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Please can I hear some views on this CM

(30 Posts)
meanspiritednamechange Fri 28-Nov-14 16:29:14

Name changed in case I am just being a total bitch (might be, I am stressed to buggery with a million things apart from this)

My CM, who is self employed and so I suppose can do as she likes, has just announced that for perfectly legimate family reasons (funerals expensive flights etc) she will be off work for 4 weeks from 15 Dec. This is such short notice! It leaves me and DP really stuffed for various reasons.

I feel like I am always chasing her about this, that and the other. I knew she wanted to go away over xmas and started asking her about dates on 10 November. Only because I chased again today have I found this out.

Work is just through the roof and I have no idea what to do. I honestly don't think she grasps that some people don't have a choice about how much work they have and when they can do it.

I now have to cancel other commitments too - basically my one fun thing this xmas was a concert I now can't do. ok that is just whining but my gay childless choir master has no sympathy with child stuff and I am definitely on my 3rd strike now and I doubt I will be asked to sing in anything ever again. It's a good choir and the only music I have left.

Over the year since Jan 14 she will have taken 7 or 8 weeks holiday. Not counting the odd time something comes up and she pulls DP out of work so she can attend to something else. I don't have 7 weeks holiday so no wonder I am feeling incredibly stretched trying to cover all this.

she asks for 4 weeks paid and the rest is not paid but still leaves us stuffed.

who is being unreasonable?


ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 28-Nov-14 16:34:21

She is BU but sadly perfectly entitled. I think its bad form that she expects to be paid fully for four weeks AL (since when do Self Employed people get paid for their holidays!?)

Its also shit of her not to give you decent notice of her holidays - though fair enough for any emergencu stuff.

I would never have chosen her based on the holiday thing, so all I cam suggest is you start looking for a new CM.

Mine is amazing - AL is given a year ahead (however there is always the chance of emergencies such as funerals etc). She doesnt charge when she is unavailable. She does charge when she is available and you choose not to be there.

sillymillyb Fri 28-Nov-14 16:35:54

That sounds awful! Don't you have a contract which states how much holiday she can take? Id be charging her for alternative childcare seeing as she is in breach of contract (not legal, no idea if this is possible, I'm just angry on your behalf!)

farendofafart Fri 28-Nov-14 16:37:51

I think I'd be looking for a new childminder. She sounds very unprofessional.

PuppyMonkey Fri 28-Nov-14 16:38:01

You might be as well to look at nurseries - at least they will be open all year?

meanspiritednamechange Fri 28-Nov-14 17:12:43

About the paid holiday - she suddenly threw that into the mix earlier this year, pointing out that she can make changes with 4 weeks notice (which is contractually agreed). BAsically it amounts to a small pay rise over the year, I don't mind that really as it doesn't put her beyond a reasonable market rate.

I do mind not knowing if I have childcare or not. I agree I think I do need to look at moving on. There is a lot about the situation that worked for us, or used to, but things seem to have been getting so flaky recently, I think I am a bit of a boiled frog now I look at it in toto.

I want to keep my dcs together and I thought I would prefer them to be in a home environment rather than something institutional but the unreliability is doing my head in, seriously I have been in tears of desperation today, just do not know how the hell I was going to fit evreything in anyway, and now this

Viviennemary Fri 28-Nov-14 17:16:35

She is just unreliable and quite selfish to let you down like this. Either find another childminder or use a nursery. Isn't she supposed to give you a certain amount of notice if she is going on holiday or is unavailable.

meanspiritednamechange Fri 28-Nov-14 17:24:35

yes she is but I feel like I can't push the point as its an overseas funeral that then leads into xmas (when I knew she would be away and I am off work so that was agreed and never a problem)
however another relative is very ill and she has kind of hinted there may be times in the future when she has to drop everything. It's definitely "one of those times" for her... which is why I feel I am being a bitch

