First written and posted on my old blog on the 5 November 2010. I had been out of work for just over a year, it was the first time in 10 years I’d out of work. The first time I’d ever been “unemployed” and I didn’t take too easily to it. So almost the first thing I did was to enroll on a Masters course, and then start a 2nd course in 2010 on starting by own business. So we went from me being at home with the kids all the time to sometimes with trying to do work, study etc in my free time while someone else minded Aoife for us.

“Don’t leave me on my own daddy…”

That was Aoife’s plea to me at 7:30 am as I was preparing to go out for an interview on a cold Thursday morning. Her mum was still asleep in bed and Aoife was drinking her morning Yop and having breakfast.

And that is the challenge that I faced a few weeks ago as my wife’s maternity leave finished up. We had gone 9 months with my wife and I both at home, so any time I was called for a job interview or to go down to the Dublin jobs club or to do some networking to try and develop some job opportunities.

It’s difficult to know what to do when you have 2 small kids, whilst not every interview is at 8.00 in the morning, I would still need to be able to have some childcare options available to me. One problem is that my childcare needs are not regular or routine, the second is that once I arranged childcare any networking opportunities would cost me without necessarily bringing in some returns. As a result I now have to become more careful and picking of my networking, so I’ve had to drop the Dublin Job’s club, which I think was very valuable and in time may have lead me to new opportunities, but when it is costing €60 a week when I’ve no income then it’s hard to keep justifying. Which is a pity, but there are other options which I need to pursue.

So a few weeks ago we secured some childcare with a local woman who lives around the corner. The crèche costs for a 9 month old were frightening at over €480 per month in Dublin and over €540 per month in Drogheda. Luckily a child minder is cheaper and much, much more flexible. So fortunately we had cover for when I had to go to Belfast for 3 days for my course she was available to collect Aoife and mind her until my wife collected her and she minds Aidan once a week to enable me to do the things that I need to get done.

It has also brought other added benefits as she runs a parent and toddler group in her house on Fridays so now I’ve been able to meet up with some of the other mothers in my estate and it means that I know a few more people in Drogheda. I now need to focus my Mondays to networking and pursing those other opportunities.