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What do I need?(22 Posts)
I have two dcs: just 3 and a 4 month old. My husband has a degenerative/terminal illness. Being entirely practical, I just want to make life as pleasant as possible for us all for as long as possible. Fortunately, money isn't a problem.
He can play with the children and look after them for very short bursts, but he needs a lot of rest: he wakes at 10, sleeps 2-3 hours in the afternoon, then goes to bed at 9/10pm. I do absolutely everything else (all housework, cooking, organising insurance, tax returns, all childcare, night wakings, etc). I need some support. What sort of role do I need to look to recruit? It isn't a straight nanny, as I want to spend the dc's childhoods with them - they need the stability from one parent. I don't know if I could handle live in but perhaps that's what I need.
We recently went on holiday where It became apparent how bad things are getting and I swore I wouldn't go away again without another adult. I just need some advice on what sort of role I need to look for. Any ideas?
Could you hire a nanny/housekeeper? So you can have more help day to day with household stuff, which will free up time with your children. But someone who is also able to muck in with the children should you need it. I agree that live-out is probably better in your situation. I imagine there might be times you want to have a bit of a cry in an evening without someone accidentally interrupting you!
Thanks very much for replying. Do you think a housekeeper could do some childcare? That's the sort of thing I need - so if I need to go out for an hour, I could have someone I could rely on to look after the kids. Any idea where to advertise for one?
I wonder if I'm having trouble working this out because it's basically a sort of friend role - you wouldn't normally take a housekeeper on holiday with you, for instance, but that is what I will want to do.
Try talking to some local agencies about a mothers help or housekeeper-nanny. Mothers help usually have less childcare experience than nannies and are supposed to muck in alongside the family. I'm sure you'll find someone suitable and it will make life much more bearable. Good luck with the search x
When we were teenagers we had a 'cleaner' who really was just there to be there when we got home after school. She used to do a bit of ironing too.
Would an au pair cover it? Might be too invasive/needy for your situation?
I'd also be checking out virtual PA services to get some of the admin stuff sorted for you.
Your situation sounds tough op. I hope someone is looking after you as much as you're looking after everyone else
I think an au pair could become more responsibility for me. There are also older stepchildren into the mix who I'm trying very hard with.... It's a very difficult and complicated situation.
Thanks for the concern and suggestions. I have lovely parents, although they live 4 hours' drive away, they do what they can. I need day to day life to improve, for all of us.
I think you need a nanny and a cleaner if you can afford both. With your husbands illness i definitely wouldn't suggest a mothers help or au pair. As they tend to be younger starting out in their career and
May need a bit more support then you can emotionaly give. So maybe might not be mature enough to deal with your family's current dynamics and situation. But just generalising here.
I'm not sure I need a nanny and cleaner as I don't want lots of childcare. I basically need what a husband would do (a really competent, helpful one with initiative!) plus some extra time freed up to give both the dc and the dh my full attention, as everyone is going through such a tough time.
I'm supposed to be going back to work 2 days a week when the baby is 17 months, but whether that can happen, who knows. Depends on how this progresses.
I would like maybe an hour of childcare in the morning to go for a run and get dressed. Obviously I'm talking in ideal terms - am aware loads of women on maternity leave look after two kids entirely on their own, but I also look after my husband, and since I hope to mange to do that long term, it seems sensible to try to set up systems where I can look after myself to some degree too (ie going for a run).
I have been a nanny/housekeeper for a household where neither parent worked, and been told day to day what I will be doing. For example, if the mum wanted to go for a run or had an appointment, I'd look after the children. Or she might have wanted to go back to bed for a few hours, so I would do nursery run etc. If she was home, she'd give me housekeeping things to do so she could be spending time with the children. I'm trained as a nanny but more than happy for the variety of housekeeping too, so there will be other nannies the same. Just be sure to be clear that the job will mainly be housekeeping, as you may find a sociable nanny who wants to arrange lots of play dates will not enjoy this role as much. Holidays would be fine as long as you discussed that at interview and gave the employee plenty of warning.
Also, don't feel bad about wanting an hour to yourself in the morning! It's much better for your children if you're feeling more relaxed and ready to start the day, than you being frantic and rushed and not being in the best of moods!
