Do you know your worth? 

Do you know your worth? 

Nannying is changing 

We hear this all the time.

What is changing? I see the working days split into 2 shifts, 2 and 3 days work are on the increase, parents working from home, the job market on the whole is tough.

Minimum living wage in London for the over 25 year old  is £9.75. 

https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage/what-is-the-minimum-wage

Many unskilled jobs offered will cover this rate and more. 

Unfortunately many of my nanny friends with many years experience, qualifications and certificates find themselves having to accept a position where the pay is not reflecting their worth! 

The prospect family can’t afford your rate which is reflecting your experience and qualification! What do you do? 

I know what most nannies do if they are pushed.

If you love your job and you have chosen nannying as your profession I urge you to always state your worth and explain yourself.

Nannying used to be a well respected profession. Now I fear we are on the brink of working for minimum wage (and less when you consider what share families are currently offering nannies)! 

Please, stand up for each other and ask for fair wages not minimum wages! 

To raise awareness we would like to hear and publish your nanny story, anonymously if preferred.

Please, send us your story via email

Take care of yourselves! 

Take care of yourselves! 

Attention! Nannies are people too

I have worked in childcare for twenty years and have been a nanny for six. There is one feeling that you can guarantee when working with children and that is tiredness. You. Will. Be. Tired. Nannies especially so.

Nannies work long, unsociable hours, and often spend more time with the children than the parents do over the week. It is a demanding job which requires you to be on top of your game, you are taking responsibility for little lives after all. I often come across nannies doing extra hours on top of an already long day. In order to be the best nanny for your children you must take care of yourself first. Here are a few tips to ensure that you don’t burn out.

Be organised

Plan your days and weeks in advance as much as you can. Go to regular groups so that your children will be comfortable with their surroundings and everyone will be relaxed. If your children are easily adaptable then feel free to go wherever you please. I also find that batch cooking and freezing meals works really well and means that the children get lovely home cooked food without you having to cook every single day. You can certainly switch things up from time to time, a meal out or a picnic is always a real treat and hey – no cleaning up!

Keep it in check

Be wary of creeping chores and little favours. I manage my work household so that everything is tidy in the evening and am lucky enough to find it tidy in the mornings. I have known nannies to come to work faced with the weekend dishes. Daily tasks like loading and emptying the dishwasher, keeping surfaces clean and clear and washing up what you have used are expected. If you do an extra load of washing or tidy the family’s meal from the night before, mention it in a polite way and make the family aware of it. If, however, they start to intentionally leave washing to be done and stop tidying after themselves you need to sit them down and let them know that such tasks take away from the time that you spend with their children.

Room for one more

Many nannies are asked to take extra children during school holidays. Along with stay-at-home parents, some people view nannies as people who do nothing all day but play with the children. You have nothing better to do but look after extra children ‘as a favour’ (read unpaid). If you are offered payment but you refuse, the response is often “you’re getting paid aren’t you?” You must consider the maximum number of children you are happy to look after. Do you have enough resources to keep them entertained? Can you safely get out and about? Ask the parents if they would be comfortable looking after that many children. If they answer “no” then they should carefully consider your situation. Be firm in arguing your point and show that you value yourself and the service you provide.

Sleep glorious sleep

Go to bed early enough to ensure that you get plenty of rest. The average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function properly. Regularly getting less than the recommended amount of sleep can lead to a range of health implications including stress and depression. Under-sleeping by even one hour each night is equal to losing one whole night of sleep over a week. Now you have a good excuse for sleeping until 11am at the weekend.

Remember that it is OK to say no to babysitting. If like me you are a wreck without 6 hours sleep, think about whether your finish time will allow you to get home and get enough rest for the next day of work. I usually make acceptances for Thursday and Friday evenings as I will then have the weekend to recover. Can you tell I like (need) my sleep? If it is going to be a particularly late night then you can always ask to stay overnight if your family has a spare room and you feel comfortable doing that.

Over land or sea

It is important to consider travel time when searching for a nannying job. I know quite a few nannies who work the standard 10 hour shift only to commute up to 2 hours each way to work. That in turn leads to a 14 hour day away from your home. This can lead to issues with safety, especially alertness while driving.

Break away

Look after yourself during your work day. Take breaks to drink a cuppa and definitely rest once the children are asleep. I personally need around 20 minutes in complete silence to decompress after a hectic morning. Allow yourself time to eat lunch sitting down and to read a magazine or listen to some music before turning your attentions to preparing things for the afternoon. Drink lots of (non-alcoholic) fluid through the day, water, tea, squash are perfect choices and always take a drink for yourself when you are going out. Coffee and fizzy drinks are fine in moderation.

