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What sort of hypothetical childcare or help am I looking for?

(13 Posts)
branhasnocommentfortheDM Mon 17-Aug-09 20:05:12

This is a bit vague and waffly so apologies in advance.

I have a 5 yo DS and an 18 mo DD. At the moment I'm a SAHM and it's fine in the sense that I'm coping and there are just enough nuggets of pure joy to get me through the drudgery and behaviour issues.

DS is adorable, but very high energy and an extreme extrovert who demands a lot of attention and gets very stroppy and rather destructive if he doesn't get enough. He likes loads of company but needs keeping an eye on with friends as it can get a bit wild. He is best described as challenging but rewarding. DD is also adorable but entering the tantruming stage where she has to do everything herself but isn't quite capable of it so dressing, putting on shoes, going anywhere (won't use the pushchair now she can walk) all takes time, during which DS gets bored. However she can play by herself which DS simply can't.

We may possibly be adopting another child as DD has a sibling who is a few months old. If we do then I would want help. I know that there are plenty of mums who cope with much larger families and love it too but I'm not a natural and get frazzled easily.

I would like someone who is able to have sole charge of one or two of the children some of the time but would also do some housework and cooking (including for DH and I) which I'm not sure a nanny would be keen on. Ideally I would want to do most of the childcare myself and delegate the dreary stuff like menu planning and shopping so I guess it's mostly housekeeper stuff but with a childcare crossover so that I can get my hair done or go to events at DS's school, but also someone who would be happy to take DS to the park and play football or something to burn off energy.

Millarkie Mon 17-Aug-09 20:25:44

Have you got space for a live-in? You might be able to find an au pair who can cook (ok, so mine have not been great cooks but it's not one of our requirements). They should be able to supervise ds and play footie with him and give you a (supervised) helping hand with dd..not so sure about menu planning..not sure of any childcarer who would do that, but they do do cleaning. They are the most flexible of home help types I feel, in that you can write the job description as it suits you, and they can then agree or not accept the job. For example, our au pair walks the dog.

branhasnocommentfortheDM Mon 17-Aug-09 20:36:55

No, unfortunately it would have to be live-out as we are in a 3 bed flat which I don't really want to move from.

I'm not sure that an au-pair is quite what I want as I would definitely like someone who is able to cope with children and be able to take sole charge. The biggest down-side of an au-pair for me is the uncertainty that seems to come with them, they could be great or like having another child, they might stay for ages or disappear suddenly with little notice. I don't think social services would be keen either, if they do place DD's sibling with us then anyone who has care of that child would need to be vetted by them which would be difficult to do with an au-pair.

On the whole I would rather pay a proper wage and have a more experienced and professional person. I just fear that a nanny wouldn't want the job because it's not enough sole care and a housekeeper might not have the experience to cope with DS.

nbee84 Mon 17-Aug-09 20:43:30

You need a mothers help.

She is generally a younger girl who has some childcare experience or may have worked in a nursery and would be looking for a role where she can get some hands on experience for her cv.

A mothers help will do childcare and general household duties (not so sure on the cooking) and as long as you are upfront on all the duties in the job advert and at the interview stage you should be able to find someone that would fit your requirements.

danthe4th Mon 17-Aug-09 21:16:32

If you were prepared to pay a decent wage I would advertise for a mature mothers help, this would definately suit someone with older children who wanted to return to work but still be around for her own children as it sounds like you could be flexible. You could be lucky and get someone local who you could work with.

nannynick Mon 17-Aug-09 21:25:29

I feel you want to aim for someone older... a nanny who is looking for a job which isn't hands-on childcare all the time. Someone who wouldn't mind spending a few hours doing household chores, yet capable of taking over as full charge nanny as and when needed. So I suppose it's a nanny looking to quieten down to the housekeeper role. A benefit of someone older is that they will have more past history for Social Services to check up, thus satisfy their requirements. Also as they have many many years of experience, they will be able to handle a "challenging but rewarding" child.

May be best just to advertise and see who you get applying. If you make the advert very clear as to what the expected duties will be, then with luck that will put off applicants who want lots of sole charge care.

branhasnocommentfortheDM Mon 17-Aug-09 21:55:55

Thanks everyone. It sounds like it could be do-able then. I don't think I have an ideal type, I hadn't thought about old/young, male/female etc.

I think it would only be needed if we do have a third child (although the temptation is strong to do it now just so I can poo without an audience of two). There hasn't been a permanant placement decision for DD's sibling yet so it's not something we have to decide just yet. Even with help I think it would stretch our parenting abilities and patience for the first few years. DH and I have had a few weekends where we've done an activity or even just gone to the supermarket and had lunch out and thought "how would we do this with three". Perhaps they wouldn't syncronise their strops if there were three of them though. [self-deluding emoticon]

Where would be a good place to advertise a job like this (we're based in London)? Would an agency be the way to go or would it be better to do it ourselves as it's slightly off the norm?

Bink Mon 17-Aug-09 22:03:00

Advertising - is ds at school yet? Presumably, if he's five? So, school newsletters often have ads like this, or a school noticeboard.

Ask around, a lot. Playgrounds sometimes have noticeboards too. Also here - venerable institution, used to be called The Register.

Gumtree is very hit and miss, because it's so busy. But you can be lucky. Also a site called Findababysitter seemed to help someone else the other day.

branhasnocommentfortheDM Mon 17-Aug-09 22:11:50

DS is at school, going into year 1, but it's a very small school as it's new (last year they had year 1 and reception with 18 pupils altogether) so they don't have a noticeboard. I might ask the other parents though as it wouldn't hurt to ask around as you say.

That link looks really promising, thanks Bink. From a quick browse through it a lot of the job-seekers seem to be pitching themselves as nanny/mother's help, I somehow imagined that they would define themselves as one or the other.

Bink Mon 17-Aug-09 22:26:30

Re pitching, the search facility isn't great - you can only search in one category (ie you can't search for everything EXCEPT a maternity nurse eg, you have to say "I am ONLY looking for a doula" - etc.) so I guess people have to try & make sure they get picked up by enough searches ... so if you put an ad on there you'll have to tag it in each possible category too.

It's the same with many of these sites and it is a pain!

PS - au pairs can be live-out too, so you might have a look at too.

arseaboutit Mon 17-Aug-09 22:39:59

Housekeeper might want to leave you to it with the kids and get on with cleaning or dinner.

Nanny might want you out the house so she can get on with nursery duties.

Mothers help might be too in-experienced to take charge of 3 under fives for long, but should be happy to muck in with cleaning etc.

You need a mix of all three maybe. So def agree be upfront right fromt he advert so everyone knows whats what.

Perhaps advertise for Housekeeper/ Mothers Help with some sole charge.

nannynick Tue 18-Aug-09 13:30:21 may also be worth considering advertising on.

branhasnocommentfortheDM Fri 21-Aug-09 19:50:15

Thanks all. smile I've been thinking further about the type of person that I need and I think I would like someone who is part 1950s housewife with a love of making order from chaos and a kind heart and part sporty young antipodean male who likes to cook in the style of Bill Whatshisname.

I fear I may be narrowing my potential pool of employees rather too much. grin

I have spoken to some rl friends about their recommendations and current childcare arrangements. One of my friends (who works part-time, often from home) has something very similar to what I'm looking for. She has a very lovely Turkish lady who is great with the kids and they love her, but she equally enjoys cooking for the family when not looking after the kids (apparently the food is delicious, but not very kind to the waistline because they eat too much of it).

I'm feeling a bit more optomistic about the whole help with the 3rd child thing, but will have to wait and see if we get offered DD's sibling before organising the help.

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