Spotlight Sunday: Sue

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Tell us about yourself!

Well, I am not quite sure where to start. I was born in CA, raised in Ohio and found my true home in Philly. Someday I hope to move where there is NO snow and lots of palm trees. I have been a nanny for the last 20 something years and most days I love my job. I spend my off time traveling as much as I can afford with my partner of 20 years, Charlotte. We are more than a little Disney obsessed and go down to Florida more than we should. I love to swim, watch TV, eat at fun restaurants and play games.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

A bad nanny, a desperate mom and my own searching 20 something self! I fell into it- like many nannies I have met. I went to school to be a teacher. But teaching wasn’t quite right and I left school and was sort of drifting. My aunt, who was a nurse, knew of a Dr. who had just had her 4th child and the nanny left her high and dry just as she was supposed to be returning to work. I needed a job, so I took it as a temp situation. I stayed for 3 and half years. I wasn’t’ a great nanny- but I did love the job and it felt right. I then answered a classified ad to move to the East Coast where you could actually make some money being a nanny and took a live in job outside of Philly. The rest is history.

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Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Enthusiastic, supportive, creative, problem-solving, dependable

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

My goal is always to support the family. Ultimately supporting the parents is what is best for the children. I strive to focus on creating an environment where we are all working as a team to learn and grow together.

I believe kids need to do things, touch things, try things to learn. Play is the way kids learn and it is our job not just to allow them to play, but engage with them and play along. I introduce ideas, activities and books that scaffold from a child’s interest and encourage them to look deeper. I am a problem solver by nature. My focus has really come to be on those all important executive skills like problem solving, flexible thinking, working memory, perspective taking etc.. So, I try to create lots of space for us to practice these skills. And have fun. Lots and lots of laughing and fun!

 

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

What is not to love?! I truly like being in this intimate familial relationship with the kids but also not having them on nights and weekends. I love getting to be there for the milestones and the ups and downs but not paying for college. There is a special satisfaction to me when I know that I have impacted the parents as well, and how they get to interact with their kids.

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What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

There are long hours, a lack of control of days off and scheduling that can be hard. And the complex dance of being a member of the family, an employee, a friend all at the same time.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

Get to know yourself. Know what pushes your buttons as a person, as a caregiver and as an employee. Remember that there is a great deal of honor and importance to being in a service profession.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I arrive and get one kid off to school along with her dad. Then my 2 year old buddy and I play, play, play as he says. We have a few friends we can hang out with sometimes, or a class or play place to visit. But I try to allow him to make some of the choices of what happens so you never know what is going to go down. I also prep dinner, do laundry and in general keep things going around the house.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

I honestly don’t think about this very much, just grab something clean! But I am happiest in the summer when khaki shorts and a tee are all I need.

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

I love to watch tv, play around on the computer and enjoy going out to fun restaurants. Travel is really what I like the best, so I try to plan trips whenever I can.

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Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

I was very excited to read The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegal and also Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky. These books have really shaped how I do things in the last few years. I am also a fan of the blog from Janet Landsbury and a whole host of nanny related sites.

Truly for me there is so much to learn and understand. I try to take advantage of webinars and conferences whenever I can. Even if it seems to be something I already feel competent with or a topic on which I might not agree with the presenter, exploring ideas is how I grow so I am pretty open to anything.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelf! What are your favorite children’s books?

For sure Hoberman’s The Seven Silly Eaters and Chris Van Duesen’s If I Built A Car. Love The Book With No Pictures and Foods With Moods. I could go on all day!

 

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