I don’t know about you but I’m pretty fed up with this 30 hour “free” childcare malarkey. There’s talk of nothing else. I need a distraction from drafting new contracts and letters to parents. Here’s a list of extras I’d like to be able to charge for:

Wiping kids’ bums.

Wiping kids’ noses.

Mopping up sick.

Washing sick out of my hair.

Laundering sick-covered clothes and cushions and rugs and throws and curtains.

Getting orange stains out of bibs and tea towels that you always get from commercially-jarred baby food (why is that food always orange?)

Cleaning the toilet and floor and walls and handles and ceiling after children have independently used the facilities.

Cutting kids’ Gruffalo-like toenails because they’re uncomfortable… because their big toe nails are sticking through their socks…again (must have grown overnight because they definitely weren’t like that yesterday when we were doing yoga).

Taking kids’ shoes off and putting them on the correct feet so they don’t walk around in circles all day.

Trimming fringes (and washing snot out of long fringes).

Polishing kids’ school shoes.

Tumble-drying school uniform because the parents only remembered to wash it late last night.

Finding wellies that fit because the kids are going on a nursery trip to the farm and they’ve arrived in kitten heeled Bella/Cinderella/Elsa boudoir slippers and then vainly trying to convince Leila to swap the pink glittery Hello Kitty ones for the black and blue stripey Batman ones to keep Jacob’s face straight.

Finding coats that fit because it was sunny and warm when the kids arrived in their t-shirts, shorts & crocs but it’s snowing now and 5 below zero and we’re off to build dens in the woods today.

Finding spare clothes because the kids have jumped in puddles all day and there’s none been sent in their day bags or there are spares in their day bag but they’ve been in there since they were 10 months old and they’re 4 now.


Changing kids out of their pyjamas because they were literally dragged out of bed this morning.

Sticking glasses back onto kids’ heads the right way up.

Repairing kids’ glasses.

Putting bobbles, ribbons and bows back in and re-doing plaits and buns.

Removing nail varnish and false nails because it breaches school uniform.

Applying nail varnish to tiny fingernails whilst simultaneously challenging stereotypes: yes, blue is perfectly okay for girls and yes, boys can wear it too (and yes, they can even have a layer of glitter over the top if that’s what they want).

Scraping out with a hooked finger globs of lip salve stuck inside kids’ cheeks. (We frisk the kids for chapsticks and sneaky little pots of Vaseline at the door now – it’s just happening too darned often now).

Poking all the baby wipes back into the pack after baby’s had them.

Cutting tags out of clothes because they’re too itchy and scratchy.

Ironing kids’ clothes.

Pulling up tights because crotches around knees can’t feel nice can they?

Sewing buttons back on kids’ clothes.

De-nitting kids because parents are too squeamish (yeah, yeah).


Sellotaping nursery’s unsticky reward stickers back onto school jumpers over and over and over again.

Changing entire head-to-toe outfits after kids have had a toilet mishap.

Bagging up soiled pants and sanitising soiled areas and everywhere the kid has touched or walked.

Laundering coats after kids have rubbed themselves across a wall or fence with bird poo on.

Scraping mud and dog poo out of the treads of the shoes the children have just arrived in this morning.

Valeting the car after the kids have trodden all over the back seats with said mud and dog poo on their shoes.

Washing bottles and teats which have been in their nappy bags all weekend by the look and smell of them.

Cleaning lunch boxes and spoons from last Friday (we last had the kid Wednesday).

Washing mouldy swimming costumes and towels.

Washing last week’s PE kit when the kids did rugby (obviously in a bog) and today they need it for yoga but Mum forgot all about it, tsk.

Muddy Rugby

Repacking book bags and PE kits after kids have raked through them looking for the rubber off the end of the pencil they didn’t even bring.

Making up a hasty packed lunch because parents had nothing in – not so much as a slice of bread.

Dashing back to school to sign a consent form because kids forgot to tell parents they’re even on a trip today and they can’t go if they don’t have signed consent from somebody RIGHT NOW.

Dashing back to school to pay for school meals because parents forgot to put the money envelope in the kids’ school bag or picking up kids from school at lunch time to bring home for lunch and take them back again after lunch.

Picking up stranded kids after the school trip because parents forgot all about it and they’ve a trolley full of groceries at the Asda checkout now so…

Putting a costume together over breakfast because parents forgot it’s World Book Day today.

Juggling the kids so we can make it to the kids’ school play/concert/sports day because parents can’t make it and we can’t bear the thought of the sad little looks on those poor kids’ faces when they see nobody’s there to watch them.

Giving kids £1 pocket money for the school disco or else they can’t buy healthy nutritious snacks like crisps and hotdogs and fruit shoots and stuff. Dad’ll give me it back at pickup time honest.

Gathering spare tins and jars for harvest festival because parents forgot and kids don’t want to be the only ones to go in empty-handed.


As above for the shoebox appeal.

As above for the school car-boot sale.

As above for the school fayre.

Responding to an emergency call to tow dad and all 3 kids to the nearest Halfords because his car has broken down in a blizzard so they have no heat and then taking all 3 kids to their own home where some auntie or other will be there waiting for them and then driving back home with zero visibility and getting stuck in traffic for one and a half hours due to a 10 car pile up.

Seeing that Grandma is just about to pull away but she’s not strapped little Betty into a car seat and running off down the street banging on the car and waving like a madwoman then seeing that there actually is no car seat and stripping one out of your own car and refitting it into Grandma’s car.

Taking calls at 7.15 on a Saturday night as you’re waiting for your taxi, about whether it’s normal for Sid’s poo to be green with a gritty texture or should they take him to the urgent care centre just in case. Might [2 year old] Sid possibly have eaten some sand from his sand pit or the minty scented playdough he took home in cling film to let the dog have a sniff? And what did Sid have for lunch that last time he was here and how many wees and poos did he do because they forgot to ask and it’s really important to know this stuff right now. (Crikey, I’ve had 3 sleeps since then).

Finally getting hold of Mam who forgot to pick up kids because she was too busy planning her night out and could I fetch them over for her a little bit later please because she’s just got out of the bath and she’s doing her hair and makeup now but could I make sure they have their tea and a bath so they’re ready to go straight to bed and oh could I be a love and make up the little one’s night feed too to save the babysitter a job.

Being woken by a call at 5.45am [from same Mam – who was manager of a local branch of a huge nursery chain by the way) to ask me to go and pick up the kids for her because her husband isn’t home from his night shift yet and she can’t get herself ready for work with all these kids running around her. (She has 2). I didn’t…obvs.

If you can think of anything else you do that goes above and beyond but you never even give it a thought then please add comments below. You should know, your contributions may well be edited into this blog or used in another blog another time.

now read “why Childminders might just have no appetite for the ‘free’ 30 hour offer”