I still pretty much consider myself a stay at home mom, but I somehow picked up nannying along the way. It started out as a mutual favor to a friend, but along the way I have somehow maintained my job. While I am now with a different family, I still find myself nannying part time to make a little extra income and also stay with my daughter. I never looked for work, but work found me. For a season, it has been good, and I still get to be with my daughter every day.
making awkward faces
When I had Lillian I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to stay home with her. I have lots of good friends who went back to work. Some of them didn’t want to, and some of them did. I just knew if I went back I would be sitting in my office crying, or that I would take any excuse to get off early to be with Lillian. I could tell I would be a horrible employee and that my heart would always be torn. I knew I would resent my employer and paycheck, always wanting back my time. I have very limited family where I live, so finding childcare would have been tough. And half of my hard earned money would have gone straight to her childcare.
I remember watching the movie Spanglish many moons ago and laughing even then, because I remember thinking that if I had a daughter I would probably be a lot like that mom. I loved how she just took her daughter to work with her. She had to make money as a single mother, but she also got to have her daughter with her.
My daughter has learned how to be flexible. While other kiddos sleep in their own cribs for nap time, my kiddo is the one sleeping on someone’s couch. I have felt bad time to time, carting Lillian around on account of someone else’s schedule. Yet, I am sitting across from her now watching her sleep deep during her nap on a couch. It doesn’t phase her. She isn’t needy. She is just happy, honestly.
Nannying has taught me many things. It has taught me tons of patience. It has taught me how difficult it is to have to care for more than one kid. It has taught me that there is nothing more priceless than the face of a kid or parent when they see each other after a long day of work. It has taught me that a caretaker is a very important role. I feel blessed to be able to work with the little girl I nanny, who also has a rare genetic disability. She teaches me love, acceptance, joy, and curiosity like no one I have ever met.
Having my daughter around another little girl has also taught her many things. She has learned how to share before she has a sibling. She has had the blessing of being around a little gal who faces challenges daily due to her disability, and Lillian needs to be patient with her, too. Lillian has learned that while she is a big part of my world, she is not the center of the world, and that other people matter and have feelings, too.
I don’t know how long I will nanny for, but for the time being it is so good to me. I never expected going from an office job where I wore heels and drank coffee with my marketing co-workers around a table to spending my days wiping butts and giving kisses on boo-boos, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is literally the hardest job I have ever done, but one filled with so much silliness and laughter and goodness.
Sometimes I feel like my world has turned upside-down. I find that I am surrounded by so many strong, successful, career-driven women. I chose to ditch that life when I said goodbye to my career and hello to being a stay at home mom. Sometimes I feel less than worthy that I am making a little above minimum wage when my resume could get me back in a corporate job, tomorrow. I often have found myself saying I am “just a stay at home mom”. Now, I am “just a nanny and kind of a stay at home mom”.
But I am over all that. Thankfully. I am now beyond grateful for this season of time God gave me to humble me. I have been blessed with a beautiful daughter and with precious time with her (which I should never take for granted), and also another precious little girl to care for. What a fun gift. I have learned to stop justifying what I do or shrinking back in my decisions for my life. I chose to do what I deemed best for my family. Yes, it was one of the scariest decisions in my life. It is really hard to say goodbye to a paycheck and live on one income. But I did it, and I won’t apologize anymore, and shouldn’t. (Plus, no one wants to hear it). I love what I do. It is my favorite job I have ever had, one that I get little praise or feedback for, but that I love to do with all my heart.