Live-ins Need to Create Boundaries to Avoid Being Built-ins

opinion 1
I wasn't sure where to go for advice because my other nanny friends have different job I figured this was a good place to ask. I am a live-in nanny, and I work 55 hours a week. My pay is very fair and the family is extremely good to me. I really love my job, and have NO complaints except for the fact that I have a hard time separating myself from the job BECAUSE I live in. I have weekends off unless they decide to go out, so I am free to do as I please, however I can't help but feel like I am always 'on call'. I often spend time with my nanny family even off the clock because we get along so well, but I am wondering if I should create a bit more boundaries? I don't necessarily think they take advantage of me-or they are definitely not aware of the fact that they might. I just feel like since I live with them and am around all the time, I am just a built in sitter, even after a 12 or 13 hour work day. My DB also was talking to one of his friends saying how convenient it was to have a live in because I am always around. Anyway I just wanted to know if anyone was in a similar situation and had any advice for me? I'm not sure this is even anything to talk about with my bosses but I just wanted some fellow nanny insight!


Hope said...

I was a live-in a few years back, and yes you must set certain boundaries for yourself OP. Perhaps spend your days off socializing more outside of the home with family/friends. During the evening, you can stay in your room and watch movies or read. Because when you socialize with the family, they might start to get the impression that you are "there" and they can go out whenever they want.

ericsmom said...

Hope is right. Start making a life outside of work. When I was single and young I was in your position. When I wasn't working I would go for walks in the neighborhood. Walk to local coffee house, listen to music. Go out with my friends, hit the mall. Even though I loved the family, I need my space. Also, I didn't want them to think I am available whenever they felt like it. If I did work once in a blue moon in the evening or a Saturday they paid me extra. Hey it was supposed to be my time to relax. So of course I was compensated.

ericsmom said...

Opps wish there was a feature so I could go back and fix some grammar errors!!

nannynanny said...

ericsmom pretty much spelled out exactly what I was going to say! I'm a live-in and have been for the same family for nearly 5 years. The first few years were rough in that aspect- they NEVER took advantage of my time, but simple things like walking out of my room and being confronted with my workplace was really difficult. It wasn't until I started forcing myself to go out (even if it meant sitting in Starbucks for an hour reading or taking a bike ride in warmer months) that I was able to establish that boundary.

At this point, I can go into my room, shut my door, and hang out at home all night if I want to. Still being able to hear the kids fight really irks me, but it's just part of my situation for now. I also developed a few great groups of friends and have an incredibly active social life.

If you're not from your area, try meeting people from (I haven't done this but have tons of friends who've had great success with it) or join a book club or a sports league of sorts.

Good luck!

DC nanny said...

I'm a live in too. Luckily I live in a large, mostly soundproof house with a separate staff area, so I don't have to see anyone if I choose not to. Which is lucky, since I don't get out of the house much.

When I was a live in one summer during college, I did have the same issues as you.

I agree with the above posters. You should really make a point to get out of the house, even if it has to be a deliberate, conscious thing for awhile.

Where do you work?

another nanny said...

I agree with above, as I've had several friends who were live-in nannies. It could be as simple as creating a daily routine where you go for a walk around the block once you're off. I would make plans at least one evening per week (go to dinner with a friend, yoga class, coffee shop, whatever) just so your family gets comfortable with the idea that you have your own life when you're off the clock.

OP said...

Thank you everyone for your advice!! I made a New Years resolution to venture out on my own more and make more 'me time' away from my nanny family. I am not originally from this area--I moved here about 6 and a half months ago (DCnanny--I'm in North Carolina), so it was hard to make friends at first but even if I go get coffee or shop by myself, I know it will eventually create those boundaries for both me and my nanny thanks again everyone!!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

And OP, the other thing you can do (beyond adhering to the specific work schedule in your contract!) is learn to say, "No, I can't." That's tough for all nannies, but for LI nannies, it's essential.

MissMannah said...

I have to chime in and say I agree with you, Tales. That phrase is the nanny's best friend. I've never been a LI nanny but as a LO, I've had to learn that it is ultimately much easier to "Just say No" rather than work yourself to death.

Gillian said...

I totally understand. My family are great, and because i work 80 hour work weeks when i have my day and a half off, they really don't bother me. However sometimes i want to just relax at home or study and it is hard because i see them or hear them and it makes me often stressed out or i end up feeling guilty because i am not helping. Because of this, no matter how tired i am, i have forced myself out the house more and more and it really does help to get that visual space from work. It is refreshing even! I haven't learnt to say 'no' yet as a live in (all my other nanny jobs these past 5 years have been live out so it is a learning curve for me) so getting out of the house at the moment is the only way. Even if it means taking over the minute i get back at 2am.
I just takes time to get comfortable! The first 6 months in a new nanny job are always the most difficult :-)

sayno said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you were always around.
When I worked as a live-in, I set my boundaries the first weekend by not going upstairs at all.
I would emerge only to leave the house.
I could tell they were disturbed by this, but really??
I could have cared less. I worked very hard during the week and was not about to share my weekends with my job.

There were times much later I'd pop upstairs and later regret it because WB always wanted to include me in everything, so I'd simply stay downstairs or go out.

I would hear them up there and turn my TV up to drown out the noise.
There came a time they were having discipline problems with one of their kids and was called to help. This started to happen more frequntly,( she tell him to call me when he was out of town since she was afraid I'd say no to her) so I began going out as soon as everybody went to the park etc.

I eventually began coming in much later since she'd wait up for me to chat.
I eventually got an apartment to spend my ENTIRE weekend OUT.
Goodness me some people are so draining, Why is it so hard for people to understand that nannies want to do their own thing on weekends.

Everybody got the message loud and clear. I was treated respectfully at all times and even though she was clearly annoyed that I wasn't around, she enjoyed my total dedication to the kids and the creativity I brought into their lives -- not to mention the discipline.

People may like to have a nanny footstool, but they will have no choice but to respect your decision to be by yourself when it's your time IF YOU MAKE IT CLEAR.

Silly Bitch said...

I just stumbled upon this blog as a LI new (ish) to North Carolina (from California) ... OP if you're looking for friends to help you get out of the house, I'm always up for an adventure. My google profile has my contact info... just email me :)