For the past three years, I have heard things like:
“So how long do you plan on being a nanny?”
“But are you doing any writing?”
“This is just temporary, right?”
That first year I told everyone that yes, this is just temporary, that I would be back to writing soon. But I didn’t. By year two, I started Day-Mom and was writing again. But only for myself. And as I’m entering year three, everything is beginning to change. I am ready to call myself a real writer again.
In true Rachel fashion, I got to this realization slowly. For that first year, I was just so happy to work for such a beautiful family who treated me with respect. The thought of leaving never crossed my mind. I needed this job after working for such a toxic company for three years; a company that would have made for great reality TV. But by year two, I started to realize just how short-term this job was. Then people began to ask me questions like:
“So the baby is probably going to start school soon, right? Are they even going to need you anymore?”
“So what’s going to happen when you stop being a nanny? Do you have a plan?”
The panic started to set in around the New Year. Even though I knew an exit wasn’t immediate, I realized that I needed to start coming up with a life plan. I needed to be writing. So, I took a creative nonfiction workshop through the Miami Book Fair. From there, I entered my story and was one of eight selected to read our stories in front of a sold-out crowd. And that is where I met Z.
Z and I were the first two to show up in the writing workshop. I learned that she’s a Midwest transplant who is a copywriter for a marketing company in Coconut Grove. Over those seven weeks, we exchanged pleasantries, and at the end of the workshop, we exchanged contact information. But it wasn’t until we were both selected to perform in the showcase that she told me to send her my resume. “I think you’ll be a great copywriter,” she said. “I think you’d fit in great with the company.”
So I told her I would, but I never did. I was happy with the Bears, and I was pleased with my job. I wasn’t ready to give them up. So, weeks went by then months. Then I started to forget about Z’s offer altogether.
But I didn’t stop thinking about writing for pleasure. In the next couple months, I took a children’s book writing course and a fiction writing course. I would spend my mornings with Little Bear, schlepping him between Gymboree and Silly Monkeys. Then when he was worn out and ready for a nap, I’d put him down for a nap, finish the laundry, load the dishwasher, pick up scattered toys then sit down to work on my coursework.
A few weeks after my last course ended, I talked with Grandpa Bear and Grandma Bear. We talked about how Little Bear was most likely going to start school in the spring and how it seemed that sooner rather than later the boys were going to outgrow me. This was before we knew about Bear #3, and the panic seemed real. I weighed my options.
Like any college graduate who doesn’t know what they’re doing, I considered grad school. I applied and was admitted to FIU to take non-degree seeking courses to gain the requirements for grad school. I looked up when to take the GRE and financial aid. But grad school just didn’t seem like something I wanted to rush, especially working 50 hour weeks. I knew if I committed to going I’d have to work less. The idea of both scared me.
Then I thought of Z. I spent three days updating my resume and sent it to her along with a few of my favorite writing clips. She came back and offered me an internship. And I immediately said yes.
Starting next week, I will be a web copywriter. I will mostly be writing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content. I will report in-house two days a week for 5-hours. I will be a real writer again.
I’d like to thank WordPress and this blog for unknowingly giving me the knowledge that I need for the internship, my work family who is bringing in another sitter for the duration of the internship and my sister and mommy friends for all the support and advice. And I have to thank the internet. Because like a true millennial, I couldn’t advance in the internship without Googling “Basics of SEO” and “How to use Google Search Console.”
I told Mama Bear about the internship on a Friday afternoon, and I could say that she was excited for me. They have known for three years that I have been on this bumpy road of uncertainty and I could say that they were happy that the way seemed to be smoothing out.
One Sunday night on the phone, when we were working out the logistics for the internship, she asked me if I planned on staying around to help raise Bear #3. I told her that although I don’t have an exit plan at this time, and I still don’t, I have thought about it. But I don’t think it is something I can answer at this time. For the past few months, I felt my time with the Bears was running out and that I needed to come up with an exit plan, and fast. Then we found out about Baby #3. And in a way, it made it more confusing. I went from rushing to find a new path to feeling the relief of job security for another couple years. Both, in a way, seemed terrifying.
I told her that no matter when I leave the family, whether it’s next week or in another two years, I am already too emotionally involved and that it’s going to be challenging to leave regardless. I did tell her that when I leave, I won’t be going to work for another family. I am not a career nanny. And anyway, I couldn’t find another family like them even if I tried.
About the idea of me transitioning out of a job, she told me that she is most worried about Little Bear. Big Bear is at school all day and will be five when his baby sister is born. Baby sister won’t know the difference whether I am there or not. But Little Bear, she said, will be affected the most. He has never known anyone other than me. He has had me to himself all day every day for two years. She is worried about me leaving, he starting school, getting a new nanny and also the arrival of his baby sister. We agreed to see how the internship goes and then regroup. I don’t think we can both think about the possibility of me leaving right now.
I don’t think there is ever a good time for a nanny to leave a family, but I agree with Mary Poppins: I shall stay until the wind changes.
Although I don’t believe that the wind has changed, I do think it is starting to get windy and that we need to keep an eye on the weather.