Real Work, Real Life

Nanny & Family Assistant

September 27, 2023 Episode 31
Real Work, Real Life
Nanny & Family Assistant
Show Notes Transcript

On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Sarah, a nanny family assistant. You might also know Sarah as the Modern Nanny, her popular social media account that provides community for people in this typically coworker-less industry in information for employers and parents. 

If you’re interested in the caregiving field, working as a Nanny if you find the right employers offers a ton of benefits. Many different schedule options, more freedom, often better pay, and the ability to focus on fewer children often for longer periods of time, which can create a deeper bond.Of course, as we talk about in the episode, there are many challenges with any kind of domestic work. 

The roots of this issue run deep: from the Domestic Workers Alliance website:  "During the 1930s, landmark New Deal legislation introduced basic workplace rights in the U.S., but domestic and farm workers were excluded due to a compromise with Southern legislators. The exclusion of domestic workers from workplace laws passed in subsequent years became the norm, and these racist and sexist exclusions continue to exist in local, state and federal laws in the U.S."

This has led to domestic workers being among the most vulnerable and exploited workers in the labor force. They often face long work hours, low pay, sudden job loss, sexual harassment, and physical or verbal abuse.

Despite being one of the fastest growing workforces in the nation, nannies, housecleaners and home care workers work in isolation, face challenges in negotiating for better working conditions, and have little to no recourse or ability to enforce the basic rights they have when violated.” 

As you’ll see if you follow Sarah, she’s one of many working to improve these issues, you can even find her twice a year census of her followers to improve pay transparency in this field.

 I interviewed the owner and operator of an in-home, licensed, accredited childcare two weeks ago, so if you didn’t listen to that episode, it would be a great pairing if you’re considering this general field.

This is also a great example of how so many people’s career’s progress in ways you might not expect. You start off in one field, in Sarah’s case as a Behavioral Therapist, see how a different role might actually suit your needs better and then move there, and with even more experience, identify a need in your industry that you can fill, even if it takes you into a pretty different job function.

If you’re interested in following Sarah, you can find her on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook @the.modern.nanny

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at realworkreallife@gmail.com.

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-work-real-life/id1673653251
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Transcripts are now available here: www.realworkreallife.com

Sarah Nanny Family Assistant

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work real life, where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today, I'm talking with Sarah a nanny family assistant. You might also know Sarah as the modern nanny, her popular social media account that provides community for people in this. 

Typically co-worker less industry and information for employers and parents. If you're interested in the caregiving field, working as a nanny, if you find the right employers offers a ton of benefits. Many different schedule options, sometimes more freedom, often better pay, and the ability to focus on fewer children often for longer periods of time, which can create a deeper bond. Of course, as we talk about in the episode, there are also many challenges with any kind of domestic work. The roots of this issue run deep from the domestic workers Alliance website during the 1930s landmark new deal legislation introduced basic workplace rights in the U S but domestic and farm workers were excluded due to a [00:01:00] compromise with Southern legislators. The exclusion of domestic workers from workplace laws passed in subsequent years, became the norm and these racist and sexist exclusions continue to exist in a local state and federal laws in the us. This has led to domestic workers being among the most vulnerable and exploited workers in the labor force. They often face long work hours, low pay, sudden job loss, sexual harassment, and physical or verbal abuse. Despite being one of the fastest growing workforces in the nation. Nanny's house cleaners and home care workers work in isolation. Face challenges and negotiating for better working conditions. And have little to no recourse or ability to enforce the basic rights they have when violated. As you'll see if you follow Sarah, she's one of many working to improve these issues. You can even find her twice a year, census of her followers To improve, pay transparency in this field. I interviewed the owner and operator of an in-home licensed and accredited childcare [00:02:00] two weeks ago. So if you didn't listen to that episode, it would be a great pairing. If you're considering this general field. Finally, this is a great example of how so many people's careers progress. In ways you might not expect. You start off in one field in Sarah's case as a behavioral therapist and see how a different role might actually suit your needs and preferences better. And then you move there In Sarah's case as a nanny and family assistant. And with even more experienced, you might identify a need in your industry that you can fill. Even if it takes you into a pretty different job function. So it's interesting to think about how the same. Interests and passions might take you in so many different ways over the course of your career. So let's get into it.

