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Anyone have a PA? Any tips?

(11 Posts)
Butterflyface Sat 02-Feb-13 08:24:23

I have a timetable printed out that's stuck to the kitchen door - I took it from the flylady idea, so there's a weekly one and a monthly one. That way, if I'm sleeping, she can still get on with stuff that day, and it means I only have to think about 'extra' things.
We're now on our 3rd P.A.. We were quite unlucky in that the 1st quit after 3 months, saying 'it wasn't what she wanted for her career' hmm. The second had a major drama in her life that I ended up helping her with and busting myself up! Then the week after she walked in saying she'd been signed off sick and was moving back to her home town, just before Christmas. THEN, after Christmas, she asked for her job back! confused Of course I said no, but we were really desperate for help so I was tempted.
Fortunately, a LOVELY lady applied for the job, with TONS of childcare experience and is a proper childminder and has had all the training to be a self-employed P.A. so I'm hoping it's going to work this time. I have hope! smile

treesntrees Fri 11-Jan-13 21:07:15

No-one has mentioned using a computer for their p.a. My son used to work for a man who among other things had no short term memory. Each p.a checked the computer when they came on duty and ticked off jobs as they were done or updated the progress. This also helped their employer as he used it to prompt his memory. My son advocates a separate cheap computer for staff.

sticks2 Tue 08-Jan-13 15:13:48

This is a message for Weegiemum really. I read you have a PA who does 8 hours a week.
Is she free to do more hours?
I live in Glasgow, on south side, and am looking for an extra carer.
Nine years ago my spine collapsed and as well as making me disabled, it caused other problems too. I have three children, pets and a dh.
Your PA sounds so good. I've had lots of carers over the years, some wonderful but others breathakingly awful. One once yelled at my profoundly deaf son 'tidy your toys!' That's why I stopped using agencies. I use my DLA but don't want to be be an employer so lI'm ooking for someone who is self-employed.

weegiemum Wed 26-Sep-12 00:14:29

Sounds ghastly, poor you. I know the ghastliness of making decisions about what to do!!

My PA cleans bathrooms on Monday and hoovers
Cleans kitchen on Thursday and mops downstairs (all floors downstairs need it!)

Monday she cooks tea for kids and a dish for tomorrow/freezer
Thursday she does that nights tea.

Others include hanging out easing or folding it (we long ago gave up ironing!!), cleaning out pets, taking me to/from appoinytment, sewing on lost buttons or guide badges.

She always comes in, does the basics then asks me what else. By then I have a list. She's very flexible irt hours/tasks. She'll sew on a badge or fill in a consent form for school etc!

I only need her 8 hours week, any takers???

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 24-Sep-12 01:03:10

i have half killed self writing job descriptions (v thorough), and a house 'book of everything' to avoid the constant (and repetitive) where is this? how do you do this? oh do i have to do this? about things that happen the same each time...

had to send my ds away to get these done, i hope was worth it...

and will be doing notes everyday as well... maybe in a diary? or a notebook? as last trial 'lost' the list and 'forgot' to buy lots of stuff (and walked off with the money and took ages to get it back off her), so i would like not to have to remember what was on the last list and rewrite it from memory, and ask... have you done X, X, X, when i can't remember what i've asked them and they pretend they've done everything unless i ask specific point by point questions...

getting a very bad opinion of human kind...

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 24-Sep-12 00:59:07

thanks for all the tips - one starts tues, the other starts wed - fingers crossed!!!

am hearing loud and clear that you need to micromanage and be on top of what they are doing... which strikes fear into my heart as i am not well enough to do that! arch, awful catch 22, too ill to make sure the carers do what they are supposed to do to make me a bit better. if I was a bit better i could tell them what to do.... ugh.

had quite a few on trial over the last month, trouble is i have to use the trials as help, as i need a hell of a lot of help and currently skidding dangerously by on no direct help, and a lot of money being spend on things that are supposed to help but don't really...

at one point i had a cleaner £6/ph, a PA 'supervising' £12ph and an agency fee (forget how much)... and i still had to ask my ex to clean the bathroom the next day as they;d just basically smeared piss around the tiles, bath and toilet as no one apparently knew how to clean a bathroom!!!! seriously stank, like the next girl coming in for a trial didn't want to stay in the house. so, how much was that for the privilege of having people make bathroom unusable?!

weegiemum Mon 25-Jun-12 16:51:03

I have what I think of as a PA, she's here 4 hours, 2 days a week, I pay her out of my DLA. She has set tasks on the days she comes plus flexible tasks - helps with sewing, form filling, hanging up clothes as well as the usual cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen. Last week for example she came to work via the music shop as dd2 had lost her music for her violin exam!

