Updated: Nov 7, 2019
I have been asked ironically twice in two days the same question. Is it different from being the nanny to being a Mum? I guess I ( and others that have done both jobs ) have a unique perspective and experiences. The easy answer is yes, one is paid one is not , one you clock off , one is 24/7. One they are yours and one is you hand them back eventually. I know obviously teaching, preschool through to primary and fostering , others have a take on it too, But despite the obvious answer is it different ?
I hated when I was pregnant , other parents saying , oh it will be so different you won't know whats hit you , etc. It was annoying as I figured with 25 years experience , I knew that the bond would be different but I figured the technique and application was the same..... And I was right so push off all those nay sayers.
But I will tell you that there are differences that I did not expect and if there was a top 5 , you would not put them either.
One - just how much you love your kid. I mean I can't get enough of her. We sit and stare at each other, we play together , we are each others world . I miss her when she is asleep.
I loved my charges, I really did. I am still in contact with most of them. They were my world, we played and hung out but the connection to your own child, the maternal invisible umbilical cord. I have never know love like this , complete, unconditional, trusting and two ways, me to her and her to me. To quote Ryan Reynolds , 'I would use ( he said of his wife ) anyone as a human shield to protect that child' It is all encompassing and so deep, it takes my breathe away.
Two - Cant do it on my own. As a nanny I was doing it on my own , all day, every day. Be it 5 days a week. I was large and in charge of all aspects of their lives, from getting them up, dressed, fed out the door, coffee groups , play groups , laundry , lunches to dinners, shopping to playtime activities, I drew, puzzled, dressed up, danced around , played cars, dolls and lego. I was a professional and this was the job. Now I can't imagine spending the days without knowing there was help. Friends family etc. Hats off to the single parents , I bow down , I really do ! You are super Mums (and Dads) I get through my day by having a 'thing ' every day be it food shop or class, to have human conversation. Which leads me to the most unexpected part of parenting
Three- How inefficient I am now. Like I said before , it was a job ( and I hate to put real people, small people in that box ) and I was a professional so there were expectations on me, ( from me , work ethic ) and from parents. Obviously keep children safe. But I was being paid to cover the basics and also extras, I did the shopping, the laundry , tidying up the place, all the cooking. As well as playdates, and classes, school runs and taking their car to the MOT. Now I have trouble getting a shower scheduled in to the day! My wee one and I just kinda float along and I feel like I get nothing done. It is getting better as she gets older so she can sit and entertain herself while I hang out some clothes or cook. But the funny thing about that is I don't care. I used to stress myself out that I don't have everything done for the hand over each night or something trivial like that . Now if we have a duvet couch day , it's ok. It is weird how your priorities just melt away , I would say shift but some literally have just gone in a puff of wind.
Four - Not enough hours on the day. Before and it was never the child , never! Hours at work used to drag a bit. I guess because it was a job and you had a life ( sometimes ) outside of it so the duality of that conflicted. But now there is not enough hours in the day , and I don't mean to get stuff done, see above, but to be with her. Im a new mum, I thought it would be like my jobs who I had from when they were really young ! I thought I would feel love for my child just that wee bit more than I did for my other 'kids' I raised. It's a full on job and you get very attached ! But time just flows by so fast , before I know it its lunch then dinner then bedtime and another day has passed, then another week. Nine months gestation felt like so long .... Especially at the end, you hear me sister but my wee one is almost 7 months, almost out as long as she was in. Where did the time go. It went with joy. The joy of just relishing her, every little noise and smile is the cutest. Every thing is new and wonderful. I put a veil between me and my charges on purpose, as their firsts were not mine ( and I don't mean that through my career how many firsts I had witnessed) I mean that they are their parents to enjoy. But this time, these first are mine. Thats why I am so possessive of them I guess, finally I get to claim them. And I don't want to miss a thing !!!!!
Five - Question everything. Like above these firsts are mine, that goes for me myself and I too. The physicality of having a baby was new to me. The hormones too bloody hell. From carrying her in my body, to birthing her, to nourishing her from my body, to stopping that and feeding her from the planet and caring for her every hour of every day. The worry , the ups and downs, the trumps and tribulations. That was all new. In my job I cared for the charges, kept them safe but that was day to day and week to week not every hour. I did not wake to check they were breathing in the night. Or worry about every driver who in my mind was going to crash in to us head first , or that we are fecking up this planet and there won't be a world to leave to her. As you can see I did suffer with postnatal anxiety. It's a thing and not really talk about , depression gets all the headlines, the 'irrational worry' is real and can be crippling for a new parent. Can I wrap my baby in bubble wrap and cotton wool forever please.
But the up side to being a nanny for so long raising in all about 6 kids to a good age and having a hand in about 60 is that I do know whats coming, I know my steps, what to do, what to expect, good and bad, that kids get temperatures, they bump their heads and eat dirt sometimes. I know how to feed them solids without worrying what they are eating , I can handle a tantrum and don't care what others think in the shop. I have done over 20 first aid courses and 20 years of swimming classes and baby massage and music and movement that I could take the dam class.
I think the difference between nanny and mother is , in my past life , the practical gave me confidence. And my new life affords me the element of rediscovering the known and I am loving it. I have to say that both are fulfilling jobs, one is unpaid and 24/7 and so much easier than the other but comes fraught with so much more emotional tethering. ( you do eventually have to move on with nannying and given them back to their parents hehe other wise as one of my jobs said after 9 years, they would probably choose me for full custody ) I loved being a nanny and I see it was all a pre-run for the best job in the world ..... being her Mum x