- Although not technically essential workers, many high profile nannies have worked twelve-hour days throughout the pandemic.
- One nanny left New York with the family on what they thought would be a week-long Spring Break trip in March and has been quarantining with them and working for them in a rental house in North Carolina ever since.
- Work days, which she says last “a minimum of 12 hours,” consist of cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling.
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Many of the workers deemed essential during the pandemic ride empty subways or drive down unclogged highways to get to work. But some need only to walk down the hall.
Genevieve, a New York City-based high-profile nanny whose last name we have withheld to protect her privacy but whose identity and employment Business Insider has verified, has spent the past three months quarantining with her employers. She was on vacation with the family when the parents decided it was unsafe to return to their New York City home after their Spring Break trip to Virginia.
Now, her days – which consist of cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling in the house the family is renting in North Carolina – have stretched to last between twelve and fourteen hours.
The pandemic has been hard on domestic workers, even highly educated ones that earn in excess of six figures like Genevieve, according to Katie Provinziano, the managing director of Beverly Hills staffing agency Westside Nannies. Many have lost their jobs as families seek to reduce the number of people coming in and out of their homes, and paperwork issues can make it difficult to qualify for unemployment. Others, like Genevieve, have been asked to give up their personal lives and move in with families who are quarantining away from their primary residences.
Here’s what a typical day looks like for a high-profile nanny during the pandemic.
Genevieve’s workday begins as early as 6 a.m.
The two children Genevieve cares for, a three-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy, wake up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. She helps get them dressed and ready for the day, feeds them breakfast, and then gives them about an hour of free time before they begin their schoolwork.
“Within that hour I pretty much try and get them moving for a bit, running around playing because I know that they’re going to have to sit for school on a computer,” Genevieve told Business Insider. “So we do our best to literally keep them moving.”
At 9 a.m., the school day begins.
While the boy and his mother begin working on virtual lessons assigned by his school, Genevieve teaches preschool lessons to his younger sister. Before the coronavirus closed schools across the nation, both children went to school outside the home and Genevieve could use this time to complete other work inside the home. She wasn’t responsible for schooling or tutoring pre-pandemic.
“We’re going over letters, numbers, shapes, and pretty much from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. I’m sitting through school or sitting through learning,” Genevieve said.
Around 11 a.m., it’s time for a short break before the next school “period.”
After thirty minutes of rest time, Genevieve sets the younger child up for her virtual class that begins at 11:30, while keeping an eye on the older boy as his various midmorning activities begin.
“The older one is either doing tutoring or you have like a one-on-one with a teacher, or he has like a yoga class. Or if he doesn’t, we’re working on assignments that still have to get completed and submitted through Google Classroom,” Genevieve said.
Genevieve cooks and serves lunch around noon.
She spends an hour letting them eat and relax, before putting the younger child down for a nap.
“The older one gets a bit of an electronic break. Since he’s literally been in school since he’s woken up, I give him a little bit of a break,” Genevieve said.
The kids may get to rest during nap time, but Genevieve doesn’t.
“During that break, I’m ironing, cleaning up, getting the kids’ clothes together and doing laundry, and then I go grab [the kids] and then we do more assignments that have to be submitted,” Genevieve said. The school day doesn’t end until around 3 p.m.
At 3 p.m., Genevieve and the children get some fresh air.
“It’s great because we’re not in the city,” Genevieve said. “We’re able to go to the beach or we’re able to ride bikes. So we’re able to just be outside in different ways. I guess people can be [outside] in the city, which is good.”
Genevieve said that perks like access to outdoor space made it easier to decide whether to quarantine with the family or return to her own apartment in New York City when the family opted to extend their Spring Break vacation indefinitely.
“I was wondering, do I leave them high and dry and just go home?” Genevieve said. “I’ve never been a nanny for, like, just the surface level, just the money, just the perks. I genuinely care about these kids. I do care about the family. It takes a village, and I’m a part of that village.”
Genevieve tries to wrap up what she calls “the usual nighttime routine – dinner bath, story time, bed,” by 7 p.m.
“I do the usual house clean-up and then my day is over by eight in a perfect day,” Genevieve said.
At the end of the day, Genevieve credits her experience with getting her through the day – and dealing with the fact that she still has no idea when she’ll get to go home.
“[Nannying for so long] and working for the wide range of people that I’ve worked for, it really takes a lot for me to not be able to manage,” Genevieve said, “but it is hard being away from my [own] family. By the time I can get a two-week break in New York, it will have been months since I was last there. So it’s hard, but honestly, it’s part of the job.”
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