Parents who employ nannies, if I may take a few minutes of your time, I have something I need to address.
As I’m sure you’re aware, nannying is very different from other professions. Your nanny works in your home. She spends her days caring for your precious children. You depend on her to be there in your absence; your children love and need her. We know how personal it feels to you, because it feels personal to us too.
But here’s the thing. While your nanny loves your children and makes them her number one priority for a large portion of her time, her ultimate responsibility is not to them, or to you. Her ultimate responsibility is to herself. In the same way that you put your well-being and the well-being of your family first, she has the right (and frankly the duty) to do the same.
I know that when your nanny comes to you and tells you that it’s time for her to move on, it feels as though your world is crashing down. I know that you trusted her with your children and now it feels as though she is betraying that trust. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that your nanny is an autonomous person with a set of wants and needs that are completely separate from your family.
Believe me, this was not easy for her to do. Nannies dread this moment more than almost any other in our careers. Part of the reason it’s so difficult is that we’re genuinely heartbroken to say goodbye to the children we love. The other part is you. Almost every one of us has experienced the moment after giving notice, when a pleasant and even friendly working relationship disintegrates. We’ve been screamed at and given the cold shoulder. We’ve been called selfish, fake, heartless, and worse. We’ve been shamed and told that the children will suffer because of us. We’ve agonized over the amount of notice we should give, wanting to be as fair and kind as possible, but knowing that a parent could easily turn our last few weeks into a living hell. We know that there’s a possibility that we may never get to speak to the children we love again if a parent demands we leave immediately and never come back.
There are any number of reasons why your nanny needs to move on, but the reasons don’t matter. What matters is that she was trusted to come into your home and was a huge part of your children’s lives. She fed them, kissed their boo-boos, and loved them. She’s also a professional, and a person with a life and needs of her own, and she deserves to be treated with respect. Despite the betrayal you feel, please understand that your nanny did not do this to hurt you. Taking your feelings out on her is not only inappropriate; it’s also juvenile and cruel.
So when your nanny asks you to talk and hands you that dreaded resignation letter, please take a deep breath before you respond. Put aside your hurt feelings and have a mutually respectful discussion between adults, and see the person who exists outside of your family. She deserves that.
A nanny who could be your own