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Advice needed from nannies of three or parents with nannies of three.

(39 Posts)
IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 20:25:26

I'm considering a nanny. I have three DC who are 6,2 and 8 months. DH was killed in a car crash 8 months ago.

What I'm really trying to figure out is what my expectations can be of a nanny with three charges. It's likely to be shared care but I also need rest (3 non sleepers). What can I expect realistic duties to be with three to care for?

I'd like to return to work part time at some point but this really hinges on having the right care in place.

With regard to hours I was thinking of four long days. Advice, thoughts, input all appreciated!

nannynick Thu 13-Dec-12 20:37:10

In my current and past 2 jobs I've nannied for 3 (4 in one case) children and have had 2 under 5's with me all day/most of the day.

Laundry - Washing clothes, putting them out to dry. Don't expect ironing. You may get folding and putting away.
Laundry - Bedding, washing and drying, remaking beds. Don't expect it to be weekly but it may get done a couple of times a month.
Cooking - Breakfast, Lunch, Tea.
Cooking - Cakes & Biscuits... always good for entertaining young children who like to help make these.
Taking oldest to school, collecting from school.
Taking all 3 children out on trips during school holidays, such as to museums, playgrounds, on train rides, whatever the children (and the nanny) like to do.
Some tidying up, vac around the main rooms used on occasion.
Taking younger children to toddler group, swimming, softplay, walks in the woods, feed the ducks, wander around the local town/city.

12 hour days can be hard going but working 4 days a week is nice. What hours are you considering 7am-7pm?

cathpip Thu 13-Dec-12 20:40:09

I am a nanny and i have done sole charge and shared care, with both roles i did general chores such as childrens washing/ironing (did do parents ironing if i had time) cleaning childrens bedrooms/bedding and playroom and the cooking. ( must point out that my shared care was 4 boys, 8, 6, 4 and 2) I worked 4 days a week from 7.30-6.30 which i did prefer. Even with the shared care i used to take the children out on day trips to give mum some space, it may be worth contacting a nanny agency and explaining what you want as it does sound a bit like housekeeper/nanny, which im sure for most wont be a problem esp if you are clear on duties

2plus1 Thu 13-Dec-12 20:43:59

Hi, I have a nanny for three toddlers while I go off to work. The nanny is employed for full time hours over three days so extended hours that a childminder wouldn't do. Addditionally, my hubby goes away so some weeks it is just me and the nanny! Our nanny does everything that I would do during the day so when I am home, I don't have to do much extra work just cleaning and my laundry. My nanny looks after my three (with preschool run) and takes non-preschoolers out in the morning. She will wash, dry and iron (if needed) the childrens laundry, cook them a meal, make their tea, do crafts, roleplay games, arrange playdates, take out in the car on outings etc. Luckily for me my nanny is very tidy (will clean up after the beans etc) and organised. If needed she will take delivery of weekly groceries which is a great help.

If you need rest then make this clear to your nanny and she can accomodate. I have been at home unwell and our nanny has made sure the children have not disturbed me in my room and has taken them out for extra peace and quiet. If you are sharing the care with the nanny then you probably need to have some routines of when you expect her to take sole charge of them and when you will have a share in their care.

I was concerned about one nanny looking after a demanding household such as ours but there are some lovely nannies out there, just got to find the right one for you. I wish you all the best in your future plans, it sounds like you have had a tough time recently.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 13-Dec-12 21:02:13

I care for 4 (was 3 children aged 3 and under when I started, but they've since had a 4th).

I think your expectations of the nanny should be based on what you do during the day. How much a nanny with 3 little ones can get done depends almost entirely on the personality of the children and the parent i.e. what their priorities are.

For example, when I first started my job their DC3 was a baby and very easy going, the other two were both at home full time and neither could be trusted alone with the baby (DC2 spent the first year or so trying to kill DC3). At first it was easy to get stuff done because the youngest wasn't moving so could leave the two older ones to play and keep DC3 with me while I did stuff. Then he learnt to crawl and then walk and everything became much harder! I couldn't have with me, but couldn't leave him to play alone and couldn't take my eye of him for a second

DC4 is very hit and miss, days when I get loads done and he plays happily, days, like today, where he screams bloody murder (huge, terrible, can't breathe sobs) if I'm not physically touching him.

