Blog \ Life after lockdown
Life after lockdown
Dear fellow parent,
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been enjoying the extra time with your mini-people. Most of the time anyway. Yes, there has been a lot of extra mess, somehow more laundry and a LOT more food eaten in our house. (Note to self: buy shares in bananas, eggs and coffee. Or should I get chickens? Nope, too much work.)
What’s good in lockdown
There have also been a lot more laughs, snuggles and unhurried chats. I feel like I’ve got to know my family a lot better.
The hours I’ve saved getting ready and commuting to work are spent on slow breakfasts and sharing stories over healthier dinners. All this time together has also meant more arguments, but we also get a chance to work things out instead of a mumbled sorry and a quick kiss as we try to get to our next appointment.
We get to show our kids how to behave with a lot more consistency and follow-through. Our kids show us how to appreciate little things every day. A phone call from a friend, a walk on a sunny day, plants pushing through the soil, a wall that has finally been painted, a cupboard that is tidy at last, the strength to run, jump and play.
We are all learning and growing and I don’t want it to end. And yet, I do.
What is not so good in lockdown
I have had enough of the mess and the endless negotiating. I have had enough of trying to work with distractions every 4-7 minutes. I have had enough of feeling guilty for putting on yet another video for them to be quiet on a sunny day indoors. I have had enough of trying to stay positive. There are lots of worse things happening in the world but this is my ‘hard’.
So I find myself thinking about what it would be like to have childcare again. What it would be like to delegate some of the necessary everyday tasks so we can enjoy each other’s company again. Have you wondered the same?
What I want to change
I don’t want to rush back to a life full of appointments and traffic jams, racing to pick our kids up at the end of the day, struggling to keep up with the many school events and birthday parties and swimming lessons. Whipping up another beige dinner with peas on top as I struggle to catch up on everyone’s days, tidying and planning how one of us can sneak in a run before we collapse into bed.
I treasure the everyday moments and I want my kids to enjoy a normal childhood but here I am waving my white flag. It’s too much. We can’t do it on our own.
How we’re going to solve ALL our problems (or just some big ones)
We’ve been discussing getting an au pair. Sounds really posh, doesn’t it?
What are some options?
I happen to work with Nanny Nina and can make use of any of their childcare options.
We could have babysitters on fixed days, just get someone for date nights and for a long time, thought a childminder would be the sort of help we need. The more we look at our priorities, the more we realise an au pair might be the best solution.
What are our needs?
We need flexibility and consistency. We want to have the same person as our kids. Someone they can build a relationship with and learn from in a personal way. Someone who can be there for the date nights and for those runs.
We also desperately need someone to help us keep on top of the laundry and get the broccoli onto our kids’ plates before it turns greyish-brown. In short, we need someone to live with us.
What were our concerns
Then came the questions. If we have an au pair, will we lose our privacy? Will it be just another thing to organise? Can we even afford an au pair? What if someone gets ill? What if we simply don’t get along? I talked to friends who have au pairs and I talked to friends who are au pairs. They all answered my questions and gave us peace of mind.
The take-away was this; it takes a bit of getting used to but then you will wonder why you didn’t get an au pair sooner! It can be a wonderful relationship both ways.
We get to have someone who, in time, will genuinely love our kids, expand their view of the world and someone who will support our household, so we don’t kill each other over something silly like a load left in the washing machine for three days.
A superhero. A godsend. An au pair. Yes, that’s what we’re looking for.
Want to know what happens next?
I’ll be documenting our process so you can follow along and see if this is something for your family too. Our next step is interviewing candidates and finding the best personality match. Wish us luck!
Here are some other posts you might find interesting:
1. What is an Au Pair?
2. 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting an Au Pair
3. How do I get an Au pair?