Sorry to keep adding to this but slowly working out what I might need. It seems especially important for everyone, especially my dh, to eat well and nutritiously, so perhaps a housekeeper who would prepare dinner before she left would help. Usually I do the 3 year old's dinner, then bath time, then bedtime for her, while dh sits with the baby. Then I come downstairs, try to get the baby to sleep and then start to prepare dinner.
If dinner were already done, maybe that would be better. I feel pretty brain dead by the time I've eaten dinner and feel I'm short changing dh by being poor company after dinner (for the hour or so he's up).
Thanks pumapants - really helpful information. I wondered if a housekeeper/nanny role is compatible (ie if someone could be good at both) but it sounds as if it can in your experience.
I do think it's going to have to be a really special person to cope with things here - such a varied role. I don't want to divulge too much here about dh, but his illness is such that his perceptions re house work are pretty off, so quite often I've spent an hour or so cleaning or tidying while the baby naps only to return to the room later to find he's undone what I've done, with the best of intentions, so I can't even get annoyed with him and even if I calmly explain the reasons why, it'll be overlooked next time. So it can be a pretty frustrating environment, even not including the kids and house...... Someone pretty tolerant and calm will be needed.
I would say that someone quite experienced would be better suited, rather than newly trained in childcare. I think life skills will be vital here, and a lot of nannies with a few years of experience behind them will perhaps have more tact/understanding. Generalising here obviously (I would have struggled with a role like this when I was 18 for example, but it would be one I'd enjoy now I am older - not meaning to offend anyone!)
It sounds as though you have the budget to be a bit fussy with specifications, so I don't think you will have an issue hiring. It may take a little while but if you start advertising now and really detail what you are looking for (like you have here) then hopefully you should find the right person.
Also perhaps be honest with the employee once they start, with how you would like her to deal with emotional days, hard days etc. do you want her to scoop the kids up and give you some space at home, do you want her to go out and do grocery shopping and leave you with the children for a while, do you want her to make you a cup of tea and chat for example. Just to avoid clashing at possibly difficult moments.
You sound great, pumapants - do you fancy a job?!
Totally agree about it being for someone older. Really good points about being really specific about what to do on worse days.
A place to advertise might be the mag The Lady, they have ads for housekeepers etc there, so you might be lucky and get a general all rounder who can cook as well.
Ha ha, feel free to PM me the advert when you set it up ;)
Agree with macca - The Lady would be an ideal place to advertise.
Would it be worth having a chat with whoever runs your local nanny agency? I had a chat with mine before employing a nanny and she helped to clarify what was wanted and pre-screen applicants for me. She did have adverts for mothers help, housekeeper/nannies as well on her website. I think as long as you make it clear what you want doing then you should find someone who is happy to fulfil the role. Our cleaner does the following as well as cleans which is very helpful: strips the beds, puts on washing, irons, puts clothes away, tidies, loads/unloads the dishwasher. I have also on occasion had her do other jobs like organise dry cleaning. Other jobs that you could delegate are things like waiting in for deliveries including grocery shopping, changing towels regularly, changing lightbulbs. You might also find it useful to have a gardener and a friendly handyman who will do odd jobs around the house.
My previous nanny also used to batch cook things like fish pie and shepherd s pie which we froze. She'd also sort through the kids old clothes and organise birthday presents.
Really hoping you find someone fab. I recommend using an agency who will listen to you and has high calibre candidates. I can give a few suggestions of ones I have had success with if you PM me
I think ideally you need a nanny/housekeeper, but should you struggle to find one (it is a diverse range of skills that you need) I wouldn't rule out a nanny and a housekeeper/cleaner just because you don't need full time childcare.
A nanny will do all childcare, including holidays and overnights. If money is not a concern then it's great to have someone who is qualified to be dropped in at the deep end on call for when you need them. When you're not using them for childcare they will be responsible for all nursery duties, which will include the children's laundry, keeping their rooms tidy, changing their beds, shopping for them, cooking for them etc. Most nannies will also be happy to run errands (within reason) and cook for the family. A well treated nanny will hopefully stay for many years, giving you all the stability you need. If you do head back to work at some point, it's good to know that your childcare is sorted.
A cleaner will clean, which is the one (main) thing that a nanny wouldn't normally do.
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