When I first began to write this article, Five Challenges Of Being A Nanny, I’d just finished a trying week in the nanny life. It was the first week back at school after a busy school holidays. Two weeks in where we’d celebrated Easter and Anzac Day long weekends and then to top it off, four birthdays within the space of a week. I was run-down, over-worked and ‘over it’.
There are many challenges of being a nanny, and most of us encounter them fairly regularly. Here’s my top 5 challenges of being a nanny that I currently face.
1. The Never Ending Chores
The birthdays meant we’d had both sets of grandparents visiting from interstate. With the arrival of grandparents, extra family members and cosy school friends I was turning over beds quicker than some hotels. The kitchen cupboards were emptying faster than I could stock them and the craft supplies were running dangerously on empty.
2. The Time Spent Being A Taxi
To add to the madness, the twins’ ballet camp happened to fall over the same days they were to be flitting between mum and dad’s place. This of course meant I spent more time couriering forgotten ballet slippers and preferred leotards between each home and ballet studio rather than actually sitting and observing the ballet.
3. The Family
It wasn’t always supposed to be so challenging. With the grandparents visiting I had originally been granted some time off. BossMum had agreed it was the perfect chance for them to spend some quality time with the grandchildren whilst I enjoyed a bit of much needed ‘down time’. Except of course, my compassion for the kids saw me volunteering to ‘pop in’ each day. It was an attempt to tactfully navigate the necessity for the grandparents to enjoy their grandkids whilst also making sure the kids didn’t succumb to the boredom of the elderly oscillating between the kitchen to make tea and the lounge to watch TV.
4. Becoming ‘Attached’
On the first day of the new routine, I popped in and was immediately faced with a howling baby. She was clinging desperately to the family dog in the corner of the room with both grandparents unsure of what to make of it. I quickly understood that with the baby in the dribbling stage of painful teething and at the height of her clinginess, she was sooner comforted by the familiarity of the family puppy than with the grandparents she’d regrettably not seen much of. There went my “down time”.
5. The Inconsistency
The compromise meant I could still enjoy an easier day whilst maintaining my roles and responsibilities of the nanny life. Unfortunately those easy days remained elusive. Because as I’m sure any nanny, babysitter, teacher, child care worker or parent will agree to, no two days spent with children are ever the same (no less predictable).
(So Why Do It?) My love and attachment to the little baby I’ve cared for since she was tiny, and my fondness for the older girls whom I’ve seen grow and prosper since sharing their lives meant I’d rather see to their needs than punch my time card and claim my holidays.
Which brings me back to the original thread for this article, the things that make my job [the nanny life] challenging, because as I’m sure you can appreciate, this job is no walk in the park.
As nannies we are tasked with the role of caring for other people’s children. We share the responsibility of developing them into respectable young people, whilst adhering to the attitudes of the parents and ensuring the children are granted enough freedom to be their own person.
Usually we spend majority of the contact hours with them and yet it’s advised we don’t get too attached. Plus, we must carefully navigate family dramas and mediate differences in parenting opinions without compromising ourselves.
The many challenges in the nanny job can be difficult and the desire for some ‘down time’ feel desperately needed. But in my opinion, as a committed nanny whom balances the good with the bad and takes each day as they come, the rewards can be plentiful and far outweigh a few challenges that pop up along the way.
>>> How do you go to work each day and front up to the challenges?