‘’Find a partner and bring them home, but don’t bring them home to your parents, bring them home to your Nanny family (NF). This is when you really know if they’re here to stay.’’
After getting engaged last summer, a few have contacted me and asked how I manage to have a social life with my gig, because it seems nearly impossible. So here I am explaining how on earth my partner and I do it. We have three years of long-distance history and that is a bloody long time. While I write this, I’m wondering how we haven’t got a medal yet? But the reason for that is because millions of people around the world are doing the exact same thing. The difference is the millions are probably not Nannies. Long distance is not easy and is not for the faint hearted, but with the right person, mindset and NF it can be. I say Nanny family because I feel they play a big role on whether your relationship stays healthy and also, I’ve never been in a long-distance relationship where I wasn’t a Nanny.
So, the big question is Nannies, do your other halves really know what their getting themselves into? I am writing from the perspective of a live –in Nanny, as that is all I have ever been and live out Nannies I’m sure have more freedom for a more personal life. If I’m wrong please enlighten me.
Working and living in the same household is intimate, your around for family feuds, family celebrations, family loss, every victory, every downfall, not to mention seeing your dad boss in their underpants! It’s a fine line when trying to keep that employer/employee relationship while sharing all spaces in the house. I’ve had positions where I’ve just had a bedroom and shared a bathroom with the children, positions where I’ve had a room/en-suite , positions where I’ve had my own apartment, with separate entrance attached to the family home and many Travel Nanny positions where I’ve had children sleeping in my hotel room. I’m sure you Nannies reading this can relate in some way, privacy can feel non-existent. So, with that being said, I completely understand when Nannies ask me how on earth, I have a relationship with someone as a live-in Nanny, let alone a social life.
Which brings me to ask you ‘How open are you with your Nanny family?’ ‘Is you having a partner ever a mention?’ Most of the time I hear ‘No, I wouldn’t dare tell them that, they would fire me!’ or ‘I would rather not mix personal life with work.’ Unfortunately, I disagree, you cannot be a live-in Nanny or Travel Nanny and have a healthy long-lasting relationship by not telling the family you work for. You are creating SECRETS with yourself, your partner and worst your NF. Long-distance relationships are by far from normal and are called unconventional for a reason, so keeping it a secret will only put strain on it, making it harder to keep.
However, I’ve been in your position, I know how you feel Nannies. I never wanted my boyfriends to meet my NF’s, not because I was embarrassed but because it felt way more nerve racking introducing them to my NF than my own parents. I would worry about what they would think of me and if it would change their opinion on me as a Nanny. Not only that, I wanted the guy I was dating to make a good impression, after all I’ve worked for some VVIP clients.
On a more personal level I was only wanting to date guys that had visions of having children, because I hope to have my own in the future and moreover, if they didn’t, I knew full well they wouldn’t support the job I’m so passionate about, let alone have a relationship with the children I care for. I’m sure you Nannies reading this can relate and maybe feel like this sometimes.
As I entered my 20’s I wanted to change how I felt towards being able to have a relationship and talk openly about it with my NF. I knew then it would enable me to 1. Enjoy my career more, 2. Be honest with myself, and my Nanny families, 3. Have a chance of a future with someone, 4. Make a life of my own outside of work.
Being a Nanny isn’t easy, can consume a lot of your life and be extremely lonely, especially if you are hired on a 24-hour basis, which is why it is important to me that my NF knew that I had a personal life too. My tip to any Nanny who’s dating or wanting to date – ‘’Find a partner and bring them home, but don’t bring them home to your parents, bring them home to your Nanny family (NF). This is when you really know if they’re here to stay.’’
When you start to speak openly with your NF on this topic, it opens doors for you like finding out if your NF would be happy for them to come and stay. I find this is a huge strain off your relationship when you know the answer to this question. Don’t let work consume you, don’t miss your opportunity to start your own family if it’s what you want. If your NF doesn’t respect that you want to have/ do have your own life outside of work then you’d be better off finding another family. They should support and understand you having other hobbies, interests and relationships with others. Self-care is so important, whether you’re single or in a relationship!
With all that said, Nannies have to remember that one of the main reason’s families hire a live-in Nanny/Travel Nanny is so they could potentially, always have cover and Nannies should be prepared to change their own plans anytime (within reason).
I want to just rewind… back to when my fiancé and I had our romantic weekend disrupted after my NF changed their plans and we were asked to care for my Nanny baby at the time, for 48 hours… bearing in mind my partner and I were courting and I hadn’t introduced him to my NF or charge yet!
I remember the first boyfriend I ever introduced to a baby I was caring for at the time. We met in the park and I thought meeting the baby first before my bosses would be a little easier and maybe an ice-breaker – I’m so glad I did. However he was immediately jealous, he made no effort to engage/play with the child that felt like my own. He knew what my job meant to me and for him to sit there on the picnic blanket stare at the child and say with pure dislike ‘I can’t do this, I’m jealous, I don’t like him, he’s taking you away from me’. In that moment my heart completely sank, I picked up the baby pulled him close, kissing the top of his head, put him back in his stroller and left. I walked away, looking up at the tree’s, tears streaming down my face. I was hurt, feeling like a protective mother, how dare he say that about my ‘baby’ and the job I was so passionate about.
