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?