I have recently got myself a fabulous new job as a Nanny, which entails looking after three lovely small children, reading to them, cooking them dinner, picking them up from school and taking them to after school activities. I really am very happy with the job and I feel very lucky to work for such a kind and welcoming family. However, considering that one of the children is two years old, one aspect of the job that stupidly had not even crossed my mind is:
Ah. See, my obsessive compulsive hygiene standards had obviously blocked out the glaringly obvious reality that if you are going to be looking after young children, you’ll probably have to empty a few potties. At least until my second day, when the children’s mother casually said ‘Ah, yes, so you’ll probably have to do a few potties…’ Cue sweaty palms and hyperventilation.
There were no rubber gloves in sight, and I would have felt like a moron asking for some when she had just demonstrated a quick, fuss-free potty emptying. If I nipped off to get changed into my protective overalls, goggles and fluffy rubber gloves like my favourite divas from How Clean Is Your House? I would probably cause some alarm. I would have to suck it up and get on with it.
It’s all about exposure. When people have an extreme phobia of spiders, ‘Exposure Therapy’ helps them to conquer their fear by gradually bringing them into contact with spiders, getting them to first look at them and finally hold them/ touch them. It’s a similar thing with OCD. Once you empty a potty and realise you’re not going to die, you can empty one million potties, scream ‘Hallelujah!’ and feel like a sassy, powerful gal. This of course comes after one hour of hand washing and lots of ritualised chanting to the God of Germs to spare you. Maybe not the second part. But, once tackled, OCD obstacles only get easier, and this means that I can turn my attention towards more pressing worries like learning the words to songs from Frozen.