Mary-Elizabeth Williams employs confidence and maturity as the “mom-friend”

Mary-Elizabeth+Williams+is+the+%22mom-friend%22+through-and-through%2C+from+her+job+as+a+nanny+to+her+caretaker+tendencies

Mary-Elizabeth Williams

Mary-Elizabeth Williams is the "mom-friend" through-and-through, from her job as a nanny to her caretaker tendencies

Senior Mary-Elizabeth Williams stepped into the afternoon soccer game expecting absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. As a nanny, she was there to watch her kid play and proudly cheer him on while taking videos to share with his mother later. 

As expected, the first half of the game went by without a hitch. It was during the snack break in between halves that her kid brought a minor complication to her attention. 

“He comes to me, and he’s like, ‘Miss Mary, Miss Mary, I don’t feel good,’” Mary-Elizabeth said. “I’m like, ‘what’s wrong?’ and he’s like, ‘I have never been running for this long, and I can’t do it.’”

Mary-Elizabeth confidently assured him that he could do it and that he would be alright. She gave him some water and an orange slice to quell his worries and his stomach and prepared to watch him finish the game with fortitude.

Unfortunately—even not moving around much as goalie—her kid “projectile vomited all over the field” shortly into the second half of the game.

“Kids are slipping in it; he threw up days of food,” Mary-Elizabeth said. “Everyone looked to me because I was in charge of him, and I was just like, ‘I am so sorry. I don’t know what to do. Do you keep playing?’ The field was ruined, so I didn’t know.”

But Mary-Elizabeth handled the situation with practiced grace and eloquence, and she was happy to hear that her kid felt much better as they drove home after the incident. A situation like this could hardly detract from her passion for working with children and the love she holds for the children she nannies. 

All of the stress and confusion are washed away in the moments when she watches her kids grow and flourish, making kind and wise decisions.

“I embrace chaos, and I kind of enjoy organized chaos,” Mary-Elizabeth said. “As many tantrums and things that happen, if I genuinely see my kid laugh or I see them be nice to a sibling or see them help me pick up toys—those moments really warm my heart.”

The time she has spent nannying has helped Mary-Elizabeth discover the path she hopes her future will follow. Far from a cubicle personality, her self-discipline and free spirit are destined to take her somewhere where she can see the impact she is making daily.

“I’ve figured out that I want to do something where I see a benefit because when I’m babysitting or nannying and I see my kids do things that I do that are good, it’s an unexplainable feeling,” Mary-Elizabeth said. “It’s small, but it’s a good feeling to know that you made an impact on somebody.”

It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when she really knew, but Mary-Elizabeth has always loved working with kids. This passion was shaped and fostered by the atmosphere she grew up in—her entire family has shared similar passions for most of her childhood.

Her mom co-owned a daycare for a couple of years in college, and her grandmother—a childhood education major—has worked as a teacher and a principal. Even her father has spent his fair share of time taking care of kids as the oldest sibling. 

Consequently, Mary-Elizabeth is through-and-through a caretaker by nature. 

“I’m the mom of my friend group,” Mary-Elizabeth said. “I like taking care of people [and] making sure everyone’s okay. And so I have very maternal instincts. I think that really helped shape what I want to do. I was always just taught to look out for someone who’s smaller than you.”

As she imparts lessons on the children she nannies, Mary-Elizabeth has realized just how much she has also grown from the opportunity. From what she says to how she interacts with people and what she notices, she has become much more conscious and aware of the world around her. 

Specifically when it comes to those who cannot defend themselves as easily. 

Much like children, Mary-Elizabeth recognizes that there are people who don’t always have the ability to stand up for themselves or are simply uncomfortable with confrontation. She watches out for these people now, never desiring to leave anybody feeling alone or helpless. 

And on another level, Mary-Elizabeth has also found herself becoming a bit of an advocate for people with special needs.

“I’m very, very passionate about how people with special needs are treated because, honestly, I truly think that the people that have special needs are the smartest people,” Mary-Elizabeth said. “If you look at research where they show people with autism and Asperger’s, they use a larger part of their brain than [other] humans do.”

While it’s always bothered her to see people with special needs treated poorly, she has become much more aware of the issue since she began working with children. And she’s never afraid to step up and say something when she watches someone who can’t as easily stand up for themselves being mistreated. 

Such a situation occurred during her junior year when she watched a certain student poke fun at another student with special needs. While multiple students called out the preposterous nature of the situation, Mary-Elizabeth stepped up and questioned the motives behind it. 

“[When] I heard about it, I went up to [them], and I was like, ‘how would you feel if someone did that to you?’” Mary-Elizabeth said. “[They were] like, ‘well, I wouldn’t enjoy it.’ I said ‘how would you feel if someone did that to your little brother?’ [They] said, ‘oh, I’d be so mad.’ So I said, ‘why would you do it to them?’ And [they] didn’t have an answer for it.”

Mary-Elizabeth has discovered the importance of sticking up for the smaller person and offering a helping hand whenever she can through not only her time as a nanny, but her own personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and conversion disorder. 

In many ways, she has changed for the better, becoming more conscious of her own words, attitude, and priorities. And as she grows, she watches a plan for her life unfold before her. 

“I think that has helped me realize what’s important in life and real priorities,” Mary-Elizabeth said of her own mental struggles. “And that’s why I really focus on things that make me happy. I’ve also learned a lot of how to control my emotions and how to identify how I feel. And I think that has helped me a lot in my perspective and outlook.”