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 28-Nov-14 17:49:38

so she is only really away a week earlier if you knew she would be off for xmas, and a week afterwards/later

yes annoying and doesnt help you with work

why do you have to cancel your one xmas enjoyment concert?

is there a dp/dh? can he take some time off

if not then you need to sort out temporary childcare, does the cm have a back up cm? or can you look for a temp nanny for the extra times she has off?

have you thought about a nanny, often same price when have 2 or more dc

you def need to chnage from your cm, whether you go for another cm or nanny or nursery

HSMMaCM Fri 28-Nov-14 17:58:02

Definitely ask her if there's another local CM who might be able to help out for a couple of the weeks. It sounds like she's booked this as a special trip, to accommodate family, funerals, Christmas, etc. It does sound like she's taken a lot of time off this year though, so maybe a meeting to discuss the contract would be sensible, to set a maximum amount of time off? She has broken her existing contract by the sound of it, by not giving the specified notice of holidays.

If she is a great CM in every other respect, then a meeting to discuss how to get help around Christmas and to set some expectations going forwards would be a good idea.

meanspiritednamechange Fri 28-Nov-14 18:20:28

DP has kind of stretched his work to the limit (as have I).
I have to miss the concert because I work in a city, where the concert is, and will have to skive off work early to get to alternative childcare in time for 6, and then can't get back to the city.

Yes it isn't much extra, it's just the lack of notice and the total amount annihilating my annual leave and more

cjm10979 Fri 28-Nov-14 19:21:50

I had a CM a bit like this. She didn't take as much holiday as your one, but would only give a couple of weeks notice and then her primary school age kids would get sick, a funeral...

There was also other breaching contract behaviour (contract for daily rate from 7:00 to 18:00 and because DH would get their most days @ 07:30 decided in her own stupid little head that this was a change of contract to 07:30 without any discussion and was turning him away @ 07:15 to come back @ 07:30) we decided it would be better to go to a nursery. It was such a relief to know that the nursery would be open for business on the days you expect it to be!

DD is now at a CM + pre-school combo arrangement and since September has worked very well. There has only been one day where she wasn't able to work and give reasonable notice and decided not charge holiday for that day which is 1/2 rate. She is professional in her manner and takes her job seriously. She also has after school primary children that have been going to her for years. Anyone who can keep clients that long must be doing something right.

I know a lot of people choose CM because they can be a bit flexible with hours etc and that most nurseries only open at 08:00, so makes it difficult to use them if you are commuting. We found a nursery where the core hours were 08:00 to 18:00, but were providing a breakfast club from 07:00 for an extra £10 per day.

I don't think you're being unreasonable, shit happens in everyone's life. But when that person is self-employed and you are their client you have to put your own needs above theirs and find a different business supplier.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 28-Nov-14 21:08:44

cant you get a babysitter to pick up from cm/temp nanny/relative/friend etc on concert night

Jinxxx Sat 29-Nov-14 08:03:31

Ask your CM if she can suggest someone to step in for the time you need, or at least some of it. You could also look or place an ad on or the emergencychildcare website - I can't remember the exact name but I'm sure you can google it - or even on gumtree. I would think you will find a lot of carers keen for a bit of extra work in the run up to Christmas. Keep calm and good luck.

jendot2 Sat 29-Nov-14 08:10:57

As a professional cm I hate threads like this. This is NOT normal behaviour for a childminder and she should not be treating you like this. I never take time off sick, I take minimal holiday and don't charge parents. I go out of my way to cover extra hours, days and evenings. Please find yourself an EXCELLENT childminder. One who loves her job, cares about her families and provides a consistent and professional service.

MaryWestmacott Sat 29-Nov-14 08:12:47

You need to find a new CM. however lovely she is, you need a CM to work, so you have to have someone reliable. She is not. Plus it's rather dodgy to ask for paid holiday, if she doesn't have other mindees, you could come unstuck as sick pay and holiday pay is one of those things HMRC look at to work out if someone is self employed or an employee (if they are an employee, you need to pay the employer NI contributions).

