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Shared nanny - would you be comfortable with this?

(27 Posts)
tertle Wed 03-Dec-14 08:52:58

I'm not based in the UK and finding childcare where I live is notoriously difficult. I have been on a waiting list for a place in several nurseries for over a year now for a place for next year but nothing has come up.

I'm not actually working at the moment (nor on maternity leave) but I am looking for a part time job to start when my DD is 1, which will be in March. The trouble is, to get a job, I need my daughter to have some kind of childcare set up, so I can least attend interviews. I have no family nearby to help with occasional babysitting.

I have a friend who is going back to work in January and has hired a full time nanny to look after her 5 month old DD. It's quite expensive so she asked me if I could be interested in nanny sharing with her. I said that I could be interested but to begin with for only 2 days a week while I job search. The nanny she has found used to work in London as an au pair but she has no formal qualifications as a child minder. Apparently she's great with children (from references) and is happy to look after several babies at once. My friend is now advertising for a second baby to be looked after full time with hers, as well as my DD 2 days a week, so she can reduce her childcare costs as much as possible.

I am going to meet the nanny tomorrow but I already feel uneasy about this situation. I think looking after 2 or 3 under 1s all day will be hard work for anyone, especially someone who doesn't have experience of working in a crèche; she's only worked as an au pair. What happens if one of them hurts themselves? Also, the babies will be looked after at my friend's house, which will be child friendly; but I think that a crèche must be better equipped for when there are several babies at a time?

I don't know whether I'm being PFB or sensible. My friend has told me how amazing the nanny will be and that she feels more than happy to leave her baby with her. I've tried talking to my DH but he's no use, he just says 'do what you think is best'… hmm

SavoyCabbage Wed 03-Dec-14 08:58:17

If you feel uncomfortable then don't do it.

I'm abroad too and one of the mothers at our school is a childminder (not that that term exists here) and she always seems to have loads of toddlers and babies with her. She seems great at it. Here, there aren't the regulations that there are in the UK but nobody else seems to give a thought to how many children she can have.

SavoyCabbage Wed 03-Dec-14 08:59:40

I wouldn't want to get into a share situation in the other mindee's home as then you might feel as if you are an add on and the other dc the main child.

tertle Wed 03-Dec-14 09:04:13

Thanks Savoy, you're right, I think I need to go with my gut feeling. I just can't help feeling guilty that I'm going to let my friend down and I know she'll think I'm being overly cautious as this kind of set up is very common where we are. It's just that when she said she was going to find a nanny, I thought she meant a fully qualified one.

FlorenceMattell Wed 03-Dec-14 09:06:06

A definite no. As a very experienced nanny and maternity nurse, there is no way I would care for more than 2 babies.
What if there was a fire, she will only be able to carry two out of the house, who would she leave.
Your friend is silly and should restrict the share to two under twos IMO
Has the au pair got a paediatric first aid certificate?
I expect the au pair is not happy either.

SavoyCabbage Wed 03-Dec-14 09:13:16

If you are already feeling guilty about letting her down then you should definitely not do this! You are too nice.

It would be

'I know Jane was going to take the boys swimming today but I want her to sort out my linen cupboard instead'

before you know it.

Just make something up to tell her and tell get soon so she can find other people to share with.

Unexpected Wed 03-Dec-14 09:17:16

There are very different attitudes to childcare in other countries and far less regulation in some. The aupair/nanny may or may not be happy with the situation, it's up to her to say so if not, but what your friend is proposing may be very common where you live. I think your friend wants to reduce her costs so needs a full-time share with another child which is fine. Your proposal to use two days while job hunting (and possibly up the amount of time later) is just an add-on for her as it doesn't really provide her with enough of a cost reduction. Be prepared for her to turn around and tell you when you find a job that she is not, after all, prepared to allow you to increase your days with the nanny. Apart from a care point of view, I think she will all realise that she doesn't want three toddlers permanently rampaging through her house!

tertle Wed 03-Dec-14 11:41:07

I think the au pair is fine with it as the more babies she takes care of, the more she can charge. She does have some kind of first aid certificate (need to check which one) but nothing else.

