Friday

Travelling with a Nanny

Received Friday, July 25, 2008. - Perspective & Opinion
It may seem decadent, but I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that we travel with our Nanny when we think it will make the trip go better. Bringing her along gives us the flexibility to see the sights we’re interested at an adult pace and to go out for a few special meals. We also know that our kids are well cared and comfortable with a familiar person when we’re out and about.

It’s important to set some ground rules up front so that everyone has the same expectations of the trip. Your nanny may be expecting an all expenses paid vacation while you’re expecting round the clock care for your kids in exchange for footing the bill. Your nanny may not have a lot of experience with travel and may need some help adjusting. Finally, it can be difficult to travel with others, you need to set things up to minimize any possible points of friction… after all, you’re probably hoping that you’ll employ your nanny for years.

Passport & Visas

Verify that your nanny has a passport and the visas she needs, you don’t want to find out at the last minute that there is a problem. If your nanny does not have a passport, you might want to help get things started, and you’ll certainly want to pay for any application fees

Expenses

It’s important to have clear communication about expenses up front. What will you be paying for on the trip, and what will the Nanny be responsible for? Here are some examples:

* Travel (air, train, etc) to and from destination
* Hotel or Vacation rental expenses
* Meals. You might have a different policy when dining with family than when dining alone
* Activities and admissions with kids or family
* Telephone calls home
* Transportation at the destination
* Luggage storage at an airport or train station
* Internet café expenses


Sleeping arrangements

You’ll need to decide whether you expect your Nanny to share a room with your children or want to provide a separate space. It’s more expensive to give the Nanny privacy, but giving her a space to call her own can help her be better rested and more mentally available to your kids during the day.

Whatever your decision, you should communicate clearly with the Nanny about what to expect.

Compensation

You’ll need to arrange to pay the Nanny while you’re on the road. If you don’t have direct deposit set up, you may want to give her post dated checks that someone can mail to the bank for her or pay her in cash in local currency.

Decide whether you will provide a per-diem to compensate her for the extra difficulty and expense of being away from home? (some people pay up to $50 per day, but expect round the clock availability in return.) We give a small amount extra if we feel that expenses are more (due to the low dollar) in our destination.

Schedule

It’s important that your communication about work hours and overtime pay be just as clear while you’re travelling as it is at home.

I go so far as to bring a printed calendar with me on trips and write the planned hours & actual hours on each day.

We set expectations in advance with the nanny that the work schedule will be different than it is at home. Here’s how we have chosen to do things:

* We set a schedule at the beginning of each week of travel. During the week we track the actual hours and adjust the schedule as needed.
* We pay for each hour that the nanny is in transit with us, and expect her to work during that time (ie. From the time she arrives at our home until the time we reach our destination)
* We set up the schedule so that we have more hours with the kids during the day than we would at home & several date nights a week. The travel hours usually eat into the schedule enough that we have lots of daytime hours with the kids to enjoy our destination.
* We always give a day off after a travel day. Travel days can be stressful and it’s good to give everyone a little time apart to recuperate. Also, we want the nanny to have time to scope out the destination before she’s responsible for entertaining the kids.


Work Expectations

Not being in your house and in your usual environment will bring up a lot of new questions about what’s expected. Also, unless you have a live-in Nanny, this is probably the first time you’ve shared a space. You’ll want to make sure you answer any questions the Nanny has and set expectations up front about what will be different and what will not change even though you’re all “on vacation”

* Remind your nanny that the kids continue to be her first priority when she is working. Any personal sightseeing or shopping needs to be done on her own time.
* Once you’ve ironed out exactly what you expect in terms of work schedule, remind her that because you’ll be sharing a space, she’s likely to get woken up at night if the kids wake up and that the kids will see her coming and going. Explain that of course you’ll all try to be sensitive about this, but make sure she realizes that she’ll not be able to totally walk away from work as she might at home.
* Nighttime work is a little different than at home as well, if you’re sharing an apartment, is it ok for her to go to bed once the kids are asleep? Or do you expect her to wait up until you are home? Our policy is that the nanny can sleep once the kids are settled, as long as there is a baby monitor or some way for her to hear them and attend to them.
* Review any special safety issues related to your destination (E.g. only bottled water, no taxi rides, parts of town to avoid, etc)
* You’ll want to decide what types of activities she can take the kids to do. Can she take them on public transit? To a museum? How should she expect to be reimbursed for these activities?
* Is the nanny still responsible for household chores that she would normally do in your home?
* What is your policy about the Nanny bringing guests into your shared space?
* If there are any limitations on how much luggage your nanny can bring (perhaps you have booked a rental car with a small trunk) or if you anticipate needing her to have hands free to help with the kids on travel days, let her know in advance so that she can pack light.

