Thursday 3 December 2009

Another man in the house?

So this week has been ridiculously, stupidly busy. So busy that I've not had time to update my work blog or sailing blog. Twittering has happened infrequently. The laundry piles are teetering. I've still not managed to fit in my month end invoices. And the house is in a tip.

This wasn't helped by the fact that it was lovely husband's birthday on Tuesday and I promised to take the day off so that we could spend some time browsing Bath together (chateau briand and red wine for lunch anyone?)

Anyway, while we were spending some quality time in Bath, with me not trying to take sneaky peeks at my blackberry, we discussed the subject of an au pair. We've spoken about this in the past. Even tried it briefly. A live out au pair. Lasted two weeks. She looked like road kill at the end of it.

After that I've never seriously considered it as an option. But now the boys are 4 and almost 6. Son1 is at school all week. Son2 goes to pre-school 3 days a week and will be trundling off to school in September. If we got an au pair, it would mean just that little bit of extra help in the morning, when I'm trying to make eggy bread, packed lunches, unpack the dishwasher, put on the washing and check email all at the same time.

And then those days when I have to go meet a client in London, I don't have to say: Right, you've got exactly 30 minutes until I have to get back on that train to get to the school by 2.45 so speak and speak fast. I could loiter over coffee. Possibly even stop in at a fashionable store and buy an outfit.

In the afternoons, the au pair could help keep the boys occupied, giving me a few extra hours to try to do the work of 17 people in a day. And then - and this is the exciting part - every now and then, the au pair could babysit for us without us having to book a sitter eons in advance. So we could go out. Possibly see a movie. Newbury even has a cinema now you know. We might even feel like we have a life again. And I might even get the chance to go to an exercise class or something.

So lots of pros. Of course the con is having a complete stranger - who doesn't speak much english - living in our house. This would severely restrict my ability to pee with the door open, iron in the nude (well obviously I only iron what I'm about to wear) and fart with impunity. All of these are serious considerations.

But having spent the last 3 weeks with the boys coming home from school slumping in front of the TV because none of us ( feels like standing outside in the rain kicking a football, it hit me. Like a bolt from the blue. I don't need an au pair. I need a manny. A boy au pair. Someone who loves sports and building forts and will happily kick a ball for hours without complaint regardless of the weather. I don't need some lovelorn 18 year old blonde, busty x-factor wannabe. I need a bloke who can change the light bulbs when I can't be arsed and my husband isn't around. Who can rake the leaves in the garden for pocket money and who could possibly even become the pool boy. It sounds like heaven.

My husband doesn't think so. He prefers the blonde busty option. I think he thinks that having a man doing the 'boy' things with our sons will in some way make him feel irrelevant, guilty and replaced. Well, welcome to the world of most women who have to hand over their children to nannies, childminders and nurseries. If us mums want to work, then we have to relinquish care of our children to someone else, but that makes us feel crappy. Like we should be doing it ourselves. BUT, if I get a bloke to do the looking after, to me, I'm giving my sons something extra that they won't get from me - a fascination with catching frogs or building dens.

So at this very moment, I have our profile up on an au pair matching site. I've sent 'I like you' messages to a few chaps who look the part. They've not replied. I have had 5 messages from blokes saying 'I like you' who I wouldn't let anywhere near my children. It's not been massively successful, but it's only been one day.

It's very exciting. Like internet dating. Only instead of a dinner, I'll end up living with someone called Mulchak from Slovakia. Could be interesting.

So anyone out in blog world who has had an au pair - particularly any male au pairs - please come and share some wise words with me. Don't terrify me.


nappy valley girl said...

I've never had an aupair but a manny sounds like a great idea. Just think, he could do all the 'man about the house' stuff as well, like unblocking the sink and putting up shelves....

Someonesmrs said...

A friend has a male au pair (she has 3 sons and a daughter) - he is MAGNIFICENT!

Sam said...

Wow! What a terrific idea! I think the importance of a male influence/role model in boys lives is seriously underlooked. Best of luck with your search!

Nicola said...

Okay I am going to have to watch this space with interest because this sounds like the PERFECT solution for me. The fuse blew in the en suite bathroom 3 days ago and so I had to shower and put on makeup/do my hair in the dark (you really couldn't tell the fact there might have been a slight improvement in the make up application). Finally a kindly male neighbour rescued me last night. Turned out that one of the sockets in the bathroom (we are in America -the bathroom is littered with sockets) has a little red button on it. Turns out all you have to do is press it once and Bingo! all power is restored. Who knew?

So yes, a Manny...just what I need, but I'll let you road test it first.

Home Office Mum said...

So an update for you lovely people who have commented: I have signed up to an au pair database thing online. This poses many challenges - not least how do you interview someone who lives in a foreign country and can't speak english well and won't be able to be CRB checked.

But that aside, I posted our job up two days ago. Since then I've had almost 50!!! responses. Many I've instantly hit the delete button, but there've been some promising ones. I've now emailed three of them asking for some more info.

I am watching my inbox like a hawk... Will keep you posted.

angelsandurchinsblog said...

My brother was a nanny one summer in Connecticut. I'd au paired for the same family during a previous summer, but they have four boys and decided that once the oldest reached 16, him, his teenage friends and a 20-old female au pair weren't going to mix. My brother taught the boys rugby, tug of war, and rude jokes. He was completey hopeless around the house, and answered the door to one of the mother's friends the first morning dressed in nothing but a towel. He then said, 'Oh, yeah, she's upstairs having a shower'. As the friend knew nothing about the 'manny' she beat a hasty retreat to pass the 'news' around the village! The mother was famous for weeks.

A Modern Mother said...

I've had all kinds of help, but currently have none. A Manny sounds fab. Good luck on your search.