I am mainly concerned with how she'l cope with 2 or even three babies (all under 1!). That is what is making me feel uneasy about leaving my DD there. I would feel more comfortable having her in a creche where I know even though there is 1 adult per baby, there are lots of other adults about to help if there is a problem.

Cindy34 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:51:44

2 babies is ok but more an that needs careful thought as there will be problems that arise... transport, places to sleep, level of care that each child gets. Would having several babies restrict them to only being in the house? A mix of ages may be better, rather than all very young.

Meet the person, see if you feel they have enough experience to cope.

Jinxxx Wed 03-Dec-14 14:17:45

I think you also have to look ahead. Three babies is arguably easier than three toddlers.

Unexpected Wed 03-Dec-14 15:42:09

"I think the au pair is fine with it as the more babies she takes care of, the more she can charge."

i hope that's not her only motivation for looking after more babies! I had that attitude from a childcarer once on the continent (you don't live in the Netherlands, do you?) who, when I asked why she wanted to move from an existing role looking after one baby, to a role with me looking after a baby ad 3 year old told me "you get more money for two!". I was a bit shock that she couldn't even pretend it was for another reason. It was a pretty short interview after that!

Ebb Wed 03-Dec-14 16:05:35

I wouldn't have someone with only au pair experience as a nanny to under 1's unless they had been in a long term position and gained experience with more than one baby. ( Friend had nanny who started as au pair but 5 children later certainly had the experience to call herself a nanny and was paid accordingly. ) The au pair sounds financially motivated and it takes an experienced, organised nanny to handle a nanny share with two possibly three young babies. If she wants a full time child, she'd be better off advertising for a 3 year old who maybe does a couple of sessions at nursery.

jkdnanny Wed 03-Dec-14 16:25:55

It is more common outside of the u.k to have a nanny look after children from 3/4 different families. Tbh its probably a bit like triplets. Though at least triplets are used to each other. I would be more concerned how your little one is going to cope with learning to share the adult between herself and two others 2 days a wk when the rest of the time its just her

tertle Wed 03-Dec-14 19:32:01

Thanks ebb, that's useful. I think that whilst she probably is financially motivated, she probably thinks 'how hard can it be' as she looked after three children in her last job but they were varying ages.
jkd I don't really think that's an issue. surely a child in any childcare (unless it's a one to one nanny) would have to deal with a different set up from their home one? Dd has been to a crèche for a few days as I had to attend a course and she was ok there.

Itsfab Wed 03-Dec-14 19:49:17

I think your friend is jumping the gun. She needs to see how her nanny copes with one baby before adding another two to the mix.

I did a nanny share when I was about 26. I wasn't a qualified nanny but by then had had 7 years experience working as an au pair (for a 5 year old), a mother help (4 year old, nearly 2 and a young baby), Live in nanny (10 week old) and a daily nanny for 2 five month olds before my new share which was for two six month olds.

Your friend seems to be thinking more of saving money than what is actually best for her baby and her nanny.

Why do you think you would be letting your friend down? She didn't employ a nanny on the basis of you sharing costs and backing out because you have learnt the nanny isn't qualified is fair enough. Having said that, don't dismiss someone because they don't have certificates. She still might be a great nanny but I think there is more than just a lack of NNEB here. Your baby is more important than pleasing your friend.

YvesJutteau Wed 03-Dec-14 21:12:03

I'd be happy with two, but not with three (until they were older). So another baby taking up the three days you don't use -- fine. Another baby taking up five days so that there are three babies on the days you use -- not fine.

PepsiTwirl Wed 03-Dec-14 21:45:14

3 under a year, is two much.