Emily: Thank you so much for being here, Sarah.

Sarah: Thank you for having me. Very excited to talk today.

Emily: So, what do you do for work?

Sarah: it's hard to say just nanny because in this field there's a lot of overlap and a lot of kind of moving [00:03:00] into other positions that are just general domestic help and domestic work So that's what I do. I'm a nanny family assistant.

Emily: Oh, that's so great. And so, what interested you initially about it?

Sarah: I have a very, I was gonna say I have a weird entrance into the field, but honestly, not so weird. It's kind of pretty, pretty commonplace for nannies and family assistants to kind of just stumble into this work. It's not really a job that you kind of, set out thinking that it's a career for you but it, totally is.

There's a lot of career and professional nannies and domestic workers out there. I initially got into this In general, child development as a behavioral therapist. I went to school for behavioral therapy, worked as a play based therapist for autistic kiddos for many years. And in that role I felt very held back by the systems.

I felt like I wasn't able to [00:04:00] actually support the family in the ways that they needed. Many times I was doing the therapy work, but I was like, X, Y, and Z needs to get done in order for this to actually be meaningful and fruitful work. The parents need help, the parents are stretched, or the play space just needs a revamp, or all sorts of things that I just felt like I could not make that impact and difference as that role.

And there was tons of situations where I felt like if I just had five more hours, or if I just had a little bit more connection and so I decided that I would pursue more one to one caregiving work. I was kind of poached ish from an agency that was looking for somebody to kind of do that work privately for a family. And so that's kind of where I fell into that. I decided... The systems were kind of holding me back, weren't making the actual work that I wanted to [00:05:00] do, and this was kind of an opportunity to really put my skills to the test, work with one family, help them through a season of their life, and that's kind of just how I stumbled into it.

And then 10 years later ended up that being my profession and my career and I think that is pretty commonplace for a lot of people where they are in a season of life where they kind of stumble into it and then their eyes are opened like oh this is my calling or like this is where I'm supposed to be and so yeah that's kind of how I got here.

Emily: Oh, that's amazing. What an interesting way of getting into that. And I, I can absolutely see how you would make that transition or that's a way people would make that transition. Do you find there are other certifications or educational backgrounds that are sort of common for nannies, family assistants, or is it really all over the board?

Sarah: So because there's [00:06:00] no, regulatory board

for domestic work, for nannies, for family assistants, I was kind of felt held back by that as a behavioral therapist. But then as a nanny it's hard to progress. It's hard to get those certifications, get that education, because it's so wild, wild west in a way.

there is no real to follow. And so a big part of. This industry is finding your community and finding your coworkers, colleagues because they're not given to you the way they are in other industries and finding out kind of what they're doing, how are they progressing, how are they educating themselves, continuing to be certified there's lots of, not lots of, I should say, there are several Associations that nannies can use to kind of have, a certification, take a test, a little course and then you're certified through the International Nanny Association, or [00:07:00] many pursue newborn care specialist work as kind of a next step or a next promotion just because it pays a little bit more.

And so because there's not this hierarchy in this, industry, the way others are, like if you've been in it for several years, you might get promoted to a management position or you might get promoted to a director position or another tier. That does not exist in our industry, so people have to find other means to progress and to make themselves more attractive to other candidates, make themselves more marketable in the Marketplace.

And so kind of pursuing alternative means of education and certifications are kind of the way to go. And a lot of people find their niche and they find what they're specifically good at. So if you're a twin nanny and you have a lot of experience with families with twins, some will just pursue that and [00:08:00] they will try to find certifications and educations that are not necessarily For you.

nanny at the top but are some sort of thing related to the industry that they can kind of pull in, similar to how I was a behavioral therapist pulling in a lot of this psychology work, there's many that go to school for psychology, for child development, for education, and end up in this work and use that education and skill set here.

Emily: One question that's brought to my mind is, do you feel like most nannies, or would it be a common way to start working as a nanny to join an agency? 

Sarah: Yeah, that's a pretty I don't want to say controversial because it's not controversial, but it's a spicy topic

Emily: Yeah. Ooh, can we get into it a little bit?

Sarah: Yeah because there's honestly, three kind of core ways that nannies find work. One being referral based, the, like, stereotypical, like, hey, I know this person, [00:09:00] you'd be a great fit for them, or I know this family is looking for work.

