My Aching Heart... how do I find happiness again?

A year ago, I became a nanny for the first time to a girl and a boy, 2 year old twins. I came into the job for the money as I was a just out-of-college girl looking for work, but I got so much more out of the job. The twins and me had the most special bond. They made me feel so loved and happy, my heart grew so much because of them. Not only did I have a great bond with the kids but also their parents. The parents were much older than me and we're such a fun couple who treated me like family and helped me when I needed advice on life outside of work. They were inspirational to me as individuals and a couple. 7 months later, I got hit with the news that I was being let go due to the kids starting school in a few months and the grandparents were going to watch them for the summer. I knew it was coming, I felt it a couple of weeks before that it would but I didn't think it would hurt this bad. My heart developed a painful ache from hearing the news. I didn't cry in front of the kids on my last day, I didn't want to let too much of my emotional out in front of them. The parents told me to stay in touch and I promised I would. A month after leaving them, I made my first contact by email with the mom. She told me the kids missed me but that they were happy and she sent a picture of them. It made me smile that they were happy and full of joy. A month after that, I made contact again and this time I was invited to see the kids. It was the sweetest day for me, getting to hug them and kiss them and just see them. I made my regular contact by email a month after that again and then again the next month which was their 3rd birthdays. I was so excited about them turning a new age, I bought them a big gift for both of them to play with and mailed it to their house as they weren't home that day. The mom messaged me saying thank you for the gift but I haven't heard if the kids loved it or anything. It's been a couple of weeks since then and I haven't made my monthly contact this month. I feel like I am the only one making effort to stay in contact as I've always had to contact them first for them to message me. I feel like I got way too attached to the kids and it's my own fault for doing so, I know. It's been almost 6 months since leaving them. My heart still has the same painful ache it has since the time the parents told me they were letting me go, it has not left one single moment. I cry randomly at times because I miss the kids so much, I look at their pictures sadly, I think of them every single day, I cried while writing a message in their birthday card, and I don't have much joy in myself as I did before. I feel depressed. I have been trying to let them go for a bit. Staying in no contact, going back to school for a degree I actually love and want to do, finding a new job...but not in child care as I don't have the strength to go through a child loving bond again. I have ideas for Christmas gifts for the twins but I'm not sure if I should buy them and send it to them, telling them how much I miss and love them or if I should not buy them the gifts and stay in no contact. My head is spinning with thoughts all the time and I am just so tired and depressed. I just wish to feel happiness and not sadness again. How do I find joy back into my heart? Should I let them go completely or stay in contact? Please help, I'm lost.


Corina said...

So sorry you are having a rough time. Honestly I think you need to talk to someone. Maybe a psychologist. It is not normal to get this emotional over a family you worked for. This may not have anything to do with this particular family. That is why I think you need professional help. To address other issues you may not realize that could be bothering you.

Please don't take offense. Sounds like the family has moved on. They are happy with their current arrangement. I wouldn't send presents or contact them anymore. They may think you are now stalking them. The kids are young. They will not remember you in the coming years.

Anonymous said...

You sound like you have a lot of love to give.
I understand where you are coming from. I too was an emotional wreck after my first nanny position ended. Your first nanny position is like your first love. In the beginning it is so amazing but in the end it is so painful.
However, I would say, for me the pain and sadness lasted a few days.
The fact that you have stated this still effects you after months and months does worry me. That is a sadness that is quite persistent. And I agree with poster above who suggest talking to a professional about it.
You will feel happy again, OP.
If devoting yourself to children is something that brings you emmense joy and satisfaction out of life. I suggest you start considering the idea of motherhood for yourself. If only in the distant future.
That is a goal that would seemingly motivate you to pick yourself up and move forward.
Also, i agree with and support your decision to no longer be in contact with the family.
Try to be satisfied with the fact that you had a positive impact on the twins. As well as the fact that you cab have piece of mind, knowing that they are loved, happy and well cared for.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Is this real? Sorry but this is creepy and unprofessional. I understand that it can be hard to move on but it shouldn't be this difficult months later. You're contacting the family for selfish reasons. It's much easier for the children if you let them move on. I think you need to talk to someone. It sounds like you've got a bit of an obsession, I am sorry that this is so hard for you and I do hope you get better and get the help you need.

