The Real Life Nanny Diaries: What It's Like To Be A Young Nanny

Do you remember the movie, The Nanny Diaries, starring Scarlett Johansson? In the 2007 film, Johansson portrayed Annie, a recent college grad who quickly became a nanny for an Upper East Side family. The job literally fell into her lap. 

For many college grads and undergrads today though, the prospect of nannying is not just falling into their laps—they are instead choosing it.

It’s babysitting with a twist (and often higher pay), and for some girls, it replaces the stressful search for summer internships or post-graduation plans. What are some of the perks and not-so-pleasant parts of this job? Two Her Campus members dish out their thoughts and advice about the kid-friendly nanny career.

Nannying vs. Babysitting
You could say that Nikki Fig’s nanny learning curve came a bit early.

The HC editorial intern and student at Emerson College got her first taste of nannying in high school. After babysitting for a while, the idea of nannying did not seem so daunting.

“I always enjoyed babysitting and nannying was the natural next step,” she said.

Nikki started nannying part-time in the summers during high school and then decided to nanny for a semester during college. Being a part-time nanny allowed her to step a notch above babysitting responsibilities while still maintaining some free time.

What differentiates nannying and babysitting, though?

One differing point is the amount of time spent with the children. A babysitter may be called once every week or few months to watch a couple’s child for a few hours while they enjoy a date night or relaxing few hours with friends.

However, for a nanny, the job is more frequent and more involved. It may be an everyday task, and often the children may start to look at the nanny as an alternate mother figure (due to the amount of time spent together). This is what happened to Johansson’s character in The Nanny Diaries. Because these parents that hire nannies are often very busy with work or travel, their own relationships with their children can often be strained.

The relationships in a nanny’s life, though, may also suffer. For Nikki, choosing a nanny role that didn’t interfere with her own life was very important.

“I always chose jobs where the mother was basically a stay-at-home mom who simply needed a lot of help or wanted to have a few days for running errands by herself,” she said. “That way, if school got in the way or I wanted to go on vacation, I didn't feel like I was leaving them in the lurch.”

And leaving suddenly not only affects these kids, but also the nanny. For Nikki, the bonds that she created with her employer’s children were very real.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “The first nannying job was really fun and kept me very active! It was with a family whom I had known for a long time and there were three kids—ages 8, 5 and 6 months.”