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Does this sound like a job for an au-pair and how much would they cost?

(20 Posts)
MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 13:36:11

Ok, I'm trying to figure out a plan as me becoming a single parent is quite possibly on the cards but I still want to go ahead with doing a nursing degree in 2017 when the DC are a little older but this leaves me with a childcare nightmare that I can't imagine to solve any other way.

The way the degree works is that there will be randon blocks of uni (which will be 9-3 most days) and placements ( which will be late/early/ whatever shifts, if it's 12 hours shifts there'll be 3 a week).

The DC will by then be 3 and 5. DC1 will be in school 9-3 and DC2 will be 3 and in nursery 9-12.

So I'd basically need the au pair to take over the time I can't be at home. I'd need them to walk the DC to nursery/school (same building about 10 minutes away), then pick up DC2 from nursery at 12, feed him and take him to the park or whatever and then pick up DC1 from school at 3 and entertain them till I get home.

During the uni blocks I should be home no later than 4pm but during placement blocks it obviously depends on shifts. During placement time there might also be quite a few days where I wouldn't need an au pair at all if I'm only doing 3 shifts a week. Weekends would be covered by DH so they would all be free.

I would't expect the au pair to do house work really besides tidying up their own mess.

It's all really hard to estimate but I think I'd need the aupair to be working between 25 hours a week (for uni blocks) and 32 hours (worst case for placements, might well be less).

What do you think? Will this all be too complicated?

And how much would I have to budget for an au pair in Scotland (not a big city).

And would any au pair be willing to do this?

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 30-Apr-15 14:03:18

It's a bit much for an au pair I think. They usually work a maximum of 25 hours a week, usually 5 hours a day. On the 12 hour shift days you'll need at least 13 hours of childcare (adding in travelling time). In term time this will be 10 hours of care for DC2, which is well beyond an au pair. In school holidays this could be 13 hours of care for both of them. An au pair could do this for older children who just need someone there in case of emergency, but at 3 and 5 they need someone to actually look after them.

I think a live-in nanny would be better. Or an au pair plus (someone with previous au pair experience looking to transition into nannying maybe). Or you could use a childminder and an au pair combination.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 14:18:53

I won't have the money for a live-in au pair and the problem with a childminder is that they won't be able to accommodate shifts.

But I tke your point about it being too much for an au-pair. And of course the school holidays. It wouldn't be 13 hours for a 12 hour shift though as there's still be nursery/school.

i might just have to give up on the nursing degree idea...

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 14:20:04

No money for a live-in nanny that was meant to say. And if I have to combine au-pair and childminder it'll also cost double.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 30-Apr-15 14:28:57

It would be 10 hours for a 13 hour shift for DC2 (nursery is only 3 hours, 13-3=10). But you'd need the au pair to cover the three hours at nursery too if he was ill/the school was closed so she'd still be working a 13 hour shift, even if she isn't in active possession of a child for the whole time she'd be 'on call'.

I would price up the cost of live-in nannies and childminder/au pair combinations and not just dismiss them out of hand. Do you know how much a live-in nanny would cost?

You could also look at sharing a live-in nanny with another family, that would save you almost half their wages.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 14:45:31

We're in a small town so childcare options are limited anyway. Less than 10 childminders, a few nurseries, lots of SAHM mums here so no demand for flexible childcare I guess.

I've just calculated hat even if I paid a childminder 12-6 5 days a week for both DC that would be £210 a week. I just can't afford that. I'd just be on the NHS bursary and CTC.

Yerazig Thu 30-Apr-15 15:33:21

If you can get more of an experienced au pair then that may work. The other option may if possible to put off the course untill your youngest dc is in school full time. So then you can look at just after school help which most au pairs usually just cover.

threegoingonthirty Thu 30-Apr-15 15:47:31

I think an au pair plus does 35 hours per week. I'd suggest that you have a chat with an au pair agency as a starter. You don't necessarily have to use them, but they'd give you an idea of costs.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 30-Apr-15 16:35:00

Maybe you need to hold off another year until DC2 is in school, then an au pair would be fine.

Will your ex be contributing? If they're his children then he has an equal responsibility to provide childcare for them. It shouldn't all be on you.