35 comments:

Marissa M. said...

This is a great post!

Thank you so much, I am sure it will be very helpful for thousands of families. This should be in a magazine!

Thanks said...

Thank you for this article. I emailed it to myself. I don't travel with the family I work for, but it brings up a lot of great points.

Metronanny said...

Great post but I would add that the nanny traveking with you does not mean she is not entitled to vacation time at some ppoint later in the year. Even if you pay all her expeses she is still working. But very useful OP! Thanks!

pretty good said...

Pretty good advice. The only thing I disagreed with is that the nanny should be "reimbursed" for her costs. You should never expect for your nanny to pay for your child's food, activities, anything, out of her own pocket, on vacation or any other time. That money should be made available to her before any outings. You could get an additional credit card or debit card that piggybacks on your own for use. It's just not good form to expect the nanny to pay for that kind of stuff out of her own pocket, whether or not she is reimbursed.

Melissa said...

Let me get this straight. I love the ideas behind this article, and I have traveled with families with much success, have a college degree, and tons of experience, so I like to think I have a good handle on all of this, but something doesn't add up here.

The nanny is expected to travel with the family, participate in the same general vacation activities (possibly more, as she will be doing the majority of the child entertaining), but is to be instructed to "pack light" in case one of you needs help or you don't feel it necessary to take into consideration the extra luggage that an extra person will bring?

I may be overreacting, and that is fine, but in my opinion, if I was asked to vacation with a family and then instructed to "pack light", you would be without my services at that point. For good. I have the right to pack whatever the heck I want to bring to make my transition and the "joining" spaces easier for me. Keep in mind parents, a happy nanny (within reason, of course) is a good nanny. And a long-term nanny as well!

Or maybe I just value myself and my work more then the normal nanny? I would not stand for this. This is almost as bad as that crazy lady who offered up the food and then put labels all over it... I loved that one...

jules said...

Some people pay up to $50 per day?
WHO?
People in Ossining?
I make $25 per hour overtime for every hour after I work a regular day. After two hours of overtime, I will make that $50 and get to go home and sleep in a comfortable bed.

$50 a day is not acceptable. Maybe if you hire a shebop nanny from the midwest who comes out the the NY area with her eyes full of delight for the statue of liberty, uber excited to have her $500 a week in cash.

But $50 per night?

It's your vacation. Not hers. Make sure your differential makes it worth her while. I have been to Bali, Singapore, Austria, every Caribbean Island, Hawaii and even XXXXX As beautiful as some of those places were, I was unable to enjoy them as I was the one who was up at 7 with the kiddies and up til 12 sitting in my employer's hotel room babysitting the kiddies.
And some of those places like Singapore and XXXXXX were so awful that you couldn't pay me $1,000 a day to go back there. No thank you!

Great article but if you don't mind me saying, it seems written with the intent to keep the nanny in check.

And you pay for EVERYTHING for the nanny. Except for phonecalls, which my boss pays for because she takes me away from my husband, so I call him every night and never see the bill. (I keep it short.)

Most boss's will also treat you to a souvenir or something while you are away. Nothing fancy. Jamaican rum or a Singapore Hottie t-shirt.

UmassSlytherin said...

I have to say that if I were a nanny travelling with a family, I would not go if I had to share a room with the kids.

That's just wrong.

chick said...

Any nanny asked to share a room with her charges should be paid OT for every hour worked bwyond her normal schedule, even while the kids are sleeping.

And then she should also get a daily bonus of $200+ for being so inconvienienced.

That would solve the issue, because unless a family is getting the most expensive hotel room in the world for nanny, paying her $25 per hour for 14 hours plus $200+ per day ($550+) would be WAY more expensive than getting her her own room so she can actually occasionally be "off duty".