Food for thought

Eat a proper balanced meal, not just leftovers from the children. I am guilty of this and it only makes you feel rubbish and leads to snack temptation. If you are cooking healthy meals for the children then just make enough so that you can have some too. If you bring your own lunch to work then plan your lunches in advance so that you are not wandering the supermarket aisles picking up a meal deal, Haribo and a bag of donuts.

You got a friend

It is important to socialise during the day while you are working. Meet up with other nannies and parents. Have play dates, go to museums, parks, just make sure that you get out and meet people. Introducing yourself can be scary at first, especially if there is an obvious group of friends chatting away, but I think you’ll find that most people are warm and welcoming. If you see someone sat on their own at a group who is looking nervous, approach them and say hi, they may just need that little nudge to start interacting. That’s not to say that you have to go into full-on party entertainer mode – judge the situation and if the person wants to be left alone then let them be. Even I don’t want to be with other people all of the time. On these occasions a nice quiet walk around the park or a trip to the library will suffice.

Get your skates on

Exercise is important to boost your energy levels. Exercising regularly can also help improve the quality of your sleep. If you find that you are pushed for time in the day you can always take your children out and go for a brisk walk or jog. Older children can jog, cycle or scoot while younger children can go in a buggy. Outside of work you can join a gym, go swimming, go for a run, join a dance class… Just make sure that you start slowly and seek medical advice beforehand if you have any concerns.

And breathe…

Take the time each week to do something that you love, be it dance lessons, singing in a choir, going to the cinema or just hanging with friends. Make sure that your employers are aware that you have a commitment outside of work so that they are less likely to ask you to stay late or babysit on those days.

Find ways to unwind each day. Relaxation is vital to being a productive person. You may find meditation or yoga useful for clearing the mind and relaxing the body. Listening to your favourite piece of music can help you relax and will also evoke happy memories. Do whatever it is that you find relaxing. Don’t forego your own time to please others and most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Article by Delithea Denton 


To raise awareness we would like to hear and publish your nanny story, anonymously if preferred.

Please, send us your story via email. 

The changing face of nannying

The changing face of nannying

I am a nanny of 42 years experience,  trained and qualified in the mid 1970s. 

I trained in nurseries then realised that nannying was the career for me. I am pleased to say I have made it my  whole career! 

The changing face of nannying over the years interests me as in those days the vast majority of nannying jobs were full time, Monday to Friday. In the last 20 years there has been a change in this where women work 2-3 days a week so part time nannies are much more sought after. Career women these days don’t want to miss out on motherhood so they often find they are feeling they are splitting themselves into two, i. e. not totally committed to career and not totally committed to motherhood either. By trying to find a happy medium like this they often find they are more unhappy than if they were working 5 days a week or at home 5 days a week. 

The happiest women I have worked for over the 42 years I have been nannying have been the full time career women. Is this because we have been told over the last 20 or so years that women can have it all? 

It seems nannies are still having trouble getting recognised as professionals, although plenty of regulations have been introduced since I started my career i. e. OfSted, DBS. What a contrast to 75 years ago when nannies lived in with the family and looked after the children, the children’s children and the children’s children’s children! Talking to some of these much older women in their 90s it seems that they are surprised these days to hear that nannies get paid holidays or get holidays at all! Perks like cars, gym membership etc. totally unheard of! These were women that were totally dedicated to the families they worked for for life. They were looked after in their retirement by the families so didn’t need to worry about pensions and accommodation. What a contrast to the modern day nanny! 

The Interview

The Interview

We all negotiate and state our terms before employment starts. This can be difficult and stressful. There are certain things I like to mention to to make my working relationship start off on the right foot. 

I will not start a new position or stop searching for a new position until I have signed a binding contract.

I will not accept cash in hand for anything other than occasional work e.g. babysitting/ overtime. I will state I prefer to be asked in advance to babysit and to be finishing on time rather than being paid late fees.

Regular extra working hours will be going through the books and my contract will be updated accordingly.

I will contact any previous child carer you may have used for reference about the potential position.

I will meet and speak with every immediate family member before accepting a job offer.

I will ask questions regarding routine, discipline and preferences to ascertain if we are a good match in those respects.

I will provide information about me professionally e.g. references, certificates.

My contract will state that my employer is financially responsible for the upkeep of my first aid certificate and Ofsted registration.

My contract will also state the charges for petrol, petty cash, overtime (including babysitting and late fees) and car valet up to 4 times a year unless unforeseen circumstances demand for more.