The parents priorities are also important. My employers very much want me to concentrate on the DC's not the house (this was talked about at the interview) and so I do the cooking (quite basic), laundry (but not all of it and no ironing) and any 'sorting', shopping as and when needed. I don't do the beds unless I get extra time, I don't hoover or clean anywhere (tidy up/wipe the side/sweep at the end of the day obviously, but no cleaning). If my employers wanted more household stuff done they could have it, but obviously the time for ironing would have to come from somewhere, something would have to be cut.

I work 4 long days, I do take an hour for lunch if the baby sleeps.

Some nannies don't like shared-care, do mention that in the ad so you get the right people applying. If you're wanting a lot of house stuff advertise as nanny/housekeeper.

IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 21:27:47

Thanks everyone. I'm just trying to judge what's realistic to expect. We have a cleaner and id happily keep her on if it meant nanny spent more time seeing to the kids and I got a break.

I'm amazed at what some of you fit into the day with little ones in tow. I suppose I'm not in the best frame of mind right now and totally exhausted so achieving so much seems impossible.

Thanks again. Do you think four long days is too much? Would it be more realistic to have five 'normal' days?

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 13-Dec-12 21:43:48

It depends what you mean by long days? Most live-out nannies work 10 hours, but some work 11 or 12. I work four long days and I much prefer it to five shorter days.

nannynick Thu 13-Dec-12 21:47:57

What is normal? What is long?
When I worked for Government, full-time was 36 hours a week. As a nanny, I work 40 hours and some nannies work 50, 60 hours.

Is cost a consideration? Would the hours be the same regardless of doing 4 or 5 days? Maybe just advertise it as being x number of hours a week and saying it could be done over 4 or 5 days depending on what the applicant wanted to do.

IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 22:09:12

Cost is a consideration but what's more important is getting the help that I need. I would certainly consider advertising the amount of hours and discussing with each individual.

As for the shared care element I do really, really need a break. The little two go to nursery part time at the moment but for various reasons this just doesn't work.

Thanks all x

RobinSucksInTheSnow Thu 13-Dec-12 22:19:49

Sorry for your loss.

I'd certainly take on this job, one of my current jobs is for a family with children aged just 5, just 2 and 8m. The only thing that would put me off is shared care, not something I enjoy doing. It really changes how I do my day, worrying about mum being there, of course the children prefer to go to mum rather than me so I worry about mum thinking the children don't like me! Also it's difficult for the children, who's in charge, why is sibling having more mummy time etc.

Also depends on the hours- to me, a 10 hour day is a short day. I'd much prefer to be doing a 12 hour day to bump up my wages! But in most professions 10 hours is a fairly long day.

Would you consider a mothers help?

I see you say they are non-sleepers. That would really impact duties I could do- I do ironing when the babies sleep, I'm able to get a wash on and sort the drying. I don't tend to take long for lunch, I'm usually too busy feeding the youngest to eat with the children so once they sleep that's when I grab lunch and that's my break! Duties also depend on your set-up, one family had washing machine in the basement with a dirty floor, no way of putting the baby down while I did the machine and I couldn't leave a crawler and close the door. They also had a separate laundry bin in each room so I had to go round the four floor house carrying a big baby with a toddler in tow to do a wash. Thinking about things like that, pre-sorting kid's laundry in coloured wash etc would mean more could be done.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 13-Dec-12 23:48:15

Sorry for your loss sad we met on bereaved threads earlier

A good nanny is more then capable of looking after 3 children and will be able to do most duties that nick said

Again most nannies would prefer to work 7-7 four days a week and have Friday off

What area are you in?

IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 23:59:47

I'm in Nottinghamshire.

Im glad most seem to think 4 10 to 12 hour days isn't out of the question. Regarding a mothers help. That just doesn't give me enough time to rest. Between the three of them I can be up all night. I need someone totally capable of being in charge while I sleep. Besides the sleepless nights grief can be god damn exhausting too.

Strix Fri 14-Dec-12 08:51:40

Oh gosh. What a tough year. I'd like to say well done to you for coping so well this far.