So, when Dan (my Fiancé now) walked into my life, 3 months later, this is when I realised everything happens for a reason and god had even better plans for me. I was already a traveling Nanny so Dan knew what he was getting himself into – or did he. I was working and caring for the same baby and at the time I was living in hotels, on 24/6 schedule. My NF were happy for me to see friends and family anytime, I just took baby along with me. Then, this one particular week I had 48 hours off, I invited Dan to come stay at the hotel, our plan was to have a romantic weekend before I was leaving the country again. However, like I said before, when you’re a Travel Nanny being flexible is one of the main reasons you get hired and this one time my NF changed their plans, I ended up having to have the baby, meaning Dan and I, wouldn’t be alone. My NF said I could still resume my plans; I’d just have the baby too.
When I spoke to Dan and got ‘That’s fine, I still want to come, he’ll just come out with us and I’ll help you, we can do it together and if he wakes in the night I’ll get up too’, I was completely taken by surprise. Not actually thinking he’d be supportive of my role.
When I introduced him to my Nanny kid, we met outside a café in the morning for breakfast, (I’ll always remember the day) he kissed me on the cheek, then knelt down next to the pram to get baby’s eye contact, held his hand, smiled and introduced himself asking him if he was ‘looking after me’. We both laughed and the baby smiled back at him, kicking his legs. For those next two days we played ‘happy families’ the three of us. My heart had never felt so full. It turned out to be the best romantic weekend disruption EVER! We’ll never forget it.
…Fast forward 3 years, we’re engaged, still doing long distance. I’ve lived in the USA & Dubai for two of those years as well as doing a ton of travel every month and we know we’re stronger for it. Sometimes we’d go 6 weeks without seeing each other and sometimes 3 months. Now it isn’t as bad, as I’m now based in London and we get to see each other most weekends. Dan has a lovely relationship with my current NF, they support and fully understand our situation. My little charge age 3 loves him and only two weeks ago told us she wanted to marry him. Although we don’t plan on living apart after marriage, we know long distance will always be apart of our lives as it’s the nature of both our careers.
‘’Does the distance get easier?’’ The short answer is ‘yes’, you learn to live your separate lives, while having one together and update each other, each day over text, video chat, and letters (we do a whole lot of writing) and then countdown our days until the next reunion. But every goodbye is as heart wrenching as the last and our days together seem to go by in the blink of an eye. But no matter the days I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. For me, it’s all worth it because I know our someday is coming and our love is stronger for it.
‘’How do you do it?’’ I think they key to staying in love, is staying grateful. When you have something and someone good, don’t go looking for something better. Learn to appreciate what you have. Learn that the best relationships are where you don’t give up on each other. We are living in a generation where it’s easy to move on and give up when things get hard. Don’t do that. Cherish what you have. Be that story that says – we made it all the way, and that’s because we never gave up on each other or walked away from the love we found. We made it all the way because we reminded ourselves, every single day, just how lucky we really are.
When spending so much time apart here’s a list of the things we did and STILL do to keep our relationship healthy without the physical attributes…
- Dinner dates on Skype/facetime – You can either have a ‘cook off’ where you both decide what you want to cook, get the ingredients and cook the meal together, make it a competition and rate each other’s based on what you see (this can be quite amusing) or order your favorite take away and enjoy eating it together.
- Laugh together – Play games, have fun, make each other smile. Laughing together in your situation is always helpful and needed almost every single day!
- Plan the next date of seeing each other and plan what you’ll get up to on that day/weekend.
- Always have a plan B – Having a plan B with your partner especially when you’re a full-time Nanny is beneficial due to the nature of the job. Live-in Nannies and Travel Nannies are hired at the disposal of the parents giving them opportunities to have us at any time, even when they say they don’t need us. So, when I know I’m off work and make arrangements with my partner, we always ensure we have a plan B incase these scenarios occur and I’m needed to work instead. This helps reduce less arguments and helps with the disappointment of not getting to see each other.
- Skype movie date – Why watch a movie alone if you can watch it with your partner, apart or together you can make it work. Decide on when your having your movie date, what you both want to watch, get your favorite snacks in, Skype your loved one and put the movie on. I promise, it will feel just as special sharing your movie evenings together, while apart.
- Communicate in other ways – Receiving something in the mail is exciting, knowing your other half has taken the time to write/send you something extra special. Hold onto them, as in years to come they’ll remind you of how far you’ve come as a couple. -Write each other letters – Send postcards – Send gifts – Send photos
- Always travel with an item of their clothing – and spray it with their aftershave/perfume 100 times so you have the comfort of their scent with you always. (I keep my partners hoodie in my bed and it helps me sleep)
- Share your emotions – Sometimes crying can help relieve you of how your feeling and sharing it with your partner really helps too. Talking about how you felt that day, when you missed them or thought about them, if something you did reminded you of them, its all-important stuff to share with each other.
- Communicate everyday – Texting good morning and goodnight is so important to us and helps us feel thought of everyday when we are apart. Even if I’ve had the longest travel day with my NF, I always find the time to write a text or make a phone call. Most of the time just hearing my loved one’s voice for 2 minutes and reading the messages he sent, helps me feel better and reminds me what we’re doing is worth it.
- Say I love you even when you’re angry or upset with one another – The only reason you are fighting, bashing heads or feeling frustrated over the phone is because you miss them. So, when this happens, take some deep breaths, say ‘I love you’ and talk about something else.
- Facetime/send photos with your Nanny kids/NF – Especially when travelling, this helps your partner feel reassured that they are looking after you, that you are safe and happy where you are. It always makes them feel a part of your ‘second life’ with your NF, knowing you haven’t forgotten them.
- Travel to see each other – Once Dan flew, London to Dubai for 48 hours just so he could spend his birthday with me. So, I planned a 48-hour itinerary to ensure he saw everything I wanted to share with him in a country he’d never been before. That may seem like a lot of effort, but no relationship has ever lasted without commitment and effort.