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Childcare for a trolley dolly!

(36 Posts)
Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 13:38:59

I'm a flight attendant who finds herself in the position of being a single parent. My ex lives in SA so him as my childcare is not an option. I'm trying to find childcare for my daughter and dog for when I'm away, min 2 nights max 3/4 nights a couple of times a month. I haven't a clue where to start and what type of child carer I need, Au pair or nanny. I don't earn much so I'm thinking Au pair £70 p/w.
As it would only be a couple of times a month I think an Au pair would end up with a lot of free time and expensive for me. Anyone got any useful ideas for me please.

icanneverremember Wed 23-Apr-14 13:54:47

I think Au Pairs are fantastic (we have one ourselves) but I'm not sure I would feel entirely comfortable with that level of responsibility. How old are your children? A big downside of an Au Pair in this situation is that they may not stay with you for very long and your children would face spending long periods of time with a relative stranger while you're away. Having said that, it is certainly possible to find an Au Pair who is looking for a longer term position and you could even ask them to complete some training courses during their time with you (first aid for example).

Alternatively you could try and find a part time nanny who would be prepared to do overnight stays. Have you looked at childcare.co.uk? You could advertise your specific requirements and see what comes up.

icanneverremember Wed 23-Apr-14 14:02:34

Actually I was just doing some calculations...

Assuming you were away for three nights, twice a month that works out at 144 hours per month. Possibly less as, not knowing what hours you would actually be away I'm assuming 24 for each day which is probably a bit much.

I'm not sure what night nanny rates are but if you work on an average of �9 per hour it would be �1296 per month confused
Our AP works for about 100 hours per month (usually less) and gets �80 per week.

I hope someone can come on and give you a more accurate idea I feel I'm giving you a very grim view, sorry

Unexpected Wed 23-Apr-14 14:03:11

What age is your daughter? Au pairs have limited childcare experience and should generally not be left in charge for long periods of time, certainly not 24/7 for a period of days. With regards to expense, if your daughter is old enough to be left with an au pair overnight I think you will find that by far the cheapest form of childcare for you! If you have to pay a nanny or overnight childminder (difficult to find) for several nights per month (particularly if they are not fixed nights) you will end up paying more in a night than you pay the au pair per week.

juneybean Wed 23-Apr-14 14:04:23

Could be a job for a part time nanny - this is the sort of thing I'd do, as I'm self-employed and pick up work wherever I can.

Unexpected Wed 23-Apr-14 14:05:23

How much would you charge per night though juneybean?

rocketjam Wed 23-Apr-14 14:09:25

My friend works as flight attendant for big airline and she has a part time nanny, who is actually a retired social worker. The nanny is grateful with the schedule and happy to stay the night. It's luck though, you might have to look and look. An au pair should not be responsible for young children overnight, I think unexpected is right.

Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 14:21:53

Thank you for all your replies. Yes it's a mega tricky situation that has me at a complete loss! My daughter is 12 and is at school from 8.30am until 5pm, so the only job she would have to do is walk my dog, leaving the rest of the day to herself, I really don't need my house cleaning or my ironing done as it can be two weeks between trips and I'd need something to do!!!!! I'm only part time and my wages are not great. I nearly choked on my coffee at your calculations icanneverremember!!! Grim as it is I have to face reality. I get my schedule two weeks before the month starts and a night-stop trip although is 3 days I'm only actually away one whole day and 2 nights. So say I leave Monday evening I'm back Weds late afternoon or early morning. We live in wimbledon. I'm hoping for some luck soon!!!! The more I look into it the harder it seems!!

wednesdaygirl Wed 23-Apr-14 14:31:59

What about a reg overnight childminder

Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 14:36:25

That's an option, do you know roughly what that would cost? Thank you!

Thurlow Wed 23-Apr-14 14:36:54

If you don't need someone in your house all the time doing other week an au pair might be too expensive.

In your situation I'd either to be tempted to see if there were any of your DD's friend's parents who you suspect might be interested in having her to stay regularly for cash, or whether there is a retired/semi-retired childminder or nanny or, at the other end of the scale, someone who is training in childcare or similar, who would come and stay when you are away.

Artandco Wed 23-Apr-14 14:45:46

I think an older au pair would work here, as your child isn't tiny so doesn't need ' care' as such. Ie a 12 year old can cope with most emergencies or can call someone else if needed etc.

An au pair in Wimbledon would like these hours IMO as could fit in long courses at uni learning English for example as 9-4 free at min. I would offer £100 a week plus travel card for zone 1-2. So around £500 ish a month. Remember some days she might actually have child full time in day if your child's off school during holiday etc. So can take child places then.

A nanny would probably charge min £10 net (£13 ish gross an hour) so 3 days would be £620 net

Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 15:00:34

During the holidays my daughter could go to my parents so really I'm looking at someone who could make her some tea, watch over her with homework and put her to bed, then breakfast in the morning before school. I think you're right Thurlow maybe a trainee nursery school teacher or just a local nursery school teacher who could earn some extra money. £500 p/m is half of my wages and I just don't have the funds. Oh gawd, my head is spinning!!!! Thank you everyone I really appreciate your replies!

icanneverremember Wed 23-Apr-14 15:01:56

Sorry, I knew the numbers were on the heavy side but I think it's good to start with worst case scenario then get better from there!

