I can’t say I particularly know what went on this week. I spent most of it in a daze as Small Boy decided to wake up very early three days in a row and I was a zombie for most of it. One 2.30am start had me drinking Red Bull at my desk at 8am. That was a weird day – I was coming out with lots of ideas all morning and then hit a wall by 3pm and had to go home while I was still safe behind the wheel of a car.
But even in the blurriest weeks there are wins to be hard and small triumphs to celebrate!
Understanding the childcare offer in Wales
In Wales, all children are entitled to 15 hours free early education provision from the term after their third birthday. Now many people take this up at a maintained nursery attached to a school. You take a 2.5 hour session per day. You can only take one session per day so to get the whole 15 hours you must send your child every day. The provision is only during term time so you have to find childcare for holiday , and of course you have to sort something for the rest of the day too, including wrap around care that will pick your child up from state nursery or drop them off depending on the time of day your sessions are. Needless to say this just isn’t practical for most parents, including us. Completely confused by our unhelpful local authority website and hearing lots of queries from other parents, I did a quick phone and email around nursery schools and private nurseries that offer the funded places to consider alternatives.
Some private nurseries are able to offer the 15 hours funding, but it’s important to note it is up to 15 hours. It’s really five sessions of 2.5 hours, each sessions is less than a standard session at private daycare so you have to pay the balance for the part day or the rest of the full day if you want it. Not all nurseries register with the authority and given that they only get paid less than £7 per session are you surprised. It doesn’t make any business sense.
There one nursery on our doorstep that offers the grant, which in practice means a saving of just under £7 per day! We only get the full 15 hours (or 5 sessions) if he’s in for five days, we can’t compress them across a few days.
We are now considering what to do and whether for the amount of money saved we are best to just leave Small Boy where he is till he’s five and just keep paying the full fees. Money isn’t the only thing to consider though, we need to identify what the difference is if any in education and development between these offerings. This was a win for me this week because there is no clear information available on this and all we parents get is convicted, vague information. It was only because of my digging that me and my merry band of parents found out that we need to apply for these places in July! That might be a little over three months but during that time parents need to do maths, check out carer, consider wraparound providers and more. I think I’ve helped a few people this week, as well as given myself more information (and possibly some stuff to worry about but as a parent that comes with the territory right?)
I’ve had to juggle my day job a lot over the past two months with Small Boy ill and relatives in and out of hospital Although I always deliver, there have been a few moments where I’ve had to say ” I work three days a week, I don’t think it’s feasible for me to deliver this project on three days, it’s a five day job” … and add on that I can’t work over my hours at present (although in reality I’ve managed to exceed them on some days as usual). It always makes me feel awkward saying I can’t do something, which is crazy given I work the hours I’m paid for, usually work a few hours extra here and there and always deliver on time. I think that even in the most supportive environment it’s easy to fall into feeling that people judge you for working part time or flexibly, as if you’re somehow getting away with something. It’s coming to our end of year appraisals so the issue is probably clawing at the back of my mind anyway, albeit subconsciously. Anyway, I’ve had some amazing feedback this week from peers and management, citing my enthusiasm, efficiency and innovation. It has been great to hear and much needed for so many reasons.
I’ve been blogging here for five months now and I regularly get approached by companies asking me to post their content or review a product. I love quality and I love things that make my life easier, so I’m careful about brands I choose to work for. Well this week the lovely people at Gear Bubble sent me a mug from their feminist mugs collection as a result of all my posts around International Women’s Day this year. I love a freebie at the best of times but this mug is HUGE and I need a lot of caffeine most days (and no they’re not paying me to buy them up, they just have me a mug and it costs a lot more than that to get me to sing somethings praises).
Crafting like a boss
I have to say I hate getting through the door at my son’s nursery and being told it’s time to craft some tat for an event. Small Boy goes to nursery on my day job days, and as they are all ten hour days I don’t have time to whip up a volcano or some baked goods for the morning, or go and buy him some green clothes because randomly that’s the colour for some awareness day. It’s not that I’m being bah humbug but there is an assumption that people have the time and money to invest to just “go and buy…” whatever it is.
Anyway it’s coming up to Easter and there’s a parade and I’ve already made the bonnet – or in our case the Easter trilby. I’d love to say that I sewed everything on and made the hat, as I did last year because I felt so guilty from not doing any of the other stuff like collecting pine cones and cookers. This year I just went to the shop and glued it all on. Nursery win. Mummy win.