When I decided to walk away from college before my senior year, there wasnt an ounce of hesitation in my heart nor a doubt in my mind.
Others were not so sure.
People wondered how long I'd "babysit" before getting a real job.
And while I don't have a 401k match program or large group medical benefits, I can assure you that there is nothing more real than the responsibility and privilege of the work I do each day.
Ive been called a servant and someone's personal bitch and a babysitter and a spineless doormat.
Please ask the kids I care for who and what I am: they will tell you I'm the person that taught them how to ride a bike without training wheels, I'm the person that prepares thoughtfully homemade meals 3x a day, I'm the person that begins the morning with a smile and a hug for every child, every day. They will tell you I'm a champion at fort building, scheduling, and Scrabble. I read to and with them each day and through gritted teeth, they will even tell you that I'm the person that takes away electronics, unplugs XBoxes, and sits them down for those tough to have This Is Unacceptable discipline talks.
I've been called a Fill In Parent. And while flattering, it is also untrue. You see, I am no one's bitch and I am no parental replacement. Because I've been grinding and hauling and poopy diaper changing for long enough that I don't have to work for just anyone. I choose not to work for lazy or absentee parents because that's a shipwreck that I can't change the course of.
Been there, done that.
But the not so sweet truth of what I do is that I'm not a fill in parent for one main reason. And it's the thing you're not supposed to say: I do it better.
That's not a judgment, it's a fact.
I could not go to the office of any of my employers and do what they do. Because I'm not an executive, I'm not a finance whiz, and I'm not a ruthless business person.
I am a Nanny.
Boogers on the shoulder of my shirt, sticky handprints across the thighs of my pants, and probably a Dora The Explorer bandaid stuck to the bottom of my boot: loud and proud, I am a Nanny.
A professional one with more than a decade of experience and instinct and Babies Should Sleep In Their Own Beds knowledge.
Where parents have every right to let little Tommy watch the Backyardigans for a moment of peace or even a shower, I dont have that right. Where McDonalds is easy and convenient and super practical when you're running around to hockey practice, a choir concert, and school to pickup the homework Tommy left in his locker, I don't have that right.
Where parents are human, I am expected to be superhuman.
I am paid to wear the cape.
Each day, I dont just show up and do my work. I excel and I give it every ounce of my every effort and when thats not good enough, I dig deeper. I fold another load of laundry, I play Barbies AGAIN, I do something that's not really my job but is helpful and needed.
You see, being a Nanny means not saying, "that's not my job." It means coming early, staying late, and giving up your free time to showup at Tommy's football game on Saturday because it means something to him that you came. That you care. Even when not on the pay clock, these kids come before all else.
My job description is never ending because my job is whatever is best for the kids. Which means yes, I break my neck to keep Moms happy and cared for and I believe in that. No one believes in Moms and family more than me.
And I can only hope that someday, I can be as good of a Mom as I am a Nanny.