Design

Motherhood Mondays: On Nannies

These photographs are so moving…

Did you read the amazing New York Times Magazine piece this weekend about nannies? The article—”The Other Mothers of Manhattan“—was a beautifully written essay examining the complex relationship between mothers, children and nannies.

The photographs look like classic portraits of the Madonna and child, although instead of mothers, the women are nannies. The images reveal such love and tenderness, and I love how they reflect the depth of intimacy between nanny and child.

If you’ve been lucky enough to find a great nanny—or have worked as a nanny yourself—you know how incredibly valuable and vital the role is. The article also starts conversations about a larger network of social issues—labor, family, structure, pay and opportunity.

A few (of many) fascinating lines from the story:
* “Part of what’s striking about [these] pictures is that they position front and center a person who is often left on the editing-room floor when a family’s memories are being assembled. Nannies have told me that their employers crop them out of photographs of their children.”
* “Economists posit that pink-collar jobs—work usually done by women—are underpaid, not least because we like to believe that the products involved (love, tenderness, care) are given not sold.”
* Nanny vs. babysitter? The word “nanny” has “associations of full-time household staff in 19th-century England,” while the term “babysitter” has “connotations of a high-school girl, part time.” (I agree that the word “nanny” can sound disconnected and elitist. But babysitter doesn’t seem to capture the role. What do you think?)

Aren’t these photographs beautiful? I love that the article was calling attention to how valuable and worthy of deep respect nannies are—while showing how fraught and difficult the career can be for so many reasons.

P.S. By the way, years ago, I read a fascinating book called Searching for Mary Poppins, which features a collection of mothers’ essays about their experiences with nannies and caregivers. I’d highly recommend it, as well.

(Photos by Michele Asselin)

  1. Although I am only 21, I have been working for a family during the summers for the past several years. Of course they refer to me as their babysitter, but anytime I talk to anyone about my experiences with the kids I call myself their nanny. I have taken care of them since they were 2 and 4, and though they are not babies, I do everything for them and can’t imagine a life without them now. The little girl calls me “her sister” and I clean their house, take them to doctor’s appointments (even shots!), take them on trips, cook meals, care for their dog, run errands.. everything! It is a beautiful thing to feel as though you have gained family members who share not an ounce of your blood.

  2. This is such a beautiful example of nannies who love spending time with the children they care for…

  3. Great post!

    I’m a nanny for two wonderful families and it’s really interesting to explore the complexities of those mother, child and nanny relationships. I absolutely love what I do and I’m so glad that you seem to appreciate and value your nannies Joanna :)

    I wrote a post from a nannies perspective about this on my blog over at http://alittlebitofhappynesss.blogspot.com.au.

    Thanks for starting an important conversation!

  4. I was a nanny for almost six years and just left my family two weeks ago, moving away with my husband. It’s such an interesting role to have played in a family, and I miss them terribly. I think nannies are under-appreciated in general but that I hit nanny family jackpot with mine.

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  6. It warms my heart to see so much support for nannies and their job. I think nannies are underappreciated; there are so many skills that are needed to be a great nanny. You need good time management, cooking skills, knowledge of how to take care of kids, sometimes even cleaning and laundry skills…the list goes on. I certainly applaud all nannies who put their heart and soul into their job because they help in the formation of the right values among children.

    Neil Ickles

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  8. I was a nanny myself, for three years (actually, an au pair – hey, I was more than a nanny!), and I miss my babies so much! Now, my youngest is 2 y.o. and my oldest boy is 14 years old (and he has autism, so I learned so much from him and I miss him so badly!). I came back to my country and always send emails to ask how they are doing, send them birthday wishes and hope to have babies that are as awesome as they were.

  9. Team GB says...

    I am a trained English nanny living and working in England.

    I am proud to be a nanny and certainly would not want to be called a babysitter.

    I found the article quite sad. It would seem that many nannies in the US are migrant workers, often with no specific childcare training. Childcare is such an undervalued profession ( and one which i believe is one of the most important jobs ) with the emphasis on ‘cheap’ childcare and many workers on close to minimum wage. Even qualified childcarers are on low pay. So often, even those who are wealthy put little value on their children by choosing cheap, unqualified or inexperienced and sometimes illegal childcare.

    However, some things are better over here, we have holiday pay, many nannies get sick pay, and those in top jobs are given cars, private healthcare, pensions, and even their own apartments, although I hasten to add I don’t!

  10. There are many reasons that families have nannies. Most reasons are something similar to ensuring proper, nurturing supervision of the children while the parents are otherwise occupied. However, there is another benefit. Did you know that nannies can help parents be better parents?

    Nannies As Stress Relievers

    If you delegate your routine household chores (light housekeeping, laundry, washing dishes, grocery shopping, errand running, etc.) to the nanny, then more of the time that you have at home with your children can be quality time (time reserved for interaction with your children). Additionally, if the nanny’s relieving you of these tasks makes you feel less stress on a day-to-day basis, you will be a more relaxed, patient, nurturing parent. Finally, there are times when parents simply need more than two hands to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished at any given time in the home (for example, what does a parent do if both of the twins are crying . . . in different rooms . . . and no other adult is at home to help?). By having a nanny, parents have another set of hands to help them attend to concurrent issues. In sum, by enabling more time to be spent in quality parent-child interaction, increasing a parent’s ability to be patient and nurturing, and providing an additional set of hands in times where multiple time demands are concurrent, nannies can help you be a better parent.

    Media has emphasized this point. Episodic television programs on this point include John and Kate Plus Eight.

    Nannies As Knowledge Base

    Because experienced nannies have raised a larger number of children than most parents ever will, those nannies have dealt with (and learned how to respond to) a wider variety of child-rearing circumstances than most parents. Consequently, these nannies can be viewed as experts in the field of raising children.

    Additionally, many parents seek nannies who know how to perform CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and other first aid responses. Many nannies are well versed in nutrition. Further, many nannies have additional credentials (i.e., a background in early childhood education, a working knowledge of child psychology, etc.). In sum, there is much to be learned from these nannies.

    Media has emphasized this point. Episodic television programs on this point include Nanny 911 and Super Nanny. Movies on theme include Nanny McPhee (2005) and even The Sound of Music (1965).

    Conclusion

    Most nannies are selected based on how they can relate to and care for children. However, let us not overlook how they can help US relate to and care for our children.

