Last summer, I was at my lowest point career wise. I’d worked in nurseries for 5 years and felt like I had gotten as much as I was going to out of them. I dreaded the thought of going into nursery management as a progression and dreaded going into work most days.
I was desperate for a change. I had a look around at different things - mostly out of childcare. I felt like going into something different but staying with children would make me feel exactly the same as I already did. However, on the other hand, all I had ever done was childcare, I didn’t know how to do anything else. I felt like if I didn’t stay in childcare, I would have wasted all the years I spent studying or expanding my knowledge in that field. I looked at a lot of jobs before deciding to try out nannying.
As I was also going to be studying; nannying gave me the option of flexibility, where I could work shorter hours or less days for the same amount of salary. I joined an agency, to aid in speeding the process along. I was told by lots of people that I would hate it, “don’t do it” they said. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them.
I asked to be put forward for a job that sounded appealing to me, short hours, nearby commute and sharing similar views as the parents. The agency told me not to be surprised if I didn’t get it as I don’t have any nanny experience. I had a phone interview and face to face interview on the same day, and within half an hour of leaving their house, they had offered me the job. I knew I wanted to accept straight away but I slept on it still, see if I still felt the same in the morning. I did, and I was so excited to start. I hadn’t felt excitement to go to work in such a long time it was a welcome change. I was nervous, I knew it would be different to nursery, I knew it would be more intense. The family were patient with me, helped me get to grips with their routine and gave me as much support as I needed. What made a difference was that the family asked me how I was, they made sure I was settling in with their child as much as she was with me.
Nannying has its ups and downs of course like any job, but I am so much more confident in myself and my capabilities and skills than I ever have been before. It does get lonely, but you will build the confidence in being able to talk to anyone else with children around. Groups and classes are your best friend, even soft play! And, whilst a routine is great, I’ve learned not to be afraid to change it up sometimes, to do something different.
We are offering an unparalleled service - no other childcare can offer what nannies do. Mostly one to one care, in their own home where the child will feel most comfortable. My main piece of advice to all nannies, experienced, new to nannying, and those in training, would be to never let anyone make you feel bad, that you’re “just a nanny”. Also, don’t be afraid to say no if something isn’t right. If your pay is late, tell them. If you don’t want to do overtime, tell them. Your employer will respect your self-confidence.
Becoming a nanny was the best decision I’ve made in my career so far. I don’t know if I will do it forever, but I’m enjoying the ride. I’m confident, happy and I’ve got so much more freedom. I’m no longer stressed about paperwork; I can enjoy the child and their achievements and see the world from a toddler’s point of view.
Katherine Gower lives with her partner and cat in Bedford. When she’s not working, she enjoys writing, shopping and dancing and is currently studying psychology.