Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Being a Live-In Nanny

Donna Moore is an 18-year-old high school graduate originally from Birmingham, Alabama that moved to Fairfield, Connecticut for a year to work as a live-in nanny. She has found that working for a family with three children has been a great opportunity. The live-in nanny explains, "The family welcomed me with open arms and have been very generous providing me with a beautiful apartment above their garage, a car to drive on my free time, all my meals, and travel expenses."

But Moore says that it wasn't easy adjusting to the new home and job. She explains, "The hardest part of becoming a nanny was that I became very homesick. During the long hours without the parents in the house I felt lonely only caring for children."

The job was not as easy as she had expected either. She says, "The job is not glamorous. I did not realize what a physically exhausting job caring for kids in a huge home would be."

But, the family included her in all weekend outings and socializing opportunities and encouraged her to invite other nannies over for sleep-overs which eventually helped her from feeling homesick. Now, she loves the job. Moore says, "My favorite part of being a nanny has been being able to travel to New York City on my time-off. I would not have been able to afford to travel to New York City had I not worked and lived close by to Manhattan this year."

She says to those considering becoming a live-in nanny, "The best advice for nanny candidates about to move across the country to become a live-in nanny for the first time is to remember that first and foremost you are moving for a job."

But, Moore explains, "If you don't mind working hard, long hours then the benefits of moving across country for a year can be a great learning experience."

Mariana Gonzales is a 19-year-old live-in nanny that moved from Los Alamos, New Mexico to Bethesda, Maryland who has loved becoming a working member of a family. Gonzales boasts about her favorite part of being a nanny is, "I personally love traveling and have been paid to accompany the family on trips."

Gonzales continues, "Not only have I traveled all over the east coast including Disney in Florida but I even got to see London and Paris which I never could have afforded myself."

Gonzales does warn, "Some nannies feel overworked and overwhelmed when traveling with the family. I happen to be lucky to work for very fair parents who compensate me generously with both money and time-off."

"I am allowed to take the children to any tourist attractions. museums, anywhere we want to go and they pay for everything," says Gonzales.

Patricia King is a 23-year-old nanny with a degree in early childhood education. After finding it hard to land a permanent teaching job she decided to move from Sherwood, Oregon to Basking Ridge, New Jersey to work as a live-in nanny. She has found the nanny job to be a great learning experience.

King explains, "While earning my degree I learned about being a teacher and how to work with parents from within the classroom. Now I get to learn about the children and parents from another perspective -- inside their home."

She continues, "I have been taught how to assign homework. But now I see how difficult it can become managing a lot of homework with extracurricular activities and busy lives. What an eye-opener for me."

"Caring for the children and communicating effectively with the parents and children as a nanny only adds precious skills to my resume,"says King.

She admits that the most difficult part of being a live-in nanny has been privacy. "When I first moved to New Jersey the family had never hired a live-in nanny before," says King. "At first the children did not know they couldn't go in my room any time they pleased," says King.

She continues, "Although I felt we lacked some personal boundaries in the beginning it seems trivial now. The members of the family changed immediately and give me plenty of privacy now," says King.

The live-in nanny recommends, "The most important thing for nannies to remember is to maintain some professional objectiveness with the job. Remember, this is a job, not your own family," says King.

Nancy Lacey is a nanny originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma has been working as a live-in childcare provider in Beverly Hills, California for the same family for six-years. Lacey says some of the perks of her job have been, "Meeting other nannies. Some even work for celebrities."

But, she admits it was not an easy adjustment at first. "I was very homesick for the first few months and used to call my parents crying all the time," says Lacey.

She continues, "The hardest part of being a nanny is the schedule. The parents were so spontaneous changing my schedule all the time." Lacey explains, "I had to sit down with the parents and explain I was exhausted and that I needed to develop a set schedule so I could plan my time-off as well." "Since that talk things have improved and I truly love my job," she says.

"Working so closely with the children is so rewarding. I can see my personal influence in their development and feel so fortunate to have had this working experience," says Lacey.

Lacey's advice to others considering moving to become live-in nannies, "The homesickness bug eventually bites. But be patient. You will get over being homesick." She recommends, "Allow the family to help you get over the hump so you can enjoy the experience."

“Just a few of the aspects of the job I will treasure most is forming a close relationship with the children, being trusted by the parents allowed the responsibility for every aspect of their well being, creating a happy and inspirational environment for the children, and I have loved watching them grow and develop,” says Lacey.

