Tag Archives: nanny

“Oh, You Are A Babysitter”

Matilda (Bluefairy Sarang)

I finally had a chance to finish reading “The Nanny Diaries” and watched the movie.  Despite some negative reviews, I found the movie reflects some views that are factual. I don’t mean those views are true. What I am saying is that they are based on someone’s experience, and are as valid as mine, even though my Nanny career is completely not like the one in the book/movie.

It can be frustrating sometimes to deal with people’s reaction when I say “I am a Professional Nanny”, and they respond, “Oh, you’re a babysitter.” (Didn’t I just say “Professional Nanny?”). After I clarify that a Nanny is not a Babysitter, I then get this long “Ohhhhh” with a particular facial expression, followed by “So that’s like a babysitter who gets a lot of perks, right?”

It really makes me laugh how people could not hear the difference between these two words, “Nanny” and “Babysitter”–they don’t even spell the same, or sound the same!!

If it is going to be up to someone to transform the view of what a Nanny is, it would be up to me, or us, the Nannies. Some of us do see being a Nanny as a job, rather than a career. A job that you would do before you land a career. And, there are people like me who are serious about being a Nanny. So serious that I feel the need to put a word “professional” in front of the word, “nanny”, hoping that people would respect for what I do. After all, title is quite important, right?

My dear husband said to me after watching the movie, “You should share your Nanny experience, so people know not all nanny-employer relationships are like that.”  True, not all are the same. I am not sure, however, if I write a book about my experience of being a Nanny, it would be “sellable”. It seems to me that people are drawn to dramas, rants, complaints, other than inspiration, or say, the good news.

I was interviewed by an ABC News 20/20 Primetime producer. She was working on a project that involves nannies and their relationship with employers. When she asked me how the conflicts were usually resolved between me and my employer given that I was raised, and came from another culture, I said, “If I experience any conflict, I always ask myself what am I reacting to. It is not my place to judge how my employers raise their children. Part of my job as a Nanny is to listen and carry out what is important to the family. If I don’t agree their parenting style, I would communicate that and not let it be a conflict between us. The conflict happens when I am being righteous about how they should raise their children. This doesn’t allow any room for dialogues or conversations.”  She said, “Oh. Huh, let me call you back.”  I have not heard from her since.

Maybe she got too busy and forgot to call me back. Maybe my story is too good to be true. It’s just not juicy enough to sell.

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Dear Nanny…..

I have received several “Dear Nanny” types of messages in my email inbox lately. Here are a couple of them: “What’s wrong with teaching good behaviors? Isn’t your job as a Nanny to teach a child to behave appropriately? Like teach them to say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Please’?”  “Children are savages. They need guidance, and rules; otherwise, they will be manipulative, and out of control. It’s our job to teach them so they can be successful in school, and in life.”

I appreciate the commitment of having children grow up to be responsible, and productive. However, the basis of these comments seem to be coming from the notion that childhood is preparation for life, childhood is a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life, and that childhood is a period of preparation (see John A. Taylor, Notes on an Unhurried Journey).

To respond the comment that my job as a Nanny is to teach children how to behave, I first have to examine the word “Teach”. If “Teaching” is giving answers to children, i.e., telling them what to do, what not to do, or instructing them as if there are answers or a fixed reality in the world, then no, my job as a Nanny is not TEACHING. My job is not even to manage and control a child’s growth and development. Through my observations and experiences, the highest state of learning is often through exploration. You can say that we learn not because someone tells us what to do, but through a process of discovery—finding answers for ourselves. 

One of my commitments as a Professional Nanny is CREATING opportunities that allow children to develop the capacity that is already within them. What does that look like? It might look like asking questions, presenting situations—questions and situations that leave them to explore and discover answers for themselves. Confession: there are many times I do have an urge to give children the answer or take over the situation simply because the view that children are lacking of something, and I must “teach” them how to. 

What else does CREATING opportunities that allow for development look like? It’s quite interesting that the definitions of “develop” suggest that something is already there (capacity): come into existence; take on form or shape; grow, progress, unfold, or evolve through a process; be gradually disclosed or unfolded; become manifest. Maybe the way photographers develop a snapshot could provide an insight. They process a material in order to make an image visible. The image is already captured, and with solutions and chemicals (think “creating opportunities”), the picture will emerge regardless.

What if my job as a Nanny is just like a photographer—presenting opportunities or say setting up environments that allow what is already in children to be expressed and developed? What if they are already turned out? I see children are born with love, joy, contribution, and many other qualities. There is no need to TEACH children how to love (or be joyful, be responsible, be contribution) because they are love. My work is to give them the opportunity to express who they are. If who they are is love, then give them the opportunities to express love—kisses, hugs, giggles, whatever that may be. If who they are is responsibility, then give them the opportunities to express responsibility—picking up toys or choosing which shirt to wear in the morning.  A child is a human who is living life through expressing who he/she is!!  As John A. Taylor says the best, “How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice.”

An AcKnowledgement

It has been brought to my attention by a fellow Nanny that a few sentences on my blog are exactly as the same as someone’s written statements. I am acknowledging that I have never seen, or read this person’s blog till this past Monday, and I did not plagiarise her work.  In fact, I am delighted to discover someone who is as committed, and passionate about being a Nanny, and follow what our heart calls to us. 

You can read about her vision as a Professional Nanny here…. http://cincynanny.blogspot.com/2009/07/what-is-nanny.html

Welcome to “All Things Considered: Nanny Edition”!!!!

Hello World!!! I am Hsiao-Ling Dawson.                   

Thanks for visiting All Things Considered: Nanny Edition.

 I am a Nanny and a Coach. You might be wondering, “A Nanny, and a Coach?”  Yes, there is a resemblance, and this is what being a Nanny and a Coach is for me: 

I am a Professional. I am part of a family team. I am one of many people that take part in the lives of families and children. I am committed in ongoing growth and development. My contributions are unique. I practice bringing integrity, play, ease, and exploration to everything I do. I am a leader empowering bold expressions of love and joy in the world. I am a champion for all people creating a global community where all expressions are welcomed, nurtured, and served. This is what makes my heart sing.

I am sure THAT is not what you would hear about what a “Nanny” is, so be ready for many surprises along the way as you join the ride with me!!

After watched the movies, “Julie & Julia,” I was inspired to write again. I used to write. I even got paid freelancing for a couple of newspaper in my country (Taiwan) before I came to the United States. 

I have always been interested in what makes human ticks (so I did a Masters Degree in Human Development and Family Studies); making a difference (I have started a few community projects), human potential and personal development (I have worked as a coach, and done courses with Landmark Education). I am not saying I have the answers, but I want to give something back, and I hope this site will offer you something of value.

I am creating this blog to journal, share, and inspire. I truly believe we are all capable of so much in life, often a lot more than what we think. Ultimately, this site is where you discover UNLIMITED expressions, and authenticities, whether they are inspiring, or thought-provoking (and some you might not agree with), the space is created for open dialogues that all people experience being known and honored.

I am Looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

Hsiao-Ling