A few times in the last few weeks I’ve been greeted with, “wow you look after other people’s children all day, that must be a great job!” – which is oh so true. I love my job as a nanny, it’s probably why I’ve stuck at it for coming up to 10 years! I mean I have a degree in Health Sciences, yet I spend my days of the week filled with nursery rhymes, nappies, swing parks and homework!
It is such a privilege to be a part of each and every child’s life. However, there are multiple situations in which being a nanny has its challenges, just like any job! I thought for this blog post I’d share a little insight to what being a nanny (in my experience) is really like. I hope this makes you laugh a little – I’ve had such a long week I thought I’d share something light hearted!!
1. When kids tell you the truth
Im not going to lie, when a kid gives me a compliment I am so stoked! I know they really mean it (or really want something!)
On more times than not though, I’m greeted with comments like, “Keira, why do you have so many red spots on your chin”
“Chachaaaa (nickname) take skirt off. Me no like skirt. *tries to pull skirt off*
“Cha cha, you a graff (giraffe)”
Me- “oh is that because I’m tall?!”
His sister- no, it’s because your neck sticks out!
Sometimes I come home feeling very self conscious!
And 2. the never ending questions
Sometimes, they are slightly too awkward to answer. For example, child is touching her “private parts” and saying “ooh keira this feels nice, doesn’t it?” (Keira looks embarrassed and says don’t do that in public 😂)
Last week one of the girls I look after came out with a corker. There was an elephant on TV who was being fed peanuts. She shouts, “keira! Aren’t peanuts a boys privates?” I told her we sometimes eat peanuts… and without having a chance to explain she said
“Why are they are being rude and feeding the elephant my brothers private parts!” I almost fell off the chair laughing as told her to ask her dad!
3. Being on call
Yes, that’s right 24/7. If one of the children that I look after get sick, and one parents out of town, or if there’s a family emergency, it’s often keira to the rescue. While some people would hate this, I love that I’m able to do this for other people, as I know first hand what it’s like to live in a place with no immediate family. However, when you are working for multiple families, it begins to take over your life… in the last week 2 weeks I’ve clocked 110 hours in total!
4. Explosive poo.
I needn’t say more here, although I’ve learnt to wait until explosive poo is finished before changing their nappy. And be careful their hands don’t go in said poo, otherwise said poo goes all over you, in your hair, and all around you.
5. Fancy holidays
So many of my friends think that as a nanny you get jetted off to many lovely holidays. This is unfortunately untrue… I know a few au pairs who do, but then they are only paid €60 a week. As a nanny, rather than being taken on holidays, I get to have the kids 24/7 whilst the parents take a much earned, all inclusive, first class trip to Vegas. But of course, I mustn’t tell the children this, I must say their parents are working hard. I know for a fact that after 10 days of looking after children with chicken pox who are missing their parents that I’m not quite ready to be a mum yet! I mean, when do you shower as a parent?!
6. Being the bad cop
Most parents who work full time feel guilty that they don’t spend time with their children as much as they’d like. Which then means, when they do, they want to have a squabble, naughty free time, so end up spoiling the children and giving in. This then causes problems for my job, as if the parents let the kids stay up til 9pm, they will refuse to go to sleep at 7pm for me. Sometimes I’m under strict instructions of no TV in the morning, yet the parents have turned the TV on. I’ve started to explain to the parents now that I will only continue rules that they implement. That way, we share bad cop good cop, and the kids will co operate with all of us!
7. Becoming emotionally attached
I personally have a motto that I will love each and every child the same, and as I would my own. This way I don’t feel like strangling them when they’ve been screaming for a whole hour because I “forced” them to have a bath. Without loving them, I think my job would be almost impossible. However, more recently I had the issue of the one set of parents feeling that I’m undermining their parenting. Some parents have a horrible fear that their children are going to become more attached to the nanny than them, which is so untrue because kids always love their parents the most. However, if the kids are spending every day of the week with me, and I see the families lives as intimately as I do, it is inevitable that I am going to become part of the family in one way or another. For me, this jealousy of parents is probably the hardest part of being a nanny… if your kids love me I’m attempting to become their mum (which I am definitely not), but if they hate me, I must be horrible person and be crap at my job. One family recently told me not to merge my social and work life, yet I’m at their house more than mine, especially for weeks at a time while they go on holiday. I am learning to balance these families, and to continue doing what I’m good at, which includes loving the children!
and last but not least, Make up trials
Whilst the 11 year old I look after knows more about make up than me, I found out the hard way this week, to not let a 5 year old dip into your favourite makeup. Although they think you’re beautiful, everyone else is scared!
So, Nanny cams (yes these exist), explosive poo, and honest comments aside, I still stick by the fact that I love nannying. Sometimes it’s just giving children a stable minder, who they can trust, or teaching them to read/write/speak. I have had an array of names (chacha and Kia are my current ones) and I get so much pleasure from each smile, laugh, and special moment with each child. I don’t want to be a nanny forever though, but for now, it suits me well!