Tuesday

All consuming.....

Received Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I have been a full-time nanny for the past year. I just changed jobs. My last one I enjoyed so much that I have cried every day since they moved away. My new one isn't bad either and I like it a lot. However, I have found that working full-time as a nanny sort of consumes your life and it's all you can think about or talk about. I'm sure this isn't true for everyone. I am looking for some suggestions on how to have a life outside of my full-time nanny job. Basically my life consists of waking up really early to go to work, working 10 hours and then going right to bed when I get home because I'm too tired from the day. And repeat. untill Saturday morning in which i usually have nothing that fun to do because I have no time to make friends. I love my job, so don't get me wrong and I obviously love the money I make. I am just looking to see what some of you, other full-time nannies do when you get home from work (besides sleep and go to bed) Because it's starting to take a toll on me.

35 comments:

Ravenswood Nanny said...

haha... i can totally relate.

you have to use your weekends to make friends and invest in people. once you have a list of friends then you can start scheduling in late dinner dates during the week.

sometimes i head straight to a friend's house after work to watch our favorite tv show. or i meet a friend for a 7pm movie. or i have someone come over and we make dinner together. but i only hang out with people who are completely comfortable with me being in my nanny clothes and sleepy. most of my friend's understand. i save the snooty high fashion friends for the weekend when i can spend time looking presentable.

in the summer i spend my evenings walking along the lake after work - or bbqing at the park with my husband.

i second using meetup.com - i met a lot of my friends through a group i was connected to through that site. i also looked in the strictly platonic section of the craigslist ads and made a really great friend through that site. just be smart, be careful.

so glad you have a nanny job you love! yay!

Rachel said...

*Hugs*

I feel like you pretty much summed up the life of a nanny here. I think of it this way - when you become a parent, being a parent pretty much consumes your life... so why wouldn't being a nanny?

Now no, this doesn't go for everyone, but when I was a nanny, working anywhere from 60-70 hours a week, 6 days a week with the children I cared for... I felt like a mother. I wasn't a mother and I knew that, but I might as well have been. I fed them and bathed them and got them up in the morning and dressed. I changed diapers and took them on errands and I did all the things a mother would do... and those are all things that consume your life... even when you're not with them.

Just like a mother, you find that your moments away from the children you spend thinking of them. You talk about them to your friends and family. Because you fall in love with them.

I eventually gave up the job because I simply couldn't handle working that many hours anymore. I'm no longer a nanny. I work an 8-5 day with every weekend off no questions asked. I miss being a nanny... but at this point in my life I don't know that I'd ever go back to it.

I do think there are ways you can help yourself though. Meetup.com is great. Otherwise, just make sure you are making plenty of time for yourself. That is something that as the "not-mother" you can totally do. Your life and your moments away from work don't have to be consumed by the children and your job.

I'm glad you love it though! It takes special people to be great nannies :O)

chvrnMSN said...

Welcome to the world of work! It IS supposed to be a full-time job, and that is what you agreed to perform. Thank your lucky stars; there are millions of American citizens who cannot afford health insurance, a nice home, a car, and plenty of food. You are even earning above minimum-wage, which is what millions of Americans earn. How many young American girls have health insurance, a car, a nice home, PLUS extra spending money? I was considering hiring an au pair for help with our one child (a nine year old son), but after reading too many "poor me" stories, I will pass! I don't need another child to raise!

Snarky Nanny said...

I understand completely! I feel like I spend more time with children then I do with normal adults. Last month I suffered from burn out because all I was doing was working. Having no life outside of my job really made my job horrible. Thankfully I have been able to refocus lately and get back on track!

I would recommend trying to put together some nanny playdates! That way you can socialize with other nannies during the day. Get some adult interaction in. Playdates are like meetings with co-workers!

Get involved in your community. Volunteer on the weekends, take a fun class, meet people at the gym, attend church, etc. It is hard to do things on weeknights for me too. I wake up early and am dirty and exhausted at the end of the day. I save most of my socializing for the weekends.

