How An After School Nanny Can Help With Childcare Woes
Living away from family is hard. It’s even harder after you have children of your own.
I first left home at 17 to go to my local university, just two hours’ drive away.
These days, I could hardly live further away from home. I’m in London, and my parents are still where I grew up, in the far south of New Zealand.
If you were to drill directly through the Earth from my parents’ house, my Dad once told me, you’d end up in Italy.
So London is almost as far from New Zealand as you can possibly get.
Being away from your family is especially hard after you have kids. I envy those of my friends who are ‘from’ London with lots of family close by.
My friends’ parents can drop in for an hour, take one of their grandkids to get new shoes, babysit at weekends.
They go to the grandkids’ nativity plays and watch their concerts. Aunts, uncles, cousins everywhere. They have such close bonds.
We do our best, using modern technology. I video call my parents every couple of weeks, usually on Saturday mornings when our time zones align.
We chat all the time on WhatsApp. I send endless videos, never quite sure if anyone actually watches them.
We use a great little app called Tinybeans to share photos. We try to fly home as much as we can. But it’s not the same.
Childcare is particularly tricky when you have no local family network. When I had my second child, my Mum came to London to help for one wonderful month.
But after that, we were on our own again. No amazing grandparents around to do school pick up and bake biscuits with my older daughter while I rocked our baby to sleep.
After I had my first baby, I realised how difficult childcare was for so many families like mine that don’t have family support around.
I did something dramatic – I quit my job and founded a startup focused on childcare. It’s called Koru Kids.
We’re trying to build a childcare service that is (almost) as good as an extended family. ‘Koru’ means ‘loop’ in Maori, the indigenous language of my native land.
I want Koru Kids to be the ‘loop’ of care around our families and nannies, the loop of care that an extended family normally provides.
We started off by training up after school nannies, for families that don’t have amazing grandparents around to do the after-school hours.
We do all the payroll and administration to make sure that the arrangements are legal and compliant, so no one will get into trouble.
We also now help families do ‘nanny shares’ for their younger children.
Living away from family is always going to have its challenges. But I like to think of the positives.
I’m glad to be able to keep the flame of my homeland alive in my children using technology. My ancestors couldn’t do that.
Over 150 years ago they set sail from England to New Zealand – the same journey as me, but in the opposite direction – knowing that they would never see or speak to their family ever again.
At least that puts a 30-hour flight home in perspective.
To find out if an after school nanny could work for you, visit Koru Kids here.