This week has been tough for me.
For a little over a year now I have nannied for one little girl. Ainsley. And this past May I started taking care of her brother soon after he was born. His name is Jack. I was fortunate enough to meet him only hours after he was born.
Their close age gap (12 months and roughly 2 weeks) has brought it's challenges. Anyone who has taken care of two under the age of two knows that it isn't always a walk in the park. Ha! If you only knew what it entailed to take that simple walk in the park. Bottles. Sippy cups. Wipes. Dipes. Blankets. Sunscreen. Hats. Jackets. Burp rags. 'nacks. Lots of 'nacks. Heaven forbid you go anywhere without a 'nack. You adapt, though. You learn to plan. And to think ahead. I tried to be good at this. And I was. But I came up short many times too. I remember the first time I brought them to the park together. I forgot the bottle for Jack. He was a mere 10 days old at the time. Lesson learned as I loaded them both up in car to go home for the much needed bottle of formula. However, there is a high that comes from a successful outing with two little ones. Getting them home, tummies filled, and safely snuggled in their beds. You collapse into a chair and flip between camera one and camera two on the monitor. You breathe a sigh of relief seeing them both slumbering peacefully. And if you're lucky they will continue to simultaneously nap for at least the next 90 minutes. Usually more. A lot of nannies joke that nap time is their favorite part of their work day. Not me, though. Does it come in a very close second to the laughter, playtime and giggles? You betcha.
This job has by far been the most difficult nanny position I have had in the five years that I have worked as a professional caretaker. Tomorrow is my last day. You'd think I'd be overjoyed with this. Not the case. I can't even begin to put into words how sad I am. Yes I chose to be done. But it definitely doesn't make things any easier.
The impact these dear children have had on my life is indescribable. At almost 23 months and 11 months, it may sound weird to say that I've learned a lot about life from these tiny little humans. It's kinda funny how that works. You're hired to have an impact on their lives. Not the other way around. And you only hope that your small role as teacher, playmate, discipliner, friend, boo boo kisser (amongst others) has been worth it for the kids and parents. Yet in the end you're the one that walks away so much better off than you were before you met them. I am hoping to remain in their lives indefinitely even though I am not their nanny anymore. I have fantasies of picking up each of them (separately) from daycare once a month or so, and having a fun day of one on one adventures with each of them. I hope the relationship continues where I am allowed to do that. I have a hard time being done with them completely. Says the girl who had all five of her former charges in her wedding last summer. Side note: both of those former families will be the families I work for this spring and summer. Nanny recycling.
Perhaps you're wondering why I decided to leave. It's not an easy answer. There are a lot of reasons that go into why I am getting out of the full time (keyword) professional nanny world. While I still remain passionate about the career, I don't feel the same passion for it that I did when I was younger. I am still going to remain caring for children (older ones that can wipe their own bums) at least through this summer, and I may do it very part time even after that. But I need to move on. And maybe even have a family of my own. A large part of me (the selfish part) wanted to remain Jack and Ainsley's nanny, despite my declining passion for the profession. Another part of me thought I'd snap out of my funk and regain my passion for it again. I thought it was just a bout of the winter blues, combined with (gasp!) some post-nuptial depression. But then there was the other part of me that needed to be honest. And real. Nannying full time for a family with small children is not something I am capable of doing anymore. I hate having to admit when I can't do something. But this is not something you can fake. Nor is it a job you do just because the money is good. Much like any other profession in the caregiving realm (nursing, teaching, etc), you have no business being in it unless you love it more than 90% of the time. I say 90% because let's be real. You're not always going to be at 100%. It's a fact of life.
It's nap time right now. Ainsley is still talking to herself in her crib (go to sleep, dear girl) but Jack is out cold. He skipped his morning nap today (a very rare occurrence--usually when the cleaning lady is here like today) so by the time I was feeding him a bottle at 12:30 he fell asleep in the middle of it. This never happens. But given this is the second to the last day that I will have the privilege of feeding him this bottle, I completely soaked up every second and rocked him gently while he slept in my arms. I think he knew that I needed those snuggles. Today more than ever. Maybe he will do it again tomorrow too.