I have three kids, have empolyed several live in nannies along the way, and now have an au pair / childminder combination (mostly for the purpose of pratically eliminating my tax obligation). My children are 9, 7, and almost 2.

Some things I think you might want to think about:

Do you want a live in? If you have the space it sounds like you might like the flexibility (e.g. early starts) of a live-in employee. And, as you are on your own, you might even enjoy the adult conversation at the end of the day. My DH often works away and sometimes the nanny and I will hang out in the evening, watch a movie, talk about the kids, have a curry, etc. I am a social being and I like having another person around. But, some people prefer not to have another person living in their house.

Have you considered a combination of an au pair and keeping the daytime childcare (nursery, childminder, etc.)? This will save you a huge amount in tax obligations whilst still giving you quite a bit of flexibility on the hours. But, it will require you do a bit more on the job training. So if you want someone to hit the ground running without your involvement then this option is probably not for you.

Think about the hours, the duties, etc. and tailor your intial ad / interview qustions to targeting those candidates. For example I am a fuss pot on nutrition, so my questions ask quite a lot about what the potential nanny likes to eat. My 9 year old has a quite a strong will, so I also look for someone with a strong personality and some experience of discipline because otherwise 9 year DD is likely to walk all over them.

In your case, I think you might want someone with some experience of sleep problems. That is one problem I have never had, so can't really advise there. But, I would probably put something like "experience with difficult sleepers would be a plus" in the ad.

fraktion Fri 14-Dec-12 11:14:45

So sorry for your loss sad

You may find that a nanny can get more done than you, although that depends how organised and energetic you are. I find I get much less fine as a mother of one than I did as a nanny of 3. Part of it is, I suspect, down to how much energy I don't have.

The best thing to do is talk to candidates and ideally go for one with experience of larger families. That was they'll have some idea if what they're letting themselves in for.

IcanandIwill Fri 14-Dec-12 13:00:48

Thanks everyone. Plenty to think about. Really grateful for the input.

IcanandIwill Fri 14-Dec-12 14:00:12

Another question! I presume I'm right in thinking more children to look after equals a higher rate of pay?

nannynick Fri 14-Dec-12 14:36:43

No. Nannies don't really get paid on number of children otherwise as children start school pay would reduce.

Welovecouscous Fri 14-Dec-12 21:11:11

I am so sorry to hear about your DH sad

I had an ap from when DS was 8 months to give me help as I needed surgery. She was great with him, so if you are there as well an ap can he great for respite care. They say no sole charge under 2, but she could play with your little one while you have a bath.

MarshmallowCupcake Fri 14-Dec-12 21:57:50

So sorry for your loss x
I now do 4 longer days to have a 3 day weekend. I'm very happy to do that! Any good nanny would easily take on this job. Along with all nursery duties. The only thing I would explain to your future nanny, is that due to having to get up through the night to your kids while also dealing with your grief, you may go back to bed to catch up on some sleep.
I've worked for families where the mum doesn't work but went back to bed through the day and I've resented the position I've been put in. Made me question my job.
But they were completely different situations from you. I got my current position in Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire through Kids Matter, great agency if you're wanting a good agency!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Dec-12 10:53:14

'Another question! I presume I'm right in thinking more children to look after equals a higher rate of pay?'

Nannies are paid per family and not per child, so it's definitely not a case of 1 child equals £5ph, 2 equals £10 etc. However, I think a family with one child are able to pitch the lower end of the expected wage bracket, whilst families with more children will need to pay slightly more. This is certainly the case in London, I think just because a job looking after 5 small children is harder than a job looking after 1 small child.

Welovecouscous Sat 15-Dec-12 13:13:13

In case it helps you do financial calculations btw, we pay our ap £90 per week for 35 hours work. We paid our nanny £90 per day for the days I worked.

nannycaz Sat 15-Dec-12 14:13:50

hi icanandi will im near you and looking for a new nanny job feel free to pm me smile

MariaMandarin Sat 15-Dec-12 14:28:32

It is normal and acceptable for nannies to do the duties nannynick listed, but as someone else said it does really depend on your circumstances whether that is appropriate. Your children have been through a lot, they are not getting enough sleep at the moment, therefore I think it is likely they will need as much attention as possible from a nanny. It might be an idea to get the nanny to focus just on them, at least to start with. If things go smoothly and the nanny feels up to taking on more, then you could change things a bit down the line.

