An Honest Account of Nannying

Bonjour. It’s been a while. What has happened? Let me tell you.

This is a job I can only do for a year. I can’t imagine having to deal with it much more.

It’s more than just nannying job. First of all, you’re managing more than just a child. If it was just that, many of us would enjoy this line of work more. There are also leering parents, often poor at communication and enforcing ever-changing rules.

Found an equilibrium? Be prepared to be told that ‘playing pretend’ is not okay. Explain this to a six-year-old. No playing. Let’s do a puzzle instead.

Be confused about what nanny means: are you a babysitter or a tutor? You’re not paid enough for the latter. Yet, that’s what is expected by ‘immersion’. The children have little time to breathe, to be themselves. A hundred percent engaged, daily. If it wasn’t for the dream of Paris, one might prefer to stack shelves in a supermarket back home for 150% less brainpower and a considerably better wage. Better still, be a tutor and get the pay you deserve.

Maybe you’re on a student visa. I mean, that’s why I’m here. To learn French. But I spend most of my days speaking English to live, and a lot of time missing lessons because of changing schedules without a care for the necessary condition of my VISA.

It’s this leering quality that makes me feel uncomfortable in this job. Most of the day, they are home. You feel watched. Perhaps the only time you get a break, a chance not to be a servant is to go to the toilet.

The days get darker in winter, and I’m fairly used to dim lighting. I’ve never been one to turn on every light. What a waste of electricity. One minute you’re engrossed, for once, in an activity with a child. It’s still light enough not to notice. Next minute, a parent is “not happy” because they’ve walked in just at the point when it might start clicking.

Or not really responding to you, shrugging perhaps, when you propose alternative ideas to standing outside in the cold for forty minutes. Just find something to do? I’m freezing as is the poor child. We both just wanna lurk in Monoprix when we could be at home doing something more productive.

The overbearing expectations and a mismatched wage do not mix well with a difficult personal life and mental health. It’s hard not to feel exploited.

We are.

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