Lockdown has been tough on everyone, whilst most people are able to work from home all day in pjs, nannies’ jobs just got that little bit harder as they found themselves isolated in their nanny familys’ homes, their every move watched by their employers, many of which who failed to obide by the guidelines.
Lara*, 40, daily nanny
Before returning to work we discussed safety measures, like frequent hand washing, no visitors, sanitation, etc. None of these are being adhered to, the parents don’t even wash their hands immediately when coming into the house. There have been several visitors inside the house, parents claim they are all part of their bubble, and they do frequent trips to friends on weekends. It feels like lockdown isn’t in place anymore and I’m not taken seriously about my worries. The mum of the family has had covid (not tested) and is convinced we’ve all had it and are thus safe to do whatever.
Sarah*, 52, daily nanny
I accepted a new job back in November 2019 and the start date was March 30th 2020. We were in regular contact and on 18th March they asked me to self-isolate until I started, which I did (unpaid). First day there were 4 children (ages 5, 4, 2 and 1) and both parents in the house. I did think WTF am I doing here as the children were verging on feral! However the Dad is excellent and will take 1, 2, 3, or 4 out if he has a free hour, so I get a break. They understand 4 children are hard on your own.
I thought at the start of lockdown that it would make or break the job and thankfully it has made it. I have got to know the parents really well which doesn’t usually happen so quickly as they are rushing off to work. The children and I have bonded because we are together schooling but also having fun without having to factor in rushed breakfasts or school runs and after school clubs etc. We are a great unit and parents really appreciate me, regularly tell me I am a godsend and text me when the children have been singing my praises after I go home. Truly hope this is a long term position. I will also enjoy when “normal” life resumes as I do like having the parents out to work.
Sophie, 28, daily nanny
My experience of working throughout lockdown has been a real mixed one. I started a new job 2 weeks before lockdown with an amazing family, because of lockdown I have formed bonds with everyone far quicker than I would have in regular circumstances. They have risk assessed me being in work, putting in place new hygiene routines, regular temperature checks, and taking anyone with suspected symptoms to be tested immediately. The only downside is I have felt my confidence as a nanny has taken a beating. I am very much used to routine and structured days, being able to meet other nannies and bounce ideas off one another. I have found myself to be completely wiped come Friday needing a quiet day with the children. As a whole it’s been the hardest part of my career but also the most enjoyable, I have loved having all three children with me.
Francesca*, 33, live-in nanny
I live-in through the week and return home on weekends. My nanny family temporarily relocated to my town during lockdown so that they would not be without childcare. The extra time with the children has been amazing and the bond we now have means our time together is so fulfilling for us all – they really have brought me a lot of love and joy during this difficult time. However, it has become increasingly clear that the parents main priority is themselves and ensuring their needs (childcare and otherwise) are being met. Not following guidance and lying about it have been distinct low points and it feels as though a lot of nannies have had to bear the brunt of the inconvenience, continuing to work long hours (under many additional stresses) regardless of parents reduced working hours or other commitments. Thank goodness for the children, which for most of us, is why we are here anyway!
Bethany*, 50, daily nanny
Frustration, fear, and finally… furloughed. Coronavirus Hokey Cokey – moved in, moved out, constantly messed about… that was what it was all about.
Just over it. Are we at the “new normal” yet?
Natalie, 31, daily nanny
A change in working conditions led to me moving in and shielding with my nanny family. Apart from some anxiety over being away from home and how I would cope during my break back at my own house, it has gone surprisingly well. We now have a balance of time I spend at their house working and time I get to go home, which I feel is working for everyone. It is at times a struggle having the parents around, I am used to working as a sole charge nanny so it’s one element of lockdown I do find challenging. One massive positive to come from all of the time we have been isolating is that my relationships with the boys, ages 3 and 2, have become so much stronger. Lockdown has pushed me to become more creative with activities and made me put more thought into art projects that we have been working on. Art has never been my strong suit! I think the biggest challenge for the boys is not being able to see their friends. The 3 year old has started to ask us if he can go to their houses and is upset when we explain we can’t. However all in all our time together in lockdown has been positive and I think I will always look back on this time with positive memories.
Chloe*, 21, daily nanny
As a nanny the role can be very isolating without lockdown being in place, so I was dreading being isolated at home with 3 children ages 2, 4, and 7. It didn’t get off to a great start, to say the least. I felt very underappreciated by my employers. I took on a whole new role homeschooling the eldest two, the pressure was high. I have no experience in teaching so to begin with this was a real challenge. The 7 year old didn’t want to comprehend, he wouldn’t listen to simple instructions, nor complete any of his work within the set time limits. After around 2 weeks of it, I had enough. I started my search for a new job as I felt incapable of dealing with the children and the added pressure of homeschooling. I mentioned to my employers the behaviour issues with the children. They very quickly addressed these, and things got better. The children were disciplined and the parents couldn’t thank me enough for the efforts I go to, to support their children. A couple of weeks later we had a review of the situation and my employers gave me a pay rise plus lots of extra amazing benefits! Now lockdown is amazing. I’m loving spending every day with the children and I feel appreciated for everything I do! I don’t want lockdown to end.
Linda, 35, daily nanny
I’m very fortunate that my nanny family have supported me while working in lockdown. My employers aren’t key workers, my charge has additional needs. We made the decision as a unit to create our own bubble consisting of myself, my nanny family and my fiancé, not mixing with anyone else. My nanny family provided transport for me pre-lockdown to avoid public transport and keep us all as safe as possible. My employers have gone above and beyond during this pandemic. We’ve had our ups and downs during lockdown; creating a new routine where parents have their space to work and play has had its challenges. Having the support from both of my bosses and keeping communication open has been vital to making it work for all of us.
Cheryl*, 27, daily nanny
Lockdown made me realise that I wasn’t at all happy in my job. After being furloughed I handed in my notice and started the hunt. I was unemployed for the first time ever – but 3 weeks later and I have the best job I’ve ever had and couldn’t be happier. The lockdown made me realise we sometimes have to put ourselves first!
*Some names had been changed for privacy.
Experiences may have been edited for length or clarity.