The idea for ‘Granny as Nanny’ has been rattling around my head ever since I began looking for a nanny for my first child, back in 2011.
When I started thinking about going back to work, eight months after her birth, I had no idea how hard it would be to find someone ultra reliable, really kind and entirely trustworthy to take care of her while my husband and I were at work. Nor did I realise that, over the years that followed, we’d encounter one drama after another with several of the nannies we employed, which caused endless stress and disruption (and cost a LOT of money in the process!).
And the drama wasn’t just because we made the wrong choices – although there were a few of those, admittedly, thanks to us panicking and appointing the ‘best of the bunch’ because we were both due at work the following week; there were heaps of nannies we fell madly in love with, but they’d leave to live with boyfriends, or to move closer to ailing parents, or because their visas had expired. And we – and the kids – always missed them terribly and were thrown into turmoil that we’d never find anyone like them ever again.
We’re clearly not alone, as countless friends will testify. For some reason, the nanny-finding/-keeping business is rarely straightforward, whether it’s accepting there’s a trade off to be made, or accepting ‘good enough’ in lieu of ‘great’:
LOU – Mother to three kids under eight, who spends her Sundays batch-cooking,
just to get her family fed through the week.
JENNY – mother of four, who works long hours as a lawyer.
For us, there’s one person who has always come to our rescue when we’re in a childcare crisis – and that’s my mum, Katie, the most amazing human, who has every skill that could possibly be required for childcare: a qualified nurse, she is patient to a fault, kind, warm, a brilliant communicator and cook; she loves to keep the house ship-shape and helps out wherever help’s required, whether it’s spellings with my eight-year-old or tidying the playroom. My mum has all the qualifications (and many more) that the role requires – but she lives in Yorkshire and a daily commute to London isn’t really feasible…
Now, of course, my mum’s my mum, and family’s family. I get that. But I know loads of people who are closer to her age than mine who share her amazing skills, many of them women who’ve focused on raising their families, rather than pursuing careers. Some have teen aged children and are ready for new challenges, while others have retired early and want to continue to play an active part in the community – using their vast experience to make a valuable contribution to other people’s lives.
I feel so passionately about starting this company that I’ve parked my career as a journalist; I’m determined to do everything I can to help other families secure childcare they can really rely on – and trust.
So, whether you’re a parent like me, desperate to find a fit-for-purpose solution to your childcare challenge, or someone eager to embark on (or continue) a career in childcare, we’d love to hear from you.