I have never taken a nanny on vacation. To my knowledge, my friends have never taken a nanny on vacation. But I have heard stories — rumors? urban myths? — about people who do this. Part of me has to admit it’s a pretty brilliant idea. But the other part thinks it’s one of the most pretentious, self-involved things a parent can do.
The genius of the nannycation is pretty obvious. Someone is there, 24/7, to deal with your kids when they’re fighting over where to go mini-golfing, insisting on splashing everyone within a 10-mile radius of the hotel swimming pool or begging for something to eat when you just want to bury yourself in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” If you and your spouse or significant other want to have a nice dinner alone one night? Done. If you want someone else to con the little buggers into brushing their teeth and going to bed while you enjoy peace, quite and a glass of wine? All set.
The down side, of course, is that the nanny or appointed caregiver has to be paid. But let’s pretend money isn’t really an object. (And if you’re someone who either has or would seriously consider this option, it probably isn’t.) Family vacations are supposed to be about just that: spending time with family. As much as I might be tempted to bring along some hired help if I had the means, I don’t think I could because I’d feel like I was somehow cheating in the Game of Mom. I’d feel disengaged from my children and concerned that they would might see themselves as burdens to their own parents, extra baggage that has to be pawned off on some family employee. I mean, in every book, play or movie about a screwed-up upper or upper middle class kid — from “Romeo and Juliet” to “Igby Goes Down” — don’t the adolescent characters blame their misguided behavior and lousy outlooks on life on their uninvolved, dismissive mothers and fathers? (For some reason, we rarely say this about the parents in “Mary Poppins.” Which, perhaps, is a matter for another blog post.)
Of course, I suppose if the nanny had become a close family friend, bringing her (or him) along might feel much more natural than I am characterizing it here. (This writer, for example, has very fond memories of having a babysitter during a trip to New York as a child.) Tell me: am I being too harsh? Have you brought your nanny on vacation, or known someone who did? How did you feel about it and did it make the trip much more relaxing for everyone?
Image: Escape Deals