My name is Alice. I have been a Nanny for six years. I am actually a second generation Nanny as my Mum was also a Nanny when she was my age. So before I start to tell you about my experiences, let’s take a trip to the late 70s and I’ll tell you all about a Nanny’s life then.
I don’t think my Mum had ever intended on nannying abroad. I think it was more of a desire to get away. All her life she had lived in a small village in the English countryside, the sort of place where everyone knew everyone! She was studying maternity nursing at the time, when one day, she caught a bus home from collage. Little did she know that that bus ride was about to change her life drastically. She bumped into an old school friend and after the usual chit chat, the girl told my Mum how she had just got back from having the most amazing year nannying in lovely, warm Greece. Apparently the family she worked for were now looking for a new British Nanny. I can at this point of the story, hear my Mum’s brain ticking and working overtime.. Imagining living with a wealthy Greek family, the summers by the beach, the island hopping in the school holiday, the tanned Greek boys.. Decision was made, on a bus, on a horrible cold, rainy day, in a village in the English countryside! Now, let me take this opportunity to remind you just how lucky nannies and families are nowadays. With the click of a mouse and from the comfort of our own home, in a matter of hours we can have read multiple CVs or family profiles, checked references, CRBs and qualifications, have looked at the areas the families live in and even have personally spoken to a Nanny or family over Skype. The list is endless!
Back to the late 70s and my Mum who decided to take the 3 day coach trip to Greece to meet and live with a family who she had only had a five minute conversation with over the phone! Oh yes, you read correctly, a three day coach trip. Apparently there were only three 5′ toilet breaks during each day. My Mum describes it as hell. She would have rather gone through hell though than paid 6 weeks wages and fly! Oh yes, those days you didn’t just hop on a Ryanair flight for less than the cost of a restaurant meal and arrive in a different country in the time that it takes you to read the paper and consume a bag of sweets!
My Mum describes that time of her life in Greece as the most carefree and fun. She was very lucky to have ended up with a lovely family (despite the risk). It turned out that it was particularly fashionable during that time in Greece to have a British Nanny if you were anyone who was anyone! My Mum made friends with loads of other English Nannies. How I hear you ask, did she meet other Nannies in a time of no Facebook and no mobile phones? Well, they had to rely on the families to introduce them and then the only way to keep in contact was using the family’s house phone. This of course meant that more often than not the family were around and could hear exactly where the nannies were going and what they were up to when they were not working. My Mum says her and her friends had a code, the name of a quiet little cafe was actually code for a hip nightclub in town!
Most of the Nannies my Mum knew did actually end up staying in Greece, marrying their Greek boyfriends and having children of their own. I myself, as you might have already guessed, am one of those children!
My Mum still sees all of her old Nanny friends every Friday when they have their famous “Girls Night Out”. I would like to think there is less alcohol, dancing and flirting involved and more reminiscing of the past good old, carefree days! Back to present! My Mum now works in an American school in Greece. One of her students being the son of the 3 year old she first nannied for when she arrived in Greece. When this little boy, who is now of course a grown man looks at his young son with disapproval as they enter the school gates on days that the boy has been misbehaving, my Mum simply looks at him and all she needs to say is: “Would you like a reminder of what you were like at that age?” The father, looks at the ground, gives a grin, gives his son a big kiss and heads off to work.