I think that the online Nanny community is a huge help for me too. Not many people outside the nanny community understand how hard the job truly is.

Good luck!

Nanny Deb said...

If there's a nanny support group in your area, that's a terrific way to make connections and new friends, especially because they know what your work life is like!

Check this link:

http://www.nannycredential.org/page/page/4225840.htm

give me a break, lady said...

chvrnMSN:

The OP clearly states that she is grateful for her job. I hope more parents read this. It really shows that childcare is an exhausting profession, and childcare providers should be respected.

What is your job? If you were "considering" hiring an aupair and chose not to, I am assuming that you don't "need" childcare, so that leads us to believe that you are a non-working mother.

No offense, but OP doesn't need your bitchy remarks. She came here to vent and to also get some helpful solutions, not to hear your holier-than-thou attitude, lady.

Only one thing you said rings true to me: you indeed should not be raising any more children. Hope your son is not as much of a bitch as you are.

datingwebsitewife said...

It sounds like you're single, so maybe you should consider joining match.com. I know, it sounds silly, but I had a lot of fun with it. Going out on dates every weekend, rarely "clicking" but sometimes having a great time and other times just laughing to myself. As long as you aren't too serious about it and keep a sense of humor, it's a ton of fun. And as an added bonus... I got my husband out of the deal!

Jenna said...

Sounds JUST like me!!!! Where do you live? Want to be my friend?? haha :)

I'm the exact same way, especially since I moved to my current location just to start my job. I didn't know anyone in the area, so it was really difficult! And it's actually quite challenging to make new friends when you're in your 20s... most people already have their group of friends!

Still, I knew I had to get out, so I've just started trying to meet people. I joined a fitness class at a local community center and I LOVE it! I haven't made any close friends that I hang out with outside of work, but I do really enjoy the conversation during class when I see everyone on Mondays. I like the match.com idea... maybe I should try that one! I definitely have made some good friends in the neighborhood - other nannies - that I would hang out with outside work, but it seems like we're all so busy!

I also joined a nanny group on meetup.com and I went to my first meeting a couple weeks ago. That was a blast! You definitely need to make nanny friends in the area to hang out with during the day though - spending the entire with only child interaction is crazy hard! Best way to do that is go to the parks, community centers, libraries, etc. in your town! :)

Good luck! And also, I'm serious about the where do you live/work part - maybe we could hang out!

VAnanny said...

I was in a similar situation with a previous nanny job. I started to volunteer and made many friends that way. Plus, it feels good to use your free time constructively! I still volunteer and I still have the same circle of friends I did 4 years ago! Good luck!!!

WTF? said...

I thought this was an incredibly strange post but then I looked at the comments and saw how many nannies are in the same boat. I don't understand this. Am I the only one who doesn't get consumed with her job? Sure, I love my charge and I look forward to seeing him, but he isn't my family and so I don't treat him or his parents as such. And I've certainly never cried after changing jobs because I missed the children so much.

Jersey Nanny said...

I hope I don't sound like a total bitch, but what time are you going to bed? 10 hour workdays are incredibly long but a ton of people do them and still maintain healthy social lives. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to get a good night's rest, and that should still leave you 5+ hours of free time.

What time you get out will affect what sorts of activities you can do. Is it earlier or later in the evening?

Take advantage of the internet! When I traveled to Spain I used couchsurfing.com to find some friends, and the community in Barcelona is actually incredibly active. If you're in a more metropolitan area, this is a great way to meet people.

I highly suggest match.com as well as a free dating service, plentyoffish.com. The stories I've come out with have been hilarious and I eventually made a few close friends with some of the men I dated.

Look up craig's list for other things to do in the community section. Are you a reader? Hit up a book club! Do you love to dance? Take a zumba class.

Are you a naturally open person? Start conversations with people you may run into frequently but would have not normally thought of befriending. I became dear friends with one of my baristas at Starbucks because he and I would strike up conversation every time I went in, and found a mutual love for indie rock and Oscar films.

Be open for the unexpected and look for opportunities!

Nanny in San Diego said...

