I knew I wanted to be a nanny when I was six-years-old. My younger sister was born and I loved that feeling of loving a smaller being, of being responsible for something so helpless and precious, something that responds to your love and nurture. Watching a baby grow and learn, I was overwhelmed. I was hooked for life.
Mum was bitten by the baby bug too and began to foster children and babies from all walks of life. I watched and helped out, falling in love over and over with every curl, every wrinkle, every miss-said word and every need.
When I watched Disney's Mary Poppins for the first time I knew who I wanted to be when I grew up. Her. I wanted her magic, her joy, I wanted to have the effect she had on families and to create the love she did in Michael and Jane.
So becoming a nanny was my destiny really wasn't it?!
I did my BTEC in social care at 17 and had my first nanny job by 18. It was wonderful, I'll never forget the boys. I felt super grown up to have my own job, my BTEC and the responsibility of someone else's children. How brave their Mummy must have been leaving them with such a newly qualified cocky little madam. Turns out I was very good at it however. The boys' family asked me to go live with them in New Zealand after two years but, at only 19 and madly in love with some wanna-be rock musician with a motorbike (I know - we live and learn) I didn't go.
Those boys are adults now, and I'm a mummy myself. I'm still a nanny and have so many children in my life now who I babysit for or see at face painting parties. I volunteer at events at my daughter's school and in the community for the local children.
Despite a stint as Elsa from Frozen at Christmas, I've always been known as Mary Poppins. I wear the outfit - it seemed only right that I dress up as her and I know all her songs after all. I mimic her accent and her quips ("now, now we are not a cod fish" is my favourite). Mary is a great leveller for a group of rowdy daddies at a Christmas party, I can tell you! When I pick my daughter up from school she has got quite used to other children pointing at me and saying "Look! There's Mary Poppins!", as has my poor husband.
I know in my current employer's phone I was saved as 'Emma Poppins', so when I read there was to be a new Mary Poppins movie, and that she was voted the number one ideal storybook nanny on childcare.co.uk I started thinking... and thinking... what if I really did change my name?
It was just a daft brain wave, a spontaneous magical stab in the dark, a massive hit of pure fun. I thought to myself, "why not? If I can make it into the papers as Mary the children will love it". "I can tell them 'see I AM Mary Poppins'." She's my idol after all.
So I did it. I'm a person that likes to make life interesting. I want to be remembered. I want mine and my daughter's lives to be filled with fun and laughter and I want to show her to never be held back by what other people might think.
This, like most of the decisions I make in my life was done on impulse, with my heart. I trust fate. Sometimes it has let me down or you could say it has led me to some marvellous experiences. Depends on how you look at it.
The day the story was printed in the papers I received lots of phone calls and messages saying, "Wow! BRILLIANT" and "This is SO YOU Emma". So many people loved the idea. My own little girl was thrilled, especially as she actually took the full length picture that was featured. Her exact words were "Mummy. Look. We did good!".
The children I work with always called me Mary so it didn't make much of a difference to them. Their parents love it too, saying "we have the ACTUAL Mary Poppins looking after our little ones..."
My Mum was pleased as punch as well, her response was "Wow! You must've watched that movie EVERY DAY as a child!".
The rest of my family took this like every other crazy thing I've done (and there are many) with grace and slight resignation. My dear husband quipping "as long as I don't have to be Bert I don't mind. What's for tea?"
I had phone calls from Canada and Spain. It was a real feel good story that I was thrilled to be a part of. Everyone wanted to know why? My response was simply "Why not? Life's too short to miss out on magic".
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