I recently read a book called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I recommend this book to all of you, not only because of the subject, but because it is a truly good read. Although the story is fiction, it is based on real life circumstances and characters. Set in the 1960’s in rural Mississippi, the story begins during segregation and ends during the civil rights movement. It is about several black women that spend a lifetime devoted to caring for white people’s children. Needless to say, these women were not respected and were given very little regard by their employers in the households where they worked.
One of the reasons I found this story so compelling is that it took place in my lifetime, not hundreds of years ago. It is simply incredible how far the nanny profession has come in just a few short decades. And, although, there are still situations where nannies are not treated fairly, this industry has evolved tremendously. In most cases today, nannies are respected caregivers that are valued for their knowledge and the contributions they make to the families they work for. They are generally paid fair wages and have rights as employees.
As the 25th Annual INA conference approaches, I am proud to be a member of an association that has contributed in such a positive way to the evolution of the nanny profession (www.nanny.org). In the 15 years that I have owned by own agency I have witnessed small changes that have positively affected our profession, but many of the more significant changes occurred before I became involved in the industry. I am grateful to the pioneers that have worked so hard to make the job of nanny a profession.
I would love to hear from any nannies that were working 30 years ago or more. What changes have you witnessed? Do you feel that you are treated differently now by employers than you were 30 or 40 years ago?
Let’s all continue our work to move this profession forward. Nannies can do this by participating in continuing education and staying up-to-date on child development, safety issues, etc. The title of “professional” is earned.
Family employers should recognize the value of the employee to their family and should encourage their employees to continue their education. Paying for a course and allowing time off to attend a conference or training is a benefit for both the nanny and the family that employs her!
Want to win a copy of the help? Share your story of how your nanny experience has changed over the course of your career by leaving a comment on the Family Helpers Blog. One winner will be randomly selected. All entries must be received by 5 pm EST May 21 to be eligible.