(Entry adapted from a NY Blogspot)
“I am loathe to even write this blog for fear of sounding gullible but I have an exchange student (Babysitter) from London who has been with us for 6 months and has become, well, a part of the family. We have two children, boys aged 8 and 10 and they adore her. She works 3 days a week and is in school for the remainder. Okay I have two issues that I need reassurance on: I have heard her talking on her cell ad nasueum about the partying she did the previous evening. Sometimes I even smell alcohol on her breath but she’s always great and energetic with the boys. The other issue is that she wears very skimpy clothes and while the boys haven’t caught on yet, my doorman, the Super, and I suspect, my husband has. She doesn’t act flirty but she is very gregarious and sometimes I worry about the image she is presenting my sons. Am I being a jealous older woman or do I have cause for concern?”
College Babysitters, Au Pairs and part-time Rising Star Nannies can bring zest, enthusiasm and youthful sparkle to a household. A younger Nanny bridges the generation canyon between you and your child. Baffling gadgets, cryptic computer games and certain tattooed singers on MTV create sources of bonding between a College Babysitter and her charges. Immaturity however can rear its ugly head when it comes to establishing clear child/adult boundaries. It can also interfere with maintaining schedules that govern mundane daily events such as homework, bathing, and eating.
Another sticky area is a younger Nanny’s focus. This group is naturally headed for greater things but you don’t want to be treated like a cash cow, a surrogate mom or a free canteen in their stampede to graduation. And while looking hip is important to a younger Nanny, looking sexy should be avoided especially if you have teenage sons and/or impressionable daughters.
If you live in a major urban area like Manhattan also be aware of the fact that your younger Nanny will probably party hard when she is not working for you. The following is an excerpt from ‘Page Six’ the weekend magazine from The New York Post, Feb. 24th 2008.
“….I’m a great nanny and I absolutely adore the kids I care for, but to be honest, when I’m not working, I’m out of control,” says Hannah*, a 25-year-old Canadian import who’s been working three days a week for her family for over two years. “One day, I started drinking at 4pm., and stayed up until 5 in the morning partying. Then I lost my phone, so I had to get up at 9 to track it down and be at work at noon, and then I worked from noon to 9.” That day, Hannah took the kids to an event at Chelsea Piers and spent two of her working hours in a room filled with screeching children…and there are times, she admits when she’s gone straight to work after partying, without sleeping at all…”
Other younger Nannies, particularly Au Pairs away from home can feel overwhelmed. German Au Pair Marjorie came to Manhattan at age 19 to study film. She was the youngest of three children and had been indulged. Once placed with a host family including two small boys, she felt ‘put upon’ by the parents and ‘worn out’ by the children in her care. Subsequently, Marjorie reverted to childish behavior herself. She became lazy, apathetic and at times, even mean to her charges. One day Marjorie jaywalked across a busy road. Trailing unseen behind Marjorie, the youngest boy age 4, was almost hit by a car. Fortunately a neighbor witnessed the scene and reported Marjorie to her host parents. When confronted Marjorie whined and blamed the child in question for ‘not keeping up’. She also stated that she ‘felt alone’ and was unable to make any friends due to a language barrier. This – Marjorie – insisted had made her depressed. Marjorie was sent home but the children concerned were left with a bitter memory.
In the next blog we'll look at how to get the best from your younger Nanny.