Misconceptions of being a Nanny

     Yesterday, a well respected Christian radio personality asked me what I do for a living, I responded "I'm a nanny" to which he replied, "That's great! I've always respected nannies." I was shocked. I'm glad he looked away, so that he didn't see my jaw dropping face. I was waiting for the usual response, especially from such a successful person. But that's not what I got. There was no "so are you in school or something?" or "so what are you actually hoping to do?" or "so you're not using your degree?" or "so you're a babysitter?" or general disproval and judgement. Yes. I have heard all these responses. Sometimes I do get a "that's cool!" but never genuine respect. So let me make 2 popular misconceptions clear:


Misconception #1: That I am not using my degree.

     I chose a "change the world" degree. I am a certified health education specialist. It is like one of the most practical professions in the sense that as humans, being healthy will always be necessary. I know that fitness and diet is all that people think of when they think of health, but that's just not it. The knowledge and degree I earned is over all 7 dimensions of health: Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Social, Environmental, Occupational, Physical. I am literally certified to teach people how to be a WHOLE person. When I chose my degree and to be honest when I graduated,  I didn't know what I wanted to do. I did know that I wanted to impact people. I wanted to make their lives better. I get to do that everyday for two adorable, patience testing 3 year olds. I'm helping in making them a whole person in every dimension of health. I AM living out my passion. I'll admit, I didn't see it that way when I first took the job. I was burnt out by school and ready to just see my husband. Not to mention I had loans to pay. The steady "normal" schedule and good pay drew me in. I was following God's leading in it, and I wasn't sure why it's where he took me. Then (and not right away), I knew he was using me and my passion. And through it came great joy. So don't feel bad for me, I AM using my degree. And someday when I have my own kids and stay home with them...I will STILL be using my degree. Basically whatever I do for the rest of my life...I will still be using it. Not everyone can say that.

Misconception #2: Being a nanny is not a real job. 

     First of all, being a nanny is NOT like being a babysitter. During the hours that I am with that child, I am being substitute mom and dad. No, it's not the same amount or type of love and nothing can replace a parent. However, I must do my best in that time to give them love, protection and education. So I am not just making sure they stay alive...in fact in my one year of being a fulltime nanny with my current family, I can count on maybe 2 hands how many times they have watched tv on my watch- if they did, it was because I did at least a 10 hour day. Do you consider a teacher a real job? Because that's what I am. I have to have planned educational activities and help them grow in their abilities. 
     If all the nannies fit the misconception that they are uneducated or not mature enough (or whatever thoughts are out there), could you imagine how awful society would be (not that it's in tip-top shape)? Nannies along with stay at home mothers are growing and teaching little brains that make up the next generation. Holy cow! And don't think that it's an easy peasy stress free job. For the first 6 months of this job I was in great fear and drowned in stress of something bad happening to these two kiddos that a mother and father gave me the ultimate privilege of helping to mold. I still say a prayer when I get in the car with them. Next to something bad happening to my husband or family, this is my greatest fear. I also am basically at the family's becking call, (this isn't a negative thing) it's part of the job. I am there as an asset to the family and sometimes it requires tall orders with a short amount of time. I guess there is one valid arguement why it's not a "real job"...I am unbelievably loved and respected by my nanny parents. They are my 3rd family. So even though I don't get benefits or a retirement plan, I am getting something else that is so valuable. 

I have learned not to judge others based on their career and job choice or financial situation. I have definitely judged, but I've learned that you never know what's going on. However, encouragement is always welcome. Thank a nanny or stay at home mom. They are making the world go round. 
                                          Peace, love and Mickey Mouse,
                                                        Jennie Hartwig


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