I have something a little different to share with you today. Because I know I can get a little ho hum with the monotony of routine and normality, I figured I’d mix it up a little. Today I’m excited to introduce the very first guest blog post here at Nanny Shecando. I’m handing the reigns over to a fellow nanny friend to bring you today’s instalment. Did I mention I’m all about promoting the nanny community? Click this link for more details. Marika has some stories to tell and a different perspective to share about the #nannylife.
Marika is an Australian based nanny working for a happening family in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. With three kids under her wing she’s sure got her hands full! Like myself, she fell into this role as a way to escape the dull drums of the typical workforce. And after reading her post, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s safe to say that Marika is loving the change of pace. (Even if the #nannylife does have it’s share of ups and downs). So Marika, over to you!
Hello fellow nannies, babysitters, and au pairs. Or to put it more accurately, fellow referees, taxi drivers, UN peace keeping officials, nurses, paramedics, policeman and dictators. At this point, I’m sure you’re nodding along emphatically to the many titles we carry under the over arching umbrella of a nanny. And whilst we’re on the topic of worldwide recognised terms, I want to point out that they’re not always so accurate. Because sometimes these three main terms simply don’t properly describe the roller coaster ride of melodrama that is the life of a nanny.
Nanny or Babysitter?
Take the word “nanny” . Does the cliché of a stout uniformed lady, complete with thick Scottish or northern English accent pushing an old-fashioned pram around a manicured garden come to mind? Or do you think of Jo frost (aka SuperNanny) who seemingly solves a family’s entire issues within a single episode. She simply throws around her that’s unasseptabool catch-phrase and everything sorts itself out. If only, right!
Although, it’s true that within the first weeks of my current nanny job I was automatically and frequently screaming out unacceptable as a totally involuntary reflex. I’m certain that in a couple of hundred years time anthropologists and geneticists will conclude that the word must be imprinted on the nanny-survival part of our DNA. Please tell me you have a catch phrase you use on the kids too!
What’s more, suffice to say that unless you are looking after a small baby that sleeps like those precious angels in the Johnson & Johnson adverts, there is very little “sitting” in babysitting.
Oh La La, Au Pair!
As for the word “au pair”, it originates from the French term meaning “on par with” or “equal to”. This of course refers to the post WWII societal changes that led to those employed as joint child carers and housekeeps to be considered as part of the family. Yep that’s right, bye bye “The Help”, hello “Mary Poppins”. Except for the fact that in today’s working environment of time-poor 60+ hour working weeks, the term au pair more accurately describes your role as being a substitute parent.
What’s more, this definition is all well and good, except for the fact that in English the word “pair” has an entirely different meaning. In English, it connects to words like harmony, partnership, co-operation and the notion of matching up. If any of this describes your reality, can I please just strangle you in a fit of jealous rage? Or trade places. Either works.
My Nanny Life
So I guess you’re wondering who I am. My name is Marika and I’m a nanny. I’ve been with my current family for almost two years after making a major career change. The family of three kids, aged 6, 8 and 11 is a welcome change from the corporate rat-race and office politics that I’d been dealing with for years. Because I’ll be honest, dealing with kids was more appealing than dealing with immature adults acting like school-yard bullies who’d never surpassed their childhood counterparts. At least with my kids, when you get to the end of your tether you can put a stop to their misbehaviour with one simple yet effective threat. I’m talking about the classic “I’m cancelling x,y x”. Something that normally doesn’t get you anywhere in the workplace, or so I’ve heard.
Which brings me to my next point. Kids have come a long way in terms of brazen emotional manipulation. Putting frogs in pockets and pine cones on seats as a “welcome” hazing to the new nanny? Feigning tears of regret when passive-aggressively called out on it? Amateurs! These days it’s all about the mind games. Now it’s all psychological torture, drama, intrigue, and political double-crossing. And that’s just the car ride home from school.
Another thing, a spoonful of sugar does not make the medicine go down. In fact, a spoonful of sugar leads to another spoonful of sugar. Pretty soon you’ve got a drug like dependence to the entire snack aisle at Coles. Next up, predictable post sugar-rush mood swings, tears and temper tantrums. Fun times. By the way, you know those chocolate stains on the back seat of the car and mutated cheese sticks? Get used to them, they’re there to stay.
But as challenging as this gig is, I wouldn’t trade if for anything else right now. Because honestly, what other job gives you innocently unrehearsed and yet laugh out loud entertainment?
“Does she believe in God?” “I think she does… because every day she’s always screaming OH MY G…” or “She’s broke. That means she has almost no money in her account”. Well hey, at least they’re paying attention to what I’m saying. Or listening to the youngest singing a made up song in the bath, having clearly been taught the story of Easter during his religious studies in class: “Don’t kill Jesus… otherwise they’ll have to call the police…”
At any given moment you can hear fragments of earnest conversation like this (and most times it’s about yourself) that only kids can come up with.
I think though, my favourite part of the nanny job is the ongoing supply of handcrafted gifts the girls make for me. My jewellery is well stocked care of these bright loom bands from Miss11. And my storage has had a modern update by way of this paper box from Miss9. Whether handmade or a simple sticker from their precious collections, they make me feel loved and special.
Those daily melodramatic dramas? Totally worth it!
Until next time, stay sane my fellow super nannies and parents alike!
What’s your perception of a nanny? Do you think Mary Poppins or Mrs Doubtfire? Have you ever employed a nanny? Oh and Mrs X in the Nanny Diaries sound a little far fetched, not at all!
For further enquiries, suggestions, or to express general expressions of empathy, you can contact Nanny McTreehugger via her name (all one word) at gmail.