Saturday, May 9, 2009

Changing jobs, mourning losses

Two months ago I was let go from a job I had held for 4+ years due to the economy. I cared for 2 girls and had been their nanny literally since they were born. I spent a good bit of time crying, mourning a sudden and dreadful loss of daily contact with 2 kids I loved so very much. Beanie and Buttercup were no longer in my care, and I worried about them.

I didn't miss the dysfunction that had infested the job. I didn't miss the crazy. And I felt guilty because I was enjoying not being involved in the 24/7 crisis mode, and that feeling of relief was so strong it almost overwhelmed the mourning I was going through simultaneously.

I got very lucky and found a new job quickly, due to a combo of changes in a friend's job status. I started caring for a preschool girl and a toddler boy this past week. I've known both of these children through my nannyhood network since they were about 3 months old, so we're fairly familiar with each other. Hopefully that will ease the transition pangs a bit, as they get used to me and I get used to them.

It's odd to get accustomed to a new job while still actively mourning a job loss. I find myself wondering what "my girls" are doing, if they have what they need, and even thinking about what I would be doing if I were with them , instead of at my new job. I know I will like my new position, but the demands are much lighter, and the kids are generally less dependent, which leaves me at loose ends occasionally.

I also miss the girly girl atmosphere of my old job. I am sure I will eventually get more used to meeting the needs of a tomboy who loves bugs and reptiles and a toddler boy who mainly enjoys whacking things with invented weapons, but some part of me misses barbie, dress-up, and polly pockets.

In a way, being a nanny means knowingly opening your heart to eventual loss. If you love your charges, moving on is a grieving process that can't be ignored. If you are lucky, you will remain in touch with former employers and charges. There's not much that's cooler than getting to move from "nanny" to "friend" after you leave a position. I hope with all my heart that I will have the chance to be a friend to Beanie and Buttercup. I hope their parents recognize and accept that the girls have experienced a loss as well, and that the pain of that loss can be muted by maintaining a relationship.


Smaybe said...

I can related to your thoughts and feelings.

I am in the process of mourning a loss as well. I ended a nanny job I had for the last two years, due to the economy. I had been with the little man since he was six months old. I miss him so much. I am fortunate enough to be able to see him from time to time. I worry about him all the time though. Things with his parents got messy towards the end (long story), but we have seemed to have gotten to a comfortable place and are able to enjoy each other's company.

LornaR said...

If they have any sense at all they will do back-flips to maintain a relationship with someone who cares for their children so much, and who has been such a large part of their daily lives for the last four years.

Tine said...

How true that is. I also was in a nanny position for four years and extremely close to the kids. The 16 month old sadly referred to me as mom because I spent so much time with her, and we were the best of friends. It's such a difficult transition, made even more difficult because I don't have contact with them anymore, the mother won't allow it.

I think parents can get very insecure over the bonds created with caregivers, especially because we can often spend so much more time with the kids than the parents do, and the bond just comes naturally. I

Just g said...

I did not know that you were going through this. I completely agree with your comments here and as hard as it is to love them, knowing you have to leave them, it is inevitable in our profession.
If it didn't hurt so bad for us, we wouldn't be so good at what we do.

Kleigh830 said...

Sorry for a late comment but your post struck home. After 20 years as day care owner I retired and soon missed kids so I took my first nanny position. After 2 years n having the girls as infants they let me go because I was hospitalized and was unable to provide a back up. Yes this became one of their uncontracted requirements. I experienced a lot of job creep but I stayed because I became deeply attached to the girls. The youngest screamed n cried n wanted me n not mommy... This was the last I saw of them. I believe mommy was upset n regardless of my illness I would have been let go. They won't even allow me contact with the girls. I knew the parents were strange but not to this extent. My heart is broken n I miss them something awful. So anyway.. I know the mourning process well. Grr.. To parents that put themselves before their kids