A Great Childminder will save your life
A bold statement, but very true in my life. Let me tell you a little bit about our childcare story.
I have always worked
I have always worked. Financially my salary was needed to pay the mortgage and the bills, so it was never an option to even return to work part-time. I had to go back full-time. Also I wanted to go back to work, I needed work and focus for my mental health! I was working in commercial/financial roles for businesses such as Tesco and EE which were demanding. Long hours, commuting to London, travelling around the country for meetings, early starts and late nights. I needed good childcare that could cover longer hours, but most importantly care for my children in the right way.
In addition to this my family live 300 miles away and hubby’s family lived 1 hours drive away. So, family help with childcare was never an option. This impacted our budget hugely. There was a point when we had Jack aged 1, Josh aged 4 and Dylan aged 6 in childcare. So full time for Jack, part care for Josh and after/before school for Dylan. As you can imagine the monthly cost was high, it was like paying a second mortgage. But that was out choice to work in the jobs we chose and to pay for the childcare.
First Baby Arrives and I chose a Nursery Setting
Back in 2007 I had my first baby and returned to work in June 2008 to a full time, full-on job where I would be away from home 8am to 6pm. I went down the nursery route. I chose a well know chain of nurseries and Dylan went there as a tiny baby of 9 months of age. Within six months I had pulled him out and had made a complaint to Ofsted about lack of care. My 14-month-old baby had climbed up on a table and fell, smashing his nose on side of table. We were not called, when husband collected him that night he was rushed straight to hospital. All was fine, but Dylan never went back to said nursery.
Switching to a Childminder
I hopped straight onto Childcare.co.uk, as recommended by a friend and searched for local childminders, Nicola Jordan and Cheeky Cherubs popped up and we arranged a meeting literally the next day. We all went to meet her, her hubby and children, and dogs! We loved the set-up which was a cross between childminder and nursery as she has staff and many children in her open plan house. It was not a hard decision to confirm NikNik as our childminder. Luckily, she had space and was able to take Dylan from the following week.
Nicky has since 2008 looked after all my three boys when I have worked full time, helped during maternity leave and now I am self-employed and more flexible she does after-school care when I need it (at the moment quite a lot!). She has helped to make my corporate career flourish and continues to help when I am needed in London for events or travelling around the country for Mrs Mummypenny projects. Basically, I couldn’t do what I do now, or over the past 10 years without her.
The relationship has changed to great friends
A good childminder is a blessing and we love her very much. She isn’t a second mum at all, but the boys do adore her. We often spend Sundays together over a roast dinner or barbeque. We have been on holiday together and have spent many Christmas Days and New Year’s Eve’s together. Neither of us have family close by, which of course meant that I had no one to help with childcare when I returned to work after each child was around one year old after maternity leave.
And if it wasn’t for the Childcare.co.uk, we wouldn’t have found NikNik, one of those sliding door moments. Childcare.co.uk is a platform which allows parents to search for and connect with babysitters, childminders, nannies, nurseries, private tutors and schools and allows childcare providers to advertise their services. The site has more than 1.5 million users nationwide and is the largest online community for parents in the UK having launched in 2009.
I would love to hear your childcare stories, who looks after your children whilst you work, who is childcare angel? Thank you NikNik, to whom I am hugely grateful to.
This is a collaborative post.