OP, this was a good article, but frankly, I think a nanny who travels with her employers should be comped for EVERYTHING, given a piggyback credit/debit card to use, and told she is not to pay out of pocket for ANYTHING from the time she reports for duty until she is able to return to her home.

Anonymous said...
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Emily said...

Jules, I think you missed that the $50 is a per diem, meaning an amount of money for all the miscellaneous expenses the nanny might have because she's not in her normal environment. That's on top of whatever negotiated pay she's getting for the trip.

Casey said...

I don't think a nanny should have to pay out of pocket for anything either. She didn't pick the destination and most likely won't get to pick the activities she does with the children or you, so she shouldn't have to pay.

I think the point of a vacation is to spend time as a family, but the OP seems to want to just travel with her husband and tuck her kids in at night. The nanny being "on shift" the entire travel period... come on. You won't discipline your kids if they are unruly? You would just go to the airport lounge to get away from the kiddos? Sounds pretty ridiculous.

The more I get into this comment, the angrier I am getting. She should be able to pack what is necessary. If you have just 1 child, then 4 people in a small car with a small trunk is just ridiculous anyway and it sounds like there is more than 1 kid.

And sharing a room?? Why not just send the children to the destination with the nanny and you go somewhere else? Or better yet, leave the kids at home since you obviously don't want to parent your children.

Giving her a day off after traveling is nice, but depending on how long the vacation is, you could be paying out the butt in overtime, because it sounds like she is going to be working 24/7.

Emily said...

It's not always cut and dry when it comes to expenses. I agree that anything the nanny doesn't have a choice about should be paid. However, I'll be going to Europe with the family I work for in a few weeks and while they'll pay for everything while we're together, I'm taking a day off from the family and meeting up with friends. We're have reservations at an incredibly expensive restaurant and I would never dream of having my employer pay for it. Somethings remain the same whether you're at home or abroad.

The other side of the coin, however, would be a family who takes the nanny along for occasional babysitting during the holiday and expects her, day after day, to pay for her meals when she's not "working". That would be entirely unacceptable.

Anonymous said...
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the-blogger-formally-known-as- anonymous said...

Anything the nanny does while with the kids needs to be paid for by the employers.

Anything she does on her time off should be covered by her. Long distance calls for nanny to check in with loved one should be paid for by the employer within reason.

Any travel expenses like tickets and hotels paid for by the employer. Unless you are paying your nanny round the clock she gets her own room and working hours just like home.

Seems pretty simple to me!

The most important thing is talk about it first and then put it in writing so everyone is on the same page!

LindaLou said...

personally, i'm always amazed to the extent to which some employers utilize the services of a nanny. seriously, you can't even take your own kids on vacation? i simply don't *get* the mindset of people who don't have a close relationship with their own children or spend any time with them. i have plenty of friends who work F/T, but they spend all the time they possibly can with their children when they aren't working.

Over the Top said...

Hey LL, that's a great point. Some of the others have said also, why bring the kids at all? Leave them at home and pay the nanny extra to stay with them at your house. You will still be saving money.

Also I love this "...is it ok for her to go to bed once the kids are asleep? Or do you expect her to wait up until you are home?"

what, i'm sorry, do all parents stay away while the children are asleep? so then, if the nanny must wait up for you, is she then allowed to sleep in the next day? if you need a baby monitor, you must be bringing a pretty young infant on vacation. is this really all neccessary?

caroline said...

Wow the poster is starting to get worked over...

I was a well paid, college educated nanny who travelled with multiple familees with great success (melissa...)and with that experience comes the realisation that it is NOT my vacation and that I WILL be working longer hours than normal. My job while I am there is to make the vacation enjoyable forthe children and the parents - otherwise why the hell would they have brought me?

If I get told that I should pack light (managed an overnight for a 10 day trip to St Barts also managed the same size bag for a 2 week trip to Tuscany) then I do so - quite frankly I also would rather not be trying to manage a lot of luggage while chasing after a 4 year old who may or may not be behaving in the airport.

I've had good experiences while travelling, and bad ones. I've shared a room with the kids, been on duty essentially 24/7 for 2 weeks and had to sit in coach with the kids while mom and dad flew first (that position didn't last long) - but I have also been taken on trips where my only responsibility was a few hours of babysitting a 4 out of 7 nights; been given great pay including a per diem to cover the increased cost of items in places like london and moscow (this is written in my contracts along with a stipulation of how my increased travel pay will be calculated); and most importantly fantastic memories of destinations I would could never have dreamed of travelling to on my own.

