Introducing Greta Schraer, 2010 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year
I am so excited to announce that I am the recipient of the International Nanny Association’s 2010 Nanny of the Year! I am having a great time at conference with our local and national professional Nannies and I will be sharing more once conference is over. I did want to share with you my acceptance speech. I thought it was being video taped, but have not tracked it down yet. I would be glad to share if I find it!
I am so very honored to be the recipient of this award and to have the opportunity to share my heart with you this afternoon.
This past year for me has been a whirlwind. I have seen my career grow and change, largely due to last year’s INA Conference. I barely made it to Dallas. My husband, and I were in the process of buying a house – and it didn’t make sense to come. But at the last minute I decided to, and so glad that I did.
I remember clearly where I was sitting last year at the Nanny of the Year Luncheon … a table of 8, all strangers. I may have seemed calm to those around me but inside I was ECSTATIC to find this “Nanny world”. I remember listening to Donna Robinson’s great storytelling of the places her Nanny of the Year bag had traveled and MaryAnn Meddish’s encouragement to nominate someone we know as the next recipient. It felt like the first day of high school; I was trying to soak it all in.
I’ve felt a calling to children from a young age. I am only child and always wished I had my own siblings. I seemed to gravitate to those younger than me. My mother saw these natural tendencies and enrolled me in a course to become a “Red Cross Certified Babysitter” at age 12. She then found my first infant childcare job with her as my mentor. I babysat through high school and took on part-time and full-time Nanny positions throughout college. After receiving my Theology degrees, I became a youth minister for junior and senior high students, Nanny-ing part-time on the side for fun and much needed income. 3 years ago, I went back to caring for children full-time.
This is my first position working with triplets – 3 boys. Family members of mine were hesitant by the challenge ahead. I kept hearing the phrase, “you don’t know what you are getting into”. Friends are still “wide-eyed” when they see 3 car seats all lined up in the middle row of my car. There are strange looks, points, comments, and many “bless your heart’s from those observing. I admit we are quite a sight navigating the tight hallway at preschool or climbing the hill at the zoo with our choo-choo wagon. Most don’t get WHY I would choose this job, AND love it. But, you do.
H, T, & N were 9 months old when I started, and are now 3 ½. They are amazing blessings in my life and show me so much love, daily. It is true that with multiples, everything IS multiplied. When one has a need, the other two seem to follow suit. When there is sickness, it circulates (which is why I am battling this cold today). Potty training is MUCH different than with a singleton. Yet…the joys are also abundant. The laughing is contagious. The cute phrases and mispronounced words come faster than I can document. The boys each so different – learn from each other, challenge each other, and powerfully love each other.
I don’t know how I could speak today and not introduce you to my boys:
First born, H.
Nicknamed “Bruiser” by our occupational therapist not only for his football build, but his aggressive learning style. This boy goes after everything with his whole heart. He was the first to walk, but no so gracefully. He loves to vacuum, set the table and even opens my car door for me as I leave at the end of the day. Saying, “By Geyuh, have a good day, go to work, see Doug”. He loves to laugh VERY loud, play VERY hard and yet is sweet and genuine. Which is why we cannot help but laugh as he still exchanges his “F”s for “TR”s. Train is Fain and Truck is… well. Can you imagine their 3-year-old birthday party at the Fire TRUCK Museum?
In the middle, is T.
T is very intelligent, the first to blow us away with his alphabet, counting, and memorization. Daily I will hear line after line of a book or song, which I cannot always place. He probably heard it only once, himself. T was the last to walk; he is cautious to perfect a skill before he even starts. He rarely lost his balance after his first steps. T loves chocolate with a passion. He has the biggest feet I have ever seen on a child. He skips more than he walks, and seems to wake up daily with un-tameable bed head. This year T got to go to a special class and ride the school bus by himself. Each day T hops off the bus, greets me with a huge smile and hug, and then skips off to find his brothers to hug.
Last but never least, we have N.
N is a character, and fills the role of the “baby” of the family. He has always been a little high-maintenance and into the details of everything. Music is in his heart and he was humming lullabies before he was talking. His favorite songs are Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and “Rum-pah-pah-pum” (Little Drummer Boy). He even belly laughs EVERY TIME he hears a particular drum solo. N is the youngest flirt I’ve ever met, and does not know a stranger. He is compassionate for anybody hurting or sad. He is laid back but passionate defying the odds placed before him. Though challenged with mild Cerebral Palsy, low tone, club foot, feeding tube and even pronounced failure to thrive. If you saw him today you’d have NO IDEA! He has monkey climbing skills, rides a scooter “fast”, and turns somersaults. He also has a willingness to eating anything and everything put in front of him.
