Last Day Of Work

If I haven’t mentioned it so far on my blog, I have been a nanny for two great kids for the past two years. I came into their lives right before their fourth birthdays, and have spent long hours with them.

Working with kids is something special, I can’t even begin to describe it to you. It’s one of the few jobs out there that tests you in every way possible, while opening your eyes to this wonder that you don’t normally find working the more typical jobs.

Being a nanny is such a rewarding thing. You have these kids that completely depend on you, and if you do your job the right way, you can mold them into these wonderful little people. You can teach them things, you can help them overcome fears, open their eyes to new possibilities, and you get to be a part of these little lives.

It really is great.

When they were younger, they required a lot of my time and patience. In their first year of school, they were home more often than they went to school because their immune systems just weren’t ready. And the fact that they were twins and completely dependant on one another meant that if one was home from school, so was the other. What this meant was usually one would be sick for about a week, and then by the time they were healthy and ready to get back to school, the other one would have caught whatever kept the first home and the routine of being home would start all over again.

Care was constant, and I was worn and weary because I had thought there would be a lot more six-hour work days and a lot less ten-hour work days. Boy was I wrong.

Fast forward to this past Friday where I said my goodbyes to my little munchkins. It was an emotional day. One where the kids kept reminding me that this was the last one we would spend together. One where there were more hugs than I could count, all the silences were filled with them telling me how much they loved me and there were moments when their eyes misted over and they honestly didn’t know how to comprehend this big change that was happening to all of us.

I have been with them for two years. We have transitioned from tantrums and hitting, to discussing all our emotions, having all these deep thoughts and just honestly growing together. As much as I was swollen, miserable and wanting nothing more than to spend all my spare time lounging around my apartment and getting ready for the new addition to my family, my last day of work was bittersweet.

In a way I wished I was working back at the Bridal store where I used to be a consultant. Why? Because it was the daily grind. I had a long commute, I had an overbearing, micromanaging boss whose demands were unrealistic and mostly just barked at us to rub us the wrong way. Morale was down, we felt stifled and that was without all the emotional melt-downs from brides-to-be. As much as I loved my co-workers there, it was an easy job to walk away from. I left that place with my head held high and felt like I was breathing fresh air for the first time.

Had I still been working there while I was pregnant, I would have danced the jig out of that place, or any other place I have worked, to be completely honest.

But looking back over my shoulder at those two kids standing at the top of the stairs, getting a warm embrace from my bosses who have been these great and wonderful people who have shared in moments of my life just as much as I have shared in theirs, my heart-felt a little bit heavy.

It was like they were my little family, and suddenly I was saying goodbye to them so I could go and start my own.

Not every day was wonderful. As anyone with four or five year olds will tell you, there are days where they spend absolutely every last bit of your patience. Days where you bite the inside of your cheek and remind yourself to smile. But the other days, the ones where you are rolling around in the grass, pretending to be explorers as you walk through the forest, lying in bed beside them reading them stories or better yet, cuddled in the pillows of the fort we built on a rainy day. Those are days that I am going to miss so desperately.

Those are the kind of days that made me stop and hope that whoever comes into their lives next will be even half as much committed to those kids as I was. Who will be more like a big sister to them than a babysitter. Who will know how important it is to be hard on them when they need it, and to push them to understand things and not just shrug their shoulders and put them in time-outs when they are bad.

My last day was hard.

I never thought I would say that about a job.

And this past weekend has been almost surreal. In a way, I keep thinking that Monday is back to work. I am going to have to squeeze my every growing rump and belly into another pair of spandex cycling shorts (to keep my thighs from chafing in this heat) and throw on another “dress” that isn’t quite long enough as my stomach keeps growing and spend the entire day with them outside. Feeling my fitbit vibrate at about noon when I reach my 10,000 steps, trying to convince the kids that we can have just as much fun inside where it is air conditioned.

Monday is going to be an odd day for me.

I plan on keeping myself busy with all the things I haven’t done yet. I will finally pack my hospital bag (at 35 weeks and 5 days, I probably should have done this already), I will finish up the nursery and get everything ready for my baby’s arrival. Hopefully, the days will go by quickly and I will have my baby in my arms before I know it.

