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Do I need an au pair, a nanny or neither?

(10 Posts)
ThomasRichard Thu 16-Mar-17 13:59:07

I'm having trouble figuring this out.

I have a 2DC (7 and 4). DC2 currently goes to nursery but will start school in September. Both DC are at school/nursery from 8am-5pm 4 days a week. Friday is my day off so I stay at home with DC2 while DC1 is at at school. Once DC2 starts school I'll also be working a short day on a Friday.

I'm a single parent and the DC's dad has them every other weekend and 2 weekday nights every other month.

I've recently had a promotion and the job is going to involve more international travel. ExH has so far been ok to cover the odd trip away for a night or two but it's going to become more regular and as we don't have the easiest of relationships I don't want to have to rely on him. I could ask my parents to cover the odd trip but they both work full-time in demanding jobs and I don't like asking or feel that it's fair to do so.

If I did get home-based childcare I'd stop the before and after-school clubs and taking the DC to and from school would be the nanny or au pair's responsibility. So the hours are starting to look like this:

Before school care: 5 x 1hr = 5 hours a week
After-school care: 4 x 2hrs = 8 hours a week
Overnight care: 3-5 nights a month
No babysitting, no weekend care.

I could continue the current arrangement with before and after-school clubs if I had reliable overnight care for those few days a month. Do I really need home care or is there another way of doing it? If I do, can an au pair look after children overnight or is this a nanny job?

underneaththeash Thu 16-Mar-17 14:22:59

congrats on the promotion.

In an ideal world a qualified nanny would obviously be the best solution, but your chance of getting a decent nanny who only wants to work 13 hours a week and is also happy to stay overnight once a week is approaching zero, especially if you live outside London.

As long as its only the one night you'd be away, I think an au pair would be a good solution, but bare in mind that they take a while to settle in. I wouldn't have left any of mine overnight for probably the first couple of months.

Is your school/nursery walking distance? If your au pair doesn't need to drive you'll have a larger pool of potentials. Many do have experience of working in a school or nursery, I'd be tempted to get someone a little older, especially if you're leaving them overnight.

They'll obviously need their own room and it will help if you have at least a couple of bathrooms. I'd also think about whether they'll be happy in your area, are there language schools and other au pairs around. Unhappy au pairs don't stay long.

The other option is to just leave them at before/afterschool clubs and then find a couple of people who are happy to do overnights for you. An ad on childcare.co.uk may yield a few nannies/chikdminders or nursery workers who are happy to do that for you, but unless you're away the same night every week, its unlikely you'll be able to get the same person each time.

ThomasRichard Thu 16-Mar-17 14:46:30

Thankyou. This is why I'm a bit stuck, because I don't really need anyone except for a block of 3-5 nights once a month-ish. I feel it's a bit much to ask of a young au pair but not enough for a nanny.

An ad on that site looks like the first step to see what I'm looking at.

ThomasRichard Thu 16-Mar-17 14:47:50

There are people I'd be happy to ask but they have children at other schools. Ideally the person will need to take the DC to their various after-school activities too to keep their routine as stable as possible.

wickerlampshade Thu 16-Mar-17 15:53:41

do you need cover if the kids are home sick from school? otherwise maybe a live in nanny, part-time, with the understanding that when she's off work she's off (not on call) so she can get another part time job if she wants to. or might suit someone who is studying.

ThomasRichard Thu 16-Mar-17 17:32:38

Not really. I can usually work from home if I need to look after an ill child. There are some days I really can't miss but that's rare. Someone studying is a great idea as we live within walking distance of the main university campus.

CatsDogsandDC Thu 16-Mar-17 19:31:55

I suspect your ideal is an experienced mum with older teens/twenties who would be happy to work these odd hours. I used someone like this when my children were younger and I had to travel for work. If you get the right person it would be a win win.

The lady who looked after my DC was fantastic and they gained a lot by being with her. She positively did not want a full time job so the role worked for her. I found her by advertising in the local paper and I liked her sat right away. She is still a family friend years later.

wizzywig Thu 16-Mar-17 19:33:59

Can you permanently change your ex's access hours so they cover the overnights?

ThomasRichard Thu 16-Mar-17 20:01:36

wizzy the overnights aren't on set dates, just as and when I'm needed. I now have staff in 9 different countries so I could be pretty much anywhere and it will depend on when audits, conferences and executive team meetings are planned. I'm still very junior so it's definitely not my own schedule.

Loads of good ideas, thanks. I thought about asking at the after school club and nursery to see if one of the staff members there might be interested. Added bonus that they'd already know the kids.

JoJoSM2 Sun 19-Mar-17 09:04:35

The wrap around care would be fine for an au pair but caring for children for 3-5 days 24/7 is definitely not appropriate. Unless you manage to find one of those au pairs who are actually more mature, often a teacher etc. I'd imagine you'd need to pay them a lot extra for 24/7 care over a few days.

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