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Not the job for me? Advice from current or ex CMs please...

(15 Posts)
ReluctantNamechanger Tue 13-Nov-12 12:24:36

I have namechanged for obvious reasons.

I've been childminding for over two months now. I have two mindees (Early Years siblings) plus my own Early Years age child.

I can honestly say that, apart from the children themselves who are lovely, I am not happy with my new situation at all. I could go into the many reasons why, but I would be here all day, let's just say it's down to disruption to family life, beaurocracy and hours spent outside of minding hours still working, preparing etc. Plus I feel like it is all so clinical whereas I have always worked with a much more spontaneous approach to childcare.

I have battled and battled with myself but I cannot see myself doing this long-term. I knew what would be involved but it's far harder and more intrusive than I originally anticipated.

I sound like such a miserable git but I am so close to admitting my failure and calling it a day - but thinking of how much I would let down the parents. Has anyone else been in this position? What did you do? Did you carry on and just get used to it or did you quit?

LesbianMummy1 Tue 13-Nov-12 12:54:01

Are you doing too much paperwork lots of childminders produce far more paperwork than they need. Attendance register, first aid book and record of firedrills etc is adequate.

Each child needs a contract, child record form,, permission forms and a learning journey which can be few photos and post it's a month with some next steps added to plan for a child.

You need to find a work/family balance.

HSMM Tue 13-Nov-12 14:00:10

It can be very intrusive, but should definitely not be clinical. Throwing autumn leaves, putting on puppet shows, dressing up, etc are all covered under EYFS.

Italiana Tue 13-Nov-12 14:41:32

Take comfort that many c/ms at present are feeling very low with all the changes and lack of support from those representing us...I hear regularly of those giving up
Try to hold on and think positive ...Christmas is coming and that should lift

Try to reflect on what is actually not manageable, set goals and changes to your praciice...write it down and sleep on it and then find someone to talk too
One thing we lack is also good peer support but there will be someone out there with good listening skills

MUM2BLESS Tue 13-Nov-12 14:43:44

Sorry to hear you feel like that. At sometime of the other I think quite a lot of cms feel like that. Been cm for over four years. Got 4 kids of my own and cm 7 kids.

What hours are you doing? Is it right for your family? I use to do 07.00 starts, which I really hated. I do 07.30 now.

When you first start cm its very easy to take on too much and feel over whelmed.

I will watch this space to see how I can cut down on what I am doing at present. We all are not in the same situation. We can learn from each other. I am sure you will get some great advice from the m n members.

CM has some benefits - flexible hours, own boss, undertake some awesome things with the kids, be at home for your own kids, very rewarding to see the kids develop plus lots more

Challenges - paper work (some do more than others) I think I need to cut down on what I am doing. I am quite a thorough person but would love to do only what is necessary. Can intrude into your family life (must ensure you stay balanced) some cm have too many kids, or work too many hours.

What will you do instead?

ZuleikaD Tue 13-Nov-12 15:47:28

I don't like it enormously, I must admit, but my balance is different from yours - I have two of my own and only one mindee. I do it solely so that I can be at home with my DCs in their early years and when they're older and at school I plan to go back to a proper job (how easy that'll be God only knows!). It only works for me because of what I want to do now - I wouldn't have chosen this as a career.

Runoutofideas Tue 13-Nov-12 16:11:36

I have been doing it for 6 months and it works for me, mainly I think because I was adamant I only wanted to work part-time and term time only and I have only taken on children who fit with my preferred hours. I appreciate I have been fortunate in being able to do that, both financially and practically, but I think if I was working full time and only taking 4 weeks holiday, I would feel as you do, as it is pretty relentless.

Have a good look at all the paperwork you are doing - is it all strictly necessary? I would reduce it down to the bare minimum and see if that makes you feel better about everything. I do bits of planning and work on the learning diaries when the children are asleep, as I am strict with myself about not working in hours I am not being paid for. I find I can get enough done in this time. I have just had my Ofsted inspection and she was happy with everything and gave me a "good" rating.

If I were you I would look at which bits are causing you the most grief and see what you can do to avoid it, rather than just packing it all in completely.

Runoutofideas Tue 13-Nov-12 16:15:33

Another thing I have always done, which to me feels less intrusive on my home and family life, is to get parents to drop off and pick off at the front door. There is no real reason for them to come beyond the hall so I don't feel like my house is open for whoever wants to have a wander around.

ZuleikaD Tue 13-Nov-12 16:40:19

Golly yes, I don't let parents in the house!

MUM2BLESS Tue 13-Nov-12 20:10:49

I have a down stairs toilet so my upstairs is private. I try to make the children welcome into my home.

ZuleikaD "plan to go back to a proper job" I see what I am doing as a proper job. I must admit that it has not always been easy, but it is a proper job to me. Its one of the most rewarding, interesting, flexible, challenging and lots of other things.

Runoutofideas please tell me more about your Ofsted visit. Mine was due last November.

Sorry ReluctantNamechanger excuse me for taking over. So many things have been mentioned in this talk.

I find that attending cm group, networks, and chatting to other cm helps. Mumsnet cm's have been brill for giving help and advice.

Why not give it until the ending of the year and see how you feel.

LingDiLong Tue 13-Nov-12 21:27:47

I've been childminding since February and love it so far. It is bloody hard work though. I have 3 kids of my own and have 5 children on my books. I'm in Wales and don't find it particularly beaurocratic or clinical...we don't have to produce reams of paperwork; no learning journals or anything like that. I probably put too much pressure on myself at first though and did some complicated activities that seemed to involve hours of planning and preparation. I'm chilling out more now and am happy to just have a day where we paint/do playdoh/go to the park without there being a grand plan or a theme.

I think you've had some good advice here - I'd try cutting the paperwork/beaurocracy and seeing if you can do something about the intrusion into family life before you quit. Again I don't find it too intrusive, am happy to have parents come in for a chat while they collect their kids; would rather that actually as it's a good way to pass on information.

ReluctantNamechanger Tue 13-Nov-12 22:27:23

That's all really helpful, thank you. I'm just feeling swamped with diaries, registers, fridge temperatures, plans, menus, invoices, photos, observations, next steps etc etc. I bought into Babys Days thinking it would make it easier but I don't want to be constantly logging into the PC every night.

I'll hang on until NY and see how I get on.

I'm off to namechange back now.

HSMM Tue 13-Nov-12 22:40:45

I do my diaries in a duplicate book, my registers in an A4 diary, my fridge temperatures with my eyes and a fridge thermometer, my plans in a way which links directly to my assessments/ EYFS, no menus at all - just record food in the sane diary as my register, my invoices on excel and sent in emails, my photos on my phone uploaded to my laptop, my observations on my diary notes/scribbled on plans, my next steps are my plans etc etc. Keep it simple ... honestly.

calmlychaotic Wed 14-Nov-12 00:20:52

I felt the same 2 months in but i love it now. If you had started any new job you wouldn't expect to feel all settled and in control after 2 months you would still be finding your way and learning off others, this is just the same. I love the flexibility. Nice day jump on the train and take then all for a picnic, not many jobs let you do that! Agree with what others have said about paperwork, keep it simple. Try and make friends with other childminders, see if someone will let you look at their paperwork and see if there is anything you can drop or simplify.
Hope it works out and you start to enjoy it more.

ZuleikaD Wed 14-Nov-12 09:13:55

MUM2BLESS you're quite right, childminding is a proper job. I expressed myself badly and I apologise.

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