Alenni Davis is the Administrative Coordinator at Adventure Nannies and possesses a Human Resources Management Certificate from Cornell University as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Industry and Viola Performance from the College of Saint Rose. Prior to joining the Adventure Nannies team in early 2018, Alenni worked as a private music teacher and as the assistant manager of an independent movie theater. When they are not behind a laptop, Alenni is playing guitar, viola, and piano, making watercolor paintings, or learning Japanese. Alenni currently lives in Philadelphia with their senior rescue dachshund, Wormy.
In a time where all things feel unknown, uncertain, and undecided, it can be hard to give yourself fully to your job and find the meaning behind your work. This is exceptionally difficult for nannies – when we are performing well in our role, it’s easy for our employing family not to notice! Right now, it’s more important now than ever to hone in on the fulfillment of your work so that you don’t lose sight of the good you are contributing to your surroundings each day and can continue to motivate yourself in the day-to-day as you guide your nanny kids through these uncertain times and transitions.
As we approach International Nanny Recognition Week, we are touched by the many stories of nannies and private educators and the struggles they are working through on a daily basis throughout every stage of the pandemic. Many have been asked to step into housekeeping tasks as families wait until a safer time to bring the rest of their household staff back to work, many are learning how to manage online learning for the first time, and everyone remains frightened about the future state of the economy and job security – which isn’t an ideal work environment for anyone’s mental health. While we appreciate the opportunities that parents have during International Nanny Recognition Week to recognize and highlight all of the ways you help their family and household stay intact, no amount of recognition will ever match up to the appreciation, love, and respect you are able to provide for yourself. Finding this fulfillment and self-love in your role is key more than ever to your own mental health, success, and ultimate longevity in your role without feeling burnt out, unappreciated, or undervalued.
Finding fulfillment is completely personal and unique to each person, and there is no general roadmap to the ‘correct’ way to measure success. Here are some ideas to inspire you to find the purpose within your nanny or private educator role:
Finding fulfillment from within yourself
If you personally enjoy your work, you will naturally feel the purpose of your job while you are working. Each workday is varied in its own way, whether it be in the tasks you complete or in the interactions you have with others. Think of what your favorite aspects of your job are: are you a natural teacher? Do you love seeing the confidence you inspire in the children you are working with? Are you proud of your employer’s profession and take joy in supporting their home life so they can focus on balancing their career and their family? As you find your own source of fulfillment within your role, take an extra moment during those times to really appreciate where you are, what you’re doing, and what it feels like.
If there are parts of your job that you do not enjoy, think of what the positives or benefits are. You can think to yourself, “What is in my power to improve this situation? What can I control?” If something is out of your control, how can you change your mindset to appreciate things for the way they are?
Finding fulfillment from being a part of something larger than yourself
We are naturally a community-driven species. We crave human connection and contact and feel fulfillment by working together towards a common goal. In the case of nannies, educators, and newborn care specialists, you are actively working with a family and their children with the goal of raising young minds and hearts to be kind, caring, and healthy. The goal is shared amongst you, the children’s guardians, and, in theory, the children themselves. By working with a family in this capacity, you are contributing to a shared intention, giving your role an integral purpose within any family you work with. How might your role shape the future of children’s lives? Are you taking part in raising global citizens, or generous, empathetic, caring individuals? What opportunities might the children in your care have later in life to improve their own communities and the lives of people they come into contact with? We often lose sense of the profound impact we may have in the lives of the children we are supporting and helping their parents to raise. What seeds are you planting that might flourish years after you have left your role?
Finding fulfillment in helping others
When you are able to physically see the benefits your work is producing, you will naturally feel purpose within your role. As a nanny, educator, or newborn care specialist, the goal of your job is to assist a family in caring for and teaching their children. When you complete this job, you can see the positive effect it has on the entire household as well as the children themselves. The parents are able to have peace of mind and focus their efforts on their work or other important matters knowing that their children are in good hands, and dedicate the time they have towards developing their own unique relationships with their kids rather than focusing on household tasks, assisting with homework, or just getting through the rigamarole of ‘life during COVID.’ At the same time, you have the opportunity to model positive behaviors and compassion to the children and reinforce them in their sense of self and responsibility to others.
If a child is struggling or upset with something whether it be a homework assignment, an argument they had, or even having trouble sleeping, the effect of your help can be seen as brightly as the smile on the child’s face once you’ve eased their worries.
If you’d like to learn more about finding fulfillment and appreciation throughout your day-to-day experiences and interactions, we recommend reading “Awakening Your Ikigai” by Ken Mogi which includes real-life examples of finding joy in the workplace.