Having been a sole charge nanny for most of my career, recently I’ve been having the pleasure of working with a family with Mum at home. When contacted by this family I was quite sure it wasn’t something I was interested in, something I was too experienced for and too set in my ways to change to be able to do. Having said that, I agreed to go and meet them and listen to their needs. On meeting we hit it off, Mum was due to have her second baby in a matter of weeks, their son seemed interested in me and happy to interact, I could only offer a few hours a week but it seemed a few hours was better than none for them, so we agreed I would start and give Mum some time to prepare for their second baby. I was only due to help out for 8 weeks or so, I figured it would give them enough time to get on their feet and surely I could be a mothers help for a few hours a week without feeling like I was totally out of my comfort zone.
So the contract began, there wasn’t any dragging child away from his mum, there wasn’t empty hours where I wondered what I should be doing, there wasn’t conflict between the two of us over who was in charge, we didn’t skirt around each other unsure of what was expected and what could be asked of. We worked alongside each other in a way I don’t think I had ever realised was possible. This is a mother who works part time but just so happens to be on maternity leave, I wasn’t made to feel like I was there whilst she lunched and had her nails done, she wanted to be part of our day, sit and play with us and hear what we had been up to.
Baby was born and there was a lengthy stay in hospital, me being there enabled life to continue on for their first child, the routine stayed the same for those hours I was there, meals were cooked, life was normal for him, mum and dad had one less thing to worry about.
Since baby has been home, I’ve extended my stay with them. I now not only get a 2 year old pleased to see me but I also get baby smiles and giggles, they both know me, both happy to be with me. Mum can leave both children with me and make appointments, get chores done and not only have that extra pair of hands, but all the emotional support that that an extra person involved in your children’s lives comes with.
This week I was totally blown away which has prompted this blog I suppose. Mum and I spent the whole day together at the Farm with both children, it was her birthday and it was a glorious day so we packed up the car and headed off. In 20 years of being a nanny I have never done this, I don’t think a parent has ever made me lunch before let alone a picnic. There were no awkward silences, no odd moments when it wasn’t clear who was in charge, who was feeding a baby, who was pushing a swing, it all felt completely natural as if I was just out with a nanny friend who had joined us at the farm for the day. Even as we got back to the car park and tried to get into someone else’s car (it looked quite similar honest!) we just laughed it off.
I don’t think I can put my finger on why the relationship works, maybe it’s our closeness in age, maybe it’s our personalities, maybe I have mellowed, but whatever it is I am thankful for that day I received the message asking for help. I truly believe this will be another family who stay close to my heart and I get to see these boys both grow up into incredible young men.
I guess what I want to say is sometimes it’s ok to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, you never know it might actually just surprise you.