When Victoria called on Thursday evening she sounded distraught. She was compelled to continue working even though the father of her little charge had been diagnosed with Covid-19; the virus had just been categorized as a global pandemic and its unfamiliar nature filled her heart with fear. She was torn between her loyalty to the lovable little boy she had raised from infancy and the overwhelming feeling of self- preservation: Her loyalty won. A few weeks later she tested positive for Covid-19.
This might sound too familiar a story to some of us. Covid-19 has invaded our lives with unimaginable force and has entirely changed our perception on basic rules of safety. It left us exposed and unprotected, forcing us to adapt to a new environment with as much expediency as we could master. Essential workers, such as nannies like Victoria, were left with a dilemma: they could either continue working, which meant (in most cases) separating from their own families for months at a time for the sake of safety, or relinquish their jobs.
Covid 19 Impacting Families Without Childcare
It was no less problematic for families who were left without childcare when their nanny decided to leave. A majority of parents were still working remotely and required assistance with childcare. Relationships between families and their nannies strengthened or soured as nannies brought forth their decisions. Uncertainty heightened emotions and some long-standing relationships were damaged irretrievably while others thrived.
Persevering with Kindness During the Pandemic
While some reporters were on the hunt for lurid stories that could sensationalize the private lives of the rich and famous during Covid-19, different, much simpler, human life stories were unfolding behind the scenes; nannies putting their health on the line to continue caring for an infected child or parent, or moving in with the family indefinitely to better safeguard them. For families, opening their homes to their nanny’s children, keeping them on payroll without asking them to work, helping them getting tested for the virus with the help of designated medical professionals, and even re-instituting weekly stipends to offer financial assistance to former employees.
Great kindnesses were shown on both sides and long-lasting relationships forged in this time of adversity.