Like most any relationship, the nanny and employer one is going to have its ups and downs. Unlike most other business relationships, however, when your boss hurts your feelings, you simply can’t go to your office, shut the door and avoid her for the rest of the day.
In many ways the nanny/employer relationship is like a familial one. The way a nanny and employer interact often has the feel of family because of the nature of the relationship itself. A nanny is hired to care for the employer’s children, not her business books or office staff. Nannies work a highly personal job and do business in a highly intimate setting; as a result, the boundaries of the business relationship are often blurred.
Given the nature of the nanny/employer relationship, it should be no surprise that emotions often run high. Nannies and employers typically invest a lot of time and energy building a solid working relationship. Since both share the common interest of the children and generally desire to have a meaningful relationship, the comments and dialogue shared among parents and their children’s caregiver is often taken to heart.
So what is a nanny to do if her boss insults her, takes advantage of her, wrongly accuses her or otherwise makes her defenses shoot straight up?
It is most important that nannies acknowledge their hurt feelings and accept how hurt they are. If the feelings simply get brushed aside, the nanny is setting herself up to experience the same feelings, likely more intensely, the next time a similar situation comes up.
While it may feel right to hold the anger in and let bitterness and resentment grow, doing so only robs a nanny from her ability to fully function in her position and reach her fullest potential.
When faced with a hurt heart at the hands of their employer, nannies can:
Unlike most jobs, nannies have no human resources department. If a nanny doesn’t air her grievance directly with her boss, the situation won’t ever come to light. Once you’ve begun to process your feelings you’ll want to confront your boss.
When confronting an employer about hurt feelings, nannies should always remember “positive, negative, positive.” “I really appreciate how concerned you are about Junior’s health. Yesterday, I felt really hurt when you said if I was watching Junior closely, he wouldn’t have fell and bumped his head. That comment made me feel like I violated your trust. Junior is at a wonderful developmental stage and is really exploring his world. While I always closely supervise him, bumps and bruises are common during this stage of development and I could not have prevented this fall.”
Oprah radio host Dr. Robin calls this “speaking your truth.” Only when you speak your truth can you fix the problem. This is especially true for nannies who have no one else in the workplace to speak their truth for them.
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