And that's kind of how a lot of nannies find work. And it's a lot, a way a lot of nannies find quality work because it's kind of already been vetted through somebody. Sometimes that's a nightmare and isn't actually vetting. But most of the times you can trust whoever your friend is that's telling you.

They've kind of done a little micro vetting for themselves to say Hey, I'm going to pass this job along. Another method would be a care finder site like care. com or sitter city or nanny lane. Where it's more like a DIY. Child care search. I like to compare it to a dating app versus a matchmaker.

Emily: okay. 

Sarah: Um, so care. com center city. Those care finder apps are more like a dating app where you're kind of just swiping through finding like, Oh, that looks nice. That works for me. Sometimes that works really well for people, sometimes that can be dicey, in the same way that it is with dating apps, like some [00:10:00] people find great success and other people have very nightmare stories and then the other way is through an agency, which is more like a matchmaker.

I like to compare it to, Patti Stanger on Millionaire Matchmaker. How she kind of just, gathers all of these people and gives it to you and says, Hey, now decide, and I'll work it through with you and kind of parse through what your needs are and what your wants are and find you that fit.

So that's what an agency would do but because it's such a personal, like, you want the fit for yourself, that can kind of get a little messy and dicey, and so people don't necessarily always rely on agencies because the The parent is ultimately the customer at the end of the day, and so they are going to do whatever they can to provide them with what they want, whether that be a really positive, healthy, uplifting fit, or one that is [00:11:00] just gonna go through 20 nannies until they find somebody because their needs are so extreme , so agencies can be really, really wonderful places to find the work.

I mean, it's like going to the lake if you want to go fishing, like, that's where you go. But at the same time, You could be put at a loss depending on how you present yourself, or where you are, or all sorts of different prejudice, discrimination things like that can run rampant in our industry because there's no really checks and balances.

the way other industries might have.

Emily: Right. Oh my gosh. That's so interesting to think through all that. Would this be a good time to share a little bit about how you moved from being a full-time nanny, family assistant into your business? 

Sarah: Because there is no real regulations or rules or standardizations for this industry I particularly felt very alone and [00:12:00] isolated. I got my start in this industry in the Silicon Valley, Bay Area of California, where everybody sort of has domestic work, most people have fully staffed households of course there's on the other side of the tracks.

Not, but there's a pretty large bubble of people that just have domestic work. They're very used to it but at the same time, they try to keep their own little bubble very small. And so they don't like their domestic workers to be talking with other people. They kind of like to keep their blinders on, not gossip, not...

give away information, give away trade secrets just by talking at the park. And so I felt very alone and very isolated despite seeing tons and tons of domestic workers every day. We park at the same spot on the street, walk up to our houses, leave at the same time, but we don't talk to each other.

And so at the start of The pandemic really pretty [00:13:00] serendipitously in February of 2020, I decided to make this Instagram account honestly just to make connections with people, I was getting very burnt out and I was feeling like there's no way I could be this alone, there's just no, no way, and so I started just making little reels that apparently resonated with a lot of people, and I found out that I was not alone by any stretch of the means, and much of our industry, I was really an amazing experience.

crying out for that. We're crying out for this community, crying out for regulations, for somebody to kind of point in a direction. We do not have those stereotypical co workers, so sometimes you have a bad day and you really just need to give somebody the gym from the office side eye, but you have no one, you have no one to give that to.

And sometimes that's all it takes. Sometimes you don't need this crazy conversation where we... parse out all of these [00:14:00] things. Sometimes it's just like, I had a really annoying day, and I need, I need somebody to like, breathe with me. Somebody to exhale with me after this. And I, I can get through it if I have somebody that can exhale with me.

And so that's kind of what. I do now. I still do some family assistant work for a former family. I've built up that rapport and that connection and I just know that family through and through. And they were like we cannot lose you. 

Emily: Please. No.

