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.


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.

Thants Mon 16-Dec-13 17:32:54

I think bringing up children as a family is a great thing. I don't see it as 'free childcare' more as every raising the child together. It is hard though what with modern working hours and childcare costs. My mum had said outright she would never take care of my child regularly, which I think is sad but up to her.

NatashaBee Mon 16-Dec-13 17:33:08

YANBU at all, OP. I would never ask my mother or inlaws to do it. If they offered, fair enough (I don't think they would though - fair enough, they have done their child rearing!)

Thants Mon 16-Dec-13 17:34:03

Gp's that refuse to even babysit occasionally are imo very selfish.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 17:34:55

We did look at that option Mortified but we can't both afford to drop hours. I'm only dropping my working week by 1 day and we can just about cope with that smile

The cost of a day's childcare is less than half of what my husband would make at work during a day - so it doesn't make sense for him to give up a days work (earning £100) just so we don't have to spend £45 on childcare. Those numbers were just given as an example, not as our actual figures smile

BackforGood Mon 16-Dec-13 17:36:30

I absolutely agree with you - unless the GPs actually want to have that time with their grandchildren, and ask if they can, then people shouldn't assume they are going to look after them while you work.
It's nice to hope that they will sit for you to go out occasionally, or maybe if you have a hospital or dentist appt or something, but not for a full day on a regular basis, unless they ask if they can.

PacificDingbat Mon 16-Dec-13 17:36:46

My brother and his wife used our parents and his in-laws for one day's childcare per week each.
It was an unmitigated disaster with all 3 sides ending up resentful.

Yes, childcare is ridiculous expensive, but the cost of having family involved can be high too.

That does not mean that I am not a bit envious of people who make it work with their parents.

Ladyglamalot Mon 16-Dec-13 17:37:56

I know a lot of people who really rip the piss with their parents and babysitting. I regularly see grandparents at thing like mother and toddlers,playgroups,baby gym etc who look bloody knackered!

My inlaws helped out bil and sil with their kids but that was a few years ago and they have never offered to help us with childcare. They are in their 70's so I understand really though I wish mil would stop making barbed remarks about how hard her son works to keep us allhmm

MonsterMunchMe Mon 16-Dec-13 17:39:32

hmmm I had DS at 18 and escaped an abusive relationship with his dad at 20.

I've always worked FT shift work, DS has a bedroom at DParents house and spends A LOT of time there, as XH can only have supervised access 2 days a week, so my parents supervise it there (this was at DMs Insistance, she's a bit of a control freak and does not like or trust XH)

They would prefer me to work and them look after DS for his and mines sakes.

The alternative would be for me to not work and claim benefits as I could not get a 9-5 to match my wages that I get on shift work so could not support myself or DS. I do not have space for an au pair, his school doesn't do after school clubs. I did put him in and pay for a private nursery from age 2-4 so they only had to do night times and weekends.

Tbh my DM is like a 3rd parent. Some people think I take the piss, but she is very happy to do it and wants me to be able to give DS a nice life and better myself.

I am eternally grateful to her and will do the same for my kids/grand kids in the future. Maybe because I had him young and have been alone for 4 years it's slightly different.

I actually find it a bit strange and sad if grandparents do not want to help out in this way. I come from a big family and the mentality is 'it takes a village' etc.

Procrastreation Mon 16-Dec-13 17:40:38

My mum has been very involved with my DC - but I have never actually taken the plunge to use her to replace paid for childcare.

So when I am contractually expected to be at work, I have contractual childcare in place. Issues etc come up - & it can be tricky to negotiate things with family without hurting feelings.

But when DH & I want to go off to a party, my mum has them. When DD was quarantined from nursery with chickenpox, my mum stepped in. When I had to go abroad, my mum stepped in to bridge between childcare & earliest DH could get home. When DD & DS are getting on each others nerves, my Mum will take one out 1:1 & I'll do the other. You get the picture!

drspouse Mon 16-Dec-13 17:42:44

My parents live some distance away, although I know a few families whose parents come to stay for a few days on a regular basis for preschool childcare. But they are both a bit older and would find caring for a preschooler tiring.

My mother has had at least one of my DNs to stay for a block of a week and a good time was had by all. They are primary school age so I can see that working as holiday care at that age.

I do tend to think that this grandparents as free care is a bit of a time bomb. Those with younger grandparents are relying on granny not working full time but more of the current parent generation does that. There won't be as many of the current generation not working full time in 30 years. But those that are not will be retired (rather than younger working part time) so not as likely to want or be able to do childcare.

Spottybra Mon 16-Dec-13 17:42:46

Absolutely would never do it again. Tried it and went horribly wrong even though they offered. If you can keep their grandchild as that, not a responsibility.

Kitttty Mon 16-Dec-13 17:45:35

My mother has looked after GC - but was paid well for it.

Procrastreation Mon 16-Dec-13 17:45:41

(The other side of the coin - FWIW - is that my mum runs a royal social life through the kids. She's normally fairly reserved - but she's always out & about with the kids, & ends up with people popping in for tea & a chat etc - that she would never really arrange on her own.

She got a 'granny of the year' trophy at DDs ballet class, because she was always helping out with people's hair, & bringing snacks etc.! I do think she gets a lot out of the arrangement as well. It's just better to try to keep in all light-touch & voluntary. )

Jollyb Mon 16-Dec-13 17:46:15

My parents are fantastic at providing emergency childcare but I wouldn't want them to do it regularly, as I wouldn't want to impose on them and make them feel guilty about taking holidays etc.

We're reasonably comfortably off though, and not too stretched by our childcare costs, I might feel differently if this wasn't the case.

