Category Archives: Thoughts

This Whole Nanny Thing (Part 1)

It was at a Baby Shower the ‘school moms’ threw for me right before Brea was born where one of the wonderfully well-meaning moms asked “but you’ll have help right?” It must have been the months of staring into my terrified ‘I’m about to have 3 kids’ face every morning at the school gate which had her ask the question. “Yep, totally. I mean, my mom is right there”, I replied.

You see, I never grew up with help. My gran lived next door (as does now my mom and dad) and helped around with lifts and laundry, babysitting and walking the dog. My mom only worked a few days a week and so we didn’t need it.

Having had the boys in Vancouver, there was no option for a nanny so you ‘man up’ and figure it out. And it was totally manageable. Maybe it’s the Canadian Childcare tax benefits, the year long paid maternity leave, ‘free’ healthcare and the unquestionable safety (even if it is only perceived) which allows you to just relax about, well most things.

So with a then 4.5 year old, 2.5 year old and a newborn, we ‘manned up’. We brought this precious new bundle home and it was wonderful and hectic and more wonderful and more HECTIC (read about it here), but over time, hubby and I realised we were slowly but surely moving closer and closer to: survival mode. And we weren’t surviving in survival mode. Our options were limited, but the most obvious was to just get help. Thing is, I didn’t want a nanny. It was foreign to me. I didn’t want someone in my space, I didn’t want the cost, I didn’t want to ‘not manage’, I didn’t want to worry about this ‘stranger’ and more importantly I didn’t want to seemingly outsource my parenting. I was also a little nervous of nanny agencies (I’d heard horror stories), and knew that if we invited someone into our home, we were inviting her into our life. So it was a biggie.

Looooooong story short, on the Easter weekend this year we hired our first (and hopefully life-long) nanny, who has CHANGED OUR LIVES a million times for the better. Cue the champagne! Now I know many of you reading this will be all “duhhhhh, we could have told you that light years ago”, but it was a struggle for me. It’s a big deal inviting someone into your home and entrusting them with your most valued little thing/s EVER. So give me grace, will you?


So if this was it, and if she was the one, surely I must do everything I can to make sure she is loved, well-trained, that she understands us, that we understand her, that there is mutual trust, appreciation and open communication – because why wouldn’t you? So last month I sent her on Nanny Training with Super Nannies.


GUYS!

GAME CHANGER.

I loved our nanny before, but, our relationship has BLOSSOMED since she went on the training. She is still not perfect – and that’s okay. Because, am I? Heck no.

I feel like Super Nannies has helped me flesh this whole nanny thing out: our relationship, expectations, roles and responsibilities and, it has made for such a wonderful home environment. I feel like it is my role as an employer to not only treat my nanny well, but to pay her well and respect her (as a person and human) and to do what I can to lift her out of the previously disadvantaged position in which she was raised, and give her a voice and purpose and value. And going on a course like this has done just that. She feels empowered, known, communication is open, and we can discuss things without me feeling like ‘white privilege giving instructions’ (my issue I know) to feeling like a team sharing a common goal and working together to achieve it.

All those things I was previously scared of have dissolved: she shares my space in such a humble, unobtrusive and safe way; I manage better because she creates the space FOR ME to BE A BETTER PARENT; she is worth every cent I pay her; she is no longer a stranger but a team member and I am less stressed, more patient, less busy, more able to spend one-on-one time with the kids and the hub is super stoked he no longer has to clean the kitchen way into the night while I fall asleep on the couch.

A gift. She is a gift. My eyes have been opened to how massively beneficial this shift has been for us as a family. Hang around for Part 2, where we discuss what miscommunication we have overcome and what exactly she learnt and how is has benefited us all. x

 

 

How to Survive the Morning with 3 kids ON YOUR OWN.

Most mornings are a nightmare. ‘A MAAAARE’ as my Australasian friends would say. If it’s not hard enough to drag yourself out of bed each and every morning, imagine doing it on your OWN with three smaaaaaall children? No guys really. It’s full-freaking-on.

