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Ideas on where to find someone more experienced than Au pairs but not a nanny

(12 Posts)
yuletide Fri 14-Jan-05 22:08:09

Au pairs have always suited us fine up to now, but when she leaves after easter I would like to have someone more experienced than an Au pair that would require less guidance and more mature, but not a nanny ( I already have a childminder) for when I return to work part time. I have advertised locally last year for a mothershelp, basically someone who to do a bit of everything including cooking, housework, school runs ect and have sole charge of two toddlers of 3 hours twice a week, live in or out. ( 30 -32 hours a week. The responses were very disapointing and not what we were looking for. We live in Manchester area,I Know we would have no probs if we were in london. I have looked on great Au pairs but no success as yet. I find agencies too expensive for what they really do. Any Idea's please .... What would be the going rate outside London? I vaguely remember reading another thread of someone employing mature european lady - where did you find her??

Uwila Sat 15-Jan-05 19:42:19

My au pair nanny is older and from Estonia. I may be the person you recall. I actually found her on Great Au Pair.com. She does not have formal qualifications as a nanny, but she is very good. Her employment contract give her an official job title of "au pair". But, to be honest, the job she does is far more of a nanny that an au pair. When her contract is up (and hopefully she will be staying with us), I plan to change it to "nanny".

But, I don't think my situation is really comparable to yours because she has sole control of the child all day long whilst I am at work. What is youlook for an au pair, but required previous experience. Maybe then she wouldn't need so much training.

yuletide Sun 16-Jan-05 21:46:59

Uwila. If i found someone suitable I would feel comfortable knowing that she could have sole charge of two toddlers when my childminder goes on hoilday ect( just as back up really) and 3 hours twice a week. Other days I would require some light house work, Ironing the usual AP duties.
With previous AP its really been just an extra pair of hands because I was around most of the time ( but out numbered by children) I could spend time showing her how we do things - and explaining about children like and why they behave as they do. it did take a long time before Our AP really got stuck in. Now the children are little older I feel I have more structure, so I plan to work P-T and would like someone who is confident with children and have a bit of insight, could take DS's to toddler groups and feed them decent food. How old is your AP? and how does she fit into your family? Does it work well?

Uwila Mon 17-Jan-05 11:50:43

Our nanny is 48. She is from Estonia, and has two grown daughters of her own. One of them has a son, so she is even a grandmother. She fits in pretty well. But, to be honest she pretty much keeps to herself. When I get home from work she goes to her room immediately. I used to wonder if this was a sign that she was unhappy. But, it may just be that her day is long and tiring so when I get home, she runs for cover. Or, it may be that she regards herself as the hired help and think her place is in her room. I have tried to wlecome her and explain that she need not dpart the living room just because I am home. But, then, perhaps she is more comgfortable in her own space where she can unwind at the end of the day. Anyway, we get along fine.

It is just pure luck that she is actually quite the nutrition freak -- oh joy! So, I don't need to worry much about what DD eats (and if it were up to dd she would refuse all meals in favour of milk and cookies) So this is a wonderful trait of a nanny. Although, I dod suspect that in my absense, the Nanny may give in to demand more easily than I would. For example, if dd demand cheerios for dinner, and I am offering pasta with veg and meat, then too bad. If she protests, I just let her down and she goes without. But, for the most part Heidi certainly shines on the food front when it comes to leading by example.

The problem I expect you will face is that you want someone for what really amounts to very few hours. My nanny works 60 hours a week, plus miscellaneous babysitting. I don't pay her a great deal (at least not according to the critical mumsnet brigade). But, with the amount of hours she works she makes enough to live on.

I wonder if the ideal person for you might be someone who is a bit older but wants to persue some other activity, such as studying in her spare time.

Also, I know that this is a bit controversial, but I do think it's valuable to jusge the liklihood of getting along with someone based on their culture. And, from what I know, I would recommend Estonians. The person for whom my nanny worked before me was actually a young English couple who were living in Estonia. When I spoke to her (for a reference) she told me that she had had sever Estonian employees and they all were very good and hard working. She believed it was an Estonian trait. So, you may wish to try Estonia as a good sourse.

