An open letter from a NYC nanny in response to the New York Post article on April 8th entitled ‘Escalades, Hampton homes, and much more: The rise of the diva nanny’. Maxene S. is a professional nanny of 12 years, an active leader in the nanny community, and is passionate about the career she has chosen! She has a degree in Culinary Arts and a Montessori Teaching Diploma (NAMC), with a specialized certification to teach 3 months-3 years. Check out her thoughts on the ‘diva nanny’ article and the issues surrounding the ‘nanny market’ in Manhattan.
They say that being a parent is the hardest and most important job you will ever have. If so, shouldn't the person you hire to help you raise, educate, and LOVE your children also be held in high regard?
Unfortunately this does not seem to be a commonly held view in busy New York City. Instead it seems that there are non-stop assaults on the nanny profession, taking what should be a very creditable career, and tarnishing it with stories of "bad eggs” in over sensationalized articles. The New York Post recently published one such article entitled, ‘The Rise of the Diva Nanny’, where the journalist paints the picture of the "hired help" acting entitled and spoiled.
I shared this story on my Facebook group page, NYC Professional Nannies, where New York City's career nannies gather as a community to learn about child development, NY industry standards, and the laws that have been put in place to protect our vulnerable profession. Our group strives to stop the erroneous assumptions and stereotypes about our valuable role as a nanny.
Reading the article's claims from these featured parents and lawyers about "diva nannies" all point to one sure thing: No professional career nanny would or should ever act this way. Our good nanny title is being misused and blemished by under qualified, unprofessional babysitters and those who choose to employ them. Calling a babysitter a nanny is like calling a first year medical student a doctor. These two titles are very different and should not be used interchangeably.
Being a professional nanny is one of the most challenging, tiring, and emotionally draining careers you can have. Coming into someone's home to help them raise their most precious children is one of the most respectable and intimate vocation choices. We do not just play for a living… we do and are so much more! Many times, we are asked to fulfill a proxy-parent role and do everything needed in order for the child’s life to be healthy, smooth, and happy. In NYC, parents tend to have much higher standards and grander expectations in every aspect of their lives and that of their children. 24hr, weekend, and overnight nannies are a common place and career nannies typically work 50-70hrs+ a week.
The cost of living in the New York Metro area is exorbitant! $15 an hour is close to the average payment in the city and most families pay illegally, don't offer benefits, or the required overtime wages. Sadly, it appears that parents value the cleanliness of their toilet far more than the quality of their children's caregiver as even housekeeper on the UES earn in the range of $25-30 per an hour. Those employers that say they can't afford to pay a good hourly rate to legally employ a qualified and professional nanny should not feel entitled to have one and should consider childcare alternatives such as daycares, au pairs or babysitters.
A great number of professional nannies have college degrees or certifications (many in the education field) while others started out as babysitters and built a long resume of childcare experience, skills, and references that deserve to be compensated fairly. Why shouldn’t qualified nannies receive a six-figured salary, benefits, job perks for the important job they do? We nurse your child when sick, help with math homework, teach important life skills and stay late when you have that big charity benefit to attend.
Now don’t get me wrong, of course we notice if your one year old wears a cashmere coat that costs more than our weekly pay and how generous you are when you tip the caterers after a "little" dinner party. We feel hurt and unappreciated when we don't get a bonus, a raise, and a “thank you” for going above and beyond on a daily basis. And we do pay attention to those high salary and glamorous perks offered for other nanny positions just as any other career driven person would do. But at the end of the day, we will stay late, endure the hours, and job demands because we love and respect your children, family and our career. We won't make "diva like" stipulations because we are professional nannies, and we have a respectable reputation to uphold.
To be a great nanny, you need to give a piece of your heart and soul to the children and the families you work for. There are many joys that come with the job but also so much frustration and tears. Daily you have to navigate a very fine and intimate line between being a friend/parent figure and keeping a professional employment relationship.
Bottom line: Raising your children is a HUGE responsibility and we deserve to be respected and compensated accordingly. We love what we do for a living and find it an honor, privilege, and joy to do so. But please, please don’t confuse our amazing profession with the ‘divas’ or under qualified babysitters.
Are you a nanny in NYC? We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Are you an expectant or new parent in search of a professional nanny? Let Choice Parenting help you navigate the nanny hiring process and teach you how to find a quality nanny that matches your family's needs. Call or email to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our childcare coaching sessions.
Hi! I am Holly...
For over a decade, my career focus has been centered in and around NYC in the childcare, education, and family support industries.