  11. I am 20 years old and a nanny this summer for three wonderful girls. I did not know that I would fall in love with them. I may be too young to be their mother, but I certainly feel like their sacrificial parent

  12. Beautiful photos, and such interesting comments! We share a nanny with another family (a common child care solution in Vancouver, where daycare waiting lists can be more than 2 years). She is an amazing woman, very loving and engaged with our daughter. We feel SO LUCKY to have her in our lives, and that we were able to find someone like her for our daughter. The relationship can be awkward at times, for me anyway…I have never had any kind of employee before, and I am self-conscious about/hyper-aware of the power dynamic. She’s so lovely though, she has guided us through most of that aspect very graciously.

  13. I know I’m a little late to the party :) I’m a student and nanny 30 hours a week to support myself. The children really become like your own, or like little siblings at the least! I love the kids I watch!!
    I just quit one of my families after two years because of how the mother treated me. She wouldn’t even say hi to me when I came in the door, and would give me really extreme tasks having nothing to do with the girls (definitely outside the realm of nanny), but she was ultra jealous of anyone else I would babysit or nanny for. I told her I couldn’t nanny on a certain night for her because I was busy. She drove to my other regular family’s house that night to check and see if I was there!! (I was) and then made me feel horrible that I didnt give her first pick.
    The reason I dealt with it for two years? I loved the girls so much. I cried when I stopped nannying for them but their neighbor 3 doors down hired me right away. So at least I will still see the girls :) When you are a nanny, the relationships between you and everyone in the family are tough to work out! On one hand you work for them and on another you are a part of their daily intimate family life. But having to work for that balance is worth it for me. I think being a nanny can be very rewarding, and after a while you start feeling like you have a second (and 3rd and 4th…) family.

  14. This is a perfect article for me. Not only are these pictures fantastic, but this fall I’m heading to France to be an au pair and am beyond excited about everything. The family, the change, the experience.

  15. We use childminder in Ireland too.

  16. I went to a woman when I was just a baby every day until I was old enough to go to preschool… 4yrs. I remember loving her and feeling like they were family. Her husband even made me a wooden table with 4 chairs that I still have. Both of my little sisters also went to a nanny, and even though they are 13 and 16 now they still spend time with her during their summer vacations because they love her and miss her!

    And yet, I am extremely reluctant to send my son to a nanny. He is 7months old and I have been fortunate to spend almost every day with him. I had one semester of law school left after he was born so for 3 months he spent 2.5 days with his auntie. I guess now that I actually have a child I find the idea of a nanny intimidating. Maybe because I would be jealous if someone that wasn’t even family knew all the intimate characteristics of my boy, and was able to have experiences with him that I was not a part of.

    I want to be clear that I don’t see anything wrong with children going to a nanny. My family has been fortunate to have 2 great ones! I just don’t think my new mama heart could handle sharing so much of my son just yet!

    On another note, I babysat two children from the time I was in middle school through high school. I was very good friends with their mother. At one point she had minor surgery and asked me to take care of her babies if anything ever happened to her! I still love and miss those kids.

  17. i was a nanny for two years to two sweet girls, my “toots” and my “babycakes” and i miss them terribly since they have moved. since that time (a year ago) i have nannied part time in addition to my full-time job as an education technician.

    i agree with you about the title “nanny” vs. “babysitter.” i tend to define it as a nanny being a person who is in your home on a consistent, daily basis, helping to raise your children, and also the only additional person helping you do so. a babysitter is someone who comes over for four hours every month, or when you have to run and errand, and there may or may not be a running list of others just like that one posted on the fridge.

    still, i happen to loathe being called a babysitter. i’m 27, supporting myself, and saving for my future family. i am not a teenager looking to make an extra buck here and there. my families hire me because i am experienced, mature, and have been nannying for several years and they keep me for just as long. the work i do is important because i am loving, snuggling, discipling, kissing away tears, and instilling strength and values into your children when you aren’t there to do it yourself. i’m a nanny and i give a part of myself to your children.

  18. Anonymous says...

    I’ve been a nanny before to a family from Singapore and have worked at a daycare facility. Currently, I’m back in the nannying position and I would take it over anything else. I nanny three children; 2,5, and 7. And they are wonderful. I adore them to no end and most of the time I believe they adore me, but most of all I’m an outlet for their mother who is often too busy to spend time with friends her own age. My job is the most rewarding thing I do in my life and certainly brings the light to my life until I can have children of my own.

  19. The woman who was my summer nanny for years is now a close friend of my mom and I. We have always loved having her in our lives! I love this project and what it says about nanny to family relationships.

  20. I am a nanny, and have been for several families over the first few years of their children’s lives. I often felt like the parent didn’t quite understand that I loved their children with all that I could. I want to make sure that these babies feel love regardless of who they are spending their day with.

    Thanks for posting this Jo! It really touches my heart.

    Tracy

  21. indianoble@me.com says...

    Im a college student in Australia so currently nanny part time around my studies but I have also nannied full time in London for two families so have had many different experiences.
    One family I started working for 4 and 1/2 years ago in Australia before just before their 3rd child was born and now they have 4! I am so close to them, their mum tells everyone I am her “adopted daughter” haha, we even kind of look alike.
    I go on holidays with them just as a friend, not to work, and met their baby while the mum was still in the delivery room!
    On the other hand, to one mum I worked for in London I was “staff” when friends were around although when no one else was around it was fine. The kids (all 5 of them!) were adorable and the 13year old told me the mum said I was their best nanny yet, that made me feel good! We still keep in touch and when I go back to London next it would be completely normal for me to visit. When I started working for another family when the children got older I would still go over for dinner and for a swim.
    I guess it just depends on the family and the view towards nannies in the area. In Australia generally they are appreciated a lot more I think as they’re not usually full time so I guess the parents dont see them as a “threat” but in London, well in Notting Hill where I was, everyone had a nanny and I think it was kind of a status thing for the parents to have “staff” and not be seen to be really friendly towards the nanny or other staff.
    All in all I guess I just got lucky really :)

    And a quick fun fact, the prep schools I dealt with in London all included nannies along with parents on class contact lists, I thougth that was funny!

    It would make a great series I think, I’d love to be included if you ever did do a nanny series!

  22. Hannah says...

    I see articles like this and I always scroll through the comments without reading, because despite these positive articles people still judge and malign nannies. Whether it comes from a place of jealousy, insecurity or lack of understanding, it can make our lives tough.
    In public people commend nannies, sing the praises of the people they’ve hired and position themselves as accepting of this career choice, this choice that families make (sometimes with great sacrifice, in the effort to provide their children with the care they think is best).
    In reality I go to swimming lessons, and the minute the other mothers find out I’m the nanny they put up a wall and ignore me. On another occasion the mothers at kindergarten had a picnic in the neighbouring park after pick-up and ever so kindly informed me that it was just for the mothers… it was fun explaining that to my little four-year-old friend, as all his friends played and we had to walk away.

