June 2008


When my phone rang this morning, my stomach clenched in anticipation. I had a final meeting with a family last night, the last step in our extensive interview process. They were the very clear frontrunner, and I knew this call would  change everything. I took a deep breath to steady myself before answering and awaiting the verdict.

I start my new position July 7.

This new family is amazing. Not only do we complete each other’s sentences when it comes to issues of childcare/parenting philosophy, but I genuinely enjoy them as individuals.

I’m head-over-heels for the children. There are three of them, ages 4-7, and I’m thrilled to be spending the rest of my summer with older children who can really enjoy outings to the zoo, the water park, museums, etc. There is also a new baby, due in seven weeks, so I’m lucky enough that I’ll get to be there from day one for this baby. Already my new boss is waxing poetic about how wonderful it will be to have me bond with the baby from the beginning, meeting her for the first time in the hospital.

Of course, It doesn’t hurt that I’ll be making more money AND working a normal schedule where I’m home by seven every night.

I’m over the moon really. So thrilled to be starting this new adventure that I find myself chomping at the bit and willing time to fly. But this emotional high brings back memories of a time not that long ago, when I was over the moon because I’d just accepted a position with a family in Atlanta who was expecting their first baby. I remember the joy I felt when Baby H. was born, and I held him for the first time, and the pride I felt as he reached each milestone.

I’ve grown weary of the long hours and the increasing demands of this position. I’m very ready to leave now, and so excited to have found this new family. But I am reminded that this new beginning is the end of something, as well.

One week. That’s all I have left in this stage of my life. I’ll try not to wish it away.

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That’s how many hours JP spent at the office last week. Ten hour days followed by a full weekend of slaving away rather than lounging by the pool. And the worst part is that this week promises to be even worse.

That old adage about absence making the heart grow stronger seems to hold true in our case, because we’ve both been lonely and clingy.

Honestly, I expect that to some degree from JP. After all, she’s the one worked to exhaustion. She’s also the type who craves human interaction and is easily bored or lonely. But I enjoy no one’s company more than my own. I love my solitude.

Recently, JP and I were driving at dusk and passed a park with a small pond. Seated in front of the lake, with her back to the road, was a young woman. I couldn’t see her expression, but she looked so tranquil sitting there. “Look,” I said to JP. “See the girl sitting all by herself at the pond? She looks so …” And then, just as I was saying “peaceful” JP completed the sentence with “lonely”. We laughed, because the exchange so perfectly sums up our feelings about solitude.

But this weekend, with JP at work all day, I began to see things from her perspective. In between interviews, I found myself wandering aimlessly. I could have gone swimming or watched a movie or taken the dogs to the park, but none of those seemed as appealing without JP for company. Maybe it’s because I’m so stressed right now, worrying about landing the perfect job. Or maybe it’s just that after nearly two years of cohabitation, solitude has lost some of its appeal.

Either way, it wasn’t peaceful…it was just lonely.

I hate searching for a new job. It’s usually fun for the first day or so, as the seemingly endless possibilities begin to stream in. But after a week or so, it becomes tedious. And after a month, the search itself seems endless.

In my ads and profiles, I try to be as specific as possible, in an effort to weed out the families who won’t be a fit for logistical reasons. I make it clear that I am interested only in full-time, live-out, long-term positions. I specify the areas I’m willing to work in (based on commute). I make it clear that my primary area of experience and interest is infant, toddler and preschooler development. And I describe the types of outings I plan on a regular basis, attempting to scare off parents who plan to keep their nanny on house arrest.

And yet, for reasons that are still unclear to me, this does little to filter the emails that flood my inbox. If I had a dollar for every email that asked me to consider a two-hour commute for a part-time position with two preteens…well, I might not have enough money to quit working altogether, but I could certainly take JP out for a nice dinner. I really don’t understand why parents waste their time emailing someone who so clearly is not a likely candidate for their position.