Sarah: Yeah, no. So I'm able to kind of split my time between that and actually being sort of a coach figure, a colleague, a co worker to a lot of nannies and help them through the situations that I had been through, give them some insight a shoulder to lean on, an ear, a troubleshooting board all of that kind of stuff, I'm able to do now We didn't have that. We don't have those regulations. Even though there's those associations even that is still pretty [00:15:00] far away. It's not necessarily like, right here, on the job, I need to shoot a text to somebody just sending a, like, oh my gosh, this was nuts. Yeah, that's kind of what I'm able to do now, I say I've went from a child caregiver to a caregiver coach I consider myself a nanny, culture and career coach is what my title on Instagram 

Emily: That's great. I mean, it's such a human impulse to want to have peers to share challenging and I'm sure joyful experiences too. So I think that's great that you've been able to provide that for your community. So taking a step back a little bit, what kind of personality do you think does well in this line of work?

Sarah: my answer to this is kind of twofold because a part of it, yes, you would think, That having the soft skills of being very empathetic, very caring, very compassionate are the kind of personalities that would do well at this job. But I found out that [00:16:00] while they do do well at that job, they also burn out very well at this job.

Because they are so giving, over compassionate very people pleasery in this industry can get you far on the surface level. You can make good money, you can have a steady income, you can have the reliable jobs but you can burn out very, very fast because you are operating To somebody else's needs and preferences.

You're deferring to that always. Even if it's okay. Even if that is the plan that you would go on anyways. It's always deferring to another person. And so you can kind of get in this. cycle of not knowing yourself, feeling really inauthentic from yourself, feeling just that people pleaser iness is real killer for this job.

And so I like to say that it's two sides of the coin. You need to be a very compassionate person, but you also need to be a very boundaried person. The kind of person that does well at this job has those [00:17:00] boundaries, knows What makes them feel successful knows what can push them forward and knows what burns them out, knows what are their non negotiables, and are able to communicate them straightforwardly and stick to that.

There's a, a lot of us that can think we need those boundaries, set those boundaries, but then we walk it back immediately because of the nature of our job is, that people pleaser iness. So I like to say, an empathetic, compassionate person, That is boundaried, would do so well at this job.

Emily: Oh, absolutely. I can see that balance has got to be so important. And I mean, frankly, that describes someone who will probably work really well with children too. Empathetic, 

compassionate with strong boundaries. So

Sarah: right, I love that you said that because many of us in this industry were like, Oh, I'm so good with the kids. I'm so good at setting those boundaries with the kids. I'm so good with teaching them how to navigate this world. And we, think we have those skills [00:18:00] down pat.

And then we go to our boss parents, is what we call them, our employers. And we feel like we don't have those skill sets. Like, oh, I can't, I don't know how to set these boundaries, I don't know how. And we do it every day when we tell these kids, like, you can do this, then that, or we cannot be climbing on the table because X, Y, Z.

Uh, We set those boundaries all the time with kids pretty seamlessly. And then adults, we get, we get very scared.

Emily: yeah, I mean, that's really interesting to think about. And I think that makes a ton of sense. So I usually ask people kind of what do they make and what their benefits look like. And I think in this case, it would be most applicable to talk about what you made when you were working full time as a nanny family assistant.

And if you have a sense of kind of a range of what people might make and what typical benefits look like, and I know there's probably no typical, but what would be a maybe a, a good outcome for salary and benefits. 

Sarah: That's honestly, the golden question everybody wants to know, like, [00:19:00] what, how much does a nanny make, how much do I charge my nanny, how much do I pay my nanny, what do I charge, that is, the biggest question, and it's hard because we don't have those regulatory bodies, and so people are like, well, I don't know, I babysat in 1994, and this is what I made then, so why not now?

 it can be a wide spectrum of things especially when you take into account experience and education a nanny that is, Fresh out of college, maybe this is their first family a year in is probably not going to be making the same amount as somebody that has a master's degree, has been in the industry for 20 years just has all of those things.

They're probably making a pretty stark difference, and that could even be in the same city. Of course. Location plays a big part of it. I'm in California, so whenever I talk about my rates or what the going rates here are, are [00:20:00] significantly higher than somewhere in the Midwest or in more rural areas and so people kind of get sticker shock a little bit when they say like, oh my gosh, they're making that.

And so I love that we're, are We're able to talk about this more because I think it is really important to be transparent about so that you don't feel like, oh, I'm making nothing, or

Emily: Right.

Sarah: just so out to lunch, I'm not doing what other people are doing I have actually twice now put out this census where I just poll my followers and ask , what they make, where they live, some pretty Standard questions like that, what their benefits are.

