Meet the live-in nannies of London, Dubai and Spain
They get paid and can live in the world’s most expensive cities rent free
Pushing prams around South London parks, exotic trips abroad and staying expense free – the life of a nanny can be glamorous if you ignore the crying children.
A nanny can earn around £20,000 a year with free accommodation in some of the world’s most expensive cities.
But the catch is that they have to wake up early to feed babies, live with their families keep the house clean on their downtime.
Is it a free ticket to the high life or a claustrophobic nightmare of always living with your boss?
We spoke to nannies in London, Dubai and beyond to find out what high-society professional childcare is really like.
Kristina – Nanny in Dubai
Kristina works as a nanny based between Dubai and London, but gets to travel the world with her family too.
Her bosses are “VIP clients”, which she describes as royalty who live in a palace, but has to keep tight lipped about the exact nature of her employer.
The 24-year-old lives in her own apartment close to the palace and is responsible for one child.
Kristina told The Tab: “The family are a pleasure to work for and I’m very happy for the moment in doing what I do – it enables me to travel, with no expenses and live a comfortable lifestyle.
“I moved to Dubai a month ago and really enjoying exploring the city.
“Having lived in Oman for two years I have found the transition very easy. I love and respect the Middle Eastern culture.”
Speaking on the nature of the job, Kristina said: “Usually contracts are indefinite and they want you to stay as long as possible.
“I was in Oman for two years but declined the renewal as I wanted to move to Dubai.
“My friends are very international, Lebanese, Egyptian, Croatian, Italian, Turkish etc. It honestly opens up your eyes so so much.
“The only thing I find difficult sometimes is I don’t consider it a real job. I find myself going crazy and feel the need to seek alternate projects on the side – but that’s just me.
“It’s not recognised as a difficult job however I find my middle eastern friends respect it a lot more having had fully staffed houses themselves as a child.
Beth – Nanny in North London
Beth Harrison, 23, works as a nanny in Finchley, North London, where she lives with the family.
While some nannies just get the spare bedroom, Beth, who is originally from Leeds, gets her own private apartment on top of the house with an extra room, living space and bathroom with no rent.
Beth told The Tab: “The family are great, they’re so lovely and make everything easy.
“I work from 7.30am to 6.30pm and get the evenings off, but the children have a nap from 1-3pm, and I’m definitely ready for a break then.”
Beth looks after baby Alice who is seven months old and Arthur who is three.
Her day involves feeding the kids, taking them to the park and cleaning the house while they nap.
She said: “I’ve only been doing it for six weeks, but I’ve worked in childcare for a year.
“Some people need qualifications for the job, but it all depends what the family wants.
“Most families just want someone who can be very maternal.”
“I first went to an agency, then made a profile on a nanny website and contacted some families, and got an interview from there.
“This is the age group I prefer and they’re really lovely to look after.”
Despite being depended on to look after the children whenever the family need her, Beth still gets more time off than the average office worker.
She said: “In my contract I have a month off throughout the course of the year, but when the family go away I get that time off too.”
“I want to do this for as long as I enjoy it.”
Geraldine – Nanny in South London
After graduating from Leeds Uni, Geraldine Gerstrome, 24, worked as a nanny in Battersea for a year.
She looked after a baby who was just five months old and worked and described her time as “lots and lots of walking around Battersea Park”.
Geraldine added: “I loved it, it was the best job ever. It was so nice being out and about and not stuck in an office.
“It can go one of two ways, but I was really lucky I got along with the family I worked for.
“I became part of the family and I’m still in touch with them now and am going to meet the mum next week.”
Instead of applying through an agency, Geraldine found the job on Gumtree.
She said: “A lot of agencies can be quiet expensive and take a lot of money from you, so they can be cheaper and easier.”
Describing her day, Geraldine said: “Babies sleep a lot, so I did jobs around the house like making sure the baby’s clothes were washed.
“Sometimes I stayed in the family’s house at weekends because all my friends are around London. Other times I went home or stayed at friends’ but I was always welcome to stay – they didn’t chuck me out.”
Geraldine is now training to be a midwife, and admitted working as a nanny helped her become set on working with children and families for a living.
Nicole – Nanny in Madrid
Nicole was as nanny for a Spanish family near Madrid during her summer holidays, and she did it as a way to live abroad and get paid for it.
While it might seem like a holiday, Nicole was responsible for six little girls every day.
She said: “I became another daughter to the family really, it was quite sad to say goodbye at the end.
“I didn’t really need any qualifications – they just wanted to know that I was good with kids and that I knew a little bit of Spanish.
“I can look after children fairly well so it seemed like a good opportunity.”
It wasn’t all good, and Nicole had some problems with some of the children.
She added: “One of the girls I had was a bit of a terror, but as long as you know how to discipline children you get by.
“But it’s also really fun as well – you get to play games – beats sitting in an office I suppose.
“I got the evenings and weekends off, so it was fine – I could still go out and have a good time in a different culture!”