I think that if you have a good general relationship with your family, ythey communicate hours well, don't take advantage normally and are appreciative of your work (and they should) be, you are more likely to travel wioth success.

Also, if the children are in your care for the most part, and that is consistent with your regular hours, you should be able to have some say in their activities. You should be reading up on things to do at the destination that are kid friendly and suggest these -- if you feel more in control, you will be happier. There is nothing worse than being dragged on a sightseeing walk through a european city with a couple of young children in tow who could care less about the history.


Remember, children enjoy routine (up to a point), and even a beach vacation offers the opportunity to get them on a (loose) schedule of sorts

I think I rambles, but this is something I have a great deal of experience with and as a nanny I found the OP's comments helpful and don't understand why anyone would attack her for that piece.

a nanny who travels said...

I travel with my family and share a room with the babies. I do work basically 24-7 but its not that bad. Things are more relaxed and everyone is having fun. We have 4 kids under 6 so everyone is together all the time. The "grown -ups" usually go out to dinner 1 or 2 while were there but they take the oldest child and i only stay in because the babies have to go to bed. We have had no problems. I'm a live-in so we are used to sharing space and are very comfortable with each other.

NomDePlume said...

The subject of pay needs to be added to the article. I personally make double to triple my daily salary whether or not I'm sleeping in the childs room or not. This should be the norm. If you can't afford it, then you need to give your nanny the time off at home.

With the exception of the very expensive dinner with friends, all meals should be paid for by the family whether or not they are eaten with them. In addition myself and others that I know have been given an allowance to sight see, do movies, even go to a spa while we travel, also not necessarily with the family.

Parents need to remember that they get what they pay for and by that I mean if you're generous with your nanny, your nanny will bend over backwards for you and your children.

UmassSlytherin said...

I understand that to many of the nannies on this blog who are payed well, like you nomdeplume, it may seem like parents who can't afford to pay that much should not have their nanny come at all. But everyone has their price. If a nanny wants to travel with a family and not get paid as much, that's her choice.

To me, personally, it seems weird to take a nanny with you on a family vacation. As some have said, just keep the kids home if you don't want to be responsible for them and thier happiness. But maybe I'd feel differently if I could afford stuff like that. I don't know, it's hard to say. Right now, I can tell you that if I were rich, I wouldn't get a freaking nanny to come with me on vacation. I would, however, buy that electric guitar on ebay signed by Michael Pitt. But that's just me.

But as I said, everyone has their price. If a family can find a nanny to do it for less, more power to them.

mom said...

I had three small kids on vacation with me...alone...many, many times. Sometimes my husband was on a long business trip and busy all day...sometimes I just took the kids to my home state to visit friends and family, and sometimes we were all together on a family vacation. There was a long time when I had to haul two carseats and 3 kids onto airlpanes (as I said, often alone). My kids were well behaved and used to the routine, so it worked smoothly time after time. (I carry the carseats, older son carries baby and middle son clings to my leg. Although I will never forget the horrified looks of other airplane passengers seeing the lot of us trundling down the aisle and HOPING we wouldn't sit near them. Heheheh. But then I pulled out the "forbidden at all other times except during airplane travel" Game Boys, handed one to each, and TA DA everybody was mesmerized from the time their seatbelts snapped on on until they came off again at the end of the flight.) Then I would look for children's museums, zoos, local sights, whatever kids might enjoy wherever we were, and proceed to have BLAST with my kids.
Was it unendingly romantic for my husband and me? No. But the kids are mostly grown now, and we have all the time in the world to take those kinds of vacations...plus a lot of wonderful memories of time spent doing things FOR and AROUND our kis on some great trips.
Some of my/our favorite vacation memories don't even revolve specifically around typical tourits activities. In London the highlight was feeding the pidgeons each day in Trafalgar Square (which my kids referred to at the time...and still do... as "pidgeon park.")...oh and "chasing ducks" in our paddle boats in Hyde Park. In Toronto we had a couple of favorites: collecting the fall leaves and watching the squirrels in a park near our hotel. In Washington DC, it was rolling down a big hill covered in fallen leaves, over and over. In Paris, the all time magical moment, was finding a garden maze and playing in that all afternoon...you get the picture. Would my husband and I have EVER chosen those activities if we didnt have the kids along? NO! Would we trade those moments for anything? NO! And you can never go back and do those things later. If you are always trying to push the kids aside so that you can enjoy yourself privately on vacation, you are really missing the pint of a family vacation.

