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Have I got the wrong childcare solution? WWYD?

(15 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:04:19

I have a really lovely Mother's Help come in three mornings a week.

She is always professional, cheerful and does a GREAT job with the ironing, laundry, cooking food for DD etc. Really easy to have around the house and gets a lot done in the short time she's here. She's very self-motivated and never leaves a minute early, more often than not she's staying a few minutes extra because she's the sort of person who can't leave a job slightly unfinished.

Only issue is that I'd originally hired her hoping that she'd be able to do some childcare for DD (11m) - obv nothing sole charge (I work from home so am only a flight of stairs away) but I'd hoped she would be able to take DD eg to her music 'class' and a playgroup once a week. The swings around the corner in fine weather, that kind of thing.

This aspect of it isn't working out at all.

DD is high-maintenance at the best of times and has been unhappily cutting a tooth, it seems, for about the last 2 months. She is separation-sensitive at the best of times and screams every time I even try to hand her to my Mother's Help for about five seconds. I've persisted in trying to get her to take DD to the music class but the last few times DD has cried and they've left early.

From the other side, I think my MOther's Help (though a lovely girl and a terrific housekeeper) may not have the personality/skills to handle a (tricky) baby. They don't seem to have been able to have formed any kind of a bond at all - DD can be very tricky that way but she does eventually warm up to most people even if she's still unhappy about me not being there. She's quite quiet and low-key, and has the tendency to wince every now and again when DD is being shrieky - not blaming her at all, I used to loathe baby noise before I had one of my own, just wondering if she's just not happy with the idea of looking after a baby in reality.

In fairness I think she's losing a bit of confidence as it's not exactly easy or fun to have a baby cry every time you take her anywhere or hold her for a moment.

They were getting on OK before Xmas, I was even managing to leave them playing for 15 or 20 mins (a big deal with DD) without hysterics from DD. Teething isn't helping but I think now my MOther's Help is a bit weary and making less effort to engage with DD.

Sorry, this is long but should I reconsider this arrangement? I don't want to lose her as she is so sweet and really does a very good job with everything, it just feels as if it may be the wrong fit with DD. BUT I am only requiring her to take DD out/play with her for roughly 4-5 hours a week (!) so on that basis would you just let them get on with it and hope things improve, so that I don't lose her for the things she is really excellent at?

Jennyl131 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:10:20

Sounds like she's a great housekeeper / cleaner but maybe not cut out for childcare. Does she have previous experience of childcare?

Can you keep her on to do the housework and look into a cm for a few hours a week? You may find one with slightly older charges who are at nursery/ playgroup for a few hours, they may be willing to take your dc for walks etc during that time leaving you time to work.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:19:40

Oh, that's a good idea Jenny... thank you.
I'm anxious about the whole thing really as DD is SO difficult when I try to hand her to other people - she's honestly the happiest, sunniest baby when she's with me, DH or my mum, but she is hysterical whenever it's anyone else!
I think maybe I need to find an experienced CM who might be more confident about toughing out her hysterics and be able to soothe her more.
I suppose I'm also just hoping the separation anxiety gets better as she gets older, I don't want to force her to 'go' to people but I do need to work sad

emeraldgirl1 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:20:16

Oh and yes she has some childcare experience but with older children (8ish) and a toddler (who I think is much easier than my DD...)

Artandco Tue 11-Feb-14 14:30:54

I would just get her to take baby out regardless if that's what's she's hired for. The problem in the house is that baby knows you are there and is reluctant to not be with you.

Can she not take her for walk to park, go on swings and head home again each time so baby learns she will be gone say an hr but will return? Over time baby will get used to her and be happier to play with toys/ bake/ paint with her a few hours so you can get work done. IMO most babies get attachment issues around 9-12 months so she's prob going through a clingy phase

emeraldgirl1 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:34:05

Artandco - you're right, she wants to be with me if in house which is is why I thought good idea to send them out to a playgroup and a music group each once a week... I don't know why as it was going OK but now DD is crying throughout the class/group and they are coming home. I know how shrieky DD can get and I don't want to inflict that on anyone who feels they can't cope with it.
I agree though that trying to gradually build up the time would be good...

