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Help me make a decision!

(13 Posts)
McLurkin Mon 19-Nov-12 11:08:37

You know sometimes you don't feel you have a preference one way or another but everyone says "oh it sounds like you dont want to do X" and you realise they were right? That's what I'm hoping the wisdom of mn can do for me - I feel completely stuck coming to a decision and would so appreciate any advice/help.

So, two dcs, returning to work 3 days a week in April when dd will be 2.9 and ds 1yo. Dd currently at nursery 12hrs a week - she likes it but I dont want to send them both there for full days; it is a bit chaotic, I think a smaller environment is better for the baby and the food's a bit crap. It would also make my commute about 1h20m.

There are no other nurseries close enough that take from 1yo so I've been looking at cms. Only two had vacancies.

A is a set up with 3 permanent staff (all related) in a big house well equipped for kids with small patio garden. they take kids to allotment, park etc., been cm-ing for decades, seem nice. also met a couple of mums with kids there who are happy with it. It all seems great on paper but I just feel a resistance to committing and not sure why - only thing putting me off was that I couldnt see it in action (visits done on weekend and parents asked not to stay at all for settling in) and just a general feeling of not warming to the staff (though they seemed very competent and helpful). I think this would suit dd better with more children as she is quite sociable and seems to really benefit from nursery environment.

B is a sole cm, only been cm-ing a year but worked extensively as nanny and nursery nurse. 1st floor flat so no outdoor space but trips out every day. met her with charge so got an idea of how she interacted with kids and v happy with that. seemed nice, and v accommodating about working out as long a settling in as I wanted in what ever format we both agreed on to suit me and dcs. But again sthg is holding me back from committing and not sure what.

I dont want to go back to work; am dreading it, and wonder if my inability to sort out childcare is a kind of subconscious resistance to the whole thing.

Or perhaps I am just being silly and precious and need a good slap around the chops and an admonition to just get on and choose one.

I think what I'd really like to do is wait and see if somethign comes up that I feel really happy with (as I did with dd's first nursery; we've since moved). But equally I don't want this hanging over me and ending up without any good options because I've dithered too long.

Thank you so much if you managed to read this far. I do realise I'm being completely pathetic about tjis but just don't seem able to snap myself out of it at the moment!

Ebb Mon 19-Nov-12 11:45:05

Would a nanny or a nanny share work financially? You might feel more confident about returning to work if your children are being cared for in their own home by someone you've chosen because you feel they're right for your family rather than someone you've chosen because you have no other options iyswim? An Ofsted registered nanny might not be that much more expensive than two full time places at a nursery/childminder especially if you can find someone to share the nanny with.

McLurkin Mon 19-Nov-12 11:53:02

I've been quoted £14-15ph for the cms so I think a nanny would be v comparable (we're in London), but I've been told that not many nannies would want a 3day job so I think I would need to find someone to share with who needed other two days. But that could work - thanks for the idea; I think you're right that I would feel more comfortable with this option if I found the right person I felt happy with. I think I should def look into this a bit more. Thanks.

MUM2BLESS Mon 19-Nov-12 12:56:20

HI McLurkin

I am a childminder of seven and mum of four. Been around children a long time.

Its not an easy decision full stop. You mentioned not wanting going back to work, do you not enjoy the work or is it because you have to leave the kids?

Your not being silly at all. I remember going back to work when my oldest was a baby. I knew and trusted the lady looking after him. I knew he was safe but I did miss him to start with. Eventually it got easier.

You still have a bit of time to decide what you would like to do.

The cm seems like a good option. Take some time to look around and enquire about more cms.

If you decide on using a cm, you will just know when you have met the right one.

Last but not least, STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP, you are a great mum who is looking for some one special to look after your little gems. There are good cms who will care for your little ones with tlc. Remember cm are not taking your place as mum but working with you. All the best in looking smile

calmlychaotic Mon 19-Nov-12 13:38:11

if your dcs are clingy and need lots of one to one i would go with cm b, and also if you need flexibility at all as usually smaller set up can be more accommodating. if they are confident and like it busy with lots of other kids but probably less one to one i would go with a, that's just what i would do anyway, my ds was very quiet hid in the corner at nursery so i put him with a cm who only minded 2 and he thrived. hard decision, i really struggled deciding what to do. nanny share sounds like worth looking into

Ebb Mon 19-Nov-12 13:51:00

It's an employers market at the moment when it comes to nannies so I think it'd be very easy to find someone happy to do 3 days a week. The average wage seems to be £10nett an hour. This is useful to work out costs and employers N.I. Obviously you'd have to factor in a kitty and food/electricity bills. If you did go down the nanny route, make sure you agree a gross wage so you don't end up paying extra tax if they already have a two day job. There is also the added bonus of a nanny doing nursery duties. smile

If you go down the childminder route, I'd also opt for childminder B. I think the fact that the first childminder doesn't allow you to stay for any settling in periods is weird. I think it's easier to settle a child without their parents around but you have to be sympathetic to the fact that the parents need to feel reassured too.

