I would NEVER sit on a baby!
Today's post is something that is near and dear to my heart; the difference between a nanny and a babysitter. If you're a nanny, you probably involuntarily cringe whenever someone calls you a babysitter. If you're not a nanny but a parent or caregiver, don't leave this post yet! You've probably made the mistake of calling a nanny a babysitter and you need to stick around and understand WHY this "simple" offense is so insulting.
A babysitter is someone who comes for a small amount of time, sporadically and usually at night, assists the kids with finishing dinner, helps them into PJs, a small amount of time playing and reading books, puts kids to bed, and then literally proceeds to just sit until you get home. If they're a good babysitter, they'll clean up the play areas and hopefully load the dishwasher.
A nanny is someone that is a part of your family. They spend large amounts of time, consistently both during the day and at night, with your children. They feed them, they dress them, they get them to school or extracurriculars. When they aren't entertaining/feeding/washing/teaching your children, they are doing the kids laundry, they are at the market shopping for the family, they are walking the dog or organizing the kid's closets. They are a trusted and very valued part of your family. Some nannies drive the family car, some have their own family credit card. They are so ingrained in their nanny family's life, they may even attend holidays or even travel with them. My nanny kids have no idea that I'm NOT a part of their family. They place me in the same category as an aunt and literally thought I had the same last name as them!
Do nannies babysit? Sure. Sometimes I book a random family at night for just a couple hours. I'm not familiar with their schedule or their lives or the kids favorite spot to hide. I navigate these families the best I can using my nanny skills and then after the kids go to bed, I clean up. I usually won't do more than that because a parent might be creeped out that I folded their laundry and now know what kind of underwear they wear. I get that. I don't want to overstep my boundaries or insert myself into this family any more than they are expecting. But am I a babysitter? Nope. I'm a nanny doing a job that I could do with my eyes closed because I ENJOY IT. If an engineer likes to tinker with toys in her free time, she's STILL an engineer.
You might be thinking "then what does it matter?" The answer is simply - because that is not what I am.
When I am called a babysitter, it immediately degrades my abilities. I am a career nanny. I make my living being a nanny. I have the mindset to handle emergency situations, I have the experience to know what an emergency situation is, and I have the professionalism to go through all your kitchen cabinets instead of texting you all night asking where you keep your cups. Most nannies have been working as a nanny longer than families have even thought about having kids. I've been doing this for 15 years!!! That's A LOT of kids I've helped raise. I had one mother, that after 2 years of working for her, would STILL be shocked that I'd gotten her young twins up from their naps, out of their cribs, clothes and diapers changed, snack had, and were playing all by the time she'd gotten herself changed and ready to go out. She was amazed that I was able to not only do it by myself but also do it in a timely matter. What felt overwhelming to her as a first time parent was just part of my everyday life.
Finally, it just hurts my feelings. It makes me feel less than and who wants to feel that way? I work really hard to literally keep a household (or sometimes multiple households) running and it just plain sucks when you put me in the same category as the neighbor kid who runs up your cable bill sitting on the couch while your kids sleep. I teach, I discipline, I protect.
The other day, my 5 year old asked what I would do if he got locked in the car. I told him I would smash the window if needed in order to get him out. Shocked he looked at me and said "You would BREAK something?" I told him I would break anything necessary to keep him safe. "Even something special? Like something really special?" I told him I would break everything I think is special just to make sure he was safe. I told him I would do ANYTHING to keep him safe. He looked me dead in the eyes and responded "You must really love me." Yea kid, I really really love you...I'm your nanny!
What do you think - Are nannies just being too sensitive? Nannies - how do you feel when someone calls you a babysitter? Parents - have you made this mistake before and do you think you'll make it again?