Being a nanny was the greatest gift I've ever received in my entire life. Though I went into the job knowing full well that I would eventually change careers, I was at a place in my life where I needed a job that paid well. And since I thought I was going to use my teaching degree someday, I figured childcare was the way to go. I have always loved children — I started babysitting when I was 12 and worked at a Summer camp in my teens — so I knew that nannying would be the perfect position for me.
Most nanny jobs pay really well, so when I was contacted by a woman who needed a nanny for her 18-month-old son, I knew it was an amazing opportunity. Compared to my retail job that paid me pennies, this was going to be incredible. Call me young, call me naive, but I think that finding a well-paying job that allows you to snuggle a little babe all day is like winning the lottery.
But a recent phenomenon — the diva nanny — is giving the entire industry a bad name.
To a diva nanny, my aforementioned stance on pay and snuggling perks would be ridiculous. Were I to partake in this idea of the diva nanny, I would have asked my employers — possibly straight off the bat in the interview — for a gym membership, a lunch stipend, commute cost coverage, paid vacations and holidays, access to their Hamptons house year-round, and so much more.
Just typing up these requests makes me nauseous. To take advantage of a family in need of childcare assistance is crass and tasteless, regardless of their economic or social status. Though I am not a mother myself, I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that hiring someone to take care of your child must be the most terrifying part of parenthood. To accept someone into your home, trust them with your house, your children — basically your entire life — has got to be a nightmare. It would be supremely unsettling to feel like you had to comply with outrageous requests from your nanny just because you need them more than they need you.
So with the rise of these high-maintenance nannies, there is even more for moms to stress about — as if it wasn't bad enough before. Will a potential nanny give you their true self in an interview, or will they act a certain way to get themselves the job? Will they figure out your weaknesses and exploit you because they know you need them? Will they actually care about your children, nurture them, love them?
Not every non diva nanny will agree with me, but I feel that diva nannies give the rest of us a bad name. They seem like sneaky frauds within our little nanny community — like they aren't actually in it for the kids. You're only as strong as your weakest player, which is why I worry about the future. If I — or any worthy candidate — were to walk into a nanny interview, ready to care for some amazing kiddos, would their parents be guarded toward me and not give me a full chance because they heard a few stories about diva nannies and are nervous I could end up taking advantage of them should I get the job? Though now it seems unclear, once this concept gets around, trustworthy, caring nannies everywhere may have a harder time gaining a family's trust.
I am a nanny, not an A-list star; thus, I do not expect to be treated as one.