There seems to be a new sport in the English press, bash the British Nanny, an individual characterized as demanding, inflexible and overpriced.
The fact that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge has a Spanish ‘super nanny’, SamCam an Australian and a former Nepalese newly British gal, does not really justify some of the stinging comments in the press, the most offensive theme being that as well as too expensive, home grown lassies aren’t serious and use the job as a way of ‘treading water’ until they find something better.
After more than 25 years of helping Nannies and families meet each other at Riverside Cares, it came as something of a surprise to read the other day that the Nannies of a decade ago are now becoming Tutors instead. Stuff and nonsense, Nannies are Nannies and mostly to pre-schoolers and Tutors work with school age children, and we should know as we supply both, and whilst we do supply Tutors to pre-schoolers these again are not displaced Nannies, quite the contrary, focused individuals with a specific interest. Where there is a real change is that years of the recession forced many career Nannies between 2007 and 2011 to work in day care and other alternative childcare settings and situations, they didn’t want to, but the jobs simply weren’t out there.
The ‘British’ Nannies I meet are by and large sincere vocational child-carers, terribly hard working and grounded, they simply don’t have the monster egos some would have you believe. If pressed they might admit that they suffer from self doubt because their employers are too busy to let them know how well they are doing their job – a byproduct of interacting with an employer briefly at the start and end of the working day. This doesn’t conjure up the nannies described in a recent newspaper articles, one which struck a cord with me was the mother who complained that a British Nanny interviewed her along with several other families, rather than the family interviewing the Nanny. Come on, of course the real balance of power still lies with the family – the Nanny can’t offer herself a contract! Employers should not be threatened by potential employees being honest about having other interviews, isn’t that the classic gambit to get a good job …show you are sought after?
Much is written about London being awash with the super rich. It is true Oligarchs do hire Brand Blighty Nannies realistically how many super wealthy Russians and Arabs are there out there ? More than you’d think, but not that many.
Perhaps the expression British Nanny might be in reality referring to that rarefied species the privately, residentially trained Nanny, you know the type, they look wonderful in their tailored uniforms and hats. Do I dare pose the question, how do we feel about our children being brought up by anyone who wears a uniform?
Ultimately I believe parent-employers are better informed than the press would have us know and don’t buy into stereotypes, they choose because they want their child cared for by the best person who matches their needs. They do not set out to choose from nationals from one region exclusively, they might weigh in favour of one group because of additional languages and are very firm on wanting good spoken and written English but they rarely exclude nationalities for the sake of it.
So do you think British Nannies getting bad press unfairly? We do!