And so I put out this census.

Emily: Amazing.

Sarah: that kind of splits it out between like where people are at, what changes when they have education, what changes with a little bit of experience, and just follows the averages that way. So, that would be a place to start looking because there isn't really that out there.

A lot of [00:21:00] families rely on information from care. com, which, Is inaccurate in many instances. And so it kind of creates this divide between parents and caregivers because their information that they're starting from is so different. I say that to say, if you're looking at those sites, those are probably a lot lower than what is real.

Emily: Right. Right. can people find the results of your census on your Instagram?

Sarah: yes they can. And I try to do it biannually as my hope, so there should be another one, later this year, probably in the fall, early winter. But, I think generally, the lowest you'll go is like 20 an hour.

and then it kind of just increases from there cities are pretty reliably higher than suburban areas. And then benefits wise, it's pretty wild wild west. Like I said, there's not really a standard for benefits Some nannies get [00:22:00] into heated arguments with parents about what that looks like because there's this idea that you are hiring a service and so you are not, in charge of any of that stuff.

That's them. They're the business. They do it. But in reality the IRS and the Fair Labor Standards Act say that we are employees. We don't get those benefits like PTO retirement, parental leaves, those are not guaranteed to us, but we are guaranteed that we are hourly employees and that we receive minimum wage and so starting with that I think a lot of parents, once they realize, oh, the rule is that they're employees Then the other benefits kind of come into play and then they realize, oh, I should be providing PTO.

Oh, I should be providing all of these things because at the end of the day, I'm an employer.

Emily: Right, and parents should be withholding payroll taxes and everything right 

Sarah: Yes, 

Emily: full time. 

Sarah: The IRS says I believe it's 2, 600 now. If [00:23:00] you pay more than 2, 600 in a calendar year, then you need to pay income taxes on that. And that's a pretty small number. People think, like, oh, I need to pay paying like 50 grand a year, but it's really only 2, 600.

That means that, likely, if you have a regular, consistent babysitter, they probably also need to be reporting income taxes on it. There should be way more standards and regulations, and a lot of it relies on your own initiative and your own negotiation skills, which, A lot of nannies don't have because we're in that people pleasery way of being that sometimes we'll just take the first offer and we will not negotiate or we don't think to negotiate.

We don't think we have that bargaining power. But we do. And so, It's hard because for many this industry is not super sustainable because we don't have those things because those are not givens, because there's no [00:24:00] given parental leave. Many people will leave the industry once they become parents themselves 

or leave the industry because they cannot find work that supports them being a parent or supports them being a caregiver or XYZ.

So yeah, benefits are, are not necessarily common, but they are not uncommon. You certainly can find them, especially if you are going through an agency at, like I said, there's going to be pros and cons with going through an agency versus a carefinding site, but because agencies Charge like a finding fee.

There, there's usually this idea that that job is going to be a little bit more professional and then would offer some, sort of benefits.

Emily: That's really interesting. Would you mind sharing since it's the area you're most familiar with what kind of the going rate is for nannies in your area?

Sarah: I want to say in like the San [00:25:00] Francisco Bay Area, we were looking at 30 an hour is pretty average. if you're looking for a steady comes every day, kind of full time nanny, it's like 30 an hour, but of course, there's going to be some that go a little bit higher income.

Some of that go a little bit lower if you're talking about Northern California, 30 an hour even to that seems like, oh my gosh, that's crazy. Like, no way. We're only making, 24, 25. And so that's kind of why I say that it, really depends on not just where you live, but like, what you're doing what your education, your experience yeah.

But I will say that. the lowest I've seen in general was, like, Missouri and Nebraska at, I want to say 15 an hour. if that gives a comparison of, like, that, that's almost double it. 

Emily: Right. it makes sense what you're saying, but I also think where people always go to right away, and I can say this as a [00:26:00] working parent is like how much of my income would be going to childcare, but it doesn't often go the other way, which is how much money is that a year to live in the area where you're asking for.