DP s family live the other side of the world and his mother looks after our niece 3 days per week. This is in addition to running a busy home tutoring business (she doesn't stop). I'm sure she'd do it for us if we moved over too.

wigglesrock Mon 16-Dec-13 17:46:17

My in-laws looked after my dd1 two mornings a week from when she was 4 months until she went to school. My mum looked after her one morning. I have always relied on my in-laws & mum for 1 or 2 mornings a week. I don't work now but I have 3 children, although due to age gaps, only one has been under school age when I've been working.

My in-laws volunteered to help out when I had dd1 (she's now 8).

It worked out so well for us, she did whatever they did - the shopping, endless trips to the post office, the Drs, the bank & she spent 30 mins every morning in the bookies with her Granda - she could buy & sell you smile .

I had several contingency plans for if they were on holiday/ ill.

It worked for us, I think because I really didn't stress re naps, outings, feeding. They had so much time for her & got so much enjoyment from doing things with her that I just didn't have the time for - jigsaws.

I'll be honest, where I live a lot of grandparents provide childcare. My in-laws wouldn't let us pay them, but I used to pick up bits & pieces for them every month - flowers, naice biccies, & money when they went on holiday. I will be eternally grateful for their help & support with the kids. Due to my husband's work (shift work/nights/weekends) I really needed to have flexible, reliable arrangements.

It depends on so many things - primarily how willing the GPs are to do it, and how old they are and if they can physically do it.

My DM looked after DS one day per fortnight when DS was younger and went to a CM who had every other Friday off. It was a nice arrangement as it wasn't too often to become a real dampner on DM's other social events, also I had a back up CM so that if she was on holiday or unable to come, then I had alternate arrangements.

In your case OP I would be wary unless the GM actually expresses any interest in doing this. I would point out though that at 60 she is actually 10 years younger than the majority of us will be expected to continue in f/t employment due to changes in pensions ( sorry a bit off topic I know).

HedgehogsRevenge Mon 16-Dec-13 17:49:40

My parents do more than most. They're retired and looked after ds 3 days per week until he started school this year. I'm a LP and would struggle to pay for childcare. They still look after him a lot as i'm now at uni but they absolutely love having him, he's a very easy going, well behaved little boy. I never ask them to babysit so I can go out, it's only ever so I can work/study. My dad is very much a father figure to ds who has no contact with his father and takes him all sorts of wonderful places. They are the best childcare anyone could wish for and I know I'm incredibly lucky.
They know how grateful I am and I often show it with token gifts like flowers or treating them to lunch and such like.
I love that ds is so close to his GP's as I was mine. My parents waited a long time to become grandparents and really dote on all their gc.
I think its lovely if they want to do it, obviously it's not for everyone. Personally I just hope I get the same opportunity if I ever have gc.

My in laws had ds for 2 days a week from him being six months. They offered and were upset we put him into nursery when my hours got extended so they only had him for one day a week.

they are mid sixties. We check regularly that they still want him and they are always surprised we ask.

financially it's been better, but not emotionally, fil is constantly undermining my parenting which is irritating. I now say to him that I've got it under control and to back off. He's someone who always thinks he's right.

i don't interfere about what they do with him when they have him, except i want to know if they are taking a trip several hours away, which they find baffling but tell me. It's actually helped me relax, he's a happy content child and is really close with his grandparents which is lovely.

KateSpade Mon 16-Dec-13 17:50:34

I asked my auntie to have DD from 4 weeks till she was about 1yo whilst I was doing my work placement.

She loved doing it so much, but I still felt unbelievably guilty about the whole thing.

I will be asking her to look after DD one morning a week whilst I haven't got Fridays at nursery in the new year, but she asks to have her often which eases the guilt slightly.

DoItTooBabyJesus Mon 16-Dec-13 17:56:39

My mum does all of my childcare.

She has ds2 (13 months) 4 days a week, term time and picks up ds1 (8) from school 3 of those days. She does 9-5. She is also the only person that babysits if me and DH want to go out.

I pay for any expenses she incurs and try to look after her in other ways too.

It's a huge ask, but luckily she adores having them. The nice bit is that I have changed my hours to term time, so we have 7 weeks to get through before there is a break for everyone.

I am eternally grateful to her. She does things my way, she is really attentive and affectionate with boys and they love her to pieces. Someone up thread said their mum was like a 3rd parent....I'd echo that! She will take them t the doctors, to baby classes, to soft play. What's not to love?

Mum, if you're reading this, you rock!

ChablisLover Mon 16-Dec-13 17:56:53

My dp had my ds since I went back from maternity bar a period when mum was ill and I used a childminder who was a friend.

Mum and dad offered to look after ds as they didn't feel comfortable for a nursery to do it.

Now he's 7 and they pick him up from school 3 days a week.

If I had to spy childcare our lifestyle would be hugely different and for that I'm truly grateful.

The fact my parents couldn't look after a young child is why my ds is an only child.

But each to their own if your mil doesn't want to look after your dc then it's her choice. If she doesn't want to then don't Force it - it will end in tears

maddening Mon 16-Dec-13 18:00:45

If the GPs are up for it - some do actually want to look after their own gc - then I don't see the harm - but it has to be something the gp wants and they shouldn't be pressured in to it.

My mum is part time but enjoys having her days free - she wants to have my ds occasionally so she does some days in the school hols when she wants to - it saves us on hc as we pre-plan with my dm which days she wants and we always say def only he ones she fancies and I go to pains to ensure that she doesn't feel pressured.

If you mil actually expresses a want to do it and you areccomfortable with her and your dc then why not?

My parents and PIL are all retired. They do occasional evenings, days when nursery is shut or when DD is ill and overnight twice so that we could go to weddings.

