Let me start by saying that I am not a parent. I have never been a parent, and I might not ever be a parent. I’d love to have kids someday, but if I never do, then I never do. I’m at peace with my feelings on parenting and I don’t try to pretend I know more than parents as a group do about children. But I do have to say that it’s really weird to be lumped into a parenting group because of my profession.
I have a unique perspective that most childless people don’t have. I deal with children every day, full-time, but I don’t have any of my own. I know a lot about how to soothe a baby, how to feed a child, what kinds of age-appropriate activities are good for toddlers, how to get a ten-year-old to tell you what’s wrong. I’ve fallen into the “parenting rabbit hole” -- and it’s strange, because I’m still nothing like the other men and women I talk to about unique problems related to parenting.
My other childless friends probably think I’m boring. I talk volubly about Glo-Worm and her latest developments, about Professor and Piglet and how well they learn, about Diva and Footballer and the oddities of twins. I complain sometimes about annoying things the kids do, or about a problem I’m having trouble solving. I talk about how much I love and miss the kids I work with. I laud the awesome properties of Early Years Centres and talk about the people I meet there.
In short, I speak Mommy. But I’m not a Mommy, so it’s weird for people to listen to me, knowing that I can “turn it off” when I go home from work.
I’m not stupid enough to think that all of this nannying experience is going to prepare me for parenting. I’m not stupid enough to think that all kids are the same, or that the methods I use now are going to work with kids of my own. I also am not stupid enough to blindly try to give advice to people without knowing their situation or children -- though I used to be. In my younger days, I probably gave a lot of stupid advice. Chalk one up to experience!
I think everyone has a moment of “Wow, I am really in my work bubble and no one else understands me.” But for me, it’s my work bubble that people totally get; they just don’t get why I, personally, understand some of what they go through. A lot of people have a weird view on nannies -- we’re supposed to be aloof, professional, childcare experts but never overly familiar. But I think those people forget just how much you can fall in love with a child, how much you can care about them and their well-being.
I’m not a parent, yet. I don’t understand everything about parenting, by far. But I kind of like being in the parent rabbit hole -- because I feel less alone in my job. I’ve made a lot of great parent friends through my work, and I like that eventually, once they get to know me, they accept me as someone else working in the trenches alongside them. I’m just not the same as they are.
Photo Credit: mbi.
More from parenting