    I’m looking forward to the day when I can say “I’m his nanny” and the other person responds to this in a positive manner, and the other parents accept me as someone who is loving a child and doing my best to help give them a happy, healthy childhood.

  23. Anonymous says...

    I’ve read in an article there are NYC nannies/au pairs are getting paid up to $180k a year with some of these families offering retirement plans. But along with this salary you weren’t expected to have a life of your own outside of caring for this family. Almost like a full time personal assistant if you will as they expected you to do all the chores, errands, help out with their personal stuff around the clock in addition to fully caring for the children from 8-5 when the parents were away at work.

  24. Great post, beautiful pictures!

  25. Anonymous says...

    I’m currently nannying because I couldn’t find work for several months after relocating to a new state. I gotta say though I adore children and put 100% in when I’m with the kids I would like to get back to the field that I earned my degree in sometime soon. I actually love one of the comments about the ‘Coordinator of toddlery’ that is exactly what I would call myself! I am very careful to never overstep the boundaries of the parents and the kids definitely know that Mom and Dad are the big bosses. I kinda think of myself as a much older sister or aunt. Though it will be sad for me to leave them I know personally I wouldn’t be fulfilled if I don’t pursue my career, luckily the kids are young enough that they probably won’t remember me in the long run. As long as they’re happy right now then I know I’m doing my job :)

  26. The whole nanny thing has always been interesting to me. Especially since i was a nanny for a family in Newport Beach, CA for years. It really is a bitter sweet job. I have to say though, even though I was a nanny, I’ll never have one. I like to be the one to raise my child. It’s healthier and less confusing to the child.

    – Sarah
    agirlintransit.blogspot.com

  27. Walking around the UWS between rehearsals, I am always so touched by the obvious love and affection many nannies have for the children in their care. They listen to the children, call them adorable names, play games, laugh at their cute antics, and give them the attention they deserve. The children obviously adore their nannies.

    I notice that most of these nannies are older women of various “non-white” ethnicities, and I hope their example of race being such a non-issue is reinforced by the parents…I think about how different the lives of many of my friends would have been, had they been raised by someone of a different ethnicity.

  28. i nannied for a long time. I always hated when the dad would refer to me as the babysitter because i more than that. I traveled with them, was at their house more than my own, I was their daughters best friend, the moms confidant. “Babysitter” is someone who comes and watches your kids on friday night after they go to sleep. Nanny is the person who becomes part of your family.

  29. Tessa says...

    I needed to see this post today. I personally have a nanny that watches my daughter about 25 hours a week. It is a very personal experience letting someone into your life on so many levels. I tend to think of myself as a very private person so at times I struggle with having someone in my home and my life so much. However I value my daughters happiness more than anything and it is very important to her dad and I that she have personal care/attention rather than going to daycare everyday.

    I at times feel jealous that she is the one spending so much time with my daughter and not me but then I remember that she is a wonderful woman that loves my daughter dearly. I appreciate everything she does for her and my husband and I. We would truly be lost without her as we do not have family that can help out.

    This post reminds me to step back and say thank you to her more. :-)

  30. I love this article! I think of the nanny diaries when I read it (and I’m sure I’m not alone). The woman who was with my siblings and I from the time we left school until mom got home form work was a godsend. She became a close family friend and got me my first job when she got out of college into the fashion industry. There is an indescribable love between children and their nanny

  31. i have been a nanny {i prefer nanny because i do not watch the children for a few hours a week. i take care of them 45 hours a week} for the past ten years! TEN! i can not believe that.

    i have bonded with the children i nanny for and consider them “mine”. i love them all so very much and have also been made part of the family through wonderful parents that i have worked for. {i can count three parents out of nine that were so mean and rude to me, i don’t keep in touch because they wouldn’t allow it. parents. not the children}

    i have seen this as almost a training for the day i become a mother. i have wanted to be a mother since i was a little girl. my husband and i have been approved to adopt and are searching for our wonderful children. i knew i could adopt because of the darling children i nanny, whom i call my own.

  32. ella says...

    nice to see some women of color on your blog.

  33. dc says...

    i am the product of a single mother and a nanny so this topic is very close to my heart. every time i see a movie with a nanny relationship (hello, the help!) i pretty much ball my face off. my mom and our nanny have been best friends since my older brother was 7 months old, he is now 40.

    julia, our nanny, is our family, she is the glue that keeps us together. i will be completing graduate school in the next year and have been setting aside money to fly her here for my graduation. i cannot imagine any major event in my life without her being there. its funny because to this day my siblings and i still fight over who gets to sit next to her and who is her favorite. of course, I am her favorite!

    my mama had a less than perfect hand dealt to her and she handled it with such dignity and grace. part of that was allowing another woman to come into her home and help raise her children. it is something that has bound us all to one another.

    i live far from my very traditional hispanic family and in order to keep my moms close i have a tattoo for each of them. that way i never forget where i came from and always have them with me.

    thanks for this wonderful post!

  34. tai says...

    There are times when I envy our nanny. She gets to do a job I wish I could – looking after our dear son and watching him grow, learning his interests, watching him laugh and play his way through the day. We are a 2 income household and it needs to be that way. When she sends me photos at work of my son at his first day of tennis camp, or playing in the town pool, I feel a pang of longing to be in her shoes.
    I love that he loves her. I love that he absolutely MUST sit by the window to wave to her as she leaves. I love that I trust her in our home and with the single most precious thing in the world to me – my little boy and soon with baby girl who will be joining the family in the fall.
    It’s a very complex relationship, part employee, part family. Yet, I am the one totally dependent on her. I depend on her to be there, to raise him as I would, to hear him, to keep him safe, and ultimately and hopefully to love him.
    I only wish I had the means to pay her not for the job, but for what she is worth to us.

  35. Oh my gosh,

    How do you always manage to post such timely articles that speak directly to me, Jo?

    I am a nanny of 3 boys under 6 (a 5y.o and two twins of 18mo). I am also 22weeks pregnant with my own 1st child. Today is my 1st proper “rostered day off” due to being pregnant (and I find myself strolling the internet…funny).

    Having cared for the boys nearly constantly, 5 days a week since the twins were 5 months old, I have a huge bond with them. Weaning myself off them is harder than I thought, even with the burdens of pregnancy to force the move.

    Thankfully, the boys are my best friend’s nephews (which is the connection that lead to me falling into the job as a stop-gap in the first place), so I will continue to see plenty of them.

