My first full-time nanny gig began almost two months after I graduated from undergrad. I watched all my classmates accept corporate positions and begin their journey into “legitimate” adulthood, while I took a nanny position with a sweet baby girl on the upper east side. Every morning her parents, my bosses, would suit up and head to the office alongside my friends while my days were filled with diaper changes, bottle feedings, nursery rhymes, and stroller walks.

A few months in, we were firmly in the sector of mundane.

As this angel baby grew into a toddler, our bond was solidified. We were spending 50-60 hours a week together getting to know one another and exploring the city. Our schedule was simple: feeding, diaper, playtime, nap. (Rinse, repeat.) To fill our days, we sang songs and played games to develop her speech. We turned mealtimes into an activity and spent lots of time walking up and down the east riverwalk. I researched parenting styles and discipline tactics when she began testing boundaries and I even took a ballet class with her. If I was going to be a nanny, I was going to be the best nanny I could be.

Pink banner with text saying "When your logistics hero also tells the best jokes" and showing a babysitter holding a toddler while they both laugh.A woman and young girl read a book at home.Thankfully while I was doing all the same things in the same order (over and over again), my angel baby was growing up and becoming more of a person. She was learning to communicate and socialize so her responses and reactions were constantly evolving. The saving grace of my consistency that kept me invested. After nearly three years of this same basic pattern, the job came to an end. It felt like I was getting off the hamster wheel and could take an unmeasured breath. I was moving back to Georgia with no immediate plans or obligations and hoped to enjoy a period of freedom before deciding my next move.

Nearly four months later, I got to visit my angel baby for her third birthday. I had never hung out with the family without being on duty but I was not going to miss her birthday, so away I flew. It was so different being with my old nanny family without being on duty. I saw my old bosses sharing the duties that had once been mine, and was proud to see the structure I had helped build still working well for them. It felt like we traded positions, and I was getting to bend the rules and go with the flow. I had been jealous of her parents for having the freedom of discretion to abandon the schedule. To enjoy extended outings with no regard for naptime or bottle feeds.

But have you ever noticed that when kids are out of routine they are typically also out of sorts? Holidays and vacations demand a break from the typical schedule and can render tiny humans exhausted, emotional, and erratic. The best way to help a child regain their balance is by getting back to the unvarying, sometimes very monotonous routine they’re used to.

Seeing this family embrace structure affirmed the value of my commitment to them and inspired me to be that rock for another family in the future. I wasn’t able to see if my work was effective while I was in the role, but now I could see.

Yellow banner with text saying "When you can't drop work to do school pick-ups" and showing a smiling child care provider & child on a scooter.I made an impact.

Two side by side pictures of a woman and a young girl smiling and giving kisses.Not just on a little girl but on her entire family. An impact that would inform their parenting style and family dynamic for years to come. I realized that my stability grounded my angel baby. The expectation and implementation of routine was her security blanket. Once she knew that I was consistent, she was able to explore boundaries and test limits. This facilitated exponential growth in preparation for more precarious environments like elementary school or gymnastics training.

As a nanny, it’s so easy to feel stuck in a cycle of tedious and uneventful tasks, but I implore you to remember the bigger picture. Your words, your presence, your demeanor are all informing at least one life, but often several. Fostering a nurturing and learning environment for your kiddos is only the start. You’re also allowing parents to continue on their career path, teaching grandparents how to interact and share with their legacy, and reminding society that even the smallest of its members is important. I find it so encouraging to know there’s a school-aged girl on Long Island who pronounces the fruit or-ange instead of ah-range and replies yes ma’am to authority figures, seven years later.


Amber is a career nanny based in Atlanta, Georgia who is passionate about cultivating meaningful relationships between families and the nannies that serve them while sharing her experiences from the nanny perspective.

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