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Annoyed at Friend re. slander of childminder

(65 Posts)
Keychain Wed 09-Jan-13 09:46:13

My DS adores his CM and so do my DH and I. she is warm, encouraging, caring, nurturing, etc. Our DS has come on leaps and bounds and has been with her for a year and half, and she will have DS2 once my maternity leave is up.
Friend asked about her and I recommended CM for her DD. Problem is all the things i love about CM, (i.e. she does lots of messy play, interactive things, they spend a lot of time outdoors, visit farms/ woods/ beach etc) my friend hates and after placing her child with CM for a few months removed her complaining she always came home with dirty clothes in her bag (CM changes the childrens clothes if they get dirty etc) and she didn't like the activities CM did. I thought fair enough, horses for courses and it was her choice.
However I have now started to get really angry that she constantly slags my CM off and my decision to place DCs there. She says CM doesn't keep them safe and does activities children shouldn't do. she doesn't understand why I place my DC there and doesn't think I should. She does this very publicly, i.e. baby/toddler groups etc, and I find myself getting very defensive of my decisions and CM.
I know daily where my son goes and what he does, I am given a plan of the day every morning and an update every evening when DS comes home with a beaming smiling chattering about what wonderful new experiences he has had. CM is rated as outstanding with Ofsted and I don't have a bad word to say about her. CM has had DC since he was 6mths and never done anything which I consider as not appropriate. I feel friend is now exaggerating things to justify her decision to move her DC and unfairly criticising CM and me, as well as being slanderous of CM. CM doesn't deserve this and I feel responsible. I don't think CM has heard what friend has been saying as she has never raised it with me, but she is also professional and not a gossip so I don't know if she would anyway.
How can I stop this without it being to confrontational, as I hate confrontation!

complexnumber Wed 09-Jan-13 10:39:13

We had a similar great for one family not so great for us experience. A nanny adored by my colleague's family dumped my 2 year old on her cousin so she could go and do an extra job feeding someone's pets. My 2 year old was so upset she ran after the nanny, got lost and ended up walking home through a building site by herself. The nanny had never lost my colleague's kids but managed to lose mine the first week. I am still angry all these years later.

Like salad I believe favourites could be in play and like realcoalfire a good childminder/nanny will differentiate rather than adopt a one size fits all approach.

TryDrawing Wed 09-Jan-13 10:47:27

Your friend is out of order but probably feels bad for putting her son in childcare she considered to be unsuitable for him. I suspect she's trying to make herself feel better about this by blaming your CM.

My dd was at a nursery where she was not well looked after and I withdrew her. However, many of my friends have children at this nursery. They are happy with it and I think that's up to them. I've told them my experience, but I don't harp on about it like some kind of unbearable broken record. She's now with a CM who sounds just like yours and is thriving.

I think I'd be tempted to have a couple of phrases lined up to shut your friend's comments down and move the conversation on to something else. Something friendly but dismissive like

"I'm really pleased that you're now as happy with your childcare as I am with mine. Anyone decided on primary schools yet?"

"Gosh, you really do have a bee in your bonnet about this, don't you? <tinkly laugh> Did you see that new cafe's opened at..."

OwlLady Wed 09-Jan-13 10:47:36

I would just not engage in any discussion with her about it tbh.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 10:47:39

and I don't think mine was kept safe either

on one of his days it was just him and two 3YOs who were quite naughty when togeher (each were okay with DS when alone if the other wasn't attending). I know they picked on my (then not even walking age) DS but do not know to what extent this was allowed to get to sad

anyway, she didn't keep him safe IMO, friend's DS may never ever have been picked on/pinched/had hard bricks shoved down his nappy etc, but mine did. HER child may have been safe, but that CM IMO didn't keep all her mindees safe. And what can I do when I do not know the extent it got to? every incident on it's own seems innocent enough, its more the accumulation of incidence combined with my DS being unhappy plus her attitude which isn't something that you can make a good solid complaint about.

shesariver Wed 09-Jan-13 10:53:42

I would tell the CM and see what she wants to do about it, my DH is a CM and his business locally is very much based on recomendations, so his reputation is paramount. Something like this could affect her business. I would be interested in her specific complaints about safety - does she actually say what she believes is unsafe or is she a bit vague?

ilovesalad while I can see you are still upset I dont think you can criticise a CM for doing nursery and school drops offs and picks ups - this is part of a CMs job and will not take all day.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 10:58:26

shesariver the pick ups and drop offs were the only time my DS ever left her home

she advertised (and told me when I went to check her out) that she took mindees to the park, library, playgroups, countryside

My DS was there 2 days a week and NEVER did any of those outings, ever! The CM took a lot of short contracts on my days, so she was either out doing drop offs/pick ups or waiting in for a drop off/pick up

My friend's DS did do enjoyable outings, but mine didn't once get taken to anything meaningful. Not once. Considering that he was there for 2 days, and she advertised that she did outings and activites, I think I'm pretty justified in criticising her for filling two whole days in such a way that she could not leave either her car or home because of the drop offs/pick ups/short sessions she had taken on!