“I know I sound like a brochure but being a nanny is one of the most rewarding and worthwhile jobs you can have. If you love being with children, are dedicated to keeping them safe and happy, and are interested in educating and stimulating them to prepare for later life then becoming a nanny is ideal career for you,” explains Lacey.

"I love the family very much now and no matter where I move, they will be my friends for life," says Lacey.
What do you like or not like about being a live-in nanny or au pair?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being a live in nanny is the hardest job I have ever had. My friends laugh and call me Cinderella, but there's not prince or happily ever after about being a live in nanny. I honestly feel like a slave or at least a maid. Not only are the hours ridiculously long I just feel unappreciated, under paid, not respected. Not that the parents don't try, but not being home to do this themselves 50 hours per week they just don't get it. I do not enjoy having to cater to children that are priviledged and want to argue about the simpilest chores that they ought to be doing. Although it is awful and terrible to day instead of loving the chidlren every minute of every daY I feel they are spoiled and brats. Being a nanny is not what I expected. I had to put my own toys away and make my own bed and bring my dishes to the sink, and much more when I was a child. Yet the parents don't even do these things for themselves, so of course they haven't expected the children to do the same. As you can tell, I am really resentful of added chores and feeling like a servant/maid.
(I won't mention names -- not mine or theirs)!

Anonymous said...

Being a live in nanny is just great. I love kids, I love baking, I love arts and crafts, I love not having to pay rent or for food. I am so lucky because I live in Manhattan so I actually have a studio apt in the same building I work in. The parents pay for the apt for their nanny and there is no fear if I work late or early since I can go to their apt in my slippers if I want to. Being in New York City is just great for kids. No lack of parks, playgrounds, museums, everything!!! People are so nice. It is harder to juggle strollers on buses but we usually stay around the neighborhood and I don't pay for transportation if we use a taxi, subway, or bus anyway.

After college I hated working in an office. I just love being a temporary mom for work. It is just great!!!

I understand some nannies and au pairs are in less than desirable positions that require them to clean like the commenter above. But when you find a great humble family like the one I work for it's a super experience. I pinch myself I am paid so well and my separate apt provided by my employers!
Nanny Lauren Nanny of Twins

Anonymous said...

I never saved more money than when I worked as a live in nanny. I had thousands in savings and travelled all over the world when I was a live in nanny.

Hardest part was moving out of the home as a live in to become a live out nanny. The parents feelings were hurt. But I was just too old to be living in someone elses home, but I did not lose the job.

More positives than negatives especially financially.

Nanny Sally, Jersey Shore

Anonymous said...

I hate living in, I'm an Au pair who live in the basement of the family home.

I practically raised myself and lived "by myself" eversince 7th grade (both my parents are busy bussiness career people) so they were never home, it's really hard for me being in a house where there are actually other people around.

I love my job and love that most of my living expenses are paid. It's just really hard for me adapting to living a family life. Plus I am a very private person, I never talk about my personal life with anyone and I hate when people ask about my personal life. And now I have a car curfew, I never had a curfew before in my life, even in school.

I guess best to say is that I want to come in, do my job and leave!

AuPairDebbie said...

I appreciate that the women in the article are so honest and in the long run they have all found good reasons to be a live in. If I had not lived in I would not have been able to afford living in Manhattan without my living in as a nanny and also having an income. The greatest thing was saving money, not having to worry about rent, food, or transportation. Plus, I was able to travel the world. They are so nice and really never were picky about costs of stuff. Quality of life was awesome.

But, I always felt anxious when I was living in the house I worked in. Only other live in nannies and aupairs could understand, but you always feel like a visitor. I was given private space and private time and no curfews...but you still here the kids running around on your time off and end up working more hours than live outs because it is easy for parents to rationalize that the live in can stay and watch kids while they run a quick errand, or whatever.

Now I live out and it's pricey to say the least. Benefits are privacy and that's huge. I can relax and sleep in a quite apartment all to myself.

I feel terrible for the aupair above just toughing it out until the time is done. I never felt that resentful -- always thankful for the opportunities the job has allowed me.

Aupair Deb

Ashley said...

being a livin Nanny is ALOT of fun... what i dont like about being a livin is that u have to adjest to a new home/ city that are not used too/ also being a livin also makes ur pay lower because the family pays for ur food etc. but in the long run i LOVE it..

ashley

Anonymous said...

