I’m not the first or the last Norlander to become a Mum, but hearing the commonly used phrases like “oh you’ll be fine you know what you’re doing”, or “you must have done this all before” can really pile on the pressure on what’s already a tough job – being a mum! Don’t get me wrong being one of the world’s most highly trained can have its advantages, I’ve tried and tested buggy’s, bibs, nappies, wipes and I can tell you the best ones on the market, but I have never been a mum before. I have never had to juggle being a mum and wife before. They don’t teach you that at Norland, nor should they. I just hope my daughter doesn’t feel under scrutiny because she’s being brought up by Norlander.
I trained as a Norland Nanny about eight years ago, and absolutely loved it. Before I went to Norland, I did a cordon bleu diploma in cookery, I knew at the end of the course that I loved to cook, but couldn’t cope in the high-pressure environment of high-end restaurants. The thought of someone shouting at me if I over-cooked something sent shivers down my spine and I knew I would just cry! So, I didn’t become a chef! One of my teachers at the cookery school said her brother was looking for a nanny for the summer; I applied and got the job. I spent the summer nannying and cooking for their three young children. In this time, I realised that this was what I wanted to do. I started at Norland the following summer after my employers said “you are really good at this, but if you want to make this your career you need to go to Norland.” I suppose you could call that a life changing moment, that comment opened the door to my career. I suppose it’s one of those things, if it had been one of my parents that said it I would have most likely ignored it (but when you’re seventeen years old nothing your parents say could possibly good advice, could it?). I went on to study at Norland and have since worked for two wonderful families, one of whom I still work for today.
When Stamptastic asked me to write a blog, I felt honoured but I also drew a blank. This week is Mental Health Week, so being inspired by others sharing their feelings, I thought I would share a few of my own. So, I wanted to write about the pressures I feel as a Mum and the mum guilt I feel for not giving my daughter the time and the patience I gave my charges. Why don’t I? Because I’m a mum and I’m not at work anymore. My daughter isn’t my work, I don’t have to answer to anyone. Mum guilt. Ugh. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, as a nanny you have one job, to be a nanny (which is incredibly hard work, it tests your patience daily and sometimes your work can go unnoticed, there’s no ladder to climb and you don’t get promotions even after years of hard work and dedication). As a Mum you have so many more things to juggle. I can never devote as much time and patience that I did for my charges to my daughter. I’m busy working and mumming at the same time. Oh, and moving house this week!
I got a sleeper. Did I? Did I get that because I’m a Norland Nanny and I know what I’m doing? Did I get lucky? Or is that the confidence and tricks I was taught that helped with that. While I was training at Norland, I made a decision not to work with a family that was going to have a new baby as I wanted to leave that for when I had my own. I wanted to make sure that when/if I had my own it would be a totally new experience and one that didn’t feel like work. During the end of my pregnancy I did slightly question that decision. Why didn’t I trial a newborn while it wasn’t my own? What was I thinking? I could have practised on someone else’s child!
Anyway, I didn’t practice, my child is two weeks off being one, she eats food, crawls, has naps and babbles. So basically, she’s learnt a lot this year! Me on the other hand, I’ve learnt more this year that I’ve ever learnt in my life. I learnt about who I am as a person, what I believe in, what I’m good at and what I’m very bad at! I’m good at seeing the positive in things. I’m bad at feeling guilty about everything. I realised that I’m really good at sorting out other people issues but terrible at admitting my own, admitting defeat because I was supposed to know what I was doing. Given my expertise friends would come over and ask me advice about their children, which I loved and there’s no better feeling than fixing someone’s problem, but after they had left yes, I felt great that someone felt comfortable enough and safe enough to ask me for help but gradually I realised I didn’t have anyone to ask for help for my own issues with being a mum. Slowly but surely, I’ve become better and talking about my issues and in the end, I found the more I spoke about mine, the more people would open up and where also feeling something similar.
During this year, I have started a consultancy business called Hetta’s Helping Hand (HHH) something I never thought I would be brave enough to do. Something my husband and my daughter without realising have given me the confidence to start. I’ve been advising parents over the years and really enjoy helping them to re-jig things to enable them to have a better lifestyle. Now I’m the mum, I understand the emotional side of things more and having been working in the world of childcare for nearly ten years I’ve got so much experience and there’s rarely anything I haven’t seen before. HHH like any business is a work in progress, but boy is it a breath of fresh air. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and actually getting pen to paper has felt amazing. A lot of parenting is all about confidence and completely winging it. Like many other things in life, if you appear like you know what you are doing it really works. Let’s hope!