As promised, CCN is happy to present this month's “Nanny of the Month"! We will continue to feature one of our very own CCN nannies and tell you a little bit about them. Below is our interview with one of our favorite nannies, Vicky M.--and she’s got so many helpful tidbits of information to share with you! Congratulations, Vicky, and thank you for all that you do for Chicago Collegiate Nannies!
CCN: What is your favorite thing about being a nanny?
Vicky M.: I’d say probably just being able to make a difference in kids’ lives. You know, you show up every day and you see these kids and over time you get to see them change and learn and grow. And I just think that’s just amazing to watch and to be a part of.
CCN: Can you tell us your story about how you decided to become a nanny?
Vicky M.: I actually just kind of fell into it to be honest. When I was in college I needed a job and a lot of the girls around me that I knew needed nanny jobs so I decided, “Hey, why not give it a shot?” I’d done some babysitting in high school and a lot of volunteer work with my church so I decided to give it a shot. And I found my first nanny job and I’ve loved it and never looked back!
CCN: What do you think has been the most rewarding thing you’ve learned throughout your current placement?
Vicky M.: Probably that every child is very different. I mean, you hear that when you’re in college that “every child is different” and “you have to tailor your response to their needs” and stuff like that, but it actually becomes very real when working with children especially when you have siblings and there’s multiples of them. You can see that every child is different and every response needs to be tailored to them. And I think it’s really neat to be able to see that and to be able to apply that and to see how it applies to other people in life as well. You can’t just respond to everybody the same, you kind of have to think about the person individually.
CCN: What have you found has been beneficial about working with an agency like Chicago Collegiate Nannies?
Vicky M.: Definitely the placement process. When I was looking to start with a new family after my last one, I applied to probably thirty different families because I refused to apply to an agency because I had heard all of the horror stories about the different agencies and how “they don’t care about the nannies” and “they’re just there to get a paycheck” and stuff like that. But after talking to so many families, I said “Ok, this is not working.” Because, none of them were a good fit for me. So I finally caved and applied through CCN and it was just great that they worked with me individually as a nanny as well as the family to make sure it was a good fit for both of us and not just trying to put a nanny with a family so they can “cash the check.” I think that’s been great.
CCN: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become a professional nanny?
Vicky M.: I would say that when you’re looking for families, or if you’re looking to become a professional nanny, you need to be able to understand the difference between a “good family” and a “good fit.” Like I said, when I applied for a lot of jobs, I talked to a ton of families. And to be honest, they were all great people! I’m sure they were great families and I’m sure there was a great nanny out there fit to be with them, and I was not it. And you really have to realize that just because they’re a “good family” doesn’t mean that their personalities or your styles of raising children will necessarily work well together. And you have to understand how you work as a nanny and how they want their nanny to fit with the family. Make sure that it actually fits well together.
CCN: What plans and goals do you have for yourself personally and professionally in the next five years?
Vicky M.: Well, I’d love to be able to give music lessons at some point. My degree is in music education and I’d love to be able to apply that at some point. Giving music, piano, maybe even some violin lessons in there as well…to be able to apply my degree even more so. And then, personally, I’d say my husband and I are hoping at some point we can purchase a house and start to have children of our own.
CCN: How has being a nanny helped you in your own personal growth and development?
Vicky M.: I would say that it’s learning to work with others, with other people to raise children. You know when you go into a family, working with them, you have your own ideas of exactly how everything is going to go. And it’s very easy to jump in and say “Ok, this is the problem, this is how we are going to fix it…this is what I think is best,” but it’s definitely something I’ve had to learn to work with the parents and bring it up to them that this is a problem and “How can we solve this problem together?” And I think that applies to everyday life as well. You know, not just working with the families, but in your own personal life. If there’s a problem and I bring it up to my husband and say “How can we fix this together?” rather than trying to do it all myself.
CCN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned as a nanny?
Vicky M.: Always be prepared. I’ve learned, especially with the family I am with now, the kids are very high energy, and if I show up to work without a plan, we are in some big trouble. So when I show up, I already know exactly what we’re going to do, where we’re going to go and even beyond that, just making sure that you are specifically for the activities. Like make sure you have food and snacks and water and wipes and a wagon or whatever you need. Just making sure you think ahead and plan ahead. Make sure you are actually prepared for the day, because it’s never fun to get out somewhere and realize that all of the sudden you don’t have any water to drink.
CCN: Are there any other helpful tips and tricks that you would want to share?
Vicky M.: One thing that I do that I know a lot of my nanny friends that I’ve made have appreciated, is that I have a day planner and every month I go online and I look at the different schedules for the libraries and different children’s activities that are going on in a month. And I write it all down ahead of time. So going back to the last question: being prepared. So when I go about a month in advance, I can tell you exactly what’s going on, where, when, what age group it’s for, stuff like that. And I find it helps a lot with the day. And then if there’s nothing specifically planned for that day, I go to a list that I have for the zoo, or different parks, and stuff like that that is maybe an unstructured type activity.