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Need help with childcare options from experienced Mums!

(8 Posts)
WhatTheWhat Wed 01-Jun-11 18:06:45

Hi, I have a 15m DD and am expecting twin boys in September.

After a long selection process, we employed a lovely live-out nanny who was meant to be with us for several years, giving continuity for our DD and help for me when the twins came along.

Having split up from her long-term partner, our nanny departed after only 4 months wih us and went back to live with her parents.

So - I now have no childcare arranged and am rather scared about the prospect of having 3 very little ones at home on my own.

We can't affored to do the agency thing again and, having gone for what we thought was the platinum option first time round, we feel we have had our fingers burnt with 'professional nannies'.

We're now looking local-only and considering nannies, au-pairs and nanny-housekeepers as options. Since I will be on maternity I am wondering whether I could make good use of general help, rather than fully qualified sole-charge type care. We have cleaners who will continue to do the bulk of the weekly hoovering etc.

What would you recommend? Are there other options? What shoud I do?

frakyouveryverymuch Wed 01-Jun-11 19:13:25

I'd say your DC are too young for a standard au pair to be useful as there will be a hefty amount of childcare, however household help will be invaluable!

Newly qualified nanny initially as a Mothers Help then graduating to SC nanny? Could have a July start to give your DD time to adjust.

I wouldn't discount nannies based on one unfortunate experience but someone settled in the area is likely to be a good bet - although your previous nanny probably seemed settled..

mranchovy Wed 01-Jun-11 20:05:13

Have you spoken to the agency? I would expect a hefty discount (at least 50%) on a replacement in this situation, otherwise you will never be using them again.

nannynick Wed 01-Jun-11 20:19:23

Whilst on maternity leave you may be able to cope with having another pair of hands around in the shape of a mothers help or au-pair type person. However if you will be going to work, then for children so young I feel you need someone with a bit more childcare experience - they need not be qualified just have the experience of having cared for children in the past, ideally of a similar age and older so they know what to expect as your children get older.

I wouldn't get hung up over the job title. It's more the duties that someone would be doing and their relevant experience that is going to determine what job they do. Someone can go from being a mothers help to being a nanny purely by staying in the job and changing duties from mostly household related tasks to mostly childcare related tasks.

Whilst you may well want a member of staff to stay with you for many years, that may just not happen as you found with your nanny. Circumstances change - don't know why your nanny felt the need to go back home but their circumstances changed such that they didn't feel happy staying in the job. It happens, it's a pain... but it could happen with anyone.

Do you actually need someone to care for all 3 children in say 6 months time... or is the job going to be shared care with you being around?

Karoleann Thu 02-Jun-11 15:17:51

I had my third child 5 weeks ago and have a live out nanny/mothers help 26 hours a week. She's asked to do child related household duties and basically help out and be an extra pair of hands. She's previously worked in a nursery, but has no nanny experience, so I could probably leave 1 or the 2 eldest with her and go out for a couple of hours. So far its worked out really well.
I just advertised on gumtree and had 4-5 people apply who were interviewed and all were suitable.

a family i night nannied for that had twins also had a 5yr and 11yr old and they employed a nanny (not overly experienced) and she worked with the mum being at home from when she was 30wks pregnant and was mainly the nanny for older children as it was school hols then when twins were born helped in day with them and school runs etc for older ones and then mum slowly went back to work with her having more and more sole charge and 2yrs on she is still there and works 40hrs a week.

so maybe someone who has childcare experience from working in a nursery looking for first nanny job and they work shared care with you with an element of sole charge (maybe you have time on own with older child and vice versa) and pay reflecting this so starting on a lower salary then rising when you return to work

WhatTheWhat Wed 22-Jun-11 12:52:36

Sorry about not replying for such a long time - still juggling work and not having childcare in place etc!

Thanks so much for your comments - really useful.

I am planning to get someone as soon as possible to help out whilst I am maternity leave (starting mat leave at the end of July) and I won't be going back to work until at least September next year, possibly longer.

It's a good idea to look at people without much experience. We went for a Norland nanny first time round (mainly because it was then going to be sole-charge whilst I was at work), so I did feel that if one of 'them' was prepared to drop everything the minute their circumstances changed, then it would be unlikely that we could expect anything else generally from future nannies...

It didn't occur to me to ask for a reduction in 'repeat fees' from the agency, however, I have to say that I would not seek out another Norland nanny anyway. I thought I was paying for the full-on professional approach, but it did feel like we were dropped without a backward glance - she'd already landed another job closer to her parents by the point of handing in her notice at the 4-month point, and this was after 3 weeks of on-and-off sick leave. Agency fees refundable up to 3 months. <sigh>

(Just to reassure the other nannies out there reading this, I am pretty such I was a nice MB - paid sick leave, never arriving late home from work, no imperious demands handed out, remembered her birthday on day 4 of her employment, even the occasional thank-you and compliment!).

fraktious Wed 22-Jun-11 13:33:58

Oh, someone from The Place We Do Not Name...

You want to search out posts by boffinmum. She had a pretty unprofessional nanny from there as well.

Not all nannies are like that!

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