We are very lucky to have my mother-in-law help out with childcare twice a week. She’s been helping us ever since I went back to work after having M, three and a bit years ago. The boys love spending time with their nanny and it’s become part of our weekly routine to have her come and stay over.
However, she fell ill at the start of the New Year and has been laid up at home with the flu and a bacterial infection. It’s been absolutely horrendous for her and has completely wiped her out.
This has meant that we’ve been juggling childcare on a week-to-week basis. And it’s been tough trying to find cover.
M is currently at pre-school and needs picking up at midday. We then have the after school pick up at 3.15 for E.
I managed to work an extra day from home a few days over the last six weeks but there comes a point where this just isn’t feasible and you feel like you are taking advantage. I feel guilty about having to have allowances made for me. I’m lucky that I have a really understanding boss. He has two children of his own with a wife who also works. So he knows how tough it can be to juggle childcare.
Our neighbour who is a childminder helped us out for a few weeks which was a huge relief. We thought my mother-in-law would be back by then but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. It’s been a real balancing act since then. M has missed quite a few sessions of pre-school as a result and I’ve felt on edge each week. It’s not been easy trying to find cover on a week-by-week basis.
I’ve had to call upon friends to have M after pre-school whilst I signed E up to after school club. However, with last week being half term, it was more complicated. Thankfully, my sister stepped in and took a couple of days holiday to spend some quality time with her nephews so we’ve just about managed it.
It just goes to show how hard it can be when you have to rely on others to help with childcare. Of course, it’s great when in-laws are able to help but when situations like illness arise it’s tough managing to find care for your children.
Mr H and I are quite picky about who we choose to look after the boys. It has to be someone they already know, or are familiar with. I don’t like the idea of having someone they’ve never met look after them. After all, we teach them about stranger danger and not talking to people they don’t know, don’t we? So the same principle should stand when it comes to having others look after your children right?
My mother-in-law is thankfully on the mend and will be back that to her “nanny duties” (as she calls it) this week. The boys have missed her so much and have asked for her every week.
It’s made us realise that when you are reliant on just one person for the bulk of chilcare it’s a really good idea to have an alternative backup in place.
Have alternative backup childcare in place
For us, we managed to muddle through with the help of other relatives, neighbours and friends. So, if you don’t already have one, it might be a good idea to setup a backup support network of people that you can call upon who would be able to look after your children at short notice. Having something like this in place will really help your stress levels (as I have found out!)
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Had we needed further cover I would have asked for the help of some school mums who would be able to have the boys after nursery and school for a few hours here or there. You can always return the favour at a later date and offer to look after their children.
Have you had to juggle your childcare arrangements at short notice?
How did you manage it?
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