In Praise of the Nannies

I don’t know how I would have gone about this whole becoming a mother business without my Mum. It’s almost five years since I lay on my bed and wept into the phone hysterically about how stupid I had been, while she calmly told me she’d support me whatever I decided to do. With a broken ankle, she rearranged my childhood bedroom to accommodate me, a load of crap and a cot. When I was in labour, I gripped her hand so tight that I caught her wincing at the the midwife and slipping off her rings because they had cut into her fingers (at the time, I confess that in some sort of warped way, I was pleased that someone else was experiencing pain that might come close to what I was going through.) In the early days, I’m not sure how Mum coped with getting up at 6am and driving to work: Surely she heard the hysterical midnight screaming of a baby who refused to breastfeed waiting while his mother stomped downstairs, slammed the kitchen door and prepared a bottle of formula.

Sometimes, I get emails from girls who are pregnant and don’t know what to do (I never advise them, just offer some comfort and tell them I know what an agonising decision it is.) The thing is, not everyone is as lucky as me and I don’t know if I could have done it without such a tolerant Mum. It works well because Tom loves going to stay with his Nanny as much as she loves having him. A couple of weekends ago, as I waved him off, I told him I’d miss him.

“Don’t worry Mum, Nanny will look after me and the gerbils will look after you.”

When I spent two days and nights partying at Eurocultured, a Manchester street festival, someone asked me where Tom was.

“Oh, he’s with his Nanny,” I said, realising afterwards that it probably sounded as though I could afford an au pair.

I am lucky because as well as Mum, I also get a lot of help from Tom’s Auntie J, a wonderful lady who I worked with when I was pregnant She ferried me and four car loads of my stuff back to Mum’s when I was seven months gone. Auntie J has made Tom a Man United fan (which bothered me at first but isn’t a bad idea I suppose, given the fact he doesn’t have a male role model and all his classmates seem to be little Reds). She was supposed to look after Tom while I went to work at Glastonbury this year. I couldn’t wait for my my lost week on Worthy Farm. Then my job there fell through. I became hell-bent on getting to Glasto, even considering selling things and paying megabucks for a VIP ticket. Then I stopped and asked myself what I was doing: going out of my way to spend a messy, muddy week away from my beautiful son. Silly me.

Auntie J and Tom walk through the tunnel at Old Trafford on his fourth birthday

It’s wonderful to have the Nannies. They certainly made the transition in to motherhood a lot smoother. Having a social life is important to maintain sanity when you become a parent, especially if you’re single, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all. I have started to look at child-friendly festivals I can take Tom along to this summer.

Auntie J was supposed to look after Tom this weekend, while I went to Parklife, another Manchester festival but I have come to my senses: I eBayed my ticket and booked myself and Tom on a very cheap flight to the sun. We’ll conveniently miss the dreaded Fathers’ Day card-making at nursery. Sadly, I can’t afford to bring the Nanny along on holiday, but she is driving us to the airport and sitting on the house (and the gerbils) while we’re away.

Tom and his beloved Nanny

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “In Praise of the Nannies

  1. Ah. Lucky Tom to have so many loving women in his life.

    The Green Gathering has a fantastic kids field – they do kids circus workshops and puppet shows and all sorts…

  2. Oh yes, Nannies are wonderful! As I had my son so young, my mum is still in full time work but she still manages to look after J sometimes too. She single-handedly brought up 4 children and I’m amazed that she managed it.
    Both you and Tom seem to have such great social lives! Have fun in the sun.

  3. Ian

    Awesome. I am lucky in that way too. I have two sets of very willing, and able grandparents. They have facilitated my V Festival visits for the past three years. Enjoy your little holiday.

  4. maryfclark

    I had a fabby Nanny– my Mom’s mother– to see me through the whole baby thing twice telephonically. She was the first absolute unconditional love of my life, and the feeling was mutual. I never felt guilty about being her favorite; I was so awed to be loved that way that it never occurred to me. Now there are two small people who didn’t really know her, but like to hear Nanny stories.

  5. Veron

    I know Nanny and she is brilliant!!!!!!

  6. Camp Bestival would be the place to go for family friendly festival-ing, I would be going this year but cant afford it, would be amazing though.
    http://www.campbestival.net

  7. Lucky you. But you also sound like a strong, wise lady yourself who is making very good decisions for you and your precious son.

    http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com

  8. I found out I was pregnant 2 days after my Mum’s funeral but my Dad has been there for me and my son every step of the way. He has been and is the best hands-on Grandad, even in the throes of grief from losing his beloved wife of 38 years. I honestly do not know what I would have done without him. I still miss my Mum terribly nearly four years on but I feel very lucky that my boy has one amazing grandparent, who is a big part of his life. And I have a wonderful dad.

  9. what a brilliant and heart-felt post. Tom is a very very lucky little boy. hope you had fun in the sun.

  10. not sure if my last comment got lost, will try again…

    just to say, what a brilliant and heart-felt post. Tom is a very lucky boy. hope you had fun on your hols

  11. “while his mother stomped downstairs, slammed the kitchen door and prepared a bottle of formula”

    Know the feeling!!

    I live a bit far from my mum, or “nanny” as she is now known. It’s an hour and a half’s drive, so we don’t get to spend as much time with her as we’d like. Nannies are invaluable!

    Emma

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