Received Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Opinion 4 Winter has hit New England hard in the past two days and have left me dreading work. I work for a nice family with an angel for a child but lately I've been waking up wishing I didn't have to go into work.When the weather is nice we are out most of the day because I can't stand staying in. Since this winter weather is leaving us with little options for outdoor fun, I've been feeling trapped.

It's a strange feeling to be stuck inside all day in someone else's home. I try to stay busy and keep the baby entertained but I get these spurts of uneasiness. All I want to do is be in the comfort of my own home. I feel that after two years I should be comfortable in my employers home. They are very welcoming and have made it clear that their home is mine while at work but I can't shake the feeling. I was wondering if anyone else had these feelings and what can be done to ease my anxiety.


MNnanny said...

I am feeling the SAME way!!! I live in the midwest and we have gotten hit pretty hard with snow here as well. I literally can barely peel myself out of bed in the morning!!! I nanny for an infant as well so we spend a lot of time indoors and I get VERY stir crazy most days. I just try to make sure we still get out of the house at least twice a week (even if it is just for a quick walk when the temp is decent) and I also have been making some cute art projects with the baby. He doesn't participate much... LOL! But I finish them up while he is asleep and then his parents have a cute little memento to save. It is tough but hang in there... knowing there are THOUSANDS of other nannies in your shoes. GOOD LUCK!!! =)

Lizzy said...

Hey! Having been a nanny in New England, I totally understand. When the children were really little (infants), I would pack them up and go to the mall, not to shop, but just to walk around. It's dry, enclosed, and there is lots of space for exercise. Then when they were a little older, we would go to indoor playgrounds. They were a fabulous alternative to playing outdoors but its obviously indoors. The only thing that was bad about these places is that in the winter everyone is sick and the kids all sneeze on and put the toys in their mouth. I had to be super diligent to make sure that the kids (twins) didnt put the toys in their mouth, and if they did I brought them right to the staff to be sanitized. Its great beucase there are tons of kids there and there is usually an infant section, toddler section and older kid section. It's a really great way to get out of the house :)...good luck, I know how hard it can be!

Nay said...

I totally know the feeling. I have found coffee shops and bookstores to be saving graces, for me and for any little one in my care! There are usually other babies/children around, as well as other adults to keep us both entertained for a bit...after 5+ hours in the house with a baby any adult longs for a little grown-up interaction! Otherwise you get the "the walls are closing in" feeling, no matter how much you adore the family and no matter how comfortable you feel in their home. The mommy I work for gets that way too and it's her house!

Village said...

Sometimes a house is just a house. I have to say I never had this problem, but I liked to stay close to home with my charges, other than to visit museums.

Play Mary Poppins. (it just takes an umbrella), organize a scavenger hunt, or have a toy parade. It all depends on the ages of the children. A toy parade can be very effective. It takes quite some time to march all the toys through the family room, and they must be returned to their home before more can be paraded. No fuss. No muss. And you're the audience!
The best part.

You have my sympathy if you are taking care of an infant. I didn't do infants. They are wet, loud, and boring.

San Diego Nanny said...

Hey..why not move over here to Sunny San Diego? It NEVER ever snows here and it is sunny, warm and beautiful 365 days of the year. LOL.
No really, I know it must be tough having to stay indoors all day, but it can be much better than going out in the freezing cold. Try to think of the house in a more cozy fashion. Why not put a fire in the fireplace and watch the snow fall outside? Now THAT is something we don't get to do here. Also, why not do certain activities that are only reserved for indoor days? Perhaps pop in a fun classic children's movie, play nursery rhymes on a CD/I-pod, and/or have a puppet show for the kids.
I used to always take my charge out, but then my car broke down for a week and we had to stay indoors. I was worried that this new change would bore me to tears, but believe it or not, I found staying indoors can be fun too! It takes a little imagination, but it doesn't have to be boring.
By the way, the house is pretty big so I am sure the walls are not closing in on you. ;)

ericsmom said...

I understand! And I am a mom. And we were hit hard here in NNJ. Can you have playdates at your house? Even if the kids aren't exactly the same age it doesn't matter. It will be good for you too. To have like other posters mentioned adult conversations.

And if the roads are not bad there may be indoor activities available. Not sure how old the child is. But look online, where I live they have a BounceU. And they have activities during the week. Also, check out the local libraries. Some have upcoming art/story time.

Cameo Rose said...

