It’s true. I am not really a parent. I hear it all the time as I walk by and push my stroller with the two 19-month-olds in tow. We go to play dates and lunches, do crafts and sing songs. Most of all? We enjoy our days together as I work hard to create good little humans that will hopefully become good big humans.
So if I’m not a parent, you may be asking what I am talking about being with two 19-month-old kids all day. (Besides being that creepy woman walking the mall singing songs that no grown person should know…) I am a nanny. I hope to be a parent fairly soon, but for now I am what I call a “daytime parent stand-in”. I am educated in child development and have worked with kids since I was a kid myself. Here’s my story for the day…
I nanny for two children of separate families, both of which are currently 19 months old. I have been with them since they were 4 months old and I love every day of my work. Yes, there are days where I imagine the beach I will be on during my honeymoon and begin to drool, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love my work.
My job description includes: fostering the mental, emotional and social growth of each child while taking every precaution to protect their safety and well being. What does that sound like to you?
So tell me why I walk into a play date and upon finding I am the nanny of these two beautiful little people every single mom I have ever come into contact with says something along the lines of “Oh…of course YOU wouldn’t REALLY understand. After all, you’re just the nanny.”
JUST THE NANNY? Well, excuse me…I didn’t realize that because I don’t have to get up every few hours to feed a child (just yet) or that because I get to pass off a child at the end of my day, I was any less of a caregiver to this child as you are to yours.
(And don’t mention the tattoo! “You have a tattoo and you are a nanny? Do they know?” Yes, I do and yes I am and yes…they do. My tattoo has nothing to do with my ability to work with and care for children!)
While I realize I have no blood connection to this child, I would be just as devastated to see them in a cast on Monday morning as you would be to see a cut on their arm when you walked in at 5pm. I am still doing all the jobs you do while you are gone. And honestly speaking…don’t you WANT someone to treat your child as if they were as important and good as their own while you can’t be there?
It really amazes me to think about the thought processes behind the “YOU’RE JUST THE….” comments. I really don’t get it. Again, I understand I am not a parent, but I also understand that I go through teething and nightmares and picky eater issues all the same. I may not have them 24/7, but (beware of controversial comment here) neither do you unless you are a stay at home mom and your children aren’t currently in school. I still worry and wonder and work hard to find a new song so I only have to sing ‘ring around the rosie’ 50 times a day as opposed to 100.
Where I think the real stigma comes from is the two nanny urban legends every mother would naturally fear at some point:
- the nanny & the husband scenario
- the nanny being loved more than/being considered closer than the mom
Let me tell you, most of the time those urban legends just don’t happen. I want my job because I love working with kids. I can guarantee that no matter what I do or say with these kids all day, they will never (nor would I want them to ever) think of me as mom, and just for the record I have never personally known a nanny to look for a job with intentions of finding a man nor have I ever known a nanny to do anything inappropriate with someone’s partner.
I hope all parents will try to work past the “you’re just the’s” and work towards making relationships with the local nannies and caregivers. The “you’re just the” comments make us feel as bad as you feel when a doctor tells you they can’t give you information about a loved one because you’re “just the fiance/girlfriend/etc”. We love to help! We make great babysitters! We love to have play dates! Most of all we love to connect and get the kids active, and besides…I am sure I could use some adult talk time just as much as you could. But for now…
I am Nanny. A step up from the cool years-older-sister, a step down from Mommy, and exactly a daytime parent stand-in. If Mommy is a superhero, Nanny is her sidekick.