My name is Shannon Albrecht but you are welcomed to call me Nano! I am a seasoned Specialty Nanny of the past 21 years. I have worked for Celebrities & High Profile Clients all over the world & absolutely love what I do. I was born & raised in Los Angeles, CA but have worked all over the USA. In the past 10 years I have worked in other parts of the world also including Canada, Mexico, Paris, London, & Russia. In addition to being a Nanny, I have a background as a Preschool Teacher, a Child Behavioral Specialist, a Child Swim Instructor, a Personal Assistant, a House Manager, a Housekeeper, a Traveling Nanny, a Personal Bodyguard (I have two Black Belts), a Private Pilot (I have a Pilotâ€™s License), an ABA Therapist for Autistic Children, & even a Professional Clown in a traveling Circus! I am a member of the INA (The International Nanny Association) as well as APNA (The Association of Professional Nanny Agencies) as I am opening a private & elite Agency this January. I wouldnâ€™t trade this career for anything in the world & am thankful for this work every day!â€
How long have you been working as a nanny?
I have been a Full Time Nanny for 21 years.
How did you get started as a nanny?
I never thought this would be my career path, honestly. In fact, the way it all started was simply by chance. When I was 12 years old I unfortunately had surgery on both of my ankles that went terribly wrong. This caused me to be reliant on a wheelchair for the majority of the next 10 years. When I was 17 years old, I had a very hard time getting anyone to hire me in my wheelchair. I was able to take on a Nanny position for a family with a baby. This was perfect for me as I was able to stay in my chair or on the floor with the baby all day. This was also the first place I did not feel I was being discriminated against or stared at for being in a wheelchair. From there, I continued to take on more & more Nanny positions even after I began walking full time at the age of 22. By then, I never even considered other careers! I believe everything is serendipitous & am thankful for those years in my chair. If I was never in a wheelchair, I may have never even considered the world of Nannying!
Do you have any training that has helped you in your nanny career?
Honestly, no. All that I do now as a Nanny are simply things I have learned over the years. I am naturally a cooperative person who is very hard working & dedicated to work, so those qualities help, but in regards to actual training- I donâ€™t have any. I am not opposed to continuous learning though & do enjoy taking on lectures or workshops about this field as I come across them.
What type of experiences have you had working as a nanny?
Wow! This is a loaded question! Ha! I guess I could answer this several different waysâ€¦ I could give you sweet moments with children I have had, or difficult times with parents, or even experiences I have had with other Nanniesâ€¦ but instead, I think I will share some of my outrageous experiences as a Nanny! Three different families stand out when I think of my most memorable & outrageous experiences:
A. The Hangover House: For those of you familiar with the popular movie, â€œThe Hangoverâ€, you will better understand why I nicknamed this house that. The Hangover House was a continuous mess of open cereal boxes & cans of beans all over the floor at all times. They had large velvet drapes that had huge claw marks in them, though I never found a pet tiger in their home. Every Monday was known as â€œScuba Diving Mondayâ€ because I had to dip in the pool to retrieve everything that was dropped in there from the weekend parties. This included at times a TV, a hamster in itâ€™s cage, typically some undergarments, always one or two electronic devices, sometimes some wine glasses or cereal bowls & one Monday-a bicycle. After a month of working in this home, I found a pet duck that lived upstairs. Never even saw him before one month had passed. The chaos & random strange things I would find in this home are borderline unbelievable! This was a High Profile family in Nashville, TN, USA that also liked to participate in what they called â€œFairy Dancingâ€ which was naked dancing (minus the wings) in the front yard every morning at 3am. (Donâ€™t ask.)
B. The Alien House: As you can probably guess, yesâ€¦this house was in California. This family liked to tell me all about their regular visits from Aliens. They even showed me hand written letters that they claim were sent to them by these Alien friends of their. The family was kind & harmless but as you can imagine, the vibe in the home was, for lack of a better term, WEIRD. They also insisted on sleeping upright like Vampires because the â€œAlien friends told them soâ€. Therefore, I had to strap in the children to their upright beds that were in the closet each night. Lastly, & possibly the most confusing, they wouldnâ€™t let me use ice in their home because they claimed it â€œmade the Aliens madâ€.
C. The Absent Parent House: More recently, I worked for a home in Northern California for a family with three children. We lived in a 30,000 square foot, fully staffed & very formal home. The children were well behaved & I worked around the clock rotating days with 3 other Nannies while acting as the Head Nanny. What was strange & unfortunate in this home was while we (the Nannies) & the children lived in this large, beautiful home in California, their Parents lived full time in Russia. The children & I would travel to Russia a few times a year for as little as 2 days to have dinner with their Parents & to then return to the USA. The only other times the Parents saw their children was approximately 3-8 times per year when they would travel to the USA for 2-5 days & would schedule a meal with their children in order to see them. At one point, I actually reminded the Father of his eldest daughterâ€™s name. For families like this, I am grateful because they are one of the reasons Nannies are needed. But for families like this, I am also saddened â€¦it makes me sad that for these lovely children, myself & three other Nannies were the closest things to Parents that they will ever have.
These three houses stand out as the most extreme & memorable ones amongst dozens more just like them!
What age groups of children have you worked with?
