Nannies Lead Rank in Most Depressing Jobs

By Michelle LaRowe 2004 INA Nanny of the Year and parenting author
Her fourth book, A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity will be released January 1.



The results of a 2007 government report have made headlines again, ranking those who “change diapers” and provide personal care and service as the leaders in holding the most depressing jobs.
The 2007 report that was issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services cited that 10.8% of all personal care and service workers, the occupational category that includes nannies, suffered from a major depressive episode in the year prior to the study.
For those who work within our industry, this statistic may not be surprising.
In addition to working long hours, nannies tend to work in isolated environments that don’t provide for regular interaction with other adults. Nannies who care for younger children, multiples or siblings, are especially at risk for experiencing moments of depression because they are always on the go and often have little time to care for their personal needs, prepare healthy meals or exercise regularly.  Many nannies also struggle with asking for time off, knowing that it may inconvenience their employer to attend routine doctor’s appointments; while others may have no healthcare coverage at all. For live-in nannies, it’s often a daily battle to keep the personal and professional boundaries drawn, which can lead to job related stress and anxiety that can translate into depression.
“If nannies don’t make a conscious effort to connect with others during their off hours, it’s no surprise that they may suffer from periods of sadness, loneliness or even depression” said Nettie Weber, INA Board Member and President of Perfect Match Nannies.
The good news is that nannies can be proactive in taking charge of their mental and physical health, by following these 5 tips.

1. Get involved with a local nanny support group. Connecting with other nannies provides a great opportunity to make new friends, form playgroups and get valuable advice from seasoned nannies.  Click here to view a current list of nanny support groups across the US.2. Take care of yourself. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you aren’t able to provide optimal care for your charges. If you don’t have health insurance, be prepared to negotiate for partial of full premium payment during your next review.  Routine medical care is essential in identifying underlying medical conditions that can affect mental and physical health.
3. Get out of the house. Whether it is for a walk to the park or to attend a child and caregiver class, make a point to get outside each day. If your employer struggles with allowing you to leave the house, discuss the social, physical and educational benefits getting out has for both you and your charge.
4. Get a life. It’s important to have a life outside of work. Take time to enjoy a hobby, play a sport or engage in something you enjoy. Many nannies struggle with leaving their work, at work, but it’s important to make a conscious choice to have a separate and enjoyable life outside of your job.
5. Make healthy lifestyle choices. It can be so easy to simply “grab and go” but what you eat can impact how you feel. Allow time to prepare healthy meals and snacks and bring along your own food should your employer not have healthy choices on hand. Aim to spend a half hour each day being active.  A brisk walk, perhaps with your charges in the stroller may be just what you need to boost your energy and mood.

At the end of the day, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of someone else.  If you are struggling with feelings of depression, it’s important that you speak to someone immediately.  Contact your health care provider, local nanny placement agency counselor or your nanny support groups for mental health resources in your area.



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