    The point of how the products of love and care that “pink collar” workers offer are undervalued rings very true to me. Even I have a hard time putting a value on it, which has made for some difficult times financially. But (hopefully) a bit like parenthood, I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

  36. I adore being a nanny! As a primary school teacher from NZ now living in Canada I turned to Nannying as teaching was a very closed market – it was the best thing I ever did! I have been with the same family, full time for two years and I couldn’t imagine feeling more valued in my nannying role. I remember the first time I over came my fear of saying ‘I love you’ to her, feeling it was a bit too ‘personal’ for a work relationship, but now I couldn’t imagine doing this job without having a real bond and love for her! Thanks for the beautiful post!

  37. Peta says...

    Beautiful pictures of amazing women.

    This hits such a chord with me. I have cared for the same 2 siblings on and off for 8 years, and I like to think we are as important in each others lives when I’m not being paid to watch them, as when I am. For the last year I have looked after them every weekday morning and evening, but in my situation it is more of a labour of love that fits in with my primary career and pays some extra bills than a ‘job’. For me the words babysitter and nanny never feel right. To the kids I always want to just be their Peta, but to outsiders I don’t want to be “Just the nanny” or worse, “Just A nanny”. It’s such a complicated (but still mostly wonderful) situation. Thanks for giving it a nod :)

  38. PS–just to clarify, these were very old school nannies–they really did serve almost as housekeepers and they were involved with the kids for ten-plus years. So the result was a very close relationship but some later conflict and resentment, which was sad.

  39. The stereotypical NYC Nanny as depicted in books like “The Nanny Diaries” is just one flavor of nannying. I grew up in the Midwest and had a Nanny who was an older woman with adult children of her own. I was dropped off at her home and my parents still were as active as they could be considering they both worked full time. I view my Nanny, who has known me since I was just a few months old, like an extra grandmother. My life has been so much richer with her in it — even as she was no longer needed in a Nanny capacity.

    In other parts of the country, like DC where I live now, it seems like nannies tend to be older and work with the same families overs get periods of time, which certainly creates a different dynamic. I only hope to find a caregiver as wonderful as my Nanny (I still call her that) when I have children someday.

  40. I really respect nannies and babysitters. I am just not good with other people’s kids. My own, love them to bits. But someone else’s- that’s hard for me…

  41. I was a nanny for a baby I loved dearly this spring. The family fired me because I am pregnant with a child of my own. They claimed I’d be “too tired” and then were unwilling to have me bring my own baby to work. If they had given me any warning at all, it might have been less awful. Instead, they found a really lame excuse and fired me over a weekend. I didn’t get to say good-bye to “my” little girl. I haven’t been able to even look at the article, because I start crying. I was there from 8-6 every single weekday, and it would take a lot to get me to risk my heart like that again. I worked as a babysitter in New York for so long that it never really occurred to me that they would object so strongly to having a nanny with a child of her own. I saw it all the time, there. Would you want a nanny who brought her child to work? After all, we don’t usually get paid enough to pay for child care of our own…

  42. I had a nanny growing up as both my parents worked. I loved her and she is still a part of our family. So blessed to have her around. I sent you an email as well but thought I would send a message here too! I would love if you did a MM on miscarriages. It’s something not talked about much and I think women need to be a resource and voice for one another. I wrote about my experience here… http://goo.gl/3oFN5

  43. I was a nanny for the same family for three years. I was treated and paid well. The mother acted as though I was just part of the family. I left the family last month because my husband had to relocate for schoo, leaving those kids was distresses and I still feel like I’m grieving. The relationship between nanny and child is unique and hard to explain, but it is special!

  44. These photos were lovely but there’s something wistful about them. The whole nanny relationship seems so intense and hard to navigate as the years go on. I have two childhood friends who had long-term, devoted nannies who they adored–really wonderful women–but their relationships with their mothers were very complicated and muddled because they got so much of their most immediate mothering, into their teen years, from someone else.

  45. I had nannies all growing up, from when I was a baby until about 16. My parents both worked full time in demanding and fulfilling careers. Our nannies never lived with us, they were usually there 10-5 or so. My three siblings and I loved our nannies, some were so fun and some were a little crazy, we laugh about it now. I developed great bonds with a lot of them, but it is weird because now we don’t really keep in touch at all.

  46. iki says...

    hey, what was last week’s drama? i was out of the country, what did i miss?

    other than that, totally agree that nannies’ labor can be underpaid most of the time. an important point to draw attention.

    best

  47. Anonymous says...

    What about the children? I had a fantastic nanny growing up and never felt odd about my mother not being around (she was working to feed and clothe four kids!). however, as I got older and stayed in touch with my nanny, who is now a close family friend who comes to stay with us for easter and christmas, she let it slip that she didn’t like me that much as a child. she even said she almost ‘fired’ me. while I know she isn’t my mother, there is something about a mother figure not showing unconditional love which makes the nanny-child relationship a bit strange sometimes. that element of rejection is a difficult aspect of this dynamic.

  48. These photos are incredible!! So much emotion conveyed! :)

  49. I was a nanny for 2 years with a family and was more of a mother than their actual mother was to them. Sad. It amazed me how much I grew to love those kids and I still miss them today, 2 years after I left them. Nannies become more attached than most people think.

  50. When I think of a nanny, I imagine something like Mrs. Doubtfire. A plump old woman (but an ACTUAL woman) who is very loving and nurturing. Not taking the place of the mother, but offering a support to her.
    I worked as a nanny a few times for short periods. I found the struggle to be the payment. Some parents want to pay a babysitters wage and expect a nanny. (I see the difference as a babysitter as a younger person who watches the children, and a nanny as an older person with some more responsibilities such as taking kids to and from activities and maybe some light housework.)

  51. I supported my college education by working as a nanny all four years. Not only was it great money and allowed nap times for research papers, the families made me a part of their lives- inviting me over for holidays, dinners and even helping me with tuition. I was lucky enough to work with such great parents and oh so lovable children. Those were some great years!

    Caitlyn
    http://birdbyebird.blogspot.com/

  52. I recently met a girl who worked as a nanny or, as she called it, an “Au Pair.” I think it takes a certain kind of wonderful person to do that. Plus, she was always full of great stories.

  53. Last summer I got my first nanny job, and am coming close to the one year “anniversary” of being with the family. I love those (four!) kids so much, and I have a fantastic relationship with their mother. She’s a stay at home mom, so we talk all the time. As one of three nannies for this family, I totally get being called “babysitter” sometimes because we do only work 20 or so hours per week each. I do have a hard time being called “babysitter” though. You’re right-it just doesn’t cover it.

