24 April 2009

Travel nannies

I'm sorry, but I'm probably not going to be positive towards this concept - and the associated parenting messages it sends - so consider yourself warned.

When Yvette first alerted me to the idea of travel nannies, I thought she was joking. Apparently not. For the uninitiated, they are employees of resorts and hotels assigned to guest families to look after the kids. To remove their inconvenient little presences from the mummies and daddies who brought them into this world. Yup.

Firstly, if you are going to employ the services of a travel nanny, why bother taking the kids in the first place? Why not prevail on the long-suffering grandparents to take the nasty little brutes off your hands? I could, of course, launch into a completely off-topic tirade about parents who have children as some sort of trophy of achievement, or as a fashion accessory (one step above mummy's little poochy in her D&G handbag), or simply as the living organism whose only raison d'etre is to inherit all the stuff you have accumulated in the quest to show off how successful you are... but I won't.

Secondly, since when is it a grand idea to leave your progeny with some unknown individual to take care of their every need? To be completely alarmist, are the employers of travel nannies obliged to undertake police checks etc. of applicants in order to weed out those who might have untoward intentions? Do you really know whether, while you are sipping Pina Coladas on some idyllic stretch of beach in the Bahamas, your little darling is being scarred for life in some way?

Thirdly, why not have some fun together? What a novel idea that might be for some parents, but you know... it CAN be done. Actually, it can be enjoyable. Sure, go to the resort, lie on the beach, do the things you want to do - but does that really require you to abrogate your responsibility as a parent? I think not. Indeed, take advantage of kids programs that might be on offer - events where loads of kids might be involved in something (usually in a very public space), but I really, really cannot see how anyone could need a travel nanny.

Here's the bottom line. My children are part of my family and looking after them is my responsibility. If we go on holidays as a family, we do it together. We enjoy it together. We'll even plan it together. If we want time away from the kids, we'll arrange it - but we're fooling ourselves if we call it a family holiday.


  1. Kudos AND bravo for your post!

    I'm a single parent (read: full-time employee, part-time uni student in addition to parenting) and can't imagine a better traveling companion that Boy Wonder.

    Now admittedly, my budget rarely stretches to locations that have nanny services but *eek* why would I leave him with an "unknown" and risk his emotional and physical safety? Besides, he offers some amazing insights when we travel..... have you noticed that kids spot cool things that we are oblivious to?

    Love your blog, have it saves as a favourite!

  2. Hi Lyn in a Spin,

    Kids do notice great things, don't they! I clearly remember being on a train in Paris, and wondering our loud which stop we needed to get off for the Louvre. The Bookworm quite calmly told us which one as she'd noticed a sign about it earlier. And then there's all the wonderful photos she took in various places of the floors. We wouldn't have noticed the beautiful tiled or wooden or whatever surfaces if she hadn't noticed them first.

    Kids are great. :-)