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recruiting a nanny for a slightly difficult/unusual situation

(25 Posts)
kalidasa Sun 16-Feb-14 18:03:05

We are planning to switch from a childminder (whom we are generally happy with) to a nanny for our DS 14 months, probably starting after Easter-ish. It is a slightly unusual situation: we have made this decision because we are hoping to conceive a second child over the summer, but we have to be prepared for me to be very seriously ill throughout the pregnancy, as I was with DS (in and out of hospital for the first couple of months; entirely in bed until about 5 months; and then on crutches/in a wheelchair for the final months). Basically we have to prepare for me to be completely out of action re: both work and childcare for the duration, and we are very concerned both about the practicalities of this situation and - most of all - about the impact upon DS emotionally. I was so very ill (and so heavily medicated) that I was basically "not there" at all for the first four or five months which I realise is going to be frightening and difficult for him. Although it is very expensive, we think that a nanny who can focus just upon him and be a source of emotional security for him throughout this period is the best solution.

Obviously we want to be straightforward with nannies we interview about the situation, but any advice from experienced nannies/nanny employers about how best to present it would be v. welcome. I am pretty relaxed about diet, routine etc so our main focus is finding someone calm, flexible and sensitive enough to deal with this situation. Even though we are much more prepared than last time obviously there will still be difficult and quite chaotic moments.

Any thoughts or suggestions v. gratefully received!

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 16-Feb-14 18:06:15

Why do you think your second pregnancy will be the same as the first?

Bonsoir Sun 16-Feb-14 18:09:17

Crikey. You are very brave to contemplate a second pregnancy under those conditions but it sounds as if you are taking the necessary steps. A very experienced older nanny would probably be best.

PrincessTeacake Sun 16-Feb-14 18:11:42

I wouldn't turn down a job like this, most nannies should be ready to go with the flow in a job. My own employers have had numerous job changes, changes to the children's needs and schedules but it's the nature of the job, it evolves over time and a good nanny will be able to accommodate that.

In the interview just make it very clear what your circumstances and expectations are, how important it is for your child to have a sturdy adult to cater to his needs when times are tough and if you can, try to give as much prior notice as possible to each big change. I've dropped everything to be at a family's side in times of need before but if it happens constantly it's very draining, whereas even a week's worth of notice would give the nanny time to prepare.

If I wasn't already employed, I'd happily interview for this job (families with special needs are my specialty) I'm sure you'll have no problems.

kalidasa Sun 16-Feb-14 18:45:36

Thanks all. scarlett both the major problems I had are much more ikely to recur than not, and one is likely to be more severe/come on earlier in a second pregnancy. It's possible that the overall experience will be a bit better as we'll be prepared and I'll be able to take medication pre-emptively, but we have to be prepared for the same again, or even a bit worse. Obviously if it was a lot better that would be fantastic! But it is sadly unlikely.

princess yes, I'm hoping that the fact that we can at least explain what is likely to happen should help. And in other ways I'm hoping it is relatively attractive job - just one child, and pretty reasonable hours (we both work full time, but we wouldn't need a very early start or a late finish). Obviously we would be hoping to find a nanny to stay with us beyond the pregnancy too. I'll return to full-time work after a second baby and don't plan on a long maternity leave (probably about six months, but it depends a bit how long it takes to recover from the pregnancy, which took a while last time, both physically and mentally).

Thanks bonsoir! We both really want more than one, but unless the second pregnancy is radically better we'll definitely be drawing a line at two!

nannynick Sun 16-Feb-14 19:22:39

I would simply be honest about the situation, making it clear that your long term plan is to continue having a nanny through your pregnancy, maternity leave, and onwards.

What happens if you do not become pregnant? Can you sustain paying a nanny to provide 1:1 care for what may be years to come? Sure you could give notice to the nanny and the nanny could give notice to you, but I presume you would be TTC for some time if it does not happen before Easter.

kalidasa Sun 16-Feb-14 20:15:52

Yes this is a good point nanny. We are not going to start trying until we have a nanny in place, partly because I became so unwell so quickly (emergency admitted to hospital a few days after I missed my period), and partly because I have always conceived very quickly in the past (I have actually been pregnant three times, as I had two very early miscarriages before DS). In each of those three pregnancies I conceived the first month we tried. But of course that's not to say that would happen again.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 16-Feb-14 21:05:15

So basically you want to employ a nanny and ttc no 2 - but very likely to be at home /in bed once you fall preg

Tbh if you are def planning to go back to work then I don't see the prob

Often a nanny starts a job and then mb gets preg

Obv diff is for you that you are ill but shouldn't change the logistics of the job for the nanny

Sourpickles Mon 17-Feb-14 07:59:10

Wouldn't put me off at all. Good luck! x

kalidasa Mon 17-Feb-14 10:29:07

Thanks all. We are going to be straightforward about it because obviously we want candidates who are not put off by this situation, but good to hear that several of you wouldn't be. Yes, no question at all that I'll be going back to work, and probably fairly quickly again. I really love my job, and I found my appetite for maternity leave was not huge having been off work for nine months already when the baby arrived!

