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Childcare and shift/freelance work

10 replies

mootie · 05/01/2007 11:41

I was wondering how other parents manage who work shifts and/or freelance. DH is freelance, I work shifts. I can get fixed shifts when I go back part-time in May/June, but the hours will be long - most likely from 6am to 4pm. DH could take DD to nursery and I could pick her up, but there will be times when he's offered work that starts early, or he has to go away from work, and then what? I won't always be able to take the day off work.
I was thinking of sending her to nursery, but having a sympathetic childminder up my sleeve who would be willing to take her early-early and then on to nursery, in case of emergency. Or are there childminders out there who will do odd hours as and when needed? We live in London E5. Thanks!

OP posts:
riab · 05/01/2007 13:15

TBH it is hard. I work freelance and its a bit of a juggle with childcare.

Thigsg i found that help:
find a nursery that can do emergancy care - one nr a university can help
think about a friendly neighbour or toddler group mate who would agree to look after DD and take her to nursery on the odd occasion you both need to leave early (make sure you come up with some arangment to help them out in return)
Find a nursery or CM that opens at 7am and accept that your husband won't be able to take work that starts before 7.30am.

I don't think you'll easily find a CM who can take kids at 5.30am - i assume it would need to be that early for you to get to work for 6am. So I think to an extent you have to compromise your own work too. I'd say you need an agreement that your husband can only take work that allows him to drop off at nursery/CM. And also an agreement that he will only be away overnight for x nights a month.

The only other suggestion I can make is if you have room to have a mature student living with you who can look after DD from 6am - 8am drop off at nursery 2 or 3 times a week. Room and board would usually cost about £45 here so if you say 8/9 hrs of childcare thats £5 an hour. Probably the most reliable and cheapest option in the long run. Try for a student nurse or postgrad, someone over 21 with a bit of childcare experience. This does depend on how old DD is. I'd do it for a toddler but not a baby.

mootie · 10/01/2007 19:20

riab - I could work 8am-6pm, but then I wouldn't see the baby on those days.

The student idea is interesting, but I'm not sure we want to share our home.

And while the emergency care is a great idea if DH is out of town, it doesn't help me for those early mornings.

Anyone else have experience of funny hours? Any childminders out there catering for people like us?

OP posts:
gooseegg · 10/01/2007 19:25

Yes, there are childminders who might be able to help. To find out if there are any in your area look here

mootie · 10/01/2007 19:41

Thanks, I've seen that before, I was just wondering how other people manage.

I'm also considering a nanny share, but a bit concerned about the cost.

OP posts:
shosha · 10/01/2007 19:53

Message withdrawn

gooseegg · 10/01/2007 20:21

Yes the overnight idea is a very good one especially if you are on fixed shifts and know in advance which nights you would require care.

DominiConnor · 10/01/2007 20:23

That's why we plumped for a live-in nanny. Short of a team of emergency nannies with helicopters, there's always holes, especially with mornings.
What do you if the nanny doesn't turn up ?
Transport, being a bit rough fron the night before, or not answering the phone can all leave you with no childcare and an important meeting to attend.
We also are vulnerable to the failing tube system, and stuff that drags on later. More than one tube screwup has made us two hours late home.

Typically live-in nannies are cheaper than live-out, and a lot cheaper than the sort of service where you get long flexible hours.

mootie · 10/01/2007 20:35

shosha - it would only be occasionally, when my husband had an early start and I couldn't change shifts, or if he was away, so it's good to know some CM might be happy to help. I certainly wouldn't mind paying extra - I would be surprised if that wasn't the case.

Goose - I've never heard of overnight care, and tbh I don't like the idea of my dd spending the night somewhere else. But then I can barely leave her for a few hours without getting pangs.

domini - nannies are a great idea for those that can afford them. I work weird hours, but I don't get paid a lot. I've been wondering about a nanny share, but that doesn't get round the early morning problem.

OP posts:
gooseegg · 10/01/2007 21:56

Mootie as a mum I know exactly what you mean about being apprehensive of overnight care. It's possible though that you might find someone and somewhere really lovely.
I offer affordable overnight care in a really safe and cosy house and bedroom. We have our bedtime milk and stories and the children settle very well.

DominiConnor · 12/01/2007 19:59

Oh, yes I know all about the cost of a nanny
I wonder if it's worth looking into a nanny share where she lives in your house, and thus is able to cope with occasional weird hours ?

The deal might be that the other child is brought to your home. This would suit someone like yourself who has a non 9-5 job.

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