As my thirty-eighth trip around the sun quickly approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my career path. My entire life has been dedicated to raising children, and at age thirty-seven, I have birthed none. As the oldest of four, I have worked in childcare practically since I was born. I started receiving a W-2 for it at eighteen when I worked at the local YMCA and donned a shirt that said “Professional Role Model.” Now, at age thirty-seven, I have made a living caring for children for over twenty years. It’s almost like that Professional Role Model t-shirt was a prophecy!
Since my eggs are well into the geriatric phase- though my spirit is young- I’m also reflecting on what people expect from a woman my age. There’s a pressure that society puts on us to procreate, and it follows a timeline. Some people will assume that if you have a uterus you absolutely must birth a child. Relatives will say “Happy Mother’s Day” to you because “you will be one day.” The clock ticks. The pressure is so palpable that you may be forced to throw your hands in the air and say, “You know what? Maybe I should just have a baby to join some sort of club with a very expensive and permanent initiation!”
I’ve always teetered two worlds: the nurturer, and the creator. Creator not in the human life sense, but in the art sense. The real goal was always a creative career. It’s amazing how much watching children prepared me for theater school. Never underestimate how much kids love a goofy voice, playing pretend, and a solid pratfall. When I graduated with a theater degree during the financial crisis of 2008, I realized I might need to get what they call in the industry a “day job.”
I dug deep for marketable skills, and childcare was the most evident. I took to the Internet, and in what is either the most baller or financially risky move, I applied for a singular nannying job on Craigslist. That was thirteen years ago, and spoiler alert- I got it, and I still work for the same family. What started as a reply to a Craigslist ad at the height of Craigslist murders turned out surprisingly well! This is the longest job I’ve had, lasting one-third of my life. This type of job usually doesn’t come with job security, so I’m in rare territory.
It started off pretty chill, because my baby boss couldn’t talk. I used this time to hone my mediocre guitar…