HRHQueenMe Thu 30-Apr-15 18:23:31

There are loads of au pairs who would happily do this. Yes 25-35 hours are expected but if you adjust pay accordingly and have clear working hours and the flexibility is outlined and explained this from the start then it should not be a problem. There are lots of great highly qualified candidates on au pair world. Pay is around £75-130 per week depending on duties, children and perks. You can choose to include a mobile, train or oyster card, gym membership, merlin pass etc depending on your circumstances. The aupair must have her own room, should have all meals provided and be part of the family. The right candidate will be keen to explore and make friends so will be happy to spend most of her free time out and about but some might like the occasional night in on the sofa. Several local aupairs here work on bars and coffeeshops in their free time to earn extra cash.
My ap works different days and hours every week depending on our schedules and she loves that every day is different. Never a dull moment in our house.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 18:40:10

Well, after having posted on AIBU I don't actually think I can do the degree at all. The majority of the posters seem to think that I won't be able to manage shift work with being a lone parent so I'm feeling pretty demotivated about it all.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 30-Apr-15 20:21:30

I'm all for pre-planning, but I think you're worrying about this a little too soon. If we're talking September 2017, that's 2 years and 5 months away! Who knows what the next 2+ years will bring?

It's madness to be making decisions on this now.

Put a pin in it and revisit in a year/18 months when applications need to be in. Maybe you'll have to wait until 2018 when your youngest is at school. In the grand scheme of things another year is really not that long to wait. Maybe you'll decide that it isn't possible to do whilst being a lone parent. Maybe it will be fine. Wait and see.

MrsHuxtableReturns Thu 30-Apr-15 21:16:51

It would be two extra years til youngest will be in school, 2019.

Do you reckon it would make things much easier? Everyone seemed to think that shift work and single parenthood is a no-no generally..

I just need a plan. I do't mind changing plans but I need to think I have a plan to begin with.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 30-Apr-15 21:40:32

Once they're both in school full-time it will definitely be an au pair job so if that's the only childcare you can afford then I would say waiting until they're both at school is the way to go.

I think it's possible to do shift work and be a lone parent. Whether it's possible for you I couldn't say. Neither can anyone else on mumsnet. Neither can you yet, because you've not tried being a single parent.

I would plan to find alternative work for the next few years and revisit this later. If you can, save now and put it by to pay some of the childcare bill when you start your course.

HRHQueenMe Thu 30-Apr-15 22:45:40

Mrs Huxtable, a lot of Mumsnetters talk a load of bollocks and will try to persuade you that it cannot be done. It can if you want to. I work shifts and Childmind and so does hubby. We have a brilliant au pair who keeps all the kids in check and makes sure we are all in the right place at the right time. We muddle through at the best of times. You can do it if its important to you.

Smellyoulateralligator Thu 30-Apr-15 22:54:16

Do you have your heart set on nursing? Would an allied health professionals career be of interest? Physio / occupational health or dietetics are usually 9-5 and can be really clinical and hands on.

TribbleNamedDave Mon 11-May-15 18:49:50

Who on earth are you talking to?

Have you been on SMNET and chatted to people there. My friend did a midwifery degree with four children on her own, my SIL did it with her child. It can be done, you just need to get creative.

Ok, first off. Your current partner, is he Dad? If so, is he just utterly incompetent or will he not share the load childcare wise? What family do you have around you?

frustratedmom1 Tue 11-Oct-16 06:44:13

I'm about to move Aberdeen and found the very interesting. I hope you haven't given up on your dreams. I've had 2 aupairs when my husband was working away from home so in effect I was a working single mom for the week for almost 2 years. Aupairs caN work upto 30 hrs without any issues you can read that in any guides. At the end of the day it depends on what you offer and flexibility. I was teaching so my schedule wasn't always set due to activities in had to take on parent interviews etc. So while our aupairs worked hard during the week it also meant that on school holidays they had the option of going with us on holiday or having many hoidays themselves. Including both weekends off when my husband was home. There are many aupairs and families and in the end you can negotiate a scenario that fits you both!
Some families only have aupairs for short hours but may also need them on weekends. It is all a matter of perspective and negotiation!

Adelie0404 Tue 11-Oct-16 21:42:47

You just need a flexible au pair and most will be. Mine has very little to do when my husband is here (both children at school, one 8, one 12), maybe 15 hrs per week if that. He goes to sea for 3-4 months a year and because I am in the health service and work stupid hours, she has to do much much more. She cooks for the girls - but I plan meticulously. She knew this was the deal when she took the job and is perfectly happy with it. Holidays we give her off - I plan the girls activities and our holidays so we don't need an au pair.

Oly5 Wed 12-Oct-16 22:25:09

I have an au pair plus doing 29 hours a week. She's 19 and enormously capable.
all sounds fine to me. Offer them this deal (pay a bit more than the standard for the extra hours) and see what they say

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