Sunday, 23 September 2007

1 comment:

Anne Herbert said...

I thought this was interesting and hilarious Rachel but you've brought up a subject which is very close to my heart. I raised 3 children almost single-handedly whilst trying to hold down a full time job which involved not only travel within the UK but in Europe and the US as well. The cost of childcare in the UK is crippling and we receive very little support in terms of tax breaks etc.

At one point I had 7 au pairs in the space of a year and it became so incredibly difficult I eventually asked to work from home and cut down on the international travel. It wasn't long before I received my redundancy but I didn't care too much because I had already started my business and was looking for a way to leave the company anyway.

All my au pairs were from Hungary and I think the UK agent and her Hungarian counterpart must have been in each other's pockets whilst I brought in all these people. They would stay with me for 3 or 4 weeks and then disappear to London.

Living with au pairs is a complete nightmare. I had Peter who had a nasty habit of eating all the food I'd prepared for the day so that there was hardly any left for the kids. I remember one day, I started to prepare lunch, I'd grilled some chicken and was going to cook it with some rice when I remembered I had a dentists appointment. i returned 30 mins later and my grilled chicked (enough for 5 people - those of you who know Ghanaians know we do not cook in small amounts) had disappeared - eaten - all of it gone!

Josef had a real egg habit and could eat over 15 a day so I had daily shopping trips to Tesco to replenish my stock. I like eggs too and found myself having to hide at least 2 each evening to guarantee my scrambled eggs each morning. He couldn't understand why I was making a fuss over eggs which are apparently cheap in Hungary.

Edina was lazy and either slept all day or sat with her feet up watching TV. When she left, so did my collection of Eric Claption CDs.

It's tough for anyone wanting to work full time or run a business whilst raising children, you have to make some real sacrifices. My youngest is now 12 and the business is fairly close to my home so even though I still have to do emails late at night, I can at least be there after school.