I will negotiate 10 days paid sick leave per year.

I would want employers to understand that if a person doesn’t feel valued and isn’t rewarded for their work it is no surprise for motivation, self worth, initiative and enthusiasm to decline rapidly. 

Payrise should be (whilst at their discretion) in line with rising costs of living.

Please, feel free to add what is important to you!

To raise awareness we would like to hear and publish your nanny story, anonymously if preferred. Please, send us your story via email!

A child carer.

“So, you just simply play with children all day?”
“You just have to make sure they listen and obey?”
“Your job must be easy, your job seems a laugh.”
“It can’t really require the most highly skilled staff.”
“You must have the best ‘little’ job of them all.”
“You don’t have to think, you must have a ball.”
“You must just sit there day in and day out.”
“I don’t really get what your job is about.”
It’s amazing how often we hear all of this,
These words that people will venomously hiss,
Thinking that caring for a child is all smooth,
Presuming that we simply just cuddle and soothe.
I’ll state some of the roles of a child carer right here,
Although all of these roles won’t even come near,
To the amount of tasks we complete each damn day,
Or each of the rules we have to follow and obey.
To care for a child means to help grow and to nourish,
To help their potential so they will then flourish.
To read thirty books simply because they ask you too,
To help them, to go thirty times to the loo!
To continuously answer to the question of why,
Without wanting to shout, or to curse or to cry.
To explain each detail of as a matter of fact,
Without using sarcasm and getting yourself sacked.
To keep yourself cool and to feed their small mind,
To always be gentle, be caring and kind.
To have a conversation at the most inconvenient of all times,
Like when on the telephone or reading a book full of rhymes.
To practise the nativity for two months in a row,
Making sure that they all behave, practice and know.
To monitor their development, their growth and their being,
To make sure that you are then constantly seeing,
All their potential, their courage their flaws,
And setting up opportunities to open closed doors.
Helping them to understand what is not considered okay,
Or what is not nice to do or to say.
We encourage them to sit with the child that is sitting alone,
To remind them be optimistic and to try their best not to moan.
We encourage them to build sheer determination,
To have pride in each and every creation.
Helping to wipe their little tears away, kissing sore knees so the pain will not stay.
Using sentences most would deem as quite weird,
Like “Charlie, stop feeling Mr Smiths beard.”
“Annabelle, please don’t eat that pink chalk.”
“Ruby, please explain why you’re sad and won’t talk.”
It’s not just a career, it’s a life choice at the least,
Something that requires the patience of a priest.
So next time you arrogantly say to me,
“What is it that you actually do for this fee?”
Bare in mind that in this little job, we do it all,
To teach them, to guide them, pick them up when they fall.
Remember that you might have only one little bean,
We have twenty or thirty to be heard and be seen.
We are trained, we are taught, so have faith in us please,
We will teach your children what we can with great ease.
But please don’t belittle us, or deem us not fit,
Because you only see just a very small bit,
Of all of the things that we do in one day,
Just a small portion of what we do, see or say.
So please bare in mind that we do it all,
We will pick your child up when they stumble or fall.
We are their carers, and that’s exactly what we’ll do,
We are only a temporary replacement for you.
But in those small hours we promise to be there,

Because we are carers, and we really do care.

By Unknown

Legal advice? By anonymous

Legal advice? By anonymous

​I am an OFSTED registered, professional nanny with over 15 years experience working with children. There has been lots of challenging nanny roles but non as stressful as the following:
After 18 months of working for a family, the dynamics of my job description changed. After months of being project managed (and feeling less like the sole charge nanny originally hired), I handed in my notice in search of a position more challenging.

Handing in my notice was the easy part. My then employers (Mr & Mrs S) were very understanding and supportive. That was clearly shown in the glowing written reference I got 5 weeks before the end of my employment.

Communication and professionalism remained solid between myself and Mr and Mrs S. 

One morning a week after I handed my notice Mr S was confrontational and his whole persona was that of a bully. He was right up in my face, invading my personal space and raising his voice. This all happened in front of the children and his wife.
After this Mr & Mrs S left me with the children to go to work, I called a well known nanny agency for advice. They told me to contact Mr & Mrs S to request an emergency meeting. This meeting ended with an immediate dismissal for me.
The following morning I wrote an email to Mr and Mrs S asking them to explain why they dismissed me with immediate effect. I also requested to say goodbye to the children.

I contacted ACAS (http://m.acas.org.uk/), presented my case and read them the emailed reply from Mr & Mrs S. 

