When parents look for answers on everything from bath time to potty training, they might turn to classes, SuperNanny, or the Web (ahem). Sometimes, though, the best lessons come from someone right in front of your eyes: your own nanny. Not only have nannies taken care of kids of all kinds, they also have the gift of perspective—meaning, they can see things about you that you can't. So you can get interesting insights into childcare and parenting, like these priceless pieces of information other moms like you learned.
Our nanny taught me everything!
"I had never even held a baby before having my first child and I was at a total loss about motherhood. Seriously. My nanny showed me how to feed, change diapers, put the baby to sleep, you name it. And she taught me that I needed to be extremely gentle and calm, because babies pick up on everything. I never could have done it without her."—Meredith Roberts Quill, a mom of two in Los Angeles who blogs at Baby Bump Talk
Our nanny taught me creative feeding ideas
"We didn't get a nanny until my son was 2. I used to give in to a lot of his feeding demands, like I'd cave and let him have Doritos at the deli because it seemed easier than fighting. But our nanny was so creative with making nutritious food exciting, with things like sliced apples dipped in peanut butter and fruit and cheese carved into lollipop shapes. I learned some tasty things!"—Christina Jaramillo, a mom of one in Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Our nanny taught me to forget work and enjoy the kids
"Watching our nanny interact with my children has made me realize that at times, my work and life stress have eclipsed enjoying the kids. It took noticing the joy that they share when they decorate cupcakes or play to make me understand that it's important for parents to put down the cell phone and truly enjoy our children."—Nina Johnson, a mom of two in Durango, Colorado
Our nanny taught me to chill
"Our last nanny truly had the patience of a saint—she was better at remaining calm in situations that would totally set me off, like when my daughter was having a major meltdown. Instead of flying off at the handle—like I might do!—the nanny would either ignore the situation or address it with my child later. She set a good example for how to roll with the punches."—Ameena Din, a mom of one in Los Angeles who blogs at Fancy That … Fancy This
Our nanny taught me to find the fun
"My nanny has shown me to find creative ways to have a good time, down to rainy days! Going stir crazy? Try reading a story aloud to each other, baking favorite treats, playing board games, and planning the family's upcoming vacation."—Candi Wingate, a mom of two in Northgate, Nebraska
Our nanny taught me the key to potty training
"Our nanny had successfully gotten her own five kids and countless others to go potty. And since she was with my kids for the majority of the weekdays, it made sense for her to take the lead. She helped me understand that you can't force this. You can use positive reinforcements when the kids tinkle or poop, like giving them stickers, but they have to be inherently ready to make it permanent habit. My nanny was my potty patron saint!"—Hedy Rosenblut, a mom of two in Rye, New York
Our nanny taught me the best medicine trick!
"Our nanny is naturally very maternal, which is something I admittedly lack. I've always turned to her for advice, especially when the kids are sick—ear infections always elude me. But she taught me the best way to give a toddler medicine. You aim the dropper into the back of your child's cheek, instead of the front where the goop will drip out. Works every time."—Meredith Soleau, a mom of three in Toledo, Ohio, who blogs at Life's Crazy Joke
Our nanny taught me to take care of me
"In the beginning, our nanny helped me get a proper breastfeeding latch. She also checked in to make sure that I was eating nourishing food, drinking enough water, and taking care of myself. When babies are first born, it's easy to forget that you matter, too—but I never did, thanks to my nanny." —Eva Glettner, a mother of three in Los Angeles who blogs at Minivan Blues