I provide a lot of hand-holding to my nanny agency clients and I often find that I end up mixing in a lot of therapy as I walk them through their options as they choose the right caregiver for their family. Today, I review the importance of understanding your location (urban vs. suburban) and the impact it has when choosing a nanny. This is particularly important when choosing a live-out nanny in NYC.
The difference between Urban and Suburban Nanny work is as different as night and day. The duties of an Urban nanny usually revolve around taking children to various portions of the city. If you are thinking about Nanny, you need to have a realistic sense of what your needs are and how they can be executed in an urban or suburban environment. Urban jobs, whether live in or live out, provide much more autonomy and mobility for nannies. The duties of Urban nannies usually revolve around taking children from points A, B and C during the day. Urban nannies need to be able and willing to be on the go as each day they are transporting children in strollers, cabs, trains or buses to keep them busy. The Urban Nanny can be less creative with her charges as there are usually endless options for developmental stimulation. Professionally the Urban nanny has more resources at her fingertips to execute her job well because there are several options for each developmental age.
Personally, the Urban Nanny nanny can better care for herself because she a greater ability to socialize and stimulate herself. This chance to be mobile and independent goes a long way for keeping both nanny and children happy. Several research studies have proven that socialization is helpful for not only children, but their caregivers as well. Even Non-Driving, Live-In Nannies can maintain their professional mobility and personal autonomy in the urban environment. This is because on her off-time, a nanny can hop on a bus, visit a friend, attend church, or see a movie. This ability to get "recharged" and "reconnected" is crucial to some nannies and therefore, the urban location will be best suited to them. There is simply more to do professionally in a city and more ways to keep the nanny happy personally.
On the opposite spectrum, there are countless nannies who prefer the calmer and more quiet pace of the suburban position. However, from a professional standpoint, I believe the suburban position to be more difficult on two levels. Number one: the lack of mobility is difficult for children in the toddler and preschooler years. Those children require a lot of stimulation and the urban landscape offers endless avenues for play and exercise whereas the Suburban landscape requires more thought and work to create ways to keep the children busy. Suburban nannies spend a great deal more time at home and have to therefore be more thoughtful and proactive in the activities for their children. During a snowstorm, our nanny once painted an entire city from empty Amazon boxes. This event took time, creativity and provided hours of entertainment for my three children. The Suburban Nanny has to work with whatever resources are present in the town or the home to best meet the developmental needs of the children. In the city there may be a Dance Center, Book Store, Indoor Gymnastic Center and a park, while in the Suburbs they may be nothing in a 20 minute radius. This lack of resources requires more proactive planning.
The second piece to the suburban challenge is the larger scope of a suburban home and town landscape. In an urban apartment it is much easier to keep an eye on the children while folding clothes and starting dinner. In a larger suburban space a nanny may have to run through several rooms and up and down a few levels to get her tasks accomplished while carefully watching the children in her care. A nanny who has worked for a family for 20 years in the city may adapt easily to this new suburban landscape or she may under-estimate what a big change takes place when the same job takes place in a different location. There are countless nannies who love their suburban jobs, however, they must possess the personal ability to deal with isolation, the professional capability to keep children stimulated, and the resourcefulness to navigate the day with less support and resources.
Note, this post originally appeared on Tammy's blog here