  54. i “nannied” (i don’t like that term either…sounds strange) for the same family for several years through late highschool and college. it’s a very, very intimate job. you’re spending a substantial amount of time in these people’s homes, with their children and their pets and their belongings. you’re immersed in their routine. i know i learned a lot about different family dynamics and alternative familial structures in my time as a nanny.

    http://www.wishdownawell.blogspsot.com

  55. such a great article. i just hired a nanny two days a week so i can get back to work. it was hard at first but it’s working at well and we love her! i can tell she is becoming a very valuable member of our family and life already.

  56. Thanks for posting this!

    I work as a Nanny & have since College- I don’t see myself ending it any time soon.

    Being a Nanny is definitely more complex than we’re typically given credit for.
    Eat Cake

  57. with so little written about the relationship (i prefer “intimate” relationship to “complex” or “intense”)between mothers and nannies, i guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see so many articles get it so wrong…

    I only have my experience to compare it to but i have always had spectacular relationships with the families i’ve worked for, all of them 2 or more years.I guess I chalk it up to respect and communication. Which seems to be lacking in most parts of the world, but from all of the available literature, it sounds like between and mothers and nannies especially!!

    the book you mentioned in your p.s., searching for mary poppins, also really rubbed me the wrong way. I wrote a review of it here,http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/166930576 which sort of echo’s my opinion on this article

    and for the record, I definitely prefer “nanny” to “babysitter.” it sounds more permanent, and more full time, and more legit!

  58. Anonymous says...

    I think there are two distinctive types of nannies: foreign born/minority women and the other the 20’s something college student or recent college grad. The former are usually overworked, underpaid, and easily disposable after the child is grown.

    You should check out the documentary Chain of Love about Filipino nannies.

    Remember that scene on Girls when Jessa was telling the nannies at the park how they should unionized?

  59. Anonymous says...

    I think there are two distinctive types of nannies: foreign born minority women and the other the 20’s something college student or recent college grad. The former are usually overworked, underpaid, and easily disposable after the child is grown.

    You should check out the documentary Chain of Love about Filipino nannies.

    Remember that scene on Girls when Jessa was telling the nannies at the park how they should unionized?

  60. Heart warming photographs. What an interesting dilemma concerning pink collar jobs. I’ve been lucky to have wonderfully loving families for whom I babysit. We are so much a part of each other’s lives, even as the children out grow the need for a caregiver.

  61. Anonymous says...

    Amazing article. Unfortunately shows like Beverly Hills Nannies are making this respectable position seem like a complete joke. It’s embarrassing. Nannies deserve much more respect! Thank you for highlighting this.

  62. This is the first time I’ve heard the term “pink collar” used to describe underpaid, traditionally “feminine” work. It’s true in so many fields, but especially relevant to those involving the care of children or the elderly. I’ve worked as a nanny for the last decade and my mother is a Home Caregiver for elderly individuals, and while I have experienced my fair share of under-value, she has seen even more. It is ridiculous how little people want to pay for the care of our elders. My mom is a social worker, counselor, nurse, housekeeper, chauffeur and companion all rolled into one, yet she makes $14/hour and receives no benefits.

  63. Mona Simpson’s book “My Hollywood” is a semi fictional version of her essay. It was an easy beach read told from both the employer and the nanny’s perspectives. Fascinating occupation/relationship.

  64. LOVE these.
    Our Nanny, Tita, is so valuable to us.
    We love her so!

  65. It’s my friend’s little girl on the first picture :) ha. so excited to see her on your blog, Joanne. It’s such a great project.

  66. Love these. Beautiful.

  67. I am working as a Nanny and transitioning to a more stable career. I love the child so much that I didn’t mind extending my grace period at all from 2 weeks to 1 month and a half. Whatever means a better Caregiver for the child, I’m in for :) It’s so hard to leave families. I try my best to assure it’s nothing personal. I’m still making time for date nights and occasional days the new Nanny can’t make, but I know it’s not something I can always do. It’s so much more difficult than leaving any other job.

  68. Beautiful pictures! Such an interesting article–thanks for sharing. Where I live (Upstate NY) when discussing full time child care a “babysitter” is used when you bring your child to someone else’s house, whereas a ‘nanny’ comes to your house and is solely watching your children.

    XOXO

    PS: Congrats to Alex on the friendship article–it’s all over social media today! :)

  69. we have a nanny, although I love to use Tina Fey’s phrase ‘Coordinator of toddlery’. :) Our nanny is amazing and I wouldn’t have gone back to work if she was anything less. We are super thankful for her, and don’t know what we’d do without her. She treats our two children as if they were hers.

  70. I found it *terribly* offensive to be called a babysitter when I was a full-time, salaried nanny working 50 to 70 hours a week. Failing to give a children’s caretaker a title that matches the deep level of his or her responsibilities/commitment is in the same column as paying poorly for a job well done.

  71. I was a nanny all through college and by the end of it was staying with the little boy I watched for 7days a week. I feel very conflicted about nannying. On one hand, there are parents that need help. They can’t always be there and need someone to care for their child(ren). But, when does it cross over into where the nanny is raising your child(ren) and you are not? It is such a fine balance and, not being a parent yet, I can’t completley understand from a parenting perspective. I just felt that the parents of the little boy couldn’t manage being parents and hired me to be his parent. It wasn’t nannying, it was parenting and that’s what leaves me conflicted.

  72. Does anyone remember Gully (Rosie O’Donnell) from Harriet the Spy, who played the role of a phenomenal nanny? She was such a special character!

    I nannied three boys under three (!!!) in Boston, and could not have had a more wonderful experience. While I’ve babysat for some families and felt very much the hired help, this family went out of their way to welcome me into their family and NEVER took advantage of my time. They made sure that the boys knew I was in charge, and they were to respect me.

    One night, the parents came home late for work, and they knew I had dinner plans with my friends. So, they gave me $75 extra and insisted that they buy dinner for my friends and me. Really thoughtful people…we are still in touch and I love getting pictures of the boys.

  73. Anonymous says...

    I was a nanny 15 years ago to twins from the age of 18 months to three. They are now about to approach their 17th birthday. Their mother and I are still incredibly close and the twins are very much in my life as well. In fact, last week, I spent the entire day with one of the twins. Whenever their mother and I talk, their mother becomes incredibly emotional because she knows that I love her kids so much. She told both of her kids to come to me with anything that they would not feel comfortable talking to her about, especially as they approached their teenage years. She trusted my judgment to guide them in a way that would honor the values that she has raised them with. And, this has never been necessary because she is an incredible mother and her twins have such open communication with her. Being a nanny to these twins, for this family, was a rewarding experience that has deep ties, which connect us all together forever – love.

