It is Saturday night; the children have been fed and dressed in their pajamas, and it is time for the movie they were promised. I settle in on the couch with my charge Oliver curled up next to me with his head on my leg and Isabelle is sitting on the other leg announcing the characters names as they appear on the television. Tonight we are watching Piglet’s BIG Movie, and I find myself relating to Piglet.
The movie starts with the characters trying to implement their big plan for gathering honey. They say they don’t need Piglet’s help, but if it weren’t for the unnoticed adjustments Piglet made during the execution of the BIG plan, it would not have worked. The characters all congratulate each other with no notice of Piglet’s input. Piglet’s feelings are very hurt.
In my head I start going through my memories of the past year. I started working with Isabelle and Oliver in January 2003. On my first day of my new job, I met my boss and her children, bright and early, at the Seattle airport at 4:30 a.m. I had no idea what to expect. I was starting a new job with 5-month-old twins, and we were going to Arizona for a week. The first thing we had to do was get twins, two car seats, double stroller, diaper bag, computer, mother and myself through security. After all that, I knew I could handle anything.
Watching Isabelle and Oliver has been a pure delight. They are totally different from each other. Oliver crawled and walked first and Isabelle talked first. Oliver loves reading books and Isabelle loves listening to music. Oliver likes the animals at the zoo and Isabelle is scared of them.
So why do I relate to Piglet? I work in a profession that is very important. However, as nannies, we don’t always get the credit and recognition we deserve. I accept this as part of the job that I continue to do with pride. What a nanny does is incredibly important. Nannies provide structure for the children while allowing them new experiences for growth. We also are there to provide parents with support so that family life can run smoothly.
So why do nannies choose to work in this profession? We love the innocent smile of a child, the joy in a child’s face when they have learned something new, and the pride we feel knowing that we are an important part of a child’s life. Nannies need to take a moment and give themselves a pat on the back. Like Piglet, nannies don’t need constant praise for the work they do. We know what we do makes a lasting effect on the lives of our charges.
-Michelle McNabb, 2003 INA Nanny of the Year