Oh blimey, our nanny is sick – what do I do?

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I am a stay at home dad and I am the primary child carer for our two children; we also have a nanny two days a week.  She has just cried off – “sick”.

She has just cried off – “sick”.

I call her our nanny – she takes the kids to her house and entertains them at her house.  In my mind, she is a super nanny as she is a life saver.

However, she has just called in sick and it feels like…


*** We are entering a code red emergency situation ***

Background: Every Tuesday and Wednesday since October, we have had the assistance of a nanny because I’m running my own business from home and I need the time to work on it; Little Sport Star.

Rationale: Child care and running a business has been all consuming and I needed some help.

The current analysis: I don’t think I can manage without her. After two kids, I have only just found time to myself and some time to work – can I go back to juggling work and the kids?

Solution: Just step up, you’re a dad! Of course, I can manage… somehow.

Here’s what happened…

On Friday, we had a phone call from our nanny to say that she can’t continue anymore.

She explained why. It’s her health.

I wish her well, genuinely, although I admit I did curse when she told me. I think that the stress of looking after so many little ones has taken its toll. There is no escaping the fact that looking after kids, inclusion several toddlers, is extremely hard work and daunting task for anyone. To make it your profession… lots of respect!!

It’s hard enough looking after your own kids, imagine looking after a whole bunch of other people’s kids?

I can see them all in a room together back at her house. There is the kid who always punches, the kid who can not share, the kid who isn’t toilet trained yet. There is the kid who likes to climb on everything and the kids who likes to paint on everything.

And amongst it all is the nanny and my son, who is obviously none of the above, because he is perfect… (yeah, right!)

A friend reminds me, “parenting is a young person’s game”.  Well maybe nannying is too. Mrs. Doubtfire and Nanny McFee were the exceptions, not the norms. Remember, Julie Andrews was pretty young in Mary Poppins.

So to summarise, our nanny hit the panic button last Friday and admitted she could not take my youngest son any more.

At this point, there is no magic phrase, “Help, I’m a dad, get me out of here!”, parenting just carries on.


*** stay calm and carry on parenting ***

Panic set in for a moment after the nanny’s departure as it does feel as if we have been left up the famous creek without a paddle.

Our first priority is the kids, but we are both busy people, and since October we thought we had child care sewn up. We both have jobs, although I work from home so arguably that makes me more flexible than most parents.

My toddler gets a morning session at our local primary school and I have to pick him up at 1145. There is no option to pay extra for a longer day. In theory, I have until 11.45 to work but in practice, it does not give me enough time to do my job. The day is actually shorter.  I have to leave the house at 1130 to get him… which means the working day has already gone by 1130!  In fact, I set my alarm for 11.10 to tell me to wrap up what I am doing.

As a working dad, a dadpreneur, the working day is just too short.

Have I got a nanny for you?

Any family with two working parents knows the childcare issue.  Our situation is not unusual although I am work from home and run my own business, so I only report to myself.  I can more easily take a “sickie”.  I appreciate in a lot of families, both parents have paid jobs and one of the parents has to take a day off when their nanny is ill.

Some families have support networks around them, such as parents or relatives who can help out at short notice.  We are not in that lucky situation.  We live in London.  My parents live in Yorkshire and my wife’s family live abroad so they have limited opportunity to help.

Every family need a child care solution

As an entrepreneur who works form home, we have tried to create a system that works for our kids and which works for our family.  We try to balance our kids life with my business interests and my wife’s job in a hospital.

Our nanny started in October but since then, she has become a vital part of our child care arrangement.

We had no “Plan B”

I thought that we have found our solution until I received the phone call to say she had taken ill.  Now we are back to square one.    One thing is for sure, the business can’t stop.  I have obligations to my customers, my suppliers.

However, whilst my business can’t stop, neither will my kids stop.  These turbo charged kids don’t yet understand that concept that daddy needs to work in peace.


Founding “Little Sport Star” was how my wife and I sought to find a family / work life balance. Starting a business was our way of managing childcare and this episode with the nanny, has actually reminded me how lucky I am to spend so much time with my kids. I feel guilty complaining about the situation.

For sure, these situations are sent to test us, but as with my approach to parenting, you just get on with it – deal with what is in front of you. It’s just part of running business when you work for yourself, and it is not so different if you have a day job.


Do you and your partner both work? How do you cope? What childcare have you got in place?

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  1. Nick

    Post script: still without a nanny. My working day ends at 11.10 each day!!!

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