IcanandIwill Sun 16-Dec-12 21:20:08

Thanks all.

Welove I'll look into the aupair idea. I'd kind of written it off but I pay my cleaner nearly that much!

Maria I totally agree that the children need time and attention. They also need a mummy who isn't frazzled. I need to find the right balance.

Welovecouscous Sun 16-Dec-12 21:46:33

Ican we have had two older aps - one 25, one 22, both excellent. If you want to pm more to discuss please feel free. Plenty of ap experience on here as well. Mine does the cleaning btw as well as Childcare.

I found mine through Childcare international but other people on here will be able to recommend other agencies.

fraktion Sun 16-Dec-12 22:18:23

I'd be a bit wary about an AP in your situation. They often need quite a lot of handholding and tbh you may find having another person living with you stressful. Or you may find it helpful to have another person around if you get someone mature (so no teenage dramas!).

Also it would be difficult for someone living in to not feel obliged to help out a lot more than expected given your situation. I know I would go beyond what is generally expected on an au pair.

What kind of budget do you have for childcare help?

IcanandIwill Sun 16-Dec-12 22:21:00

I think you are right to be honest. I also think it would be too much to expect the little ones to accept another person living in our home. But maybe in the future.

Budget is not set in stone. Right now it's about deciding what we need and this is a need. I cannot cope for much longer.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 17-Dec-12 13:07:10

as others have said i dont think an ap will ease the burden as it will be another person for you to have to look after and i feel at the moment having someone come and live in your house for prob a year and then leave wouldnt help your children

you also need to feel confident as who will be having sole charge care of your children when either trying to rest/go shopping alone etc and again i feel that an ap wont be your best bet

maybe a nanny and prehaps a mothers help instead of your cleaner may work - she will do the cleaning but also some child care

or have you said to your cleaner if she would be happy to spend a few extra hours a week helping you with childcare

if you can afford a nanny even if you have a temp nanny for a few months to help get yourself sorted esp if you are not sure if you want to def go back to work yet

Strix Mon 17-Dec-12 16:37:10

I dont know what you financial sotuation is like but the cost difference between an au pair and a live out temp manny is enormous. Au pairs (and nannies) come in all shapes and sizes. I currently have an au pair whose reference was quite frankly so bad I very very VERY nearly pulled the offer.

Three months in and she's absolutely fantastic in so many ways. I cant imagine anybody more helpful. She is not extremely Experienced so sometimes asks a lot of questions. But tries really hard, is very industrious, and is really good with the kids, and is eager to learn. I love her!

So i disagree that au pair equals another child and nanny equals super help. Some nannies are great. But some are not. If cost is no object a live out nanny might suit you. But i would urge to consider if you might like help in unsociable hours, in which case i think live in has significant value.

Perhaps its not for you. But i believe having a live in makes my life soooooo much easier.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Dec-12 16:41:13

Oh my gosh, what a dreadful time you are having. Of course you need adult help.

How about an older nanny, maybe someone who has had children of her own, and really knows about running a home and isn't precious about it? I say that because younger nannies tend to want to do childcare first and foremost and household chores second, whereas your DCs, with only one parents, really need to maximise their time with you and therefore you probably ought to be trying to offload the burden of running a home more than offloading childcare. Does that make sense?

MNPdoesYULETIDE Tue 18-Dec-12 14:06:49


Firstly condolences, I am working with a family and the first time mum unexpectedly died when their DD was 5 weeks old, it has been a rough 5 weeks.

Have you considered a night nanny to help with the night waking focussing on 1 DC at a time?

Do ask your cleaner if she would like to help you and does she know of sensible help as she is familiar to you and the children.

You don't say why nursery isn't working for you, maybe that additional house and child help would make it more workable.

IcanandIwill Tue 18-Dec-12 21:15:31

Gosh MNP how awful. That must be so, so hard.

