If you’re anything like me, you will always find something to do at work — organize the pantry, sweep the floors, fluff the pillows. It really is a great trait to have as a nanny, but sometimes you need to think about yourself. If doing extra work is taking away from your health and sanity, it isn’t actually helping anyone. I often tell myself, “You aren’t paid to sit.” Although that is true, sometimes I need to sit down and read a book or EAT BY MYSELF in order to be my best self or to avoid becoming Hangry Nanny. No one likes her.
Nannies often work long days with no breaks. It’s assumed that when the children are napping, nannies lay on the couch and scroll through Facebook. As a nanny who is also responsible for laundry and other things around the house, there is no other time to do it. Therefore, while the children sleep, I continue to work, folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, making a list of crafts and activities for the week.
But sometimes, a nanny needs to sit.
I’m not claiming that nannies don’t get to go home at the end of the day and veg in front of the TV if they so choose. But within a 9+ hour day, five days a week, it can get exhausting. The constant attention-seekers, the diaper changes, and the messes can take a toll on a person. Patience is a wonderful thing for a nanny, but everyone has a breaking point.
That being said, you should avoid getting to that breaking point if possible. That’s why taking occasional breaks through out the week could be a lifesaver. It doesn’t have to be any specific length of time; you know what you need and what you can afford in terms of chores and allotted time. Typically, I’ll give myself an ending time for chores, so that I can have twenty minutes at the end of the kids’ typical nap time to read or blog. I do as much as I can before my decided time, then I tell myself to drop it and rest. As someone who (rightfully) feels compelled to work for my paycheck, this is very difficult for me. Clearly I’m not earning my compensation by sitting.
I’ve learned that, in fact, that isn’t true. I mean, I can tell myself that all I want, but I still have to force myself to take the break if I’m feeling burnt out. In instances where I really can’t afford a break, I have found other ways to maintain sanity. Some of those things include…
- Listening to upbeat music while I complete chores
- Eating a snack
- Making iced coffee or tea
- Watching a show while I fold laundry or empty the dishwasher
- Opening the windows and letting in the breeze
- Doing something fun or different with the kids when they wake up (like treating ourselves to ice cream, playing mini-golf, or meeting up with another adult who has kids)
I know what motivates me to continue working and to have a positive attitude. Maybe this list looks different for you, but whatever you do to stay motivated and sane in the midst of the chaos has to work for YOU. I’d love to hear what some of you other nannies do to stay productive when you’re feeling tired, unmotivated, and burnt out.