Miiiind… the child – what’s the perfect childcare solution?
The perfect childcare solution – does such a thing exist?
I’m one of those very lucky people who gets to do a job that I love in the career that I chose part-time, and be a Mum part-time too. I’m splitting myself in half (well two thirds to be precise) but I’m cool with that. Best of both worlds etc. So now that my maternity leave is fast running out, I’ve written a good old-fashioned list and tried to be all pragmatic about it by phone-bashing childcare options this week.
But emotionally, I’m struggling with it.
First time round it was pretty easy logistically. M would go to nursery and we were happy with that. We shopped around a little, but actually found somewhere quickly, and apart from a heart-wrenching couple of weeks where he clung on and cried his little heart out at drop-off (and I had a car park sob the first couple of times), it wasn’t too difficult. Relatively.
This time, with two little monkeys to contend with, it’s a whole new world of options with childminders, nannies and nurseries to think about. With two, financially it makes sense to have both looked after by one person, but I also really want Little P to enjoy the nursery scenario and have lots of interaction with other children.
When I’ve spoken to prospective childminders, I realise it’s all about availability – but I want to irrationally shout ‘Talk to me, tell me how much you adore your job, I don’t even know you, HOW WILL YOU LOVE MY CHILDREN LIKE I DO?!’ down the phone. It’s totally reasonable that all they are worried about is whether they have space before we waste time chatting about nap times and favourite toys and each child’s little quirks.
Also, do I want a random person I’ve only met once or twice to be driving my children around, with no idea how many points they have on their license, going on other kids’ school runs? What will they be doing when they’re at home? Would the nanny or childminder just be meeting up with their own mates, or on Facebook all the time?
Ah I know I know. I’m on Facebook a fair amount too. And most childcare options are probably OK. You know – just fine. Perhaps over time, our child will love a particular nursery/nanny/childminder. But no one is really as good as Mummy or Daddy, are they? We’re the real deal! Even on a crappy, can’t get out the front door, let’s have oven-baked brown food again kinda day.
So can anybody be SuperParent AND SuperCareer bod? If only we could clone ourselves on a good day – donning Cath Kidston aprons, baking the perfect cupcakes, going out to the park / soft play / zoo with zero dramas and loads of smug-happy laughs before splashy, fun bathtime and easy peasy bedtime with added cuddles. And then change cape to meet work targets, excelling at every challenge, hungry with ambition, carving the way forward to new horizons for both our personal career satisfaction and for our company…
But alas it’s just not possible. Or is it?