MSN I think your remarks were uncalled for and agree w/WTF!

Anyway, I think the reason OP is so tired after 10 hr days is because nannies usually do not get full lunch breaks and the typical 15 min. breaks off and on her shift. It is very hard work (physically/mentally. But as she states it is also very rewarding work as well. Being a nanny can be isolating as well, so while on your shift OP, maybe you can join a nanny play group. That way, you won't feel so isolated during the day and your charge will have access to playmates.
I think it would also be a good idea to volunteer on weekends or even date (love the previous advice!)

ChiNanny said...

I can relate, OP. I work 11 hour days and have an hour long commute in traffic in the evening, so by the time I get home I'm tired and don't have much of a life. The first year I had this job I was just like you.

However, I made it a point to get to know people. I joined a book club because it's something I enjoy. I'm slowly making friends (I'm shy, it takes me awhile) but at least I'm broadening my horizons and have more to talk about than work.

One thing, I think crying everyday after a family moves is a little much. You might want to work on creating work/private life boundaries.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Your situation is very common for nannies. It is so important to have a satisfying life away from work, or you will burn out. You have two things to work on. Finding some friends, and finding activities that will help you focus on something besides your job.
Plan things to do in the evening that are relaxing, but engage your mind, reading, watching movies, etc.
Plan activities ahead of time for the weekend that will get you out into situations where you will meet people. A class, sports team or volunteer work that you really enjoy and get satisfaction from can also be a way to meet people who share your interests.
There are some nanny organizations that plan social events for members. Look on line for one in your area.

Manhattan Nanny said...

chvrnMSN
"How many young American girls have health insurance, a car, a nice home, PLUS extra spending money? "

Not many working as nannies, that's for sure!

silly sally said...

Yes! I, too, feel the same way. Mostly because I moved to this city for this job. I am now looking to branch out too.

My primary fault for not making friends/being a better friend would have to be money. I'm desperately trying to save up some money and I know that usually you have to spend $$$ if you're going to hang out with others in the 20's crowd. That book club sounds like a great idea actually!

MSN, when you're reading a site like this and hear stories from nanny's, you will hear whining! considering that the author is looking for friends in her area, where else is she going to vent?

I can whine about my job with the best of 'em, but with the family I'm nothing short of professional. They have no idea I hated my job for the first 4-5 months. They have no idea what I was feeling or what was going on. I created some boundaries and things have significantly improved. I didn't give up because I knew it had potential to be a great job.

Rachel said...

chvrnmsn -- clearly either you don't work and you feel like you need to hire an "au pair" because you can't even handle your one child on your own, or you DO work, a normal job with normal hours making a decent wage and you want to hire an "au pair" because you can afford it. Either way, until you've walked a mile in the shoes, you should keep your mouth closed. I don't think anyone hear is complaining about their job... just asking for suggestions for ways to have a more social life outside of it.

Nannies don't work in office's or with other adults so it's difficult to meet up with people. Especially for live in nannies (I'm not sure if the OP is a live in nanny or not).

I was more attached to the family I nannied for because I knew them LONG before I nannied, so yes, it was difficult for me to leave the job, not to the point of tears, but I might be upset enough to cry if they moved away and I never got to see them anymore. I've known them their whole lives (and the oldest is 12 now). It would be like family moving away.

WTF -- my guess is you've never worked a nanny job where you spent 70 hours a week with the children. You can try your best not to get consumed by it... but it's exausting. You get home, you go to bed, you get up you go to work.. lather, rinse, repeat. My day off was typically spent laying i bed trying to recoup from the long week.

nanny801 said...

Op, I could have written your post. I have my charges 60-70 hours a week. That doesn't leave much time for making new friends.

I feel like I can also relate to missing your charges. My contract ends this summer, and my heart is breaking at the thought of leaving my best friends aka my charges.

chgonanny said...

I have been there, too. I really recommend hanging out with other nannies during your work day. If you talk to your bosses, they'll probably like the idea of socializing their kids. It's good for their development, too!