I wouldn't want them to do more as I think it could lead to tensions, I wouldn't want to impose and the can let DD have treats when they see her at the moment, but couldn't if they looked after her more.

Ladyglamalot Mon 16-Dec-13 18:04:38

Perhaps I should have said in my post further up that my views on this are rather coloured by the fact I was pretty much brought up by my gp's. My mum was a lone parent who worked and then moved in with a man we hated so we stayed with gp's.

I feel my mum abdicated a lot of her parental responsibility for selfish reasons and it effects my relationship with her to this day.

If you get the feeling she doesn't want to then stick to your guns op. I wouldn't expect my parents to watch my kids unless they really wanted to but mine work ft so not an issue.

eddiemairswife Mon 16-Dec-13 18:08:21

I'm a grandmother and two of my grandchildren live locally. My daughter worked two nights a week, and her mother-in-law and I shared the childcare. Until I retired I did it mainly during school holidays. We would never have dreamed of expecting payment. The worst thing about it was when they were at school and my daughter would say,"He's got his project to do, so that will keep him busy!!"

MsJupiterJones Mon 16-Dec-13 18:11:17

My mum looks after DS 2.5 days a week, about 6.5 hrs per day as I start work late and DH finishes early on those days. She offered back when I was pg and said she would like to do it.

Positives are that he has an amazing relationship with her, someone who loves him is caring for him, she can be flexible if needs be and takes him to groups, outings etc. It has also made us closer in some ways. I feel very lucky.

Negatives are that it's hard to tell her if I'm unhappy with something and there have been some times of tension, although we've got through these so far (6 months). The tension has mostly come from one of us feeling criticised. Food is a big one as others have said, also napping. The main thing is to keep communication open and talk about issues rather than letting them build up.

We give her £20 a week to cover any expenses and I provide food although she often cooks for him herself. This is obviously much cheaper than a nursery or cm would be and we are grateful for that as we are trying to save for a house deposit but it isn't the reason we are choosing to do it this way. If you want your mil to be involved then I would approach it from that point of view rather than from a financial perspective.

My in laws pick my daughter up from school 3 days per week
Husband goes there after work and they have dinner with the grandparents

There are no problems with this
They love having her and she loves going there (husband loves not having to make dinner)

They offered to have her

Thants Mon 16-Dec-13 18:13:47

Funny how little people are mentioning grandfathers. I suppose I expect less because my dad didn't bother much with me when I was child let alone my children.

Ragwort Mon 16-Dec-13 18:14:23

Many of my friends are already grand parents and some of them do feel under huge pressure to provide a child care service when they really don't want to. I personally think it puts grandparents in a very difficult position; my own parents and ILs lived no where near us when our DC were younger so it was never something that we even considered.

Personally I would have no wish whatsoever to provide childcare for my own grandchildren (if/when I have them) - I look forward to doing what I want to do in my retirement, I have plenty of interests and hobbies and look forward to pursuing them. Happy to do evening/weekend babysitting but not full on childcare.

It can build up all sorts of areas of resentment, as seen on the threads on here grin.

thebody Mon 16-Dec-13 18:17:28

I have had my children, done all the hard work.

I have absolutely no desire to do the hard work again with my future gc just the fun bits thanks.

me and dh both work and have busy social lives so would help in an emergency and babysit but that's it.

also I think it's fair that kids are with adults who can physically and mentally cope with them day to day and I hate seeing knackered looking frazzled older people trying to run after toddlers.

still each to own.

brettgirl2 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:20:10

Mine do one day a week but because and only because they want to. It is absolutely the case that if they want to stop fine, if they need to change the arrangement one week fine (nursery are usually pretty flexible on extra days anyway).

Interestingly for years my mother had banged on about how she would never be lumbered with childcare confused .

OP yanbu I wouldn't ask if they don't want to do it.

Ephiny Mon 16-Dec-13 18:22:18

I think you're not being unreasonable. It's one thing to ask grandparents to babysit as an occasional favour, or to help out in an emergency when you're really stuck, but providing regular childcare is a different matter.

I imagine it can be a bit awkward if you have any dispute or difference of opinion about how things are to be done, it's a different dynamic from what you'd have with a paid nanny or childminder, and could be more difficult for you to assert what you want.

Hulababy Mon 16-Dec-13 18:23:45

PILS looked after DD one day a week after I went back to work at 5 months, til she started school 4 year later.

But this was their choice. They asked if they could - I worked not far from thwir home. We agreed to it for one day a week, but did also choce a local nursery 2 other days a week. I didn;t feel it would be ideal for all 3 days personally. I am glad I made that decision too - DD got a lot from her nursery days and she also retained the nice grandparent/gradnchild relationship without it taking on too close a childcare role.

bringonyourwreckingball Mon 16-Dec-13 18:29:11

When we moved back to my home town when dd1 was a baby my mum was very vocal about not being used for free childcare. This suited me fine, I wanted them to be able to be grandparents, not in a quasi-parental role as I think that can cause problems if you're not on the same page about a particular issue. My parents have however always been my emergency/back up childcare if one of the dds is ill for example and actually over the years they have taken on more regular childcare and now do one after school pick up a week (4:30-6) and a day a week in the holidays. This was their choice however and I've always said if they don't want to do it I'll make other arrangements.

indyandlara Mon 16-Dec-13 18:29:51

My Dad is 65 and widowed. He looks after my daughter 1 and a half days a week. He won't take any money for helping but we buy him gifts/ cinema vouchers/ National Trust membership etc. He offered and we were very glad he did. I much prefer her with him than elsewhere. They have a very special and close relationship. They also get up to all sorts that we wouldn't do so it is a winner all round as far as I am concerned.

haveyourselfashandy Mon 16-Dec-13 18:32:41

I'm looking after my niece at the mo whilst her dm and df work.As a family nearly all of us work opposite shifts we all(including gp's) watch each others kids...childcare costs are ridiculous and we help each other out so we don't have to pay for it.It's what families do for each other.I understand not all families are the same though.

indyandlara Mon 16-Dec-13 18:33:41

Thants, my Dad was a very hands on Dad too so he slipped into the role easy. DH and I are very strict with DD. Grandad less so. We are fine with that though but I imagine if you want to keep things exactly as you want it may be harder to accept someone else's discipline.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:34:37

I am actually genuinely surprised at just how many people have the GPs providing childcare. I had no idea so many people did it. Is it really the norm these days??

