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  • Writer's pictureLayla Robinson

UK Childcare Costs: A Societal Issue, Not a Nanny Problem

Has anyone else seen this from The Telegraph a couple of weeks ago? It's disappointing to see an article like this, which wrongfully paints nannies as lazy money grabbers and presents this idealistic view of us as carbon-copy Mary Poppins’…parents do know that she is a character and that the character is magical, right?

Surely nannies, like all professionals, deserve a healthy work-life balance and the opportunity to choose the roles and hours they desire? Yes, nanny salaries have increased over the years, and that's because they should. I don't want to work 60 hours a week for the same salary I was earning over a decade ago in my early career...I mean, who would? 

I don’t see any bankers, marketers, advertising executives or consultants lining up to work for £14 an hour gross - and that’s without them having a blow-out nappy to change at 8:15 am, 2 comfort-craving hand foot and mouth toddlers dribbling every fluid in their body down your chest from 9 am - 3 pm, followed by the apologetic “Sorry, I forgot to mention this morning but I’ve said Louis, Maximilian and Hector can walk over to the park with you 3 after school.” message received at 3.01 pm, which precedes the 3.20 pm herding of a gaggle of PRIME hyped 10-year-olds that downed the bottles they snuck from Louis’ older brother’s bring your own sibling, skateboard and prosecco picnic-party, which took place on that lovely bit of yellowing grass next to the lido #IYKYK

As nannies, of course we know and are prepared for all of the above, as it is part of the job and like Maggie, my nanny families attest to me always being upbeat, organised, responsible and professional at work, but that doesn’t mean that I always felt that way every second of the day. Who, in any walk of life, hasn’t had to put on a brave face after a tiring day, hour or phone call? Who hasn’t stood outside a closed door and taken a deep breath before heading in? As a proud nanny, and even prouder Pro Nanny, I recognise the privilege and responsibility I hold when caring for other people’s children and it is with respect to that position, that I present myself well and do my job. I love my nanny kids in a way that is indescribable if you haven’t experienced the bond yourself and I’ve been blessed with a brood of them over the years - but just like our beloved Mary Poppins, nannying is a job

upturned umbrella in a grassy field
Should Mary Poppins be the standard in 2024?

Outwardly, it seems that when it’s errands and babysitting and early starts and late nights, nannies are invaluable and worth our weight in gold, but when it comes to rising salary requirements in a post-covid, post-cost of living crisis and increasingly awkward adjustment of working around WFH parents society, we become these sinful, non-Norland amateurs who should know their place.

I’m by no means saying that ALL parents think that way and certainly not condoning the actions of the nannies who are unfortunately inflating the market by setting exorbitant rates, but by and large, the issue is not that nannies are demanding more than their worth. 

In an earlier blog, I pointed out that the ‘current cost of childcare is a societal issue, not just a parent or childcarer issue’ that everyone should be thinking about - hello government and employers, I’m looking at you. * glares in #GoGross *

I think it stands to reason that instead of looking back at a pre-Brexit UK, when au-pairs were exploited a plenty and cash-in-hand was the currency of the wealthiest nanny employers looking to evade the literal costs associated with you know…being an employer, we should be looking forward, doing some self-reflection and strategising ways to make UK childcare more affordable.

At Pro Nannies, we’re all for industry regulation and recognising the unique skills and experiences nannies bring to the table, which positively impact the lives of children and families. We educate our clients on industry shifts, salaries and trends to create harmonious matches that support a healthy life balance for nannies and families - I wonder what everyone else is doing about the supposed “nanny issue” when they’re not complaining about what we think is the essential cost of caring.


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