Know it all to knowing nada

I still have a mound of mommy confessions… I had to take a short break. We had a funeral for a great member of our church, then one child sick, then another… then another… then me! So I’ve been rather busy, and unable to sit uninterrupted long enough to type out any thoughts… truth be told, I’m not sure I’ve even HAD a thought.

So confession #… um, #…. Next confession… (see older posts for the previous ones).

When I was pregnant with my first, I just KNEW I knew it all. I was, in fact, a GREAT nanny. I got my first Nanny job at 18 years old. I took care of a beautiful baby boy and his older sisters. I was so good they even had another baby! Mom was working hard on her Masters and wanted to continue so we worked out a plan where I took care of the newborn a few nights a week so she could either finish class or attend clinicals. So I gained all my motherly knowledge as I watched her 4 (sometimes 5 kids). Granted, I NEVER woke in the middle of the night with crying babies, or comforted them late into the night when they were sick with ear infections, or teething. But during the day… I rocked. I did, however take an overnight nanny position once where I took care of a brand new baby as she woke in the middle of the night. I mean, why should those parents have to be bothered with that part. It paid an entire semester of North Central! I even moved away and took care of twins. If I could take care of twins, I just KNEW I could handle motherhood. I fed them, changed them, and kept them entertained… Then when their mom came home, I’d go home! I took care of a little girl who HATED me. She cried anytime her mother left the room, and cried until her mother returned. I didn’t lose my cool. I remained calm, I didn’t lose my temper, I kept all the other kids alive all at the same time! I was a pro. So of course when I had kids of my own I would be able to care for them with ease. I’d be able to take care of a newborn, twins even. I’d have the patience it took to deal with crying babies. I’d be great with helping with homework. But, my confession is… I HAD NO CLUE! When my first was born and cried for 18 hours the first day, I questioned whether God meant to give that child to me. The love I had for my first little Nanny boy was unreal. I really thought I’d die when I moved away… but I did, and I managed. But when I had to leave my babies to have a vacation with my husband, I bawled my eyes out… and I knew I’d see them in 3 short days. I would tote the little boys I nannied all over the place, even took them to a few women’s conferences, church, shopping… But nothing would prepare me for taking 4 tired and cranky kids grocery shopping.  I NEVER yelled when I was a Nanny. My job depended on it. On bad days, I waited until their moms came home, then RAN FOR THE HILLS… I have days I wish I could run… but know I’d miss them 2 feet out the door. I yell, I discipline too harshly, I ignore too often sometimes. And THEIR LIFE depends on it. I’m raising them, not watching them. I am responsible for their spiritual teachings, their nutrition, their discipline, their happiness. I get no pay, I won’t get fired, promoted, or maybe even appreciated for it. But I love it! What I THOUGHT I knew… boiled down to knowing NOTHING. And nothing prepared me for how these tiny little beings would steal my heart. Nothing about being a nanny taught me that my mind would ALWAYS be on the kids. That I’d want to be around them daily. That I’d not be able to contain my kisses. Nothing prepared me for the intense stress I’d feel when they were sick, or the process of making difficult decisions about their future. Being a Nanny was fun… being a mom ROCKS! And they are nothing the same!

Lesson learned… Never assume you know it all. For the woman who is childless, give us mommas a break. This is a hard job. Nannies… oh, boy. Be prepared to know nothing when it comes to your own kids (remember those kids belong to someone else. They aren’t yours).  And it’s okay, Mom, that we don’t know everything, God gives grace where it’s needed. And he’ll give it out hourly (minutely) if needed… THIS I do know!

** I am so very thankful for those women who entrusted me to care for their children a few hours a day, or week. I did learn VERY much from each momma, their kids, and my experience. I value that “education” and use much of what I learned back then on my own kids. And If they ever read this… I am SO thankful for the Eagan/Czerniejewski kids for being my guinea pigs when it came to cooking. I made them some very questionable things, and they were great critics. But my family is very grateful now. (And I’m a GREAT cook!).