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.
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.