The question of how much to pay for babysitting is a perennial topic at playgrounds and on play dates.
Most moms seem to land in the $10 to $15 per hour range. Anything more than $15 an hour would push babysitting into the land of impractical luxury, right?
Then this woman's story is bound to make your jaw drop open: Vanessa L. of Illinois tells SheKnows that she commands a $75,000 annual salary to care for children. In her fascinating world as a high-end nanny, this extraordinary rate is standard.
"I've been doing this work part-time since 2004, but made the switch to full-time in 2006," she says. Vanessa is blonde and cheerful, and interspersed her sips of latte with her boisterous laughter. She explained that she has always enjoyed caring for children, and several family friends even noticed that she had a special gift for childcare when she was still a teenager. Even though Vanessa has both her bachelor's and master's degrees, she found after graduating that the salary for high-end nanny jobs is at least $25,000 more per year than what she can command in her chosen field. "It's super flexible, too," she said.
It's hard to believe Vanessa's salary and her perks are real — but they are. Here are some of her most fascinating confessions and experiences.
Sometimes, families hire Vanessa just to travel with them and take care of the kids while they're all on vacation. As a result, Vanessa has seen the world. She's spent time in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, the Hamptons, Aspen and all over Europe. "My pay also skyrockets on vacations, since I charge per 24-hour period," she said. "Families usually give me several hours off during the day to [go on a] Jet Ski, boat and see the sites."
"I get incredible Christmas gifts," Vanessa explained. "Computers, iPads, designer bags and wallets and thousands of dollars in bonuses." It's not uncommon for her to receive birthday gifts and other bonuses throughout the year, too. "Some parents even get me my own credit card for whatever I want to buy the kids while they're in my care," she said.
Lest others assume that Vanessa's clients are bad parents or bad bosses, she explained that almost all of her clients are wonderful. Many of them are famous or powerful people, too. "My employers are usually kind and generous. For the most part, parents utilize me as a travel nanny or night nanny to help them feel more rested for daytime activities with their kids," she said. "It's not because they're bad parents or don't want to see their kids."
Of course, she has some horror stories to share. "I've certainly overheard some parents act terribly towards their children," she said. She's had parents leave her with a very ill infant so they could vacation to Mexico, and another time a set of parents left Vanessa to sit with their sick child in a hospital for three days while they continued with their vacation plans. "I don't think it's related to the high-end nanny part of my job," she said. "I think all parents have the capacity to be irresponsible."
"I've given up on telling people, 'they're not mine,'" Vanessa said. If strangers compliment the children, she usually just says thank you and tries to move on. "It can get funny when a person wants to keep talking to me, though, and I just keep pretending they're my kids and making up details."
Here's a wild one. Although Vanessa can easily command $75,000 per year, she sometimes chooses not to work. Some years, she takes time off between gigs for several months of personal vacation or time to herself, away from the demands of caring for children.
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