If you would have asked me in high school or college what my career goals were, nannying wouldn’t have even made it to the backup list. I always pictured myself working at a desk, managing my own company, or traveling the world as a photographer. I was raised like most kids to go to college, get a job, save up for my future family, and then retire. Even the sound of that last sentence now gives me anxiety!
Don’t get me wrong, I tried the nine to five management job. I spent seven years working my way up in a high-end clothing company. My dream job was just a few more years away, but I could tell that something was off. I was full of anxiety. Stress became a natural state, and I barely had time to see my family or friends. I was terrified to stop what I was doing. Terrified of being a “failure”.Terrified of life in general. I needed a change but I didn’t know where to start.
My roommate at the time was a nanny and mentioned I look into it as an option. At least until I found something I really loved. I had babysat in high school and college, but those were only part time. Surly I couldn’t be trusted to do this full time, right? I brushed it off and continued with work as normal. As the days went by, I started to think more and more about this crazy nanny idea. Every day the thought of being a nanny sounded less and less insane. So I made a profile on a nanny website, wrote a letter to future families, and sent it out to any family that sounded like a good fit.
Overnight, I had received so many emails from interested families. What seemed like a million phone interviews later, I finally had it narrowed down to three.
“This is real…” I thought. “Am I really going to quit my job to do this?”
For the first time in my life I was genuinely excited about something. Not because I thought I should be excited or was caught up in a moment, but because I was excited to leave everything behind. It meant I might finally find myself with new invigorated purpose. I knew in that moment it was the best decision I was ever going to make. A month later I put my two weeks in and was ready to start with a family that had two kids. I would have three-day weekends, summers at the pool across the street, and all access passes to the aquarium, museums, and the zoo. At this point I had been living in Denver for almost four years and had yet to truly see the city. I was terrified, emotional, and excited for this new journey.
My first few days as a nanny were a blur. I was still toiling over whether this was a good decision or not and was finding my sea legs so to speak. Weeks and months went by, and I heard those five little words form the 4-year-old boy I was nannying for at the time.
“I love you nanny Kelsey.”
It was then that my heart exploded in the best way and I knew that this is what I loved doing. Even on the hardest days I would come to work, see my little ones, and every worry would be washed away. I was truly happy. One year into work with my family, they announced they were having twins. Just like that, I became the nanny of four. Four smiling faces to say hello and goodbye to. Four curious faces to teach kindness and confidence to. Four beautiful faces to comfort and cuddle when days are rough. My heart was bursting!
“This is what I want every day!” I remember thinking to myself. “To come to work and forget about myself in care of kids, yet also have the freedom to focus on myself when I really need it.”
I pretty much set my hours and pay, I had every holiday off, every family birthday, I could go camping and dancing on the weekends, I had paid vacations and trips with the family. I had a new sense of freedom and finally felt I was living.
Don’t get me wrong, being a nanny is tough. The poop, the vomit, the boogers, the crying, the screaming, there are days when they hate you, days when I think I’ve lost my mind, and worst of all the saying goodbye when it’s time to move on. This job is not for the faint of heart. I remember the day my first family told me they didn’t require my services anymore and even though I knew it was honestly inevitable, I felt like a piece of my heart was being ripped from my chest.
I love every family I have had the pleasure of working with and as cheesy as it is, these kids have taught me everything I need to know about life. To enjoy it, to get outside, to love wildly, to speak up for myself, to be honest, to have so much patience, and to dream outside of the box. All the things I forgot as I got older.
I’m currently working for another family of four with much older kids and I am learning so much more than I could have imagined. I have time to practice my photography (which is still a dream and goal of mine) and I have their support and flexibility when I need it. Instead of living to work, I’m finally working to live and I wouldn’t change it. If you love working with kids, love helping others, and need the same changes I did; nannying is for you. There are so many jobs out there for childcare. You can travel, you can stay put, you can do it part time. This job has helped me find who I am and although I may not be a nanny forever; I know for a fact I am meant to work with children wherever that may be.
Here’s to happily stumbling into your path