Leaving your post is one of the toughest things you’ll ever have to do as a nanny. The nanny/child relationship is like no other, it’s an intimate bond that many nannies say is as close to a parent/child relationship as you can get. Some say they love their nanny kids as if they were their own. However you define your relationship with your charge, it’s safe to say that leaving him is an emotionally difficult thing to do. Here are some tips to help you get through this transition with your heart intact.
Plan a leaving ceremony. Leaving a job and a child is a big deal. It may seem like pretending it’s not a big deal will make it easier to handle, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t work. Acting like your last days are business as usual will just make things harder. Plan a special ceremony with your charge or the whole family for the day you leave. Celebrate the time you’ve spent together and get excited about what the next phase in your relationship will bring. Give everyone a chance to be sad and acknowledge the changes that are happening. Rituals are an important way we help each other transition from one phase of life to another. A goodbye ceremony can be healing for both you and the family you’re leaving.
Plan ways to stay in touch before you leave. Having a plan in place before you go is very comforting to both you and the child you’re leaving. You and he can talk about what you’ll do the next time you see each other, which will be something special for both of you to look forward to. If you’re leaving an older child, you don’t have to limit yourself to just planning visits. You can work out arrangements to exchange emails, snail mail letters and post cards, and to video conference with each other. Of course, you should get permission from his parents for all of your plans, especially if they require screen time and Internet access.
Allow yourself the time and space to grieve. Even if you’re going to continue having a close relationship with your charge, you still experience a loss when you leave. You’re not with him on a regular basis, you lose most of the control over when and where you see him and the role you play in his life isn’t the same. Many nannies describe it as similar to getting a divorce and losing custody. You still get to see him, but the relationship is vastly different than it was before. Don’t try and brush off your feelings of sadness, loss or anger. There’s not a right or wrong way to react to your new circumstances. Accept however you feel and deal with things as they come up. In time, you’ll work through your painful feelings and they’ll be replaced by much happier ones.
Create a scrapbook to leave with the child. Chances are, you have lots of photos of you and your charge. However, he most likely doesn’t have as much memorabilia. Before you leave, work together to create a scrapbook filled with pictures, favorite recipes, past art projects and whatever else might be special to you two. This is something you can leave with him. Make sure it’s age appropriate, that way he can be in charge of it and enjoy it whenever he wants to. Knowing he has this memory book of your time together will make the space between you feel smaller.
Be supportive of the new nanny. It’s very hard to see someone new come into your charge’s life and care for him. It can feel like she’s trying to replace you at the very time you’re struggling with the loss. Put aside your feelings here and be supportive of her, and encourage your charge to develop a relationship with her. Even though it’s very hard to do, later on you’ll be glad you took the high road. If you become a stumbling block and make the child feel he’s somehow disloyal to you if he likes the new nanny, you’ll feel guilty later down the line.
Don’t let the parents nonchalant attitude get to you. As hard as leaving is to you, sometimes the parents take it much better. Don’t let their causal attitude make you act in ways you don’t want to. Remember the primary relationship you’re leaving is the one with the child, and while it’s sad that the parents aren’t affected by your leaving, your focus is your charge.
Leaving your nanny job can be heartbreaking. However, with some time and space, you’ll be ready to embark on a new kind of relationship.
As the dog days of Summer roar on many nannies are wrestling with the fact their services will no longer be needed in the Fall. Kids don’t stay small forever and many are entering school full-time for the very first time. This is an exciting milestone but a bitter sweet for the nanny. If you are faced with losing your job due to no fault of your own, here are some helpful tips:
Panicking is going to do you absolutely no good. You need to have your wits about you as you contemplate your next move. I think it is also critical to look at this as opportunity disguised. You’re not looking for just the next job or paycheck—you are looking for the next step in your life. Take the time to assess where you are now and where you want to go. Point your feet in that direction and let that next move get you a step closer to being that goal. The fantastic news is that the Fall is also the peak hiring season for nannies. There is no better time to be on the job market.
Make a Plan
Ideally, you would make a plan before leaving your current place of employment—or at least have parts of it in place. So for those of you still in a job—start thinking about what you would do if you found yourself out of one all of a sudden! The plan should include making decisions about the next career choice you want to make. Make sure your resumé is up-to-date and reflects not only the jobs you’ve had, but emphasizes the skill set that can take you to your next employment opportunity.
Networking is not only critically important professionally but personally as well. . So start working that Rolodex! Call friends, friends of friends, former co-workers—even acquaintances—and let everyone know what you are looking for. You never know where you might come across that next opportunity.
Revamp Your Budget
Ideally, you would have some sort of padding of about three to six months’ income—at least that’s what the experts suggest. We know how hard that cushion can be to build. Regardless, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start living within the confines of a budget. What can you live with less of and what can you do without altogether?
Do Not Get Discouraged!
Jobs come and go, but a calling is something you were given the moment you were born. You can lose a job, but you can’t lose your calling. Stay focused. Stay positive. Stay motivated.