Imagine yourself drifting off ……… let the muscles in your neck and shoulders relax and your breathing become slow and steady while I tell you why being a nanny is possibly one of only a few jobs that can help you stay younger than your years.
While caring for children can often wear you out, drain your reserves and give you anything from a headache to chickenpox, it can also enlighten you and give you the opportunity to experience what we hear a lot about these days – mindfulness. Children possess a gift that over time can dwindle away and fade as their age increases and the simple things are replaced with high tech electronics and constant distractions from television and other forms of media. This gift is all about ‘being in the moment’ or letting what is available to you become something incredible just by using the ever-underrated power of imagination.
I have, over many years, watched as children create wonderful ‘worlds’ of their own by using ordinary and everyday items that are always there. Pieces of furniture, a throw rug, some cushions and a few things from the toy box can be transported back in time where they become a secret pirate ship full of treasures that can keep a couple of little boys entertained for hours. Usually it was my job to be the killer shark that was attacking the ship because I ‘liked to eat pirates best of all’ or perhaps I would be a stowaway – just a poor girl who they would feed with scraps (often the crusts from their sandwiches) to keep alive until they could get to a market where they would hopefully sell me for ‘lots of gold’. To tell the honest truth, I loved it as much as they did! They would be so totally uninhibited and delighted with their creation that you couldn’t help but share their excitement and get lost in their wonderful fantasy. By tuning into their attitude and making time to ‘play’, resulted in an overall sense of calm and contentedness – stress and anxiety, nowhere to be found and your life as a nanny seemed much easier for a few hours.
Of course, the pirate ship has to be deconstructed at some stage and bath time does creep up on you just when you’ve discovered your very own treasure island, but it doesn’t matter because tomorrow the same armchairs and sofa and rug and cushions will take you, and your little friends to another faraway land, maybe an overgrown jungle with one extremely savage animal (no doubt a job for Nanny).
We forget sometimes the true wonder of life seen through the eyes of a child. If we let them, they can take us with them back to the same place where we enjoyed the simple pleasures of having a picnic in the backyard or building a sandcastle at the beach or maybe waiting tentatively for the first little shoots of the seeds that were planted in a pot of soil a few days ago. Never taking anything for granted is what I love about children – they may ask you one hundred and one questions, but as a nanny, YOU have the privilege of answering them.