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After DS2 has his brain op, should we get paid help? Any thoughts?

(24 Posts)
JustKeepSwimming Sat 26-Sep-09 19:32:37

My DS2 (20mo) is due to have brain surgery for his epilepsy soon.
(We've been given a possible date in November)

We also have DS1 (3.5yrs) who goes to pre-sch 5 mornings a week.

We hope to get PIL here for the 2 weeks DS2 should be in hosp to look after DS1, keep his routine going, and DH & I will stay in GOSH in shifts depending how things are going.

My parents have just been up for a few days and confirmed our worries that they are fairly useless in the childcare dept ( - but another story for another day).

Post-op DS2 is meant to take it slowly for 6-8 weeks.

DH works away from home Mon-Thurs lots of the time & we don't want to take the P with him taking time off work, though obv they have said take as much time as you need.

So, we are wondering if it might make sense to employ somebody to help me out at home?

The kind of jobs I'm thinking of are, for eg:

- either do the school run (only a walk round the corner) or DS2-sit while I do it so DS2 doesn't have to be woken for it (he sleeps a lot)

- DS2-sit during his afternoon nap so I can go out with DS1 somewhere, or v.v.

I don't want someone to 'live-in' and DS2 shouldn't need actual nursing care - otherwise he won't be at home.

Pretty sure a teenage AP wanting to learn English is not the right way forward & like I say I don't to put her up in my house.


Someone who lives locally and can be flexible.

Someone who is comfortable being left alone with DS2 (he hopefully won't be having seizures and he doesn't have 'full-blown' szs anyway, mostly absences & head-drops).

Someone who would be happy to take DS1 out and about to give me a break/him some fresh air, etc.

Some others things I haven't thought of yet...

Does this sound like a 'job' that we could find someone for?

Any thoughts?

differentID Sat 26-Sep-09 19:36:21

have you thought about approaching social services for respite care help?

Tavvy Sat 26-Sep-09 19:42:02

Yes it does. I don't know what your finances are like but a nanny should be able to do what you ask or a competent mothers help. If I were you I would push for someone though who is willing to help you out with other things too as having worked a job in your sort of situation you need the maximum flexibility in case things don't go according to plan (heaven forbid) and somebody who is willing to be helpful and sensitive. I worked as a live in when I did this which gave my boss the flexibility she needed as if she did have to be at the hospital later than she'd envisaged she could just call and it wouldn't be a problem.
SNAP childcare deal with special needs nannies.
Agencies can be helpful but expensive.
Gumtree can either be great or a pain.
Nannyjob possibly.
Can you ask around. There are a lot of nannies who work temp jobs like this.
Good luck finding somebody and with DS's operation.
Fingers crossed

JustKeepSwimming Sat 26-Sep-09 19:43:25

Not really - is it income-based?

And is respite when he would stay somewhere else? Don't really want that tbh.

He should be mostly fine, just has to take it easy.

And I don't want to disturb him when he's sleeping for routine things like pre-sch run.

JustKeepSwimming Sat 26-Sep-09 19:46:39

Tavvy - x-posted.
Thanks, don't think I am comfortable with a live-in and it would mean grandparents would have no room when/if they came - though i suppose they can stay in hotel round corner easily for the couple of months if needed.

Finances aren't endless but we can afford to spend money on this...

So perhaps a nanny then? will look sat SNAP, do they have a website? (will Google).


TotalChaos Sat 26-Sep-09 19:51:06

if you qualify for help from SS, it wouldn't inevitably mean that DS1 would be looked after by someone else - you can ask for direct payments, where SS give you money to pay for the help you need:-

JustKeepSwimming Sat 26-Sep-09 20:00:11

Thanks TC - pretty sure we wouldn't qualify for SS help - will ask DH, he knows more about our finances than me blush.

geogteach Sat 26-Sep-09 20:06:52

Friends DS1 recently had same ( I guess from your description) op at GOSH. He was much better after the op than she had hoped, I looked after DS2 for some of the time but DS1 was back at school much sooner than she had been led to expect. I hope for your sake it goes the same way!

