Hi everyone! Hope you had a wonderful Halloween! 🎃

I’m back with my next video that focuses on a statement I hear from parents on a daily basis:

“I’m looking for a Mary Poppins nanny.”

What exactly does that mean? What kind of nanny is Mary Poppins? In this video, I discuss what a Mary Poppins nanny is and why this style of nanny may NOT be what some parents are looking for.

What do you think of when you hear the term “Mary Poppins nanny”? I’d love to hear your comments about this topic below!

Scroll down to check out the video and I hope you find it useful.

mary poppins nanny

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A transcript of the video can be found below:

Hey everyone, Laura from Nanny Parent Connection here.

I was browsing around online and I came across a really interesting Reddit thread that I wanted to share with you guys.

Today’s video topic is: So You Think You Want A Mary Poppins Nanny?

So, what does “Mary Poppins nanny” mean? 

Well, it’s a hot term that I hear often and see in many childcare ads as well. I hear parents in our community almost daily using this term when describing what they think their perfect nanny is. “We think of our perfect nanny as being a Mary Poppins nanny”. 

What does that mean exactly?

I’ve heard from some nannies that they roll their eyes at the term when they come across that in their nanny search because Mary Poppins has become synonymous with what a “perfect nanny” should be. 

Does the perfect nanny really exist? 

Some families would say yes, but also it’s really important to remember that Mary Poppins is a fictional character made up for a movie.

I want to read this comment made by this Reddit user and then I want to kind of dive into what it means to be a Mary Poppins nanny. Because it’s a term that so many people use and I believe are confused about.

I’m gonna read this comment really quick by “madammayorislove” (username from Reddit thread).

“Every parent wants a Mary Poppins for their kid, but most don’t realize they could never handle her. She sets boundaries from the start, the kids need to take medicine, clean their room, she has a specific day off. She won’t be spoken to unkindly by Mr. Banks.

Yes, ignoring some of the less-than-ideal situations she puts the kid in… she is what we should try to be with our own nanny family. Setting firm boundaries, with both parents and kids and knowing our worth.”

That’s all interesting, right? 

Let’s unpack what exactly it means to be a Mary Poppins nanny. 

The thing that struck me about this comment was that the person writing it said “most parents could never handle a Mary Poppins nanny” and I have to agree on some level. 

Let’s talk about Mary Poppins setting “boundaries with the father” (I take that to mean boundaries with the parents). 

Parents expect nannies to honor their parenting style. Of course, this needs to happen. You need to be in agreement and united in your approach to care and how certain things are handled throughout the day with a child so that the child has consistency. It’s going to be confusing if they have to behave or act in a certain way around their parents versus how they may act In a different way around their nanny. If expectations are clear from both the nanny and the family, that’s always really helpful. 

In a perfect world, of course, you probably would partner with a family or a nanny who is very much in alignment in styles. If you’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, obviously that is not going to work well. 

Some families recognize that the nanny is probably going to be bringing more years of child care experience into the household than the parents themselves might have, and this is especially true with first-time parents or maybe with your very experienced nanny who has years upon years of experience. 

Many new parents share with me that they’re very open to the nanny bringing forth ideas and suggestions about what to do or what not to do when it comes to, maybe sleep schedules or introducing solids, routines, structure, that sort of thing.

It’s very valid to say that a lot of nannies feel very awkward about how they should make those recommendations or suggestions without stepping on toes.

I think it’s very important to set expectations upfront at the beginning of the relationship if possible, to say:

“Hey nanny, we know that you are bringing years of experience into this role and we want you to know that we very much value your years of experience, your knowledge, all of that, and we invite you to share anything that you think would help make the day flow better, anything that you see in any routines or things that we may be doing to help things operate more smoothly around their house or with our child.”.

Just make sure that you communicate that upfront and make sure your nanny knows that they are invited and welcome to share their feedback so that they don’t wonder if they’re going to be stepping on toes. Some tact is required In the delivery of the message for things to go smoothly but just keep that in mind. If you have that welcome mat out, your nanny will feel very much at ease in bringing forth the suggestions. 

Almost all families say they value and welcome open communication. 

I want to make sure that families who do say they value open communication and invite that from their nanny do mean that because sometimes that might mean having a difficult conversation with your nanny or the nanny bringing forth kind of a touchy or sensitive topic. Such as, “maybe there’s a better way to facilitate nap time or maybe there’s a different sleep schedule that might benefit your child more”, something to that effect. 

Mary Poppins also sets the expectation that the father is going to communicate with her respectfully and kindly.

(Again, I take that to mean “parents” not just the “father”). 

I think it’s pretty typical that families believe in the value of being kind and respectful to their nannies but, I also do hear stories from nannies sometimes that things go down in a way that’s not very kind and respectful and vice versa too, It certainly goes both ways. 

I think that having that expectation there, as Mary Poppins certainly did, that everyone is kind and respectful to one another, is the key.

Mary Poppins is setting boundaries and expectations about her days off.

That kind of makes me think of having a clear-cut working agreement or nanny contract where the schedule is very well defined, any additional hours outside of those that are normally planned, those are discussed and agreed upon in advance, and if the nanny has things going on during normal downtime for him or her, those plans were honored and it’s not expected that the nanny is just going to drop plans to come and join the family. 

Setting those clear boundaries, make sure that if you want to work with a Marry Poppins nanny, you can handle what that all entails. 

Mary Poppins also set clear boundaries with the children.

This means if they need to take their medicine, they take it, if they need to clean their rooms, they’re doing it.

She has expectations about children being healthy, being kind, and also following the rules.

Make sure that if you truly want a Mary Poppins nanny, you’re okay with them following a structure and making sure they have boundaries, setting forth expectations about rules with children. Beyond that, we all know Mary Poppins is eternally cheerful. She brings joy and happiness into the home when she comes into the home each day, she’s always singing and dancing and weaving important life lessons and magic into the day.

While all of those things are awesome, I also know that I’m not my best self every day, I try and I reach for that but, some days it just doesn’t happen. 

So, keep in mind that while Mary Poppins is great and cheerful, musical, all of those things that we love are attributes and characteristics of nannies, it just might not be possible that it happens every day. 

Remember that Mary Poppins is a fictional character and while we can strive to maybe emulate what she represents, it’s also maybe not realistic to be 100% of that 100% of the time. 

While all of these qualities are amazing, It’s also really hard to maintain that all of the time. 

The “spoonful of sugar” moments, also known as the joyous, cheerful, magical moments that will make the medicine go down, also known as sometimes having tough conversations, setting clear boundaries, and upholding expectations concerning communication, and being respectful and kind with one another. Mary Poppins might just not be the perfect fit for every family. 

If you’re a family and you’re looking for that Mary Poppins nanny, make sure that you remember what that all entails is not just the cheerful joyful moments, it’s also the firm boundaries, the expectations, all of those other things, including sometimes having tough conversations. 

Alright, thank you so much to “Madam-Mayor-Is-Love” for bringing forth this interesting discussion point. I had fun thinking about that and how that all applies to just day-to-day interactions, the people who I speak with every day say, “Hey, I want that Mary Poppins Nanny”. 

It’s just an interesting thing to consider, I hope you found this video helpful and interesting. If you like what you saw, please subscribe, click the like button, ring the bell, do all these things so that we can connect with you the next time we release one of these helpful videos. 

Alright, thanks again everyone for joining us. See you next time. Take care. Bye-bye. 


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