The Nanny Podcast Episode 2, Confidence, how does it affect your career as a nanny?

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Hi everyone, welcome to the Nanny Podcast.

Today we are going to talk about confidence, and more specifically about women’s confidence. This is important for nannies, and for everyone because it relates very closely with the hiring process and when you are working with people, whether it is getting grown ups to hire you or children to listen to you, your confidence plays a part.

Women are often less confident than men and to have success in most things, you need confidence. I can’t tell you how much this matters to me, I have been apologizing to demons and ghosts in my head, making excuses not to pursue something I know I would be good at and like, but didn’t because I didn’t have the self assuredness I needed. So many of us are such hard workers and have qualifications beyond what we say, we don’t let the world know what we are great at, and sometimes when we do we are read as cocky or overconfident, which will not get us what we want most of the time. In studies men overestimate their abilities and performance and women underestimate theirs while the performance quality is the same. It is worth thinking about.

Even in our agency, when men contact us, both clients and mannies, they are so much more confident than their female counterparts and most of the time the male clients know less what they need and the mannies have similar or less qualifications compared to most of our nannies and the moms who write us. But you wouldn’t think it the way they present themselves 🙂 Mannies who contact us have no problem telling us how much money they want to earn, not always realistic, but much fewer of our nannies do. Our male clients know everything about nannies (even when they don’t) and know exactly what they are looking for, even though  just as often as with our female clients they might need something different.

We know that women in general are as competent, that companies that hire a lot of women outperform those that don’t and so on.

Why is women acting confident sometimes frowned on? Do you sometimes think or hear that a woman is described as cocky, aggressive or other negative words describing her behavior? Are we participating in the image by judging ourselves? To me, a really confident person, regardless of gender, that I tend to admire and look up to has a calm about them that tells me that they are comfortable with themselves and what they know and also with what they don’t know. Being assertive is not necessarily being confident, I think it also relates very closely to charisma which is very often described as being fully present and attentive to a person. Do you think that maybe when we pay attention, really pay attention, look people in the eye when talking and listening, showing our ability to be present, that we are able to show our confidence without being aggressive? I think so.

What is the difference between being confident and over confident and what does it have to do with nannying?

Confidence is being comfortable in your own skin and expressing yourself without feeling insecure or nervous. It comes when one knows one’s strengths as well as faults, and accepts them to improve oneself.

Overconfidence is when a person ‘believes’ that they are right every single time and that there’s nothing the others ‘need’ do, but follow them happily.

It has to do with nannying what it has to do with most employment, when you look at someone’s presentation of themselves and they are nuanced and balanced they are probably more likely to get and keep a job. Your CV will get you an interview, but your personality will get you a job.

John Charles Hewitt says it nicely on Quora: “A little bit of delusional, narcissistic overconfidence is useful in propelling you towards improvement. It’s like giving yourself an emotional loan without a security deposit. Confidence based on experience is stiffer stuff that tends to be more reliable. I’d rather have a surgeon who is confident based on years of experience operating on me in place of an enthusiast of hospital dramas who can put on a good doctor impression.”

I have both clients and nannies contact us every day and it is often interesting what approach they take. I am not going to get into the unprofessional ways people send me files and information without introducing themselves and explaining what they want, that is for another episode and doesn’t really have a lot to with confidence I think, but rather the attitude that comes across. As a generalization, most people who have had some experience and talk from that place show their strengths and weaknesses beautifully, which tells me that they are confident and comfortable with who they are and what their goals are, personally or professionally, as well as competent. I have lots of nannies like this and it is wonderful working with them. Then you have some that might have worked for some famous people and without the knowledge and humbleness that experience gives you act over confident and aggressive, often being rude to our agents and act inappropriately, which always makes me wonder, if you are so accomplished and want the world to serve you, why are you contacting us to get work with us? In the same way the clients that contact us to help them get the best childcare for their family shows their confidence, or lack of it in how they communicate.

How can you own your confidence? In my research it seems like confidence and charisma are very closely related. Here are some tips to communicate confidence:

Make eye contact with the person you talk to both when you talk and when they talk. Don’t seem distracted by scanning the room or checking your phone.

Position your body so that you are facing the person you are talking to. Again this shows that you are giving them your full attention. Use open gestures like showing the palm of your hands when you talk, don’t cross your arms since it is a closed off gesture.

Embrace your imperfections. This is so important. Nobody is going to look up to or even trust a person who thinks they know it all. Being aware of your flaws will not only open you up to improvement, but it also tells the person you are talking to that you know yourself, good and bad and that you are comfortable with who you are because you know what you know and also what you don’t know.

Take responsibility for your own actions. Insecure people tend to make excuses or cover up mistakes. If you’re confident, you know that a mistake or error is not the defining factor of who you are. Work on taking responsibility for your decisions, both good and bad. This will make you read as more confident to those around you. If you make a mistake, don’t minimize it. Instead, think to yourself, “That was a mistake. It was poor judgment on my part. I should try to do better next time.”

Prioritize self care. Self-care is not self-indulgent. If you want to maintain a confident attitude, you need to care for yourself. You need rest and relaxation in order to maintain your confidence.

