BEING A NANNY OR GOVIE
A govie has many hats; teacher, friend, big sister, entertainer, distractor, mediator, conspirator, instigator, confidant, voice of reason, cook, cleaner, fixer, inventor, bulldust artist, spoilsport. Sometimes we wear more than one hat at a time.
For me I can divide moments roughly into 3 categories:
1. Fun and rewarding
2. Frustrating but funny
3. Plain frustrating
Plain frustrating is internet problems during air lessons. It is trying to explain to Master 5 why ‘unicorn’ starts with ‘u’ but ‘yawn’ doesn’t. It is trying to explain why ‘to’ is spelt 3 different ways. It is a battle of wills that results in one sentence written in 45 minutes for daily writing. It is when Miss 3 and Miss 2 destroy/scribble on Master 5’s work he just put a lot of effort into. It is when the kids bicker all day and tears are never very far from the surface.
Frustrating But Funny
Frustrating but funny is when at the start of the year Master 6 throws pencils at the wall rather than write. It is when you suggest we do something and Master 6 gives you a serious little face and comes out with “Let’s not and say we did” quick as a flash. It is when Dad tells your partner the schoolroom sounds a bit like Kevin Wilson’s ‘This kid he swears a bit’ song. It’s when paint ends up everywhere twice in a row or Miss 3 drops the whole container of beads on the floor not once but three times. It’s when Master 6 sings the days of the months and leaves out ‘October’ for 3 weeks straight. It’s when Miss 2 gets the full carton of eggs out of the fridge when you’re doing washing and runs through the house with them.
Fun And Rewarding
The fun and rewarding bit is the best and far outweighs the frustrating bits. It’s a little hand clasped in yours as you go for a walk. It’s a toddler hugging your hip with a hand firmly clutching the front of your shirt. It’s lots of paint, bubbles, glitter, playdough, water fights, eating cookie dough, and making mud pies. It’s when Master 6 trots off the lead on his pony for the first time. It’s the big smiles and hugs you get every morning when you walk inside. It’s when they baby cries whenever you walk out the door. It’s the letter or drawing or flower Miss 3 gives you on Monday morning. It’s when your cuddles have the power to dry tears over a grazed knee or squished fingers. It’s when Miss 2, who is just starting to talk says “Me want come you” when you say goodbye in the afternoon. It’s when Master 6 writes ‘a’ with the right letter formation or ‘was’ correctly not as ‘wos’. It’s when Master 5 writes ‘b’ or ‘2’ correctly with no letter reversal. It’s when the same little boy who used to throw pencils at the wall writes a cute Xmas story. ‘My name is Alfie the elf. I work for Mr and Mrs Santa Claus. Mr Santa is fat, funny and laughs a lot. Mrs Santa makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Sometimes the reindeer bite my fingers. The end.’
ADVICE FOR ANYONE THINKING ABOUT BEING A GOVIE OR NANNY ON A STATION
Go for it! Being a part of this amazing, hardworking, beautiful lifestyle and typically; tough, caring, funny, smart, resourceful kid’s lives is an amazing, rewarding experience I believe is unforgettable.
Before settling on a position learn about the kids likes, dislikes and personalities and get a feel for the parents values and philosophies on bringing up their kids. Make sure you discuss what your responsibilities are before taking the job. Discuss salary but remember extras like food, board and internet add up. If any of this doesn’t suit you keep looking. There are so many different job descriptions in the ‘Govie/Nanny’ category you will find something that does suit. Being upfront for a start is better for everyone; you, the kids and parents.
Be prepared to be flexible, to think on your feet, to think outside the square. Research the random questions you don’t know the answer too. Ask all the questions you think of no matter how silly you think they may be. Try everything that is thrown at you inside and outside the schoolroom. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Wear boots and a hat and always take a big water bottle. Take lots of things to do when you have finished work and everyone else is still flat out, like movies/books/music.
Have fun and good luck!Shorna
Welcome to our guest blog series of insights from governesses and nannies on stations sharing some of their outback station world.
This is PART 2 of Shorna's Story 'Chasing Cows' and 'Wrangling Kids'.