Ashley Howell, Contributing Writer
The increase of women in the work force in the last 20 years has created a new member of the American family: the nanny.
Though the title of nanny has been in place since the 19th century, the position primarily existed in the homes of the wealthy. Though it is still common in many upper class families to have a nanny, the normality of both parents working full time has made nannies more of a necessity than a privilege. This has provided the opportunity for many women, and men too, to earn their living by caring for other people's’ children.
These positions are an especially convenient opportunity for many high school and college-aged students to earn extra income during summer holidays, as well as recent college graduates who are in a transitional stage. But before turning in your resume, it is important to know not only the perks of being a nanny, but also the quirks.
Though becoming a nanny seems like the perfect situation for a young adult, manny nannies have said that the nanny position was not something they were trying to find. “They approached me first. I wasn't even looking actually,” said Damaris Manley, 21, of Greenville, S.C. Katherine Fields, 20, said, “The opportunity was just there, and it looked less stressful than my current job.” Another nanny, currently serving two families, is Rebekah Whitacre. She was not planning on a nanny career, either. “All the doors opened. It just seemed like the next step,” she said.
Nannies agree on the two best perks of their job: the pay and the schedule. Pickens native Emily McCollum said, “I enjoy working with kids. The super flexible schedule is awesome and the money isn't bad either.” Though more experience means more money, according to nannys4hire.com, even someone with less than a year’s experience can earn $521 gross per week. And if you want to take a week off to spend with friends? Many employers love their nannies so much that, with enough notice, they are more than happy to give them time off here and there.
Though many nanny newbies anticipate a lot of laid-back free time, that is simply not the case. “I was not expecting all of the breakdowns and screaming from the little one,” said Fields. “Both of my kids are usually as sweet as they can be, but the occasional tantrums will drive you crazy.”
Another unexpected element of nannying that all of these sources encountered were the personal changes they each experienced in their lives. An attachment is highly likely when spending so much time with children. In many cases, a nanny will spend even more time with the children than the parents. Fields said it is very important in these cases to never overstep your bounds concerning the parents. “Always follow their rules-- no exceptions.” That means no extra sugar, television, or spoiling. This is not only appreciated by the employer, but also creates consistency for the child.
Nannying may be the perfect fit to your schedule, and a great way to earn money while enjoying being around rambunctious children. However, it is very important to understand the responsibilities more than just the job perks before accepting a position.