Well this week marks 4 years of working here in Dubai, and boy has it gone fast. When I started the boys were sixteen months and two months old, now four years on they are four and five year old school boys!!
My nanny role here in Dubai has always been a shared care role with a very hands on mummy. My mum boss doesn't work outside the house so is around a lot of the time but on the whole we have a very workable partnership. The boys' daddy, while traveling a lot with his work, also tends to work from his home office when not travelling.
Going back four years to 2011 when I first arrived here in Dubai, I was one of only a small group of western nannies. Most families in Dubai employ a housemaid from the Philippines, who in turn helps them out with childcare when needed and quite often Mum is at home full time.
The government of Dubai recognises ladies from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc as 'Nannies' when it comes to getting a residence visa, but they do not accept that job title when it is a westerner applying for a residence visa!! In my case it would be fair to say that this caused more than a few headaches!! Visas are costly, and when combined with the higher wage that is paid to a westerner it is not hard to see why many families out here would consider a western nanny a luxury they choose to do without. That said jumping ahead four years there are now quite a large number of western nannies working out here for a mix of Western and Arab families.
For many nannies working out here the expected working week is six days and can often involve providing 24 hour cover while on duty. I am very happy to be working only five days I must admit. Many nannies that I have chatted with who work six days every week find it ok at the start but after a while really feel that one day is not long enough to have a proper break and recharge the batteries ready for a new week.
I currently have non-consecutive days off which means only working two or three days between days off. For the first three and a half years, I had consecutive days off but they were both weekdays rather than weekend days. The weekend here is Friday and Saturday, but my Dad Boss works a western week which meant for me working Friday and Saturday. The Dad works Friday and Saturday is their day was a couple and then Sunday was their Family day.
Six months ago the boys started formal school rather than nursery where days could be flexible, meaning where the boys used to stay home on Sunday they now have to go to school. This in turn brought about a change in my days off and means I now get 1 weekend day and 1 week day, a nice balance I am finding.
I leave you with a photo of some local mums and their babies!
Helena Flowerday- KiwiOz Nanny
Our little home dedicated to sprinkling some 'Down Under' Sunshine in the lives of London families and nannies ☺
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