Tag Archives: childcare

Things to think about when hiring an au pair/nanny/childminder

Mumof2.com, au pair, childminder, nanny, things to think aboutOne of my earliest posts I wrote on my blog was about how not to hire an au pair (based on personal experience I should add!). Thinking back, I would still give the same advice on how not to go about it.

If someone were to ask me now what they should do or look out for (now that a couple of years has past and our house is over some of the drama) I would say :

  • Let the search take as long as it takes to find the right person who is a good fit with your family and more importantly your children. There is no point in rushing things.
  • Let your children be your guide. By that I mean – you know your children and the difference of when they are being naughty just because they are children versus they are trying to tell you something. Have a couple of play sessions and see how your child interacts with their potential carer. Better still – offer an afternoon or morning for the candidate to have a playdate at one of your friend’s houses and get some feedback of how things are when you are not there.
  • Do have a contract stating number of hours, start & finish times and the kinds of things you expect the nanny/au pair to be doing during that time. Is car/phone/ petrol money included in the salary or to submitted as an expense etc. Most importantly ensure there is a probation period and that it may be extended along with what notice period is required in the event of termination/resignation.
  • Decide whether you are happy for your child to be out and about a lot and driven all over the countryside / city or if you would prefer them to be at home when you are not there.
  • Check, check, check all references. CRB checks are fine but don’t give you the finer details. A person may not necessarily have a criminal record as nobody has reported them to the police but should possible not be working with vulnerable children.
  • If you are looking at a childminder, ensure they are registered and have the necessary insurance papers. A good child minder will ask for you to visit their setting and see if your child would be a good fit – it’s a 2 way interview is what I am trying to say. They will also offer to show you all their paper work (fire exits, child minding registration certificates, procedure manuals etc). and more importantly should put a contract in front of  you should you both decide to go ahead with the childcare.

Above all, trust yourself and your instincts.

Weekend Blog Hop

Ranty post : Parental guilt – yes it’s ok to feel it!


They are talking about parental guilt on BBC Breakfast this morning and whilst they were having a discussion they were balancing a mother who is well a ‘normal’ mother and a business woman who is also a mother.

I am all for mother’s supporting one another – I have said this before but…yes the but arrived…I was completely floored when the business woman/mother put an argument forward that she feels no guilt whatsoever for having someone else look after her children and that she can work like a man or just as effectively as she doesn’t have to think about all those things that come with having children (ok the last part of the sentence I added as interpretation).

So – it got my ranty side working as my thought process was :

  • That is a bit of an insult to men (and not just dad’s) that they don’t feel empathy or are completely heartless.
  • Most Men / dad’s also like to spend time with their kids /family and carry an enormous sense of empathy,longing to be with their loved ones, whilst at work.
  • If feeling guilt ‘creates a glass ceiling’ for working parents – well then this world is turning into some cold place
  • She also gave an example of when she went to her own children and said that she had a sore throat, that they turned and said ‘get a grip’ and showed no sympathy – whatsoever. Apparently she is proud of them as that is what she does to them. Erm – aren’t we supposed to show our children how to care?
  • I also thought ‘well done!’ to the mom on the breakfast sofa who stood up for herself and said that she wouldn’t want to be heartless or selfish as when her children said ‘Mom – I would have loved you to have been there for my exam’ – she said she wished she could have.

I know that I loved working and having our boys and it was a tricky balancing act to keep going all the time. I think each family and parenting unit do what is best for them as a unit but I completely disagree with the fact that feeling any sense of guilt, when it comes to bringing up children, is something you don’t feel. This to me is a HUGE fib.

Sorry – rant over – I may even write another follow up on this it has made me so mad.

The city childcare connundrum

Mumof2.com - childcare costs, city childcare, mum of 2


It always helps to have a baby in the country you grew up in as it makes things a little more simple in that you know the score and the lie of the land. Having a baby AND they grow up in a lovely country but with a completely different way of going about all things relating to city childcare and schooling – well that’s a whole new ball game.

I can remember a day in the office when I was about 7 months pregnant with our first child and having a conversation with a lady in our team. I used to work in IT so there was only about 4 ladies on the entire team. Chatting away about children and she asked me what nursery I had put our name down on for their waiting list. I can remember the sudden clunk you get in your stomach (no it was not a baby kicking!) – the feeling of ‘oh help! With panic sort of setting in, I tried to nonchalantly ask ‘ when are you supposed to put your name on a waiting list?’ to which the answer was ‘Well, we put ours down the day we found out we were pregnant’. You can imagine the clogs in my brain going into overdrive and the urge to call my supportive husband with an emergency of ‘we won’t have anyone to look after our child in a year’s time – what are we going to do?!?!?’

I hadn’t started ante-natal classes yet so didn’t have much of a mother’s network and was already dealing with the influx of mother’s guilt on eating prawns at lunch time and a male colleague telling me I had just poisoned our unborn child. This was not good. So I started calling around and let’s just say I didn’t get a chance to make any further enquiries or vists due to the hospital visits for my pending pre-eclampsia. I did manage to do this when he was 6 weeks old and when I found one we liked (the royal we) I discovered we were number 20 on the waiting list. SIgh.

The initial days I was going to be working were 3 days in the office and 2 days from home. My boss was great and we had agreed this whilst I was pregnant. In fact I’ll post another post at some stage on just how great he was at helping me out with our human resources department.  When the time came to start getting ready to go back to work, and we had got over the shock as to how expensive childcare in London was, I had had a response from the nursery setting that I could do Mon, Wed and Fri. We didn’t think this was too bad as I could work the other 2 days from home.

This turned out not to be the case. When my boss forwarded my email on  regarding my return date and working pattern to HR – let’s just say more mother’s guilt arrived and I had to decide that I wouldn’t work a 5 day week. So I looked at 3,4 and 5 days a week and how much they each cost and which one of those I would get the most out of my paycheck from. Oddly enough it turned out that 4 days a week was the most economical and I was lucky enough to get a 4th day in the week that the nursery could take our child.

This was ok for our first child but with our second son it meant that for the first few months I ended up paying to work for the company as the childcare costs weren’t covered by my salary alone and we had to really look at things. I had already discussed with my boss before going back to work that I couldn’t sustain it and thankfully things worked out in the end that I could just cover both of them.

Why did I go back to work when I had nothing to show in the end in my bank account you ask? Well there are a number of reasons but the main ones were that our children were getting stimulation and social interaction that I couldn’t provide (they really loved their nursery), I also needed the mental stimulation of working and we had decided that it wasn’t going to be forever that I was only paying for childcare.

Am I glad we went that route? In the end, yes. I was blessed to spend a day at home with both sons and oddly enough their hospital appointments always fell on the day I had off somehow. They also loved going to nursery and I enjoyed the time away to miss them. Yes, there was a lot of juggling, especially when they were ill but they always came first. I didn’t begrudge working to pay for their childcare and now they are that little bit older and I am a stay at home mum.

Be sure to check back and find out the next part of the country living childcare connundrum.