I would just leave the kids home if the idea is to ditch them as much as possibe. Or...take nanny along on vacation, but have her sit for the kids a very limited amount...like so that mom and dad can have a leisurely, romantic dinner at the end of a great family centered day. Let nanny have most of her time ot herself to enjoy the sights, and just have her work form time to time. That seems ideal for everybody concerned.

Melissa said...

Caroline- I don't think anyone is attacking the OP, we're just merely adding in things we would or would not stand for. Every nanny has her limits, and it seems to me like you do too. For instance, I'm a little shocked that you would mention my concern with being instructed to pack light like it was something that I should just do and shut up about, and then say something to the affect of you were angry and put off by being stuck in coach with the kids while the parents were in first class, and the position didn't last long after that. Isn't that the same thing? You didn't like being in coach instead of first class (which, by the way, do you fly first class on your own trips? Is this something you are used to? Why would anyone EXPECT to be flown first class?) and I don't like being told how to pack for a trip where I will be ultimately, doing the family a favor.

My contracts specifically outline my duties, and normally, they do not include travel. For my own sanity. I think every nanny should communicate with her "family" and find the best fit for their situation. I have never had a bad time when I did choose to travel with a family, but like many of you said, family vacations are for FAMILIES. I'd rather spend that time with my own.

m said...

I do not travel with my family though they ask. You've got to be kidding me I think.
It's my first experience with parents who don't want to spend time alone with their kids- fine, but you will not be punishing me.
I do not want to be around you and your extended family. Like a poster said above I'd rather be with my own.
Plus I just find it irritating that you feel you need someone extra. On one hand I get it, but on the other, you have to realize that when you choose to have kids your life changes, which means no more 'peaceful' vacations, sorry.

For me I do not like the disruption to my life when it comes on to traveling with families.
I like to know where I am sleeping and pretty much control every other aspect of my stay anywhere.

I personally am not impressed with the idea of 'traveling to places I could not go on my own' that is overrated. You can have your vacation in your exotic spots while I stay right here on a vacation I can afford, and that is certainly more enjoyable. There is nothing I hate more than being somebody's appendage.

The first class situation mentioned above is an example of how it feels to be 'in tow' with a family. It does not seem right. If you are traveling first class, so should everyone else, or everybody should find themselves in coach; or how about you take the kids with you in first class and I stay in coach by myself.
I did love the piece about being paid 'in transit'- then its much more worth it; because if you are going to have me get up at 4 am, then you better believe you are paying for it.

As for the light packing, are you packing light too? or is it just me who has to inconvenience myself for your benefit? because I tell ya, I'm pretty fashion conscious, and will not take 'one pair of shoes' to go with everything. I must look good- not just you. I will pack the same way I pack for all my vacations- heavy! I am just a nanny, not your heavy lifter- that's why you have a husband.

I went back and forth with my contract before taking this job. I just kept deleting and adding, and they had a choice to not hire me, but I came highly recommended


It is either a good thing that we have nannies with such varying standards or a bad thing.
What if every nanny refused to go on vacations?
Of course if you truly don't mind (maybe age has something to do with it) then go for it.

Jane Doe said...

As a nanny I traveled with both my first family and my last. Both were inconceivably generous and so much fun to be around.

With my first family, I traveled with them on long weekend type of trips. I went with them to a super bowl and some business conventions the wife was speaking at. I was given a credit card, a rental car (and the children) and told to find fun things for the children and I to do. We had dinner together at night and they were equally generous with the cocktails. :)

The last family I worked with traveled well and often and to the sort of places I was very happy to have an opportunity to visit. It was more fun as the children grew and could snorkel, hike, walk, swim and otherwise partake in the local activities. I was paid generously to travel with them, and except for the lugging of suitcases and copious amounts of beach toys, it really never felt like work. I was included in the planning of the trip from beginning to end and always felt like a valued member of their family.

