Jul 22, 2016

Dear Nannies of the World

Dear Nannies of the World,

I want you to know a few things.

Some people may pass your job off as insignificant. Temporary. Something college graduates do for a little while to make money. Or a job taken by people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. And maybe you are only nannying for a summer, or to make money for school, and maybe it is temporary.

But, your job, dear friend, is big.

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You have something that most people don’t: direct shaping influence.

You may be watching our children, but our children are watching you.

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When Susan put a dollar on the kitchen counter with a note saying, “I accidentally spilled some of your spinach,” in that seemingly small action, Grace saw integrity. When she would leave after long days of nannying to volunteer at the women’s shelter most evenings, Grace saw humble service. When she prayed for Grace and taught her about God’s love, little seeds of faith were planted. And last weekend, when Susan married Donal, and they shared their very first kiss on their wedding day, Grace saw a holy, pure marriage. She saw true joy.

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When Meredith cared for me when I was sick and unable to get out of bed (cleaning up my throw up despite me insisting that she let me do it), Grace saw sacrifice and love in action. When Meredith’s kind words and compassion poured out on others, it poured right onto Grace’s little heart too. When Beau proposed to Meredith, and washed her feet, Grace was watching. She saw him serve and love her. And when they married, Grace stood up next to them as their flower girl and saw a God at work once more.

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And oh Rhiannon. Today is her last day with us before she goes off to YoungLife ministry. In these two years, she has done far more than take care of our children. She’s prayed oceans of prayers over our family, and not just talked about her faith–she’s walked it. She dove into the mess of everyday life with us–the thousands of diapers, tantrums, and big emotions (mine included). Everything has been a teachable moment. Everything.

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Walking up the stairs to preschool became a counting steps game. Going to the grocery store with Grace became a time to practice connecting with others through hellos and genuinely asking how people are doing. Fred at Trader Joes is one of Grace’s best buds. Play dates were times to learn how to be a friend. Neighborhood walks were times to explore and celebrate all that God creates. Car rides were opportunities to stop on the way home to offer our homeless friend Neal food and water. And meltdowns were moments to learn about grace, prayer, and God’s goodness. There’s so much more. I could write books about the day-to-day ministry that Rhiannon has grown in our home.

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But, the event that stands out most was adopting Sarah. When we said our crazy YES to adoption in the first place, Rhiannon was the first to pray over us. When we matched with a birth mom, Rhiannon cried tears of joy right alongside me. In the weeks of unknown, as we prepared for our two week trip to adopt Sarah, she kept scripture and prayer as a constant in this house. And when we all travelled together as a family, not knowing if we would bring Sarah home with us for sure, Rhiannon was there. When Sarah’s birthmom said goodbye and handed her to us. When I sobbed feeling inadequate as a mother, holding two babies, unable to feed them. When none of us had slept more than an hour. Rhiannon kept pouring out grace. In the throw-up, baby poop, meltdowns, and so much. There’s just too much to name.

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But you know what? I’m really not telling you about Rhiannon. Or Susan. Or Meredith. I’m telling you about a powerful God at work in them who continues to change us. This hasn’t been a temporary, insignificant, mundane job any of these women–it has been their calling for a season. They have shown us Jesus.

And that. Is. Not. Small.

Rhiannon’s actions–not just her words–have shaped Grace, Josh, Sarah, Ari, the ladies who work here in this house alongside me, and me. We’ve laughed, cried, prayed, and she’s become my closest friend in this season.

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Nannies of the world, you’re not just shaping children; you’re shaping mothers. As a mother, to not only trust someone to watch your kids, but to trust them to teach your kids… well, that is a gift unlike any other.

I am a better mother because of these women. Women who knew this was much more than a “job.” When Grace would have meltdowns, a text from Rhiannon in the other room, telling me she was praying and encouraging me… those were seeds planted. Every time she listened to me, allowing me to confide in her and ask for spiritual guidance, she listened with grace and without judgement. Seeds planted. In the countless times she left a note of prayer on my desk or surprised me with flowers on particularly hard days… seeds planted.

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Nannies of the world, you are Cultivators. You have the opportunity to plant seeds directly into hearts, and grow the future generations–and mothers.

Whether your job is for a short season, or for two beautiful messy grace-filled wonderful years like it has been for Rhiannon, know that it matters.

Your job is everything.

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Please share this post with your nanny friends. I hope it encourages you!

6 Comments

  1. Amber on July 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    This is so beautiful! I haven’t had the experience of a nanny, but I’m grateful for the other caretakers in my children’s lives that help shape and mold them.

    Rhiannon was a gift to more than just your family and it has been a joy to know her these last couple of years as well!

  2. Hailey on July 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I had a friend link me to this on Instagram and oh my word how encouraging. As a nanny I have felt inadequate or have felt I didn’t measure up to my peers but your words spoke truth and light into my own doubts. As someone who loves Jesus but works with a family who does not it is a good reminder to still pray and love Jesus in front of these kids in hopes that they might catch a glimpse of our savior in my day to day actions. Thank you for writing this. It was so necessary for me to see.

  3. Faye on July 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    This is beautiful, I was a nanny in highschool and in college, it was a pleasure to help moms. Though many mothers can not afford the luxury of a nanny or choose to be the present parent, and must rely on themselves alone for their children, those who do have the luxury of a nanny, should look at it as a blessing.

    • Eden Elizabeth on July 22, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      I agree Faye! Not many mothers have this luxury. I chose to be a present mother versus working and hiring a nanny as it was more important to me to be with my children than have them with a nanny.

  4. Devin on July 22, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this. This made me tear up in a good way. I have been a nanny for 2 years now to 3 beautiful boys! At times I feel unappreciated by the parents and very overwhelmed. Especially this week. Thank you for this. This will be my encouragement on the tough days.

  5. Nanny Stephanie on July 26, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been a nanny for almost 9 years and sometimes we are overlooked. Thank you for recognizing our value!

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