Give yourself small rewards. This can be as simple as a warm bath at the end of each day, or a long walk to clear your head after work. It is also setting boundaries, which we will talk more about in another episode because it is so important.

Make time for the basics. Get enough sleep, eat well, and give yourself some downtime.

Make sure you get your exercise, moving your body every day is both important for your health and your confidence.

I found a nice list of tips from successful women on how to be confident from elle.com http://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a19684/powerful-women-on-how-to-be-confident/

Thank you so much for listening to the Nanny Podcast, be confident and always be kind and we will see you next time 🙂

The Nanny Podcast episode 11 “Why should I pay for a cleaner?”

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One time I had a prospective client tell me after we had done her intake interview, filled out all the forms and she had told me exactly what she wanted, which was an au pair, we will get to that in a minute, and I told her that we could find the staff she needed, it just wouldn’t be one person, but two or three.

We have talked about what au pairs are before, they are a cultural exchange program, not a professional doing a job, so while at first it seemed to this family that what they wanted and needed was an au pair, their kids were at school during the day and the parents travel a lot and work out of the area where they live, when the list of duties and the schedule arrived I wasn’t sure what to answer except no, that’s not an au pair, that’s a part time nanny, a cook and a housekeeper. Without going into too much detail about what they wanted let’s just say that the cleaning duties went far past the kid related clean up and meal prep. When the kids were in school all day they wanted the house deep cleaned, dinner prepared for the whole family, groceries shopped for, laundry done for the whole family, the husband’s shirts ironed and before leaving in the evening, the lunches for the next day prepared for the parents. All these services are perfectly fine to outsource, in fact, we often encourage families who want to spend more time with their kids to hire a housekeeper and a chef a few hours per week to clean and prepare meals, but for an au pair, who would take care of the kids in the afternoon after they came home from school and do everything with them until their parents came home from work, the workload during the day was unacceptable. I think in their case, if it was just for the childcare, an au pair might have been fine because they were away a lot and needed the flexibility and the kids were old enough, it wouldn’t be a client for us since we don’t place au pairs. An au pair could do some of the kids’ laundry and clean up, and feed them when the parents are not there, but not clean the house, cook for the whole family and do all their laundry.

When I tried to politely explain the different roles she was looking for she got really upset and asked me why she should pay for a cleaner when she already paid for the au pair. By the way, she wanted to pay the au pair 100 euros per week, plus room and board. My question then is why should I pay for gas when I paid for groceries? Why should I pay for shoes when I paid for face cream? Why should I pay for a handbag when I paid for a hotel room? You get the gist. They are different things, that’s why. I told them that I pay my nanny and my cleaner. They do different things and I can’t do what they both do at the same time, so why should they? As you can imagine, she didn’t like it and didn’t end up hiring anyone with us. That’s fine, I prefer to work with people who are respectful and not that entitled. The thing I wonder in situations like this is if the family thinks about how it would be if the situation was the opposite. Would they take the job they were offering? Why would they, or why not? What are you offering that benefits the other person, except money, in which case as soon as something with more money comes along they will take that? I think it’s always important to try to see what you are offering from at least two perspectives, both as a nanny taking a new job and a family hiring someone to take care of your kids. Know what you offer and why that is valued by the other person.

Thank you for spending time with me today, let us know what you would like us to talk about, email us at hello@rivieranannies.fr and put podcast in the subject line. See you next time 🙂

The Nanny Podcast episode 9 “I want a French live out au pair”

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I want a french live out au pair

Sometimes we get requests that are difficult, sometimes we get requests that are confusing and sometimes we get requests that are impossible and illegal. Even though we don’t place au pairs, we still get a lot of questions about them. I think most people think an au pair is a cheap way to get childcare, it is not, and I will explain why in a minute, but most of all I think a lot of people don’t know the difference between an au pair and a nanny so we will talk a little bit about that.

An au pair is not a professional. Having an au pair is a cultural exchange program, and this is where a lot of misunderstandings happen.

An au pair does not have any training or experience (babysitting is not experience) in general.

Generally they do not know about childhood development or education, they are young people who want to experience another culture and learn a new language in a foreign country.

The laws are different in different countries, but normally, an au pair can work up to 30 hours per week, have at least one or two days off per week and should be treated like a family member.

He or she also needs language lessons, both time for them and have them organized and paid for, it is often needed to even get a visa.

Then you have to pay for their insurance and social charges, and of course you have to house and feed them and pay a weekly stipend, usually about 60-90 euros per week depending on where you live, and you have to provide transportation for them (bus card, scooter, car). The cost is about the same as a part time nanny. A lot of families break several of the rules for keeping an au pair, many don’t pay social charges or insurance or probably language courses, but that is not the legal way to work and it is definitely not the ethical way to work.

So, when we get asked, in France, if we can help someone find a french live out au pair, the answer is no, because 1. they can’t have a french au pair in France, and 2. you can never have a live out au pair because an au pair by default lives with you.

When a family wants full time help that is of course possible and in a lot of cases a great idea, when they can and want to pay for it.

When money is an issue, we always suggest instead of going the route of doing half the things necessary to get an au pair, to get a part time nanny.