With the economy as it is, people have asked me, "why don't you just work as a nanny again, I know someone who....".
I just couldn't. I nannied for the best. :)

UmassSlytherin said...

You know what I'd be really good at? Nannying for famous people. I would be good at that because if the famous Dad, like Rob Lowe or whoever, put the moves on me, I would just let him. I wouldn't complain or sue him. No drama, no nothing.

That would be an awesome job.

OPlease said...

"You know what I'd be really good at? Nannying for famous people. I would be good at that because if the famous Dad, like Rob Lowe or whoever, put the moves on me, I would just let him. I wouldn't complain or sue him. No drama, no nothing.

That would be an awesome job."

And the award for the most idiotic post ever on ISYN goes too.....

7:07 PM

UmassSlytherin said...

Hey asshat at 9:55,

I don't think you are allowed to give out awards on this blog, K? K? I think only Jane and MPP can.

Why don't you get your own blog and then you can give awards out all you want to? That is, if you had any readers, which with your lousy attitude and lack of a sense of humor, it is doubtful that you would.

Melissa said...

Umass,
First of all, love your moniker. I'm a Gryffindor fan myself (may have spelled that wrong... haven't read them in a while and am waiting sort of patiently for HBP!) Second, love what you said about famous people! I'd do it too... Just to have the "memories" ;)

Jane, sounds like you were fortunate to work with people like I worked with. I say worked "with" because we were a team. And the travel never felt like work because if that. This blog rocks!

UmassSlytherin said...

Thank you, Melissa. Can't wait for HBP: hope there's a whole lotta Draco going on in it!! There should be, if they stick with the text, but they don't always...

And you can't have Slytherins without Gryffindors, can you? It would be like pleasure without pain. :)
peace...

Sprak said...

A truly stellar post. It's well-written, very thorough and highly informative. Thanks for that. I know it will be helpful to a lot of people.

Mom, you are so right about what becomes a cherished memory from a family vacation. It very much depends on the ages of the children and what appeals to them at the time as they foray into strange territory. A couple of weeks ago I took my youngest grandchild to Carlsbad Caverns and I knew that there was no need of a guided tour. For him, it was the idea of getting to go into a big cave and taking a very long walk that was the big deal. Having been there with him as he enjoyed these special moments was both a privilege and a joy.

nyc mom said...

I personally appreciate these posts from Moms that employ nannies. I am always surprised how few of us there are that comment on this blog! So I'll offer another perspective from someone who travels with their nanny. I have even - yes, I know this will open me up to numerous criticisms - once traveled with two nannies. I agree with most of what the OP said. I think the keys are rather basic: agree in writing prior to travel on wages, work hours and expectations, and make travel optional NOT mandatory for your nanny. If this is done and both parties stick to the agreement, then it seems to be a win-win for everyone. I'll say I have had two long term nannies and both have opted to work on every trip we requested. So I thought I would offer a sample schedule of our most recent family vacation when we traveled with two nannies so that some of those who have never done so can better understand why we make this choice.

A few months ago we rented a beach house with a pool. We had a baby, 6yo, and 8yo. My husband often worked in the city during the trip. He also has back problems which greatly limit what he can do with the kids including, for example, no lifting the baby ever (or at least for an indeterminate time until his back heals or he has yet another surgery). My baby is a terrible sleeper, up 10-20 times a night (yes, we have tried and failed CIO). I am also a poor sleeper and cannot fall back to sleep very easily when up with my baby. So on an average night with him I was getting 3 hours sleep. My goals for vacation were 1. SLEEP! 2. quality time as a family 3. a chance to have time alone with each of my kids and for the older two to be able to partake of the beach and pool 4. quality time alone with my husband. Here's a rough idea of how we did that, when husband was often away. Nanny #1 is my professional, full-time nanny and works an average of 9-10 hours daily. Nanny #2 is more of a mother's helper and works an average of 7 hours daily.:

7am-12noon:
Nanny #1 works
I get 4-5 hours sleep for a wonderful daily total of 7-8 hours!

9am-12noon: Nanny #1 and #2 work. This enables the older kids to swim and go to the beach while the other nanny watches the baby. I do NOT feel safe having one person watch all three and having them on the beach or in the pool.

12noon-3pm: both nannies off work. Husband and I take all 3 kids either in beach, pool, or to a special event such as mini golf.

