Waaaay back in the day, I was a nanny for six months, and I have to admit that I was not a particularly good one. In junior high and high school, I had tons of (mostly) enjoyable babysitting experiences, but living with a family is so much different than going home after a few hours of coloring and playing hide-and-seek. To clarify, though: the family was fine and I had the best bedroom in the house. I didn’t have to clean and, fortunately for the kids, I had only light cooking duties. It’s just that when you aren’t the ultimate authority, things can be a bit tricky. Taking care of other people’s children is not for the faint of heart as Kelly Corrigan relates in her memoir Glitter and Glue.
Kelly Corrigan became a nanny a few years after I, only her family gig was in Australia. She hadn’t planned on it, but when she and her friend ran out of cash on their trip around the world, jobs suddenly became necessary if they wanted to eventually continue their adventure (not to mention get back home to the United States). Kelly’s Aussie family was grieving the loss of the mother who had died of cancer a few months before.
As she navigated those sorrowful and difficult waters (so many topics of conversation with the children seemed to potentially contain mother references), Kelly gained a new appreciation for her own mother who was not particularly affectionate but kept the family on track - the “glue” in the family as opposed to her father’s role as the “glitter” (read “fun”). She constantly heard her mother’s voice as she was going about her daily routine and making decisions about the kids (“Children, Kelly. Kids are goats. Are Millie and Martin goats?” ). Now that she’s a mother herself, Kelly realizes how much her mother influenced the way she is raising her own daughters and, for Kelly, that’s a really good thing.