Your charge may be too young, but I love taking kids SWIMMING on snow days. If your YMCA or club isn't available, got to a local hotel. Many chain motels and hotels have clean great pools, but no lifeguard, so be hyper alert. If the motel doesn't have a rate for pool use without renting a room, it may still be worth your family's paying the room rate. I had my family do that on Thanksgiving Day, so the kids had something to do other than have turkey. It was so nice to be in a warm pool on a freezing day. All the adults came, and took lots of pictures of the little cousins. I was the only adult in the water. I usually wear bicycle shorts under a Speedo-style bathing suit, for modesty, or men's long trunks over my suit. (It's clear I'm there for the kids, not for the fathers.)

Northern Nanny said...

I feel your pain... I nanny in Canada (born and raised here myself) and for what seems like 6 months of the year we have snow on the ground.... For example today I took my charges (5, 3, and 14 mo.) outside tobogganing and playing in snow forts... I have had enough of the game 'put the mitt on, take the mitt off' but there are some pretty cool things outside to do. with an infant, even just wrapping them up and going for a short walk so everyone gets some fresh air can help. We paint the snow using spray bottles and coloured water. that can be fun too. over all, just hang in there. there are others out here who feel your pain!

OP said...

Thanks for the advice. We live in the city but it can be a pain to travel by train or car when the weather is bad. There is always delays and traffic. The child I care for is just under two and it can be hard to find an activity to keep his attention for more then 15 mins. We do arts and crafts, legos, hiding seek, books but I can't seem to full up 10hours a day. My mind feels like mush after awhile with no adult interaction. I can invite other nannies for play dates but most don't what to travel in bad weather.

They don't have a fireplace and no TV is allowed. The biggest issue i think is that it takes 20 seconds to get from end of the condo to the other, plus its open concept so you feel like your trapped in a box. I think if I could pack up the baby and his toys and take him to my house I'd feel better but I'm paid to watch him at his home.

I'm just praying for winter to be over and we can go play at the park.

world's best nanny said...

Do they have a 2 or 3 or even 4 car garage? Dress'em warm ride trikes, or kick a ball. Fill a wagon with snowballs and cart'em around. Make snow ice cream, all it takes is vanilla and sugar. My young ones love it when I fill the downstairs bath tub with snow and we make mini snowmen, or we'll use soap crayons to make "fancy snow!" Any indoor play spaces by you? A mall is good, some have play areas in their food courts. Make friends with a family daycare provider and schedule a visit!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Hi OP. I sympathize with your plight. Esp. the part that with no other adults to talk to, your brain feels like mush. Been there. That is part of the reason I like to take my charge out. I can interact with other parents/nannies while the kiddos play. It's tough to spend 10 hrs per day with only a child to talk to!!
And I agree, staying in a condo for 10 hrs straight can give one severe cabin fever. I understand that T.V. is not allowed, but for goodness sake, why can't the parents make exceptions for snow days? I mean, it would give you a nice little break and make you a better nanny plus the child will get a 1/2 hr or so treat. The parents sound like they are unreasonable if their toddler cannot even watch a little 1/2 hr video on special occasions only.
Anyway, I feel uncomfortable in other people's houses too. There is nothing like being in the comfort of your own home. *Sigh* Since you HAVE to stay in their home, can you invite a girlfriend over to keep you both company? It might be good for your charge as well since another person will be a nice novelty. In situations such as these, I think the parents should compromise and either allow a little T.V. watching or let you have a friend come over for a few hours. If they really care about their child's happiness, then they need to focus on keeping their nanny content. A content nanny = happy child = happy parents. Period.

bostonterrier said...

I do not see how you do this! I had a friend awhile back working for the same nanny service I was with at the time and she had a similiar situation. It wasn't the weather but she was confined from 8-6 p.m. or so everyday with I believe a 13 month old. The mom insisted they stay upstairs all day while playing, napping, etc. They honestly could not have paid me 20.00 per hour to do such as this. She was making 11.00 per hour. I simply would have lost my mind. She finally quit!

Here we go again with the "no-tv" parents. So far, no joke, every "no-tv" parent I have met in my many years of nannying either starts out with "no-tv" then after the first three months of sitting, you realize the tv is actually left on non-stop in the home. The couple I sit for now started out with the "only 1 hour per day of tv", now each of the three mornings I arrive at their home, the kids are glued in front of it the time I walk in the door at 9:30and there is not one childrens movie that hasn't been DVR'd for them for later by the parents. The other "no-tv" parents, read the new nanny the right act the minute she starts warning her of spending every waking moment while in the childrens care filled with arts, crafts, adventure walks, reading, and non-stop entertainment on the floor. The only problem is the tv watching is reserved for the kids after the nanny leaves. There was nothing funnier than hearing a 3 year old tell me years ago, "Babysitter, I know we can't watch tv while you guy-ses are here, only at night when mom and dad come home from work." Please! It's doubtful any nanny would set a child in front of the Playboy channel, but if it weren't for some tv on a rainy day for my charges and myself, I would have flown the coupe a long time ago!

