What It Feels Like To Love A Child That Isn't Yours To Love

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Children have an uncanny ability to be loved, even by people who aren't their parents.

By Alessia Santoro

The thing about being a nanny — or in any line of childcare — is that you get attached to a child that doesn't in any way belong to you.

Twenty-four hours into my first day as a full-time nanny, I fell completely in love with a little boy that isn't mine to love. He has two amazing parents, a wonderful extended family, and now, a baby sister who is going to unconditionally love and idolize him forever — but he also has me, and I love the kid to absolute pieces.

As a parent, I could imagine that it would feel weird — almost threatening — to have someone else say that they're in love with your child.

When your kids are born, you love them no matter what because they're yours, and that's just how it works. But it is still so possible to love a child who doesn't belong to you — especially because children love back so unconditionally in the first place. If you are a parent to a child and you allow someone else to play a large role in their life, having that person love them the way you do is, in my opinion, the best outcome for everyone.

Don't get me wrong — I know with 300-percent certainty that I would never in any way replace my employer as her son's mother, that's just not possible, nor is it something I would ever want. But being a nanny is kind of weird, if I'm honest.

You spend an entire day trying to keep someone else's kid happy, fed, and alive. It sort of feels like you're a single mom in half-day increments.* Because of that, you can't help but feel like this little kiddo is yours in a way — after all, they learn from you, they adopt little habits of yours, they pick up phrases that you use. They become a mix of their parents with a splash (or two) of you, because you are the three people that they spend the most time with.

So when I say that I'm completely in love with a child that isn't mine, there are multiple reasons why I feel like I am validated.

  • First and foremost, I won the nanny lottery and landed a job with the most amazing set of parents in the world. If they weren't only a few years older than me, I would ask them to adopt me. They took me in as a part of their family right away and let me love their son and have him in my life, and for that I will be forever grateful. (They also know basically all of my life secrets, so I have to keep them close.)
  • There is no such thing as "too much love." There are so many people in this world who could use a little bit more of the stuff, so I can't possibly imagine not giving out all of the love I have to give, which, if you know me at all, is a lot.
  • It is absolutely impossible not to love a tiny human who fits into tiny clothes and has a tiny voice and eats with tiny cutlery.
  • Like I mentioned above, he has a few splashes of me, parts of my personality that I really love about myself. Seeing him share some of my interests, say some of the funny things I say — even just laugh at my jokes because we totally get each other — is so amazing.
  • He makes me feel more maternal than any childless 20-something could ever relate to.
  • In the way that any parent feels proud of their child, he makes me proud every single day — big things, little things, all of the things. He's incredible, and he makes me happy to be such a big part of his life as he grows into a young boy.
  • He is a very perceptive and affectionate little boy — he has seen me get emotional, even cry before, and like a mature adult, he completely and utterly consoled me.
  • I would do literally anything for him — this includes a range of things, from getting up from a Rescue Bots Netflix binge to get him a snack to putting myself in harm's way to protect him.
  • He not only tells me he loves me, but that he loves me "way too much," which melts my damn heart every single time.

So yes, I am in love with a little boy that isn't mine — and to go a step further, the second his little sister was born, my heart burst even more, because with her it was love at first (iPhone photo) sight.

It's a weird thing to talk about, but it's such a natural feeling. That little boy wasn't just my pint-size boss, he's an extraordinary child who has touched my life so irrevocably — he's my best friend, my "chicken nugget," my absolute favorite person in the whole world, and I love him to kingdom come.

*I am not actually a single mom, so I cannot confirm or validate that feeling in the slightest; it's just speculation.

This article was originally published at Popsugar Moms. Reprinted with permission from the author.


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