3pm-5pm: Nanny #2 works. We usually split the kids 3 ways so husband and I could have some special alone time with each or go do an activity only one enjoyed.

5pm-7pm: Nanny #1 and #2 work. Everyone is busy as this is the time we are cooking dinner, bathing the kids, setting the table, eating together, then all doing the big clean up. We all pitch in equally and responsibilities are shared as needed.

7pm-9pm (occasionally 11pm): Nanny #1 works
Husband and I put the kids to bed, one does older two, the other does baby. Nanny often helps out with things like laundry. After kids are in bed, about 2 nights a week husband and I go out to a movie. Nanny is welcome to go to bed but has official responsibility for the kids should the baby wake (and he often does). Other nights, she is off at 9pm.

So our of the 14 hours my older two children are awake, I am with them for 9 of those hours. I am with baby for about 17 hours out of a day. We have all together family time, and one-on-one family time (which the older two absolutely adore as it is so rare). I get 7-8 hours sleep. I get a couple hours a night alone with my husband.

I realize this arrangment seems awful to many moms who don't make this choice. But for us it is wonderful for our whole family and truly a vacation for all. It is certainly NOT an experience where we spend a brief hour or two with the kids and then hand them off to the nanny. We don't have any trips planned anytime soon, but assuming the baby is sleeping better by the next one, we would resume taking just one nanny. It would likely be a similar setup that involved only a few hours daily where we were without one or all of our children. I guess for us a vacation should be something that makes everyone rested and happy. This arrangement does that for our family, and leaves a tired but well-paid and very much respected and appreciated nanny.

mom said...

nyc mom,
you sound like a person who knows how to have your nanny HELP you have a better vacation WITH your kids...instead if using her to help you escape from your kids the whole time.
Sounds like a great situation for everybody concerned. If you can afford to have two nannies, that's nobody's business. All i ever really care abut is that parents spend time with their kids...'cause kids don't keep.

Ann said...

Great idea behind this article. But honestly $50 a day. CRAZY!!!!. First of all Nannies should know from the start that it's NOT their vacation, it's the familys' and they are only there to help. Nannies should be compensated at least 2.5 times their regular salary when going on vacation with a family. Length of vacation and weekend days should also be considered when paying your Nanny. Eg: Weekly salary = $550; vacation salary should be nothing less than $1370 for one week not inculding weekend days. With that being said, Nannies you need to know that your main concern for the entire trip is the CHILDREN nothing else. You are responsible for them 24/7. Also it is only fair that if the trip is more that 2 weeks long, parents should consider giving their Nanny at least 6-8 hours or one day entire off (paid day) for her to sight-see and have a little fun and get her sanity back, after all she's with the kids all the time. Some may say this is too much but think about it this way, when your company sends you away on a business trip usually it's all expense paid; hotel, transport etc. Also take into account you are removing your Nanny from her comfort zone to a entirely different environment. She is putting her life at risk getting on a plane with you and your family just so your vacation can go smoothly and you don't have to worry about the kids.

Emily said...

Ann, the $50 is a per diem! Why is that a detail so many seem to miss?

caroline said...

melissa, your point is well taken with regard to everyone having their limits.

In fact I do fly business/first when I travel by myself and I did regularly travel in one of these classes when I travelled with families - "travel in the same class and access to the same amenities" is one of the stipulations in my contract -- which came about the first time I was stuck in coach with two young children on an overnight flight where mom and dad managed at least 6 hours of blissful sleep and expected the rest of us to jump right into an unreasonable walking tour of Paris an hour after arrival.

Ann - a Per Diem has nothing to do with the wage. It literally means "Per Day" and is a daily allowanceto cover incidentals.

In the case where all travel and meal expenses are paid by the employer - as was my case, the Per Diem is an amount that is paid to cover the INCREASED cost of items I would normally have access to at home. For instance a cup of coffee in NY = $2.50, the same coffee in moscow could cost $3.50 (just an example). The fewer things covered by your employerwhen you travel (as a nanny) would mean that your per diem would be higher -- for instance if they are not paying for your meals, then you would get more than someone who has all expenses covered.

The Per Diem is not considered part of a persons PAY which should be negotiated ahead of time, and ideally written into the nanny's contract.