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 bit about them. Below is our interview with another one of our favorite nannies, Wendy K. We got a chance to connect with Wendy this weekend and check in with her about her close connection to the family she is working with. She was happy to share her experience with working with an agency and in continuing her career as a professional nanny. Congratulations, Wendy, and thank you so much for all that you do for Chicago Collegiate Nannies!
CCN: What is your favorite thing about being a nanny?
Wendy K.: Oh, there’s so many. I guess especially with Lennox, just watching her grow up and being a part of that and influencing [her]. But really with Lennox, being around every little milestone like her first walk, her first high five, her waves, everything. With the family I’m with, it’s just such a comfortable work environment. It’s so awesome because I can just be myself. Yeah, it’s fun, it’s really fun.
CCN: Can you tell us your story about how you decided to become a nanny?
Wendy K.: I graduated high school a year early so I was a junior in high school when I graduated so it was a year before I went to college and I didn’t want to go to college early. And I was already babysitting on the weekends in high school when I got a nanny job with three girls, one was ten and the other two were eight. I became obsessed with them, they are like my best friends. [The oldest] is going to prom this year so that’s so crazy. I started nannying for them every single day for that whole year and that’s how I became a nanny, not just a babysitter on the weekends. And I fell in love with it and really have been nannying ever since…I remember the first day there, we all made cookies and they had this super fancy oven, I had no idea how to work it. And it was my first day, we totally burnt the cookies, the smoke alarms went off. And I thought, “oh my God, I’m getting fired,” and we still joke about it to this day. I still go over there and do their hair for makeup and homecoming, because those are my girls.
CCN: What do you think has been the most rewarding thing you have learned throughout your current placement?
Wendy K.: Lennox is literally my best friend. Seeing her every day and watching her grow up. I started with her when she was three or four months and she’s fifteen months now. So, the most rewarding thing is teaching her things, even blowing a kiss. And now she does it and I think, “I taught her that!” even though it’s something so silly, like blowing a kiss or a high five, it’s so rewarding to me. It’s so little because she’s so tiny, but that will amplify when she starts talking and walking and reading.
CCN: What have you found has been beneficial about working with an agency like Chicago Collegiate Nannies?
Wendy K.: It’s so to the point. It was so clear and [included] this is what I’m looking for, this is what the family is looking for. And it was just so easy, such an easy transition from the very first interview to the very end with meeting the family. It was very organized. In the past I’ve done SitterCity and stuff like that, and you’re sending out twenty sometimes thirty messages to parents and you hear back from about five. And then you have to see if those schedules change or if they fit. It’s not that easy. But with Chicago Collegiate Nannies, it was like “this is what I’m looking for, these are the families that we have that match what your looking for” and then you guys set up the interview. It was just so easy. And it was really what I was looking for. It wasn’t like “oh here, take this family.” You guys (Chicago Collegiate Nannies) really take into account the nanny and the family and what the perfect fit is.
CCN: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become a professional nanny?
Wendy K.: I would say flexibility is important and being reliable. I think a lot of people think “oh it’s just a nanny job, it’s not like a real job” but it’s almost more important to not do that because the parents are really relying on you and it totally messes with their schedule. I would say definitely be prepared to be reliable and be super open and honest about your schedule and things you want, things you don’t want. I know sometimes it can become awkward and be kind of “friends” with your boss so it might feel bad saying some things, but it’s still a job at the end of the day. But I’ve found that me and my boss are really open, really honest and it just works better that way.
CCN: What plans and goals do you have for yourself personally and professionally in the next five years?
Wendy K.: Oh my God, I don’t know what I’m going to eat for breakfast tomorrow! I hope to still be with my family in the next five years, but I also am professionally getting into clothing and a fashion line I’m working on. So it’s cool that I have time to do that being a nanny because my schedule allows it. So professionally hopefully that is up and running in the next five years…Personally, keep growing, keep learning, staying positive and hanging out with Lennox.
CCN: What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learned as a nanny?
Wendy K.: Be prepared for anything. Every day is different. So I know a lot of jobs are the same, you do the same thing every day, but it’s definitely not [the case]. Sometimes she’s in a good mood, sometimes she’s not, sometimes we can go out, sometimes we can’t. So I’m always prepared for anything.
CCN: Are there any other tips and tricks you would like to share?
Wendy K.: When Lennox was younger, it was really helpful to write down every time she ate, and her naps and her poops and all of that. Because you’re with her and her mom or dad might come in, so at least everyone is on the same page. And it helped me too because when her mom logged it, it helped me know when she woke up and when she had her last bottle and I didn’t have to ask her when to feed her. And I made a chart on my computer with five columns and rows. And it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but at least everyone is on the same page. It was really helpful for her dad because he traveled a lot and didn’t know her schedule much so sometimes he wouldn’t have her for two weeks and then he would have her all weekend. So that was really helpful. Oh, and I definitely created an iPhone library with all the photos of her so everyone can see them too. It’s nice so we can all see her throughout the day.