Rachel was Iris’s nanny from June until December last year.

Iris was born in March 2018, I was determined to have at least 3 months full maternity leave, and my “return” to work was on a part time basis for 6 months which would bring me to the end of 2018. I figured at this point I could reassess our family vs work life and what my husband James and I ultimately wanted for our future. I like to have a plan.

Employing a nanny meant that I could work from home with on site childcare until I was ready for Iris to start nursery in January of this year. Essentially this meant I could see Iris whenever I wanted whilst being able to be involved in Rock My and attend meetings when required.

We assumed finding a nanny whom we felt comfortable sharing our home and lives with, on a part-time short-term contract basis, would be nigh on impossible. And then Rachel happened. All flame red air, positivity and calm. We liked her immediately. She was looking for a 2/3 day a week role until the end of the year as she was hoping to eventually move back to her home town and return to teaching.

Rachel came with a wealth of experience and references, which when you are trusting someone with the welfare of your very new baby, is a requisite. Iris adored her. She adored Iris. And she did so much more than look after my youngest daughter. Rachel did all the small things that make a big difference when I was going though a challenging time post baby – Crippling PND (which I had a difficult time admitting to myself, never mind anyone else) Iris’s diagnosis last September and my Nan passing away in the November.

She cooked dinner. She ironed James’s shirts. She put a wash on when the laundry pile overflowed. She baked cakes. She read with Mabel after school. She went to the supermarket whenever we ran out of anything and everything.

She listened when I was exhausted and confused and really not feeling like myself at all.

Mabel called her Mary Poppins. Iris’s face lit up every time she walked into the room.

Rachel was part of our world for such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things, but I will never forget her or her unyielding generosity.

This post isn’t so much about hiring a nanny (although please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section) but about the people that have had a significant impact on our lives. When Iris’s diagnosis meant multiple appointments with consultants and an impending operation, so many of the Mums from Mabel’s school whom I had only known a few months, offered to help with the logistical juggle. My friends Lisa J, Anna, Perfect Kelly, Lisa S, Victoria….the list goes on, all checked in to see how I was. Offered to look after Mabel so we could focus on Iris and have some much needed rest and a glass of wine. I was often overwhelmed with the kindness of both loved ones and (almost) strangers.

Christmas is a joyous time for most but it can be a testing and lonely time for many. Giving gifts can be thoughtful, but also costly. Stuff is just stuff. Being kind is free.

Here’s to the Rachels. Here’s to the folks that go high when others go low.

Here’s to you and those we will remember.

Here’s to a brand new year, let’s go higher.