You know, people to live or where they need to live to have this job, the Bay Area is incredibly high, you know, famously high cost of living area. So when you look at it that way, it's like, yeah, it seems pretty reasonable. It's like a really hard job and you're entrusting your most precious.

you know, thing on planet earth with them like, okay, yeah, it seems reasonable. So Thank you so much for sharing that. That's really helpful to just have a general sense. So if someone was thinking about it, they could sort of imagine a little bit. And I love the idea of the census. I definitely will link that in the show notes so that people can find it or point them to it.

Sarah: Thank you, yeah. another reason why I even started doing that was because for years, nannies had relied on the International Nanny Association putting out a wage [00:27:00] and benefit survey and they stopped in 2017. So they did not put one out since 2017, and so I felt like there was just this huge gap in one of the biggest Seasons of growth for this industry like post 2020.

This industry kind of was just rocked on its head because so many people were now becoming homeschool educators were now working extreme hours were considered essential workers were having to do all of this stuff. And so our Market skyrocketed. But there was no information on that. We knew that was happening, we could hear it through the grapevine, we could see it on all of these job boards but there was no information to, point that to and that's also really important for nannies when they go to have these raised conversations or negotiation conversations to have some sort of information to go with and not just like a, well, I feel like I deserve this.

that, one, [00:28:00] doesn't go well in terms of convincing them, but also it just You deserve, as a professional, to have this information that explains what your market value is to work off of.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that's a huge benefit and so important for some confidence going into negotiating too, which is, such a, challenge. So I'm assuming that the like most common hours are going to be around working hours, but do you find that there are a lot of schedule options available, is it possible to sort of pick and choose families that will both work for you and also meet whatever schedule requirements you may have in your personal life?

Sarah: That's honestly one of the beauties of this industry is, of course, there's the drawbacks that there's no, like, regulatory bodies. But there's also a lot of benefits because... you can make it as individualized, [00:29:00] specific, unique to you and your needs as possible. I've had many families that were willing to kind of be flexible with me because I decided to do a class in this evenings or I have a season of doctor appointments and I kind of need to move things around.

And so there is a wonderful aspect of this job that you kind of can. Live your life a little bit and like, have a buddy and have this, family that you're also kind of doing it at the same time. Like I know many go grocery shopping for themselves at the same time that they might go grocery shopping for their employers.

So balancing their life out in that way is very convenient for a lot of people. But at the same time, the nature of our work, Many of us work for those workaholics, those doctors, those lawyers, those firefighters, nurses that have pretty odd schedules [00:30:00] um, and so many of us are working those. So like, if you have a doctor that works 60 hours a week their nanny is probably working 70, like,

to kind of

buffer them on the edge. 

Or if you are a firefighter or a nurse with rotational schedules. There's some nannies that are, also have rotational schedules. Well, where they'll work three days in a row and then two weeks off. Or, like, they'll kind of match whatever that schedule is of their employer. And so, there's many ways to kind of make it what you want, but very similar to like how I said in the beginning of finding what your niche is and finding what works for you.

Some people, they love working with lawyers, or some people they love working with doctors, or they love being in the entertainment industry. And finding out what, kind of, what of those schedules work for you as well.

Emily: Oh, my gosh, yeah, that's so interesting that you [00:31:00] can almost pick your schedule, looking at other industries and thinking about their schedule. And , although it worked out just fine for our family, I sort of wish maybe someone had told me earlier on that most childcares, if you decide to go that way are open from like 7.

30 to 8. 00 to, you know, 4. 30 to 5. 30 ish. If you have a job that. It does something other than that, which plenty do. You got to figure something, else out, you know, because it's not going to cover in that way. So, oh, that's really interesting. Wow. Can you kind of walk me through your average day a little bit?

Sarah: Yeah, for sure. Mine would look a little bit different because my kids were just a little bit older. We're at, like, school age. Some nannies will work with just infants or with toddlers, and so their day is gonna look a little bit different in terms of, like, nap time and snack time and all of those goodies.

As a family assistant, [00:32:00] my day was kind of at the tail end, so I would come in not at like 6 a. m. to 4, but rather like 12 to 8 p. m. And so I would come basically get the house situated for the kids to come home for school, making sure whatever happened in the morning, whether they rushed out of the house and made a chaos, cleaning it up setting up some, some snacks for after school, getting them home I was a, pick upper, so I would go in the carpool line, hang out. See them after school, come home, snacks, homework just keeping their home afloat until they returned, essentially. So, like, whatever that would look like. Sometimes that would look like organizing Like, other help, housekeepers, or landscapers, sometimes that would look like grocery shopping, doing returns, the domestic, like, invisible [00:33:00] domestic work that goes around throughout the house

to 

keep your whole life going, 

Emily: it's endless, it 

Sarah: right, like, oh, those things.