  74. As a preschool teacher, I have met a number of “nannies” and “babysitters” over the years. The best word I have found to use for them, as others have brought up, is caregiver.

  75. Stace says...

    What beautiful photos. The timing on this post is uncanny.

    I am curently working as a nanny for a seventeen month old little girl. I’ve been with her full time since she was six months old. My job ends at the end of the summer when I go back to school and she starts daycare. The thought of no longer seeing her five days a week makes me so sad. I’ve been there for some many of her milestones, I’ve seen her grow from a little baby into a toddler with an incredible personality. She trusts me me entirely and we simply love eachother. This is hands down the best job I’ve ever had and am grateful everyday for this opportunity to know and love this little person as well as her parents.

    Her parents and I have talked about what will happen in the fall and we’ve all expressed the desire for me to always be a part of their daughter’s life, which is exactly what I was hoping they’s say, and I plan to do my very best to keep in touch and be a source of support for this person that I love so dearly.

  76. What beautiful photographs. Our children can never have too many people who love them. I stay at home with my daughter at the moment but I truly hope that she will bond with and love her caregivers in the future. Being a childcare provider is such important work. Domestic workers deserve to be respected, appreciated and fairly compensated for the work that they do. Ideally, a nanny will love “her” children and enjoy the time they spend together but parents should never lose sight of the fact that nanny’s are professionals performing a challenging and vital role.

  77. I loved that article, and it definitely brought up some very interesting points. For me it applies personally for a few reasons, as I worked with tons of families babysitting/nannying for several years. Some only once or twice, others a couple times a week, and one or two more regularly. It’s interesting becoming that intimate with a family; when I found out they were getting divorced a few years after, I was shocked and a bit disillusioned!

    The other point that interested me was the pink collar jobs part. As a pediatric rn, it definitely would be impossible to do the job without feeling some sort of calling for it, it’s just too emotionally and physically heavy to be simply a paycheck. However, it is my livelihood, and it was shocking to see how nasty people responded last year when my hospital went on strike. I saw tons of comments about “abandoning the children” for greed, etc. After that experience, how I feel about our strike is another story, but nurses or any caregiver type position simply can’t be done out of the goodness of one’s heart. At least in the real world.

    Thanks Jo for sparking another great conversation!

  78. Thank you for this, Jo! I am so glad that people are starting to recognize the important work nannies do. I myself prefer the term “domestic worker” because (though it sounds a little cold), it recognizes their contributions as work. So many domestic workers in NYC are low-income immigrant women, and our country’s laws are specifically written to exclude them from labor protections. Did you know that New York passed one of the first “Bill or Rights” for Domestic Workers in 2010? Before that, domestic workers in NY lacked basic labor protections–and they still do in most of the country, meaning they’re exempt from minimum wage laws and collective bargaining schemes, among other rights. I love that blogs like yours are open about and appreciative of the contributions these hardworking women make. Thanks again.

  79. These are just beautiful. The use of such low lighting is rather ironic, placing them nearly in the shadows.

  80. I was an au pair last year and when I had to return back home my host mom and I sobbed while hugging goodbye. The little boy I watched told me “I don’t have to miss you, you’ll be in my herz for immer.” (you’ll be in my heart forever.)

    Coming home was unbelievably hard, but luckily we keep in touch and I am visiting again soon. My host mom still hopes I’ll find a job nearby them so we can remain close.

    I even wrote this poem for my Poetry seminar this semester (http://littleremindersoflove.blogspot.com/2012/02/poem-i-wrote-for-class-that-i-would.html)

    Anyway, enough rambling, all I know is, being an au pair pretty much created an extended family for me. and not a day goes by I don’t miss them heaps.

  81. I worked as a (very) full-time nanny for a family in Chicago for a year. It was honestly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done–not in the respect of caring for 3 children under the age of 7, but rather the way I was often treated by the family (as an invisible part of their everyday life). I nannied for 2 other families in Chicago before that family, and the others experiences were very positive and I always felt appreciated. I raise a glass to anyone who chooses to nanny for his/her profession because can be such a hard position to be in.

    xoxo, Lauren Stacks

    http://www.laurenstacks.com

  82. I saw these in the NYT Sunday morning – amazing photos! I was a nanny on the Upper East Side in the early 90’s and LOVED my job, just had the best family ever. There were many nannies that I met that didn’t care about the kids at all and were obviously just there to have free rent in Manhattan. I don’t know if it was because the families were the type that would cut them out of the photo or not – that is too horrible!

  83. i have to say, i am very happy with my current nanny job (: it isn’t babysitting- im not on the couch (though i am right now to blog.. whoops!) the whole day, i’m not letting your children run around and be crazy- i am effectively raising your kids while you are gone, keeping your house up to par, and running around doing errands…

    and that is why i cringe at being called a “babysitter”…

    (:

    and i’d be super sad if i were cropped out of any pictures considering all the moments i’ve been able to capture while the parents are not home..

  84. Maryam says...

    This was a great piece. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to leave your own children to take care of other people’s children, simply because of economic need. My husband works in social services in South Bronx and we were just talking about the young people he works with, who don’t have access to their own parents because they’re either out working, oftentime caring for other people’s children or out on the street due to drugs/prostitution/gangs etc. and what a chasm it creates in society, to have such a large group of parents missing. Race, class, gender all have much to do in this and it was great to see this issue being explored more courageously.

  85. i nannied my way through college in charleston, sc, including a summer with one family in munich, and loved the experience. the children were such joys (usually :) and i felt like part of the the family, even joining the family for dinner when i wasn’t working.

    i will say this, though—the children’s milestones were always a little heartbreaking for me…almost like watching someone else’s child’s first steps was a sacred moment the parents, not me, should be experiencing.

    in any case, it made me thrilled to become a mom one day! :)

  86. I can’t imagine cropping a nanny out of family photos. I was never a babysitter, but I am a mother and I know how much you fall for children who are in your care. To discard that is such a shame. I LOVE these photos.

  87. Nannying is such a special thing. I will forever hold the children I cared for while working through college in a special place in my heart. As well as their mothers, who treated me as a second (older) child and made me feel so incredibly valuable and appreciated. Also there are definitely nannies all over the place, not NYC exclusive at all.

  88. Interesting article and topic in general. I have been a nanny for several years, and I actually really enjoy the role so much. I am currently nannying for an amazing family. I also have an 18 month old son, who I am able to take with me while I care for the little girl, who is only two weeks older than him. It is a wonderful set up for both families right now. It is a very interesting situation though, being a mother AND a nanny…particularly at the same time.