Ask your current CM if she can recommend another CM for the time she's away as a start, get on to other CMers in the area, and if your DC is pre-school age, you might want to contact nurseries, far more reliable as if your DC's key worker calls in sick or has a day holiday, they sort out a replacement for the day. (however, often more expensive)

meanspiritednamechange Tue 02-Dec-14 17:06:14

update. just went to scope out an after school club (using precious annual leave). dd1 visibly loathed it and is saying very clearly she doesn't want to go there. However, the CM has been in touch with them already (she was asking on my behalf about availability) and it turns out she has told them she is flying out half way through the week before.
So less than 10 days to go.
We are really fucked. the after school club won't take dd2 (too young) and is grim as fuck anyway and presents a whole lot of barely mitigated logistical disasters in itself.
I am now in a state of true desperation.
CM has arranged to come and see us tonight. presumably she was going to tell us then,,,

BlackbirdOnTheWire Tue 02-Dec-14 17:21:01

Nursery is the way forward! Plenty of siblings at ours... The only reason our two weren't there together is the age gap, they just missed each other.

I don't think nurseries are necessarily institutional, either. We chose ours precisely because it felt very homely - around 12-16 children in 2 rooms on any given day, staff:children ratios higher than stipulated (they always have at least one over), lovely food, lovely garden...

Doesn't really help right now though :-( Hope you get something sorted.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 02-Dec-14 17:31:56

Can you get a temporary nanny? Where in the UK are you?

UsainWho Tue 02-Dec-14 17:40:27

I want to remind you your work can give you emergency unpaid leave when childcare situations go wrong like this. Could you do that for a week and then it's Christmas hols and you'll have something sorted for new year? It dumps your work in it a bit but the law is on your side if you really need it.

UsainWho Tue 02-Dec-14 17:43:02


FamiliesShareGerms Tue 02-Dec-14 17:49:23

I really feel for you - I remember feeling so helpless when I just couldn't see how to get the logistical childcare nightmare to fall into place.

Take a two pronged approach: find temporary care for the run up to Xmas; find longer term care for after Xmas. Give notice to her tonight if you have to.

Have you costed a nanny or nanny share?

juneau Tue 02-Dec-14 17:55:09

I would find alternative childcare. TBH, this is what put me off using a CM - its just her, so if she is away, ill, her DC are ill, etc, you're stuck with no childcare. Not all nurseries are 'institutional' btw, and they are very good preparation for school. They also don't let you down and they're open all year round, bar bank holidays.

MaryWestmacott Tue 02-Dec-14 17:55:25

ok, get on your council website, they should be able to list all the registered childminders, call them all that say they will do the school run for your DC's school. (even if they say they are full on the website, some might have spaces on some days/recommend other CMers that aren't officially listed as doing that school run.

Also if you have a local facebook group, put an appeal up, some one might know a nanny who needs a month's work - it'll be more expensive than a CM but as a 'stop gap' it might be what you need.

Is there a college near you offering childcare qualifications? Someone might want some real life experience and do drop off and pick up back to your house. Is there a breakfast club so you'd only need afterschool care? Ask around, someone might know someone who can help!

wigglylines Tue 02-Dec-14 18:03:00

Please don't let this experience put you off CMS.

We've use four excellent CMs. (Three as we moved, and the fourth as she worked together with the third).

All of them were brilliant: incredibly professional while providing a stimulating, nurturing and loving home environment for our DCs, and very flexible.

In your shoes, I would start looking for a new CM now, ideally to cover the period she'll be away. And give the original one notice.

A good place to start is

A cheeky tip however - you need to pay to sign up to that site. But if you find a CM you like on it, you can usually find them elsewhere on the internet (e.g. in the council /FIS lists) if you google / do a bit of digging, and then you can contact them for free. Worth using the site as a starting point though as lots of them post there, and they give more details there. We found our first two CMs there (third by word of mouth).

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