Keychain Wed 09-Jan-13 11:08:30

I know I am bias but I really don't feel favourites are in play. My neice and nephew use the same CM and another friends DC goes there, everyone else happy. Her DC was there when I would pick up my DS and I always observed her as happy and engaged. CM adjusts provision to suit all children and ensures that all children get to experience new things so will plan her week around teh children.
Friend has never been specific about 'safety' concerns, just saying how can a CM keep 3 children safe on a trip out to the beach for example. there were no incidents with friends DC. Her main issue was her child getting messy and conversely to some of the posts above the CM takes them out every day rain or shine.
I think she has every right to decide what is right for her child and what isn't. I don't think she has any right to criticise my choices or slag off a CM without providing either specific reasons or following a course of action. If she was unhappy and had genuine concerns go to Ofsted, but don't drag a CM's name through the mud and say they are unsafe (which is a serious allegation) without having something to back it up with. CM is honestly the nicest, sweetest person imaginable. I am an overprotective parent - I know that - I will only leave DC with GP's or CM, I trust no-one else.

harryhausen Wed 09-Jan-13 11:09:42

OP, I can really understand why this is upsetting for you. My dcs (now aged 8 and 5) have been going to an outstanding ofsted rated CM since they were around 8 months old. She used to do all the things with them that you describe your CM doing. She still has them after school for a few hours each week and takes them on trips in the holidays with a small gang of children all ages. It's so nice to be sat at my text and get a photo texted to me of them having fun at the beach.

When they were little I was the only one of my friends to choose a cm. everyone else chose a nursery. For a long while everytime me and my mums group got together they would slag off CM's in general, saying they'd seen this one, that one etc at a playgroup who were being awful to their mindees. I wouldn't say anything but I felt like it was a slight on me, my choices and my CM who I considered to be wonderful (and still do). It IS emotive.

Your friend has every 'right' to have had a different experience of your CM, but I would feel very uncomfortable with her slagging her off to me or in my circle. I think you should say simply "I'm sorry you don't like my CM. I disagree and don't feel the same. I feel really uncomfortable with you slagging her off to me. If you want to complain, would you mind talking to someone else not me? Perhaps discuss with OFSTED if you're this upset?". If she has any manners she will shut up - to you.

Ilovesalad, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience of a CM. I can feel your upset through your post. However, perhaps your perception of any CM is slightly coloured because of it. Only natural, but there ARE some great CM's out theresmile

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:13:00

"this is part of a CMs job"

they don't HAVE to take unlimited amt of drops/pick ups, If over a certain amt means that you cannot do any outside activity time on that day then they can say "no sorry I don't have time on that day for any more pick ups" - it wasn't just school open/close time, she did pick up from homes. She picked my friend's DS up from home in the mornings which was one of the reasons she loved her (so she could get ready for work and have a calm drive to work rather than having to drop off), but all the home pick ups and drops offs, on top of schools/preschools, plus the drops/pick ups at her flat were a major problem for me and she didn't disclose how the days I'd requested would be filled when I first visited her!

Keychain Wed 09-Jan-13 11:15:23

Ilovesalad I am sorry for your expereince really I am, but from you are saying I do think my CM is different.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:17:27

"but there ARE some great CM's out there"

of course there are smile
What I'm really trying to say is that that CM was a great CM for my friend's DS, on the days he went he was happy and taken on meaningful outings and there was a good relationship between CM and parents. And ABSOLUTELY SHOCKINGLY AWFUL with my DS

because the op thinks her friend is exaggerating and enjoying the drama, I'm trying (and probably failing cause I'm still a bit angry) is that maybe she's not! the OPs children's experience there is no gauge of another DC's experience.

I would "warn" anyone considering that CM about my DS's experience. I'm not stopping my friend from enthusiastically recommending her, and I don't think she has any right to stop me from sharing mine either IYKWIM

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:18:41

"but from you are saying I do think my CM is different"

I'm trying to say that mine was different for my friend and for me.

you haven't answered the question I asked, were your DCs attending for the same sessions?

Keychain Wed 09-Jan-13 11:22:35

sorry Ilovesalad, yes they were attending two of the same days out of the three my DS goes.

realcoalfire Wed 09-Jan-13 11:24:52

I Love salad- Dis you read my post! you are saying the same as me! The CM should have made adjustments to suit that child's needs.

Themobstersknife Wed 09-Jan-13 11:26:24

Salad - I really feel for what you have been through, but I am not sure this is helping OP. It sounds like a different scenario entirely. Please don't start sowing seeds of doubt in OP's mind when there would seem to be no evidence for that doubt.

