To be completely confused about how childcare is supposed to actually work?

(154 Posts)
BonaDea Wed 16-Jan-13 15:34:25

Sorry for long post.

I'm 29 weeks pregnant and have been having a very preliminary look into childcare in my area. Partly because this is something I've never had to look into before and I just wondered, partly because someone mentioned waiting lists and putting babies on them when they're born (ok, this person might have been mad). I'm planning to be off for a year on mat leave so I have a bit of time in hand.

We haven't looked at nannies / nanny shares in any detail. Obviously this sounds easy, but very expensive and we'd like to explore other options first. So, have been having a look at nurseries and childminders. ALL the nurseries in our area have a closing time of 6pm, and you can possibly pay up £6-10 per day extra for a 6.30 pick up. Childminders are usually the same, some finishing even earlier. Am I mad to wonder how the hell anyone actually makes that work??

I live in London, where the vast majority of people have a commute of at least half an hour. At least. My own commute (I drive out of London, driving back at night) is anywhere between 40-60 minutes. The closer to 5pm I leave work (apart from the fact that my actual contractual finishing time is 5.30, but I am lucky enough to be able to relatively flexible) the busier the roads are, so it actually can easily take longer.

I'm in a professional job and work for a US company (I mention that because the time difference means often having to do conference calls and meetings near the end of my working day at 5, 6 or 7 o'clock). I don't see how I can actually make it work to have to leave my desk at 5pm every day, hoping to hell there isn't a problem with traffic and drive like a mad woman to get there on time. How do other people do this? Are there people who cover that 6-7pm slot for you - family (mine live far away), baby sitters, anything else?!

Or is the reality that it simply won't work unless we get a nanny at huge expense because then they are at our house with the baby and don't have 'closing hours' - although I appreciate you can't take the proverbial with them either?

blueshoes Wed 23-Jan-13 12:57:57

Love your post, Murtette. Brings back a lot of memories which I blanked out now that my dcs are older, especially the bit about toddlers arching their back and going rigid in their carseats or rushing around in morning. Also, I used to dress dcs to bed in comfy clothes that they need not change out of to go to nursery, so that is one less battle.

Wreckingball, if OP finds it a little too much, rather than leave the law as you suggested, there are many other options she can explore first, like working as a PSL or inhouse lawyer. I left the law and worked in support services in my law firm. I regretted it - pay was poor, work was dull, the culture of the people you work with too different. But then again, I loved fee-earning and being a lawyer, just did not want to hack the hours and unpredictability.

I am now a ft inhouse lawyer in a global law firm (US-based). The hours rock and the work is still interesting. Pay is decent - will never compare with senior fee-earning but way better than non-law - and worth getting out of bed for. The best thing is the flexibility and my work life is quite stressless. I have a live-in aupair and children are now in ft school.

Queenoftheharpies Wed 23-Jan-13 13:18:06

My childminder is amazingly flexible - the norm is she works til 6 but she doesn't charge for late pickups.

One of the other children she cares for is with her from 5.45am until 9pm for 3 days of the week.

bringonyourwreckingball Mon 28-Jan-13 22:42:55

Blueshoes I'm glad it worked out for you - I am a PSL and frankly it's grim, no money or respect and no career prospects but still stress and travel. That's probably partly due to the ethos of my particular global law firm but it's not an easy option

ceeveebee Mon 28-Jan-13 23:05:43

Absolutely get a nanny.
My DH is not a lawyer but works for a bank in M&A and is just not able to be around during the week. I did a sideways move from a senior finance role to a technical/compliance role which allowed me to reduce to a 3 (long) day a week job when I returned to work after my maternity leave with twins

Our nanny is wonderful, she does breakfast, dressing them ECG so I can get out of the door in the morning, she takes them to lots of groups and activities, cooks for them and sometimes us, does all their laundry and some of ours, writes me a shopping list and receives knline shopping order, leaves the house clean and tidy every night, helps me with bath and bedtime and (within reason) doesn't mind me being a little late back now and then. She also babysits for us occasionally. I couldn't go to work without her

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