Manhattan Nanny said...

I get cabin fever if I have to stay in for one day so yes, I think we've all been there. I wonder if the weather is really so severe that you can't go out though. The only thing that keeps me in is lightning, or hurricane winds. Your charge is at an age where he should have a ball in the snow. As long as he has a waterproof snowsuit, and boots, get out, even if only for a half hour a couple of times a day. If you are dressed warmly and physically active, you can have a lot of fun outside in cold weather.
Would the parents let you sign up for a class or two? Most cities have all kinds of toddler gym, music and swimming classes. Do you have a neighborhood library with story times?
As for TV., the parents are not unreasonable. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for children under two.

MANanny said...

That's tough---I DO feel at home where I work, however, I completely empathize with your wanting to be home; been there, done that.

Things that I think have helped--

*Having a schedule for every day of the week/you could vary it up for the different days or just use the same. Somehow, tackling small bits of time at a time is easier than looking at ten hours in front of you.

*Even if it's just a little walk outside (I can understand about not wanting to take the trains with a younger one--they are a big pain), GET OUT for even just a half hour. It will do you and the baby good. Go on Color Hunts, Shape Hunts on the streets/local stores/just OUT of the home.

*Try doing a theme every week--Ocean Week, Mammals Week and incorporate this into crafts, songs, activities, etc.

*Does your local library/coffee shop have a sing-a-long/storytime? I'm not sure if you said-but if you're in Boston, has lots of great ideas-

*Think about the times when the train WON'T be nuts and head out to the museums/wherever. Mall playgrounds are a Godsend at times . .

*Ice skating (paper plates on floor), dancing, hide-n-seek stuffed animals, finger painting, letter hunts, put brown sugar in a cookie sheet (use as sand) and write in it, play with little toys

*Set "learning goals"--not that you wanna push the kid, of course, just something like, "This week we're going to learn about mammals and the letter M" etc. . .

Good Luck, O.P.! Hang in there :)

MNnanny said...

I also work in the city OP... In a one bedroom loft apartment =/ The concrete walls, floor and ceiling close in on me daily! My charge is only 5 months old so he sleeps at least 4 hours of my 10 hours day. I bring books to read, I bring my bills to pay, I make my grocery list, etc. But I just try to go out for walks when I can and invite people over or go to our group play dates... It makes for a longggggg winter but being in the city has SO many advantages too. There are so many places we can walk when it is nice... I have still been walking to the local library when weather permits! Again, Hang in there!!!

Someone's Nanny said...

Can you get to a library? It's free, and most have a children's area. We go to story time once a week, but sometimes we go even when there's no story time just to get out of the house.

NVMom-movedtoTX said...

My question is, do the parents expect you to entertain their child every moment of the day? At his age, he is ready to learn some independent play. Start him out with some toys, then stay nearby but not engaged. He needs 'down time' to learn to explore and play in a free way. Of course, this doesn't get you out of the house, but if you have a book to read, or something you can do this while he is playing and it can make the time go faster. I spent many a day inside with my twins (extreme heat+ dark inside from electric blinds = long day!)

I'd also say he is old enough for a play date, if his parents will allow it, and you would get the adult company of the other caregiver.

ericsmom said...

It really is unreasonable that the parents will not allow any television. There should be exceptions to the rule.
If the child is under the weather, and if the weather is crappy.
For 10 straight hours are you supposed to be "entertaining him". I think a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon will not cause brain damage.

Athena said...

ericsmom..I couldn't agree more. The parents are just making it more difficult for everyone involved if they are not allowing any T.V.
Why can't the child watch a children's video or a cute program on the computer?? Nanny and child would benefit. There are many age appropriate educational shows and videos available and for certain occasions such as snow days, they can give nanny and child a much needed break to recharge.
Anyway, your anxiety OP could be due to the fact that as a nanny, in someone else's home you always wonder if you are being filmed or not. I have worked in many homes and can NEVER 100% be comfortable since I have heard that many families use hidden cameras w/out informing the nanny. Perhaps you wonder if you are being taped or not. That is why I am much more happier when I take my charges out on day outings. When we are at home, I always wonder if I am on candid camera.

Cameo Rose said...

Thanks to World's Best Nanny for the idea!
We cleared out the big garage (there's plenty of room for the cars in the driveway) and plan to have KIDS ROLLERSKATING during the boss family's New Year's Open House.
The invitation asked everyone to bring all their old Rollerblades so we can fit all the kids.
And tomorrow we're swimming again. I love this job.

world's best nanny said...

Cameo Rose:

I know, isn't it a great job?