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>Working Mums Wednesday – trust your childcare to care for your child

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I’m starting a gradual return to work before I go back full time in March and wanted to share some of the things that have helped with balancing working and family for me.

Please let me know what you think and share any great tips & hints you may have.

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I read this article from the Guardian written by a nanny to the children she looks after – it talks of a special relationship and made me feel quite tearful.

It reminded me of our search for Super Nanny and the advice I got then to go with your gut instinct about what childcare you have and for heaven’s sake don’t try and economise, these are your CHILDREN !

Before I went back to work after Toddlergirl was born I looked at all the options – childminders, nurseries and nannies.  The childminders were booked up, the nurseries reminded me of Romanian orphanages with their rows of cots so we ended up looking for a nanny, taking advice from friends who had already gone down this path.

After reading hundreds of CVs and interviewing our short list of 4, it was obvious that Super Nanny was the one – she just seemed, well, nice and caring and Toddlergirl (then very much not toddling at 5 months) liked her.

She didn’t tell me how she didn’t like having the parents at home (um well why not, do you have something to hide ? and since I’ve told you we want more children there is a chance I’ll be around when I’m on maternity leave…) or that she wouldn’t be flexible (we’ve said in our questionnaire that we need you to be flexible its why we’re looking at a nanny and not a nursery) or something equally scary (yes Gina Ford lady, we remember you and had to faff around trying to interview you for another half an hour after my instincts started screaming to get you out of the house).

But despite all this I went back to work with some teeny weeny nagging worries.  Would Super Nanny love Toddlergirl, cuddle her, understand her quirky behaviour and be a replacement for me without being a replacement me ?

And so, whilst very tempted I didn’t install a nanny cam but I did tell all my Mummy friends that I’d just love it if they could keep an eye out and let me know how Super Nanny was getting on.  I don’t think that any of them resorted to a mac and dark glasses and hiding in bushes spying on them but I did get quite a lot of information back and I guess* Super Nanny may have got a little freaked by people appearing all over the place and coming up to say hello to Toddlergirl.

And you know what, one day I had a chat with a friend and she told me that she’d watched Super Nanny put Toddlergirl into the car after a play group and seen her kiss the top of her head.

And at that moment I knew it was all ok – I knew that they loved each other and that it was all going to be ok and I could now go to work without worrying about what was happening at home.  And that’s an incredible place to be and I know we’re really lucky to have it.

Because choosing who looks after your child isn’t a sterile choice, its about finding someone who can love them and who you know cares deeply for them and who they care deeply about.

Because how else could you go to work and leave them ?

* ok to be honest I know she got a little suspicious because she mentioned how she kept bumping into mums who would stare at her and then come over and say hello to Toddlergirl !

Photo credit: freefoto.com

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16 comments to >Working Mums Wednesday – trust your childcare to care for your child

  • vegemitevix

    >I had about ten years of childcare arrangements and have pretty much every arrangement you can think of (with possible exception of adopting them out! ;-p)One piece of advice I'd offer is that the arrangements can change as your child changes. One older nanny was perfect for my baby (who was a routine baby) but not brilliant for him when he became a toddler. When he grew a little a combination of very good private daycare and a younger hipper nanny worked far better.

  • vegemitevix

    >Golly, when I think about it I could write a whole piece on my experiences with childcare – from the nanny who lost my daughter's 'bearie' and wanted to buy another one??????? to the nanny whose exhusband was a paedophile…..

  • TheMadHouse

    >What a nice post, you are so right these are our children and a mothers instint is worth more than a thousand words

  • angelsandurchinsblog

    >It's really nice to hear of a successful childcare arrangement, and very touching to hear that your nanny is so sweet with your child. We've been lucky too with a nanny, after a couple of blips with one who wouldn't take the children to the park when there was even a hint of rain, and another who was militant about hours and chores outside her remit. Which might sound as though I was keeping her late, which I wasn't, but she wouldn't leave early when I offered her the chance saying, 'I prefer to stick to my set hours'. And she wouldn't help me fold a sheet out of the washing machine because it 'wasn't the children's'. I know, again, not her job, but if I saw a friend struggling with a sheet I'd help! Anyway, best of luck with easing back into work. Hard at first, gets easier, and there's always the joy of being able to drink a cappuccino at your desk without a little person knocking it over! Childcare is very much about instincts, which is why if a friend ever has reservations about something she's seen, follow up immediately!

  • angelsandurchinsblog

    >ps. and agree with Vegemitemix about childcare needs changing. The best piece of advice I ever got was not to think more than six months ahead. They change so quickly that what's right at four months might not be at ten.