So I spend an hour or so per day reading and responding to these emails with something that begins, “Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately…”

For those emails that actually do fall within my basic parameters, I then send the parents my resume and online portfolio, which contains more extensive information about my education, experience and childcare philosophies. In exchange, I ask them to answer a list of questions about their family and the position they are offering. This eliminates half the potential families. They are disqualified for reasons ranging from refusing to pay employment taxes to expecting their nanny to be a housekeeper as well as a nanny.

Then comes the phone interviews, in which I repeat the same information about my background and experience a thousand times, even though most of the questions I’m asked could be answered by reading the materials I provided (resume and portfolio). Although the phone interviews are a crucial step — they help me narrow the field even further, to the families I’m willing to meet in person — they are also time consuming and tedious.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Last weekend, during one of my countless phone interviews, I was standing on the balcony outlining my discipline style, when the ball of fluff who had been laying at my feet, stood up, crouched, and then rocketed out across the porch, cannonballing into a makeshift pool. The pool was actually a canvas chair filled with rainwater, but watching the beastlet, you’d have thought it was a five-star water park. She swam, she rolled, she flipped, she leapt. I’ve never seen anything like the acrobatics she put on display. And when she’d had her fill of swimming, she ran laps around the balcony, her wet feet failing to find purchase on the tile. It took every ounce of discipline I had to refrain from laughing as I watched her careen into the wall, only to get up, shake it off, and take off again.

I think her performance may be the best part of this job search so far.

Those of you who are returning readers, will notice some major changes. Not least of all is the name/domain change, but you’ll also notice a hightened level of anonymity and increased use of psuedonyms. This is not due to any fear I have of The Internet or stranger danger. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

After some unwanted contact with family members who found my blog, I decided to go quiet while deciding what to do. I have not talked in much detail about my childhood and family, but I have said enough that faithful readers will understand why continued contact with my family is something I’ve chosen to forego. I am a happier, healthier person today because I don’t have their negative influence in my life. So having those people reading my blog, made me uncomfortable — especially when they chose to email me and share their views on some my posts. For that reason, I am not linking to my old domain nor will I be referencing the old blog by name or using names of people (or pets) that could lead to unwanted visitors finding this new haven via a google search. I hope that my old readers will be able to find me via the blogosphere and that new readers will find me as well.

Life has been busy in the few months since I last posted, and you’ll also see other changes as well.

My professional life is undergoing a transition. Baby H’s parents have officially decided they will no longer need a nanny once one of them takes a leave of absence, and I will starting a new position at the beginning of August. I have interviews all weekend and hope to accept a position within the next two weeks. I have some wonderful options right now, and I’m simply trying to find the best fit. I’m excited not only about starting with a new family, but also about having a position where I’m off by 6pm every night — no more late nights or overnights.

JP has also recently started a new position. She is now at a fantastic law firm where she no longer has to deal with evil partners who throw things at her and create a culture of fear. The new firm is welcoming and friendly as well as prestigious — proof that you don’t have to be a bitch to be successful. This new position comes with increased responsibility, but also increased overtime demands. (Giving me more time to blog? We’ll see.)

I plan to continue writing about the professional nanny industry. Hopefully these posts will educate and entertain. I also plan to mention work in passing, as it relates to my personal life. However, there will not be extensive posts about or pictures of my new charges.

The reasons for this change are two-fold. First, Baby H’s parents are an exception when it comes to internet safety. They have a blog of their own plus a website where they share photos and stories. They never had any qualms about me writing about him or publishing photos of him on the internet. Not so for most parents, and there is no guarantee that my future employers will be comfortable with my doing so.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, I want this blog to be a more accurate portrayal of my life — my family, my thoughts, my beliefs, and my future. While my profession and my job are certainly a part of that, they are only a part and I am choosing not define myself (or my blog) by those small pieces. Given the opportunity to start fresh, I’ve decided that this new, improved blog will present a more complete view of my life.

That’s as much as I can tell you for now. I’m not sure yet exactly what this “complete view” will consist of, or how that will turn out because this blog, like my life, is a rough draft.

Mostly I want to say: I’m glad to be back. And thanks for reading.