My two year old has never really settled at nursery, she struggles with separation anxiety (understandably) and I actually find it really hard going after a rough night to get everyone where they need to be. It seems to make life harder and more stressful, not easier. This is where the grief mixed in with exhaustion really bites me on the bum.

I've thought about a night nanny but the toddler particularly won't settle for anyone else. Not even my Mum. Mostly I think she wakes for reassurance and I get that she needs that. I may make a few phone calls though. Perhaps it is worth considering. God knows I'm so much more capable of facing the day after a reasonable amount of sleep!

MariaMandarin Tue 18-Dec-12 21:41:51

Given the separation anxiety I definitely think you would be better off getting household help leaving you more time to spend with the children. Your toddler will be very difficult to settle with a new nanny, and as you are there in the house I doubt you would feel able to listen to her being upset.

I took on a nanny role with 3 children and a very stressful family situation. I hate to say it but I left after 5 weeks. Their mother was at home as you will be, and the children just weren't happy to be with me and not her. There was terrible behaviour that I couldn't control and lots of crying. Anything really to get their mother, who was the person they needed at a difficult time.

IcanandIwill Wed 19-Dec-12 01:31:03

I know they need me but I am totally exhausted and can't give 100% of me day and night. Thats the problem. I'm giving everything I can already and often reach breaking point. What I need is a more long term solution.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 19-Dec-12 02:41:15

You really need to get some sleep or you will go insane

You can either get a night nanny in to help your children to get back into a routine and sleep therefore you can sleep (then again if you are anything like me I couldn't sleep more then 2/3hrs every night and didnt for at least 8mths) sad

Would go to bed shattered but couldn't settle - tbh I think I was lonely ad missed having someone in bed with me sad

Or you can get a daytime nanny so that you can rest which will then make the nights easier when coping with your dc

Sleep deprivation is the worst thing and can make you feel like a real zombie. Tbh looking back I don't know how I coped working 7-7 four days a week on so little sleep / but you do sad

I wish I was closer to you so I could help

Have you thought about counselling for either your children (winstons wish is meant to be very good) and also for yourself / it's good to talk to someone completely out of the picture

I have been in your shoes sad and the way I dealt with things had a lot to do with counselling

Also don't know if you have joined way / but all have local group and meet up and maybe this will also help your children by seeing that there are others who have sadly lost their dad as well

((Huge hugs))

IcanandIwill Wed 19-Dec-12 13:28:26

Thanks Blondes. I think daytime help is the answer. Nights are long and hard for so many reasons. I don't think I'd settle anyway. It's the overwhelming exhaustion of grief, a baby and a toddler.

What I find that people who haven't been there don't get is just how exhausting grief alone is. It's physically debilitating in its own way. That's something in going to have to be really clear with when recruiting.

I'm waiting on a new counsellor at the moment and the children do go to a lovely child bereavement centre. In all honesty that's what's held me together.

Thanks. I have a few meetings over the next few days that should help me make some more permanent decisions. I suppose it's going to be a tough job for someone to walk into our broken little family. It's about finding the right person x

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 19-Dec-12 15:15:07

youve hit the nail on the head - overwhelming exhaustion of grief that is so true, and tbh unless you have gone through what we both have then people dont really understand

how can they, when havnt been in our position sad

im glad you are both getting counselling - as i said that what held me together, esp in the early days-i saw someone from cruse for over a year

HoFlippinHo Wed 19-Dec-12 15:26:44

Would you think about a nanny for 6 months and then perhaps look at a mothers help? It sounds like you need to look after yourself mentally and physically and that's incredibly hard with 3 young children, especially non sleepers.

For the 6 months that you have the nanny, get out on your own while you can (every day) even if it's just for a walk or to meet friends or go to a gym or have a swim etc. In other words give yourself a break and do things for yourself. Or even have a nap for an hour? It would still be shared care but the nanny would do the vast majority while she/he was there.

Never underestimate the effect that lack of sleep can have on your ability to function or on your mental and physical well being.

Wishing you well.

newstartnewday Wed 06-Mar-13 10:02:36

IcanandIwill, I am in a different but in many ways similar situation. Just wondering whether you had put anything in place re nanny etc. and if it was working.

I'm so sorry for your loss. sad

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