It is with great excitement and deepest gratitude that we thank
Governor Rick Snyder
on behalf of the Michigan Professional Nanny Association
and on behalf of the extended nanny community
for naming September 20 - September 26, 2015, as
Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week.
"For the past two years, Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has proclaimed a Michigan Nanny Appreciation Day, " says MPNA Director, Tara Lindsay. "This year, we decided to seek a broader recognition with which to honor all of the hardworking, dedicated nannies in our state."
Lindsay was originally moved to seek the formal recognition after receiving a tearful phone call from a fellow nanny who was distraught. "She was in tears because her parents had asked her to consider returning to teaching. They were ashamed to tell their friends she was a nanny, even though she was earning twice as much money and was infinitely happier as a nanny," Lindsay explains. "I realized that I've been incredibly blessed with family and friends who are proud of what I do for a living. My dad brags about my work to his friends because he realizes the importance of helping to raise children. Bu,t nearly every day I encounter nannies who are in the position of having to defend their choice of profession to their family. That wasn't okay with me, and I knew we needed to do something to honor them for the love, effort, and expertise they share with the families who employ them."
Nannies serve an unknown number of Michigan families, estimated in the thousands. These caregivers, mostly women, devote their days to the care, safety, and education of other people's children. While a nanny is an employee, most nannies and their employers would agree that the nanny/family relationship often extends far beyond a typical employee/employer relationship.
Nanny Sarah Blower, of Lake Orion, works for Melany and Brian Bigham of Oxford. She cares for their three young children on a full time basis, as well as raising her own daughter. An active participant in the local nanny community, Blower provides her nanny family top quality care along with a preschool type curriculum complete with themed weeks, field trips, and playdates. But, her job as nanny goes far beyond lesson plans and nutritious snacks. "I love these children so much, and I feel that love is reciprocated! It's an amazing feeling when a child who you did not birth reaches for you and seeks your comfort when they are hurting physically or mentally."
Blower proudly shares a recent conversation with her youngest nanny child, aged 20 months:
"I was talking with the 20-month old baby about the members of his family.
'Who is in your family?' I asked.
He responded with Daddy.
'Who else?' I goaded.
'And who else?' I prodded.
I was the third person that little boy mentioned. Third!"
Blower's employer, Melany Bigham, delights in the closeness that her children share with the nanny they call "Ms. Sarah." While at first nervous about moving their children from a wonderful daycare to being at home with a nanny, Bigham and her husband quickly realized that "it was one of the best decisions we've ever made in raising our children."
While some parents might find the love shared between a nanny and child as cause for jealousy, Melany and her husband appreciate what a nanny brings to their family for what it is: an added, priceless value in the lives of their children. "A nanny, much like a teacher, cares for our greatest gifts in life, our children. And they do more than watch - they nurture, shape and encourage them during the most formative years of their lives. While our children may not remember the details - details like the days she took them to the zoo, or the day they learned the sign for "water" - they will always remember how they felt in her care, described in one word...loved."
Bigham continues, "And, that's the difference when you have a nanny, a very special nanny. My kids know, it's not that Ms. Sarah is on the clock from 7am-4pm, then mom and dad from 4pm to 7am. It's that Ms. Sarah, along with mom, dad, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins...we're all a part of the same community, cheering our kids on, and doing all we can to make them the best they can possibly be. The difference is that a nanny doesn't just watch the most precious gifts in my family - a nanny IS family."
Lindsay hopes that Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week will help to bring more attention to the thousands of incredible nannies in the state of Michigan, and even to those across the industry. "As nannies, we spend the better part of our day supporting, encouraging, and recognizing the efforts and milestones of the children entrusted into our care. This week is an opportunity for us to do that for each other, as professional peers, and for those outside the industry to gain an insight as to the beauty that exists in the relationships between most nannies and nanny families. We, as a community, thank the Governor for this recognition and opportunity."
Michigan Professional Nanny Association will celebrate Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week with a full week of social and professional gatherings in the metro Detroit area. Details for each event,along with the full Proclamation, can be found on the MPNA website or via our facebook events list. We strongly encourage nannies, families, and agencies across the state to gather in celebrations and recognition of all nannies.