Why it’s good to have a support network for childcare

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.

Juggling childcare

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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  1. We don’t have any family close by and I do just struggle on sometimes. Need to ask for more help when I need it I think x #kcacols

  2. Back when I worked full-time, I had some hours for a childminder then my mum would help out and occasionally my sister would step in. It’s so wonderful that I had the help, I don’t know what I’d have done without it!


  3. My hubby works evenings so I rely on family and friends a lot if I want to do anything. Your post has made me wonder what I would do without them! Especially my mum. #KCACOLS

  4. I’m lucky enough to have my mum close by and the boys go to hers for a sleep over once a week on their own which is lovely for all of us. One goes and one stays at home so they get a break from each other and get some quality nanny time. I really notice it when she is away and it’s even worse if she is poorly as I worry about her just as much as I worry about the boys.


  5. This hadn’t even crossed my mind. My mother in law will be looking after my little boy when I go back to work, but if illness arises I don’t know what we will do. I need to have a real good think now. Thanks for sharing.


  6. It’s good that you have this. We really don’t. We have family that may eventually have him once he is older and more able to care for bits himself. But whilst he is in nappies, waking in the night and wanting milk and finger holding we really don’t. And it’s tough. But it’s what we signed up to huh.

  7. It’s good that you have this. We really don’t. We have family that may eventually have him once he is older and more able to care for bits himself. But whilst he is in nappies, waking in the night and wanting milk and finger holding we really don’t. And it’s tough. But it’s what we signed up to huh.


  8. This post is so true! How many times Baba was ill and I had to take days off work, and yet always feeling guilty about it! But it was the right decision… I am so happy my partner’s fmaily is there to help us. Even if they just take Baba for a walk for an hour so that I can do some stuff in the house! Big difference! You nailed it perfectly in this post! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

  9. I’m really lucky to have my in-laws just down the road, and they’ve helped me out loads in the last 5 years. We have a pretty good support network which I’m really grateful for. I’ve not needed to use it much so far, but there are several people I know I could call on who would help if they could, if needed. x #KCACOLS

  10. I only work part time, so I am lucky that between hubby and I one of us is always home.

  11. This is something which I never really thought of. When I go back to work we’ll be putting Rory in nursery three mornings a week but relying on the mother-in-law for the rest of the time. Hopefully should we ever find ourselves in a similar situation nursery might be able to help us out #KCACOLS

  12. I decided not to go back to work after maternity leave with childcare being one of the factors. My husband is self
    Employed so we can generally work it out between us if I need to be somewhere. #kcacols

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