I have worked with them all! I have been with brand new babies straight home from the hospital to older teenagers that range from 16-18 years old. I adore them all but am partial to the young babies! I enjoy being in a childâ€™s life from the beginning; to watch them grow & learn is amazing to me. I love it when a Mommy I work for gets pregnant as well because that typically means several more years with that family!
What changes have you seen happen in the nanny profession over your career?
Many, & unfortunately, not positive ones. I feel in the past, the Nanny profession was taken more seriously & therefore, I am on a mission to reestablish that amongst families & Nannies. I think because technically you can be a Nanny without a certificate, degree, or particular training, this opens up this career path for many more peopleâ€¦some of those people who should NOT even consider being a Nanny. Some people believe being a Nanny is a glorified Babysitter. Women out there who do not have any experience will land Nanny jobs as an â€œeasy fixâ€ to their unemployment. Younger Nannies feel they can get top positions by claiming they have more experience then they actually do. In screening Nannies recently for the upcoming opening of my Nanny Agency in January, I have met many Nannies who are in their early 20s who tell me that they have 10-15 years of â€œNanny experienceâ€. They add in their babysitting years at an attempt to appear to be more qualified. What I tell them is their babysitting past is important & absolutely valid, but should not be counted as â€œNanny workâ€, because it is not. Families as well, jump to hire Nannies who are not as qualified in an attempt to be able to pay them less. I want this profession to be taken seriously & I donâ€™t feel it always is. I think there are Nannies who are not as dedicated to their families as they should be, there are Nannies who think they are far more qualified than they are, & there are families who are willing to hire anyone just for the childcare as opposed to hiring a qualified Nanny for quality childcare. I am hoping I can be a part of a positive change for this industry.
What keeps you in the nanny profession?
I absolutely love this profession! I love working in the intimate world of someoneâ€™s home; I like the personal touch I can give to each individual family; I love to watch children learn & grow because of the direct interaction they have with me; & I am forever feeling secure in this position as there will always be a need for a Nanny! I can work anywhere in the world & typically for any family I want to. I feel I have many options in this field & the work I do makes me not only satisfied, but also proud of myself every day.
How can we inspire more young people to become career nannies?
I want young women who are considering this as a profession to truly understand what is involved in being a Career Nanny. I think a lot of younger ladies do not realize that it can be a lifetime career; and a wonderful career at that. Even though being a Nanny involves us being patient, & hard working, it also offers us flexibility, job security, & often wonderful benefits. The need for a Nanny will always be out there and jobs are in an abundance. It is not only a secure profession but also a very rewarding one!
What tips would you offer to a young person considering a career as a nanny on how to break into the nanny profession?
I would suggest working with an Agency. I feel as though they can help direct a Nanny in the right way, they typically have more positions available, & they can aid heavily in the hiring process. An Agency can help a Nanny with a starter position and then once they have worked that for a while, they should be able to get a more substantial position from there.
What tips would you suggest to help an inexperienced nanny starting out?
Iâ€™d have to say a similar answer to #9 aboveâ€¦ I would suggest initially working with an Agency. I feel a good Nanny Agency can better help an inexperienced Nanny find the right starter position. From there they can help her build her resume accordingly, which in turn, will be easier to obtain future better Nanny positions.
The nanny profession can be isolating .How would you recommend new nannies meet other nannies?
I feel Nannies can meet other Nannies several ways. I personally have met other Nannies through Agency parties & functions I attend. There are large corporations like The International Nanny Association that has annual conferences where many Nannies meet up. There are also more frequent, local gatherings for Nannies often put on by their local Nanny Agency or a local Nanny. If a Nanny does not have either of these in their hometown, I would suggest starting one! Reach out through Social Media to local Nannies & Agencies & plan a get together or a mixer. If it is around the Holidays, plan a gift exchange or a Holiday Nanny party. Often the slightest amount of advertising for this type of event will bring together a dozen or more Nannies. It is a great way to get to know other Nannies, to share stories with them, & to make life long friends!
Do you keep in touch with your nanny families?
I defiantly try to. I have kept in contact with several & left every family I have ever been with on good terms. The unfortunate fact though, is sometimes this is impossible. Families regroup, they move, children grow, parents separate, etcâ€¦.leaving us eventually strangers sometimes. It is by far the saddest part of my career. To say goodbye to a family & their children is the repeated â€œworse day of my lifeâ€. It never gets easier & I will never get used to it.
Do you specialize in a particular nanny area such as behavior? Sleep? Etc.
I do it all! I have been very successful helping families with sleep training & behavior issues but particularly with behavior. The popular TV show: â€œSupernanny with Jo Frostâ€ had a spin-off show called â€œThe American Supernannyâ€ a few years back. Out of over 100k candidates to be the American Supernanny, I made it to the top three & graciously lost to Ms. Deborah Tillman, the new American Supernanny. Iâ€™m very patient with children & have many helpful suggestions for parents who struggle with their childrenâ€™s behavior issues. I also have a high success rate using these tactics with these children & find a great deal of enjoyment in seeing their behavior improve.
What is your favorite thing about being a nanny?
My favorite thing about being a Nanny is witnessing the impact I make on a childâ€™s life. Watching them learn & grow because of their direct interaction with me is extremely rewarding! Knowing that I made such an impact on a childâ€™s life is the daily confirmation I need to continue in this field. I will be a Nanny as long as I can get out of bed in the morning. I will never take this work for granted & am thankful for it each, & every day.
Thank you for reading!