by Tatjana Srbinovska
Working in the childcare industry can be very challenging for many reasons. Being a single employee (in most cases) means not having an Human Resources representative, not having a real break, you name it.
Whether you are a nanny, a newborn care specialist (NCS) or a private tutor, you know that feeling during the day when you just want to share your thoughts are feelings with another adult. The baby is teething, you found a sink full of dishes waiting for you from the night before and grandma is visiting from out of town and disrupted the whole schedule. Even if you work for your “unicorn family” the frustration and overwhelming feelings are unavoidable some days.
Childcare is a unique profession. You can’t leave your workspace in the middle of the day to get some fresh air and you can probably count on your fingers how many times you have gone alone to the bathroom. The closest thing to a lunch break with your colleague is if you meet a fellow nanny during story time at the library. There is a famous anecdote about nannies who go home after work and start talking uncontrollably to their family or partners just because they missed adult human talk all day.
Social media has changed our lives forever and in many ways. Facebook groups, forums, blogs have become our virtual friend. Nanny groups have become hot spots in the last few years where nannies share knowledge, information and personal opinions about topics related to early childhood education (ECE), industry standards or just venting about their day. So, the question is where is the line when it comes to sharing information about your job? Different nanny groups have different rules. Some of them allow sharing a photo of the family’s house and the bottom of a child who has a rash while some of the groups are very strict and screen every post before they decide if it’s going to be posted.
While it’s absolutely a fact that being a nanny can leave an emptiness in your day and we have to be careful what we tell a bunch of strangers on the internet about our job. Posting pictures and sharing intimate information about our employers is very unprofessional. Our employers are entitled to a private life because what is a workspace for us is a home for them. While they have to make sure that the house is ready every morning for us to do our job, what they have left on the floor of their bedroom is none of our business.
Even when you see a nanny stating that a nanny group on social media is a safe place that is absolutely not true. How can a Facebook group that counts more than 10K people be a safe place for sharing private information? Many times, venting on social media has backfired for the nanny. Someone who knows her employers will let them know about the post with a simple screenshot. We have to understand the parents’ frustrations in that case and even their decision to let the nanny go. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if the person you trust with your kids is making fun of your messy pantry in front of thousands of people?
Being a professional nanny means less judgement and more support. It’s always better to talk to your employer about matters that bother you. If it’s reasonable and justified, you can call a meeting and have an honest conversation or ask to put what is agreed on in your contract.
It’s true that a nanny friend can understand you better than a person in a different industry but at least talk to someone you know personally and trust. Venting is okay, we’re human beings too, sometimes we don’t even need advice we just need to be heard and it’s healthy to let it go as long as we make sure we don’t hurt the anyone on the other side.