By Kelly Miller
This article is the second of a two part series in which we talked to nannies and parents that have been placed together for over 4 years. We asked, “What advice do you have for other families or nannies to have a successful long-term relationship?” Here is what employers had to say.
Parents repeatedly mentioned that nannies are part of the family. The importance of respect, similar values, and open communication were also mentioned.
Tina, who has had the same nanny for 5 1/2 years, said listening to intuition during the interviewing process was most important. “We interviewed three nannies and any would do, but it was very apparent when we watched Mary Ann with Lily, who was only six weeks old, that she would be the best fit.” She says that parents need to figure out what kinds of things are really important and leave room for flexibility. “Nannies are professionals; our nanny will ask us how we want something done. If we don’t know the answer, we let our nanny make the decision. She is a good problem solver and figures things out.”
Nell commented that it is very important to respect nannies as valuable employees. She does this by being fair about benefits and expectations, having respect for the nanny's needs as well her own, and paying for time she has reserved (even if she comes home early and lets her nanny go). Nell does this because she doesn’t want her nanny to have to get an additional part-time job since she thinks that would be too hard with a full-time nanny job. She also treats her nanny like part of the family, and commented that the kids observe how you interact with the nanny.
Jenny says that, “Whoever is in our house is part of our family.” The groundwork was her nanny’s relationship with her previous family. “I am home a lot; we feel like sisters. We say that 'it’s our home, but your office.'” She attributes their long-term relationship to partly them, partly the nanny, and partly the synergy between them. “It is a team project in bringing up our kids.”
Bonnie says that she is happy she found a nanny who wants to be a nanny. “Our nanny is very focused and is always looking for ways to improve instead of looking for the next job.” She also integrates her nanny into the family’s activities as much as possible so she feels a part of the family unit.
Marie says one of the reasons their nanny is still with them is because of the nanny — the type of person she is and where she is at in life. Their values are the same, and they give her freedom. They are in sync; this came out during the interview process, but even more so as time went on.
Kim hired a nanny that has similar value systems to her. She said, “Our nanny is a wonderful woman, which provides such a sense of security for us. After five years, a nanny becomes part of the family; actually, she has been a part of our family since the first month of employment.”
John said that it is important to be flexible because things change. He and his nanny have had to adapt to each other.
One parent said she really wasn’t sure why her nanny has stayed with them so long, but that her nanny is so marvelous that anyone would get along with her.