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Working Parents and Nannies



I met a woman today (I didn't catch her name), at a parent and toddler group. She was working as a nanny. Looking after two toddlers.


We got chatting, as you do, with random people (usually parents) when we're out and about with our children.


She graduated with a degree in communication from a uni in London. Whilst she was studying and later doing her post-grad (funded by some of the parents she worked for) she began working as a nanny. Living in a one bedroom flat, trying to earn as much money (£70,000) as possible to stay in London.


With prospects being no better than her current situation she moved back to Lincoln and continued working as a nanny.


We talked about her job. She said the parents she worked for in London were very specific about what they wanted (or rather didn't want) for their children each day, "no sweets, no tv, no chocolate" and, "go to this [museum]" and "do that [activity]".


She told a story of how she went to museums despite bad weather because that's what the parents demanded.


By contrast, she said the parents she worked for in Lincoln were very laid-back on instructions etc.


What I took from our chat was her experience with one employer. She was providing child care for a couple who both worked away from home from 7am-7pm, 5 days a week. I later spoke with a friend who used to live in London with her family who said that's good; most parents usually work more.


I also asked her if she felt like the parents missed out on the special moments. She didn't say yes or no, she simply said she thought the parents got all the "worst bits;" such as the tears and tiredness from the children. Parents wanting to spend some time with their children despite the day nearly being over. Then putting them to bed with difficulty, as the children would probably want to stay up later to enjoy their parent's company. All the while the parents are probably feeling knackered from their working day, preoccupied with getting to bed asap and preparing for another early rise for work the following day.


So much for the quality time, not to mention quantity time.


"Fair enough," I said somewhat diluted (I didn't want to give the full display of my stay-at-home-dad pride). "Some parents," she went on to explain, "are less interested in parenting and more interested in work, they don't like all this day-to-day stuff."


I asked her if she did "everything" for the children, she didn't say yes or no. She said as well as child care, she finds herself getting involved with family (marital) issues, she said "I didn't know I had a degree in counselling!"


I can empathise, I think as parents, as couples, as men and women, we often "want it all". The ideal work-life balance with children and holidays.


Work orientated Londoners or more family orientated Lincolnites. Somewhere in the middle would be ideal. 

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