There is, however, one draw back to an older nany who has raised a family already. And, that is that she is bound to have definite views on various subjects which might not be the same as yours. For example, my nanny is very keen on all things natural. Camomile tea for sticky eye, "Vodka socks" for a fever, and so on. I, however, believe firmly in modern medicine and my children WILL be give paracetemol if their feven goes above 38.0. I have to be rather firm in ensuring that she give the medicine sometimes.

Oh, I've rambled on and on... Hope I haven't said too much. I previously had a young au pair from Polans, and she was a big mistake. If you want to know more, CAT me and I'll have lots more to say.

Good luck... Uwila

yuletide Mon 17-Jan-05 14:49:40

Thanks Uwila- ( very helpful) Your nanny sounds brilliant am very impressed by food issues. Thats also very important to us we don't do junk food I cook healthy meals and i would like to think the children were given healthy snacks in my absence.I think it can be difficult to get this across to a young girl who loves fast food in this country.

I don't think you can underestimate the cultural aspect, as it is important ( as we have found out) views vary on raising children and discipline issues. If anything I think our AP thought i was a dreadful mother for leaving DD to cry for 10mins at bedtime, her first reaction was pick him up every time and she really spoils the children in the worst ways (chocolate snack and defending them far too much at toddler groups telling off other 2 year olds) strangely she thought instant smack is better than time out when we discussed it. Some of this is down to her personality and how she was brought up.

Our current AP is Polish we had a bad start but it put it down to testing the boundry on her part and bad communication on my part. Things are really working well at the moment - it took ages to get to this stage, but she leaves in a few months. I must add we will miss her she turned out to quite a character.

Yes I think i will stick at the greataupair site
as musmsnetters seem to have success, afterall I have plenty of time to look. i think definately someone mature and avoid ( if at all possible) the boyfirend issues and drunken antics ( of my Au pairs not me!)

ALthough its difficult to gaurantee, I would like someone stay 12 months at least, therefore could suit someone with other interests could be ideal.

thanks again - Its given me some things to think about.

Issymum Mon 17-Jan-05 15:00:14

Yuletide, have you tried www.gumtree.com? Look under 'Work Wanted/Nanny, aupairs, domestic help' or you can put up your own advert for about £18.

We recruited an excellent nanny through this site, but reading through the 'work wanted' area there also seemed to be plenty of people looking for work who hadn't placed themselves in the rather rigid categories of 'nanny', 'aupair' or 'mother's help', but were just looking for the right job.

yuletide Mon 17-Jan-05 15:16:06

Issymum - just a quick look what a great site Its shame we don't have anything similar for Manchester area. Its certainly worth looking.

Issymum Mon 17-Jan-05 15:50:45

It does tend to be London-centric in the 'Work Wanted' section as I suspect that's the 'landing' place for most newly arrived Antipodeans and others. But the ads offering work are from all over the place, so it might be worth putting an ad in (particularly as Manchester is such a hip and trendy place!).

Sorry if this sounds patronising, but if you do put in your ad, you might want to work really hard to 'sell' the job, your family and the location as well as telling people what you are looking for. I wrote a long ad with lots of information about us and the town where we live and a link to a website with photographs of the accommodation etc and got a great response. Some of the ads are really very funny as they read along the lines of 'Wanted, person to work Cinderella schedule, must adore ironing and be committed to cleaning, sense of humour essential [because we haven't got one], own tiny room with TV, shared bathroom facilities with family dog. Pay: If you're lucky.'

binkie Mon 17-Jan-05 16:21:27

Hey, but there is a Manchester gumtree

HERE

though it's new so not nearly the only place you need to look, as in London

endorse Issymum on using the London one too, though, as it's definitely the springboard

yuletide Mon 17-Jan-05 17:22:16

Thanks - this is great! what a useful lot you all are I think I will avoid selling us as flat cap coronation street- vera duckworth type of family ( and tell a lie) and concentrate on other aspects of being near Manchester and other towns.

Kittermaster Sat 05-Mar-05 12:58:53

Have you tried www.aupaircompany.com - they have many experience au pairs as well as those with other skills...just a thought.

Good luck!

lou33 Sat 05-Mar-05 14:08:51

please email contactus@mumsnet.com and pay the relevent ad fees for advertising your company

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