What really matters in a Nanny

Most first-time parents hire a nanny with no understanding of what they need. Sure, they want someone loving and CRB-certified; the ability to drive is always a plus.

However, being parents for only a few months means inexperience, combined with sustained sleep deprivation, meaning being under-qualified to choose nappy rash ointments let alone make an important hiring decision. So, these parents put complete faith and trust in Leigh Kenny and hired a Nanny through us.

On mums last day of maternity leave, she cried. The tears represented loss; the loss of uninterrupted time with her daughter. The tears also represented guilt and confusion.

It got easier for mum when she was on her last day of maternity leave with baby number 3. She now knew exactly what she needed.

1.     A Coach

As the parents said, they were only vaguely sure of what they were doing. The Nanny cared for their children the same way she had raised her own mature and respectful adolescents. Mum trusted the loving and direct advice the Nanny offered about how to wean a baby from a bottle, and they envied her limitless patience. The Nanny is their nanny deity who they turn to, in those frequent moments of parenting paralysis.

2.     A Sports Enthusiast — and an equipment manager

The Nanny indulges the little two-year old's passion. She doesn’t bore of his baseball obsession but instead revels in his joy and seizes on the chance to build a connection with a toddler she cares for.

3.     A Role Model

The Nanny proudly shows the children the confidence that comes from defending your traditions and values by not forgetting where she's come from and educating the children about different cultures

4.     A Party Animal

When mum's daughter turned one, she didn’t invite the Nanny “after work hours” to her birthday party; Mum wanted to respect the Nanny’s personal time. The Monday after the event, the Nanny let mum know of her disappointment. What mum had viewed as respectful, she experienced as exclusionary. The Nanny has never defined her role as caring for the children during a 40-hour work week. She’s defined her role as being a crucial part of their lives; she wants and deserves to celebrate the milestones that shape who their kids are

5.     An Advocate

The Nanny engaged in a tough negotiation when they hired her; she stuck to her guns about her needs and got them. She helps the children do the same. When the little boy turns to a playmate at the park who is twice his age and informs his peer that grabbing his shovel is, “Not okay,” mum credits their Nanny. When the little girl, in a calm and commanding voice tells her brother, “I don’t like that,” when he’s screaming in her face, mum thanks the Nanny. She has equipped their children with the tools they need to have confidence and agency over their needs.

6.     A Brave Outdoorswoman

As an adventurer, the Nanny won’t shy away from carting two kids in a Double Stroller on two buses and to get to the zoo. She’s also an organiser. A few years ago, she convinced multiple families to put money together and buy a parachute so she could create a Gymboree-like class at the park. The Nanny’s actions show our kids that being a passive bystander in life isn’t nearly as fulfilling as rolling up your sleeves and engaging fully

Five years ago, mum thought a nanny was a second-tier option to her being at home with her little one. She now sees her Nanny’s’ presence in her life very differently. The Nanny has informed and clarified her parenting values and has surfaced for the whole family what matters most: being passionate, courageous, and loving. Mum sees that her children are happier and more confident because of the Nanny’s influence. She sees that she is a more patient and deliberate mum because of her Nanny.

Five years ago, mum couldn’t articulate what they needed from a caregiver. Now, she recognises that Leigh Kenny’s Nanny has shown her family what they need by being what they needed.

Sharon Stewart