MiaowTheCat Mon 16-Dec-13 18:41:09

Neither side do for us. Distance wise it's not viable anyway - the in-laws very much favour the other grand child and have minimal interest in our kids anyway, and my mum is too busy with her own life to do any kind of ongoing arrangement.

MIL is the sort who'll be melodramatic about how she's had an awful evening if she does babysit (having rammed her face in the baby's cot and cooed to wake the baby up) so it's too damned stressful on the rare occasions she's bothered... my mum claims to be available to help in an emergency but then lets us down so we have no backup really.

Workberk Mon 16-Dec-13 18:43:32

I've just realised I don't know any working mothers (with local-ish parents) who DON'T use their parents as childcare.

My DSis paid my mum to do childcare, but she was keen and it was her career. I wouldn't ask even if they lived locally as she is almost 70 now and I think it would be far too exhausting. YANBU.

I think it's unfair not to pay a nominal amount for food, nappies, playgroups etc at the very least.

moogalicious Mon 16-Dec-13 18:44:19

When I had dc1 my DM had her 2 days a week, and MIL 1 day. This was 11 years ago - I went back to work FT when dc1 was 4 months old.

I have 3 now, and DM picks them up from school once a week and looks after them for a couple of hours. I wouldn't ask her to go back to 2 days a week because she is older and has a a lot of commitments now. Also, if she's ill or on holiday or has an appointment then I find alternative childcare, my DMs time comes first.

Both sets of GPs enjoy looking after the children and I think they have a really good relationship with them. My DM feels close to dc1 because of the time spent looking after her when she was a baby.

AnneElliott Mon 16-Dec-13 18:47:32

My mother had DS 1 day a wok from when I went back to work when he was 7 months. Mil wanted to do the other 4 days but I think it would have been too much for her. She was seriously ill just before I went back so we got a childminder for those days.

Now mil picks DS up from school 3 days per week but she has her other GC as well so they all play together it works well but I would not have asked. Both offered.

HedgehogsRevenge Mon 16-Dec-13 18:55:47

I would say it's 'less the norm' now than years ago. My grandmothers generation were far less likely to be working than my mothers generation. It depends on family dynamics though, my grandmother looked after me a lot. But judging by the number of grandparents at the school gate it's definitely common, unsurprisingly so given the astronomical cost of childcare.

EndoplasmicReticulum Mon 16-Dec-13 18:55:57

My parents looked after my children.

It wasn't quite full time though, they did 3.5 days a week term time only as I'm a teacher. They had son 1 for 6 months when he was 1, then I had maternity leave with the second, then they had them both until they started school.

They offered, I didn't ask. My mum was very keen, in fact - as with a pp they moved across the country to be nearer. And I gave them money - not the "going rate" but enough to cover food / petrol / treats etc. so they weren't out of pocket.

My parents are very keen walkers so the boys spent a lot of time hiking about in the woods and climbing mountains.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 16-Dec-13 19:01:09

My Mum is by herself now,and retired,and I think that,in the main,she enjoys looking after my junior school aged kids.

MincedMuffPies Mon 16-Dec-13 19:07:33

My family all pitch in to help at school holidays. Even my almost 80yr old nan.

I put them in holiday club for 2 days and my family have them the other 3 days between them,or sometimes my nan has them for a whole half term at a time.

I wouldn't call it using, I would call it them wanting to pitch in. My dc are very close to to my nan, mum, and brother due to this. I think it's lovely for them.

Both my DM and DPiL offered to have DD. DM initially did two days a week and DPiL did one day, CM the other two days. Now DD is at pre school they do drop off and pick up on respective days. My Mum stays at ours overnight.
I grew up with my Paternal grandmother collecting me from school and I had such a lovely relationship with her, I wanted my DD to have the same.
Both sets were 63-64 when DD was born. She is also an only grandchild on both sides, I think that makes a difference.

That said I would never have asked if they didn't offer.

cathers Mon 16-Dec-13 19:17:42

My parents never offered to do childcare so I never asked! Sure, they will babysit for the evening or help out in the holidays but I would feel uncomfortable with them having DC for full working days.
A close friend however does use her parent for childcare and though free she often comes to clashes if her parents I are sick or have a better offer! They also go on holidays frequently which leave her short and tend not to want to take her dcs out to clubs and groups which has led to a certain degree of clingy ness.

Our DS goes to my mum and dad twice a week, and nursery twice a week.
He was originally booked in to nursery from 6 months old but my Dad said they would rather have him.
I wouldnt have asked as both my parents are in their 60s but they insisted and we do pay them, although less than we would pay the nursery.
My DS has the most amazing relationship with my DM and DF and the only downside is sometimes I get a stupidly a little jealous that he loves them so very much.
There is no one I would trust with my DS more than my DM and my DF, except my partner obviously smile

catellington Mon 16-Dec-13 19:35:47

My experience and comments are almost identical to those of strangeglue

Norfolknway Mon 16-Dec-13 19:41:57

Yup, 1 day per week my MIL has our 2 yo DD.

