DEAR HARRIETTE: I have agreed to nanny for a family for the month of July this summer. Baby-sitting for one day is a lot of work mentally and physically, so I can’t imagine how tired I will be after a month of working with the kids.
I have already agreed to work for the month, but I have been thinking about speaking with the parents to ask for a couple of nights off. I think if I get one night off a week (so four nights during the month), it would be less draining. How do you think I should approach this? Is one night off a week the right amount? -- Overworked Nanny, Boston
DEAR OVERWORKED NANNY: It is perfectly fine for you to ask to revisit your agreement for the month of July. You have far more leverage now, before the work begins, to discuss your request and figure out a solution with the family. If they value you and the way that you interact with their children, they should be amenable to supporting your needs.
Be firm and clear. Let them know how much you enjoy working with their children, even if it is taxing. In order to be your best, you need one night a week to yourself. You should also review your general free time during the month. Are you literally on call 24 hours a day? If so, are you paid for those hours? Going from baby-sitting for a few hours a day to a month of overnighters is a completely different scenario. Make sure you are being fairly compensated for the many additional hours.