In all honesty, it is often more difficult to care for other people’s children than for your own. With your own children, you can bend the rules and change them as you go. You can let your child sleep in the car seat in the garage, or leave him crying while you take two minutes to brush your teeth. Nannies can’t. You can take a day off and park your child in front of the TV, or be grumpy before you’ve had your coffee; you can lose your temper when your child colors on the dog with a Sharpie marker or decides to cut her own hair. Nannies cannot do that . Being a nanny can be every bit as challenging and exhausting as being a parent,but without the leeway that parents can periodically afford themselves.

One of the main things I try to impress upon parents is that being a nanny is DIFFICULT. This job requires a ‘jack of all trades’ mentality; you have to be a mother but also a helper; you have to be proactive but also subservient; you have to make it personal by showing your child love, but also show the parents professionalism. Many nannies work twelve hour days and commute for an hour or more to get to and from their jobs. They may be leaving their own children and families in other countries so they can earn a living and seek better lives.When the toddler is on her tenth tantrum of the day, and the preteen is sassing back, and the five-year-old tips over the entire gallon of orange juice onto the floor, a mother has her love for her children to pull her through. A nanny has to rely on her own reserves of patience, strength, and determination to help her persevere.

The fact that a nanny is a “professional,” doesn’t make the realities of the job any easier, so you must provide them with utmost respect. Nothing requires more time, energy, and personal discipline than being a good parent—except when trying to parent someone else’s kid.