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Nanny's on Holiday

Summer's finally here and my amazing nanny has gone on holiday, leaving me with my two wild-boys. Could she have gone at a better time? Is that even fair to ask?

17/07/2015

 

With my nanny away on holiday, life in our household has descended into chaos and shouting. It's coincided with my boys breaking up for the holidays and a busy week at work for me. But I would never begrudge her taking time out.

Shouty mum is back

It's only been a week, but already I've aged 10 years, and become 'Shouty Mum' again. Our lovely nanny has gone away on her summer holiday and frankly we all miss her.

So far the boys have had a full on pyjama day, where I completely left them to it. They could choose to do anything they wanted in the confines of the house and the garden. I realised my mistake in being that liberal when I saw out of my office window my youngest son about to launch himself out of a top floor window to see if he could fly. His teachers keep telling us he's bright, but that little stunt suggests otherwise.

There is quiet today, however, as I've palmed them off on some poor unsuspecting teenager, who is trying to earn some extra cash during the holidays. She's going to earn every penny today looking after my two. I just hope my youngest doesn't start singing his new song entitled "Humping", otherwise she may bring them home early.

When's the right time for a nanny to take a holiday?

A couple of mums expressed surprise when I said our nanny was going away at the start of the school holidays. They asked why I hadn't refused her request. "Why would I do that?" I replied. "Because it's not convenient!" they exclaimed.

It never crosses my mind to say no to a holiday request. I'm sure it would be more convenient if she went away when we went on our summer holidays. But as the prices for flights and hotels rise steeply from mid-July, that seems unfair on her. During the rest of the year she does try to take holiday to coincide with ours, but that isn't always possible if she is going away with her family or friends who might be restricted on when they can go.

Is it annual leave or just taking a holiday?

I read an article recently which lambasted the use of the phrase "taking annual leave". The article was by Margareta Pagano in the Independent who said she hated the expression because it implies that the employee is being granted permission to leave work rather than choosing to take a well-earned break.

The transition can be hard

When it comes to nannies working in family homes, then there are other considerations that need to be taken into account. Not least the fact that the family have to pay for the nanny to go on holiday plus the cost of finding temporary childcare. Also, will the kids be OK with a different childcarer? How easy is it to show a new nanny the ropes, and is it worth it?

Handing your kids over to a temp is not the same as handing over a work station or a computer. There are mothers out there whose work is not as flexible as mine, and so having a nanny take all her holiday at times only convenient to her and not the family, can be a problem.

A happy medium

At Tinies, we provide draft nanny contracts that say that the employer and the employee can select 50% of the holiday entitlement each year. This seems to be normal practice in the nanny industry and most childcarers are happy to accept the situation. But I'm sure this article will raise comments from both nannies and parents about what is the best approach.

For me, it's back to the juggling act and having to find something for my boys to do tomorrow. I noticed there's a circus in town. Perhaps they can teach them how to fly.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

 
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