Spotlight Sunday: Jessica

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Tell us about yourself!

Hi, I’m Jessica! I’m 25, born and raised near Seattle, WA. Full-time nanny of two adorable little girls, ice cream lover, workaholic, and blogger at Being Nanny J. I married my best friend at 19 years old and it was hands down the best decision I’ve ever made! Six years later, we’re more in love than ever and he is my biggest supporter. My mom was the preschool director at our church, so I’ve been working with kids for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I started helping in the preschool classes as soon as I grew out of them! When I was old enough, I started babysitting and from there I became a career nanny. When I’m not nannying or blogging, I enjoy sports, going to movies with my husband, and spending time with friends and family.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

My hunt for a summer job happened to coincide with a family friend’s search for help with her infant triplets. I had never worked in a formal nanny position before, but because of my years babysitting and work in the Sunday School at the church we both attended, she offered me the job! I guess you could say that I sort of stumbled into my nanny career, but I’m SO thankful that I did! Over six years later, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Kooky, adventurous, thoughtful, dedicated, coffee-addict (the hyphen makes it one word right?).

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I’d say my nannying approach is fairly laid back while still providing structure and boundaries. I’m a BIG fan of play-based learning. I love providing kids with fun and engaging opportunities to learn through experiences! My charges and I enjoy many themed projects and activities at home, as well as going on plenty of outings. I like to encourage little ones to try new things and learn how to accomplish tasks on their own. The confidence it instills in them is invaluable! I try to stick to a fairly consistent daily schedule for the benefits it provides to my young nanny kids. Along with a regular routine, I strive to always be consistent with discipline and consequences. I take my role in shaping future generations very seriously. My goal in discipline is to model and expect kindness, confidence, helpfulness, and just general decency! There are definitely consequences for inappropriate behavior, but plenty of grace and love along with them. I value people and treat them with respect regardless of age, race, gender, religion, etc. I consider it a huge privilege to encourage the little ones in my care to do the same!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

I was blessed by a magical childhood filled with loving and supportive adults and peers. I love being able to provide the same for my nanny kids! My countless fond memories serve as the inspiration for many of our activities, crafts, outings, and even conversations! I genuinely enjoy creating an environment where kids are constantly learning, and having fun doing it. It’s exciting for me to see them taking risks, asking questions, and making observations. I think my favorite part of nannying is witnessing the look of joy and triumph on the face of a child who has just learned something new!

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

For me, the most challenging part of being a full-time nanny would be the long hours. Actually, maybe I should rephrase that to say: the lack of personal time caused by the long hours. I really don’t mind spending 11 hour days with my nanny kids. It can definitely be exhausting, but our nice rhythm of activities, projects, errands, down-time, etc. keeps things fun and busy! The difficult part for me is coming home with just enough time to eat dinner and get ready for bed so I have enough energy for the next day. I sometimes feel like I spend all day cooking, tidying up, and doing laundry, but I have a hard time staying on top of those things at my own house! I have to be very intentional with my weekends as I try to balance to-do lists and spending time with friends and family.

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

Be yourself!!! Don’t fudge the truth on your beliefs, philosophies, interests, etc. just to get what seems like a dream job. If you try to make yourself a good fit for a family, you’ll end up frustrated and discouraged. If you stay true to who you are, you’ll find a family who loves you for you! They’ll support your decisions with their kids because they understand and agree with your approach.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

I live for the days that I can wear jeans with a tank top and cardigan. Maybe a pair of ankle boots or cute sneakers depending on our activities for the day. Lately it’s been HOT so I’m in shorts and a high necked tank top. I try to keep it semi-professional but never at the expense of practicality! I sit on the floor, run around, do messy projects, and almost always have some kind of food smeared on my shirt. If I’m caring for an infant, packing a change of clothes is a must!

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

Most nights, my husband and I eat dinner on the couch while watching a show. Engaging with busy toddlers all day is exhausting and it’s nice to have a chance to vege and enjoy something created for adults! Sometimes we actually do have the energy to sit and chat which is always nice. My favorite way to really unwind is to read a few pages of an old fashioned, physical, book when I get in bed. Right now it’s the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

I’ve really just started to understand the importance of community and resources to professional nannies. My own blog was born out of a desire to help provide those things for my fellow nannies, mannies, and aupairs. Throughout the process of launching and promoting my blog, I’ve found some other totally awesome resources that have been really encouraging and inspiring! Here are some of my faves:

Blogs and websites (I follow all of these wonderful people on Instagram for daily inspiration!):

Social media:

The gals behind not quite Mary poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelf! What are your favorite children’s books?

Oh man! I have an ever-growing Google Doc of all my favorite children’s books. It’s SO hard to pick! Here are a few that come to mind: Journey & Quest by Aaron Becker, Blackout by John Rocco, Soup Day by Melissa Iwai, Will You Carry Me? by Helene Van Rossum, Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin, any of the Crayon books by Drew Daywalt.

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