They have a great relationship and she's really close to DH's family because of it and they all look forward to seeing one and other.

ImaginativeNewName Mon 16-Dec-13 19:46:31

DH's mum has our two on a Sunday night and all day on a Monday. She is coming up for 60 but still in work, involved in the local community and a complete star. She will never slow down and the boys love her. She says they keep her young. They are turning me grey... grin

But then again we are a very involved, live close by, keys to each other's houses, popping in, doing favours family. If you didn't live like this, it'd imagine you would feel it was strange. I'm not very close to my father and would never ask or want him to do similar.

Rosencrantz Mon 16-Dec-13 19:47:48

We used grandparents but paid them.

JanePurdy Mon 16-Dec-13 19:57:03

I went back to work when DC were 5 and 2. My mum said she didn't want dc2 to go nursery at that age & she would have them. She looks after them 2 days a week. I have absolute faith in her & trust her totally. She dropped a day at work in order to do it. She is 60 but is clear she will only be doing it till DC2 is about 3 - then she's going off for her active retirement! I know she finds it tiring & frustrating at times but she also genuinely enjoys spending time with small children - she missed her calling as an EYFS teacher.

shebird Mon 16-Dec-13 19:57:42

My MIL helps with my DDs in the school holidays. When they were little she looked on the rare occasion we went out or in emergencies when they were too ill to go to nursery.
I appreciate all that she does and we have an honest relationship where she will say no when she can't or doesn't want to and there is no bad feeling or resentment. I would say make your own arrangements if you can and perhaps she could help out now and then without being committed. It also depends on your relationship with her.

PeriodFeatures Mon 16-Dec-13 20:00:06

My friend's DM drives 140 mile round trip to look after her DC for a day every week. I personally would hate my DM to do that.

JanePurdy Mon 16-Dec-13 20:00:50

Oh & re grandfathers - my dad will be taking on a day a week when he goes part time in the new year but I definite see more grans around.

ImaginativeNewName Mon 16-Dec-13 20:03:50

Money isn't really an issue with DH's family but I always cover the dc's costs if I know they are doing something in advance. I didn't think you were supposed to pay family for childcare, depending on whose home they are looked after in. Unless they are a registered childminder and declaring the income obviously.

DragonMamma Mon 16-Dec-13 20:04:44

My DM has my DC2 one day a week, but this is a fairly recent arrangement (as in the past few weeks) and he is 2.5, so not a baby and she can still get out and about.

My own GM picks DC2 up from nursery one afternoon a week and has him until I get home. My stepfather also picks up DC1 from school 5 days a week, because my dsis is the same age as my DC1 and so he's going to get her anyway.

I couldn't manage without my family. Before I went back to work I would do most of the childcare for my DM over the holidays and if my Dsis was ill etc, so it has been give and take the past few years.

XiCi Mon 16-Dec-13 20:06:22

I think the gps looking after them is the ideal really if all parties are happy. My dd's childcare is shared between the two sets of gps and has been since she was 12 weeks. They both wanted to look after her and offered to do it. I felt so much better about having to work knowing she was with people who loved her rather than in a nursery and its lovely to see how close she is to her nanas and grandads.
On a practical level of course gps are so much more flexible if you get stuck late in work, stuck in traffic,baby ill etc.
I do feel incredibly lucky and grateful to both sets of parents

JanePurdy Mon 16-Dec-13 20:07:10

Just thinking more about support over & above I've had from my family - when dc2 was born DP went off paternity leave to 13hr shifts, so my dad took a week off work to help me out, & my mum came over every bedtime the following week. I love my parents.

roweeena Mon 16-Dec-13 20:07:12

Neither set of GPs live close to us, my mum has clearly stated she wouldn't want to commit to it even if we lived closer. My PIL on the other hand happily do three days for SIL which is very annoying for us as they do mon & Friday which means they can never come to see is for a long weekend. SIL also has other GP which do one day a week

XiCi Mon 16-Dec-13 20:09:11

Btw, I think the wording of your post "uses grandparents for free childcare" sounds really horrid. It's about what's best for your child, your situation, what's right for the grandparents etc. Not just about what's best for your bank balance at everyone else's expense

Methe Mon 16-Dec-13 20:14:38

My mil picks up our children a couple of time a week and takes them home from school and gives them tea. She has generally had them once or twice a week since I went back to work when the eldest was 12 months old.

She is wonderful and we appreciate her help so much. My Parents would do the same if we lived closer.

Tbh, it is not something I've ever really given much thought to before but I guess I think that it's what grandparents should so, if they can. My grandparents did it for my parents and I know I'll be willing to do it for my own children.

Isn't that what family is about?

randomAXEofkindness Mon 16-Dec-13 20:20:41

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.

I agree with this.

I've been flamed before now for daring to consider looking after dss 3/4 days a week for the last 10 years/next 4 years + (while both of his parents work) as 'free childcare'. But interestingly, it seems to be found universally acceptable to use the same description to describe looking after their own flesh and blood grandchildren hmm

randomAXEofkindness Mon 16-Dec-13 20:22:15

*your, not their.

feelingdizzy Mon 16-Dec-13 20:23:27

My parents have the children 1/2 days a week after school.They would like it more.My kids are 10 and 11 though so not too much hard work.

bakewelltartandcustard Mon 16-Dec-13 20:34:01

I'm a grandparent and have given my DCs 12 years of childcare. I love being closely involved and it's good to know I've been useful.
I do feel taken for granted sometimes, am rarely thanked and almost never given any help in return. I know young families are frantically busy but please don't let your family care be all in one direction.

trilbydoll Mon 16-Dec-13 20:37:21

When i go back to work we will use a nursery, all our parents still work albeit mainly part time. But it means we have a backup, my mum will take DD when nursery won't and they are happy to have her for an evening. I think if they had her regularly they would not want any extra!

mydoorisalwaysopen Mon 16-Dec-13 20:39:33

My mum picks up from school once a week which she and the kids enjoy. I rarely ask for other babysitting favors but she is usually OK to step in if the kids are off sick. I found it better at the nursery stage to always use nursery as it was totally reliable but again mum would step in in an emergency. Go with what is right for your family.

