Miiiind… the child – what’s the perfect childcare solution?

Sat 21 Jan 17 | Mummy Stuff | 15 comments

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?

The Pramshed

15 Comments

  1. bridiebythesea

    Fantastic post – I’m still searching for the answers! It’s tricky as we saw a childminder too before I went back to work and I ended up preferring the nursery environment. My worries were exactly as you describe it, driving my baby around Brighton with other kids, not sure exactly what they would be doing day to day. I guess I don’t really know the ins and outs of Emma’s day at nursery either. Hope you find something that works for you and hooray to part time eh xx

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Help!! Thanks for the support – such a minefield even though sensible you knows it’ll be fine whatever, right? It’s just that tiny thing of your children being, well, everything to you!! X

      Reply
      • bridiebythesea

        Yeah I go back and forth with it…rational part of me thinks it’ll all be fine, but you have to feel 100% comfortable to be able to leave them for an entire day! Xx

        Reply
  2. justsayingmum

    Aww this brought it all back for me to when mine were small and that dreaded childcare. It’s so so tough for us mothers to get that balance because the emotion is too huge. I don’t have an easy answer as I eventually left the career I love when mine were 10, 8 and 6 to be at home because the demands from work and from home became too huge to handle. Oh I hope you find the balance #fortheloveofBLOG

    Reply
  3. Joy

    As a childminder, I believe it is important for a child’s social development to be amongst other children who are not their siblings. I care for children ranging from 18months to 10 years old and it is wonderful to see and hear them playing and caring for each other. Most of my children have no siblings so the friendships they develop whilst in my care continue outside of my care, even though some of them attend different schools. I do not accept all parents who come to me looking for care, I only take children whom I believe will be happy in my home. My priority is the child’s happiness. If your child is happy then you have peace of mind. Parents will know if their child is/will be happy with the childcare provider, because they know their child better than anyone else. The children who come to me to call it their other home. A good childcare provider will keep you informed of what your child is doing throughout the day. I ask all my parents to download the WhatsApp app so that throughout the day I can send them messages, videos, and photographs of what their child has been doing , and where they have been whilst in my care. This way you are being included. So when looking for childcare make a list of what you would like. A good childcare provider should be able to give you what you want.

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Hi Joy, thank you so much for your incredibly useful thoughts. The children you look after are so lucky! The WhatsApp touch is lovely too. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your wisdom, all noted x

      Reply
  4. Jane Fear

    I’m a childminder, I love the children that come through our door, I welcome them into my home and they (and their families) become an extension of our family. We talk, we play, we do school runs, we laugh, we run around in the garden or the park like crazy people, we dance, we sing and we encourage the children to be a part of a community. My current youngest mindee is just 1, my eldest are 11. We have been, or are starting, on an adventure together and I am so lucky to have been chosen to be a part of these children’s lives. That’s why I do what I do! Good luck in your search, hope you find the right set up for you and your babies.

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Ah Jane this is so lovely to hear! You do have an amazing job. Do you live round my way? Any space?! X

      Reply
  5. stressymama

    Hi. Sorry – no tips or advice, just wanted to say good luck and I hope you find something you’re happy with. I was lucky with Molly when i decided to send her to nursery because there is a fab nursery about 5 minutes walk away and she loves it too. X

    Reply
  6. A Mum Track Mind (@amumtrackmind)

    You are basically me three months ago lol. In the end I was fortunate enough to have Grandparents helping out (this comes with its own challenges believe me) but the answer is probably there is no perfect answer. You just have to do what works best for you and stick to it I think. Good luck! Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG

    Reply
    • kimberly

      It’s funny it probably seems like ages ago even though it’s only 3 months right? Sure I’ll get there soon… x

      Reply
  7. amileinmyshoes

    Interesting post, and I agree it’s difficult to entrust your most treasured people in the world to others. Perhaps this is why I became a childminder and left the office job. I can see pro’s and cons of each childcare solution. At the end of the day it’s down to the person/people you choose and the bond they have with your child. I’ll give you my take on childminders – I do feel that childminders are often underestimated. People see the nursery as a professional environment, but in reality we childminders have to complete personal plans, planned learning and all of the other things other professional child care providers do. I live near the beach and take my kiddies there and to the playpark and can do so on a whim. Yes, very occasionally I have a friend around – but usually one with a child of her own and I’d never leave a child alone with a visitor. I also attended lots of playcentres/baby classes when I had little ones on my books. It’s all school children I have and most I’ve had since I started four years ago. I treat them as I do my own child – popping up to the school when they’re hurt, attending concerts when parents can’t manage. They also tell me things that are on their mind that they don’t tell their parents – parents find this useful. Of course, childminders aren’t all gems like me and you are trusting one person with your children. There are excellent nannies and nurserys out there too. Thoroughly inspect OFSTED reports for all childcare possibilities. I hope you are able to find a solution you are happy with 🙂 Here is an idea of the types of things a good childminder could do with the children during the summer: https://amileinmyshoes.co/2016/08/08/20-free-or-cheap-outdoor-things-to-do-with-the-kids-this-summer/

    Reply
    • kimberly

      Thank you so much for your lovely and detailed comment – it’s so true, it’s all about the individual. When you’ve not researched the childminder option before you’ve got no clue except a feeling about the person themselves! x

      Reply
      • amileinmyshoes

        That’s it, and I do believe you should go with that feeling of the person too. There are few childminders I’ve seen around who I wouldn’t consider to look after my own child. I hope you find the perfect solution. x

        Reply

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