If it's warm enough out, go to the park, and strike up a conversation. I know someone who used the Craigslist "platonic only" section to find people. But obviously, use caution.

I actually met my nanny friend at a story time at the library. She came up to me afterward and said, "your kids seem really well behaved. Will you be our friends?" I had to laugh, and say yes. Now we hang out on the weekends.

WTFagain said...

Rachel,

No, I haven't. I work normal full-time hours because I don't think it is worth not having a life of my own just to have more money. If I wanted to spend that much time with children, I would have my own.

LongIslandNanny said...

I'm so happy someone has finally addressed this issue! I love my job and finally have a wonderful family to work for BUT feel extremely lonely through out the day! I have had a hard time making friends as well because of my 65 hour work week...I used to have a bunch of nanny friends but they all moved back and I chose to stay. It would be really awesome if this website also provided some sort of way of meeting other nannies! Anyone in the Long Island area looking to do playdates???

Andrea said...

Ah, you guys are so great, amazing and helpful! (most of you...) I wish all you of you lived in boston!

Andrea said...

Also - my ex-charge was amazing and I worked for a single dad so I was with him all the time in downtown boston where i had several nanny friends. now I am out of the city and it's harder to meet up with them. Also my charge moved to AUSTRALIA as far away as humanly possible basically. So... I miss him. He is my heart. And the next day I started this new job. but please believe i am 1000% grateful I still maintain a great job!

Manhattan Nanny said...

If your charges aren't in school yet, a good way to find playdates is to sign up for a music or gym class. It gives you a chance to observe other nannies with their charges, and when you see someone you think it would be fun to have playdates with, invite them over. (Be sure to discuss this with your employers first.) I've also made friends in the playground. Don't be shy about reaching out to women who are in a different age group or from a different culture. They can be some of the most interesting people you will meet.

Jenna said...

Andrea!!! I'm in Boston!!!! :) Get in touch????????

N is for Nanny said...

Any Chicago nannies want to get together sometime? I used to have a great circle of "professional" friends, but people move.

Ashley said...

I adore being a nanny too. However before becoming a nanny I worked as a waitress for two years. Working at a restaurant is one of the best jobs I have had. You meet tons of young people and make lots of friends. You never have to work super early. I would recommend everyone doing it sometime but not for longer than two years. I have made life long friends from there. I have now been a nanny for two years which I also love. However I miss spending time with people my age and having adult conversations :) I guess thats life.

Janet English said...

Oh do I feel your pain! I once worked for someone who had me 70h per week (and she was a stay at home mom) I never left at 7p. And always missed my bus. One night she asked me to stay for dinner when I was an hour away from her home in a car and it was already 7p. I declined and she told me I didn't care. That my job was just a job to me and not more it seems. "like I can't wait to get out the door". Unlike a friends nanny who would just spend the night. My response? "X goes home to a cat", I have a husband, dinner that needs to be on the table, and need time to shower before I go to bed. I have a life." Well not really a life, but something. I could hardly ever make it out with friends- I suggest going to the library and getting groups to join. Or walk your dog in the park. A great way to meet people. Good for you for being such a great nanny :)

snarkynanny said...

I just posted a blog about Nanny Burn Out on my blog.

snarkynanny.wordpress.com

It is a very common thing and I honestly feel sorry for the people who are bashing the OP. Why do you think it is okay to berate someone for working long hours and giving her all in her job? She is obviously looking to expand her horizons. There is nothing hateful about the OP at all and there are no excuses for judging her.

nyc mom said...

I'm speaking as an employer, not a nanny and understand that nannying has some isolating aspects not present in other jobs. I worked my way thru college and high school by babysitting and pt nanny positions, but never ft so I may not fully understand what you are experiencing. However, I believe that balance is key in life. In the employer/nanny realtionship I'm a big advocate of maintaining some professional boundaries to avoid exactly what you are describing. The times in my life where I've needed excessive childcare, I've split it between two or more nannies/sitters rather than having one person work more than 50hrs/week. I just don't think it is healthy for either side. I truly don't get employers who expect 70 hr workweeks from a nanny because it's not healthy for the nanny which means it's not healthy for the kids.

