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I need your advice to help me make a childcare decision!!

39 replies

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:14

Hello all, would appreciate your input on this one.

I have been accepted on a PGCE course starting Sept 12th. We have had a nanny for this year while I was finishing my studies but she is abandoning us for more ££ in London.

I have been interviewing and have found a lovely Kiwi nanny who would live in, for £220 pw. She would work 40-45 hrs, mainly sole charge, some light housekeeping (family laundry & cooking). We also have a place for DS (2 yrs) at a college nursery (9 kids only so v nice), which shuts at lunchtime. So nanny will do housekeeping 2 mornings pw when doesn't have DS.

I will be out of the house 7.45am-5.30pm most days, although some weeks will be Uni based so less demanding. I will also have school hols off. We are trying to negotiate that nanny takes some unpaid leave (she is Kiwi so wants to traval a bit). All in, this option (nanny + nursery) will cost us £13500. My bursary is £6000. DH can make up the rest.

I have now been told by the CHildcare Officer at Uni that the new uni nursery is likely to have a place for DS, but they won't be able to confirm until late July. This will cost £5500 for the year, as it is part subsidised. I have not been able to visit this nursery as they don't do visits unless you have a place there, as they are overwhelmed with enquiries.

My questions are:

If money were no object, what would you choose?
Given that I have looked at about 12 CV's, and interviewed 4 nannies in person and this is the only one we all clicked with, how on earth do I keep her on board until I find out about teh nursery?

OP posts:
PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:15

Sorry if too much information btw.

OP posts:
vickiyumyum · 16/06/2005 15:19

i think that because of the cost implication i would have to go for the nursery! i would especially like the fact that it is on site with me all day so that dropping off/picking up is easy and if ds was ill not too far for you to go to pick him up.
the nanny sounds lovely, especially the housekeeping part, but it depends on how much money your dh makes and how much you want to spend on childcare! i would look at it as paying childcare from my bursary and having dh's money for luxuries/treats for the family.

soapbox · 16/06/2005 15:22


One thing to consider is how much of a hassle it would be to take DS to the uni creche on teh days you are not uni based. It could be a bit out of your way and add to your travel quite a bit!

Also how you would get there. If its a short journey in the car I think its okay, if its a major treck on public transport then I would go for the nanny option.

Issymum · 16/06/2005 15:24

Money no object, I'd go with the nanny. Your PGCE course will probably be extremely demanding and it will be enormously helpful not to have to do drop-offs and pick-ups at nursery and have someone to do some of the household chores that you won't have the time to do.

For a two year old there is a real advantage, IMVHO, if you can afford it and if it's feasible, to look after them in a home environment with maybe some sessions at pre-school.

BTW. I think that £220pw is really good value, even for live-in.

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:28

These are all good points.

Financially, what are treats?! Sorry I dont' mean to be flippant but I am more in the mindset now where as a parent I am more concerned to spend the money on DS. It was a hurdle with the first nanny but now I don't care about new clothes etc as long as DS is happy and I am not dissolving into tears everytime I dopr him off. which is sort of how I imagine nursery.

As for location: It's across town during school drop off times - obviously, as I will be going to schools to do work placements. The schools will be about 30 mins extra drive away, from nursery. So I will need to get him there at 8 on the dot, leave by 8.15 in order to be at placement by 8.45 if I am lucky with the traffic.

Maybe I need to do a dry run of how it would be, with him in the car, at exactly that time of day.

OP posts:
bundle · 16/06/2005 15:30

i can count the number of times my dd's have cried when i left them at nursery on the fingers of one hand (they both went at 8 mths for 2-3 days). but a nanny would be v useful because of the unpredictability of traffic/placements.

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:30

Hi IssyMum. You don't think that I am taking the p*ss with £220? It's just that I nkow that some days she won't need to work all the hours in the job desc, they are just there as a worst case scenario. She really likes us so is happy to drop her salary expectations (which had been £250). I hope that this doesn't mean that she might find it hard-going halfway through the year.

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soapbox · 16/06/2005 15:30

The teachers will be hotter than me on this - but I would have thought if you were on placement you would be expected at school long before 8.45???

I would have thought most teachers get in around 8am and would expect a placement to be in at around the same time as themselves????

catgirl · 16/06/2005 15:31

Personally, IF your nanny would go for some unpaid leave during school holidays I would go for that option, because as well as drop off/pick up at a nursery you will then have the added housekeeping stuff on top of your studies. In the meantime could you not explain your dilemma to the nursery, begging for a visit?

gingernut · 16/06/2005 15:31

I'd tend to go with the nanny if money really is no object. What if your ds is ill, for instance: nursery wouldn't take him (e.g. if he has tummy bug, chickenpox etc, and they do tend to catch a lot of bugs when they first start at nursery). Who would then look after him? And IMO, what you'd get with the nanny (i.e. care at home with a couple of nursery sessions) is a good balance for a 2 y.o.

