Before becoming parents we had all these big ideas about our social lives. “Having children won’t stop us from living our normal lives” we’d proclaim, “We barely go out anyway!”. Oh how I laugh at the naivety of pre-baby me; our days out are soft play or open space themed and our nights out? Non-existent.
The thing is, as much as we’d like to go out and about more, the logistics of leaving the kids are tricky. We’ve got to find that golden window when neither child is ill or sleep dodging and pray it matches up with one of the few gaps in our own parents’ diaries which, with our parents, is pretty much once in a blue moon. Then there’s the worry; the dread that the kids won’t have gone down to bed before they arrive or will wake the minute we speed out of the drive. It’s not that our parent’s couldn’t cope; it’s the guilt at getting them to give up one of their evenings to juggle two overtired beasts (plus the dog). Frankly, it’s rarely worth the hassle so we drag them along instead.
Then there are the day times. The days where we both need to work outside of our usual schedule. Where I need to be in for a meeting and Dave’s got deadlines to hit. Where we have to both make compromises and pull the kids from one place to another to make it work; it’s stressful for us, disruptive for them and makes all of us grouchy. Our metaphorical village is bigger than many parents’ and yet often it’s not big enough. We need more help. We need to find a babysitter we can call on for those moments; a little extra pair of hands we trust enough to look after our most precious creations, but where to find them?
Enter Childcare.co.uk; an easy way to find local childcare. Whether you’re looking for a nursery for your baby, a primary school for your eldest or a babysitter for the odd night, this is the site for you. Simply select what you’re looking for, enter your postcode and hit search. It really is that simple. Next, you’re met with the profiles of childcare providers in your local area; photos, profiles, reviews and rates, they can even upload their DBS check certificates to give you extra peace of mind. Each individual shares a little about themselves and their experience in childcare, along with a chart of availability; allowing you to quickly see if they’re likely to be free for a day (or night) sit. Once you find one you like, you drop them a message through the site and take it from there. It’s a little like online dating for your kids!
One of my favourite things about the site is that it’s packed full of people who also work in childcare as their main job. It means I can potentially chat to one of the women at our kids’ nursery about babysitting at the weekend without feeling like I’m poaching them at their day job. It means I can read other people’s reviews of using them and either contact them or create a job with exactly what I’m looking for. There’s no more hunting for a window in my parent’s diary or feeling guilty for making others give up their spare time.
Parenthood is both the toughest and the most rewarding thing that either Dave or I have ever done but I’ve made no secret of the fact that along the way sometimes we’ve lost ourselves. This summer, I want us to re-find that, invest in our relationship and enjoy a little more of each others company away from the kids allowing us to appreciate each other, and them, a little more. Our childcare village is about to grow with a little help from our online friends over at Childcare.co.uk and I can’t wait to see our family reap the benefits – plus this mama is looking forward to a date, without the kids in tow!