The rainy day collage Ellie made with her nanny.

Hey Friends…Ellie’s nanny very generously shared what runs through head as the (gulp) person that spends the most time with my child. 
So if you ever wondered what the nanny was thinking…here is a clue:
When people ask me, “How are you a nanny?”  this usually translates to, “I couldn’t do it”, or “It seems so hard to entertain a baby all day.” My answer is always the same to these people; working with children is a constant reminder to enjoy the life that’s right in front of us. I get to bask in the explorations and admiration of this fascinating world, and share everyday experiences in the eyes of a child. It keeps me young, happy and most importantly fully awake to this world.
After all, shouldn’t we as adults still clap and dance when we hear our favorite song?

However, being a nanny has some significant baggage and fears that go along with it. You are taking care of SOMEONE ELSE’S child. You are dealing with another adult’s views on parenting styles, their personal and professional life, all while trying to maintain a safe and enriching environment for their offspring. The moment that door locks leaving me with another’s child for the next 10 hours, an array of fears wash over me…

In no particular order

#1. I fear the mother of the child I nanny for will start to resent me. I fear she will become jealous, and bitter towards me because of the time I spend with THEIR child. I cringe with guilt that I am the one who gets to go on play dates and outings around the neighborhood while mommy’s at work. I secretly enjoy that the child follows mommy’s every move in the morning while she gets ready to leave, and I love that she cries a little bit once mommy’s out the door. I cringe if she cries when I leave at the end of the day. Of course, I love that she likes me so much, but I fear the day that the mother might start to look me in the eyes with pangs of hate rather than appreciation.

#2. I am terrified of the child getting hurt or violently sick on my time. Yes, children get bumps and bruises, but I am talking about broken bones and stitches and other hospital worthy circumstances. As children, most of us have taken a trip to the hospital for one or all of these situations, for some, numerous times. I have been a lifeguard and certified in First Aid for the past 10 years, therefore dealing with some bloody situations, but as a nanny, I am TRUSTED to keep her most precious creation safe. One thing I don’t ever want to do is make that phone call starting with, “something happened…” Which is probably why I take the phrase, “watched like a hawk” to a whole new level.

#3. I NEVER want to cross any personal/professional boundaries. While this is the most personal job as far as jobs get, I want to keep it professional. I internally fight with myself if I am sharing too much of my personal life. Just being Facebook friends is enough to get me canned. Not to mention the knotted ball I get in my throat and flushness filling my cheeks if I am asked to stay for a beer or join dinner at a friends. I get uncomfortable that I am crossing some sort of employer versus “the help” restrictions. That is basically what a nanny is, the help, if this was an era previous of 1960. Of course, I’ve never, ever been treated or felt that way. In fact, I’m so comfortable with my boss, which is the reason I fear that I will be unprofessional or cross a line.

#4. I fear, I pray, I hope I do not in any way screw up that child. I am actually hiding my head in shame now as I recall going to The Museum Of Natural History and pointing out the names of each skeleton dinosaur – realizing after reading the diagrams how completely wrong I was. And I thought, “Oh God, someday you’re going to say; ‘but Jillian said…’”. Embarrassed.

Then there are the times when all three of us are together and the mother instantly knows what it is the child wants or needs right away, but when it’s just the two of us, I sometimes test her patience until I figure out what exactly it is that she is trying to tell me. I have a dual degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education with a minor in English Literature. In simpler terms, I am suitable to work with children from infancy to 12 years of age. I can prove, using Blooms Taxonomy and theorists such as Vygotsky and Freud the whys, whats and hows each activity, toy and PLAY affect a child’s developmental growth. I can plan and engage numerous activities to stimulate, cognitive, physical and motor, emotional and social skills through the use of age appropriate materials, but I am not a mother. I am not acting as the child’s mother, nor do I want to. I am very capable of screwing up a child to the point of no return. I mean, I already taught her how to make the farting noise with her lips. :-/

#5. When it’s my time to go, or I am no longer needed as the nanny, I fear I will not be remembered by the child. By the time a child is 3, their brain has undergone some of the biggest milestones of development, yet memory is limited. There is a huge chance that the child I spend such immense time with will go through their entire life not knowing how big of a part I played in their early years. Not knowing that they loved me as much as I loved them. While they may be told by their family and friends about me. My fear is that she will not have a memory of her own about me.

While I take these fears with me each day, they are minuscule to the joy and thankfulness that as a nanny, I get to share with this family and for letting me into their home and hearts.

And that’s the point of view from the nanny’s perspective.

4 Comments

  1. Lindsay | Solo Mama says: August 11, 2012 • 20:11:36

    I worked as a nanny for 4 years while I put myself through college. The family had 4 children and I LOVED them as much as you can love any child. The mom became my best friend and we’re still close, even 10 years later.

    I can say, as a former nanny, that the nanny knows EVERYTHING. Even the things you think she doesn’t. Because what you don’t tell her or she doesn’t figure out for herself, your child is definitely going to share!

    Reply

  2. Grace says: June 23, 2012 • 03:53:36

    I know this a few months old, but i just found it while looking for solutions to help the child I work with to stop calling me mommy. Your last paragraph was so sweet. I have been with my little one for almost a year and related to every thing you wrote. I hate to think that after investing so much of my time in her that I won’t even be remembered.

    Reply

  3. Meg D says: March 2, 2012 • 19:30:21

    This is clearly an exceptional nanny. I think that a lot of class difference/envy comes up with less educated nannies and parents. That was a tough one for me when we employed a full time person. I always felt that “liberal guilt” about the fact that we had enough money to pay someone’s entire salary. And she never felt like we paid quite enough. It was 99% a loving relationship but there was that 1% of weirdness that never went away.

    Thanks for this insight, though, it’s great to see.

    Reply

  4. mommy says: March 2, 2012 • 03:12:39

    You are doing a beautiful job with elliebellie and i thank you from the bottom of my heart. hugs and kisses from her mimi.

    Reply

Leave a comment