Nanny Separation Anxiety

Leaving a nanny job: the associated emotions

By Susan Tokayer


Separation and loss are inevitable in our personal and professional lives.  During the transition of a nanny leaving her employment, she/he may experience powerful emotions.

Over the 23 years that I have worked with families and nannies I have spoken with dozens, if not hundreds of nannies that were ending, or had recently ended, a nanny job.

Whether a nanny knows that a job is coming to end months in advance, or the job ends without advance notice, the ending of a job and a relationship with a family may result in strong feelings.  The emotions can range from excitement over new job prospects to depression over leaving the current one.

Separations are difficult and most people, including employers, stumble a bit through the process.

Since different people will feel differently, there is no one way to deal with a job that is ending, or has recently ended.  Based on my conversations with nannies, I would like to share what I think are ways to make the separation easier.

1. Start processing the ending of the job several weeks before it ends, if you have advance notice.  Talk to a colleague, trusted friends, your spouse, mother/father, or if you work with an agency, to the person that you are working with at the agency.

Talk about what you’ll miss most about the job, about your relationship with the children and the parents.  What did you learn?  What will you do differently in   your next job?

2. If you have suffered from many losses, or traumatic losses in your life, this separation may be a trigger, and you may feel more intense feelings than you had expected. If talking to someone close to you doesn’t help resolve these feelings, you may want to consider speaking with a professional.

3. Recognize that this transition is especially difficult because you were most likely considered part of the family, and your daily work was working with children in their home; an intimate kind of work, where you form attachments.

4. IF you can take time off between jobs, even just 1 week, you will have time to reflect, rest, pamper yourself, and get ready to help another family!

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