For as long as I can remember I have been good with kids. Even as a child I could provide comfort or entertainment for younger ones around me. I have always found babies and young children to be so fascinating; their perspective of the world and the things around them, and the way they are so eager to learn. I love babies and children so much it baffles me that I did not pursue being nanny earlier in my life. But life has a funny way of working out.
I went to university the first time to become a teacher but dropped out after one semester. The fact that I was working 2 jobs and had a very heavy course load didn’t help but the main reason I dropped out was because I didn’t enjoy the program. I couldn’t picture myself finishing one year of the science and math heavy program, let alone the 4 years it required for me to graduate. So I took some time off, worked as much as I could, traveled, then applied to Ryerson University for Social Work.
I loved my time at Ryerson more than I can properly explain. So many things happened in the 4 years I spent at Ryerson beyond the lectures and exams; I made friends who changed my life and perspective, I had the opportunity to complete an international placement, and I met the love of my life.
When I graduated I felt so accomplished and inspired; I was going to change the world for the better. I applied for so many jobs I lost count; jobs near my home in Oshawa and as far away as Toronto. Then I waited for a call. The waiting was the hardest part. Weeks passed and I started to get nervous. Eventually I began working 2 part time jobs; both working with adults with disabilities in a group home setting.
I loved the people I supported but the long days and inconsistent schedule were hard. I kept searching for something that would make me happy but nothing seemed to meet all of my requirement. I began a trend: add a job then leave when I found another that seemed more promising. This happened over and over. There were so many things I liked about all of my jobs but some things I didn’t like either. Distance to get to work was a major struggle; finding work close to home was a challenge. The rotating schedules and 12 hour shifts were another struggle. I ended up exhausted constantly.
In the winter of 2016 I landed a teaching job at a private college. I thought I had found exactly what I was looking for; consistency, fair pay, and a short drive to work. Two months in and I was let go while still on probation. By this point I had began to hate the job; the fact that I had been told I would receive compensation for prep work but was later told this would not happen, the disorganization on the administration’s part, and the lack commitment to the program the students in my later modules demonstrated.
Even though the timing of me being fired was horrible and I was completely devastated, this event made me reconsider what I wanted to do. I had a long list of things I did not want in a job; shift work, inconsistency, and long distance from home topped that list.
One night I was browsing the internet and saw an advertisement for nanny jobs. Something shifted in my thinking and I realized this could be the job for me. I knew I would be good at being a nanny especially with all of my transferable skills. I figured I would put myself out there and see what happened.
I did some research and found 3 websites that allowed nannies and families to post what they were looking for and communicate with each other. The websites were: care.com, nannyservices.ca, and canadiannanny.ca. I made a profile on all three websites and browsed potential employers.
I sent out more messages than I can remember but only received a few responses. One of the issues I found was that many posts for jobs were old yet still active. Waiting for responses was extremely difficult but eventually I received some responses.
My first interview was with a young couple who had two young boys. We met at their spotlessly clean house on a Sunday morning before my shift at my relief job. I was so nervous but they were very nice. They offered me fresh chocolate croissants and tea or coffee.
The children were both adorable and I began picturing myself working with them on a regular basis. The oldest of the two boys played with trucks while I talked with his parents. He kept getting tangled up in a piece of rope attached to the truck. I helped him untangle himself each time. I enjoyed my time with them but was also anxious about making it to my shift on time.
At the end of the interview the parents told me they would let me know if I got the job within a week. The oldest boy played on the family piano and spent time dancing around as I was leaving. He gave me a hug before I left.
That week seemed to go so slowly. When I finally received a message from the mother it was to tell me they had gone with another nanny. I was devastated. I thought I had this job. Being a nanny was supposed to be my calling and I had been rejected. It hurt and I felt broken but I didn’t give up.
I sent more messages to potential employers. I received another request for an interview within a week. The position was starting in August so I would have a few months before then but I figured I could pick up shifts at my relief job until then if I got the job.
When I got to the interview I was nervous but became comfortable fairly quickly. I was being interview by two women who each had a child, one boy and one girl, turning one in August. They were looking to share me as a nanny but my schedule would be Monday to Friday with some early mornings or late evenings depending on the one family’s work schedule. The pay was fair, the hours fairly consistent, and their homes were only about 20 minutes drive from mine. This was the job I wanted and I hoped they wanted me.
I was able to meet the little girl that day and held her after she woke up from her nap. She was adorable but seemed skeptical of me. Luckily she didn’t burst into tears when I held her.
That first meeting seemed to impress the moms but they wanted me to meet the little boy and both of the dads. Due to my schedule we set up to meet a week and a half later. I was nervous but so excited.
I prepared 2 folders with identical information to give to each family. I included a copy of my drivers license and insurance slip, my CPR and First Aid Certificate, reference letters, and emergency contact information. I wanted to impress them.
The morning we arranged to meet I showed up with my folders and did my best to be as calm as possible; I wanted this job so badly.
Both dads were as welcoming and laid back as the moms had been during our interview and I felt more relaxed. I sat with them and played with the kids while we talked about my experience in work and travel. They told me some more about the kids, the schedule, and their expectations of me.
I don’t know exactly what they saw in me but I am hoping it was the love I have for children. They agreed to hire me and said they would draft up a contract. I was ecstatic! They also asked if I could watch the kids occasionally for half days before I started full time. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get to know the kids and the families better.
Things in my life seem to work out for the best looking back; not getting the first job lead me to these amazing families who treat me like family. I think the families I work for are a lot more relaxed than the first family I had an interview with. I realized I would have probably experienced more stress working with the first family; I would have been so focused on ensuring their white carpets remained white I would have missed out on being creative with the kids.
Sometimes you have to take a risk and follow your passion to find what makes you feel glad to be alive. I hope my journey can inspire you to find a path to fulfillment and happiness in your work life!