Until then, I guess I will just pretend I know what to do with myself.

 

 

So, I’m Pregnant- How To Tell Your Boss

When I first began trying to get pregnant, I wondered how the conversation with my bosses would go. I do not work in an office, I do not work for a big company where I could shrug my shoulders at the idea of taking time off, calling in sick, or revealing that I would be going on maternity leave for a year.

I work for this great couple with five year old twins as their nanny. I have worked for them for over two years and although there have been some long hours, some hair pulling breaking of habits and I have gone through every test against my patience that you ever could imagine, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

It is a Monday to Friday job, but there are some days when I am with the kids for over ten hours depending on whether or not they go to school (there were a lot of sick days early on).

At previous jobs, telling them I was pregnant would have been easy. I would have requested to have a word with them in private, gone into a superior’s office where I would have told them about my pregnancy and my intention to leave towards the end.

What do you do when there are no offices? When you get about fifteen minutes a day with your employers to talk to them before running out the door while dinner is being put on the table? I racked my brain trying to find the right time, trying to find the right words.

Firstly, I do strongly believe in waiting until you are out of your first trimester before telling your employer you are pregnant, unless your job may put you at risk during your pregnancy. I believe in this so strongly that I didn’t even tell my sister about my pregnancy until I was 15 weeks pregnant. I tell my sister absolutely everything.

We told our parents when I was 16 weeks pregnant and then we told my job after that.

In a normal job, I would have told my supervisor I needed to speak with them. Sent an email before hand to let them know I needed them to clear ten to fifteen minutes for a discussion. Then I would professionally tell them about my pregnancy and my plans moving forward. I do think at this time, it would be a good time to discuss doctor’s appointments if you work a typical 9-5 job. It would also be a good time to discuss modified duties if you typically lift a lot of do strenuous work.

My job is not particularly normal. I approached my boss in the kitchen about five minutes before I had to leave when he had just come in from work. I noted the kids were both out of ear shot and told him I needed to have a word with him and his wife. Now, we have a very open, honest relationship. So of course when I said this, right away his interest was piqued and he wanted to know everything, just them. It wasn’t how I had planned it. I had planned returning after the kids had gone to bed and speaking with both of them, but I told him right there, because it would have been awkward to do anything else.

In the days leading up to this, my nerves were shot. I played through the conversation over and over again in my head. I wondered if they would be disappointed. I know how much they depend on my and in a small way I felt as though I were letting them down. I wondered if they would be frustrated. Sure, I had given them ample time to find a replacement, but replacing a nanny is no easy task. When it boiled right now to it, the heaviest weight on my shoulders was the kids finding out I was leaving.

My social circle has gotten smaller and smaller over the years, and majority of my time is spent with these two kids who tell me everything, who look to me for lessons and guidance, who tell me their silly jokes, lean on me when they are tired or sad. In a way, I felt like they were mine. The realization that a day was coming where they suddenly wouldn’t be, was heartbreaking.

It would be someone else wiping away their tears, someone else giving them a stern look when they are being difficult, someone else rubbing boo-boos, and telling stories. How long would it be before they forgot all about me, just as they had their previous nanny?

Telling the people I worked for was a lot, but they took it well and have been nothing but supportive after. We didn’t tell the twins then. I felt it wasn’t my place to tell them, and their parents wanted to wait until later in the school year, when the excitement of summer clouded everything else they were being told.

Keeping such a big secret from two really important people in my life was such a task. It left me tired, had me biting my lip to keep from letting it slip, and it just made me feel heavy.

Every day I pretended everything was normal, wishing and hoping that this would be the weekend they found out.

Being an adult is hard. You have to pretend to know what you’re doing and when big things happen to you, you have to pretend they didn’t until the timing is right. There is this whole conduct of doing things, everyone seems to fall in line, like sheep but no one really knows who the shepherd is. We do it, because that’s what is done. Plain and simple.

Regardless of how you do it, how it all works out for you, I hope you keep sight of the horizon. Remember what is coming, what you are moving towards and keep at it. You are going to be a mom soon, and there really isn’t anything more important. In our own small way, we shape the world.

So could you at least pretend to know what you’re doing?