Saturday, 18 August 2012

Nanny power!

It is an honor to present our first guest blogger, Tracey McDermott. Tracey is a very experienced nanny who has received much publicity recently for her efforts to promote the status of nannies: a wonderful example of a movement by nannies for nannies.

Here's her story.

 
I have always loved babies and children. One of my hobbies as a child was collecting pictures of babies and books about babies, so it is no surprise that when I decided to pursue a career that would bring me joy rather than just a pay check, childcare was my first choice. I started out in long day care centres. When the opportunity to relocate to London and become a nanny presented itself, I grasped it with both hands. My time in London convinced me that being a nanny was the perfect career for me and I have continued to work as a nanny since my return to Australia.

Nannies are a more socially accepted form of childcare in England than they are in Australia and I have found that the work of nanny is largely misunderstood here. I often have to explain to curious people that I do have a qualification; I don’t clean the houses I work in, nor do I cook the parents' dinner or do various other household chores. 

 Most of the nannies I know have an early childhood qualification and provide excellent quality care for the children they are employed with.  They take the children on outings, provide educational activities at home and have play dates with other nannies and children. They care for the children when they are sick, patch them up when they have a fall, read bedtime stories, repair holes in much loved teddies, climb into pig pens to rescue toy giraffes (yes, I actually did that!), and do things like cook dinosaur shaped pasta to make dinnertime fun! 

                                               
                                                           A morning at the park.


The benefits of the close relationship that develops between a nanny and the children should not be underestimated either. I am proud of being a nanny. I think what we do is invaluable and important not only for the lives of the children in our care, but for the parents we work for as well.                  
                                       
When an article (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/learning-crucial-to-childcare-coalition/story-fn59niix-1226330778697) appeared in The Australian newspaper earlier this year claiming that extending the childcare rebate to nannies would put children in the care of unqualified babysitters, place them at risk and see them well behind their peers, I was infuriated. The article went on to claim that nannies have no childcare qualifications, or are only trained to babysit, unlike childcare centres where staff members are university educated. As often happens, nannies were categorised as unskilled ‘babysitters’ rather than professionals with qualifications.

I wrote to the journalist to set her straight and defend the many great nannies working in Australia, asking her to write another article addressing the false claims about nannies and she agreed. http://www.australiannannyassociation.org/index.php/media-room/9-nannies-fight-back-over-glorified-cleaners-stereotype 
The feeling that nannies were misunderstood and undervalued here was now something more real and I wanted to do something about it. With a few other women from the industry who were equally upset by the article we started the Australian Nanny Association. The troops were rallied and we now have almost 190 interested people waiting for the opportunity to join up as members.

I see one of the roles of the association in the future (and the one I am most passionate about), as being one of educating the public in an effort to change the perception of nannies as unqualified babysitters and cleaners for the privileged. I hope that one day Australian society will understand and value the work we do, as much as we do. It’s a big dream, but I’ve never been one to dream small.

Another important role I hope the association will play is to connect nannies from across Australia in one place for building friendships, sharing information and supporting each other.

The Australian Nanny Association can be found at 
http://www.australiannannyassociation.org/
And we hope to be taking memberships by the end of August.

         


                                          Making dinosaur footprints at home.

2 comments:

  1. I have to agree with everything in this post. Thanks for the useful information.
    Nanny jobs London

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pleased to have your feedback. It has been a difficult road to get the Association up and running and so we appreciate your feedback.

    ReplyDelete