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Review Thyme

2013 March 4

Kuvona | www.dreamstime.com

My heartfelt thanks to those who commented on my last post. Review time has been and gone and it went (mostly) well. We settled eventually on a small payrise, and a gift to show our appreciation with plans of more little surprises to come, not that I want to give too much away in case she’s reading. Ahem.

It was good to have the opportunity to sit down and chat about how things are going, having the time to talk about Oliver, how he’s getting on and what he might find interesting over the coming few months was really helpful. I now have a shopping list of toys and resources, and instructions to investigate different activities. Sometimes I wonder who’s the boss!

I got my knuckles rapped for lateness a couple of times. I know I’m guilty of realising I’m still in the office and should be halfway through the commute, and I do call as soon as I remember, but that adds half an hour to a working days all round and kicks Ol’s bedtime routine into touch, so I do know I really shouldn’t do it. Without making excuses it can be hard to wrap things up on time. A task that was only supposed to take half an hour can double or even treble quite easily and that leaves everything out of whack.

Surprise question of the night: ‘Are you anticipating any changes in your family circumstances over the next year?’. The mind flashes through redundancy (please, no) and house moves (if we win the lottery) to the fear that she’s seen the prenatal vitamins at the back of our en suite cupboard and jumped to conclusions. I hastily took another sip of wine.

The only real problem was holiday. May is always a pretty terrible time for me work-wise and this year Ed’s schedule is jammed too. Guess when Ellie wants to take a couple of days?

I know it’s technically legal for an employer to refuse holiday, but I think that’s a pretty horrid thing to do without an outstanding reason, and ‘it’s a bit inconvenient’ isn’t really going to stand up when it’s something your nanny really wants to do. The only thing is I’m not even sure either of us will be able to get time off. Neither set of grandparents will be any good and that leaves us rather stuck. Maybe I was being naïve when I wouldn’t have to worry about this kind of problem. Luckily Ellie has developed a good nanny network, and is going to ask around, although she informs me that some of them are already in shares and couldn’t take on an extra one or OFSTED might cause trouble.

Ed also floated the idea of asking Ellie to come on holiday with us in the summer when we go away with another family. I agree it would be heavenly to have on-tap help rather than finding a local sitter, so the subject was duly broached. I could tell straight away it wasn’t going to be an instant winner. Naturally we promised to pay all expenses, the total working hours wouldn’t change and we’d expect the other family to chip in and pay on top of her salary if they wanted to share the childcare but something still wasn’t sitting right. Given that we want to book soon it would be good to have a reply.

The final part of the review was an idea I’d seen on a well known parenting site, offering to contribute to or pay for any professional development courses. I take it this isn’t a very common thing to do as Ellie looked a bit surprised. She renewed her First Aid certificate just before coming to work for us so this would be something completely different. I suggested a couple of courses I’d googled and suggested she ask her nanny friends for inspiration but I don’t really mind what she does. I’m sure whatever it is will benefit her, and by extension Ol, in some way or another and that’s the whole idea!

So there as my first experience of a formal review with a nanny. In hindsight I’d probably ask her to think about a few things beforehand, not in a scary self-evaluation kind of way but just to have some ideas so she doesn’t feel so put on the spot. Live and learn!

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