  89. Beautiful pictures. I imagine it’s hard for mothers to leave their children in the care of someone else, and see how their child bonds to the nanny.

  90. Anonymous says...

    On my resume I title my position as Family Assistant which I feel more accurately describes what I do. The last family that I worked for refereed to me as the child minder which I prefer to babysitter or nanny, yet when I tell people what I do I do tell them I’m a nanny. Personally, I don’t like the connotation that goes with the title babysitter. Having a college degree in early childhood education and with over 8 years of experience I feel that babysitter just doesn’t cut it.

  91. Anonymous says...

    These are beautiful. I nannied for five years before a career change and loved those children as if they were my own. The last family I worked for treated me SO terribly, and their children were beautiful and loving and cried when their parents came home.It took me a year and a half to stop dreaming about their little one who was only 14 months when they fired me (for reasons they made up but really it was because they didn’t’ like how attached their children were to me). I had spent over 60 hours a week with them and I truly felt an attachment as an adoptive mother might to this little one. It broke my heart in half and left a really bitter taste in my mouth for being a nanny.

  92. There is definitely a nanny community in most cities. I have nannied off and on for the last ten years in Dallas TX, Lexington and Louisville KY. I recently moved from Lexington to Louisville and had to leave a family that I’d been with for two years. It was incredibly difficult but I still see them about once a month and we Skype regularly. It’s hard to be part of the family and then suddenly leave. I’m also still very close with the family I nannied in Dallas. The oldest is going to college in the fall and I’m actually helping her move in to the dorms. All the families I’ve nannied will also be at my wedding in September. It’s hard for me to think of a life without each of them so I know we will always be in touch with each other. Honestly, nannying is the best job I’ve ever had!

  93. Thanks for posting this! I will be reading the article as soon as I get to a computer (I’m on cellphone ). I’ve been a nanny for about 4 years now and have had many ups and downs. I love the family I work for and will be sad to say goodbye at the end of the summer, but the oldest will be in high-school so they don’t really need me, haha. The weirdest part is being so close to them but knowing professional protocol says staying in close contact probably isn’t appropriate once the job is over. It’s going to be a sad Fall.

  94. I can’t wait to see what euphemism arises in the next few years to replace “nanny.” Perhaps “certified childhood care technician?” At least nanny is less stuffy than “Au pair.”

    We had a nanny for a brief period of time, then a part-time sitter (twice a week) before my kids started a daycare/preschool program 3x a week. I don’t know how they do it!

  95. I worked as a Nanny for a while during the worst part of the recession – I always felt like a part of the family and loved those girls like crazy! I learned SO much about caring for newborns and when I had my own son 5 months ago, stepped into the role without a hitch and knew exactly what to do!

    I work now because I have a wonderfully fulfilling job and can’t sit at home all day with a little one. My caregiver is an amazing woman from Mexico who has taught me so much and loves my son to pieces! He loves to be with her, but lights up when my husband and I are around. I know the bond between my son and I is irreplaceable. But I’m so glad that he is loved on all day and taught sound values in her home.

    Thanks, Joanna!

  96. The relationship between a mother and her child/children’s nanny is incredibly complex. I’m not yet a mother, but I nannied for the same family for three years while I was in college in New York. (I say “nannied” rather than “babysat” because I was with the girls for 15-20 hours a week.) The mother and I became good friends, so much so that, even after I graduated, we kept in touch via email and I still stop by whenever I am in town – to catch up with her just as much as to see the girls.

    Near the end of my tenure with the family, the mother and I had a very frank conversation about the relationship between mothers and the women who take care of their children. I was the first American nanny she had hired; I was white, like she was, Ivy League educated, like she was, and from the same cultural and socio-economic background. She was very honest about how she felt in trusting me with her children and in having detailed conversations with me about their schoolwork and their extra-curricular activities as opposed to the relationships she had had with other nannies she had employed in the past, nannies who had much less in common with her and her family. Of course, she didn’t doubt that the nannies who came before me loved her children, but in terms of how she as a mother related to them, she said it was entirely different.

    Really interesting!

  97. I haven’t read the article yet, but I did see the cover of the magazine & thought, wow, what a beautiful photo. I do some lifestyle photography as a hobby/side job, and one of my clients once asked if I could make an album for her without the nanny in it, and then a smaller album with the nanny in it to give to her as a gift. I think the relationship between the parent(s) and the nanny is such a complicated one, but fascinating nonetheless.

  98. I haven’t read the article yet, but I did see the cover of the magazine & thought, wow, what a beautiful photo. I do some lifestyle photography as a hobby/side job, and one of my clients once asked if I could make an album for her without the nanny in it, and then a smaller album with the nanny in it to give to her as a gift. I think the relationship between the parent(s) and the nanny is such a complicated one, but fascinating nonetheless.

  99. Anonymous says...

    These are great! I was a nanny for five years, two of them as a live-in nanny for a great Australian family living in S.F.

    I truly felt a part of their family. The mom always wasn’t sure what to call me, a nanny or babysitter, — she didn’t like either. I’m not sure if we ever settled on a job title — it wasn’t really important.

    On the photos — I can’t believe some families would crop them out, how sad! I showed up in some preschool drawings — I bet these “cropped nannies” have too. :)

    -M.

  100. I love these pictures. I worked as a nanny for many years, through high school and college. I fell in love with the children and have kept in touch with them over the years. Several families I worked with treated me as a member of the family. One in particular purposely took photos of me with the children to add to their family photos in the house. On the other hand, I quit after just 3 weeks working with another family, because it was clear that I was strictly an employee. I found that for me it was impossible provide genuine love and care for children day in and day out, yet be disrespected by their parents.

    Thank you for sharing this article!

  101. I nannied off and on through the years before I started becoming more career minded, but I did wind up nannying again for about 6 months after the company I worked for went under.
    You better believe I put that on my resume when I started looking for jobs again! I was proud of all that I did in those six months (3 boys under the age of 5! Yikes) But so fun), and proud that I did whatever it took to take care of myself. Any prospective employers who looked down on that weren’t the kind of people I wanted to work for anyway.
    SO glad you appreciate your team. They are you when you can’t be there, and there is so much to be said for that.

  102. Great post and nice way to highlight the undervalued work of these amazing women. Please check out Ai-jen Poo’s work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2012.

