Tuesday

To Nap or Not to Nap... That is the question!

MB and I were in the kitchen after I'd put the kids down for their nap. We chatted as she prepared to leave and run errands, and in the middle of a sentence, I smothered a yawn. "Sorry," I chuckled, "I'm not quite awake yet today." (It was an overcast Monday with no sunshine, which wasn't helping, and I'd worked most of the weekend.) "Go take a nap," she urged, pausing on her way out the door. "You know you're always welcome to nap when the kids do. The kids always sleep well for you, and the baby monitor is on. The bed in the guest room is really comfortable!" I thanked her and assured her I was fine, and she repeated the offer once more before leaving. I really was fine that day, but I'd taken her up on the offer many, many times before (though usually I just nap on the couch, not the guest room lol!). It was an offer she made within days of hiring me, and had repeated on many occasions in the two years since then. She'd asked if I was a light sleeper (I was) and said that she was often so tired from caring for the kids that she napped with them, and didn't care if I did as well. My previous nanny family also had the same attitude, and had made the same offer. I was working fewer hours (and only had one charge instead of three!) so I rarely did, but I knew it was available to me. If it hadn't been offered, I never would have considered it. Same with my current family. I have a great relationship with them - we're close, and I've stuck with them through quite a few crises and rough times - and I help out a lot with the housekeeping (laundry, cleaning, etc) which is not part of my work agreement (and no, in two years there has been no job creep - these are genuinely great people to work for). I've seen people respond to the mere mention of a napping nanny with disbelief ("I don't care what you say, I don't believe that any parent would be okay with that!") or righteous indignation ("I would never, EVER nap on the job!"). While I COMPLETELY agree that this shouldn't be an option unless it's been explicitly ok-ed by the parents, I'm curious - how many nannies out there admit to catching a nap with the kids? Any parents who have offered this to their nanny (or would be appalled by the thought lol)?

13 comments:

OTNanny said...

Honestly, I would not expect an employer to offer this to me. I have inadvertently fallen asleep briefly while a child was napping (or while kids were in bed during a late night gig and parents stayed out well past their expected return time), but have never fallen asleep long and it was certainly never a regular occurrence. While I fully admit that nannies are human and that super-human qualities are often unreasonably expected of us, I don't think it's appropriate to consistently be taking naps while working.

NannySharp said...

Every Family I have worked for has encouraged me to rest while on the job. They know as a nanny you do not have a scheduled lunch break or coffee break. Also, some days I work a 12 hour day. So nap time can be imperative to help me get through the day.
There is a stipulation to this offer, of course, you must know that you are a light sleeper and will easily wake of you fall asleep.
I am a light sleeper and closing my eyes for 15 min can make all the difference for me. A difference between the children and I going out for a second outing to the park in the late afternoon or staying in and playing quietly in the play room.
MB and DB know that I will and they (children and employers) will benifit if I am feeling energized and not exhausted.

One family I worked for even offered for me to watch TV while the children napped, though I never took them up on this offer. This to me felt like it could open the door to issues. What programs k choose to watch is my own business and I would not want a child walking in on me watching a racy seen on downton abbey. Or Nina Garcia cursing about a designers creation on project runway.

Jill said...

I've never taken an intentional nap, but I've fallen asleep on the couch a few times im my career. Always while the kids were safely napping and never for more than fifteen or twenty mins

I know nannies who regularly sleep while their charges are napping, but that's never been my style.

KnoxvilleNanny said...

I've napped on the clock in the past, with permission. It was only once or twice and only for 15-20 minutes each time. I was working 12-15 hour days, five days a week, and completely exhausted. I also had no other chores besides caring for the children. The parents insisted I spend nap time giving myself a break. If the toddler was having a hard time falling asleep I'd lay down on the floor beside her bed and sleep myself.

I did this again with another family, with permission. Only occasionally, again, but I'm not really a person they enjoys regular naps.

There is nothing for you to feel guilty about, since you know you're allowed to sleep. For me, I find that I can't settle into a good sleep while knowing I'm responsible for someone else's children. Naps would only last a short while and leave me feeling worse.

Jenny said...

I'm surprised that this is a controversial topic! If my nanny can get a nap in while my son is sleeping, why not?? She works really hard and while he is sleeping, nothing needs to be done. As long as she wakes up when he does, I see nothing wrong with her getting a little sleep.

Corina Yildiz said...

Exactly, Jenny. Nannies do not get real breaks to step outside for a break. I worked in a company where I had two 15 minute breaks and lunch break. I would sometimes go in my car on my lunch break and take a power nap. Also I always would watch tv when kids would sleep. Not like I am watching porn.

Kara Ivy said...

I take naps pretty often when my charge is sleeping or I will watch TV. MB has given me permission to do both, I have no duties outside of taking amazing care of my charge and getting a two hour nap in or relaxing on the couch catching up on reruns of Real Housewives or reading posts on ISYN makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes I even nap with my charge and it's a really sweet bonding time for us. I love my little girl!!! But, to answer your question, I don't think you should feel guilty at all, especially since you've been given permission and I think most nannies do nap or watch TV while their charge is asleep, especially if their only duty is to take care of there charge.

Heidi Smith said...

With both my current job and my last job, the parents mentioned me napping when the kids nap. In both situations, the kids were in cribs. And I could either hear them or there was a baby monitor right next to me. I don't make it a habit by any means, but I have fallen asleep a couple times when the kids were napping. I always wake up well before they do, or if I feel really tired I set an alarm just in case I do fall asleep. My only duty is to take care of the kids, so I am not expected to do other things during naptime. At this point, I know that my bosses would tell me if they had an issue with me doing homework, napping, or watching TV during naptime.

Anonymous said...

I have fallen asleep when kids were asleep on occasion - usually when I was studying for tests the night before. Kids' nap is my 'break' (I don't have any other duties than childcare so I study during that time), and since there are baby monitors, kids are in the cribs, and aren't meant to wake up for another 2-2.5 hours, I don't fret over it. I never slept for more than 10-15 minutes at a time (sitting up with books/laptop on my lap), and while parents never expressly said it's fine for me to nap, they have told me multiple times I can watch TV. The kids' nap was one of the selling points for me when interviewing for the job (together with location - 5 mins drive from my home, and hours) especially since pay is very average, and covers only bare necessities for me( the rest comes from scholarships, which is why I have t study and keep that 4.0 GPA, not as easy in grad school as it is in undergrad!)

Anonymous said...

Naps are amazing when the kids nap...it's my break time. If all my daily tasks are complete it's nap city for me. What even more awesome is that I'm a live in so it's in my own room and my own nice comfy bed...whoop, whoop! Now laundry day and is definitely not nap day...lol!!!

Anonymous said...

*what's

Kate said...

I feel asleep once last year during daylight savings. It just started getting darker out and I kept just passing out mid-reading and American Girl Book. I definitely do not consider naps are regular part of my job but I definitely not judge those who do.

V said...

My MB and DB are fully aware I nap for 1-2 hrs during baby's first nap. DB works from home in an office (awkwardly) across from my bedroom. If I didn't have that I would be miserable for my 11-hour day...