When I began college, I simultaneously became a nanny. That being said, I wasn’t just learning how to take care of myself for the first time, but I was learning how to take care of children more intensely than a night of babysitting and juggle sports, school, extracurricular and play dates while cleaning the house and occasionally making dinner. Here are 10 things other women who nanny, definitely understand.
1. “Mom Mentality”
You pull them out of the crosswalk when they forget to look both ways. You pick them up when they’re crying and you listen and care about their day. You would do anything to protect them and you can’t wait to hear about their accomplishments. The best is when you get to see their progress and growth
2. I get why making dinner as a mom sucks—and how to be creative with it
There’s nothing worse than having to scrape a meal out of a pantry with a whole bunch of nothing in it, but you randomly develop this skill; all of a sudden you’ve assembled 12 snacks into a meal in a quick 20 minutes and wonder why dinner isn’t always this hodge-podge.
Actually—the only thing worse than a quick meal is when you spend an hour making dinner, it lives on the table for 15 minutes MAX before the whole meal is eaten and the mess is made, waiting for you to spend another 45 minutes cleaning and the kicker, you’re not going to get to eat, unless its while you’re cooking or long after the food gets cold.
3. My communication style has changed
You don’t present the word “no” without some backup. You’re ready to answer questions and you like to. Plus, you can come with some pretty cool examples and analogies you never thought you knew. A big part of knowing something is being able to explain it to a six-year-old, and if you can’t explain it in a way they understand, you probably should educate yourself. Being a good communicator is more than speaking eloquently; it’s about speaking accessibly.
4. I am thankful for my parents
You realize that it takes way more than you thought to run a house, and you’re only getting a taste of the day-to-day. It’s hard work, and parents make it seem like they don’t even have to think about it.
Or if you’re like me, you’re thankful you had a stay-at-home mom. Who could bring you the homework you forgot to school or pick you up 30 minutes after you started feeling sick. You realize you never had to miss your parents or limit quality time to hours outside of 8-6 Monday through Friday.
5. You realized you suck at the new elementary curriculum but learned how to teach it
It is insane how much as changed since I went through second grade. I’m 14 years older than the youngest kid I work with, and cannot wrap my head around the fact that they don’t do spelling tests anymore…what??? Spell check is good but not that good.
Regardless, teaching “goes-in-tas” and multiplication is harder now. You have to pick your brain for the “why” so you aren’t answering questions with “because that’s the answer.” I also know a bunch of random 4th-grade history facts and am well versed in the art of book reports one day before they’re due.
6. Schedules and expectations matter
Kids need structure. All of them need structure. I have nannied for three families now, and have been babysitting for the better part of eight years and during that time, spent three summers as a camp counselor. One thing anyone who works with the same kids consistently knows is that they need structure.
They want to know what to expect when you’re with them, just like you would prefer to limit the number of surprises and crises during the day. When you tell them what the plan is, and follows it to the best of your ability, they trust you and understand your rules.
Sometimes plans change, and a big part of working with kids is teaching them how to handle that too.
7. The phrase “I remember when…” is part of your vocabulary
Sometimes you get to say fun things like “I remember when..” or “when I was your age…” and then you can roll your eyes at yourself just like they do and continue the story the kids probably aren’t interested in, feel like your dad and have a moment to reminisce the “good ol’ days.”
8. You transform into your mother, and then you panic
Your mom’s voice crawls up your throat and out of your mouth like vomit and it is maybe the worst. Everything you said you’d never say—that’s right. You said it, you said you’d never do it to your kids, but you’re doing it. You’re here, you’re your mother. Good job. It sucks, just pretend it didn’t happen. You’re still young, she’s still wrong…right?
9. You say things you didn’t even know existed in similar sentences
This... this is pretty self-explanatory. All of a sudden you're telling kids to get their underwear off the table and you're confused by how it even happened. They say weird things, so you're forced to say them back. It's just the nature of dealing with children.
10. You love the little buggers
Despite them driving you crazy, causing you to panic and swear off having children, you love them, you're proud of their successes and you want to help them grow. You love them, even when they suck.