Although an AP isn't strictly meant to have sole charge I don't feel you can say that's true for every situation. There are some very well qualified APs out there at the moment, particularly from Spain, who are old enough to have that level of responsibility. Our current one is a 24 year old teacher who I would trust overnight if I had to.

I also work strange hours and childcare has been an ongoing headache for us but we have managed. There are probably more people than you think who would be happy to work those hours as they happen to fit quite nicely with their own lives and responsibilities.

And I don't mean to pry but shouldn't your ex partner be paying for some of the childcare costs too?

Thurlow Wed 23-Apr-14 15:05:41

I'd see if there are any colleges around you who teach childcare etc who can help.

It will entirely depend on how comfortable you are with certain things. My DC are nowhere near that age but I think at 12, if DC are sensible, I'd be just as happy with someone who seemed sensible sleeping over in the house.

littlegreengloworm Wed 23-Apr-14 15:11:25

I actually think it might be the ideal job for someone.

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 23-Apr-14 15:15:29

There are older au pairs - mine was a sensible 26 year old Hungarian who I certainly wouldn't have hesitated to leave with a 12 year old.

Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 15:16:50

No not prying! I would love some money from my ex and in fairness to him he has done in the past but he had to go bankrupt and trying to get money from someone in South Africa is not as easy as it would be here! It's a very long story and would make for a great read if it was a book!!! I absolutely agree worst case scenarios first!!! When things get better I know he'll start contributing, as all very amicable and in regular contact. Yes I think the fact my daughter is 12 is a plus and she is very independent as I've been flying for 24 yrs so she's grown up with me being away. I know there is someone out there who would love this type of job, I've just got to find them!!!! Needle in a haystack!

Artandco Wed 23-Apr-14 15:18:01

Hmm. Can she stay with your parents on those days also?

Even a nursery nurse/ new nanny/ childminder who only charged very little would still be around 100 a day. If your abroad and child gets taken to hospital they will also need to be able to be there as sole carer in charge. I think £100 a day is still your min tbh. That's only £2.40 an hour also

Other option is a combination of her staying at friends and family. You could have their child over in exchange also

CheeryName Wed 23-Apr-14 15:25:43

Have you just recently split up then? I would think about a change of career/airline - if her dad has just left and then she is left with new people overnight it could all be a bit much at a very tricky age.

I know it's not as simple as 'just' getting a new job but for what you earn it just doesn't seem worth it. Could you switch to more local flights? Or look for another job?

Mothergothel1111 Wed 23-Apr-14 15:28:39

Can you not just sell those flights to collegues and ask your employer for less long haul?

Unexpected Wed 23-Apr-14 15:34:27

Given that we now know your daughter is 12, I think an aupair would be fine - and still cheapest! A childminder would have to have your daughter stay at her house which is probably not ideal for an almost-teenager. A nanny is going to be way too expensive and that level of experience is not needed.

However, one problem which remains is that I presume your flights could extend over a weekend and an aupair may not want to work weekends, particularly if she doesn't know well in advance what the requirements might be.

An alternative might be to see if you can provide accommodation for a local student in return for some money and a commitment to be available overnight on the days you are away and there for breakfast in the morning. Isn't there a teacher-training college in Twickenham for example?

It is a tricky situation though.

Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 15:50:28

I do have friends that she can stay with and at weekends she can go to my parents. They only live half an hour away but just that bit too far for the school run which would take over an hour in rush hour. Giving up my job is not an option as it's been my career for 24 yrs and I don't think such drastic measures need to be taken. I agree the money i earn is not much but It is something I love and I don't think I need to give it up, I won't be beaten that easily and i will get there somehow!I just wanted her to have stability rather than staying overnight at other peoples houses, I don't want to put it on them and the routine of coming back to her own home and bed will be better for her. She is used to me being away and the fact she's an only child means she's happy to meet new people, she loves it and is very sociable. I split with her father in 2003 but have spent the last 10 yrs with my partner, we have just recently parted hence my situation.
Thank you for all your suggestions I'm going to check out some Au pairs and yes the student idea has crossed my mind.

icanneverremember Wed 23-Apr-14 15:52:46

Just to chip in that our Au Pair happily works occasional weekends - it was all agreed in advance.

Perhaps you could at least look for an AP (Au Pair World is great). You might be surprised at who you can find and I also (unexpectedly) enjoy having the company of another adult around the house which I can imagine might be extra valuable as a single parent... If you don't find one you've lost nothing as there don't have to be agency fees. You could simultaneously look for a nanny/childminder through a free website and see which one brings results first.

Trolleydolly1 Wed 23-Apr-14 16:02:25

Thank you so much you have been very helpful icanneverremember. I have a bit of time as I have two flights nxt month over the weekends so she will be going to my parents. I shall have a look at Au pair world now. X

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