kids

What they don't tell you about being a nanny.

It’s 9.30pm on a Wednesday night. I’m accompanied by a glass of Tempranillo and (now) half a block of Cadbury.

I am tired. Oh. So. Tired. I keep thinking of how my friends with kids that they created – and therefore are responsible for them indefinitely – must feel everyday, and then of me who gets to hand the ones I help raise back at some point.

Do I even deserve to feel this way? Deep down I know I am entitled to, but right now I doubt myself entirely. This kind of tired is not one caused by lack of sleep, however.

I’m drained. I am exhausted. My tank is empty.

It has been a brutal day. I am not too proud to admit that.

My charge managed to fracture 2 bones in his arm – on my watch. What made it worse was that the said event occurred just 3 hours after his new baby sister was introduced to the world and my 5-day stint of proxy parenting was scheduled to begin. I couldn’t make up such an impeccably timed series of events if I tried. A completely unavoidable situation, but that mere fact didn’t stop it from hurting any less.

After an hour of wailing, an abundance of tears (from us both), 2 X-rays and some decent pain medication, he was asleep. All 17.5kgs of him lay like a large weight in my arms and across my knee. I thought to myself;

“No one tells you about this when you become a Nanny.”

While I cannot stress the importance of being adequately trained in First Aid for emergency situations and discussing what protocols to follow when being faced in this type of situation, that wasn’t quite what I was referring to.

I’m talking about the emotional investment you have in the children. It’s about loving them to the ends of the earth but at the same time, not too much.

You cannot overstep the boundary, but we all know the purpose of individually catered care is to create secure, safe and personalised relationships with our charges. It’s about remembering to ask Miss 12 about her basketball match on Monday morning because I know it will make her day, memorising the way Mr 2 likes his toast to be cut for breakfast.

It’s learning to be part everything. You will have more hats to wear than fingers and toes combined. The taxi driver, house manager, chef and professional blanket finder. A toy car mechanic, lifeguard, judge, party planner and developmental specialist. Add also teacher, coach, carpenter, storyteller and nurse.
“Don’t you just play with kids all day?” They ask.

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If only they knew.

Forget your entitled one hour lunch and honouring your tea breaks, because this job is not nine to five. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have eaten a Vegemite sandwich for lunch – and usually because it was first refused by Mr 2.

You’ll attend professional development days and sign up for extra study units over and above your qualification. You’ll do your very best to know all there is to know, even if there is no technical requirements to do so. You’ll spend hours outside those allocated to be paid just trying to better yourself for the sole purpose of influencing those in your care just a little greater.

No one ever warned me of the times that I’d feel lonely or unappreciated. Spending eight hours of the day with someone who couldn’t string more than two words together is testing. The days you’d put on an extra load of washing or mop the floors for nobody to notice. There will be days where you feel as if you are failing. Are you teaching enough? Did you tidy enough? Should Mr 2 know more numbers, recognise more letters, be able to hang for longer or run faster?

But, you know what else they don’t warn you of?

The overwhelming love you are granted everyday. The brilliant opportunities to change the lives of some remarkable people. The chance to make a difference in the education and care of a small child’s life.

No one tells you the amount of happiness you will feel when your charge counts to 10 or says your name for the first time. They can’t tell you how great it feels to see to an introverted little man make friends independently or remembering to use the manners you helped instill in him.

No one tells you about the family you gain – even if they aren’t biological. They do not highlight that the people you work for will become some of the closest you will ever know. With them, you will laugh and you will cry and they will see you grow as a person, just as you do each day with their children. No one can ever explain how it feels to be in the room to see your NK (nanny kid) meet their new sibling for the first time. Others don’t remind you that your work will educate you more than you could ever teach them.

No one could ever accurately describe the emotions that flood when your bosses say “We couldn’t do this without you.”

There will be a time where it comes to an end and that’s one of the greatest – yet unavoidable – hardships that this career includes.

As I squeezed Mr 2 a little tighter, I remember to be grateful to have a job that requires so much love and effort. I remember to feel proud that there are people who trust me with their most prized possessions and to contribute to the greatest job in the world – helping raise and influence the future generation.

(And as much as I am stressed out of my mind right now, that this day will make a great 21st speech in the years to come.)

This post originally appeared on My Super Nanny.

For more from Jess, you can check out her blog Nanny Notions, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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