Lexie said...

Agree completely! Either it's 100000% fake or this person needs help. It's not normal! If I were this family, I'd send a cease and desist letter. Stay in touch is what people say to be polite (or write in a yearbook ). People don't want this much contact.

Please seek help, OP if you're real. This is ni way to live. You're basically making it these children's responsibility to maintain your mental/emotional stability. That's messed up!

KnoxvilleNanny said...

Your care for the children and genuine missing them is sweet, but I agree that it sounds like these feelings have become too much. I miss all of the families I worked with (some more than others) and enjoy an email exchange once a year or so to catch up. I have even gone to visit children I once worked with. My feelings of excitement to move on and do something new far outweigh the sadness though. Children grow up, circumstances change, and sometimes you find that a family or nanny just isn't a good fit. It's the nature of this work that there will be many times you'll have to move on. If you feel emotionally incapable of dealing with that, then I'd definitely recommend finding a new career.

Leigh Raymer said...

any of us who have loved the kids know your feelings are very real, i think you have shown good restraint - being careful to contact them once a month, which is not overdoing it, but - yes it's time to move on - and most of the advice above is very good. You do need to talk to someone about your feelings because you should not be feeling intense sadness this many months after. Your ideas of education and getting out and learning and keeping yourself accupied are very good. Maybe you could apply to work at a school, or with a family inwhich you know you will be there longer?

Also - if you go to church/temple etc - they have free counseling, and there are other options for free counseling

Please keep us posted - we care

Anonymous said...

you need help young girl. sorry! I mean, I love the baby I care for, but the day I quit this job, I would probably be sad one day but get over it the next. these are not your children, this is a JOB. which you should handle just as any other. go seek help, it is not normal at all to get attached like this to someone else's kids. and to be honest it is very creepy to us and to those parents.

Anonymous said...

wowowoah! If this is how you are going to react everytime you leave a Nanny job, you need to change field ASAP!!

Nanny jobs aren't like most of the others; The average stay of a Nanny (in a good,fair family) is between 3-5 years. The needs changes and it's normal to change families. I know some Nannies that stayed over 15 years in a family but that's really rare.

YOU WILL come across many families/kids across your carreer, If that is something too hard to handle for you, choose another job than childcare.

Like you, I am very loving toward my charges but when it's time to move on, well I move on and generally don't look back. If that can make it easier for you, think about this: Most families see you only professionally and therefore could not care less about you and your welfare. Maybe the kid loved you but trust me you'll be very much forgotten fairly quickly. The only times a Nanny really has an impact on a family is when she stayed for many years .

You reallly should get over it, because if you carry on always getting back to them,the mom might think that you are mentally unstable and shut you off which will leads to her having a bad image of you. Just get on with it so you use her as a reference as well.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel and I am in much the same situation. I was the nanny for a wonderful little boy from birth for the last two years. When I was told he was being sent to daycare I was stunned - I never expected that! He is two weeks into daycare now and I have a fantastic new position.

Anyway, I make sure to see my former charge once a week as we go through this transition. You do not abandon children. For me to simply disappear from his life would be damaging to him (not that he would remember me but that he would remember someone he loved, trusted and depended upon vanished one day). Later, I will see him maybe twice a month, then once a month, then for special occasions and holidays.

Corina said...

Fine and dandy Annon that you get to visit once a week. Are you babysitting him or just visiting? Maybe your working family wants that. But not all families want the former nanny to keep in touch. The kids in time will move on. Most kids are fine as long as they have a loving family.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that kids do not move on - we think they do but the loss/abandonment is imprinted on them for life. Why not remove yourself slowly and gracefully without hurting the child? As I said, my change will not remember me - but what he would have known on a subconscious level is that someone who loved and cared for him can be gone from his life in an instant. This has been proven with orphans and children cared for by a grandparent who then dies in their first three years of life.

In my case, I care for my charge once a week alone but do not charge for it. I am not doing it for my former employers - I am doing it for the little boy. I am in a secure financial position and can afford to give this weekly service for free.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more anon.
And have had first hand experience that this is true-My husband lost his grandfather who cared for him suddenly due to a heart attack, he was 3 and it still effects him today.
What you are doing for that little boy is amazing.
But I must say you would definitely need the family's support to this "slowly weaning off nanny" process