JustKeepSwimming Sat 26-Sep-09 20:13:34

Geogteach - thanks for that!!! Here's hoping.....

sarah293 Sat 26-Sep-09 20:15:48

Message withdrawn

JustKeepSwimming Sat 26-Sep-09 20:24:10

OK Riven, will do!
Well what I'll do is ask the SN HV who's coming to meet us next week about her advice re benefits.

Still adjusting to having an SN child, my first reaction is we're not entitled to anything as he's not that bad....

chegirl Sat 26-Sep-09 21:02:17

Have you applied for DLA yet JustKeep? It is not means tested. You may qualify. My DS gets it and he has mild (ish) difficulties compared to many. He gets the low rate but its very helpful for covering expenses.

It may be that you DS qualifies but you would need someone in the know to help you with the forms and you would need to get them sent off pronto.

I wish you and DS all the best for his op and a speedy, uneventful recovery.

drinkyourmilk Sun 27-Sep-09 09:55:26

Before i nannied i worked for cs. I worked with several families at various times of the day - helped with school runs, playing in the home, taking both the child with sen and/or siblings out. I can't see why you wouldn't be entitled to help along these lines.

JustKeepSwimming Sun 27-Sep-09 15:10:14

Thanks Chegirl & DYM

I will definitely push for info from the HV coming on Tues.

littleducks Sun 27-Sep-09 15:16:43

I think you should get a cleaner who will iron if you can afford it on top

Then when you are exhausted (and you will be emotionally) there is that whole sphere of things covered by someone else#

Hope the op goes well

nannynick Sun 27-Sep-09 17:31:56

The regular posters over on [[ Special Needs board] will be able to offer you advice with regard to what benefits you may be able to claim for on behalf of your DS2.
If this is the first visit from SN HV then they will also be able to advise you about what that visit is likely to involve and how helpful (or not) they have found such visits.

While having your PIL helping is good (well maybe, as you do say they are fairly useless in the chidlcare dept), that isn't a long term solution. So try to look at your needs pre-op and post-op.

DH and You need quality time with both of your children. DH also needs to work so you stay afloat financially. So probably best if DH sticks to his usual routine as much as possible, spending his non working days having quality time with you and your children.

I feel a live-out nanny for 4 days a week (the days your DH works) may be your best option - though will be quite costly.

Why I feel a live-out nanny may be best:
1 - they can help with childcare, spending 1:1 time with a child, or caring for both children giving you a rest.
2 - they can help with children's washing, cooking food, light housework (such as running the vacuum around, loading/unloading dishwasher, tidy toys etc).
3 - they don't live-in, they arrive at a set time and leave at a set time.
4 - the nanny will be known to you and your children, so you could ask them to babysit on the occasional evening.

You could get a temp nanny for a while who could help pre-op and post-op. Then see how things are going after the 8 weeks post-op - if DS2 has recovered from the op well and you feel you are able to cope without the help... then you could decide to stop having a temp nanny and look at having just a little help with the more mundane things, like laundry (there are services which will wash and iron, or just wash, or just iron) and housework (a cleaner).

As you are not needing Nursing care, I would not suggest using SNAP agency. Instead contract local nanny agencies and ask about temp nannies, see who they have available for say mid-October to Xmas.

frakkinpannikin Sun 27-Sep-09 20:25:16

Just stalked your profile and seen you're in Essex otherwise I would have been applying for you potential job!

A nanny with some kind of SN/nursing/care experience would be fine, and if you got a nanny/housekeeper type person they may even iron for you!

JustKeepSwimming Sun 27-Sep-09 20:26:28

Littleducks - thanks

Firstly we do have cleaners atm, they come for 1.5hrs a week and we will keep them coming, they will iron but it takes time out of the 1.5hrs, but we could up that (added another 1hr after my c-s with ds2, so could do that again).

We are already experiencing the emotional-drain-effect so thanks for reminding me that even the mundane could be tough.

Nannynick - that is a v useful post, thank you
Think you have described what i want better than i could. will look up local agencies and see what they say.