  103. Melisa says...

    Hi Jo! That part about nannies being cropped out made me so sad. It made me think of The Help. A nanny is such an important part of the family. I often think of Amy Poehler’s speech where she said she couldn’t have done her job without her nanny. We love our babysitter and think of her as the girls’ third grandma. Hope you are doing well. :)

  104. I’m an ever busy single mom too. There are so many times when I wish I had someone to help love on my kids.

    Thank you Joanna.

  105. Sara R. says...

    Fascinating article. I have worked as a nanny/au pair in the past, and now I have one for my baby. What’s funny is that while I don’t personally love our nanny, my baby adores her, and so in a certain sense so do I. While I wish I could always be there for my daughter, what I try to do is see the nanny not through my own eyes but through my daughter’s eyes. It makes the whole experience much easier on me.

  106. Anonymous says...

    I worked my way through college as a nanny in Berkeley/Oakland CA.

  107. erin — my family lived in the midwest and had a nanny, and I knew of several other kids whose parents both worked very intense jobs and needed full-time help. I think it’s more common in NYC (where I live now), because work comes first for so many people here, but it’s definitely not exclusive to this city.

  108. We were grateful to have such thoughtful, caring nannies, and as a first-time mom, I learned a lot from them! Not everyone is lucky, and it can be a complicated relationship even in the best of circumstances (to say the least).

  109. I always loved the term caregiver when I was working as one, because thats exactly what we are and what we do! We give love & care to beautiful children and families.

    I loved being a caregiver and being able to help parents and become a part of their family’s lives. It was such an honor.

  110. I don’t think nannies jobs are taken seriously enough. I spent years looking after kids after school and in between school and university. And yet now I can’t even put that experience on my CV because employers don’t see it as a proper job. But being a nanny requires so many skills – time management, organisation, safety and care (just to name a few). As well as cooking, cleaning and a huge huge amount of responsibility. People forget that nannies are taking care of someone else’s child, essentially someone’s life, and that can be a bit of pressure! So I’m glad these nannies are getting a bit of credit and a spot in the limelight for once.
    In terms of the name, people here in the UK tend to use ‘childminder’ or ‘au pair’ as these sound a little less old fashioned. Because I see what you mean about nanny/ babysitter sounding wrong! x

    • I wonder sometimes if the under-valuation of childcare providers (nannies) goes hand-in-hand with the derision many people feel towards the occupation of looking after the home/kids in general…

      I mean, how many times have I heard stay-at-home moms say that they “don’t work” they just “look after the kids”. Unfortunately, it seems at times like the feminist message that women don’t have to be a housewife, they can do *anything* has come to mean that on the other hand, if you choose to stay home and not be a top lawyer etc that you’re somehow inferior as a woman. Then if you’re a *paid* childcare provider you don’t even have the dignity of being the children’s own mother, and so there’s obviously something terribly wrong with you (that you can’t get a “real” job). On the positive side, I think more people are starting to see caring for children as being a truly valuable and important job, whether you’re the parent or a caregiver… and moms, please don’t ever say you’re “just” a stay-at-home mom. You work so hard, and what you do is priceless!

  111. Just wanted to say THANK YOU for bringing attention to this article and for doing so in such a positive, appreciative way. I’ve been a nanny for nearly 10 years now and have usually had very positive experiences, but I’ve heard horror stories from my peers. So again, thank you!!

  112. this is such an interesting topic, especially with how some people reacted during the series about working mothers!

    i worked as a babysitter/nanny for one of my professors for two years, and i grew very close to her boys. i was one of three sitters she kept on hand, and i never felt like she recognized the care and attention and effort i put into the job — i always felt very replaceable, which frustrated me. she did compensate me fairly, but there was something aloof about our interactions that made me feel under-appreciated. my suggestion to anyone who uses a regular babysitter or nanny: let him or her know how they’re doing occasionally! :)

  113. I just wonder why this nanny phenomenon is exclusive to New York City? Women in the rest of the country generally don’t have nannies in this sense of the word. I think most families take their children to a grandparent or a day care for a few hours, but nannies are such a part of the NYC family culture. It’s nonexistent where I live. Interesting.

  114. J+H–TOTALLY! i like to think of it as a caregiver team that toby has — dad, mom, and his two beloved sitters – and we all love him and each of us brings something different to the table.

  115. I worked as a nanny for 3 years and just left my job to get married and move across the country 2 months ago. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I feel like I left a part of me behind!

    I’ll probably always consider them “my boys” even when I have children of my own. It’s a special relationship.

  116. So beautiful… these brought tears to my eyes. I was raised by a full-time nanny, and went through a difficult transition once we “outgrew” the need for full-time care. Suddenly our mom-figure was gone, and years later, we’re not in touch any more. I’m still fascinated to think back on my childhood, more filled with memories of her than my biological parents.

  117. Truly touching, indeed. They are all beautiful but for some reason the second one with the two kiddos is my favourite. Off to read the article now. Have a lovely day!xo

  118. i agree WWWGwenyth, our two daytime babysitters are SO much part of our family. we love them so much. even on weekends, we text them and chat and send photos:) i honestly hate thinking about when toby goes to school in a couple years and we will lose them.

  119. i just read the book “the help” and it made me think of your series on working women, and how most of them had some sort of “help”. you watch the movie and it seems just so old-fashioned to have someone help you raise your children, but it seems that it’s becoming much more common now that both parents work and actually NEED help, instead of it being a treat to the wealthy so that the mothers can socialize.

    i’d be interested in reading a few interviews of nannies/full-time babysitters and their thoughts on the position as a career and as a part of the family…

    cheers!

    • I worked as a nanny for the better part of a decade… although I preferred to go by the job title “child care provider” (long, but more accurate). The longest that I ever cared for one family’s kids was almost 4 years. When I stopped working with them they gave me a photo album with pictures of the girls and I. In some ways I did feel like part of the family, but also at times felt grumpy about the fact that I was paid slightly over minimum wage, and others (not my employers)didn’t give me much respect when they found out my status as “nanny” rather than “mom”. But in many ways it was amazing to be a huge part of their lives for so many years. One of the highlights was going for a walk with the littlest one for her first snow fall, and seeing it through her eyes *sheer WONDER*. All the years as a childcare provider have helped me feel more confident that I can be a good parent when the time comes (in 7months!!!!)

  120. I’m a single mom…. There are so many times I’d love a nanny to help me when I needed a little break…

    I love these pictures!! Thank you for sharing ;) beautiful!

    And I agree with Paige above…. You are AMAZING!! I love it here ;)

  121. Great post, Jo. Hope last week’s drama didn’t get you down. There are so many of us that support you. Happy Monday! xoxoox

  122. Wow, amazing pictures! So much love