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    21 Secrets Professional Nannies Will Never Tell You

    We're not exactly practically perfect in every way…

    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.

    5. We don’t want to sleep with the dad.


    Mostly not, anyway.

    6. We have lives too!


    If we're scheduled for a 7pm finish on Friday, you bet your ass we have plans at 7.30pm.

    7. We do sometimes snoop around.

    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.

    15. We get called "mama".

    CBS Television

    And we will NEVER mention that to our employer.

    16. We're not housekeepers.

    20th Century Fox / BuzzFeed

    We're all about keeping a kid alive, clean, fed, and watered. We do not have time to do be doing the ironing, cleaning, and food shopping too.

    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.

    20. Paying us on time is the greatest gift we expect.


    But if we don't get a Christmas gift, a birthday gift, and something from your vacation, we're probably gonna be mad.

    21. We love those kids as if they were our very own.

    Walt Disney

    ... At least for the time we're with them, anyway.

    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.

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