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‘I love your child like my own’: A letter to parents—love, your nanny

Dear Parents,

There was a day—not too long ago—when you made one of the most important decisions of your life.


It mattered not just because you were about to spend a lot of your hard-earned money, but because this money would be spent on something so incredibly important.

It was the day you hired the nanny, au pair, day-care provider or “person who watches your child.”

There’s no greater decision than that.

You were hiring more than a service—more than a laundry-folder, a housekeeper, a meal-maker or a storytime reader. You were hiring someone to love and protect and nurture your most precious possession—your child— while you’re away at work.

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So thank you for having faith in me. But I promise—you made a good choice.

You were brave

You decided to take the plunge, and scoured references, searched for what you thought was the best. You found me in the neighborhood school, the reference of a friend, an employment agency and sometimes, (seriously!) in another country. You imagined the good (and the bad) about the person who would care for your child, and you did your homework—for the sake of your little one. It’s not easy to decide who should care for your precious child, but you courageously make this decision.

You were trusting

Once you did all the work to find me and ensure that I’m someone you can put your trust in, you took a leap of faith. You handed your little one and took a deep breath and said a small prayer that everything would be okay. You walked out of the home, out of daycare, or out of my house with the hope that I’ve got this. And I’ve more than got this, mama. It’s going to be awesome.

You were heartfelt

You showed me where the sippy cups are stored and how your child likes to be swaddled and how to discipline according to your philosophies. You told me how much you appreciated my hard work. You let me know when you wished I would try something different—and asked for feedback about your child.

But the relationship doesn’t just end when you hand your child off—it’s only just beginning. I want you to know that we’re together in this raising of your little one together.

We’re a team

I know almost everything about your child—we spend so much time together, sometimes more than you think would be ideal. But I don’t want you to feel guilty or generate any kind of jealousy. This is not a competition and you will always be mommy and daddy—those little hearts have room for everyone. The more we can see ourselves as part of a team—the better.

I love your child, too

I see the faith you have in me. And I see that SUPER CUTE kid you made. And here’s the secret: over time, I start to love your child as my own child, too. I love and worry about you him or her. I dream about who she is going to become, and wonder what he will look like when he grows up.

I don’t want anything to happen to them: I pay attention near the stairs, I watch small objects, I supervise mealtime and make sure nobody chokes. I know what they’re watching on TV and when screen time is over. I want the best for these kids and over the time I care for them, they nestle deep within my heart. It’s extremely difficult to explain how deep is my love for these children; there aren’t enough words or expressions in English, Portuguese or Spanish that can be used to describe what its love a child so deeply without them coming from your belly. All I can say is I love them beyond what you imagine.

This isn’t an easy job

Helping to raise other peoples children is an experience for a lifetime, but not every day is easy. In fact, most days are very difficult when you have small humans saying they don’t want milk mixed with Cheerios—that you have to put the drink in a separate green cup. “Not a yellow cup, not pink, but blue—don’t forget it!” It can be as stressful as parenting—like when everybody is ready to leave but we can’t find the pink bow that matches the baby’s clothes and then…. everyone is late. And I don’t even want to talk about the whining! All the challenges you experience with your kids, I experience them, too. The days are long and exhausting. So I appreciate when you recognize and validate my hard work and the challenges I face.

There is beauty every day

We also have beautiful and unexplained days that we get to witness: the first smiles, the small conquests of crawling, the songs they learn so fast, the big smiles when you say: Brigadeiro, the unconditional love they show in every abstract drawing made with crayon. This little life is a beautiful thing to witness and I love being here every day.

Maybe we won’t be in your life forever, but I promise—you will always be in ours

I probably will not be forever in your child’s life, but they will be in ours. You are the one who stays, but I promise I will always remember this time together and feel affection towards your child. Thank you for letting me witness how fascinating its to watch a human develop.

We have some things to ask of you, too

Please don’t miss the opportunity to see your child grow up. We know it’s hard work to pay attention and be truly present— believe us we know how tired you can be at the end of the day—but try enjoy the precious time you get together.

We will leave and you will stay

As the nanny, au pair, daycare provider or mother’s helper, we are gonna be a happy childhood memory, a special song, some words learned in another language, a memory of favorite food smell or an "I love you" with a very funny accent. We will carry your family in our hearts for the rest of our lives. But you will remain.

We are grateful

Thank you for letting us love your beautiful children, too.

Thank you for choosing us. Your children are also ours now.

Nobody’s ever going to love those kids like you love them—and also like we love them.

Love, all of us

Nannies, au pairs, daycare providers and all the people who lovingly help raise your children

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

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