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The Dahl ethos

PACEY Associate, Andrea Turner shares with us the benefits of childminding and how she keeps such a positive outlook in a changing sector.

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.” It’s true, it must be, because Roald Dahl said so. 

You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” And that’s why I took to blogging about the Joys of Childminding. Many of us can’t be looking our best right now because all we’re seeing and hearing, and all we’re talking about and thinking about, is gloominess. But once you’ve cut through all the gobblefunk there really is an awful lot to feel whoopsy wiffling about. Honestly! So let’s bish the fizzwigglers and count our razztwizzlers starting right from the whunking zozimus

We’ve got no more skipping the most important meal of the day, because we can eat any time we like. No commute in rush hour traffic in the pitch black. No worrying about whether we’ll make it home on time to pick up the kids from school or whether they’d be the poor little lost souls taken to wait for us in the school office because there was a traffic jam on the motorway - again. No more worrying about who can look after the kids in school holidays; whether we can make parent evening, sports day or the school play; or how we can wangle getting the day off work to look after the kids when they’re poorly. Being there whenever they need us in fact.

No extortionate car parking fees when we do eventually find a space within reasonable walking distance. No more expensive take-out deli lunches, no more skinny lattes to-go and no more happy hours at the little bistro round the corner (hmm, not sure if this is actually a good thing or a bad thing though…) No more smart clothes to buy unless we like wearing a suit for baking and painting and pond dipping.

Not having to care whether black shoes really look right with navy tights. Not having to worry about whether we’ve got snot on our shoulder, sick down our back, toothpaste down our front or a black bra under a white shirt. Or whether we’ve even got matching shoes on. (I’ve done that. Worn two different patent leather court shoes, almost identical but one was round toed and the other pointy – oh the embarrassment of it all). Not having to spend all that time on our hair and makeup. Not having to brown meat chunks and dice vegetables before tossing them into the slow cooker at six in the morning so we’ve all got a nice hot and healthy dinner to come home to. That’s a lot to be thankful for isn’t it? So what about the less whunking zozimus things then?

Well, there’s the sense of satisfaction we get from having our own business. Being self-sufficient. Making our own decisions and setting our own terms. Being able to take control of our own careers. Being able to explore and extend our own passions and interests. Never before had my career taken me into the realms of business negotiation, marketing, advertising and PR, design, teaching, researching, campaigning or blogging. And never before had it given me all the time in the world for gardening, baking, drawing, make-do-and-mending, walking, photographing and laughing. Yes laughing. Every single day. Because what’s more fun than working with kids right?

And then there’s the great people we meet. The parents and the grandparents. The staff at the library and the staff at the nursery. The rangers at the woods and the facilitators at playgroups. The fundraisers for the things we care passionately about and the volunteers who make things happen. There’s the teachers and the health visitors, the early years consultants and all the other new friends we’ve made.

And just when you thought things could never get any better, the early years sector is just about the easiest to keep up-to-date with because there’s such a huge range of magazines, forums, blogs, social media groups and online learning platforms. Never has it been easier to access online training courses, conferences and webinars - not just in our own local areas but nationally and even internationally. What’s even better is availability and the flexibility.

No longer do we need to attend face-to-face sessions with a trainer in the evenings and weekends, driving in all weathers, missing dinner with the family, eating individually-wrapped biscuits just because they’re there. Now we can log in from our favourite armchair in our cosiest pyjamas, participate, pause to make a cuppa or pour a glass of wine, resume today or resume next week – whenever we can fit it in. We can download and save handouts on any device we choose and read in the doctor’s waiting room, on the bus or while we’re waiting for the karate class to finish. I find that I actually do more CPD now than I’ve ever done before, and the vast majority of it is free.

So come on, enough of all the scrotty rommytot and let’s get back to natterboxing about all that is gloriumptious about childminding. You know it’s the best decision you ever made.

Dahl dictionaries:

About the author: 

Andrea is a registered childminder who leads a small outstanding team of skilled and experienced practitioners. Andrea has been a member of PACEY since 2004 and, through her commitment to CPD, has achieved Fellow-Ambassador membership status. She has been a PACEY Associate for over two years and has her own early years training and consultancy business. She enjoys working with children, parents and carers and the wider children’s workforce. Her enthusiasm for raising the quality of childcare and education is matched only by her passion for improving outcomes for children, especially the most deprived and vulnerable.


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