How Nannying Taught Me Essential Lessons For My Life And Career

by Natalie Newport

During career day as a child, I was encouraged to “dress as whatever I wanted to be,” and for me, that was a daunting prospect.

Most children just wear their parents' clothing and use what their parents do, which allows for adorable pictures of small children dressed as doctors, lawyers and other professions they really know nothing about. But one thing children won't realize for a long time about choosing a career path is that each one entails a different set of life lessons.

Learning from your job seems like a given, but I’m not talking just about intellectual advancement; I mean learning more about yourself and how you operate in general.

One profession I believe can truly teach you a lot about yourself and other people is nannying, and it's something I encourage all college students to embark upon. Working with children widens your scope of thinking and allows you to step outside the box when considering how to make decisions.

Being a nanny obviously requires you to spend an inordinate amount of time with children, and these little humans think differently than adults do. I promise if you actually take the time to listen to them, you will catch some inspiration in their ways.

Children are less likely to have inhibitions when trying new things or in saying how they feel. I know that some of my best stories come from the hilarious things the little girl I nannied for told me about her day. After a while, I didn’t need to hear her outlandish tales to enhance my perspective. I started letting my own inhibitions go and no longer was just a listener to such stories; I lived them.

The children I spent time with were confident and curious about so many things. I remember one instance when one of the kids I worked with got a concussion from doing tricks on the playground.

She had to leave school and spend all day awake, but not really doing anything. For her active lifestyle, this was torture. But when I asked her why she risked her health to do the trick, she simply answered, “Because if I didn’t try, I would have never known if I could or not and who wants that?”

Children are also messy, which can help both naturally untidy and naturally organized people. I’m a middle-range person, so being a nanny to two small children benefitted me on both ends of the spectrum. First, I learned not to get worked up about disorder and sloppy children. It stressed me out at first to see how all-over-the-place kids can be, until I finally relaxed and let loose with them.

This lesson isn't to say, however, that I completely forwent organization and health. While being messy can be fun, it also reminded me of the importance of being healthy and differentiating between “fun messy” and “we need to start cleaning now.” This distinction has still proven valuable to me.

The main lesson that comes from being a nanny is learning how to work with others. You might be thinking, "How in the hell will being an interim mother help me in my career?”

Let me tell you: Children are unpredictable for the most part. You can accept a new nanny job and never really know what type of personality the kids have until you gain their respect and learn to speak their language.

This same idea goes for bosses. The best advice I can ever give you is to get to know your boss well enough that, when a new situation arises, you know exactly how he or she would handle it. Then you can act accordingly.

In this same notion, being considerate and polite goes a long way. By respecting those you work with, you'll find, for the most part, they will respect you in turn.

So, go be a nanny; watch Netflix Kids without shame and allow them to inspire your mind and help you become a better person. Embody their beneficial traits and don't ever dismiss what they have to say based on their age alone. You'll truly grow from considering their ideas and respecting their way of doing things.

Remember, you were their age once.

Photo via Tumblr