Being a nanny can be a great career—for the right person. Some people remain nannies for the majority of their life, others quickly find out it isn’t the best job for them. To get a jump on knowing if you have the makings to be a nanny, here’s a look at the pros and cons.
Pro: Working with children can be fun and rewarding.
As a nanny, you get to spend your day with one or more kids from a single family. You get to know and love these children, and have a major impact on them and how they grow up—the morals and lessons they learn, and the new steps they take. You get to play for long stretches of the day, and go on outings that have some educational purpose, like the zoo. Eventually, you’ll (hopefully) have the pleasure of knowing that you sent another well adjusted and successful person out into the world.
Con: You’re around the children you care for all day (and sometimes night) long.
A nanny’s hours can be long. Little ones wake up early, and older ones have to be up early to get to school. Depending upon your agreement with the parents, you may be required to tend to nightly needs, like diaper changes or feedings. Some nannies do work part time, but if this is your intention, it’s important to have your hours clearly laid out when you begin working for the family.
Pro: Being a live in nanny can be a great way to arrange lodgings.
Some nannies actually live in the house with the children. Rent can be expensive, and often working for and living with the family can make it so that you’re living comfortably—younger nannies may find this particularly enticing. This does, however, mean that you have to be careful about any bad habits you might have. Also, this can be very time consuming, and tending to the children could overrun time you set aside for yourself.
Con: Unstable family situations can drastically affect your work and working environment.
Working for an volatile family can be tough, in many ways. Even if you have a secure position, it can be difficult to be stuck in the middle of a family feud, and frustrating to watch the effect this has on the children you care for. Additionally, if the family is on the verge of a divorce, move, or other big change, you may find yourself out of a job or taking on more responsibilities than you originally bargained for.
Pro: Being a nanny can come with a lot more perks than other child care jobs.
If you’re trying to choose between being a nanny and other positions in childcare, nanny-dom has a lot of advantages. Babysitters don’t make as much money as nannies, and working in a daycare means that you have to bend to many people’s demands, rather than just one family. You also have to work with a lot more children, many of whom will come and go. Being a nanny often comes with vacation time, paid holidays, and regular hours. You also stick with the same kids for long periods of time and may have more influence on rules instead of having to conform to someone else’s.
Con: It’s easy for additional duties to creep in without realizing it.
Some nannies find themselves getting taken advantage of. Live in nannies in particular may have trouble separating their duties from extra little tasks that get shoved on them. It’s extremely important to have a clear working agreement drawn up with the parents or family when you start. It’s even more important to stick to it, as once you start letting things of this nature slide, it becomes more and more difficult to say no.