How will the nanny take them out?
Go to places like playgroups and activities?
Do things that all the children like?
Run in 3 directions at once when near a road..

Definitely a no no from me

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 03-Dec-14 23:45:47

3 under a year is two too much?????

why two too much hmm

thats like looking after twins, blondes love twins smile

agree 3 under 1, tho your baby will be 1 is too much for an au pair

also although not in uk, would it be legal for a nanny to care for 3 duff famillies on same day, coz it isnt here as would make a cm and cm only work from their own homes

trust your gut and say no and also kick hubby and ask for more support and not his reply of 'do what you think is best'

YvesJutteau Thu 04-Dec-14 01:08:19

She didn't say "two too much", she said "two much" which I assumed was autocorrect wreaking havoc on "too much" (because mine keeps trying to change too to two, so it's presumably a Thing with autocorrect algorithms).

busyDays Thu 04-Dec-14 09:25:41

I also think that three under 1 is too much. Not sure how mums of triplets cope. I've looked after various children of different ages and find that two babies with one older child over the age of 3 is doable, and one baby along with two toddlers over 18 months is doable, but not three babies who still need a lot of carrying around and cuddles.

tertle Thu 04-Dec-14 13:48:44

Thanks for the more useful comments. I know that my baby is obviously more important than pleasing a friend. I couldn't work out whether I was being PFB or not. General consensus seems to be that 2 babies would be OK, 3 is too much.

Lucylouby Thu 04-Dec-14 14:40:54

As a cm, a few years ago, I looked after three dc, (one of them was mine) the oldest two were 18 months, the third was 14 months. They could all walk which helped though. It was only one day a week, but it was really hard work. Every time I did it I was exhausted, moving them all from one place to another, even if it was only round the house, was really hard. Outings near impossible. I was glad when one of the dc changed theirs days. Looking after three little ones of different ages is so much easier, so maybe look for a nanny share with someone with a slightly older child.

jendot2 Thu 04-Dec-14 18:48:42

As a very experienced nanny, maternity nanny and childminder I will never care for more than 2 non walkers at once.... 3 under 1s is an absolute no no! I would be very very concerned that a nanny with little experience was planning to take this on and seriously thought it was a sensible idea!

minipie Thu 04-Dec-14 20:13:48

Agree with everyone else - 2 is ok, 3 is too many at that age.

I would also say, don't be too swayed by qualifications - some ex au pairs with lots of experience but no formal nanny qualifications can be great. (but in this case I'd be very worried about the money as motivation thing!)

A few ideas:
1) Is there an ad hoc creche near you? Eg Baby Drop in SW11, Club Creche in SW18 or My Creche in Crouch End
2) A share with a family with school age kids or a child at nursery school could work well as they may have a full time nanny with time on her hands.

tertle Tue 09-Dec-14 09:03:14

Thanks again to everyone for their input.

So, I finally met the nanny last night. She is a very sweet girl (sorry if that sounds patronising but she seems very young - she's 25 but she could have been 16) and clearly loves babies. My DD took to her immediately and seemed comfortable with her.

However; she has very little experience indeed. It transpired that she has only about 10 months of au pair experience with a 2 and 4 year old. She's looked after cousins etc. and does babysitting but I think being a childminder/nanny is quite different. I asked her how she'd cope with two babies and she said 'oh fine, we'll just play with toys' which I think would be OK when the babies want to play, but what about naps, meals etc.? She seemed dynamic but I just wonder how she'd cope in an emergency or with two crying babies.

My friend can't find another baby to nanny share 100% with her but I still don't want to leave my DD all day long with someone with no experience of looking after two babies. I might be OK for a couple of hours here and there but no full days.

Minipie, that is a good idea thanks, I'm going to suggest that my friend try to find an older child to nanny share with her and hopefully that will work. I just hope that she doesn't think that I'm criticising her parenting choices as she is happy with the nanny and I'm not (DH thinks that is how it will seem).

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