Monday, February 22, 2010

Nanny Support Groups

Photo of Denver Area Nanny Association

Working with children all day makes nannies and crave adult interaction. Just like any other career, nannies need validation and opportunities to openly discuss both the achievements and the frustrations of their jobs.

Nanny support groups offer friendship, mentoring, a sense of identity, career credibility, educational opportunities, and the social opportunities that nannies deserve.

Andrea Flagg, a professional nanny, co-founder and moderator of Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey (NANYNJ) and moderator for the Yahoo Group for NANYNJ says the greatest advantage of being a member of a nanny support group has been, "Meeting others in my profession from all over the United States sharing resources and giving and receiving support."

Ms. Flagg tells in-home childcare providers, "Other nannies in your local area can be a wonderful source of information to share what places are fun in the area to visit both for you and your charges."

Janice StClair, organizer of Boston Area Nanny Support Group (BANSG) for ten-years explains, if you gain nothing else from attending nanny support group meetings you will gain, "A reality check, share tips based on experience, and brainstorm with the only other people who understand what nannies do -- other nannies."

Christy Ochs, a career nanny, member of Denver Area Nanny Association, 2007 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year, (INA NOTY), and a mother and grandmother of five explains, "Being a nanny can be a very isolating job, and our nanny group provides a support system and social opportunities to connect with other nannies in our area."

Ms. Ochs urges nannies, "If you don't have a nanny support group in your area you can create one at an online web site provider or through the [nanny referral] agency you work with."

Glenda Propst is a nanny and co-founder of the International Nanny Association (INA) and National Association of Nannies (NAN) which is no longer an active organization, 1991 INA NOTY, a member of the development team of the nanny blog Regarding Nannies, and has moderated several boards online for nannies including nannynetwork.com. Ms. Propst recommends that when starting a nanny support group a small group of nannies should work together to get the group organized. She explains that keeping the group of nannies small makes decision-making less complicated.

Michelle LaRowe agrees. Ms. LaRowe, 2004 INA NOTY, is an INA Credentialed Nanny, was president of Boston Area Nannies and currently serves as the Executive Director of INA. She is also the author of several parenting books including Nanny to the Rescue! and Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists. She recommends, "If you are interested in starting a support group for nannies don’t do it alone. First build up a core of three or four nannies who you can count on to make the group happen."

Ms. Propst encourages nannies to ask their employers to introduce them to nannies in the neighborhood, ask their nanny agency for the name and number of nannies they have placed in the area, go to local parks, and to the library story hour to meet other nannies.

Ms. LaRowe adds, "Contact local nanny agencies and ask them to inform their nannies about your meetings and events in their publications. Hang up flyers, hand out business cards, and host an online discussion group to get started."

"Post information for get togethers on local parenting sites and nanny sites where you can reach your target audience. Contact your local paper and ask them to do a story on the group you're starting," recommends Ms. LaRowe.

Ms. Propst explains, "Once you have your small group together start having organizational meetings. Assign jobs for each person that clearly state their responsibilities and a deadline for getting their jobs done.

Becky Kavanagh, a professional nanny, the 2006 INA NOTY, former President of the INA, and Secretary of Twin Cities Professional Nannies stresses, "Each nanny support group member must be vigilant that confidentiality is maintained about employers. But, the nannies need to be able to 'vent' in confidence too."

Ms. Kavanagh reveals, "Sometimes this is a challenge for some group members."

Ms. Propst emphasizes, "It is not about numbers, it is about offering support and meeting the needs of nannies who are looking for friends, information, advice, and a friendly face."

Tomorrow: Defining Different Types of Nanny Support Groups

Are you a member of a nanny support group? What do you like about being a member of a nanny support group?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

My experience with my local nanny support group was not positive at all. The group clicked into different groups. The younger vs older I felt. Just was not my cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

I am just so tired and busy working 60 hrs a week as a nanny that my experience with nanny support groups has never been a positive one. I do feel bad for the few who work so hard to plan to do things and so few people show up. But, for me, I think going is a good idea to make a friend or two instead of trying to do everything.
-- Meredith

Anonymous said...

I am just so tired and busy working 60 hrs a week as a nanny that my experience with nanny support groups has never been a positive one. I do feel bad for the few who work so hard to plan to do things and so few people show up. But, for me, I think going is a good idea to make a friend or two instead of trying to do everything.
-- Meredith

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell we don't have any official nanny support groups in our area. I am wide awake tonight because I lost my job there were a lot of issues with my job. I wish there were local ladies I could talk to. I haven't the time to start a group myself but meeting some local nannies would be helpful.

Sad Sandi
Las Vegas NV

Anonymous said...

The best part of being a member of a nanny support group is that the members really know what I am going thru and respect my profession choice.
There are all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels in my group. While some members click better with some than others, we all have always been cordial to each other and all have the bond of being nannies. So I have enjoyed meeting everyone and have made several life long friends. Not to mention getting support, great advice, and resources.
~Andrea- Nanny, Ridgewood, NJ

Buffi said...

Sandi-I'm sorry you lost your job. Start a group in Vegas! There absolutely are other nannies in your area. You can start by making a yahoo group, then post an ad on Craigslist, get a Nanny Island account, google online groups or look through yahoo's groups lists as well to join larger groups and make contacts.You could also post flyers at local nanny hang outs like book stores where they do story time or gymboree. I imagine there are agencies in LV as well, talk to them about starting a group. You have nothing to lose and a lot of positive relationships to build.

Good luck!

Just g said...

I can say without hesitation that the nanny support that I have had throughout my last 25 years in the nanny profession is what sustained me in the hard times.
Only another nanny can truly understand what you are going through. If local support groups don't work for you then I urge you to see out professional connections via yahoogroups,nationwide professional organizations such as INA, NANC or other options available online but don't let a bad experience with one group, stand in the way to connect with other professionals.

djeterfann2 said...

I run an online community for nannies Worldwidenannies@yahoogroups.com. My group is a free online nanny support group. We have rules that help the group run smooth. We rarely have issues with the girls and if there is the discussion is closed my me or my moderator who are very active in the group. At between 700-1000 posts a month I can tell you these groups are very valuable. I have made friend throguh the group and some have been momeber for the whole ten years we have been around. Many nannies cannot afford to pay for a group support system and these groups allow them to speak to people who have jobs like them and get advice from nannies with over 15 years experiance. It can be lonely being a nanny if there arent many in your area. Live support groups are great but if there arent many nannies in your area then it can be extra hard. There are groups with gossip and such you just have to weed them out when looking for the right fit. Im all for the support groups. Anything that gives you a place to vent out with people who do the same thing as you helps. We dont have an office or office friends to vent to.
Jenn
worldwidenannies@yahoogroup.com OWNER
Nanny for 19 years

Anonymous said...

I have a nanny support group in new York city . It's the NYC nannies on meetup .com... We hold meetups frequently and talk abou our lives as s nanny and work days...167 members so far.feel free to join !!!