senua Mon 17-Feb-14 10:37:53

Is it worth, for the sake of clarity, emphasising that the nanny will only be looking after DC i.e. that you are not expecting any input from nanny to your needs.

kalidasa Mon 17-Feb-14 12:04:20

Yes good point senua. Obviously the nanny's duties are likely to be effected by the situation - e.g. bringing DS to visit me in hospital during the worst bit - but of course we are not expecting her to look after me!

oscarwilde Mon 17-Feb-14 13:56:29

I'm not a nanny but one of my first thoughts would be - if you are basically incapacitated and possibly hospitalised for long periods, "what would my working hours be and what support do you have so I could finish at a reasonable hour?" Potentially you need a candidate who is very flexible, prepared to do proxy parenting/live in at least a few nights a week etc etc. Are there other responsibilities you would wish her to take on if you are very ill, grocery shopping for your son, feeding and walking a pet etc?
Best of luck - it sounds like it will be a tough 9 months!

kalidasa Mon 17-Feb-14 14:05:39

Thanks oscar. DH is very supportive and although he is in a full time job he is actually on research leave at the moment and will be for another 18 months - partly why we want to ttc quite soon - so there shouldn't be a problem with the working hours: he will always be able to get home. My MIL is based in another country but will visit regularly and she has a flat five minutes from us which other people (e.g. my mother) will be able to use when she is not here. So there will be plenty of other sources of support for us I hope.

Good point about other responsibilities. We don't have a pet. We might need her to do bits of shopping I suppose. We have a weekly Ocado order at the moment which I manage. Obviously that can be done from bed, but if I am too ill even to do that DH will take it over. We might need her to let DH know what is needed for DS each week, and generally to keep an eye on supplies of nappies, wipes etc, and perhaps to do things like take DS to get new shoes or particular clothes.

I don't think we will need night time help, although DS's sleeping is not great. If it did get worse rather than better - which I suppose it might with all the stress of the situation - then that would be very difficult for DH who of course will also be working (at the moment we share the night-time wakings very equally). But that's the kind of thing e.g. my MIL could also help with - e.g. taking DS for a night at the weekends to give DH a break.

NomDeClavier Mon 17-Feb-14 15:01:23

I think you will be able to find someone but it will need to be someone mature and flexible and that will be costly. It is definitely worth seeking candidates with experience of your conditions or similar (reading between the lines HG and SPD sound likely or at least parallel in impact) so they understand the severity of it.

This is going to be a tough job. Your nanny will also need a support network - you need to consider how best to enable that. Also if you're at home are play dates going to be a possibility or are you going to need a quiet environment? If they can't have other adults over that would be a fairly big negative.

What about candidates with their own child they want to bring? What happens if your nanny gets pregnant and goes on ML? How are you going to manage being an employer, or will that fall to your DH? What is your plan for nanny's sickness or holiday?

surpriseme Mon 17-Feb-14 16:12:32

I actually wonder if staying with a childminder might be easier for your son if you get pregnant and then are ill. If you are at home, he is going to be too young to understand that the reason you're not with him is because you're ill

kalidasa Mon 17-Feb-14 16:18:00

Thanks nom. Yes, you are right, it was v. severe HG (I didn't stop being sick throughout the pregnancy) followed by v. severe SPD. It is a good point about the playdates, we'll think about that. But in general I have accepted that in our planning for this scenario we are putting DS's needs first, and obviously a nanny's needs will be a corollary of that. Obviously people were around last time - to visit me but also to visit and support DH - so I think playdates would be OK at least to some extent.

You are right about a nanny with a good support network, which is why I think we'll start by asking around with local nannies if they know of anyone. There are lots and lots of nannies round here (we are in NW London, zone 2) so I think it would be a good if it was someone who had worked locally before so had friends around to meet up with and so on.

Do you think it's best to go through an agency for this sort of situation or better to advertise ourselves and filter carefully? Our plan would be to explain the likely scenario early on in the process and to ask quite detailed questions at interview about how they would handle this sort of situation.

We are planning to find a nanny before we even begin to ttc, so even if it happened very fast (like last time) there should be at least a month for things to settle down before I am sent to A&E!

I think we would probably prefer not to have a nanny with their own child, though I realise that can be a good solution especially when you just have one yourself. We would ideally want the same person to stay on and look after both of ours though as soon as I returned to work.

