As a nanny, there’s no greater feeling than to be referred as a family member.
“Mary is such an amazing aunt! She’s just another member of our family.”
It’s a relief when we’re no longer just an employee. It’s the kind of appreciation we’ve hoped to get from our employer.
Most nannies choose their profession because they find happiness in caring for children. I recall my own moment of validation when a former employer realized I valued her children’s safety as much as she did. And because of this, she decided I was no longer an outsider getting paid to care – I actually did care. The result: I was a family member.
But wait… was I really a dear family member? I’ve never seen photos of me and the kids on their parent’s Instagram feed or Facebook wall. And what about that well-executed birthday dinner I put together for dad? Instead of offering me a seat at the table, I was placed on clean up duty.
I find it funny when families refer to their nanny as family because truth is, we aren’t. For the most part, we’re appreciated because we care for their lovely children when they can’t.
Unfortunately, some of us are gullible. We hear kind words from employers and double down on showing our appreciation. This may mean staying late when mom needs to make a quick grocery run or ironing creases out of dad’s work slacks. And while your employer is over the moon with the extra help, your new gestures become apart of your job.
So what happens when your employment ends? Maybe the kids are old enough to be alone or the family moved? Whatever the cause, parting is on good terms, and through tears, everyone promises to keep in touch.
Many of us will stay connected to the kids – we’ll send birthday gifts and call to say hi. However, when a Facebook notification pops up on your phone to let you know that your former employer uploaded a new album titled “birthday fun with family,” you’ll wonder what happened to your invite. Lost in the mail? Nope. #byeFam #Ouch
Luckily, you can avoid this dark and painful path. As an employee, you should do your job per a written agreement. You’re going to fall in love with the little ones, but remember, it’s still a job. If your employer appreciates you, then they can offer a raise, give you a free day off, or send you home early on Fridays.
Final thought: it’s hilarious to consider a job that focuses on wiping tears, telling bedtime stories, and cuddling during an ouchie as just a job. But, in the world of the IRS, it’s a job. And when you’re no longer needed at that job, you probably won’t be invited over for Sunday night dinners or birthday parties.