I find having a core set of tasks which take 2.5 - 3 hours and then spare time fir the incidentals - running me to appointments, sewing on cub badges, taking kids to s friends house etc, works well. I need the driving support as Ive lost mh licence with my developing disability.

I think I've struck lucky, and my level of disability means 2 afternoons a week is enough for me.

But I dong take any crap. She's a very hard worker who has had to deal with a temp disability herself which I think helps!

Dodgypins Sat 23-Jun-12 02:14:32

At a time when I could desperately do with a PA I don't have one.. BUT when I was working and had a big family I had fulltime help at home. I found that starting out with a daily list from day one.. ie this is how I work, was the only solution for me. I did micromanage as I specified HOW I wanted things done as well as when and said how long I expected the job to take.( asked them to tell me if I had my timings off so we could reorganise if necessary) It worked very well and when I found the one or 2 wonderful ones they stayed for years and the lists got briefer and briefer but I never stopped doing it altogether as it was a good means of communication too as they could leave notes for me on the back. You are paying the person to do what you want them to do. Specify, and explain in clear written language how they need to prioritise, ie a whingy tot does not get priority over your health needs, but a tot in danger or really upset does. That way there is no excuse for blaming you if they neglect the child's needs either. Don't get into the guilt thing. You have a way to go caring for your son and yourself. He needs you so he needs you to take care of yourself as well as him.

Don't let the beggars grind you down!!

spotsdots Thu 17-May-12 16:56:59

I know how you feel. I have to say you will hire and fire a good number of them. Its tiring but be firm and tell them what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Please don't put up with a lazy PA for more than 2days. Make it clear they are your employee not a friend. Write a list and tell them politely (yes tell not ask) to carryout the tasks e.g while the potatoes are boiling please do the hoovering.

I might come across as harsh but IME and from other long term PA users will tell you similar suggestions. Remember PA is not a CARER, they are paid to support you. PA is an employee just like a sectretary or any other employee. If a sectretary was good at talking to the customers but yet not able to sell them a product or not able to carryout the admin work, would you continue employing them?

Good luck smile

Butterflyface Tue 15-May-12 15:53:56

Oh God, I don't really have any advice, but I just came on here because I'm about to go through the interviewing process myself.
From having a friend help out though, I know what you mean about having to 'micro manage'!
Do you present her with a list of tasks for the day? I'm hoping to be able to do this when I get a PA - along the lines of "This is what I want to achieve today" kind of thing?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 14-May-12 20:00:32

6 weeks into employing a pa for the first time (direct payments), & she's supposed to be doing a joint job of looking for me, house & my Ds (26 mths)... And it's not really working :-(

Shes basically a great nanny & looks after Ds to the exclusion of anything else, & my health getting worse as a result. I know I am not as cute (or annoying) as a toddler, but she just can't seem to prioritise my needs over Ds s 'urgent' needs/demands/ toddler whines.

I sat down & talked to her about this & a little has changed, but its not enough unless I micromanage her all day (which requires the mobility & stamina of a v healthy person)...

It's not like I am asking her to neglect my son in favour of myself, but I have to remind her multiple times a day to help me & often the effort of asking & explaining is not worth it, esp as it makes me feel selfish & mean & a bad mother to have to keep on asking (getting upset just writing about it)... I know that the emotions are congrats from me not her, from her is blank incomprehension & vague efforts.

I think she is just 'programmed' to put children first & spoil them rotten & although she wants to take care of me her value system keeps saying 'no! Children first'...

Im hoping it can still work out somehow... Ijust can't physically go thru interview process again as it took such a physical toll, & she did stand head & shoulders above the rest in interviews...

So any advice/tips? I need this to work... My life relies on it (as you'd prob know if u reading this board!)

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