As you may or may not know, I was a nanny before I became a Mom and still work as a nanny. I was a nanny for three years and I thought I knew everything I needed to know about becoming a parent. I think I have mentioned this once or twice, but I was very wrong.
If you are currently working as a nanny, you know how hard child care can be. You have seen the tantrums, you have helped with potty training and may have even been there since the beginning months for teething, walking and everything else in-between.
However, there is so much you do not see. Your mom boss may tell you about the sleepless night the baby had, but you did not have to experience the drunk tired results of this night. Perhaps, if you live with your nanny family, you understand a bit, but at the end of the day it still is not your child. When there is a difficult decision, it does not fall to you. So here are the things I have learned since turning from nanny to parent.
You realize its harder than you ever imagined. I am so grateful I was a nanny before I became a mother, because I gained so much knowledge for motherhood, but I never could have guessed how difficult it really is! Yes, you have tips and tricks for days and have learned many valuable lessons as a nanny that will help you forever, but kids are tricky. They are individual human beings growing before your eyes and each and every child will be different. While some things may work, you may have to rethink some of your parenting styles. Your child may be entirely different than your charge.
While your nanny days may have been filled with crafts, enriching activities and other goodies, you realize making it through the day as a parent is success. As a nanny you take your time getting to know the kids and often fill their days with wonderful, enriching activities. You are paid to do this. I even had an activity daily planner for my charges with a calendar of what we were going to learn for that day. Sure, maybe as a parent I could do this, but most of the time after cleaning the house and getting the kids to nap, I would rather take that time to have a few minutes to myself. Selfish? Maybe. Necessary. Very much so.
When people ask you to babysit for them, it takes on a whole new meaning. After you have spent your life getting paid to take care of other’s children, it is a bit insulting when another mom asks you to watch their child without payment. Yes, I have and will always love kids, but I made a career of being a nanny and you sending “your kid over to play” when you should really be hiring your own babysitter feels like a slap to my face. If you asked me, yes, I would probably be more than willing to help out. I often help our neighbors out and I love to help, when I’m asked! Just do not expect me to be the neighborhood babysitter all the time just because I was a nanny.
You totally appreciate all great nannies and sitters and can weed out those who you will allow to watch your child. I’m not sure if this happens with all nannies, but once you have been a nanny you see the good nannies and instantly know who they are. You also realize who is horrible. Trust your gut! If your creeper radar is going off, it’s for a very good reason. If you have moved past nannying and have to find your own nanny, you will know how and who to look for. You also know the difference between nanny, babysitter, aupair as well as the cost differences.
Your priorities in life shift. While this happens with all parents, where you were once concerned for your charges well-being you have now transferred that concern to your own child. You now fully appreciate your momboss and dadboss and all of the sleepless nights they told you about. While their child will always have a place in your heart, yours becomes your number one priority.
You are a bad ass mom. Even though your kid is a whole new species, from your nanny charge, once you figure them out (a little) you kick ass at the mom thing. You take everything you have learned apply what you do know and your kids are awesome! No kids are perfect, except yours, of course. 😉
You truly enjoy being with your children. As a nanny, odds are, you love children and when you have your own, you love them even more. Spending your days on the floor playing cars, wresting, coloring and dancing are a dream come true for you.
Being a nanny now and before I had children was a great stepping stone for me. I am constantly learning new parenting skills each day. I am grateful for each opportunity, but also realize there are some differences between being a nanny and parent.