ACAS assured me I had a case and I should contact Morton Michel because I had a nanny insurance policy with them.

Morton Michel asked me to forward all relevant information, including a copy of my contract and the last email communication with Mr & Mrs S. After 4 weeks of initially contacting Morton Michel, they confirmed what ACAS had said. I had a case I just needed a legal to argue my point.

I was told that my nanny insurance covered me to have a legal representative look at my case but not defend it! What exactly was I paying this company for?
In the Intrum I was applying for permanent and temporary jobs. Mr and Mrs S were withholding my final pay, holiday money owed, over time and expenses. I had bills to pay and no money for legal fees! 
 I contacted the citizens advice bureau (CAB,  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/). To say they were extremely helpful is an understatement!! The government cutbacks and lack of funding left limited time for me to present my case. I was juggling temporary work, whilst still trying to secure a permanent nanny position.
 What was going on? Despite having years of childcare experience, being OFSTED registered and having good written references, job offers were retracted. I was honest and open about the Mr & Ms S situation.
 I went against the advice of the well-known nanny agency who suggested that I remove them from my CV. They said I could pad out my CV with temp work through their agency. Why wouldn’t I disclose it? 18 months of committed and good work was supported with the written reference from Mr & Mrs S. However, I was informed by a potential employer that Mr and Mrs S’s verbal reference was: “no comment, it’s a legal matter”, before hanging up the phone.
 After a lot of exchanged emails between Mr and Mrs S and the CAB, who were acting on my behalf, a resolve could not be met so the case was brought before a panel at the employment tribunal. 
The CAB had little funding so a solicitor could only be assigned on the court date. I wouldn’t have had time to brief the solicitor of all the case details, so I decided to represent myself! This meant I would have to present my case as well as plan my defence and apply for court orders for the two professional nannies I asked to be my whitenesses. 
The financial stress was hard enough to bare but I was also emotionally exhausted. My reputation was being tarnished, this was defamation of character!
 I was forced to sign on which was the only way to get the payment protection on my credit cards paid and on top of all that I was dealing with a family bereavement!!
 It’s funny how it takes a situation like this to show you who your real friends are. 
 After 6 months without a permanent job and waiting for a verdict from the employment court, I was awarded all monies owed!
The well known nanny agency won’t put me forward for any positions because “parents just don’t want to hear that”.
This has not prevented me from gaining employment as a nanny! I am always honest when asked about this part of my carrier!
So what do you think about that?

Wages

Wages

​I have spent the last 20 years working with children in different settings mainly under the age of 6 years. I lived the life of an au pair and done the nanny share.

Living and working in London in the best job in the world doesn’t always come with a fat pay at the end of the month. I don’t think nannying is well regulated regarding qualifications and pay! It seems to me not just the nannies but also the families are uncertain when it comes to wages! 
What we all need to consider (and please add to this if I forgot any points) is experience, qualification, job description, hours.
Looking at the gross-net debate. Personally I believe if you want to be seen as a professional know your gross. No other self-respecting profession deals in net!
For the new and younger nannies out there check out the minimum wage: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage/what-is-the-minimum-wage
Personally I used to think: as long as I can pay my bills I don’t have to ask for more money- I don’t think that was a very professional attitude!
Remember that family you interviewed who was just the best? All the boxes on your job hunt list were ticked apart from THE WAGES!  It’s a hard decision! I have been there and accepted the job. We all have to make a living and pay our bills but if you don’t believe in yourself then why do you expect others to?
The “going rate” must be a fantastic fairy story! There are rates ranging from £8 to £13 and beyond!!! Mostly £10 is being talked about but who wants to start back at that rate after years with a family, personal development, experience and confidence gained? Let’s call £10 net an hour a starting wage in our profession for a live out nanny!? And no that is not for part time job! This is where it becomes even more confusing! “Going rate” for a part time job? Anyone? “Going rate” for a temporary position? 
All I can say is set yourself a minimum GROSS ANNUAL income you need to live and pay your bills and don’t undersell. Here is the website to check it out: http://m.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/
We all know there are plenty of afternoon jobs or term time only jobs but nothing to fill the rest of your hours.
The annual pay rise is mostly forgotten about in our profession and a thank you bonus at Christmas has bought a few nanny friends of mine a nice meal out on their own!
Some have however found a predetermined quarterly bonus sweetened a financially sour deal!

I want a survey!
I want to collect anonymous details about area working in, years of experience, qualifications, years been with family, how many families working for at the moment, how many hours a week, how many children, live in/out, mothers help, au pair+ (please add if I forgot any). Perhaps then we can speak about “going rate”!