So a few months back I had this on-going whats-app dialogue with my girlfriends about how UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE pull-your-hair-out I was finding ‘the mornings’. The hub (bless him) heads to work just after 5am which leaves me with no other option that to drag myself out of bed at the first whimper of any child. (He does return earlier than most and then ‘takes over’ so we can’t resent him too much).

We’ve been through the ringer – moaaaaaaaaaaaning about eveeeeeeeeeerything – from not wanting to put on shoes, to underpants, to rain coats and not wanting to eat breakfast and demanding the breakfast I don’t have in the cupboard. I understand getting out of a warm cuddly bed with your luscious down duvet (lucky kid!) is hard (TRUST ME), but let’s just mentally prepare ourselves to do this for.the.next.18.years.

I hold my breath, I bite my tongue. I scream, I whimper my pleas, I bribe, I convince, I threaten. It’s not great.

I’ve put music on (to lessen the moan), I’ve sent them to school with their pjs UNDER their clothes. I’ve even left them sleeping (so that my dear mother can manage the chaos) and I’ve raced off to work.

Throw in some wet beds, some breastfeeding, some vomiting, some screaming (by all involved – we each have our turn), a toddler whose Lego just.broke, a 5 year old who can’t put on his socks (because they’re about 17 sizes too small), a baby who needs 7 drops of probiotics 30 min before she has food (ha ha ha), and a stubborn 3 year old who boycotted his (now soggy) weetbix for mint vanilla toothpaste as their before-school snack. Shoes and socks, on and off, jackets and beanies, on and off. And then the nappy you never changed, explodes. Poo everywhere.

You name it, I’ve done it. I’m finished.

I hate screamy-mommy, so something needed to give. My options were to a) run away or b) tackle this head on. Obviously a) is not a real option. So somehow, I’ve managed to rise above it all (in glorious fashion) and here’s how I’ve done it:

  1. Get up early. This is the hardest thing you’ll do all morning – but it’ll be worth it. If not for anything other than allowing yourself the time to MAKE THAT COFFEE. Always make more than 1 cup. Have it on the ready. Because 1 is never enough.
  2. Hide your phone. Once you’ve switched your alarm off – hide it. While I’d much rather be chatting to my girlfriends about the upcoming 3rd royal baby, DON’T allow yourself to get distracted. This will be your downfall.
  3. Lunch boxes. No matter how many matchsticks you need to keep your peepers open at night – make those lunch boxes the night before. Kids don’t care about brown oxidized apples.
  4. Dress them at night. When times are tough, I dress my kids in their (play) school clothes the night before. No shame. You gotta do what you gotta do. Hopefully we’ll have this morning thing under control before we hit the school uniform stage. 
  5. Buy them the cereal they want. And I don’t mean cocoa pops/fruit loops. But pick your battles. I can’t handle the constant fight over oats or weetbix – so muesli it is. The cost is worth it. Trust me.
  6. Feed and nappy first. If there is a baby in the household, at first peep, get to them. Breastfeed/bottle feed and then change their nappy. In one swift motion. Don’t hesitate. Then hand them a Hip Organic Rice Cake – that’ll keep them happy and entertained for a good 3 minutes.
  7. Warning, warning, warning. We’re going in 10min, we’re going in 5 min, we’re going in 2 min. Boom. (Parenting 101)
  8. Chorus line: “What day is it today?” “Tuesday!”, “What do we need to remember on Tuesdays?” (Think think think think think: School t-shirt? Dress Up? Fruit for the bowl? Money for something-or-other? Show and Tell? FitKids t-shirt? Extra clothes in school bag? Extra murals? Play date? Grandparents for the afternoon? …( And together we think of the answer.)

And off we go to school. Tra la la. You might have noticed that we do not allow TV or iPad in the mornings. That’s just a no-go. Once we head down that path – we’ll never return.

And most mornings, we’re doing okay. Yes, we forget Show and Tell (often) and yes, there are still glares and talking through gritted teeth and raised voices and the usual parenting coping mechanisms. But we’re getting there… and we’re much, much happier.

Those of you with more than 3 kids – I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how you do it. No idea. Nada. You’re super human. You must be.

What do you do to make mornings easier? Pray tell?