Not many other professions make you live where you work. It is too hard.

The au pair program has laws. Au pairs aren't supposed to clean and NOT work overtime because it is an exchange program -- au pairs are NOT professional caregivers! My issue is there is no real way for the au pair programs to monitor parents or enforce the rules and regulations.

At my first placement I was alone home with three kids 50 or more hours a week, breaking rule #1. Where is the time for me to learn about the culture that the program is based on when I work so many hours?

Then, mother complained not clean enough! The parents are told au pairs aren't cleaning ladies. We maintain, upkeep of dishes we use of course or a project we do but not mopping or toilets, that's nuts.

Good think is au pair program allows you to change families.

Jackie Au Pair from New Zealand

Yvonne said...

I was an Au Pair before becoming a live out nanny. I do understand that every family is different, but lets be honest which job is controlled enough where you just do the basics. I was very lucky and got to travel with my family at several occasions. I didn't really get the homesick bug either, but its true it does take a while to get used to somebody elses house. When it comes to the Au Pair program, I felt as long as you keep communication open, especially with your coordinator things seemed to work out. And not to judge anybody here, but I have met a lot that where more interested in visiting the country and sightseeing than taking care of the children. You can learn a lot about the culture, language and people by taking the children to special activities and including yourself in the family life. Being a live out nanny doesn't always mean you don't work overtime and even there I sometimes feel like in a strange place that we need to get used to. No job is perfect, it is what we make out of it and with it. Again I love both experiences and can only recomment it to people that love the challenge of raising somebody elses children, but also making a positive difference. I feel it can be harder than some people think, including my husband, but th efeeling I have when I see the acomplishment the children make while in my care.
Yvonne Au Pair from Germany, Nanny to 2 girls

Marta Perrone said...

It is definitely hard to be a live/in au pair or nanny, mostly because the parents do not adhere to a schedule. Many employers believe because they are providing so many benefits to the job that they can work their nannies beyond the normal 12 hour day (which should include 3 1/2 hour breaks). They are misguided and misinformed! A very important suggestion that I would make to all of you who work in this capacity would be to get an employer/employee agreement between you signed. Make sure that it stipulates the hours, benefits (vacation, holidays, time off, sick days, etc.), the duties (what light housekeeping chores are needed specifically and more. The idea is to be sure everything is clearly understood and in writing from the beginning. This will help you prevent abuse on the job, and it will help your employer stay on track.

Anonymous said...

Some of liking a job is a good attitude. But with 20 yrs experience as a nanny (8 as a live-in) I notice the trend of nannies that do not enjoy the job are the inexperienced teens/young women who take low paying jobs and relocate. The do not understand how difficult the job is and perhaps homesickness play a huge factor.

Obviously if a nanny has 5+ yrs experience she is CHOOSING to continue to work as a nanny (or they would just find a new job in a bookstore or something).

Also, unhappy nannies I meet are not only young and inexperiened about how difficult the job really is they also find low paying, live-in jobs via the Internet web sites rather than reputable nanny placement agencies.

My reasoning behind that is parents that use Internet nanny web sites tend to use the web sites to save money. I have read on this blog over and over -- no one wants to work for cheap parents!! Who would?

Then there is the inevitable fact that no family is perfect, no parents are perfect, no child is perfect, no nanny is perfect.

The families style of communicating, discipline, cleanliness, all may be very different from what the nanny is used to. And living in someone else's home you always feel like a visitor.

Sara

gbrettfive said...

As a live-out nanny, I like being able to leave work at the end of each day. It is nice to phyically separate myself from job. I know many live-ins and no matter what they still feel like they are "on duty" at times when the kids are around.

Anonymous said...

I am in college and I am a live in nanny for an almost 3 year old and 4 year old in the San Diego area. At first the filamilh seemed extremely welcoming bur as time went on things got worse. These two kids are a handful and I don't even get paid minimum wage and haven't even saved up that much money for college since I go out to eat all the time since it is so awkward to eat with the family. I feel like they hate me and expect way too much. They expect me to cook, clean, do the dishes (which aren't even mine since I never eat here), laundry, take care Iod their pain in the butt dog, and I feel like they just don't trust me. Things would be so much easier if they just let me go early or fired me. I have two weeks left and those couldn't go by any faster. Good bye isolation, goodbye tiredness, goodbye starvation, I just hope to get my normal college life back. I guess I should have really thought about things before jumping into this awkward job. 10 more days that's all.

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