In all honesty now that I think about it though I wonder if my MOther's Help is just not all that happy with a baby in general as she's resisted my suggestions of swings and mainly seems happiest taking her for walks in the pushchair, which is OK I guess as it gets them out and about but not exactly what I'd hoped for.

Indith Tue 11-Feb-14 14:34:59

Children react differently to different childcare situations too. My toddler has been with a childminder for nearly a year. He has no problem strolling down the road, ringing her door bell, waltzing in and waving bye to me. However, if my mum (who he is well used to) comes to help me out with childcare and I try to leave him playing downstairs with her and go up to the study there is hell to pay and he will scream and scream.

Indith Tue 11-Feb-14 14:35:53

Sorry, that's no much help is it grin. I guess I would question if perhaps childcare away form your home might be better for you.

NomDeClavier Tue 11-Feb-14 14:52:38

It sounds like DD just doesn't have a bond with this girl. Walks etc are a start and it means she can keep moving/away from areas where the crying might get distressing. It will come in time but it can be disheartening for you and your Mother's Help until it does.

This is quite common for your DDs age, and an experienced nanny would know how to handle it with you around or out of home childcare removes the issue of you being available, but there are definite upsides to having someone in house. The question is really whether you think she will improve when DD is mor comfortable with her or whether you just aren't confident in her childcare abilities.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 11-Feb-14 15:13:19

Thanks Nom!

I'm torn really as I think she could be good if she had a bit more confidence, things were going well enough a couple of months back that I did think it would work but now I'm not sure.

Disheartening is exactly the right word, I feel bad for her and bad for DD as I can see it's just not gelling and I think DD is starting to attach some of her anxiety about me leaving her to this poor girl IYSWIM. I think DD is getting nervy about me leaving her with her every time I so much as need thirty seconds to answer the front door.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 12-Feb-14 00:43:04

I'd look for a nanny-share with a family who have a nanny, but their children are older and the nanny has free time (there are a lot of these about!). That way you get an experienced childcarer who will know how to deal with your DD's separation anxiety, you can choose whether they are in your home or not and they'll be able to offer more flexibility on hours than a childminder can.

It is easier for a child to bond with someone they see a lot than someone they see for 4 hours once a week, if you can afford it I'd think about, initially at least, putting her with the carer for a few hours each day to allow her to establish a bond. Once that's established and she's settled you could reduce down to 4 hours a week.

mrswishywashy Wed 12-Feb-14 03:41:07

It's sounds like mothers help needs to build confidence not the easiest with mum around and upset bb. If she's great in other respects I'd get bb used to her by starting with walks. It means bb is out of house so you can work but bb isn't overwhelmed by MH. After a few weeks it should get easier and then they can try the activities. Must be extremely hard on MH that bb is crying at these times. One thing to keep in mind is when bb is crying with her is how you react eg its much better to use side tracking and all get down on the floor together rather than you taking bb from MH. It's one of these things that time will be the best thing for all and I think it sounds like even with a more experienced childcarer its not going to be easy.

mrswishywashy Wed 12-Feb-14 03:46:36

I'd also make it clear to MH that its ok for bb to cry and tell her about some side tracking techniques eg a snack, bubbles etc. It's very hard as a childcarer having bbs cry while parents can hear. I'd also consider setting a length of time to leave bb eg 39 mins for a start before popping back in and found side tracking yourself and spend a few mins talking with MH so as not to draw attention to bbs upset.. That way bb sees MH is trustworthy from your perspective.

eeyore12 Wed 12-Feb-14 08:24:27

All great ideas, if you happen to be in Surrey by any chance I am a nanny with own child (have childcare for him if needed) who works after school but would be happy to help out a morning or two a week.

Hope it all works out.

ConfusedPixie Wed 12-Feb-14 12:15:47

Do you have a sling? My charge was the same age when I started and we had the same issues, Mum was at home and child just wanted her. For some reason she found being in a sling really comforting when out and about and I had quite a few short walks with her in it and she got used to me very quickly. She would only want Mummy if she hurt herself at home though even after 2 years and starting nursery triggered massive separation anxiety issues which made her upset being at home without her Mum there.

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