I have had to work 80-100hr weeks during residency and did it because I had NO choice in order to become a licensed doctor. But now that I'm an attending and need to work more than a full-time job, I choose to split my work hours between different jobs to avoid getting too caught up in the politics of any one position (apart from obvious intellectual variety).

Although WTF got attacked I think there is a lot of validity in her point. You need to set boundaries and insist upon reasonable hours in any job. I'm not naive to the idea that sometimes we all need to work horrid jobs for money, but if you have choice and some financial flexibility, I think it's essential to insist upon job hours/duties that still allow you to have a normal social life outside of work.

WTFonceagain said...

Nycmom, Thanks for backing me up, but I wouldn't really consider some of these replies as "attacks" on me. People can have their own opinions and if they think I was being hateful to the OP, they obviously didn't read my posts very closely. I'm just saying it seems ridiculous to work more than 50 hours in a week. Actually 50 would be pushing it for me, for that matter. I would always prefer spending time with my husband over spending time with my charge. This does not make me a bad nanny, it makes me a realistic one.

NJNANNY said...

OP..

I had kind of the same issue recently, where my family I nanny for takes up so much of my time, that I had no outside life, and when I wasn't with them, they consumed my thoughts. Slowly, but surely I started to find just little ways to make time for myself and begin to put my life first when outside their home. See, what I had to learn was that when I am not working, its my time without them, and their time without me. I like some of the suggestions that others gave, which include joining groups, have a friend over that doesn't mind you being tired, use the internet to make some friends. I, too, tend to find myself being a loner. I am married, but hubby works a different shift than me and our shifts overlap. So I don't see him barely all week and I don't have a lot of friends (maybe 2) and I don't see them alot, so I know how hard it can be, and it does get so very lonely and takes a toll on you. But like I said, the others had some good suggestions to help you extend your network of folks. Keep us updated and let us know in a few weeks how you are making out. You might also want to start a group of your own, where you can meet a nearby coffee shop or even at your house. Any kid of group. (knitting, book group, or just a meetup where a few girls get together and just chat about anything) Put a flyer in the local libaray (Spelling.LOL), food stores, diners, post something on craigslist. Something will eventually come up and when it does, you will feel better.

Nanny in Seattle said...

I used to be a bookkeeper and as one, I saw 60 hour weeks. I was alone in a cold office and always busy, with no time to socialize at work.

But on the weekends I'd let loose. Not in an irresponsible manner mind you, but certainly in an adventurous one. I would see plays, go hiking, rent a boat on a lake, and so on.

Half the time I had a friend that came with me or a new friend I had bumped into when I was on my own, and the other half of the time, I was on my own. I always felt recharged after.

I'm a nanny now, and I enjoy being a nanny more than anything else. I adore my charges. I can relate to always thinking about them, I half expect the littlest among them to appear from behind a corner at any time. (she is 20 months)

On the other hand, I wish I had your hours, even if I were to feel a little burned out. My finances are collapsing and my [actual] family is trying to push me out of the profession.

My suggestion to you would be to do something for the mere sake of doing something, don't rely on others. My hope would be that in time, you'll bump into others doing the same. As I did once upon a time.

A Day in the Life of a Nanny said...

I understand COMPLETELY as a nanny that works upwards of 50 hours a week and most days I am at work by 6:30am. I try to surround myself with people that do understand that taking care of children is EXHAUSTING. There are obviously good and bad days but everyday is a "sleepy" one. I also just started a blog so that I could vent about work. I figured that might help me get it off my mind so that I won't constantly talk about it!!! Hang in there! Hopefully all of this advice listed here will help =)

Anonymous said...

I was a nanny for 7 years I work for hours from 7am till 9am m-f and sat- sunday till 12-4pm . and loved my job,but I still spend my time with my husband and too boys.The family that I was working for saw me as family and love me alot. so if you have that kind of relationship with the people you work with. Tell her or him that if you can have some time for your own life, good luck THATS PRETTY MUCH IT...........