A good quality, decent childminder your kids love is worth their weight in gold. A childminder who will also babysit at the weekends is worth even more. Unfortunately, they’re also hard to find.
Mrs Adams and I presently find ourselves on the look-out for someone who can help us out from time to time with ad-hoc childcare and babysitting. It’s a bit of a sad situation, but someone we relied upon for many years has become so successful with a new venture that she is no longer available to us in the way she was.
This isn’t a bitter parting of the ways. I could see it coming and I’m very happy for her, she deserves the success because she is, frankly, brilliant at what she does.
Things came to a head the other day. Mrs Adams and I were supposed to be going out for the night and Susan had agreed to babysit. The time for her arrival came and went. After 15 minutes I called Susan and left a voicemail. After 30 mins I got a text message back. Apparently she had sent me a text message that morning saying she’d be unable to make it (I never got it).
Well this was interesting. The kids were keen to see Susan and Mrs Adams and I were dressed up in our finery and wearing perfume / aftershave respectively.
We ended up letting the kids stay up late and had a take away. It was rather like a normal evening with fattier food, better scent and more excitable kids.
Alas, this was a sign that times had changed. There had been one or two other signs Susan was getting busier and busier. The no-show merely confirmed to me that we’d need to look elsewhere in future.
There is another brilliant childminder called Andrea we’ve been increasingly using as Susan’s workload elsewhere has increased. In fact, without Andrea’s support, my recent trip to Australia would have been impossible. She did most of the school runs and collections and gave the kids breakfast most mornings. Andrea will babysit when available and Izzy, our youngest daughter, adores her.
With two young children of her own, however, Andrea has other pressures on her time. We can’t simply rely on one person and so the search begins for another, worth-their-weight-in-gold babysitter.
There are two further elements to this that complicate my family’s situation. Firstly, my extended family lives 100 miles away while Mrs Adams’ is 400 miles away. We have no support from family members whatsoever.
Secondly, as I am a stay at home dad and Mrs Adams has always been a full-time working mother, we are not, as a family unit, plugged into a large network of mum friends. The result; we are more reliant on paid-for childcare than most families.
In truth, I have a small and excellent network of mum friends (and even one or two dad friends) who will step in if we need emergency childcare at short notice. I have always done the same whenever possible. This is, after all, a two-way street and I feel the pain of other mums and dads when they get stuck for childcare.
As I say though, my network is smaller. We often have no choice but to buy-in childcare and babysitting support when we need it.
The search begins today. I have a few ideas and leads to follow up. I also wish Susan the very best of luck in future. She’s excellent and I hope other families benefit from the childminding services she provides.