COVID-19 and Me!

We invited BAPN members to let us know what impact COVID-19 is having on their daily lives, what their days now look like, and how they are feeling. Many responded and here are just three:

Live-In Nanny

I am a live-in nanny and I have been working throughout lockdown and have even had to change my hours to help the family out. I work for a key worker and a non-key worker; I have had to work weekends and bank holidays to help support them. This has also been a positive for me as it has kept me busy and had something to focus on.

I am incredibly lucky that the parents I work for have supported me in this time with helping out making meals and doing the children’s washing. This takes some of the pressure off me as I no longer have a set time to do this at nap time as the older one is off school. They have also shown appreciation to me in many ways through this time and it is a real mood booster when you hear how happy they are with your work and appreciate all the effort going into planning daily activities for a baby and older children to do together as well as making up lesson plans for homeschooling.

I have found this time a rollercoaster of emotions and being a live-in nanny it has been quite different from other people’s lockdown experiences. Living with another family and not being able to go places on my time off or see my family and friends and switch off from work. It has been a challenge for everyone in the house as we are all spending more time together and finding new ways to entertain ourselves. The family I work for has invited me to family meals at the weekend and have been including me on their daily exercise if I want to. They have also supported me on hard days and made sure I have all the things I need during work and on my off time. This has made my situation much easier and manageable. I have really enjoyed spending time in the house with the children and watching them progress with schoolwork and siblings become closer. There have been many ups and downs over the lockdown period about being a live-in nanny, but my experience has been full of more positives than negatives. The things I used to love doing such as playgroups, nanny meet-ups, museum trips, and all the other fun things we get to do as a nanny feel a lifetime ago but hopefully soon we can all come together again. Anna

Non-working nanny

I’m one of the lucky ones! I know I am. I work for two doctors who are either working opposite shifts or using “Key-worker school” for their three children so they don’t have to have me in their home. They say they want to protect me as well as themselves. They feel that social distancing can take place in key worker school better than it can in a home and that it’s better for the children to be with a few children with whom they can socialise with at playtime as opposed to being at home with me as their nanny on their own. Personally, I feel the risk factor at school with other key workers children would be higher than it would have had they been with me, but they’re doctors so I feel they must know what they’re talking about.

My bosses don’t let anyone cross their threshold. I’m paid my usual monthly salary and my bosses won’t entertain furloughing me because they “might” have to use me if they get called in together. IF I get called in, my bosses have asked that I shower when I arrive and change my clothes. They’ve said that they just want me to “be there” but will not expect any close contact with the children. I would need to cook dinner and be on hand for homework/listening to reading etc but not much else. It all feels rather clinical and surreal to me.

I’ve been at home now since 19th March 2020 One day rolls into the next, my sleeping habits have changed in that I go to bed around midnight and don’t get up until 9am. I don’t know what day it is half the time. I just read, walk, do jigsaws, make cakes, and talk to friends and family remotely. Life is easy right now. We have money coming in and my little family is staying safe and hunkered down.

On good days I love being at home and I feel very loved and grateful that my bosses are paying me to “work from home” (their words not mine) I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

On bad days I feel guilty that I’m not helping two busy doctors, guilty that some nannies are being exploited and made to work silly hours for non-key workers ... I’m aching to have a cuddle with my two litt’leys, and a good chin wag with the eldest who likes to talk about politics and how the world turns (12, going on 20!!)

I’ve been with my nanny family for 3 years. They say I’m an extension of their family and they want us all to come out the other side in one piece. I love them for keeping me at home and know “we’ll meet again” when things are looking better.

(In the meantime I’ll just send cards, chocolate, and texts from afar...and “meet” them all for the odd “conference call” 😂 Vikki

Daily Nanny

I arrive at the family home as normal at 8am. Usually one, two, or all three of the children are already downstairs in the kitchen awaiting my arrival. All is calm, we hug, we ask how each other slept and how we’re feeling today. I make breakfast, make sure the children are dressed, and have washed and brushed their teeth ready for their first Zoom calls with their teachers at 8.30am. Some days it is a scramble to be ready, dressed, and sat looking presentable in front of a laptop ready to speak with their teacher. Other days it is easier.

The children have a morning Zoom call and we start off with English work for the day. We complete the morning activities set by the teacher. Some days are less challenging than others. Some days the activities take 20 minutes and some days they take up to an hour. We then stop for a morning snack before jumping back onto our next Zoom call with their teachers. Next up is Maths. I have a degree in the early years so teaching phonics and Maths to my five-year-old charge is no bother. I have really been enjoying helping him with his work throughout this whole process. However, I am starting to struggle with the complexity of my 10-year-old charges Maths work! This is where I try my best to help but also make sure I have a quiet word with myself reminding myself that I am not a teacher and I can only try my best to help.

After a morning of English and Maths, we give ourselves around an hour or so for lunch and a play in the garden. The afternoons are somewhat more relaxed. We usually have more creative lessons set from school. Some days we try to complete them all together and others we do what we can. My youngest charge has a Zoom call each afternoon with one of the brilliant support staff from school. She mixes up the sessions; some days she reads them a story, some days she gets the children to join in with a creative activity, and some days she does an interactive show and tell session. I find these sessions are great fun for him and he enjoys seeing all of his school friends.

Our “home school day” usually finishes around 3.30pm. The children have an end of day Zoom call with their class teacher. This is usually an informal chat about how the day has been for everyone. We celebrate completing another day of home school by treating ourselves to a chocolate biscuit or a baked treat if we’ve done any baking that day. The children have then taken it in turns each afternoon to make me a cup of tea. (I make sure I supervise them with the kettle and hot water.) This is a truly kind gesture which has become a special part of our day. The children like to say thank you and appreciate my help with their schoolwork.

The rest of the day is then spent playing games in the garden or inside. The older children have also been enjoying having video calls with their school friends. I think they have really been missing seeing their friends, along with all of us!

We have started to all eat together in the evenings. The children, parents, and I. When lockdown began I suggested eating together, mainly because we were having to think more cautiously about food and our meals. I really don’t mind cooking for everyone though and we’ve found it’s a really nice part of the day where we can all sit down together and discuss our days.

Life at home altogether has become a new normal for us. Of course, the children would like to go back to school and they’re after school clubs and generally get out and about more frequently, but we are all coping the best we can and we’re having a lot of fun and making special memories altogether. I am thankful that we have a garden to play in and we have all used our imagination and resources to create new games and ways of having fun at home.

I feel fortunate that I work for such thoughtful and considerate employers. Throughout this difficult time, we have always found time to catch up and discuss each other’s concerns and feelings. We have had the same viewpoints concerning everyone’s health and safety within the household and we have been extremely cautious and careful. Being a nanny is a very personal job, but this experience has brought me even closer to the family and children I care for and I am very thankful to them for showing me extra love, kindness, and respect throughout this difficult time. Lizzie

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