By Julia Filiberti, Professional Nanny and Babysitter
Clothing is a form of expression humans have been exploring for centuries. Portraying rank, religion or status, fabric and the way we wear it communicates messages to the outside world. As a recent college graduate, I watch as some of my peers transition from wearing clothing appropriate for a lecture hall to a wardrobe fit for a corporate office. As my friends ditch their sweatshirts for blazers, I take a different route as I consider a wardrobe suitable for my nanny career.
As a nanny, I dress for the children I work with. When getting ready for a day, I must ask myself questions like: How old are the children? What do they need from me today?- and of course: How many additional stains will I acquire on my shirt? I adjust my outfit to fit the needs of the children for whom I am caring, along with the expectations of the family whose home I work in.
Caring for an infant is a true labor of love, and I always make sure to wear a soft shirt with no writing, buttons, or zippers on the front in anticipation of the amount of time I will spend holding the baby. Soft, simple shirts ensure that said infant may comfortably rest their head as I rock, cuddle and comfort them throughout the day. Infant care generally involves little time outside of the house, and so my level of formal presentability is less important than a clean, comfortable uniform which is easy for me to sit, stand and bend in. Because I am entering a home as an employee, I want to be as professional as possible despite the spit up and cuddle potential for my day, and so I try to stick to light, neutral colors that won’t highlight milk spills. I believe that clean, simple outfits that have been washed in hypoallergenic, unscented detergent with no scented perfume or lotion are the ideal infant-care uniform.
Nannying for toddlers means spending much more time out and about: Playing, exploring and enriching little minds with big adventures. The toddler age marks the beginning of play groups, preschool and outdoor adventures. I always ask a new family for whom I am working what their expectation is for my wardrobe, as some parents have a specific idea in mind for how they want me to present to the world when I am with their children. If a family does not have a specific outfit-style in mind, I choose NON-white shirts in anticipation of the possibility of food flying through the air. I usually wear professional pants made from more forgiving, stretchy material so I can keep up with the silly games we play and try to choose clothes with pockets to hold any small toys or tissues. Shoes that can slide easily on and off for inevitable “hey, come back here!” moments are key.
School-Age Care Jobs
Overseeing the schedules and care of school-age children requires a more professional wardrobe, and so dress what I would describe to be one level below business casual. I no longer run the risk of messes ruining nice clothing, and I am not spending time squatting on the floor or playing outside in mud and grass. A pair of comfortable-but-professional dress pants along with a simple dress shirt ensure presentability and comfort when running errands, directing activities for the day and helping with school work. Throwing an apron over my outfit if meal prep is required keeps away messes and allows me to navigate around the kitchen in comfort.
Ultimately, the goal of any nanny outfit is to ensure that both the children and you feel as comfortable as possible. So, while some individuals are heading to the dry cleaners to pick up a suit, I go for the comfortable, kid-friendly, washable pieces.
Dressing by age of child and expectation of parent ensures that I can play a fun game of hide and seek, bottle feed a gassy baby or meet with a private school teacher all while overseeing the care of the children for whom I nanny comfortably and confidently.
Julia is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Julia has nannied since 2013 and is a true professional in the field. Read her bio, which follows: “For years, I have been lucky enough to work with loving families who have trusted me with their children and welcomed me into their home as if I were an older sibling. I enjoy working as a team with parents to guide children into living creative, experience rich and meaningful lives. When I finish working regularly with a family, I always think back to when I began with them and how much their kids have grown up right in front of me. I beam with pride that I was a part of their social, emotional, and mental development while providing care for them.
I believe I am unique as a childcare provider because of my background in communicative studies. I discuss the goals of the parents regarding language development with their younger children as well as consistently encourage kids of all ages to be truthful and free with their words. My passion for working with children has only gotten stronger over the years, as have my skills for making kids feel comfortable and carefree. I feel that leading with love and making children smile is the easiest way to earn trust and create meaningful relationships.”