When you’re working in a highly personal setting, like someone’s home, it’s easy to forget that you’re still at work and have to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Sometimes, the line between personal and professional is crossed, and you may end up oversharing with the family you work for. In fact, oversharing is one of the most common complaints we hear from families about the nannies they hire. So, what is oversharing and how can we avoid doing it? Read on to learn more about how to avoid the dreaded T.M.I. (too much information).
What is oversharing?
Oversharing is the act of disclosing an inappropriate amount of information about one’s personal life. In the context of the nanny/family relationship, this can show up in a number of ways and at any stage of the hiring and employment process. For example, during a job interview with a family the nanny may say something along the lines of “I’m just nannying until I can open my own daycare” or “I’m only nannying until I can land an acting role”. That’s oversharing and it makes the family (the employers) question your level of commitment to the job. Oversharing can also look like engaging in a friendly conversation with one of the parents, where they’re sharing details of their personal life — their marital issues, workplace drama, gossip about the neighbours, etc. — and the nanny reciprocates by disclosing intimate details about their own life. It’s common to develop a closeness with the family that you work for, but it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, they are your employers. Would you tell your boss at any other workplace about your dating life, a messy breakup, or that party you went to over the weekend? Probably not.
How to avoid it
The first step to avoiding oversharing with your nanny family is to set boundaries right from the onset of the work relationship, and to maintain those boundaries throughout your employment. These boundaries can centre around what information you choose to share with your employers, which topics are off limits to talk about, whether or not you “friend” or “follow” your employers on social media, personal rules about not having a drink with your employers, and so on. Another way to avoid engaging in oversharing at work is to ask yourself “is this helpful for my employers to know?” and “will this make them question my childcare abilities?”. If the information is not useful or pertinent to your role as a professional childcare provider, it probably doesn’t need to be shared with your employers. If the information could make the employers view you in a negative light and question your abilities, it definitely doesn’t need to be shared with them.
Remember, it’s important to be authentic and give your nanny family the opportunity to bond with and get to know you. By avoiding oversharing, you’re simply ensuring that they get to know the best version of you!