OP - I do sympathise. I have a friend who criticsises my childcare decisions. She does this by stealth so very hard to call her on it, but I know she is having a dig. I think if your friend is being very vocal in your presence, you should be too. Just say something like - everyone's requirements for childcare are different. I think fresh air, forest trips, messy play are really important but I know other mums who would rather their kids were immaculate, not something that is important to me... Etc etc. When she talks about safety, I would say - oh have you reported her to Ofsted? I would be really interested to see your complaint?

But don't let her get to you. We have to make the choices we feel are right for our kids, and parents really shouldn't be criticising eachother, unless there is cause for a real concern, which it doesn't sound like there is here.

realcoalfire Wed 09-Jan-13 11:29:23

Have you asked her to elaborate on the ways her DC was not kept safe.i would certainly want to know, not just for the CMs sake but for my own Dcs sake!

Keychain Wed 09-Jan-13 11:39:18

Yes realcoal I have, she has only ever said that 'how can one CM keep 3 children safe at once', which to me is silly!

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:42:08

" but I am not sure this is helping OP. It sounds like a different scenario entirely."

well it depends on whether the OP wants to move along with the friendship doesn't it?, because if she's deciding that the differing opinions are down to exaggeration and enjoying drama then that is going to be a stumbling point in staying friends, whereas if she sees that two people can genuinely experience the same childcare setting in a very different way, and both are being honest about their very different experiences, then surely it'ld be easier to draw a line under it (but it would take the OP confronting the issue and making it clear to the friend that she doesn't wanna hear it personally)

OP this issue is going to re-occur! just wait till you start applying for schools, people feel very strongly about it and friends of yours will be shocked at your choices and feel very strongly perhaps that your choice of school is horrendous!.. then maybe if you use the afterschool club there'll be people who wouldn't touch that with a barge pole... this issues re-occurs with parent friends throught your kid's childhood with varying degrees and sometimes you'll hate a club or school someone else loves and vica verca. People really do see these things differently. Find a way to confront this that draws a line under it or get wound up by similar disagreements for the next 16ish years!

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:45:33

"Yes realcoal I have, she has only ever said that 'how can one CM keep 3 children safe at once', which to me is silly!"

its all in the context
in general of course a CM can keep 3 children safe
but in a different sentance, "how can one CM keep 3 children safe while doing X or at Y" then it's different?

for example, you can safely mind 3 kids, course you can, some families have 3+ children! but according to most swimming pools, one adult cannot keep 3 children safe in the pool, so there are activities which need a higher ratio

it really depends on the context

realcoalfire Wed 09-Jan-13 11:54:59

' according to most swimming pools, one adult cannot keep 3 children safe in the pool,'
but one spotty teenaged swimming instructor , can be trusted with 10 non swimming 3 yr olds.But that's for a whole other debate!

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:58:26

yeah I know hmm personally on the pool issue I think they should take ages into account, a mum with 3 spread out, where the oldest two can swim well, should be allowed a 1:3.. but that's a bit of a derail...

you can't take 3 littlies on a merry go round at once with one adult, that might be a better example.

the 3:1 thing depends on age mix and particular activity, it's a stupid thing to say in general, but in relation to a particular activity and age mix it might be true?

shesariver Wed 09-Jan-13 12:02:50

salad Im sorry you are still so upset, and it looked like you were annoyed because your child was in a car doing other pick ups, which is part of a cms job. It might have seemed a lot to you but she would only be allowed a certain amount of children at any 1 time. I hope you were able to speak to her about your worries at the time. My DH balances trips out against home based activiites, depending on different factors.

RingoBaa Wed 09-Jan-13 12:11:36

I think you should say what sugarice wrote.

I think salad should start her own thread.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Wed 09-Jan-13 12:12:32

shesariver I don't think you read my last post
yes she was only allowed a certain amt at a time, but she took did a lot of short sessions, like 2 hours at a time, and did home pick ups and drop offs too so it WAS all day in a car or waiting in for a parent.

you really think a CM is "just doing her job" if for 2 of her working days she NEVER does outings. Was it okay that I went and said "do you have availablity on mondays and wednesdays and what outings do you do" and she says "yes, and I take mindees to the park, library, playgroups, countryside" when she knows full well that on mondays and wednesdays she will never be doing any outings at all?

you do not have to take on more pick ups than you can manage alongside other activites. She did home picks and drops too which she could have said no to without loosing the mindee. My friend who used her didn't NEED a home pick up and would have still used her without it, but she liked getting her DS picked up in the morning so she had a bit of childfree time at home to get herself ready for work IYKWIM

AmberLeaf Wed 09-Jan-13 12:31:51

OP YANBU at all.

ILoveSalad, I think you are projecting a bit too much on this thread!

I can see its still bothering you, maybe you should start a thread to rant on?

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