Being on Twitter has recently become a favorite activity. Not because I am bored and needing to fill time, but because of the nanny community that I have begun to develop on there. If you are not a nanny it is hard to understand the struggles and pleasures of everyday life helping raise someone else's kids. Interacting with others who understand and encourage each other in it is refreshing.
This interesting situation of being paid to (help) raise someone else's child is kind of unnatural and surreal for many people. Most full-time nannies spend anywhere from 35-60 hours a week with their chargers. In any situation where you are spending that quantity of time with another human being relationship and attachment is bound to form in one or both parties. Add the innocence and unconditional love that most children have and you have created a situation where attachment and love is guaranteed.
In the "Nanny World" there are several different types of levels of nanny. By level I mean amount of time spent with the children, requirements of the nanny, expectation of care, and open availability. The most demanding level would be someone who has a job much like Annie from Nanny Diaries. She is a live-in Nanny and expected to be on call 24/7 or anytime MB or DB requests - vacations and time off are hard to get. The least demanding (for lack of better word) would be a part time nanny who works anywhere from 2-5 days a week doing basic child care while MB/DB work or run errands for those few hours. With every situation in between those two extremes I am always curious at what different nannies and agencies consider professional.
After a rather fun and long weekend with Bear and Bug I was exhausted yesterday before the work day even began. As I laid in bed before my day started I was thinking of two precious moments of cuddle time, one with each boy. With this heavy on my heart I posted:
"When you love someone else's child so much it hurts" #SignItIsGoingToBeHardToLeave
Now I am not planning on leaving anytime soon (I committed at least another year) but as Bear and I laid in bed cuddling Sunday morning and my heart literally hurt because I love him so much. That is when I knew I was in trouble! Big trouble!
A sweet Nanny who also watches a family member's child made a comment "#alwaysstayproffesional which is hard to do". Oh how she speaks truth!! The question that quickly popped in my head why is getting attached to our charges unprofessional in our industry? What is unprofessional with developing a loving relationship with the kids that I spend all day every day with?
As I began to do some research the answer became very clear to my. Insecurity. One simple, complex, ugly word. Both in the MB and the Nanny. I think most moms worry that the Nanny will be more loved, more needed, and more cherished than her. The Nanny worries that they will be let go, not be able to leave, or give up who they are for the children they watch.
Here is the deal though if I want to be the best Nanny I can and do what is best for the boys I need to love them. Despite all the attachment and worries that may happen. When I can love the boys it allows me to do what is best for them.
When I first started watching Bear and Bug I often would ask myself "If these were my kids how would I respond/what would I do"? Almost a year later I rarely ask that question because on some level they are mine. They are not my children! That is important to remember, I am not the parent but I am their nanny. In the same way one would use the verbiage "my niece, my nephew, my students" nannies often use the verbiage "my boys, my girls, my kids". We fully realize and know they are not ours in the end we are not the ones who have responsibility of how they turn out as adult humans, their parents are.
Some would say that is unprofessional, in the same way they would say it is unprofessional for a doctor or lawyer to become emotionally invested in their clients. However I would argue that becoming emotionally attached actually allows a professional to do what is in the best interest of their client or charge. Especially When It Comes To Kids!
Children need to feel loved and supported by someone! Whether it is Mom, Dad, or Nanny - children innately need to feel that love. They need to know someone has their back, their best interest, and will always be a support. It is that last one "always be a support" that makes everyone a little worried about letting the little ones capture your heart. Because as a Nanny 9 out of 10 times you wont always be there in the end. My thought is that leaving is a natural part of all life. Even with parents that stay home and raise their kiddos, there will come a point when Mom or Dad wont be around to help out.
So it will be the same with the Nanny. You may be there for a month, a year, or 10 years. No matter how long you are investing in your children give them all you have. When a teacher starts at a new school they don't give half of themselves to their students in fear that they will only be teaching for a year. They give their all, pouring long hours and mass amounts of energy into their students and work. As a Nanny it should be the same.
We need to keep our professional standards high and give our chargers our all. Pour all the love and energy you can into them. They need you. They need your support. You are not their Mom. You are not their Dad. You are their Nanny, their best friend, their support system when MB and DB are away. Don't hold back in fear of the heart ache that will follow when your time with them is done. You don't do it with your best friends, your parents, your siblings so why do it with your NK? At some point every relationship ends, separation is a part of life and apart of our jobs.
Love your Nanny-Kids.