Dear Nannies of the World,
I want you to know a few things.
Some people may pass your job off as insignificant. Temporary. Something college graduates do for a little while to make money. Or a job taken by people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. And maybe you are only nannying for a summer, or to make money for school, and maybe it is temporary.
But, your job, dear friend, is big.
You have something that most people don’t: direct shaping influence.
You may be watching our children, but our children are watching you.
When you cared for me when I was sick and unable to get out of bed (cleaning up my throw-up despite me insisting that you let me do it), my daughter saw sacrifice and love in action. You put a dollar on the kitchen counter with a note saying, “I accidentally spilled some of your spinach.”
In that seemingly small action, my daughter saw integrity. When you would leave after long days of nannying to volunteer at the women’s shelter most evenings, she saw humble service.
You held her hand as you walked her up the steps to preschool, counting steps along the way to make it into a learning experience. But, there was more. You went up those stairs at her sometimes-slow pace so she could stop to pick dandelions on the way.
That small gift of time and attention taught her to live unrushed, with eyes wide open to the beauty of the world around her.
Going to the grocery store became a time to practice connecting with others through hellos and genuinely asking how people are doing. Play dates were times to learn how to be a friend. Car rides were opportunities to stop on the way home to offer our homeless friend Neal food and water. And meltdowns were moments to learn about grace.
When your kind words and compassion poured out on others, it poured right onto her little heart too. When you got engaged, she was watching. She saw him serve and love you. And when you got married, she stood up next to you as your flower girl and saw pure love once more.
Has your job been tedious at times? Yes. Challenging and covered in spit up? Yes.
Nanny (noun): childcare provider, comforter, nurse, bubble blower, diaper changer, grape cutter, stroller pusher, make believe maker, library book reader, listener, hugger extraordinaire, teacher, counselor, prayer warrior, encourager, honorary family member.
That. Is. Not. Small.
Nannies of the world, you’re not just shaping children; you’re shaping mothers. As a mother, to not only trust someone to watch your kids, but to trust them to teach your kids… well, that is a gift unlike any other.
I am a better mother because of you. The world may not see it, but I know. And you know. And our children know, too. This is much more than a “job.” You have a powerful opportunity, unlike any other. You are Cultivators. You get to plant seeds directly into hearts, and grow the future generations ― and mothers.
Nannies of the world, whether your job is for a short season, or for two beautiful messy grace-filled wonderful years like it has been for our family, know that it matters.
Your job is everything.