Silver linings

It’s two months now since our nanny upped and left after just four days, with no notice and almost no notification of any kind. We were not impressed (the tears are almost visible here). She will be on the family blacklist FOREVER.

I spent the following weeks worrying about work and childcare; trying to come up with a solution that would protect my children from upheaval and upset. I wondered if I should switch to half days or to a three day week. But neither of these options were feasible without hypnotizing my boss into saying yes to reduced hours and to a nice salary increase to go along with it.

I decided that our work-day was too long for the prospective childminder. So I needed something, anything to make the days shorter – shorter for the yet un-hired nanny and shorter for the kids.

Then I had my Eureka moment: if I started and finished work an  hour earlier, with my husband starting later, aided by lighter traffic at slightly off-peak hours, I could cut the nanny’s day down from eleven hours to eight and a half.

Based on these hours, we found a new nanny – she is wonderful. I’m afraid to write anything else about her in case I tempt fate (we lost two nannies in two weeks so fate has form).

And the new hours are just perfect. I don’t love leaving the house at 7am, but it’s worth it – I’m home before 5, the kids are not yet cross and tired, and I’m not rushing and stressing – I have one eye on the clock instead of two.

We set up “homework club”, where Clara reads her phonics book for me, and Emmie copies letters that I draw for her (because she doesn’t want to be left out) and Sam scribbles on a page or takes the opportunity to raid the fridge.

Emmie deeply engrossed in "homework"
Emmie deeply engrossed in “homework”

Then we eat dinner together, and we talk about our day…. It’s really not as sweet and good-parenty as it sounds; I often have to coax stories out of them, they still won’t eat vegetables and the evening wouldn’t be the same without the squabble over who gets the yellow plate. But still it’s lovely.

Then they get to have their beloved “telly time” – I’m embarrassed at how much my children adore television (as described in so shoot me), it’s the highlight of their day. But I can clean the kitchen and prepare lunches and even have a little Twitter-dip and a cup of tea.

a cup of tea solves everything
a cup of tea solves everything

My husband is multi-tasking (I know!) – our new shift-work approach dictates that he cycles to work, combining exercise and commute in one handy half hour. He loves it, and is feeling fitter and healthier than he has done in a long time.

And best of all, we’re collapsing on the couch each night earlier than ever before – finally a chance to do some laundry. Except I’m writing this and my husband is playing Candy Crush.

It wouldn’t be a proper silver lining if we did the laundry would it?

I have laundry on my laundry, literally
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21 thoughts on “Silver linings”

    1. It’s good. Of course lots of juggling and squabbling and moments of pure stress, like every house. But better than what we used to have. Yay for disappearing nannies (almost)

  1. It sounds like a better solution than you had before so yay for that. As to the laundry? Find a laundrymat on the way to work that will do it for you on a ‘per pound’ basis!

    My husband and I are currently car-sharing and I am not looking forward to January when the logistics are going to get more complicated.

    1. My husband is always looking for ways to outsource the laundry buuut the work is in the sorting and folding and putting away and separating and priortising I think, and you’d still have all that. Or maybe I just need to let go….

  2. Great that it’s working out so well. We do
    Something very similar, I work 8.15- 4.30 leaving home at 6.40am and my husband drops the kids to their minder at 8. I’m usually home by 6 with them. It does mean that we’ve two cars doing 150km each per day but it makes us both commuting workable.
    The laundry, does it ever end? It’s great to hear that others have the same laundry mountains 🙂

    1. That’s a long day for both of you and a lot of driving – fair play to you Sinead, not easy. You are completely excused from ever doing any laundry 🙂

  3. Clever clogs… Glad it worked out so well, don’t ye deserve it after the childminder fiasco which might be a big positive (in major hindsight!) since it might have helped you to come up with and implement your new routine!

  4. Great that you could find a solution that works for you, I would live to begin my day earlier but not an option, think employers should encourage this solution where feasible, totally agree about the laundry, it’s not doing it that’s a hassle, it’s sorting and putting it away!!

    1. Totally agree Elizabeth – there are lots of jobs that are not directly linked to a set 9 to 5 timeline, and while some employers are great, some are very inflexible. I also think it’s different for men – there’s a culture whereby it’s not unusual for women to start and finish early but seems less common/ less acceptable for men

  5. Fair play on finding a solution to a sudden arrival of an awful situation!Feck the laundry-it’s a never ending struggle!

  6. I am so glad it all worked out for you. I minded two children ( and for a time due to circumstances, my friends four children, which made the total 9 under 8), and they were and still are so very special to me. They are now 22 and 19 and like extended members of our family. I cannot begin to describe how they enhanced my life and my childrens (as two were the same age). I love them dearly and I am not a love the world kind of person! Fingers crossed it all continues to work well.

    1. wow 9 under 8 Tric!! I am in awe of you. But I really like hearing that you love the children you minded, that makes me feel good about our new situation which seems to be going really well

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