By Laurie Rasmussen
28 years ago, I accepted my first job as a nanny. I realize now what an isolating position it would have been without the mom’s daily presence. The World Wide Web had not been made public and children’s enrichment classes were non-existent. The library was our go to place for story time and craft books. More mothers stayed home with their children then, so it was hard to find fellow nannies to befriend.
Over the years, I’ve watched the nanny world evolve. More nannies started showing up at parks, library story times, and classes for young children began being offered at local community centers. Professional nanny agencies were opening and the in-depth screening process became standard. Early childhood development courses were available, and the Internet allowed nannies to connect as online groups were formed. Support for each other began, isolation started fading, playgroups commenced, issues could be discussed, and advice was offered. Nannies who had charges with special needs found others in similar situations, and a sense of solidarity flourished. National Nanny Training Day went from an idea to a reality across the nation. Attending Nannypalooza ranks as a high point in my nanny career!
Nannypalooza is self-described as a national nanny conference. It is a two-day event that was created in 2005 by Sue Downey. It’s designed by nannies, for nannies. The event is an amazing weekend of learning, connecting, and growing as a professional. I would like to share my experience with you.
When I arrived at the hotel in Orange County, I sent a text to my closest online nanny friend from Texas so we could finally meet face-to-face. The hug was wonderful! The rest of the day was spent meeting other nannies (including international nannies) and doing a little exploring. We ended our evening with a wonderful welcome reception sponsored by Stanford Park Nannies. I’m not sure how many nannies were attending Nannypalooza… but I would guess over 100!
There were six time slots for attending sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday. In each time slot, we had a choice of three one-hour sessions. The offerings varied, so I was able to create a personalized schedule based on my preferences. The first training I attended was High Sensitivity vs. Sensory Processing Disorder by Melissa Schwartz. By chance, I’ve happened to work with numerous children with sensitivities and sensory issues, so I was greatly inspired by this amazing speaker. Melissa was extremely personable and shared so much knowledge about her topic. The other sessions I chose ranged from; strategies for picky eaters, to how to land your dream job. I learned so much from each one; I wish they were longer! The atmosphere in each session was laidback, which encouraged audience participation. It was nice to hear other nannies ask questions that I also wondered about; it helped to remind us that we are not alone as we deal with the daily struggles of our jobs.
I left Nannypalooza feeling excited and invigorated with all the information I had learned! I felt a strong sense of unity in my nanny community, and my circle of nanny friends has grown. Picking up my charge from preschool the next day, I was met with “Laurie!! You’re back!! I missed you so much!” which reinforces the career choice I made. I can’t wait to attend my next Nannypalooza!
“I would like to thank the whole team at SPN for all you guys do. In this midst of the heartbreak and hardships the COVID-19 crisis has imposed on our neighbors, our families, and our friends, I am also inspired and deeply moved by the compassion, resiliency, and the human spirit of the SPN team. Thank you for being there with us. We are here for you.”
"I would rate Stanford Park Nannies very highly! They provide a great flow of very qualified candidates, who are all prepared to pay taxes. They have a great vetting process and did not waste our time with those that weren’t a fit. In addition to our full-time search, they had the ability to quickly identify relevant interim/temp nannies as well!"
"SPN is a powerhouse agency of incredible women who embody experience, passion, and a heart for service!"
"SPN provides you with a current understanding of what should be expected of nannies and employers and they empower you by coaching you through it all. When I started to interview with families, they gave me great feedback—it felt like I had my own personal interviewing cheerleaders!"