Its0kToBeMe Mon 16-Dec-13 20:44:39

I couldn't work if it wasn't for my mum. I only work three nights a week so as to lighten the load. Both DD and DS are good sleepers luckily.

zebdee Mon 16-Dec-13 20:47:54

I think it's too much when still working. It's causing huge issues in my mums friends family just now but there one day a week has escalated to 2 days and 2 nights. I'd keep grandparent shaped favours for when dc has chicken pox or one of the other 100 bugs they'll get that mean they have to be off!!

JohnCusacksWife Mon 16-Dec-13 21:15:37

When my daughters were young my parents looked after them one day a week and they were in paid childcare two days a week. My mum actually wanted to have the girls more often but I resisted as I was always very conscious that they had done their child rearing and should be enjoying their retirement...not providing me with free childcare. It was a wonderful arrangement and as a result my girls are very close to my mum and dad...much closer than to their other GPs. My parents still have the girls after school one day per week from 3-6.30 and they love it. I'm so thankful to my parents for all they do for us. I think it's when it's expected and taken for granted that things go wrong.

KitCat26 Mon 16-Dec-13 21:23:31

My parents live too far away to do this, but will help out for a special occasion (they don't do sick children).

MIL lives round the corner. She is 85 and helps out with DD2 (2) a couple of times a month - they play with bricks, watch lots of telly and eat loads of sweets/crisps. DD2 has a fab time grin.

If the GPs want to do it that's brilliant. If they don't, fair enough.

NicknameIncomplete Mon 16-Dec-13 21:44:32

My mum looks after my dd (9) when i am working. If it wasnt for her i wouldnt be able to work. I appreciate it so much and always show it by thanking her, buying her gifts and doing things for her.

BenNJerry Mon 16-Dec-13 21:51:59

I'm a young mother and my parents are in their early forties, so they still work full time. I know they would do it if they could though. I couldn't ask my grandparents as they are in their 70s and couldn't look after a 7 month old all day.

I work part time and my DS goes to a childminder 3 days a week. He loves it but it is costly, £400 a month.

justtoomessy Mon 16-Dec-13 21:58:11

Yes but I wouldn't say it is 'free childcare' as in our family its just what you do…look after kids so the parents can work. My nan did it for my mum and she does it for me and I hope that I can help my DS if he ever has children.

My mum loves it and she is 63 and my son loves it. My mum misses him when I am on annual leave and makes any old excuse up to text and see him. My mum would have been gutted if I had paid someone to have DS rather than her and would have taken it as an insult. Family is family and I think some of the problems we have in society is the massive breakdown of extended family helping out and not seeing looking after the children in the family as their problem. Not sure that makes sense but I've a stinking cold.

My mum has the time to do things with my son that I don't always get the time to do as I have to catch up on cleaning etc. My mum has more patience than me as she generally has more time. Plus I'm a bit useless at remembering stuff and because my mum takes DS to pre-school 3 times a week she knows whats going on as well and can remind me and she also knows his friends/parents etc.

They have a great relationship.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:01:45

I think I feel 'odd' about it as when the babies get to crawling/toddling age it must be a nightmare to try and control them and entertain them for a whole day - I just wouldn't want to inflict that on a 60 year old women who is still working. Surely on her days off she deserves a rest? I suppose I might feel differently if she didn't work at all which I'm assuming is the case of most grandparents that are being discussed in this thread. I had a hospital appointment last week and the technician doing my ECG was telling me that her daughter has recently returned to work and she (the technician, I.e grandma) has the 10month old 2 days a week. The woman was telling me how hard she finds it as she works the other 3 days a week, and that it wouldn't have been such an issue if she was younger, but at 62 it is just too much. She said she doesn't know how to get out of it though. It just made me feel quite bad for her.

I imagine once the children are older and it is just a case of picking them up from school and having them for a few hours it is much easier, but I just wouldn't feel right asking grandparents aged 60+ to deal with my baby/toddler all day long.

My MIL has said she wants to be the baby's Grandma, not childminder.
I'm just so glad my husband is now in agreement, I am just praying to God he doesn't go behind my back and start 'casually mentioning' it to her again. It just makes me so uncomfortable.

Accidentallyquirky Mon 16-Dec-13 22:04:00

We couldn't afford childcare for our two kids and we both work 40+ hours each.
Fil has the kids 2 or 3 days a week on his own as he's semi retired (early 50s) hubby on his days off and me on my days off , guaranteed there will be one day when all 3 of us are working so then our great grand parents have them between them - one set on a morning then the other set till bedtime ( we work long shifts usually till at least 7pm and its to long as they are in there 60s/70s)
Mil and fil have them overnight on a Friday.
Fil semi retired and offered to be our main childcare so I could go back to work as we needed the money.

I am eternally greatful for their help.

ThurlHoHoHow Mon 16-Dec-13 22:04:08

My parents do emergency cover, and occasionally have the toddler for a few days if we have a really manic period at work. I'm hoping they will move to where we live in the next few years, but even then I wouldn't use them for regular or long childcare. I know they love DD but they get knackered. I don't ever want them to feel as though seeing their grandchildren is a 'job' as opposed to fun time, which I worry might happen if they had a set day. Having said that they love having her and would probably have her more by choice if they were nearer!

