Starting Nursery

Starting Nursery

After being in a nanny share for the past year since returning to work, our son started nursery full-time this week.

This decision brought about a mixed bag of emotions (for me, mostly) but as the end of his first week draws to a close, I think more than anything that I just feel relief now.

Relieved that he is happy, relieved that I am happy, relieved that the Greek God(zilla) is happy… and relieved that we are not in a nanny share anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, his former nanny was a sweet girl and she was very active with the children.  Every day, she would take them to the park, local farms, Caterpillar Music, Sing & Sign classes, the zoo and softplay, as well as various playgroups and libraries.  She was also friendly with a network of local nannies so the kids got to spend lots of time with other children in the area at organised playdates and parties.

We initially shared a nanny with another little girl, who is about 6-months older than our son and the two of them got on so well.  She is a gorgeous little thing and really looked after him.  He learnt a lot from her and copied all her cute mannerisms and words.

It worked out really well and we were all happily plodding along for a few months until sadly that share ended when it was time for her to attend nursery.

So, we searched for a new family to share with and found another little girl, who is is 6-months younger than our son.  She is also a gorgeous thing and the two of them became really good buddies.  I would come home from work and find them chasing each other around the house laughing their heads off.  It was lovely to see.

So, why the change?


For one thing, there was the expense.  Even sharing a nanny was proving to be rather expensive.  On top of her monthly net salary, there was the tax and NI to pay every quarter.

On top of that was the cash needed to cover all of the children’s activities.  There was the nanny’s petrol expenses.  There was a bigger food bill – 3 meals a day for 2 toddlers AND the nanny.  There was an initial layout for a double buggy, an extra car seat, a high chair and travel cot.

During the transition period between families, we had to cover all the costs on our own for over a month, which was quite a sting after Christmas!

Anyway, expense aside there was also the organisation needed to make sure the share ran smoothly.

As well as working full-time, we would need to plan activities and menus for the week ahead.  However, this was a piece of cake compared to trying to co-ordinate holidays.

For our part alone, we had to work around each of our work schedules and those of our boss before even considering when the rest of our family might be able to take time off.  If by any chance we managed to find two weeks that suited everyone, we then had to try and work that around the other family in the share and the nanny.

It was all very complicated and stressful.  Especially when your nanny wants to take 2-weeks in October, we planned to take our 2 weeks in August and the other family needed July.

So anyway, expense and organisation aside, there was then also the unplanned time off to take into consideration.

Unfortunately, our nanny had to have quite a bit of time off – over 20 days sickness in the first half of this year.  Obviously, we sympathised completely with her and were incredibly kind and supportive, but it did leave us in a bit of a pickle with regards to our childcare.

The Greek God(zilla) had to work from home on a few occassions, I took days out of my holiday allowance, my parents helped us out a bit.  Another family let us share their nanny for a day here and there.

I was really starting to feel the pressure from all angles and after one particularly stressful day when our nanny had called to say she would not be in work the following day and I had been unsuccessful in securing any alternative childcare for him, I just broke down in tears on the drive home.   There had been a few other issues too, which I won’t go into on here, but nonetheless, it all contributed to the stress I was feeling and I knew then that something had to change and that the arrangement was no longer working for us.

Eventually, I had a very open and honest conversation with the other mum in the share and she agreed it wasn’t working too.  It was a huge relief for both of us to get it off our chests and realise we were feeling the same way.

It took a few more months for us to finally decide that we wanted our son to go to nursery full-time when he turned two – we were not sure if he was ready, we worried he would miss the other girl too much, we didn’t want to unsettle him.  It was tough.

After much to-ing and fro-ing and tossing and turning we made the call to leave the nanny share.  His last day with his nanny was just before we went on holiday so he had two fun filled weeks with his family before starting in nursery properly on Tuesday.

He has been fine.  Not brilliant, but fine.  The first day we were both in tears when I left.  The second day he cried a bit throughout the day, the third day he wouldn’t eat lunch with everyone else.  He has been used to one-on-one attention for so long, I suppose it must take some getting used to for him!

Each day he has settled in a little bit more though.  Today when we arrived at the nursery, there was a lovely surprise waiting for him at the breakfast table… his friend from the nanny share!  She is in the nursery 3 days a week too so they will still be together, which makes me feel much much happier.  I could almost see a sunset in the direction they toddled off into.  Or maybe it was just an orange glow from my holiday tan.  Either way works for me.

What are your good and bad childcare experiences?


  1. Joelle
    September 9, 2011 / 2:22 PM

    Smudge… I can so sympathise with you on this, we went down the child minder route and it’s a bloody nightmare, sickness and holidays just throw us as we can’t take hols from the shop so I feel like I’m constantly on the beg for childcare, I’ve exhausted all my options and I can rarely do pay back as I’m always working! My childminder has now given me notice as she’s pregnant and Chloe starts a lIttle montisorri pre school soon for when I work as well as two hours twice a week at a little pre school up the road, I’ve been loosing sleep over the stress of it all but I’m sure Chloe will be happy eventually after the initial settling in bit, cutest bit is she wears a uniform!
    Anyway, great piece, really rings true, especially the emotional side of it, it’s so bloody stressful!

    • Grenglish
      September 10, 2011 / 6:42 AM

      Oh Joelle, I really feel for you on this. This year has been hellish for us, the stress got so much I got eczema on my hands and mouth ulcers! Had to go to hospital. Was just awful. I really hope everything works out for you guys – the preschools sound fab! I am limited with my choices as I have an hour commute and am office hours etc to work around but if I could arrange pick ups, then something like that would have worked for us too. Does it get any easier when they go to school? xx

  2. The Mad House
    September 9, 2011 / 5:14 PM

    I think that it is so hard finding the right solution for both you and your child. I hope that the nursery way works out better for you

    • Grenglish
      September 10, 2011 / 6:44 AM

      Thank you! I think there are pros and cons to both and it’s just working out which ones we can live with. The first week has been good – he had a good day yesterday.

  3. September 9, 2011 / 6:33 PM

    Juggling childcare is such a nightmare isn’t it. So glad you have found something that works for you all! Sure he will be settled and loving it before you know it! Emma 🙂 Ps. found you via the blog hop!

    • Grenglish
      September 10, 2011 / 6:46 AM

      Thanks Emma! It certainly is a nightmare, he had a good day yesterday so I am keeping my fingers crossed it all works out but if it doesn’t then I guess we just reassess again. Wish we could win the lotto and then I could stay home with him all the time! That would be FAB 🙂

  4. richmondmummy
    September 19, 2011 / 9:11 AM

    This has been really timely reading for me. I have just confirmed with work that I’m returning in January (4 days a week rather than full time, which is something…) and we’ve been exploring childcare options. We were thinking of going down the nanny share route but after reading this, I’m not so sure!! Can see how it would add additional layers of stress to the whole situation! We have found a lovely nursery but it’s full and there’s a waiting list, so am keeping everything crossed that a space becomes free… xx

    • Grenglish
      September 19, 2011 / 6:53 PM

      A nannyshare can be brilliant – less rushing about in the morning, more flexibility in the evening and the knowledge that your baby is sleeping in her own bed every day. They also plan things for the kids to do every day and have a really busy social life, which is just lovely. The downside is the cost. And if your nanny gets sick. What I also like about the nursery now is that I get to meet all the children he is playing with and their mums on the drop off/pick ups whereas I didn’t with the nanny share. But I am not sure if Z would have been ready for nursery when I first went back to work. Happy to talk offline in more detail if you’d like! xx

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