Life in the Bay Area can be a beautiful, robust, soul-satisfying adventure that few in the world have the privilege of experiencing. But it can be a hustle steeped in anxiety for those not flourishing financially. Living paycheck to paycheck can be deeply troubling for anyone, but especially here. Housing instability, the high cost of healthcare, food insecurity, and juggling credit? This grind will chip away at the well being and spirit of even the most positive among us. 

I was a professional nanny for 25 years. This work had my heart, and was endlessly rewarding. At the same time, it was often a financial balancing act. After a lot of time, trial and error, dedication to the craft and to my own self-worth, it finally paid the bills. Working with nanny placement agencies helped to get me there.

For most nannies the struggle is real. They are often underpaid, undervalued, and unseen. There are no retirement plans. There are no vacations. There’s only today, and keeping the lights on.

In order to honor the important and dynamic work that nannies do, we must see them as worthy of legal, market rate jobs that pay into social security, unemployment insurance and Medicare. 

If a nanny is given a respectful working environment and a livable wage, they will have a solid foundation in which to bring their absolute best to the work; and that work plays a central role in the happy and balanced childhoods of their charges. If the nanny’s needs are not met, the situation becomes unsustainable. The nanny has no choice but to leave the position, and maybe even the Bay Area. This adversely impacts families because children’s bonds with beloved caregivers are severed, and parents are left scrambling for childcare. In some cases the nanny may stay, but are unable to do their best by the kids, as unrelenting stressors take hold.

Nannies help shape the changemakers of our future. Value them. See them. Nannies, as much as anyone, deserve abundance in this magical and oftentimes punishing place we call home. 

Joy Colino, founder of Nannies Plus, is a natural connector with 25 years of experience as a professional nanny. She’s committed to crafting long term relationships between families and nannies that help kids to flourish, parents to feel assured and supported, and nannies to feel empowered and trusted. Joy grew up in San Francisco and now lives in Oakland. Her happiest moments are steeped in community, friendships and belly laughs.