Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bears and babies in school

I told you how I had a burst of energy last weekend and sorted out kids' clothes.

By the way, I can't wait for summer to declutter last year's summer clothes because the kids have too many things. Does anyone else get excited about decluttering? I love "white space" in the wardrobes!

Anyway, I told Nanny V to only come pick up her bags of clothes when the weather warmed up a bit because little babies really shouldn't be out in the horrible winter weather unless absolutely necessary.

And so when we had our lovely 23 and 24-degree weather this week, I quickly phoned V and said, "I think you better come fetch the clothes".

Well, she did and they all had a lovely time.

She texted me a pic of my two on the couch with her baby lying across the kids' laps.

Surreal but very cute.

She also said they've grown so big in the last 4 months - true!

I wonder what it was like for her seeing Nanny S doing what she used to do.

I know she is still the better teacher of the kids and was more playful with them, but Nanny S is (always) punctual and reliable and very organised.

Which brings me to next year.

I'm torn about this pre-school business.

Half day vs full day vs full-time maid vs 2 - 3 times a week maid.

The reality is this - I can't cope (and I have no shame in saying this) without a maid at least twice a week. I hate laundry with a passion and we all know how much kids produce.

And my personality is such that I will freak out daily if the house is too much of a mess.

So in my ideal world, my kids would go to school half days and then spend the afternoons with a nanny. I would come home to kids who are bathed and in their pjs, and a clean house.

Depending on the school and if I need to arrange transport to take the babies back home, that solution would cost me about R7500. Maybe a bit more.

Which in my mind is way too much to spend.

I know a lot of you Joburgers are happy with these kinds of crazy amounts but I'm not - I really like money in the bank!

The other option is to have the kids go full-day and have a cleaning lady 2 - 3 times a week. That will be about R6 500 but I will have to get to the school on time (so leave whether meetings have overrun or not) and bath the kids plus do suppers plus prep for the next day. With D, of course, but still... crazy.

Actually now that I write it all out, not having the evening craziness is well worth paying R1000 extra IF we can afford it.

I still haven't done the budget for next year because I'm slightly scared.

I don't know where this post is going and I'm well aware that the US folk are thinking I'm way too spoilt (totally agree!). But the fact of the matter is in South Africa we do have access to lots of "cost-effective" labour :)

I spoke to one work friend yesterday who says I'm MAD to want to pay for the half-day option.

I told her R1000 = a permanently clean house = priceless for my mental energy :)

How did you sort all this out in your mind?

What were your deciding factors? Or did finances not play a part?


  1. Both Cameron and Kiara were at home with a nanny - Cam went to school first but only half day since the nanny was home with Kiara and the school did a drop off thing and were about 5 minutes from home.

    Then when I left my ex and back home I had no choice - they both had to go full day.

    I have now pulled them both out of after care (because of the price) and if I do have a party on then they stay with the nanny who is with Jack and works full day.

    When we do send Jack it will be half day - I need Josephine - I can not cope with the amount of mess and clothes and chaos the kids make!

    Honestly I would do the half day thing - there is no point for them to be at "after care" - they just play and it often messes with their routine if they still have afternoon naps!

  2. I have had to deal with Stefan going to day care two weeks ago. It felt so yuck and although B was ready for it, I wasn't. He is only 4and half months is too soon. advise here.


  3. Just sending you hugs and kisses and lots of wisdom in your decision making

    I'm sure between you and D you'll figure out what works perfectly for the babies and you


  4. I love hearing you talk about cleaning always inspires me! I got a random phone call from an agency taking donations (like our Good Will), saying they need clothes and shoe. They're doing a pick-up in our neighborhood next week...all I have to do is box the things and leave them on the sidewalk! If that's not motivation, I don't know what is! ;) Between that and the consignment sale I'm doing now with the girls' things, I should have lots of white space, for sure! ;)

    Love that you got to spend some time with Nanny V. I love how that shows K&C how important she was / is to you...that, even though you don't work together anymore, you can still be friends with her.

    And...on the preschool note...sigh...such a big decision, I know!!! Please, please know I will always support whatever decision you make, and I know you will make the one that's best for your family. But my two cents? (And I'm only speaking about the kiddo part...) I think half-time is really plenty at this age. These babies of ours have at least 17 years of school ahead of them...followed by work for a good 40 years in most cases. I want to let my babies enjoy the freedom of their own schedule (relatively speaking) for as long as possible. We'll be a slave to school schedules soon enough. I want the freedom of pancake breakfasts, walks in the park, and going with the flow for as long as I can.

    Big hugs to you as you work through the options, Marcia!!!

  5. Oh I just got DH to bag up the clothes I pulled from their dressers, I was thrilled he was helping!! LOL But I'm not so thrilled about the mound of fall clothes waiting to be washed and put away.

    As to this preschool business, I am no help. I am totally jealous of your cleaning lady but I could never dream of affording that with our labor rates! I just too cheap. We've discussed before that my ladies wont' be heading for preschool, but I am starting some homeschooling type lessons with them to test the waters. If you really want to stretch your money, why not have the nanny work through lessons with them? There are plenty of free and cheap curriculum guides that she could work through with them at home. If I had to choose one, it would be half day. I'm in agreement with Mandy that they have plenty of school time in their future, let them hold on to their freedom as long as possible.

    Whatever you do, be confident. There is no need to be flip-floppy like me!

  6. Making these decisions are so very hard - you have to balance what's affordable, what's sane for you, and what's healthy for them. Marsh, despite his exuberance, doesn't get much social time with other kids his age so placing him in preschool and afternoon care was important - plus I am lucky that we are at the same school! I like Mandy's suggestion about starting some preschool work at home, and have great preschool information...

  7. I would actually do half-day if it was possible. As convenient as full day is, it can mess with the sleep routine and it is just LOVELY to come home to kids who are bathed and fed. Really, one cannot put a price on convenience. If you can manage it then go for it. Having said that, the full day option plus 3-days a week cleaner is fine too. But it is still so much work!
    I like to come home and do nothing. Can you tell?

  8. ps..what if you don't get the cleaner and let the nanny do all that? Or get the cleaner and adjust nanny's salary to a half-day job salary?

  9. If you can do half day wothout having to kill yourself to drive home and pick them up, drive back etc every day, I would do it. If not, do not underestimate how tough that can be,

    I really can not do without Lucy - to get home, then cook, get everyone fed and bathed is madness. That meal,ready and house tidy is priceless.

  10. If you have the extra R1000, I think that peace of mind and house is well worth it!

  11. If you can afford it, go for the halfday option with nanny at home. Will the nanny then do the cleaning in the mornings,and you will do away with the cleaning lady? Getting home late with 2 tired and grumpy kids, then still having to bath them, feed them and sort out dinner is too hectic!!!

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