How to move from Nanny to Household Manager

As a nanny, you may find yourself picking up extra responsibilities during your time with a family. You may start out with household management responsibilities from the beginning, but if you are expected to tend to younger children, most parents will tell you that the kids come before other tasks. As children get older, however, their needs will become fewer and you’ll have more time to tend to other priorities around the house.

Sooner or later, the children will be headed off to school and there will be a crossroad that you and the family come to. The children don’t come home from school until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, reducing the amount of time the family will need you, but who can afford to live on part-time pay? Before we help you get through this crossroad, we want you to stop right there – and let you know that you may be able to prove your worth and work something out.

You need to create a journal to document the tasks and responsibilities that you handle for the family every day; this can be a simple notebook to jot stuff down in. Do you run errands or make deliveries, load the dishwasher, usher the children to activities, wash, dry and fold laundry, grocery shop? Do you book any appointments or schedule pick-ups or make repairs? Send emails or make phone calls? Write down everything – children home from school sick or for vacations or holidays, dentist and doctor appointments that you brought children to.

This will probably only take 10-15 minutes per day to do – and try to do it at the end of the day, because you may forget a task or two the next day…or two days later. It’s worth it in the end to do this, and we’ll tell you why. But, first, you need to make sure you also have a calendar to track future appointments, play dates, and events at school.

Armed with your daily journal task lists and calendar, you will be able to demonstrate the household management tasks that you take charge of. So, when that crossroad comes, you can discuss the household management duties that you have been in charge of with the employer – and don’t forget to add in the fact that Suzy was sick for three days a little over two weeks ago and had to stay home from school. Without you there during the day, one of the parents would have to stay home from work to be home with sick Suzy.

At this point in time, you could explain that you couldn’t afford to pay your bills with part-time wages as well as detailing out the household management responsibilities that you perform routinely already. Show your employers that you’re savvy by developing a plan for daily activities that are already on your to-do list and offer to pick up more responsibilities. Additionally, remind them about the weekly or monthly dentists or doctor’s appointments, school events, and school holidays and breaks, like summertime. And, don’t forget the occasional snow day, when someone needs to be home with the kids.

Be prepared to show your employers a schedule that you have sketched out for effective use of your time, and differentiate between your nanny duties and the household management responsibilities that you have already taken on. You may be surprised that your employers realize they need to keep you on full-time as their new Household Manager.

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