Change is inevitable. Sometimes we choose it, other times it’s forced on us. Sometimes we see it coming, other times it’s a complete surprise. It can be exhilarating or terrifying, empowering or soul destroying and anywhere in between.
Change can mean the end of one thing and the start of something completely new, but I reckon we experience it most in the ongoing, subtle re-adjustments that we make to what we already do, and who we already are on a day to day basis and, before we know it, a whole new dynamic has become part of our life pattern.
I’ve heard it said many times that most people resist change, but I’m not so sure about that. Personally, I thrive on the unexpected and get bored with the predictable, which is helpful having had 16 house moves in 38 years. Of course, most of us wouldn’t choose changes that cause us discomfort or pain, me included, but I’ve seen enough to know that a change in life that causes one person to fall apart, can be the very thing another person uses to become more resilient.
So how does this relate to being a Nanny? Well for me, it was the realisation that a subtle change was taking place in the way I was relating to my own children and their spouses once the grandchildren arrive. No longer was I just Mum/Mum-in-law, I was now navigating the path of Nanny/Nanny-in-law and that’s a different ball game. Why? Because it’s so much easier to stay out of your children’s marriage, but not always so easy to stay out of your grandchildren’s lives.
The strength of emotion you feel for your grandchildren is as strong as for your own children, but different in how it’s worked out. You have all the attachments to them but you’re not the one who decides which strings to pull, which is both a relief and a restriction in differing measures at different times.
So how can it be done? For me, it means the willingness to change how I might do things and respecting that what I think is best is secondary to what mummy and daddy think is best. It means realising that my opinion isn’t always needed, wanted or accurate. It means remembering that I’m not caring for them 24/7. It means asking questions before making judgements and only sharing any concerns I have after I’ve thought them through, without emotion….I said it wasn’t easy!
But I hope those changes have helped me to be less judgemental and more open minded, grateful that I don’t have to make those important child rearing decisions again and better at keeping boundaries in my own life. Which leaves me free to just be nanny.