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How do you cope when on holiday with the family?

(9 Posts)
nannynoss Sat 03-Jan-15 15:35:08

I'm a live-in nanny, so the thought of going on holiday with the family seemed fairly reasonable when I was asked at interview if I would consider it. I would be used to sharing living space with them anyway...

However, I have been away twice with my current family and both times I have found it really exhausting and stressful. Both times there have been a lot of adults (grandparents, aunts, uncles etc) as well as parents and myself. Two children.

I find it really difficult to not know what hours I will be doing until I'm just about to go to bed the day before (for example, family will say 'start work at X time tomorrow and do a few hours'). I work a lot better if I have a set plan before the week begins, but it is their holiday and understandably they want to just go with the flow a bit.

I also find it impossible to switch off when I'm not working, as I don't feel comfortable going out alone in a foreign country. The family aren't great at telling the children to leave nanny alone (although they are really good at this at home). The children behave really quite badly for the parents and I find it stressful to ignore the behaviour when I'm off duty. The parents will often huff and sigh near to me, and I feel like they are hinting for me to help. Grandparents often make me feel bad for having time off too, but I guess that's a separate issue.

I really don't feel like I can address this with the parents though, as they do let me start later in the morning and finish earlier. Also, DB is extremely hard working and can sometimes make jokes about me being lazy if I comment how tired I am at the end of a day. From their point of view, they probably think they are being really kind offering shorter days and me the chance to travel for free. (I thought the same, but the reality just seems such hard work!)

The last time we went away, I travelled alone for 10 hours to meet them there, and immediately had to start work on arrival for a further 6 hours (bedtime, bath time plus evening with young baby). On another occasion I worked overnight and was told I would just need to do a 'few hours in the morning' after that. They didn't take over until 2pm. I was exhausted but they had the attitude of 'well we do that all the time'.

We are due to go away again in a few months and I just feel sick at the thought. I love my job when I have sole charge during the week, so I don't want to rock the boat by refusing to travel when I originally agreed it at interview.

Do any nannies have any coping strategies?!

Jinxxx Sat 03-Jan-15 19:37:13

I do think you need to get used to the idea of taking yourself off on your own while you are off duty. I don't know what sort of accommodation the family uses, but if you are not working, can you not just go off and sit in the garden or on the beach with a book or go off for a mooch around the shops, a swim or a walk? They will probably appreciate time just as a family too.

nannynoss Sat 03-Jan-15 19:51:20

That's what I was hoping for, but unfortunately so far there has been nothing within walking distance. It has been cold countries.
There are a few nice bits to walk but there's only so much walking one can do in a day. I am quite happy spending a whole day reading so I will try to find quiet spots in the house/my bedroom, but someone always comes to find me. They don't disturb me in my room at home, so I don't know why they do it when we are away.
Hence why it is difficult to switch off, because I am constantly expecting them to appear.

LightTripper Sat 03-Jan-15 23:04:03

Maybe they are worried about you feeling left out/lonely when you're away? It seems worth a chat to see if you can make "away" time more like "home" time if that works better?

needtomanup Sun 04-Jan-15 13:30:36

Enquire re organised trips, least then you're collected and dropped back to your hotel and it's safe.

Best of luck. At least you have shorter days. I too travel with the family but the kids constantly want to be with me and scream or cry if I go off without them which stresses their parents so I end up with very little down time. They do go to bed early though so least that's something.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 04-Jan-15 14:48:06

and this is why i never go on holiday with the family, its stressful and not worth the hassle, kids play up, the nanny thinks omg and you never know if meant to be working or letting parents deal with it

its like parents working from home but worse as you dont have any real back up and being away from home makes it much harder

not that the above helps you grin

all you can do is ask to know your hours before you go, ie work the am, have pm/eve off

or work afternoon and babysit while parents etc go out

if have other family there why do you need to go?

i think you make you work as soon as you land (after a long flight) is mean

tbh i dont get why parents take a nanny with them hmm, they are not working, cant they spend time with their kids and have a family holiday, and then leave kids at home /with you and go away for a long weekend just them to chill out

nannynoss Sun 04-Jan-15 14:59:55

Blondes, definitely like parents working from home, but with hardly any toys to amuse kids and not knowing where any activities or outings are! Argh!

I think the problem is always that there's too many adults and the kids don't know who is in charge. So they just end up having a melt down, not knowing what they want. And sadly the kids get ignored a lot because all the adults assume someone else is watching them sad

I'd much rather work proxy parenting for a week with them home and the parents off on holiday without the kids!

Bonsoir Sun 04-Jan-15 15:10:21

I think it is absolutely fair enough to ask for a meeting with your bosses to discuss holiday organisation, in the light of experience. It's fine to agree to things at interview and then to review and renegotiate once you have done the task a few times.

I suggest you make it mostly about the DC rather than all about you, however. You could start by explaining that being in the midst of so many adults is difficult for the DC and that you need clearer boundaries in order to retain your usual firm-but-kind standards?

NannyNim Sun 04-Jan-15 22:59:54

I travel with my family quite a bit and so far it's been a really positive experience for us all! I guess I've had it easy because there's only one child, me and the 2 parents but I think it's been positive because we're very clear about boundaries - when I'm working, I'm working and when I'm not, I get left alone - but we're also all happy to be flexible and I don't mind not knowing my hours in advance. The parents have also been very generous and when we went to rural France they realised there was nothing for me to do so paid me for the weekend but it was chilled and very much "LO is happy playing with DB, why don't you go for a swim/read your book" etc. We have a great relationship and do lots of shared care anyway so LO is used to having us all around together and doesn't play up. They also took advantage of the fact that I could have the LO while they went and did things by themselves during the week.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it can work as long as you're all clear about expectations. It would not be in the least unreasonable to have a chat and say something like "It's really great to have the opportunity to travel with you and now that we've done it a couple of times can we sit and discuss ways to make all our lives easier this time around?" Suggest that the adults might like to take a day trip while you have the children or that they might like to spend a day or 2 just as a family - see if you can research somewhere for them to take them so you can have the house to yourself! Tie a ribbon or something on your door so the children know when the ribbon is there you are not to be disturbed and ask the parents to enforce this rule (maybe even go so far as to tie it to your wrist when around the house too!)

My family are planning a holiday with the grandparents this year and I'm already a bit anxious as to how the dynamics will change so watching this thread to get some ideas myself!

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