Clothes were left on the stairs, like, let's pick them up and, like, let's get them into the laundry room. I am different in that I don't mind necessarily taking care of pets. Some people, really, that is a no no for them. They're like, no way am I gonna take care of a dog. I love animals, so I'm like, of course, give them to me. Um. So, part of my job was, like, taking pets to the vet scheduling those appointments, making sure they're all good, taking on walks things like that which, the nice thing about that, though, is I would pair it with my kids. So at the same time, like, I'm taking them on walks. I'm, like, taking them to the store, teaching them their own life skills teaching them how to do their laundry, teaching them how to wash their dishes all of those things.

 I'm not just [00:34:00] there to ensure that their house is well kept, but also teaching their kids how to do those life skills also.

Emily: Wow. That sounds really nice. That's, I mean, that stuff, it's like, it really, really adds up. What an add to the family to have another adult taking care of those things. So, wow, that's, amazing.

So how do you view the prospects for someone that wants to be a nanny? Is there plenty of work out there or do you find the field is fairly saturated?

Sarah: Honestly, kind of both. There will always, always, always be a need for this industry. As long as people keep popping out babies, like, we're gonna have, we'll have work. But the, it is, there is a lot of, Demand right now. looking scary out there. But I'll and we know that there's going to be kind of another influx coming similar to how when COVID hit all of a sudden there was this [00:35:00] great demand and great need for a very specific kind of caregiver. That is kind of seemingly going to happen again in the next few weeks because a lot of child care centers are losing funding that they had from that time.

And so we're going to see this big influx again of people seeking out care and being very desperate for care. And while that can be motivating that like, oh, look, there's tons of jobs at the same time, that's very, stressful because everybody is in this desperate, scarce mindset to just, 

I need something, I need something, and that goes both ways of just trying to find anybody to watch your kid or just trying to find any job to make the ends meet.

It goes both ways that it, can be dicey prospects.

Emily: Yeah. That's an interesting perspective. Certainly. I hadn't thought about it quite that way. I interviewed the owner of a childcare a few weeks ago, which was such a fascinating discussion. And in doing the research for that, I was looking [00:36:00] up the statistics around childcare. And one of the things I found was that slightly more than half of the country lives in a childcare desert, which means there's three children for every one licensed childcare opening in their immediate areas. Just like,

whoa. 

That's, that's not enough. And so it is, you know, wonderful to have more options of every kind for child care and, and domestic help in circumstances like that. But that point about the funding ending is just, I'm sure going to be devastating and far reaching in ways we.

Probably won't see the full impacts for quite some time.

Sarah: Right. Yes. and I want to say also that In those child care deserts I think many people think. The alternative is to just have more nannies or more one to one care, more of this privatized domestic work, but that [00:37:00] also takes a lot of money and in those childcare deserts are not normally the most economically thriving areas.

Most of them are pretty suburban, rural areas. And so, the people hiring, the employers, are not necessarily as affluent to be able to afford paying a full time caregiver. And so, it's even more important that those child care deserts have centers, not just an influx of nannies, because it doesn't serve them well if it's an influx of underpaid nannies.

Emily: Right. Absolutely. Oh, my gosh. It's such a challenging situation right now.

Sarah: Yeah.

Emily: Anyway, back to something a little more positive. What are some things, and you've already said a few that were great, but just to add, what are some things you love about your job, especially if it's something that you think people might find surprising?

Sarah: Recognizing how much impact you have on those little kids, it's literally your being. It's not even just what [00:38:00] you decide to teach them like, what my curriculum is or my lesson plans, but hearing when they adopt your language. Or you can just see a change in their, like, self esteem or their self talk and you start to hear it mimic what you're saying as opposed to those mean voices it makes this job so, so fruitful when you just get to see that, because I just think about myself and all sorts of other kids that, Really could have had meaningful change had they had just one trusted adult or one caregiver that really understood and got them I think could make, like, worlds of difference and it's just.

it's pretty common sense, but it's also, and corny a little bit, but 

uh, but it's, the beauty of this work and why most of us stay in this work. People will say, like, they're never quitting because the kids were bad. it's very similar to [00:39:00] divorce. you want to stay in it for the kids.

