Friday, October 5, 2012

Mary Poppins

One of the fears of working mothers everywhere is the quality of childcare that one is getting.  Of course nobody will ever look after your child the way that you would (admitting that sometimes someone may even do it better), but you want someone who raises your child in roughly the same way you do with roughly the same values.

H, our nanny / housekeeper, has been brilliant.  She is one of these people who "does" babies, in fact in a way that I do not.  She has been great with Eve as a toddler, and Eve's social skills, language and reading and writing are all a little ahead of her peers.  However, Eve started school 2 months ago and all has not been well since.

Eve went to school a cute little girl and came back after her first week with an attitude, opinions and quite clearly has got very used to playground antics to get her own way.  Over the past few weeks it has been clear that H is struggling with our bright and manipulative daughter.  There were a few warning signs that I spotted a while ago - I found out Eve had watched the whole of the Lion King DVD on a weekday and when I challenged H as to why she said that Eve wouldn't let her switch it off.  We have also noticed that Eve has a complete melt down when the Boy or I say no to anything.  However, after a few hours with us and the usual boundaries she is an angel again.  I have tried working with H to discuss the issue, bought her creative things to do with Eve, structured their days.  However, H just doesn't have it in her to discipline Eve and set boundaries the way I need her to so something has to be done.

One option is replacing H.  However, she is great in every other respect and we are thinking of expanding the family and having someone I trust with a new baby will be very important.  Another option is me giving up work, but when I say this the Boy goes white as a sheet.  The money I bring in is useful but he also suspects I would get very bored at home.  So, the final option is getting a professional nanny for Eve.

So I spoke to a nanny agency a few friends have used today.  It seems my options are limited.  Part time childcare in HK doesn't really exist so we have to hire a full time nanny.  I have no issue with this, and H positively bounced with happiness when I told her - she knows she has been struggling and would be keen to learn from a professional.  However, when I worked out what we would end up paying for a full time nanny, a housekeeper (H), school fees at Eve's ridiculously expensive international school and the extras for swimming, ballet, gymnastics classes - suddenly half my salary disappears on child-related costs.  This, alone, is reason for me to give some serious thought to whether we press ahead.

Any ideas more than welcome!

PS.  to prepare Eve for getting a nanny we watched Mary Poppins at the weekend and then Eve wrote down her list of criteria today.  Top two were "can fly" and "can do magic".  I did tell the nanny agency these were Eve's main requirements!