ThurlHoHoHow Mon 16-Dec-13 22:05:30


My MIL has said she wants to be the baby's Grandma, not childminder.

That's what I worry about. Obviously if GP offer than all is great. But if not, then I'd worry that the relationship becomes a bit skewed.

A few hours after school one a week isn't too much though.

dogindisguise Mon 16-Dec-13 22:12:38

My mum used to say that if I had a baby she'd look after it if I wanted to work, perhaps because she is quite anti-nursery. This was rather hypothetical as at that point I don't think I'd even met DH. Anyway DH was very keen to be near my family when we had children so my parents do help out a lot. However, this is on more of an informal basis as I'm a SAHM - my mum is not committed to any particular day. When I just had my son she would look after him on an ad-hoc basis when I did proofreading work at home. Since having DD it's more a case of her coming round and helping out and she also told us we should get rid of our cleaners as she would do the cleaning! She was 61 when DS was born but is generally very fit and healthy. My dad lives about an hour away and doesn't really help with childcare as such but visits once a week.

If your MIL hasn't offered than perhaps she is not keen to help out on a regular basis but would be happy to babysit sometimes - but have a word with her to see what she thinks.

I see a lot of grandparents at toddler groups who look after their grandchildren on a regular basis; rather worryingly I think I'm nearer the age of some of the grandparents than the parents! I think where I live more people have family near by than do not.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:20:03

I'm not worried that she won't be involved, she actually lives on the same street as us, and she is over the moon about becoming a Grandma smile She will always be there for us in emergencies, I know she will always want to babysit and take baby to the park or zoo etc. Thats what a Grandparents role is in my eyes, to spend time with their GC when it happens, not on a set day as specific childcare. I was just bought up with the mantra of, if you can't afford children then you don't have them, which in my eyes encompassed being able to afford childcare whilst you're at work. Me and my DH have a good joint income but we know we can only afford to have one child because we couldn't afford childcare for two - and we just accept that.

PansOnFire Mon 16-Dec-13 22:22:52

Our parents look after our DS for 2 days each during the week whilst we work. I had a childminder all lined up but our parents wouldn't have it, they want to look after DS and are all between 56 and 62. Our DS is a year old and a handful but they seem to be coping better than me most days!

I'd lined up a childminder because I felt the same way as you did, if our parents hadn't offered then I might have approached my mum to have him for 1 day a week as I really wanted him to have that time with her, but I really didn't need to as she offered straight away. I agree with what you're saying but 1 day a week will give your parents chance to do more with your baby, I doubt that will be too much for them. However, if parents are reluctant then I absolutely agree that you need to find an alternative as it could lead to resentment.

Preciousbane Mon 16-Dec-13 22:29:05

No grandparents even vaguely near us geographically but DH parents were too young and still working as an accountant and teacher whereas mine were incredibly old and too decrepit.

I think asking if they would consider back up for instance if dc too ill to go to nursery and you couldn't get time off work.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:29:15

I wouldn't be surprised if despite her reluctance now, when the baby is actually born and she has formed that attachment the MIL will be begging to have him one day a week grin

JamesBlonde Mon 16-Dec-13 22:29:46

My DM insisted on packing in work to look after my DD and I knew there would be no problems as we have the same standards and expectations. Neither of us wanted my DD to go to a baby nursery and I was eager for my DD to have a close relationship with DM. I have a close relationship with my nana and wanted that for my DD. I give my DM money each week but my DF still works and they are very comfortable. It made me going back to work far less stressful as I knew my DD was in excellent hands with someone who loved her.

My DD is now 4 years old and my parents collect her from school each day and give her tea before I collect her. When they go on holiday I take time off work but we tend to all take our holidays at the same time anyway albeit to different destinations. If my parents have commitments I ask one of my aunts to care for DD.

I am very lucky to have my parents who dearly love my DD. I am an only child and DD will be too so there will be no chance of them needing to care for other children. I never underestimate the importance of a good extended family who live close by for emotional and practical support. Both my nana and DM have given excellent child care advice on matters I wouldn't have had a clue about.

I hope I can do the same for my daughter if her DC need me.

katese11 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:32:17

Have skimmed, but I think age is a big factor here. My parents were 50 when my sister had her kids, and well up for looking after them. They're 70 now I'm having mine, and I would feel guilty asking them to look after them too much. They are pretty hard work!

NicknameIncomplete Mon 16-Dec-13 22:34:04

When i had my dd her dad worked & i was a sahm. We could afford to have a child. However now i am a single parent, not through choice, my circumstances are very different and sometimes money is tight. Does that mean that i shouldnt have my dd because i cant afford childcare?

NicknameIncomplete Mon 16-Dec-13 22:34:17

When i had my dd her dad worked & i was a sahm. We could afford to have a child. However now i am a single parent, not through choice, my circumstances are very different and sometimes money is tight. Does that mean that i shouldnt have my dd because i cant afford childcare?

Totally depends on whether they want to do it.

My DM asked me if she could, then cried when I said yes. It involved her and DF doing 3 long days a week, and they had to travel for 3-4 hours at the start and end of each "working" week. I

've never known her happier, she was in her element and built up a brilliant relationship with DS - but I wouldn't have dreamed of imposing it on her if she hadn't been so keen to do it.

Chunderella Mon 16-Dec-13 22:40:42

My DF does 1 day a week for us, which is the only childcare we need. That's normal in our family. No payment, though I would have insisted if he were sacrificing income himself to help us. We're a close knit extended family and all do for each other, sometimes a few quid involved sometimes not. It's very common where we live, which is a very traditional working class area. All my local friends who work have at least some family assistance, though some also combine it with paid childcare. In our case it isn't really about cost: we could get the vouchers that would cover over half the cost and we'd only have to pay about twelve quid a week which would be very affordable. Why bother though, when this arrangement works so well for us all? Both of them love it.

