I've spent the last few weeks job-hunting (again!). I applied to a wide variety of jobs - ice cream scooper, online tutor, insurance underwriter, copy editor, retail sales management, farm hand... and the list goes on.
I was getting desperate. (I mean, farm hand - really?) Our family finances were looking worse all the time. One day, I stumbled upon an ad for a nanny position that led me to a website full of them - so many people looking for childcare!
Confession time: even though I have an education degree, and even though I've worked for many years in children's ministry positions, I have always thought I hated working with kids, and would always say, "never again!" when a job would inevitably come to an end.
However, I've recently realized that negative voice was really a symptom of bipolar disorder - which, thanks be to God!, seems to be a thing of the past. That realization, coupled with a bit of insight gleaned from a recent sermon at my church, led me to give working with children another shot. I started applying for daytime nanny jobs in my area - and there were so many!
A couple with two little boys, who had suddenly lost their previous nanny due to health issues, contacted me. I met with them the next day, and was hired.
I work Monday to Friday, 7:45am to 4:30pm. My primary job is looking after the boys; I'm also responsible for cooking and cleaning. So far, it's been good. I've connected with the kids, and I foresee that there will be lots of joys along with hard work. I'm optimistic about the future with them.
My work hours, which are excellent, also mean that I no longer can see my own boys off to school or be there when they get home. My husband has taken over morning duty, and the kids are old enough (and responsible enough) to be on their own after school.
I have to admit, this was an unexpectedly hard pill to swallow. I've always had flexible jobs (or no job) which enabled me to be at home with my guys. I never really appreciated that incredible blessing and privilege until now. It breaks my heart to know I can't send them out the door with a prayer and a hug in the mornings, nor greet them when they get off the bus in the afternoon.
But this experience has also helped me really understand the value of the service I'm providing for this family. It's not just putting in time - keeping the kids alive until their parents get home 😊. I'm essentially a substitute parent, loving and training and teaching and disciplining and protecting and guiding; providing a measure of peace for parents who feel the same way I do when I have to leave my boys.
I've promised this family a year. After that, I'm starting to sense glimmers of a broader plan. I feel like God may be leading me back into the educational system. When I graduated with my B. ED. waaaay back in 2001, I had determined there was no way I could be a teacher. With the bipolar diagnosis still years away, I blamed myself for all the ways I was lacking as a potential educator.
I'm starting to see things differently now. Ah, we never know what wonders God has in store - this path has had so many unexpected twists and turns. I'm grateful for each one; each one has held surprising beauty and treasure and good. I expect no less of the future; I forge ahead in confidence and joy, trusting the One who leads me on.