DIYapprentice Mon 19-Nov-12 17:12:55

I would NEVER leave my DC with someone who didn't allow me to stay for settling. All the CMs I know do it, all the nurseries I know do it. I find it incredible that they would have such a rule!

But... I would also hesitate to use a CM in a flat. I like my DC to have outdoor space, but then I moved to a more rural location for that very reason. If I lived in a city location then that flats would come with the territory I guess. But, if you're happy with the flat, go with CM B. Our first CM was a new one, and she was fabulous. Actually our 2nd CM is a new one too come to think of it! Also, if you didn't 'warm' to the carers in the other group, then that would also strike them off the list for me.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 19-Nov-12 18:16:25

def weird no settling in period

wouldnt use a cm with no garden

so no to a and b

as ebb said i think a nanny would be your best bet, esp cost wise plus i think you would be happier in having a say to what happens to your dc unlike a cm

though also dont micro manage your nanny grin

also the fact you dont want to go back to work - do you have to? can you afford to take more time off?

lechatnoir Mon 19-Nov-12 18:24:19

The the cost of a cm for your 2 DC I would also suggest a nanny share & being in London you should be able to find someone quite readily. However, if you do decide to pursue the CM route, I'd say neither a nor b sound quite right and keep looking. You've got a good few months before it gets urgent and you often find people make changes after the NY so I'd revisit all the ones you called plus look on (place an ad) use your council's CIS list of registered childminders etc - they don't all advertise in the same place and it can often take a good while to actually track them all down!

Turniphead1 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:30:11

I would second a nanny. Also because in two years you will have one in school and one not, so having a nanny is much more flexible for drop offs, pick ups, having play dates and so on. The help with child related household chores is invaluable I think. As is not having to get two up dressed and out before you go to work.
I know loads of nannies that do 3 days. Either with another family remaining two days or agency work.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 19-Nov-12 18:32:25

i love working 3 days grin

McLurkin Mon 19-Nov-12 20:05:36

Oh my goodness, what a lovely and helpful bunch you are. this is so helpful, thank you.

MUM2BLESS - Thank you so much for this - I've just got the impression from everyone I've talked to that they can't understand why I am struggling to make a decision, and I'd kind of forgotten to trust myself on this. I think you're right that I will know the right person when I find them. And I do need to stop beating myself up about not having sorted it yet, and just get on with calmly sticking to my guns and finding something I am happy with.

Re work - it is the job itself I am dreading, not just leaving the dcs. With childcare costs I will lose money in the short-term going back, so could afford not to go back in a sense, but DP's job is at risk, so seems sensible to hang on to mine!

calmlychaotic - yeah, good question. I think DD likes being around other kids; always seems to be in a great mood after nursery. But she can be shy. And with DS only 7mo at the moment I really have no idea how he will be. I think if it were short days I would be happy with a nursery-style setting, but over long days they get so tired and need downtime and cuddles and quiet sometimes, so I'd probably be more comfortable with a more one-on-one environment on reflection.

Thanks for the link Ebb - really useful!

DIYapprentice and Blondeshavemorefun - you hit on my two sticking points. Good to know it's not just me who finds them problematic! I get that the settling in is probably better for the kids without parents involved, but I felt so reassured by the settling in periods at both nurseries DD has been to - where they take great care to make sure the child is settled and you are comfortable before leaving them there - that I really struggle with the idea of just leaving them. And outside space is pretty important to me too. not a dealbreaker if everything else is good, but it's a shame not to have it.

lechatnoir - haven't looked on; thanks for that. To be honest, that is probably partly why this has been a bit stressful so far, because I've been so haphazard about the whole process - I saw a cm's advert in their window, thought 'great location, must check it out', then hastily tried to check out other options whilst feeling like I need to get back to them asap with a yay or nay. so it's not been a very thorough and organised search.

Turniphead - good points. Yes, some extra chores and less stressful mornings are great benefits. I was doing a 40min train commute with DD to her nursery, followed by 30min commute into work at one point (as we moved house) and was not fun! Good to know that there are 3day a week nannies too.

All in all, feeling much better and with a bit of a plan! Thanks again! (and apologies for this bloody novel-length post...)

MUM2BLESS Tue 20-Nov-12 14:18:05

You have so many decisions to make.

You know your kids the best. Will they be suited to a nursery or a cm?

A cm with no garden can still take the kids to a near by park etc.

All the best in making up your mind. You know we are here to help you when you need some advice (we will try !!) smile

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