My DH works 5 days but is away mon-thurs usually and local on fridays. i really would like him to stay on top of work if at all poss but 4 days would still be a help. Will ask about 5 too though.

So a temp contract from say mid-oct to Christmas would be acceptable then?
with some kind of 'break-clause'?

Will post more questions on SN, have started on there recently.

JustKeepSwimming Sun 27-Sep-09 20:27:47

Oh and just to clarify, my PIL are pretty fab, it's my parents who are crap.

bethylou Sun 27-Sep-09 20:41:16

I'm sure you will get on with phoning SS quickly anyway as you will want to sort things out, but I would say don't hang around as they don't always move as fast as people would like and will need to do an initial assessment first etc.. which will take a little time. Good luck. Keep us informed as to how it goes.

chegirl Sun 27-Sep-09 21:08:16

My SIL used to work for the family support team of her SS. They would go and support the family through illness, traumatic events etc. It was meant to support 'children in need' rather than children at risk IYSWIM.

Their client base was mostly families in deprived circumstances but not exclusively. I am not sure if ss have rearranged demolished this vital service so it may be worth asking when you call.

I really hope you get things sorted out in time for DS's op. It would be lovely if you could concentrate on him and not have to worry about the 'unimportant' stuff like ironing and cooking.

Good luck.

nannynick Sun 27-Sep-09 21:22:22

Temp nannies will work a variety of lengths of time, from a single day to a few months.
Have a chat with local agencies to find out if there are people in your area who do temping, or if people are only wanting more permanent jobs.
You can also hire privately, via NannyJob, Gumtree etc. Though in your situation may be easier getting an agency to sort things out as much as possible for you.

JustKeepSwimming Thu 01-Oct-09 08:51:09

Right DH has been working like mad on all this so we met 2 poss nannies yesterday!

Can't decide what we should do next & there are still so many questions.
DH is dealing with the money/tax/NI side of things, my head can't cope with all that.

We were told to check for 2 things, CRB & NNEB, both have recent CRBs, both have BTECs in Childhood Studies/Early Years - are these equivalent to the NNEB?

So a comparison:

Candidate 1:
- qualified 2008, started a teaching course at uni, it didn't work out. No 1-on-1 experience, only experience is in mixed settings (schools, childminders).
Is cheaper, is prepared to do cleaning & ironing if DS2 asleep and nothing else to do (means we could cancel our cleaners, meaning more money for her, more hours). Is v flexible. Was nervous but understandable. Someone has to be someone's 1st employer....
And she won't get thrown in the deep end with being left alone with 2 kids as i'll be around a lot anyway.
Could be v good for her CV, lots of SN info, developmental stuff etc.

Candidate 2:
- experienced, with some SN experience. more £££. have seen her with kids as bizarrely she worked for another mum in my NCT group for a while. more relaxed. Is looking for work for 6month max as her employer is on mat leave and wants her back afterwards. So she also wants to keep in touch with that family, maybe 1 day a week. which is fine, as long as it's friday for us!

1 didn't seem that fab when ds1 asked her her fave food, she didn't bend down and chat, just sort of stood there and ummed,'err no real favourite....'
but was on the way out in the hallway, and i can understand her nervousness. she only registered with the agency on Tues.

2 was here after boys went to bed as she was working all day.

any thoughts?

Summersoon Thu 01-Oct-09 09:10:15

I think you need to see Candidate #2 with the children. I would be very reluctant to hire someone unless I had seen how they interacted with DCs. If she can't come in during the working day in the week, ask her to come in for a couple of hours this weekend. Also, you might want to ask Candate #1 back for a second interview - but don't phrase it like that, just ask whether she would like to come and meet DC's again - perhaps she'll be a little more relaxed then. You could even offer to pay her for, say, 3 hours. But you need to satisfy yourself that at least one of the candidates can really relate to your kids. I had someone with experience limited to working in a children's home in her first nanny job with us and she was a disaster. I am sure that she was a rare and unfortunate exception but that is why I would recommend you make sure. I also think that given your cirucmstances and given it is for a limited time only, I would look at cost less than I would otherwise do and go with your gut feel who you are most comfortable with. Good luck!

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