Who babysits celebrity children
When her phone rang, Connie Simpson thought Matt Damon was going to wish her a happy birthday. But the reason for the call, she says, was different. The actor asked if she could help a friend. He is expecting twins, but has no idea about babies. Friend's name: George Clooney.
Connie Simpson says she hasn't written an application in 30 years. Her reputation precedes her, most people simply call her "Nanny Connie". She has worked for Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, she accompanied Jessica Alba and Emily Blunt after they had children, she helped Brooke Shields, who suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to her first child, with her second baby. She's the Hollywood nanny.
Life with newborns and toddlers is a life full of questions and uncertainties. Ever strapped a baby in the child car seat? Sounds easy. But how exactly does the belt have to run now? Are the porters also sitting correctly? And doesn't the little head dangle too much? It's hard enough if you're not a celebrity. But when Hollywood stars become parents, there is also: paparazzi snap their seat belt attempts, the whole world watches them parenting.
"Don't go out when the child is tired"
"My job is to teach these parents how to be parents like anyone else," says Connie Simpson on the phone. It is important to prepare the stars well for their new role, to give them self-confidence: "I teach them how to fasten a child seat in the car. I tell them: Don't go out with the child when it's tired, but when it is rested. "
Connie Simpson's mother worked as a nurse for the black community in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. As a little girl, Simpson accompanied her on her house calls. Simpson likes to speak with a southern accent and of himself in the third person. She speaks loudly, after the second sentence she calls the caller alternately "Sweetheart" and "Honey". The children of her customers are called "Little Miss So-and-so" in the phone call. The parents she worked for are referred to as her sons and daughters.
Simpson says she values authenticity. She derives that from her origins: "If you show up at someone's front door without a cent in your pocket, but you are who you really are, then that is worth more than all money and wealth."
As much as Simpson likes to talk about herself, she doesn’t get any really private details about the Hollywood celebrities. Of course not. For the famous parents and their famous children, Simpson's secrecy should be just as important a core competence as teaching them basic knowledge of how to fasten seat belts or diapers.
With all this sense of mission, it comes as no surprise that Simpson has also written an educational guide in which she offers some very small glimpses into the lives of her celebrity clients. "The Nanny Connie Way" is the name of the book, on the cover of a baby's diaper emblazoned the slogan "Have No Fear", above it a commendable quote from Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake. Maybe that's what makes the symbiosis: Connie is silent about the most private of her customers and in return receives well-dosed details to help her market herself as a star nanny.
Six years with the Damon family
Nanny Connie offers all-round care: the parents call her as soon as the baby is born. It stays there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sometimes for years. Matt Damon and his wife, for example, wanted to make sure that Nanny Connie would be available in case they decided to have a second child. They booked Simpson for six years after the birth of their first daughter.
Simpson also makes it clear who is the boss in the parent-nanny relationship: "My customers don't choose me, I choose my customers! There were some first-line celebrity families that I turned down because they did not want to get involved with their child, "says the 60-year-old. Simpson takes the risk of telling the Hollywood parents what they think, not all of them are used to this in their everyday lives. She had to, she says, forbid some people to shower their child with toys: "Love sometimes also means saying no." When Matt Damon's daughter wanted a kid's computer, Nanny Connie built one with her. From a box.
One of the main themes of her work is: normality. All babies have the same basic needs, regardless of the parent's status. Above all, Hollywood mothers, for whose careers appearance plays an important role, must first stop counting calories. "If you want to breastfeed, you can remove the word diet from your vocabulary right away," writes Simpson in her book.
After 257 families, she stopped counting
Her tips are not new, she admits that herself. "The knowledge of how to deal with newborns was always there. There was nothing wrong with the way people used to do things. But it went out of style at some point. I made it my business to bring this ancient knowledge back To breathe life. "
Nanny Connie didn't get rich with her work, at least she says herself. But she doesn't want to talk specifically about money, she only reveals this much: When she started as a nanny, she charged 65 dollars a day. Now they are based on an hourly rate common in rich Hollywood. It's between $ 15 and $ 27, and her 24-hour job would result in a daily rate of $ 360 to $ 650: "I'm more at the upper end of the salary range," says Simpson.
Simpson is now 60 years old. The time she has spent in different families is slowly coming to an end, she says. She doesn't know how many families she has looked after in her career. "I stopped counting about ten years ago. There were 257 families," she says, and adds with a laugh, "I have a bunch of kids."
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