  • skinnyknatter

    >I know I have picked the best Childminder, because my daughter is happy to stay there, but happy to see me at the end of the day too, the perfect balance. And the fact that her name was one of my daughters first words (after Mummy and Daddy of course). I think the fact that I had such a close relationship with my nanny growing up has helped. In fact, my daughter is named after my Nanny. I think its a lot of treat them as you would like to be treated, with respect and trust, ax

  • solveig

    >I have a child minder for my two – she's had both of them since they were a year old. I'm happy with her because she provides them with a warm, loving environment. She doesn't do lots of educational things with them, but part of the reason I chose a child minder was precisely because I wanted a home-from-home environment for them. Freyja goes to a play group in the morning now, where she does all the learning-through-play stuff, and then she goes home to her warm, loving child minder and is treated as part of the family. Theo is there all day but will join Freyja in the play group when he turns 2. They are always happy to go to her and that is the big thing for me.

    But it was agony finding her. I don't relish going through it again and am really hoping that Freyja gets into a school that she can do a pick up from.

  • It's a Mummys Life

    >It's so hard isn't it. I made the same choice as you and opted for a nanny, for pretty much the same reasons as you. We have been so lucky to find ours. She's adorable and loves the girls and they love her. It makes it so much easier when you know they are happy. As Skinnyknatter says treat them well and hopefully they'll stay with you x

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >Thank you all for sharing your experiences – I really wish it was easier and simpler to find the right childcare, given that so many of us want / need to work it should be possible

  • 1 husband, 2 kids (and lots of books)

    >Son went to a nursery which was actually really, really good – despite sharing your Romanian orphanage fear. Before that, Husband took 3 months off to stay at home when I first went back to work – and that was when I really had to muster up the snooper brigade! The day Husband found out that the reason I always insisted on doing up the pushchair straps was that otherwise – when going down steps in particular – Son would fall out and cut his face I got a 'phone call alert from one of my friends while Husband was still summoning up the courage to fess up. Now with Daughter I'm the sole child care and to be honest sometimes I wonder whether I'd meet my own standards… but for now at least neither of us would have it any other way.

  • jumblyMummy

    >wow. Its great to hear about people's childcare experiences. I felt so alone when trying to choose mine recently. The choice is totally instinctive, I guess its a bit like buying a house… you know when you've found whats right for you. The comment above about chilcare needs changing as your child grows are very valid and I'm prepared for that in the future. Thanks for a great blog post.

  • Anonymous

    >I worked as a nanny for a family for 18 months. I really did care for the children, picked them up if they cried gave them a kiss and hug on arrival and leaving. the children are now 11 & 8 and still call me aunty Suzanne 4 yrs later. I did have a problem when Mum was working from home as she was very insistent that i did things her way especially at meal times but would sit and join us. The children were both fussy eaters and she would get very stressed out then just give them pudding and milk which made my job harder.She wouldnt let me take them out and they lived in a remote location and took a long time to adjust to school life. She employed me because of my experience and qualifications but wouldnt hand over charge to me as she was rarely absent. I would never have dreamt of telling her about the firsts that she did miss nor contradict her she is their mummy and she had the right but it did make my job very difficult.
    chickenruby

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >Chicken – its interesting to hear the other side, I worry about being too hands on when I'm at home with Super Nanny – ahhhhhhh its so hard

  • Michelle

    >ahhh how lovely, so glad you got such a good nanny and she is taking good care of your little one. Mich x

  • Mummy's Little Monkey

    >Jeez, when are my hormones going to settle down? I just had tears in my eyes after reading the 'kiss on the head' line. How lucky you are to find someone who loves your children so much. Juggling my writing work with looking after my little one is exhausting, but I never take for granted how lucky I am to be able to do both from home. xx

  • Candi

    >Busy moms have a lot in common with circus performers. We have to juggle many balls in the air – and we worry that it’s all going to come crashing down at any moment! Additionally, we strive to perfect our balancing act, some days feeling more surefooted than others. Add some crying babies, toddlers melting down and kids needing help with homework, rides to soccer practice, a Band Aid or a snack, and your life often feels like a three-ring circus!

    Many moms are looking for that “perfect” balance between family, chores, work, “me time” and time with their partner and friends. But since there are only 24 hours in a day, how are we supposed to fit it all in?

    Rely on a nanny for help with childcare, shuttling kids to school and other activities, as well as errands and housework. Delegate some responsibilities so you can spend your limited time on things you want to do – like playing with your kids.
    Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Our inclination as mothers is to care for our children, husband, friends and colleagues…which leaves no time to take care of ourselves! Eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. When you feel good, you’ll be better equipped to deal with your hectic schedule. And when you’re not feeling your best, you’re much more likely to feel overwhelmed.
    Say “no” to the less important things. Sure, it would be nice to have a spotless house, be the president of the PTA, bake homemade bread, volunteer at the local hospital, get a raise and promotion at work, and spend time helping in your child’s classroom. But, of course, it’s not realistic to accomplish all of these things. Decide what’s most important and do that. Delegate what you can to a nanny or a spouse. And don’t worry about the rest.
    We’re all looking for balance in our lives, which is often challenging to achieve…
    http://www.nannies4hire.com

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