To ask who uses Grandparents for 'Free Childcare'

(196 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 17:10:24

Currently 25 weeks pregnant and over the last few weeks me and DH have been sitting down with a calculator, looking at our finances and making decisions about Maternity pay and returning to work etc.

He kept making comments about how he'd ask his mom to have baby one day a week to reduce our childcare costs - and I said absolutely not. He thinks that because she only works part time it isn't an issue hmm I told him that as his mom is 60 it isn't fair to ask her to look after a 1 year old all day long and make that commitment to us as a long-term thing. He has made the occasional jokey comment to his parents about their role in childcare and from her reaction it is quite clear it isn't something she wants to do, and I don't blame her. I wouldn't ever dream of asking my parents either.

I have always been a bit hmm about the issue - obviously there is no problem if the Grandparents offer and genuinely want to help out, but it certainly shouldn't be assumed. My sister really took advantage of our mom when it came to childcare and I swear I'd never do the same.

We have factored in our plan that I will return to work 3 days a week and we will pay for 3 days childcare. I said to my husband that we chose to have a baby and so it is our financial responsibility - not a case of just give the baby to Grandma so we can save some money.

I know some Grandparents offer to do it and absolutely love to do it, and that's great, but I also know of a lot of grandparents who do it because they feel obliged to but are actually quite resentful.

What are people's thoughts??
Are there negatives as well as positives to relying on grandparents this way?

My parents pick up my kids one afternoon a week from school. 3.30-6.30/7. I don't use it as 'free childcare' as they were in after school club and it was my parents idea to do it. I wouldn't have asked when they were babies. I think it's too much. At 60 I don't want to be looking after my grandchildren daily - well I'll probably be working the way life is working out!

Joysmum Mon 16-Dec-13 17:13:08

Neither of ours would have done it and I wouldn't have asked, however, if they'd offered I'd have accepted to enable me to go back to work but keep within our own wishes not to have our daughter in paid childcare. Of course, if we needed me to go back to work for financial reasons I would have had to and our daughter would have gone into paid for childcare.

givemeaclue Mon 16-Dec-13 17:13:16

Yanbu , she hasn't offered and you don't xlnt to impose plus if she can help with babysitting via. Is fab on an ad hoc basis

cloudskitchen Mon 16-Dec-13 17:14:31

I think you are right actually. You don't want to create resentment between yourselves and mil.

PacificDingbat Mon 16-Dec-13 17:16:05

I don't use GP and I wouldn't use them for regular childcare (they have babysat about half a dozen times in the last 10 years).

It's a recipe for tension IMO.

If they have not offered, then I would not be presumptuous and ask.

soverylucky Mon 16-Dec-13 17:17:42

I would never ask but would be grateful if they offered. Sadly in our case the gp's don't want to look after our kids but they do look after my sister in laws.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Mon 16-Dec-13 17:17:52

It is a big ask for someone to commit even one set day per week, for free. Especially someone who has brought up their children already, hasnt actually offered, and doesnt seem to actually want to.

Im in a sort of mid way situation with this. My own DM minds DD for us, while I work (both DH and I are FT). However, she is a registered childminder, woth other mindees, and we pay her. We do get a subsidised place, pay aroubd 50% of her stabdard fees, however I insisted on this, as my child takes a full payong place from another child.

The benefits I can see of a CM are the social intercation with a non family member, other kids, toddler groups etc. A cm will follow the EYFS, and be dedicated to ensuring your child learns thrpigh play.

ElbowPrincess Mon 16-Dec-13 17:18:00

My Grandparents, who are in their late 70s, babysit for me for 3 hours a week - they offered. My kids are 5, 11 and 19 though.

pomdereplay Mon 16-Dec-13 17:18:26

Both sets of grandparents live hours away and my mother (estranged from my dad) works full time and has dependent children besides. Both my DP and I wouldn't trust his elderly parents with our DD anyway.

The expense of childcare was a big factor in me deciding to be a SAHM for the time being. I am very envious of people who have local, enthusiastic relatives willing to help with the childcare burden.

SugarPlumpFairy3 Mon 16-Dec-13 17:18:27

Our parents looked after dd1 for one day per week each. They now do the same for our twins.

We never expected it but they offered, for which we were/are very grateful.

They are happy with the arrangement and they enjoy it. However,as you say, it's not something that can be expected of grandparents.

CrohnicallySick Mon 16-Dec-13 17:19:56

I use DD's grandparents (and aunt) as babysitters, for the odd occasion (like tomorrow) where I need to work late or have an appointment that I'd prefer not to have to take DD to.

However, I wouldn't use them regularly for a couple of reasons:
1) some of DD's grandparents have different views on acceptable food- she's one year old and they will try to feed her 2 or 3 different chocolates (like Milkybar size), plus a biscuit and a fruit shoot. In one afternoon. I don't want her having that every week (besides, what would they feed her if I wasn't there casting a disapproving eye?).
2) they have their own lives and I don't want them to feel tied down to looking after her on x day every week
3) what about when they want to go on holiday or have something important to do?
4) I don't want to feel beholden to them because they're doing me this favour

Wossname Mon 16-Dec-13 17:20:33

My parents have my 2 toddlers 2 days a week and they're in nursery one day. It's the only way we can afford to meet our bills tbh. Fortunately, my parents love it, although I do worry about how tiring it is for them. They assure me they wouldnt have it any other way, thankfully.

