Chicago Collegiate Nannies is happy to present this month's "Nanny of the Month!" Each month, we feature one of our very own CCN nannies and tell you a little about them. Below is our interview with Morgan L.! We were able to connect with Morgan recently about her experience as a nanny who participated in an Americorps program and then chose to nanny while in graduate school. After hearing from her, it was evident to see she has learned a lot, enjoyed the work she is doing with her nanny family and has learned some valuable things throughout her placement.
Take a moment to read up a little about Morgan’s experience as a Chicago nanny and how she has seen a lot of personal growth through it! Congratulations, Morgan, and thank you so much for how well you represent Chicago Collegiate Nannies!
CCN: What is your favorite thing about being a nanny?
Morgan L.: I would say the overall flexibility of the job has been really nice especially with the family I’m paired with. I’m currently in grad school, so I have a lot of responsibilities outside of the job and it’s been a nice transition into grad school to be able to have time for both work and also the mental space to put forth towards grad school. It’s been pretty cool seeing the younger girl that I’m with (she’s 5 years old) and seeing how she is learning and growing because I’m interested in child development. So getting that firsthand experience of watching a kid grow up and learn how to do these things has been extremely interesting.
CCN: Can you tell us your story about how you decided to become a nanny?
Morgan L.: I was in an Americorps program for two years that was really intense because I was working 12 hour days. I knew where I wanted to go to grad school next so I applied and got in, which was awesome. And from there I was trying to think of something I could do that was still working with kids, but not so much what I was doing with the Americorps program which was tutoring and mentoring in the school in the South Side. It was a good transition out of what I had been doing the past two years and into what I’ll be doing for the next three years. I don’t think I’ll stay with this much past this next year, but I do think it was a very safe choice knowing I’d be able to do the job well and knowing the parameters of knowing how to take care of children, so it seemed like a natural progression. Before I found CCN, my best friend Maddie (who has done the Americorps program with me) said “oh, we should go through this agency, it’s going to be so much easier [to find a family] and that was not a shot in the dark.” And so I applied [with CCN] and it was definitely a good choice to go through an agency rather than on my own because I don’t think I would have found a family [like them].
CCN: What do you think has been the most rewarding thing you have learned throughout your current placement?
Morgan L.: I think the biggest thing has been learning how to ask for what I need. I think in this job, you become so much a part of a family…I think open communication [is helpful] even if it feels uncomfortable especially in this type of job because you are in someone’s home and it is very personal. So learning how to push through that and remembering this is a job and I need to say what I feel is right and negotiate and communicate and not be nervous. I think it can feel like “oh gosh, are they going to be mad at me?” but then you realize, “no, they’re not going to be mad,” because that’s just simply not true, they want you to be happy too. At my old job, a lot of it was having to put my head down and work, but I’ve learned that that isn’t a healthy relationship to have with your work. Learning how to speak up and talk through things with your employer has really helped me grow.
CCN: What do you think has been beneficial about working with an agency like CCN?
Morgan L.: It definitely gives you a fall back especially when you don’t know what to do. I feel like Lydia [was such a help] when I was like “I have no idea what to do,” or “I have no idea how to approach this situation.” I think that’s a very real thing for people to be experiencing. I have other friends who are in the agency who have questions and I recommend they talk with Lydia. I think having that kind of resource is nice and knowing if something goes down, I can reach out to CCN. I’m going to leave my nanny family eventually, as that is the nature of this job, and it’s nice knowing I’m a part of an agency that will support the family to set them up with someone who is just as competent and just as good for the kids…It’s nice knowing that [the family] will have options once I’m gone.
CCN: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become a professional nanny?
Morgan L.: I would say make sure you know what you’re looking for. Know what age group you’d like to work with, think about what kind of hours you want to work and really stick to that. Because it can be easy to find a family [that isn’t what you expect] and I don’t think that’s a situation that would be easy to get out of. So, really sitting down with yourself and finding out if this is actually something you want to do. It’s a very emotionally investing job, because you are so personally involved with someone’s kids who they obviously care a lot about, [so ask yourself] if you really want to be involved in these kids’ lives. You have to be real with yourself and be honest with how many hours you want to work. Because some days can be exhausting, and the only way I could do [school and] my job during the week is because they’re in school [during the day]. And that works for me because otherwise I wouldn’t have time to do all of my homework and things like that.
CCN: Do you have any plans and goals for yourself personally and professionally in the next 5 years?
Morgan L.: So I’m in school right now to be a school counselor and so my end goal is to graduate within the next three years, hopefully with my LPC and my school counseling endorsement. And within a few years after that hopefully get my LCPC. I’m not sure in terms of work wise what I will be doing. I’d like to go back to work in a school on the South Side and work in urban education, because it’s something I’m very passionate about. And hopefully in the next two years, get involved in some sort of research at DePaul.
CCN: What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learned as a nanny?
Morgan L.: Patience. Patience and flexibility. I’d say more so flexibility more than anything. I remember calling Lydia a month into my job because I grew up the youngest of 7 kids and my parents [raised us] like military style. They worked a ton, they were present but also at the same time, there were seven of us so it could have gone upside down very quickly. Basically, I was very used to this certain way of operating where you “eat what’s in front of you because that’s all you have” or you “listen the first time or everything goes away.” I very much operated with those parameters, but I had to learn that parenting now is so much different. Parenting in an urban environment is different too. So, I had to learn that Lydia told me and I have to remind myself every day is that “At the end of the day, these aren’t your kids and you don’t get to decide how to raise them.” Instead you have to learn to put in your two cents when you need to, but you have to stay true to what the parents are asking you because that’s what you’re there for. It’s about breaking down those boundaries of what you think is right and if you ever have kids you can [do what you choose]. The reality is that nothing needs to be in your control in that situation.
CCN: Are there any other tips and tricks you would like to share?
Morgan L.: My girls are super picky eaters and they are sometimes vegetarian on random days, so I’ve found that if I puree beans and added that into recipes so they get protein. Into soups or anything like that, I’ll puree cannellini beans or kidney beans and they don’t even notice. They don’t get it otherwise, so that’s one thing. Kids will eat anything involving bread crumbs so just go for it. At least my girls will! The picky eating thing is definitely challenging for me, but this is what’s worked for me.