-care, with over 10 years experience. I've worked for two different daycare centers, and as a nanny for three families. I hold certification in Child Day-Care, an Associates in Human Service Management, and am training as a birth and postpartum doula. So what, you may ask, seems to be the problem?
The problem is that nobody wants a nanny.
Or at least a nanny with children..
I am a member of three different nanny search websites. My profile on each site states very clearly that I have two children that I would be bringing with me to the job. I have applied for, in the past three months, a total of 78 jobs (that is not an estimate). Most of the time my applications go without a response. Those that do respond always ask the same question "Are you looking for something you can bring your kids to?" No people, I want to leave my kids in daycare and miss out on their lives so that I can take care of yours.. OF COURSE I want to bring my babies along!
Now, nannying has always been my go-to job of choice. I've done it for years, I'm good at it, and I have great references that can back me up on those claims. I was lucky enough when my oldest daughter was born to find a great family that would let me bring her along. My daughters have both grown up with me caring for other children, either full time or on an as-needed basis. It seems, however, that since the job market has gotten so tight, people seem to think that having your own children, and wanting to be involved in their lives makes you a bad candidate for child care. I understand the concerns, but here are my reasons that I think having kids makes me a great candidate to be someone's perfect nanny:
1. I've seen it all:
By hiring a nanny who has children of their own, you know that they will be prepared for anything. There will be a distinct lack of panicked phone calls to your place of work about things that are not emergencies (including but not limited to: lost shoes/socks, potty accidents, crayon drawings on the walls, bumps and bruises, teething fevers, refusal to nap, etc). You can be assured that I"ve handled every infant feeding situation and toddler adventure your child can throw at me, probably without batting an eyelid.
2. Your kids will get as much attention as my own:
Now, I know this is one of the main concerns of parents who are looking to hire a nanny. They're afraid that a nanny with her own children is going to pay more attention to her own, and less attention to theirs. However, this simply is just not the case!! If a person has had a career as a nanny, chances are they're pretty familiar with the idea that they are one of the main resources that your children have. They learn from their caregivers, it is their job to teach them. I know before I had children of my own, I always called my nanny charges 'my kids'. I loved them as if they were mine and I did my absolute best to do right by them and teach them the best I could. That did not change when I had my own children! I am still committed to the idea that I am a teacher for the children I care for, I am a major influence in their life, and I have a job to make sure they are well cared for and well educated. Therefore, the same attention that I give to my kids to make sure their needs are met, I will provide for your kids. In my opinion, me having my kids actually ensures that your kids will get MORE attention because I will have to plan activities and do things as a group just to keep everyone entertained!
3. I know all the best kid-oriented activities and events:
Having children, I know where to go with children, what works when entertaining children, and how to find great things to do with children! You see, my life already revolves around children, why not use that to your advantage! I know I'd rather do the same thing in my work-life as I do in my non-working life, it makes it easier!
4. Your child will actually BENEFIT:
One of the greatest things about having my own kids with me when I work with other children is the benefits that they all receive. I have worked with many families, and I have seen firsthand how children develop social relationships. I can say with a degree of confidence that many children who receive private care instead of daycare do not have a lot of contact with other children. Social development is important at a young age to help children be better able to adapt to situations where interaction is necessary, such as school. With my children around (since I only apply for jobs where the children are around the same ages as my own) my nanny charges have playmates. They have buddies. They learn about sharing, about playing together and being nice to others. These are skills that will benefit them for a lifetime!
In closing, I know that the job market is tough. These opinions are my own and I can completely understand the concerns of people who do not know me or my philosophies on children and learning. Maybe I"m just a little frustrated. But after a year of searching for a job, and facing the reality that I may have to put my own children into childcare just to make an income, I don't feel that my frustrations are without validity. I am a great nanny; my track record speaks volumes to that effect. I just wish somebody would give me the chance!
*On a side-note. It is my BIGGEST pet peeve when people contact me looking for care, having read my profile and knowing that I have children to bring along, and then tell me that they want someone to come work alone or they feel it would be too many children to handle. If you feel that way, why did you contact me in the first place!?*