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How do you arrange childcare for a large young family?

(12 Posts)
LongStory Wed 23-Sep-09 22:21:39

I'm the main income earner and didn't plan on having a large family, but hey ho, had an unplanned multiple pg and am getting on with it (loving it actually!). DS1 9, DD1 7, D2 4, DTwins 8 months. Back to work next week, 3 long days a week. This is what I'm doing:

7am - 8.30am DH in charge (shudder)
8.30 - 10.30 Neighbour plays with twins, dresses them, milk, nap (DH does school run)
10.30 - 6.30 Chief Nanny, aka my mum in control!
2.30 - 6.30 Mother's help in charge of laundry, cleaning and tea, plus adult cover when chief does inevitable chauffering. (She also comes two days when I'm not working, so I get a bit of a break.)

Am paying £6 an hour, it all comes in for slightly less than just paying for twins in nursery. But I don't get tax credits as not registered etc. I might even get about £5 at the end of the month for me me me!

Do others have such tailor-made arrangements,or am I the only crazy working multiple mother (also still BF & cloth bumming)?

benandoli Thu 24-Sep-09 08:38:02

well done, I have three and I work 2 days a week, it is the organisation that is the worst going to work is actually a break!

MillyMollyMoo Thu 24-Sep-09 15:26:35

I'm not sure i'd bother in your situation, looks like very hard work and what happens if somebody is ill ? We had a nanny which works out cheaper than a nursery but didn't work in other ways, ours was work shy to say the least.

LongStory Thu 24-Sep-09 15:37:35

not really optional to duck out on either financial or sanity grounds. The £5 is for me, the rest of the difference covers food and all expenses of so many children, e.g. music lessons, swimming etc etc. Don't have a partner with big income or a desire to live on benefits. Also think I'd go mad if I had to do it all myself.

MillyMollyMoo Thu 24-Sep-09 15:40:35

Ah well off to work you go then ..... good luck juggling it all.

LongStory Thu 24-Sep-09 15:59:57

Thank you, I think I'm going to need it!

Diege Thu 24-Sep-09 16:59:06

You'll be fine grin. I have 3 dds (8, 6, 3) and a baby ds (14 wks) and will be returning to work in January (4 long days - full-time job squeezed into 4 days, with the odd 5 day week). The secret for me is a partner who can do drop offs/pick ups on some of the days, and (for sanity reasons) leaving the house before they all get up (for sanity AND a long commute!)We also have different childcare providers, and the key for our sanity as a family is keeping track of who is where (after school clubs etc) on a massive wall-planner, and getting everything possible done the night before (hell, I;d put them to sleep in their school uniforms if I had my way wink). I have to say your routine sounds remarkably organised and you should give yourslef a large glass of wine pat on the back for getting through the day!

MillyMollyMoo Thu 24-Sep-09 17:21:19

Can I just be really nosey, how have you found having twins compared with the other three, there's a small gap between DC1 and 2 isn't there ?
Just pondering about putting two eggs back when I have IVF next week.

Pollyanna Thu 24-Sep-09 17:25:26

I have similar arrangements 5 children aged 1-10 and work 3 days a week. Our childcare consists of: 1 nursery, 3 schools, one au pair, one grandma.

I have an au pair who helps out in the morning (school run) and afternoons (from 2.30).

on 2 days my mum comes and looks after the youngest 2

on 1 day the 1 yo goes to nursery all day, and the 4 yo gets picked up from school (at lunchtime) by that nursery and goes there.

Me and dh stagger our starts so that one starts early and comes home early and the other goes late and comes home late

In holidays its all a nightmare!

I make about 50p a week.

LongStory Thu 24-Sep-09 20:51:32

Aha I'm not the only mad one here! Thanks, ladies.

Diege - snap! (though did you quiver when you saw twins?) It sounds like a similar situation - DH works based from home so he can often do the runs. Also really helps that big 3 are all at the same school this year. Isn't it terrible having a long commute ... hmmm, read a book in peace or do the school run. (sorry, true colours showing through now). We are also quite picky about clubs and extra-curricular stuff - often we organise trips or team activities ourselves rather than fit into pre-arranged timetables.

Polyanna - having an au pair sounds ideal - but we live out in the sticks so no fun for them. Our mother's help started yesterday and it is looking really promising. I got to eat my meal HOT with only one baby on my lap!!!

I am hopeful that we'll all grow up with flexible adaptable children.

MMM - wow how exciting / scary, full respect, huge decision! the twins are lovely and in one sense easier than the others: you have to work the routines around them and be much less ambitious about your day, which perversely keeps life simpler. They have responded to this, possibly?, by being delightful and calm compared to the three previous screamers. BF twins is almost easier as you don't need breastpads with two latched on! OTOH I never have enough hands and mealtimes while weaning are very difficult. I don't know your family size / ages - but it would probably be less fun if you have to work around pre-schoolers as well.

Diege Fri 25-Sep-09 08:56:50

LOL LONGSTORY, I think we're living parallel lives grin We're also picky with clubs as childminder can only stretch so far with picking them up after. I also admit to a huge exhale of breath when leaving the house for my 2 hours each way commute. People say how intolerable it must be but what's not to like about the calm of an early morning, starbucks, and a copy of Grazia on the 6.50 train? grin Twins must be hard work! I may (at some point in my twilight fertility years)go for no.5 so good to see it's doable!

alysonpeaches Fri 02-Oct-09 11:37:07

I have 4, one at school 6, others are 4, 2 and 1. I have a fab childminder who works with her daughter who is also a registered childminder so capacity isnt an issue. She charges £3.50 per child and I get back from tax credits. I also have a cleaner and use an ironing service.

I considered a nanny thinking it would be cheaper, but found that the ones who were free werent OFSTED reg so no tax credit help there. I also cant cope with nanny tax etc. I like the idea that the childminder takes them to her home (and on lots of outings) and is very flexible about times. She also picks up and drops off sometimes.

There are several husband and wife teams childminding round here where both are registered etc I think its due to the recession. This means that one can do school run whilst other stays at home with little ones, it also means they take in more kids.

I used a private nursery previously, but much prefer childminder.

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