- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Imagine graduating from college this year and immediately being met with the hostile, double-digit-unemployment-rate job market.

What to do?

Become a nanny, at least temporarily.

That’s the solution chosen by a growing number of young college-educated women in our area, says Jaclyn Gobuluk , founder of Metropolitan Nannies, a nanny agency that caters to families in the Greater Washington area.

“We’ve seen about a 20 [percent] to 30 percent increase in the number of college graduates” applying for nanny jobs, Ms. Gobuluk says. “In our market, it pays really well,” she adds.

Meaning it yields anything from $15 to $35 per hour.

Another appeal is the flexibility, says Cecily Hart, 22, who graduated in the spring from Vanderbilt University with a major in anthropology. She dreams of becoming a museum curator but works part time “I couldn’t afford another unpaid internship,” says Miss Hart, who moved in with her parents in Alexandria after graduating.

“And this is a great job. I have a great relationship with the family, and it’s not a particularly taxing job,” she says.

It pays $20 per hour, and her duties mainly are to watch a 9-year old boy and a 13-year old girl for three hours in the afternoons, making sure they get to their various activities - such as crew, baseball and soccer - as well as start their homework.

“I can’t say enough good things about Cecily,” says Ken Arnold, the children’s dad. “She’s responsible and dependable… There’s a connection there that’s almost like a sibling,” he adds.

In other words, his children - particularly his adolescent daughter - share their thoughts with Miss Hart about all aspects of school life, even things to which the parents aren’t necessarily privy.

“Cecily has been there, done that - both socially and academically,” Mr. Arnold says. “She’s like a big sister.”

So, does all this mean that college grads are edging out more traditional nannies, older women with child care experience but limited education?

Not likely, says Barbara Klein, president of White House Nannies, a local nanny agency founded more than two decades ago.

“You’re looking at different levels of commitment,” Ms. Klein says.

The traditional nanny is often looking for a long-term (up to five years) commitment, which jibes well with the needs of a family with young children. This position requires meal planning and preparation, lots of patience (such as when a baby cries incessantly) and age-appropriate play, Ms. Klein says.

On the other hand, the college-grad nanny is often looking for a short-term commitment that revolves around taking care of school-aged youngsters.

The Arnold family perfectly illustrates this. When the children were little, they had a traditional nanny - a woman who had children of her own and lots of child care experience. Ever since they started school, however, the Arnold youngsters have had college-grad nannies who can help with homework and shuttle them to and from activities.

“When the kids are little, it’s a different hierarchy of needs,” Mr. Arnold says. “Safety and nurture and patience are at the top.”

In fact, many first-time parents initially state that they want a nanny with a college education, but when it comes down to selecting someone, they’re more likely to go for an older woman without a college degree but with plenty of child care experience, Ms. Gobuluk says.

“Many families won’t even talk to anyone who’s under 35 years old,” she says.

Whether college educated or not - and whether the position is temporary or permanent - all nannies need to be responsible and have an interest in children.

To ensure this, nanny agencies put applicants through interviews and background checks, including a check of driving records.

“We need to make sure that they really know what the expectations are,” Ms. Gobuluk says. “Nannying is more lucrative than waiting tables, but it’s also a lot more responsibility.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide