How I Became A ParAunt
is a ParAunt to her Nephew and Niece and former Nanny in Orange County, CA.
Meet our newest columnist Sarah Toscano. Not only is Sarah a Savvy Auntie, she’s also a ParAunt, meaning she’s the primary caregiver for her niece and nephew. Follow her on her journey here, or on her website.
I’ve been sitting here, staring at the blinking cursor for a good ten minutes, unsure how to start my very first post! I’m not one to sit and talk about myself, so I feel at a loss. I guess I better give it a try so you have a better understanding of who I am, where I come from and what exactly it is that I do. Here it goes!
Who Is Sarah?
My name is Sarah and I was born and raised and still live in Orange County, CA. I am not your “typical” California girl. I don’t have a valley-girl accent and I don’t walk around with my nose up in the air. I’m a normal, t-shirt and jeans wearing, Converse-loving girl. I love to read and tend to pick books that capture my attention after reading the title or the back cover. I love all kinds of music, from country to rap. If it has a good beat, I’m so there! I love surfing the internet for anything I am currently interested in. I am addicted to Facebook and Twitter. Oh, and Chap Stick! I always have to have my lip balm with me. I have a love for sunflowers, photography and blogging. I adore most animals, but prefer cats. I have a Mama cat named Peanut, her 7 month old son, Rascal, from her first liter and now four, seven week old kittens, from her second (and last!!) liter. I am currently in search of homes for all four. I don’t want to become a cat lady!
I live at home with my mom, Debbie, my sister, Carolynn, my boyfriend, Jeff, my 8-year-old nephew, Joseph, and my 6-year-old niece, Hannah. Family is very important to me and I love that we are all close and live together, even if I complain about it at times. My entire family on my Mom’s side is very close. We all live in a 10 mile radius of one another. My Dad lives a good two hours away and is always on the road driving (he’s a truck driver), so I hardly ever get to see him. We are close, but are not as close as I would like.
I have been caring for children since I was 10 years old. I started as a mother’s helper to my mom and aunt. When I was 16, I started babysitting regularly for a mom who lived in my apartment building. She had three kids and I adored them. After I turned 18 I started working at a preschool. It was what I had been dreaming of doing for many years. I worked in the infant and toddler room. I was just a teacher’s aide because I hadn’t gone to school yet to get my Early Childhood Education units. That was another goal of mine, but rent needed to be paid, so sadly school got put on-hold while I worked full-time. I loved every day of working at the preschool. I loved the chaos of having 17 toddlers in one room. I was always on the go and did everything a teacher did, with less pay. I did that for three years. I quit in 2007 when I started my nanny career.
My first few months as a nanny were challenging. I was new to the nanny world and knew nothing about it. I tried out several part-time temp jobs until I found my perfect family. I was with them for a year and a half. I moved on to other families after that, working a bunch of part-time jobs to do something different. I loved my new found career and was happy to be set on what I wanted to do the rest of my life.
At home, I had a nephew and a niece that I was raising, even though my older sister was there. Sadly, I always felt like I was the mom and she was the babysitter. I would go to work all day, come home to find her sitting in front of the TV or drawing while her children cried because they were starving and hadn’t eaten lunch yet—even though it was 4 or 5 pm. Ninety-nine percent of the time the house was a disaster because she never watched them. Almost every night there would be a screaming match because I would tell her to feed her kids or give them their baths or to put them to bed, and she would tell me to go away. Often, I would end up doing it all. When I would leave for work in the morning, I feared that I would get a call during the day that something bad had happened to my nephew or niece.
I prayed then that one day the kids would be solely in my care.
Stay tuned to Savvy Auntie for more of Sarah’s amazing story…coming soon!