I will gladly help my kids or siblings out with childcare if needed in future, because that is how I believe a loving, close family works. I dont really 'get' the arseyness this sort of thing is greeted with on here.

MrsPatrickDempsey Mon 16-Dec-13 17:20:40

My m&d live locally and do the occasional school pick up for for me - maybe once every 6 weeks on average. I have never used them for a regular childcare arrangement as they have expressed that they don't want the commitment. I respect their honesty.

FeastOfPhteven Mon 16-Dec-13 17:21:33

YANBU based on the reasons you've given.

When I had ds1 MIL and FIL watched him when I returned to work, but they offered to do this as soon as I announced my pregnancy. They did the same for ds2 as well. It was greatly appreciated and they loved doing it, never grumbled about it.

It does have it's down sides though, like differences in opinions on what your child should eat/play with/behave and when the GP are ill you don't have back up care.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 16-Dec-13 17:21:48

My DM has my DCs two days per week. We had buffeted Childcare for one baby but then had twins, and my DM says she doesn't want us to have to sell out house (which would mean negative equity, stamp duty all over again etc) for the sake of a few years of mega expensive Childcare.

She offered, and we are as flexible as we can be. She says she enjoys it, though she is very tired sometimes.

I would never have planned to ask my DM for such a commitment, but I foolishly thought that I woul only have one baby at a time ....

DipMeInChocolate Mon 16-Dec-13 17:22:20

If it's something you don't think she'll be keen to do then I wouldn't ask. Our parents share childcare, yes it's free, they know we're grateful, although with DHs shifts it averages out as a day every other week, which is not too demanding. They both love spending time with the DDs and I love that they are growing up close to their grandparents. The con for us is that they spoil them a bit and don't really stick to our rules, but they are more loved than they would be at nursery.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Mon 16-Dec-13 17:22:36

Also, could your DH reduce down to four days? Then with his one day off and your two days off, you will then only need two days.

orangebook Mon 16-Dec-13 17:23:46

My parents helped with childcare five days a week when DD was younger. They offered without me asking and were more than happy to spend time with her in her early years. It was a positive for me as of course it was free and far more flexible than paid childcare (they would continue to look after her when she was off sick from school, and would sometimes take her for appointments, and late nights/overnights as well). I am also really pleased that she had the chance to spend so much time with her gps as a lot of my friends have parents who live abroad and only see their dc every few years.

My parents were in their early 40s then though. I think a 1 yo would be a real challenge for a gp at 60. I think it would be good to have some occasional childcare from a gp at that age but not once a week.

My DM has offered to go part time at work and look after DS two days a week when I return to work next year. She is really looking forward to it.

DMIL is now retired is a very young and fit 65 year old, but we wouldn't dream of asking her to help out. Although she is a lovely GP and loves DS to bits she has shown no indication that she wants to help with regular childcare which we completely respect, so we have no intention of asking her eventhough it would save us valuable pennies. I'm sure if there was ever an emergency she would jump at the request though!

StrangeGlue Mon 16-Dec-13 17:27:07

My folks have dd 3 days a week and have done since she was 13 months. We pay them and they really really wanted to do it (of their own accord they moved across the country to do so - mad!!) my folks are also mid-50s.

I can totally see why you wouldn't op. Dh's folks wouldn't and we'd never ask.

There are pros and cons.

Pros: dd gets 1:1 attention; is with people who love her; if I/dh are stuck in traffic it's okay.

Cons: my folks are very interfering anyway (they phone my mid 20s brother to order him to have a haircut etc) and occasionally over step the line.

It works for some but not others.

smile

Afritutu Mon 16-Dec-13 17:28:47

My parents live locally to me and my sibling, and we have 5 young children between us. We use GPs for emergency stand in and favours. Never permanent. This works very well. The reality is that children get sick, we have clashes in dropping off/picking up children, and sometimes we just want a break - and because we don't rely on GPs permanently, they willingly cover us and we donn't feel we are over burdening them. I would never ask them to have dc's regularly on a no pay basis.

Trumpton Mon 16-Dec-13 17:28:58

I have DGS 3.3 and DGD 16 months one day a week. I am 62. I love having them and I offered and am so pleased that DD thinks I am the right one to have them . Her husband has them the other day she works and it's all good so far.

If his mum is happy to help out then its a lovely thing to do. I am very close to my grandchildren as a result. I always try to think of what DD would do in any situation and don't impose my own way of doing things.

Tailtwister Mon 16-Dec-13 17:31:11

My PIL have DS2 one day a week and did the same for DS1. It's not about the money, but about reducing the days they have to be in nursery. It gives them some downtime from the hectic nursery day and they get a lot out of spending time with their GP's.

If GP's don't want to help out then that's fine, but it irritates me when people assume you're taking advantage or doing it purely for financial savings. They get a lot out of spending 1:1 time with their GC and know they would just have to let us know if it was getting too much or they weren't enjoying it any more.

SaltySeaBird Mon 16-Dec-13 17:32:02

Yes my DD does one full day with GP and one full day at nursery. If I have to work extra the other GP have her.

We were going to put her in nursery fully for my two work days but the GP asked several times and offered to pay for a childminder or other emergency childcare if there was ever a week they couldn't have her (no way would we accept their money, but it showed how committed they are). It has worked really well and DD loves her time with them and vice-versa.

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