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21 Secrets Professional Nannies Will Never Tell You

We're not exactly practically perfect in every way…

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1. Being a nanny is a profession.

Walt Disney

Nannies often get treated in the same way as waiters and Deliveroo cyclists: Like it's a stop-gap to something else. A holding zone. Less valuable, somehow, than a "proper job". Which is weird, really, because looking after human life is pretty "up there" on the big responsibilities list.

2. We sometimes get poached by other parents.

Warner Bros. Television

We'd never tell our employer that Sandra approached us and said she'd pay us more if we came to look after her brood, because we know that's the kind of back-handed shenanigan that ends up causing a fist fight at the PTA meeting.

3. Kids are lovable brats.

Columbia Pictures

Look, there's no way around it: Your kid is a brat. Your niece is a brat. So is your nephew and friend's firstborn and your neighbour's ten-year old. But listen: It's OK! All kids are brats.


4. Most kids are pretty average.

Every parent likes to think their child is, in some way, a genius. And there's ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that we're going to be the ones who suggest their kid is struggling with their maths, literacy, or anything at all actually.

7. We do sometimes snoop around.

It's super weird to us when we have to go into somebody else's bedroom, for any reason at all. But, you know, occasionally we do, and since we're there we miiiiiiiiight just have to have a peek at all the expensive lotions, potions, and fancy-pants make-up.


8. It can be really awkward looking after kids when the parents are around.


The ten minutes before parents leave in the morning are the most awkward ten minutes of our day. We like the parents, but ultimately we know they're watching us with their children and we feel their eyes on us. It's understandable and unavoidable, but God it's stressful.

9. We can’t save a kid’s life.


We never claimed to have a first aid certificate, but to be fair nobody ever actually asked. We've no more of an idea on what to do in an emergency than anybody else would – but that's probably OK. Parents don't have first aid certificates either!

10. We’re not judging anyone's food choices.

We know how hard it is to get a three-year old to eat anything other than cereal, or a ten-year old to drink enough water. Seriously, whatever works. As long as they're eating and drinking something, right?

11. We worry that we’ll screw up our own kids.


We see the footprints parents leave on their kids – where all their bad habits come from – and we're terrified that we're powerless to stop ourselves doing the same.


12. Yes, we sometimes have to yell.

Universal Pictures

There comes a point where only yelling will do. Mostly when we're trying to poop in private and the kid opens the door to the bathroom AGAIN, or if they put themselves in danger and we freak out. We're not sorry.

13. We know other nannies, and we swap horror stories.

Dimension Films

It's a bit of a niche market, nannying, so once we connect with the other nanny who rolls her eyes at the loud pushy mum nobody seems to like or respect at the school bake sale, you'd best believe we're holding on to our new ally like a baby with her favourite blankie. It's like therapy.

14. We worry we will never, ever, forget this time in our life... but that the kids we look after will.


We learn so very much from them, but in a few years they probably won't even remember us, and that stings.


17. When we walk out of the door, we don’t give the kids a second thought.

Warner Bros.

We can't. We wouldn't be able to do this job – a job so intimate and filled with love and vulnerability – if we didn't have healthy boundaries about how much of it we take home with us.

18. When parents undermine us, it cuts deep.

CBS Television

We work really hard to establish our own rules and relationship with the kids we work with, so when parents say something to contradict us it feels like a punch in the gut.

19. We can’t text back right away. / Via

At weekends we'll sit and text talk for hours. When we're with the kids? We've got to focus.


Note: This post is based on one person's experience of working in the industry.

Ice Cream for Breakfast: How rediscovering your inner child can make you calmer, happier, and solve your bullsh*t adult problems is published by Hodder and Stoughton and out in hardback, ebook, and audiobook on 20th April.