The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how important having a good job is and how big of an effect it can have on your everyday life. If we truly break it down and think about why this is true, we start to see that the biggest factor involved here is time.
How we spend our time, especially the majority of our time, plays a fundamental role in our attitudes, thoughts, and even our routines. If you’ve gone through a job change, in general, you probably know what I’m talking about, but if you’re a nanny and you’ve gone through a job change in that field…you really know how much it can shift your life!
For example, I was previously working a nanny job that was 40-55 hours per week, watching a one and a half year old boy. My shifts were either eight hours a day or twelve hours a day, usually 7-3 or 7-7, and the schedule varied from week to week. As a result, this created a very inconsistent environment for me at work and at home. I struggled to nail down a daily routine, take care of my own home, and have time to myself or with my family. Ultimately, despite my deep love and care for the family, leaving became the only option.
And then- there I was- looking for a new nanny job and having no idea on Earth what kind of thing I should be looking for. I mean, to be honest, I did have some idea of what I was looking for, but it was very vague and I wasn’t sure on all the details. Anyway, I started submitting my information to families and had quite a few interviews (like 8) and started to see that the luster of the new job adventure was wearing off before it had truly started.
I was experiencing crazy kids at the interview, unreasonable requests from the parents, and schedules that might have actually killed me had I taken the job (okay, okay, I’m exaggerating. I’ll take it down a notch). It became quickly and clearly evident that finding the perfect job for me was going to take more effort and thought on my part than I had originally thought.
At this point, I took a step back, took a deep breath, and asked myself a series of questions that would help put me on track to landing the perfect nanny job instead of getting me stuck in a cycle of exhaustion and stress.
What are your priorities outside of work?
The first thing I wanted to make sure I accounted for were my non-work-related goals- or my longer-term goals. For me, it was vital that I have more time off work than most people or that the family was at least willing to be flexible with the schedule. After all, I do have a family of my own and I run this blog/blogging company, too, so I have to have enough free time to make it all happen.
With this being the case, I started brainstorming what a potential schedule could look like that would work with all of my other activities/priorities. For some of this, I did simple brainstorming by myself, but I also looked at nanny Facebook groups and on Care.com to get an idea of what type of flexible schedules were already being put out there by families.
Looking at the job postings by the families was very helpful because it immediately set reasonable expectations for me as far as what schedules are the most common and what ‘flexibility with the schedule’ actually means when families put that in their ads.
How much money do you need to make your budget work?
As much as I wish we didn’t have to worry about money, everyone (or almost everyone) does. However, this monetary stress is not unfounded. We have to have money to pay our rent, buy food, put gas in our cars, and many other things! Always consider your financial needs when trying to find a nanny job and don’t take something that doesn’t meet those needs. That will just increase your stress and anxiety levels!
Most nannies get paid hourly, so if you’re not sure how to calculate what you would need to paid, then follow this simple process:
- Identify your monthly expenses: rent, car, food, insurance, etc..
- Add all of these expenses together
- Generally there are 4 weeks in a month, so divide:total amount of expenses4 (weeks). This is going to give you the amount of money you need to make each week based on your expenses.
- Then, divide: how much money you need to make each weekthe amount of hours you want to/will work each week. This will give you your needed hourly wage.
What ages of children are you most experienced/prepared to work with?
Every nanny is different in what ages of children they like to work with the most and considering your strengths and weaknesses as a nanny is also important when trying to find the best nanny job for you. Since this is most likely going to be your full-time job, you don’t want to hate it, so make sure when you talk to families that you consider what your life is going to look like at work based on details, such as:
- Current activities
- Household chores
- Driving requirements
- Parenting style
- Duration of employment
- Work hours
All of these things have the potential to make your job easier or make you hate your life, so take necessary care and time to consider these factors before accepting a position.
In my years of nanny experience, I had taken care of children ages: 8 weeks, 1.5, 3, 6, 8, 11, and 13, but surprisingly, I really wasn’t sure what was going to be the best age group for me this go around. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted the children to at least be able to communicate because I seem to really struggle when kids are at the age when they can’t tell you their needs/feelings. I was also certain, as I mentioned before, that I needed a fairly lax schedule.
Once I was able to identify those top two requirements for my new job, it made sorting through ads and Facebook posts so much easier!
Are any of these things negotiable?
I always think the best question to finish off with is if your ‘must-haves’ are truly things you must have. It’s very easy to corner yourself and not find a job at all if you’re too picky, so you have to be able to read the job market and find a way to make it work. At the same time, though, you also have to identify which things absolutely are non-negotiable and then hold your ground on those terms in conversations with families.
A great example is that I was pretty set on wanting 3 days off per week because I needed time to work on the blog. Now, it’s not impossible to find nanny jobs with 3 days off, but it’s pretty damn hard. In the end, I didn’t get that exact request fulfilled, but because I was flexible and willing to compromise, I got something almost as good- a massive, 6-hour break in the middle of the day, 5 days a week. This allowed me more than enough time to do the things I needed to do, and, looking back, I’m so happy I didn’t compromise on that detail! Life would have really sucked!
So, with all that having been said, I want to leave you with this final piece of advice to take with you as you move forward in your nanny career:
You are the priority when you’re looking for a new position. Your needs are the needs that should come first and you are the only one who can ensure they are being met. There are absolutely families out there who will respect you and the things you’re asking for, so just wait for them.
I hope this helps you and send you on your way, more confident, more knowledgeable, and more prepared, to land the perfect nanny job!
About The Author…
Mica Mackenzie is the founder and CEO of The Quiet Nonsense, LLC. She currently lives in Dallas with her boyfriend, Hunter, and their