Tell us about yourself!
My name is Sarah. I’m a 23-year-old Norland Nanny, living and working in London. I’ve been the full-time, live-out nanny to my wonderful 2-year-old twins (one boy, one girl) for 18 months, and love every moment of it. I also enjoy volunteering for TAMBA Helping Hands, where I’m a multiples support practitioner and write the creative section in their Multiple Matters Magazine.
What led you to becoming a nanny?
As the eldest of four girls, I have been surrounded by babies all my life; whether they were children in the family, or if I was forcing a little sister to sit in my toy pram. In journeying through school, I found there weren’t any subjects which filled me with passion or enthusiasm. As a teenager, I did variety of summer jobs in child care which I thoroughly enjoyed, so I began to look into alternatives to the traditional university route. This journey took me to Norland College, where I completed my degree in Early Childhood Studies and my Norland diploma. I felt that being a nanny was the only role that would allow me to the freedom to tailor my teaching to the individual needs of the child in my care and ensure I could dedicate myself to the few children in my “squad,” with them as my only priority.
Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.
Nurturing – I completely adore the children I care for and love them for the incredible individuals they are.
Consistent – I’m lovingly yet firmly consistent, and provide them with the security and comfort they need, while helping them deal with the constant surge of new emotions.
Creative – I get such joy out of watching their little faces when they see something laid out which helps them begin to broaden their mind, or think creatively about how something could be used. After preparing their activities, I love sitting and watching their imagination unfold. Creativity doesn’t need to take a lot of time or planning, but can make them more engaged, and therefore independent. I find the fun I’m having becomes reflected in little Miss and Mr.
Organized – I’m a self-confessed control-freak, with a slight compulsion to plan everything…who doesn’t love organized fun, eh?! From meals plans, sleep routines and activity schedules, to spending an excessive amount of time organizing the craft drawers or toys, the organization goes far beyond the children’s benefit and becomes solely for my own pleasure. I’m slightly guilty of micro-managing my nanny family and wherever I go I leave a trail of lists, reminders, and to-do’s behind me.
Dedicated – I don’t think you can be a good nanny without being dedicated. The job is highly demanding, physically and emotionally. It’s such a personal role, as the children are part of your life and they love, admire and rely on you. I refuse to believe the weight of that responsibility and love couldn’t leave anyone at the complete mercy of tiny feet.
Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?
My nanny approach is pretty broad, but working with twins has tailored my philosophy to teaching the importance of individuality and becoming their own people. By having a little lady in your life, you can’t help but become a feminist on her behalf (even more so when you have a little gent too). I try to bridge the gender gap by ensuring that they grow up believing that they have the same opportunities as each other, and supporting their special bond while being their own people. As well as these traits, sleep – apart from being one of my biggest hobbies – is a key professional passion of mine and I love consulting families in sleep training.
What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
I have the privilege of building one of the most unique and incredible bonds with a child. I get to know every element of their personality to be able to give them everything they need. Free from paper work and procedures, I guide them through childhood with love, confidence, and joy, try to be the role model that they need, preparing them to jump every hurdle that comes their way.
What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?
Watching Little Miss and Mr facing things I know don’t come easily to them, but having to sit back and watch. Instead of rushing over, I must allow them to try and do it for themselves in a challenging social environment while sensing their anxiety.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
It usually involves lots of mess, cuddles, tears (happy and sad), 18th-birthday-worthy photos, tickles, shouting “mind your fingers,” being used as a climbing frame/pony, squeezing chubby faces, and having hysterical conversations with the twins.
What is your go-to nanny outfit?
My go-to would definitely be active wear – I’m constantly failing the Yummy Mummy look! You can’t beat a comfy pair of leggings, tee, sports bra, and decent pair of trainers that you can easily slip on for the days you’re running late (for me that’s most days).
How do you wind down after a long day on the job?
In my spare time I’m a serial napper (an occupational hazard), but otherwise I spend as much of my free time as possible with my nearest and dearest, usually at brunch or with a Netflix box set and a large G&T.
The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?
At the moment they are Rosie Revere, Engineer, Ada Twist, Scientist, and Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, and Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen. Our classic favorites are Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond and Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
Disclaimer: Not Quite Mary Poppins obtains legal permission from a parent or guardian though a signed media release form for any photos that display children’s faces. All identifiable photos are posted with express permission.