We are going through the bittersweet process of transitioning nannies again. Today is our last day with our current nanny, who joined us about a year ago, and we are preparing our hearts for saying goodbye. It’s funny that as I write this, we are also a couple days away from Spring Break, which we’ll be spending on a trip to visit our former nanny in her hometown.
I’m not sure if it is just unique to me (or even if my nannies feel the same), but I have always felt a special connection with each of them. They get a glimpse into my day-to-day life that no one else sees. They not only get to know my kids and share in the joy that every cute developmental milestone brings, but also see the messiness of my house, the parenting struggles we face at home, and the challenges we are actively navigating through. It’s a side of my life that is a huge part of my experience that few get a view into, and they have a front row seat to all of it.
I remember when I had my first child, I struggled with the decision to go back to work. He was a rainbow baby, and I was especially smitten. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him in the care of someone else. What if they didn’t do things the way we wanted? We wanted to give him only the very best, and I couldn’t fathom how anyone other than my husband and I could provide the care we desired for him. This was exacerbated by the fact that he had severe food allergies, which meant we had to be extra vigilant about keeping his environment clean and cooking safe foods free from any cross-contamination.
After much consideration and discussion with more experienced moms from various walks of life, I made the decision to still go back. That opened up the new world of hiring nannies to us.
It was my first time hiring anyone, so I had a lot to learn. After a couple of rough runs, I figured out what was important to me and landed on a hiring process that worked for our needs. Since then and by God’s grace, we have been blessed to have the most wonderful nannies.
I readily admit that I am probably not the easiest mom to work with (especially back when I was a first-time mom!). I also don’t have the easiest kids. There has always been the temptation to settle, especially when it seems like we have no other options. But I have learned the importance of sticking with my values, not compromising on our most important parameters, and even following through my full hiring process (case in point: if you run a background check, trust the results and don’t ignore the red flags that it reveals!).
I have also learned the importance of going with someone whose goals and heart are aligned with mine. I am always a little worried that my nannies will think I am neurotic with how particular I am, but the ones who have worked out have always understood my heart. They share a similar caregiving philosophy, get my love for my kids, and understand my desire to give my kids the very best. Each time, I am slightly embarrassed when I share with them my training materials, but to my pleasant surprise, they’ve always expressed gratitude and even relief at having direction and the opportunity to work with parents who are invested and involved. Some of them have also shared that it’s given them vision into how they might want to raise their kids.
We have been so incredibly blessed. God has provided every time – even if sometimes it is at the very last minute. Each time we have to transition, I get a bit of anxiety as I wonder how we will ever find another great nanny. But He always comes through. He knows how difficult it is for me to be apart from my kids. But as we’ve followed him step by step, he has never failed to provide along the way.
And in the process, we have gained so much. We have these wonderful people in our lives who care deeply about our children, who know them so well, and who love them. They have a special place in my heart as partners in raising our kids. And they have also become really special friends.
Kiara, we love you and will miss you. (And Elisa, we’ll see you soon!)