Tell us about yourself!
My name is Mackenzie, some people call me Kenz! I live just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I’m married to a supportive, compassionate, and amazing man. We also live with a giant fluff ball of a dog named Watson, because he is our loyal companion. I am a nanny to toddler twins and a newborn; and I love my job! I am a blogger, a chai tea latte addict, and a bibliophile. When I’m not working I love to spend my spare time as an Essential Oils Educator. My friends have also described me as pretty crunchy; probably because I like Kombucha, wear Birkenstocks, and lived in Vermont for a couple years. I also love travel, and am always up for a new adventure.
What led you to becoming a nanny?
Short answer: because I love kids. I was a babysitter, an assistant teacher, a teacher, and a nanny. I went to college for Early Childhood Education and also nannied about 30 hours a week. In my junior year I realized that I loved not only making a difference in children’s lives, but also in the families that I work with. That realization made me change my career choices from school educator to in home educator. When I graduated college I became a career Nanny.
Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.
Playful tea drinking empathetic caregiver.
Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?
I believe in creating an atmosphere of love, joy, and encouragement. Today’s world is fast paced, focused on results over the process, and constantly worrying about things. I believe in slowing things down and teaching kids to find beauty in the everyday simple things, like dandelions. I believe in teaching kids about the journey. Play is the highest form of learning for children, and is always a journey. When kids play they learn empathy, they attempt new tasks, and they are free to explore. When children play their creativity and minds grow. Play gives children to freedom to try. I always want kids to learn to TRY instead of being too worried they may fail. Kids should know that not getting it right doesn’t mean they have failed, it means they have tried. My end goal is always to empower children to learn and grow.
What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
I love the growth moments. Watching children discover is the greatest gift I have ever received. Every first and “ah-HA” moment I have ever witnessed has been a gift I will treasure forever.
What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?
Leaving one family to move on to the next. Nannies are caregivers. We pour our hearts and souls into loving the little humans we are blessed to watch each day. The hardest part of every job is know that it could one day come to an end.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?
Be genuine. I could give you advice on what training to do, what agency to use, and how to connect to other nannies. But honestly, my greatest piece of advice to you is this: be yourself in every job you take. The family hired YOU for a reason. So keep growing, keep adapting, keep learning. You won’t always have the answer no matter how much you know. You won’t always agree with a parent no matter how close you are. There will be days you feel like you failed. But if you loved your kiddo, if you were genuine, that is what both the kids and the parents will remember.
What is your go-to nanny outfit?
Hair in a bun. Chai tea in my hand. Noga pants, a stretchy dress (MUST have pockets) or great sweater, and my birkenstocks if it’s warm enough (but it isn’t yet so you’ll find me in my LL Bean Boots).
How do you wind down after a long day on the job?
I walk in my door, turn on my diffuser filled with relaxing essential oils, and plop down on the floor with my puppy. I love to cook and bake, so after a really long day a new recipe is relaxing too. I always journal. I have a personal journal and a thankfulness journal that I write in at the end of the day. Watering my maybe-too-many house plants and in the summer my garden. And, as always, cuddling up with a cup of tea to watch TV with my hubby.
Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?
Umm… this blog! But since that sounds a little biased since I co-author it, I will list off three of my other favorite resources. I love the book I Love You Rituals by Becky A. Bailey. It has great ideas about how to create connections. My current favorite app is Vroom. It has useful games, tips, or activities to play based on the age of the child you care for. I’ve been having fun so far! I also love the websites Kids Activity Blog and Car Seat Lady. Okay that was four… I’ll stop now!
What are your favorite children’s books?
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans was my favorite book growing up (Can you tell why Kathryn and I co-author this blog?). The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton is my favorite book to read to kids at naptime. One by Kathryn Otoshi is my favorite “hidden learning” book. The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith is my favorite book to look at right now, the illustrations are gorgeous!