Being a Nanny to me is a wonderful responsibility to provide safety, love, encouragement, and consistency in the lives of children. I do not take it lightly. I strive each day to be patient, loving, and fun. Not to just teach information, but to live out the character qualities I desire to remain in their lives.
I see myself as an important part of a family team. My opinion matters and is respected. My unique strengths are benefits to my family, and my weaknesses are balanced by strengths of the team.
As I have grown older, I have realized how greatly my first caregivers impacted my life. My grandmother, who I called “Nanny” passed 3 years ago, but still I am being mentored by her character, love and faithfulness.
I am a professional. This means that I look at my career as one that is continually growing. I seek out avenues that will not only contribute to my current job, but to my role as a leader in the industry. I submit myself under the umbrella of affiliation that has established a standard of excellence, and try to align myself with that standard.
Last year at conference, I was challenged to think about what I have to offer, as I am the only one who can share that unique gift. Looking at my qualities, I recognized I am leader and enjoy working with people. I love learning, being challenged, and mentoring others. I love technology. I also was very excited to find the “Nanny World” that many in Cincinnati were not yet opened to. I quickly felt the desire, responsibility and excitement to return and give what I had received – using my unique gifts.
Late summer, I began writing the CincyNanny blog to help connect our Cincinnati Nannies to the Nanny World I’d discovered. I wanted them to have the resources and knowledge I’d stumbled upon and bring that standard to Cincinnati. Word of mouth is spreading to Nannies and families that we provide great links and resources about the industry.
Last fall, I started a community for Nannies in Cincinnati. CincyNanny had our first meeting in celebration of National Nanny Recognition week in September. Since then we gather regularly for play dates and Nannies Night Outs. We attend local training, and now a few are here at conference. We have an online private forum to connect, encourage and plan together. This fall CincyNanny will have our first one-day workshop during NNRW, and celebrate our 1-year anniversary. It has been amazing to finally have a local community of friends and colleagues who understand the profession and rejoice each other’s successes. (My husband can only listen to my potty training strategies for so long)
As I responded to the challenge at conference, my life was greatly impacted. I would like to give you that same opportunity. What are you passionate about? What is it that you have to offer?…To your job, to your city, or to your industry? I challenge you to write down three new goals before you leave San Francisco. Maybe it’s…
To Challenge your children in your care in a particular area
Or Renegotiate your work agreement
To Enhance communication with your employer
To Volunteer for an INA committee
To Join with others to start a local community for Nannies or revitalize a group that has been established
Maybe its to Write a book, a blog, or article for a newsletter
Accept a nomination or nominate another for NOTY
This weekend will be what you make of it. You have so much that you can take with you – more than the wonderful information you receive at the workshops. Take time to really connect. I would never have thought I would share great friendships with the strangers I met last year. Nannies that support and mentor me. Who believed in me as NOTY nominee way before I was ready to think about it. They called, emailed, took me to breakfast – gently nudging me. Thank you to all these Nannies that have opened their hearts to me also opening up new doors of opportunity. I am grateful.
While putting together my portfolio, I was flooded with support. I am sure that all of the nominees would agree THAT was an honor in and of itself. Being a Nanny is a daily planting into the future. There are moments where I can see the children are learning and growing, but the true test will be if they grow up to be stable, contributing, members of society. As part of this process, friends, colleagues, employers, and children I have cared for have stepped forward in delight to rally around me. It is if I can see those seeds that I have planted in the last 19 years…come to fruition! I spent weeks checking my email to end up in tears, hearing the wonderful things they said. It has been overwhelming.
I want to thank the family I work for, as they have allowed me to grow and rewarded me for it. The have provided financially and always go beyond what is expected. I am blessed to have such a wonderful job, working with positive people who truly care for me and respect me. Their nomination essays were extremely generous, and still bring me to tears.
Thank you to INA, and all who have helped mold the association over the last 25 years. You have already given so much to me personally. I am overjoyed and honored to represent you and serve you.
My wonderful husband has been my biggest supporter. There were times in this journey where I doubted that I could deserve this and wrestled with accepting the nomination. He repeatedly confirmed what he saw in me and encouraged me… “Do your best, that is all anyone can ask for”.
Lastly, I must take my “Oscar” moment and Thank God. Through all the changes in my life, He has been the one constant.
Thank you all very much.