Figure out what you really want and need help with and get a professional that you don’t have to worry about housing or having someone in your home all the time.

There are so many stories about au pairs ending up not working out at all, I have one personally too and it is not to say that an au pair is never a good solution, but most of the time it is not the cheapest or easiest.

With a nanny you don’t have to worry about them getting drunk and crashing your car.

With a nanny you don’t have to worry about their boyfriend coming to visit, and then he doesn’t leave.

With a nanny you don’t have to worry about them abusing your children, verbally, emotionally or physically.

With a nanny you don’t have to worry about them leaving in the middle of the night and stealing from you.

With a good nanny you don’t have to worry about any of those things, and the more things you have talked about before the start of the contract that we think you should always have, the less things you have to worry about in general.

The Nanny Podcast episode 7 “I want a qualified nanny twelve hours per day, six days per week and pay less than minimum wage”

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Welcome to the Nanny Podcast.

If this is the first time you are listening to our podcast, welcome 🙂 this is where we talk about everything nanny, we talk about how to improve your career, things you love about nannying, how we as an agency work and so much more.

Today I am going to tell you about a kind of situation we run into here at the agency every once in a while. It happens more often than I think it should and I want to talk about why it is unreasonable and what we do when it happens. It is a little bit of a behind the scene of the nanny agency if you want 🙂

When clients contact us we ask them to fill out a questionnaire, telling us about the kind of nanny they are looking for and what the job they are offering looks like. We want to have a profile of the client, just like we do of the nanny so that we can make the best matches. This is a typical conversation in this kind of scenario:

Client: Hello, I need help finding a nanny for my two children age 18 months and 3 years. Can you help us?

Us: Hello, yes of course we can, can you please fill out the application form. (there is usually more of a conversation going on, but to simplify it a little, it’s usually something like this)

They fill out the application form, often not with all the information we ask for, sometimes because they don’t know, sometimes because they don’t want to tell us right away. Typically, in this particular type of family, they leave out the hours they require and the salary. Our reaction, privately is “oh boy”.

What happens then is that they tell us how qualified they want the nanny to be, on top of the basic trainings and certifications they typically want at least two languages spoken fluently, a good presentation, a smart and sophisticated nanny (which makes us delighted since this fits the profile for most of our nannies) because, you know, they will be taking care of their children. You would think that the person who is going to help them raise their children would be someone they respect and pay fairly, right? This far it sounds good, right?

Ok, then we get to the hours. Many families ask for five or six days work. Often ten to twelve hour days. We often try to negotiate the hours to be more sustainable, explaining that when their nanny is rested and happy, she is a better nanny (it should go without saying, but it doesn’t always) and then we try to explain the benefits of a nanny who is able to have a good balance in her life. That in a good relationship there is room for other things than work and a nanny who has no way of doing things she likes outside of work will not want to stay in the job. In general, there are probably exceptions but I can’t think of any. Maybe there aren’t. For most jobs like this the best solution would be two nannies in rotation.

So they say for example that they want six days per week, 7 to 7. That’s a long day and a long week so for me, I am already thinking in my mind that it leaves me with fewer nannies to present to them and the salary requirement will go up. Remember they are looking for a high end nanny with long working days, and we haven’t even gotten into the fact that they might want the nanny to do some light housekeeping when the kids are sleeping, which may or may not be appropriate or reasonable depending on the qualifications and experience of the nanny and of course, the salary.

What I try to explain to our client at this point is that you have quality, quantity and price. You can pick two. When working with us you always have good quality, so that one has much less flexibility than the others, it is more a question of wanting a junior or senior nanny. You can’t have a senior nanny for many hours for a low price. Do you see what we do here? We are trying to set up the job to be successful for both the family and the nanny, making sure that the expectations are met on both sides and the relationship starts out in a professional manner with open communication. This is the point when we often don’t hear from the client again, I don’t know what their reaction is but I can imagine that they are upset because they can’t have something that is not reasonable, and I told them that they couldn’t, and what do I know, I’m just a nanny agent. Maybe it’s less dramatic than that, and sometimes the clients get back to us a few months later, after they realize that they do in fact need our help finding a good fit for their family and our job wasn’t as easy as they thought and they tried out a less qualified nanny who accepted the terms they offered because she just wanted a job, and now she left because she found something different or it just wasn’t a good fit and now they are back to where they started. And then when they write us again and we ask them to give us the specifications of the job they look a little bit different.

Thank you so much for listening to the Nanny Podcast, please join us again next time.

The Nanny Podcast Episode 6, “I want an au pair to do all the housework”

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We talk about when we get requests for placements that are inappropriate and illegal (and outside of the types of placements we do at all).

I get to hear a lot of personal requests and quite often it comes from a place where a family wants something that either does not exist of is not legal (or moral).

Let us know what you want to hear about, email me at hello@rivieranannies.fr and put podcast in the subject line to get in touch 🙂

The Nanny Podcast Episode 5, Talking to Theresa Destrebecq about setting boundaries.

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Today Theresa Destrebecq from Thrive Within visits us to talk about how you can set and keep boundaries to have a successful working relationship with your family, while keeping your integrity intact.