Many nannies will stay in it for the kids because they get so, so attached. In many ways, that's a beautiful thing, to get that attached and to be invited to old nanny families, weddings and graduations and important events that you never would have imagined being a part of because of a relationship you developed 20 years ago.

Emily: Oh, absolutely. that's so beautiful. And I can see that just being a huge benefit of this work for

sure. 

Sarah: hmm.

Emily: On the other hand, and again, you've, mentioned a few things that fall under this category, but if you have anything to add, is there anything that's tough about it that you either didn't expect at all, or you just didn't anticipate how challenging it would be before you started working?

Sarah: Your body will knock you out if you don't take care of it. Like, your body will say, like, I'm out, and get you sick, and then you're, like, sick for weeks, and you're, like, I'm Don't know what's going on because I'm not taking [00:40:00] care of my boundaries and my emotional health I guess what this job has taught me more More than any other job is how deeply connected our emotional health is with our physical health.

And it's not just seeing that with myself, but seeing that also with kids and with their families. That people are always sick when there's some emotional unwell.

Emotionally, spiritually, all that goodness it's usually when everybody is really sick physically also so it's just really interesting to look at how those are connected, not just for me, but also for the people I work with.

Emily: Oh, man. Yep. I can 100 percent confirm that it feels like if I'm ever on, you know, the tail end of just an incredibly stressful period, you can almost guarantee that I'm going to get terribly ill at the end of it. It's like insult to injury.

Sarah: Right!

Emily: So looking ahead, you know, what do you 10 years?

Sarah: Well [00:41:00] because this kind of just paved its way for me my goal now is to just connect with many nannies. Caregivers, domestic workers as possible and just to help them feel seen and connected. I just love connecting them with another nanny because many they'll come to me and they'll say, I've never had a nanny friend in my entire career.

Um, And I can just connect them with like one person and all of a sudden their entire mindset. And trajectory for the next 5 to 10 years has changed, like, they, they were on the precipice of like, I'm quitting, I'm leaving, I'm out, meet somebody that kind of just resonates with them and they feel seen sometimes for the first time and then they have like this new breath of life and they're ready to go.

And so that's kind of just now my goal, Because I, I want these caregivers, these quality caregivers to be in the industry forever. Like, I would hate for them to be, the best nanny in the entire [00:42:00] world having to quit because they're burnt out. Like, I want them to, to have this career be sustainable for them, provide for them long term, for them to thrive in it as a career and profession.

Emily: that's, that's a wonderful goal. You're filling such a needed gap in the industry right now. So I'm looking forward to seeing where you go next for sure. So this is my last question. What is one piece of advice generally about work that you would give your younger self?

Sarah: This is funny that you ask this because I'm actually currently, like, I have Canva open with a post about, advice from professional nannies to new nannies. 

Uh, 

and, yeah, really timely. And most of them is, like, slow down. We live in a very hustle culture, go go go, productivity based culture that sometimes just seeps into family life in a way that isn't, meant to be.

we're meant to be with each other and spend time and slow down. So that would be my... piece of advice [00:43:00] to also is slow down. Those kids are not going to be that age forever. And especially, that kid's not even going to be that kid next week. sometimes the kids, they grow so, so fast and you miss just, like, this small brief little window of time.

 embrace your inner child while you're doing it also. Sometimes it can get really triggering to your inner child, because you're like, I didn't get to do this, or I wish this was this way but take the time to, like, heal your inner child while you're doing that work because it's and it is good for you.

Emily: That is great advice. So Sarah, where can people find you and find out more about the work that you do?

Sarah: On Instagram, I am the. modern. nanny. I think I'm on Facebook and TikTok under that same thing too, but Instagram is really my domain. So that's where they can find me.

Emily: That's great. Well, thank you so much for being here. I really enjoyed this discussion.

Sarah: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

 [00:44:00] Thanks for joining me. If you liked the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify. And please share with a friend. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or ticktock. And if you'd like to be interviewed here or there's a particular job you'd like to learn about, please reach out@realworkreallifeatgmail.com.