The New Nanny & The Very Big Trip

Mike Savlen
 Hi everyone. I have a bit of a different situation. I work for a very well off family. The mother is a SAHM and I work about 42 hours per week. I enjoy my job, the work is harder than most people would think and most importantly, I am not the same caliber nanny they previously had. I'm an American and they are used to schooled British nannies. Having said that, I have been here four months and I 99% sure they are thrilled with me.
My first time to travel with the family is coming up when the kids get out of school in June. They have a 2 year old and an 8 year old. I have traveled with families before, but this is a bit different. Their travel intentions are to sail from MASS to St. Kitts with several stops along the way. The entire trip is going to take about 20 days.  My boss is giving me two and a half days off before the trip and two and a half days off after the trip. (I couldn't imagine it any other way).
    I am not worried about the pay because I am well paid and have been appropriately compensated for extra childcare previously.
    My question to you, has anyone ever done this kind of trip? I am told I will have a very small but private room with a twin bed. I have seen pictures of it but there are no specific pictures. It looks very nice, but at the same time, I have only been with them four months and we will literally be stuck together. 
    Here are some questions:
    1) My boss says she will make sure I have a break at all stops to get a break from them. (Her words).  Beaufort, US Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Saba, West Palm Beach are they actual spots where they plan to stop. In Barbuda, we will stay in a hotel for three days and WPB two days. What do I do for my breaks at the other places where there is not a hotel option? I'm nervous about feeling safe but realize breaks from each other will be good.
    2) My boss has told me that they have no specific crew, but a "first mate" who has accommodations away from the family. I will be preparing the children light meals while we are on the boat, this doesn't seem a problem. She also told me in her words, "it's not a rigorous schedule. It/s very relaxed, you can read and lay in the sun. The kids have movies to watch, but what nannies in the past did is to do activities with them daily like coloring, crafts and reading to make the days more fun. With this information, I am worried that I will not do enough? Or too much? She told me that I could take the credit card and go to the art supply store and get some sketch books, etc. Any other great ideas anyone has that can help me feel like I am earning my keep?
    3) The older child is a boy and his mom says he likes to "help" on the boat with "guy stuff. I don't really have any fear of him getting in trouble, but I feel like the two year old will have to be tethered to an adult at all times? Anyone???? It makes me nervous just thinking about it. 
     I am equal parts excited for this opportunity and anxious. I want to of course feel safe, but I also think this is a job I would like to have for a while. :) Any help would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Wow! It's going to be hard work as boats are such confined spaces! Your cabin will be small but at least you have a room to yourself. In terms of activities:
- make play dough before you go
- pasting activities
- plain paper and coloured paper for drawing, cutting, sticky tape, glue.
- pastels, crayons, pencils
- colouring in for 8 year old
- board game for 8 year old
- mabye a construction type thing (Lego) or get him to build a bridge out of straws or paddelpop sticks as a project.
- maybe sensory activities for the 2 year old: you should be able to do activities on the desk, not just inside on the dining table, so: shaving cream play, freeze ice and let them play with it in a tub, water..
- balloon and they have to keep it in the air inside
- puzzles?
- songs
- cars/ favourite toys
20 days is a LONG time to be stuck on a boat!
Good luck and hope this helps!

Never Again said...

I did it one time. Never again! It was exhausting!!! I too was promised time away. I was never off as we were on board. Cabin fever set in and the normally well-behaved kids turned wild! Long days and no breather or real break. Even when I went to my room, the kids would cry for me and a frustrated mom would bring em to me. We had games, paint, craft kits, books galore but being on a ship for two weeks is hell! I made over 8 thousand dollars but wouldn't do it again for double the money TBH.

Anonymous said...

Big question.... Do you get motion sick or car sick as a passenger/back seat? Size of boat? The snarler the boat, the bigger the sway.


Beth Bartylla said...

THIS!!!!! Completely! You NEED to know if you get sick. I myself am completely fine on roller coasters, spinning rides, and even being in lake boats.. However I get SERIOUSLY sick at sea, as in I can't get up sick. I hope you have experience being at sea girl, that would be terrible to find out on day one and be out there twenty days.

Anonymous said...

Ideas and Tips:
'whale' watching (have your charges in life vests and make a game out of spotting sea creatures), involve them in the prep of their meals (can the eight year old slice banana slices or toss the salad? You bet he can!), make sure they have plenty of coloring activities (coloring books, papers, color by number), go to the craft store and let them help you pick out like 5 (or more!) of those pre-cut, all the supplies included craft kits (think kites, simple model cars/boats, even those velvety pictures you can't mess up are a crowd pleaser), play tag, red light green light, red rover and other running around games to help get the wiggles out. Teach them how to fold the best paper airplanes, have them decorate their room with paper snowflakes, chain link paper streamers, stars on the ceiling, anything you can think of. Find a couple of movies you know that they love and haven't seen in awhile and make movie time a big deal- dim the lights, pop the corn, little individual sweet bags. Be sure to keep the two year old on their usual nap schedule and both kids on their regular sleep schedule.

Kat said...

Make sure you have a passport. Many of the places you'll stop will require one.