Yes, DH would take over the employer stuff through the worst bit. We would offer standard sickness/maternity etc (haven't looked into this in detail yet). We have used an emergency nanny agency before when DS was ill (as he goes to a childminder) and we will also have my MIL as back-up. Thanks for all your comments, really helpful to think it through.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 17-Feb-14 16:22:17

thinking about it, it may make more sense to stay with cm, till you have baby and then look for a nanny (if you dont want cm to have both, or if she cant due to numbers etc)

ds may find it very hard that you are at home/in bed but cant play with him - plus also hard for nanny to keep saying mummy isnt very well/come and play with me, as obv you dont want to upset him more

Quinteszilla Mon 17-Feb-14 16:36:27

I had severe SPD with our second child (the reason why I could not go through a third pregnancy). I also spend the first 3 months of ds2s life in bed. Ds1 was 3 years and 3 months when Ds2 was born.

Ds1 went to nursery 3 times per week prior to Ds2s arrival. We continued this. But from ds1s perspective, mum was in bed with baby every day. I was not able to walk down stairs, so spent 3 months when the only time I was on the ground floor was when I had to go to doctors, or when I had chiropractors appointment.

He was playing up big time. On one occasion he took a spirit marker and scribbled all over our bedlinen while I was in the bath. He was enraged with jealousy.

I had a fantastic chiropractor, it could be worth starting to see one who specializes in maternity issues and spd while pregnant.

In your shoes I would continue with the childminder. Your ds will be out of the house, keep up his routine. But I wonder if you should have a mothers help instead? They are more hands on with cooking, cleaning, and assisting mum, in addition to some light baby care. Maybe a doula to assist around the birth?

kalidasa Mon 17-Feb-14 16:42:45

Thanks all. The problem is that we don't think we can manage the childminder practically if I am totally out of action. DH can't do both drop off and collection every day. Also it is stressful and complicated whenever DS is ill. We do have niggles with the CM too. She is good but I think DS will need more focused attention during this period. I understand all the points about the difficulties of being in the house though. The HG is the most serious problem, and compounded the SPD as I was so weak and unable to access many treatments for the SPD because still so ill. Will talk all this over with DH though

minipie Mon 17-Feb-14 17:03:52

Gosh you poor thing.

TBH I think this sounds like a pretty normal nanny job... For example, imagine a mother who had a job that required them to be abroad every week. Or imagine that the DH was a lone parent. Those scenarios would be similar, in the sense that all the nanny interaction and general house admin would fall to the DH. Those scenarios would be a perfectly reasonable job to recruit for.

I don't think it will be a problem for your DS either. As long as you start the arrangement well in advance (which it sounds like you are going to). Quintes talks of jealousy but that was once DC2 arrived, not before... Am I right in thinking you will be ok once DC2 is born? (hope so for your sake).

It will be best if you can have a nanny who likes getting out and about. Our nanny spends much of the day out - playgroups, play cafes, activities, park, library. She has a few playdates at ours but not loads. Maybe make this clear in the job spec. I agree a local nanny would be ideal as they'll know the local hangouts.

It could actually be an attractive position for a nanny if you are clear you want someone throughout your maternity leave and beyond. So many nannies are made redundant when no 2 arrives so for someone looking for more job security (who isn't?) this could be a real draw.

kalidasa Mon 17-Feb-14 21:56:08

Thanks minipie. Yes, you're right, someone who likes to be out a lot would be good. We are actually very close to loads of good venues for toddlers - Hampstead Heath (which has a sort of toddler club), London Zoo, several libraries, parks, loads of classes etc. Interesting about the attraction factor of wanting someone to stay on afterwards, I hadn't really thought about that but you're right of course, lots of women don't return full-time after no. 2.

I spoke to our CM about this today and she suggested one solution if we wanted to stay on with her would be a sort of 'mother's help' who could sort out DS and take him to the CM in the morning, help with general housekeeping during the day, and collect him in the afternoon. So we are still weighing up all the options really. This thread has been v. helpful though in adding to our ideas.

Re: the jealousy/difficulty for DS of me being in the house but not well - I do think this will be a problem, but I also think that realistically I am going to be ill for so long that he will get used to it. It does upset me to imagine him turning more towards a nanny for day-to-day reassurance but the main thing is that he has someone in that role if I can't provide it.

And yes, I should be a lot better after the birth. Because both the HG and the SPD were very bad, I wasn't completely better immediately. I felt sick off and on, and even threw up occasionally, for about six months, and my pelvis is only back to about 95% now, over a year later, but I was an awful lot better immediately. I did get a bad bout of PND though, probably mostly because the pregnancy was so bad, so again we are keen to make sure that we have a lot of support in place in case that happens again. Either a nanny or a mother's help who could help a little with the new baby even while I am still on maternity leave would probably be a good idea from that point of view.

Thanks everyone!

wadi1983 Mon 17-Feb-14 22:10:12

kalidasa... Where are you based? a nanny.....and would do this job for sure

kalidasa Tue 18-Feb-14 17:21:01

Hi wadi. We're in London NW3. I am going to put an ad up fairly soon on the childcare website I think so could pm you a link to that if you'd like?

wadi1983 Sun 23-Feb-14 10:42:38

that would be great smile

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