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:32

soapbox maybe you are right - course tutors told me to expect to be out of the house 8 til 5. but maybe they weren't taking into account how far away the school was.

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bundle · 16/06/2005 15:32

gotta factor in nanny being sick too, if someone is sick at nursery, they can get cover.

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:34

Re illness, I have found with current nanny that she tends to soldier on unless absolutely wiped out. This one seems the same. DS cannot be expected to soldier on through chicken pox etc. Mum and MIL live about 2 hrs' away.

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crunchie · 16/06/2005 15:38

Personally if you can afford it I would still go with the nanny option. I know that money will be tighter but it would also be more of a hassle racing to and fro at times. The money thing is personal, £220 for a live in nanny outside of London sounds OK to me, I am also assuming that this is net pay (not gross) I paid a live out nanny less than this (around £200 a week) Also it might suit her really well as you are giving her some additional unpaid leave (I guess in holidays) so she can travel, most familes cannot do this and therefore it could be a real bonus to her. I am assuming you will also give her 4 weeks paid leave , which you have to give her by law.

This woule be my preference as also other factors come into it, what if your son is ill? He can't go to nursery, but the nanny could have him. OK if she is ill then you will need to take time off, but live-in nannys are rarely too ill to work (IMHO) as they cannot scive back to bed with a hangover like a live out one can.

Good luck, if you can afford it, do

bundle · 16/06/2005 15:39

i wasn't suggesting she might, just heard of a few friends who've had nanny sickness issues, whereas things have been fairly smooth for us. dh and me usually split the time if one of our is sick.

Issymum · 16/06/2005 15:40

In general I've found that the DDs have had more sick days than our nannies and as you say, it's easier to ask the nanny to soldier on than the children. Also, if the nanny lives in and she is feeling unwell, she can do what any mother would do in her situation - turn on Cbeebies, let the children eat easy-cook junk food, curl up on the sofa and call on her friends (and you) to give her a hand if possible.

I think that £220 is low, but you're right there are some compensating factors. Maybe your nanny could supplement her income by taking on another child one or two afternoons a week. Our nanny does this - she brings home one of the other children from nursery one day a week and the mother pays her directly.

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:52

The salary quoted is net, out of London. And yes, she would have 20 days' paid, 10 days' unpaid. I would have no prob with her taking on babysitting, a nursery pick-up etc if she wanted.

As for illness, DH is unable to take any time off. He is normally out of the house 7am-9pm with work.

We can afford it without going into the red but we will be a little light on the extra cash. EG no expensive hols / new furniture. THe former we can live without, the latter - well, we'll just have to make do ... !

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PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 15:53

OK. So the pro-nannies have it for the moment. Bundle, your points are valid but my gut feeling for simplicity's & peace of mind's sake is nanny + a couple of sessions out of the house.

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Issymum · 16/06/2005 15:54

When you come home from a hard day at the chalkface and find your laundry washed, dried and folded and dinner on the stove, you won't give your old sofa a second look!

bundle · 16/06/2005 15:55

i think you're right phdm a neighbour of ours has just started her first teaching job after her pcge and works an incredible number of hrs..they have a live-in.

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 16:01

oh bundle that is so nice that you have given me the vote of confidence too! I just know that any first job is going to look at how I have done in the teaching placements and if I can arrive there every day raring to go and cheerful I will stand a better chance of getting a good job. Then I can start negotiating my way out of school early etc!!
issy mum - who cares about the sofa is someone has bothered to cook you dinner!!

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crunchie · 16/06/2005 16:11

I miss my nanny sooo much - she left a year ago. Life is so much more complicatred now. My house is a pigsty and the kids eat far less healthily I miss getting back to a well ordered house, I never find time to do stuff I want to. That is owrth a new sofa anyday (BTW DFS do 4 years interest free credit, with nothing to pay for a year - so you only have to wait one year )

PhDMumof1 · 16/06/2005 16:19

right that's it - I'm off to DFS

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uwila · 16/06/2005 19:25

Personally and I admit I;m rather demanding when it comes to customer service I would give the time of a day to a nursery that couldn't be bothered to show me around. What does that say for their attitude in accommodating parents wishes. What if you ever have a special request for your child (say dieat or discipline technique) will they tell you they don't have time to discuss it? I don't know you have to be a nicer person/business than that if you want to look after my children whilst I work.

As I say I'm aware that I'm quite a stickler for customer service, but I find it rather worrying that the nursery can't even give you a tour.

I have a nanny and won't any time soon consider living without one. It's so nice not to have to get the kids ready, pack their bags, drop them off, give them a bath, wash their clothes, tidy their room... oh the list goes on. If you add all that up, and then figure what your time os worth as you will have to do this with a nursery, then how much do you save?

uwila · 16/06/2005 19:26

Oh bloody typing skills -- must gain some. That was meant to say I wouldN'T give the time of day to a nursery...

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