I work 1 night a week, leaving at 16:00 and returning at 10:00 the following day. I have two children 2 and 4, and I'm a single parent. The night of the week changes each week - e.g. this week I'm working Thursday and next week I'll work Tuesday.
At the moment my family are helping care for the children at their homes during the week, but when my oldest starts school in September, the children will need to be local to home every morning.
I am considering an au pair, but our spare room is only a single room. I also am unsure of whether it's too much responsibility for an au pair, or if the hours are too long (the children sleep reliably 7-7). I wouldn't need childcare during the school holidays at all, though.
Is this workable? If so, what are the rates for an au pair (we are zone 2 London), and where do I find one? Is there a better solution?
Single room should be fine. It's all in the negotiation. I would look for an older au pair (20+) for night time care. How far in advance do you get your shifts - if a month or so then they can arrange a social life.
If you pay for more hours than you need, that would counteract the antisocial nature of it. Would you pay for the school holidays and expect no care? Or maybe suggests that she does much reduced hours in the holidays, that would give you some time to get out/get some head space/go to the gym/have your hair cut etc etc etc !
I would pay a set monthly rate (4-450? p/m) including during holidays, or if she was unwell. During holidays, or between the days I am working she can travel about, stay out; whatever she wants. I hope she would see this as a perk. Shifts are arranged a year in advance. I would pay extra for babysitting on top if she wanted.
Another concern is that I'm not sure I'd be able to give the au pair all the attention necessary, after a long shift I get tired and don't really fancy a long chat always, but I would obviously need to be considerate of a young woman who may be homesick.
Thank you - I will email sitters and see whether they have anyone who this might suit.
I am not averse to spending more money on childcare, but I am worried about the impact of having a young person living with us. When we got a cat, it increased the strain so much, it took months to get used to her. I am prett spent and give all of my energy to my children - I'm a shit to be around after they're in bed!
As a single parent there are lots of advantages to having an au pair. As you are only working 18 hours a week, you can use the remaining hours for housework/babysitting/childcare to allow you to have some independence.