Age is definitely a factor though. There's a world of difference between a 45 year old GP and a 75 year old.

ChrisMooseMickey Mon 16-Dec-13 22:42:50

i completely agree with you OP- my DM looks after DD for two days but only because she offered, and has made it a permanent commitment- I still check every week that it is alright grin It has worked out really really well, but I would never have asked if she hadn't offered.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:43:47

No that's not what I meant nickname because at the time you had your daughter you could afford childcare (be a SAHM). Perhaps I wasn't very clear - I was referring to situations where a couple know that if they have another baby they wouldn't be able to afford childcare but go ahead anyway with the expectation that the Grandparents will do it.

It's obviously different if they discuss it with the GP first who say they will be happy to offer F/T childcare and so then the couple go on to try and have a baby - but I know some people have children under the pure assumption that the GP will pick up the pieces.

My friend has very recently done this and now her mum is left holding her 9 month old baby and her toddler as my friend has just returned to work. It has caused a lot of family tension, the GP aren't happy about the situation at all but feel there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.

NicknameIncomplete Mon 16-Dec-13 22:53:07

Ok i know what you mean. My dsis is like this. She still stays at home, had 2 babies in a year & dumps them on my mum at least once a day while she does her own thing and moans that the house is crowded. She is nearly 30yrs old btw.

Runwayqueen Mon 16-Dec-13 22:55:20

Yanbu for your reasons.

My dm does have my daughter 3 days a week, although one of those days she is at nursery so she does the before and after. It wasn't how I intended it to be but my xh left me in the lurch so my dm stepped in without me asking. Because I have my dm I can still work, without her I couldn't work shifts that I do

Slh122 Mon 16-Dec-13 23:00:14

Both mine and DP's parents work full time so would be unable to look after our baby and I don't think they'd want to - I'd never ask!
I'm going to university in September though which is 2 days a week and my lovely grandparents and DP's grandma have offered to have our baby due in Jan. We've accepted but only because we're sure that they definitely want to and it won't create any tension.

Earningsthread Mon 16-Dec-13 23:04:11

I could afford a nanny and did. However my Mum was integral to everything. She looked after the DCs when the nanny went home and we couldn't. She was a big big part of their lives and I am so pleased that she and they enjoyed their time together. I truly believe that it gave my DM a new lease of life.

We give and we take. I hope that I give more than I take. For my mother, her relationship with my children was the single most important relationship in her life. She is much missed and much loved.

If your DM wants a relationship with your children and looks after them for a day a week or whatever, I would encourage it. And foster it. Grandparents are so important. When you have your DC, you will realise that it takes a village to raise a child.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Mon 16-Dec-13 23:05:15

My parents didn't offer, however I decided to ask anyway after Ds was born. They said no, having seen various of their friends run ragged by caring for grandchildren. However, over the course of my maternity leave they had a change of heart and offered to have DS one day a week, this worked out really well and continued when DD came along 2 years later, it carried on until they started school. My parents have absolutely loved doing it, my mum says with hindsight it would have been one of the biggest mistakes of her life not to have done it. They were in their early/mid 60s when my DCs were born, retired but in good health and with no other grandchildren (and knew there would not be any others). My DCs loved and still do love having a day at the GPS without us in the school holidays or at a weekend.

JanePurdy Mon 16-Dec-13 23:06:34

Depends on the 60 year old as to whether it's too tiring to look after DC on her days off, surely? My 60 yr old mother cycles 4 miles to my house to look after my DC, then goes to her allotment in the evening (well, not in the winter!). This morning she cycled via my house to work - not via at all, added about 3 miles to her journey! - to drop something off.

goodtimesinbontemps Mon 16-Dec-13 23:09:38

My bil and sil have 2 children, a toddler and a baby, both work ft and pils mind the children 5 days a week for virtually nothing. I think it's very unfair on them, they say they are happy to do it but I feel a good part of it is that they feel obliged, bil has a large mortgage etc . What bugs me is that sil is often giving out about the way mil does things and I feel like saying you should be bloody glad they are doing it for you and saving you an absolute fortune in child care costs!

somewhereinessex Mon 16-Dec-13 23:16:24

My mother picks up my DCs from school 3 days a week - she's in her 70's, doesn't drive and uses the bus (both DCs are now very au fait with bus etiquette like giving up seats for adults etc!). Without her I could not do my job. She couldn't bear the idea of them going to after-school club (which ended too early for me to get back from London anyway) and offered. As long as I don't abuse this by working late or not letting her know which train I'm on, it works out OK. She's never babysat overnight though. Don't know what I would do without her.

thegreylady Mon 16-Dec-13 23:17:30

I have done childcare for the last 7 years. From when the dc were 6 months I did two days a week. When they were in preschool I did one day and one half day, then two half days.since dgs2 started YR in september I do two after school pickups and give then tea. There are 2.5 years between them so I have rarely had both together for longer than a few hours
I didn't do sleepovers here until dgs2 was 3 but I slept at their place for overnighters.
I was 62 when I started.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
I was recovering from breast cancer when dgs1 was born and he and his brother have given me suh joy, such a reason for living and I feel I should have paid dd and dsil smile

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 16-Dec-13 23:41:55

My mum picks up DC 3 times a month and MIL takes them 3 days a month.

Before DC started school, mil did all the childcare. Not for free but at a fraction of the cost.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 16-Dec-13 23:43:15

That was to cover fuel cost ect, she wouldn't even take that off us at first which annoyed me.

inadreamworld Mon 16-Dec-13 23:45:54

yes but only for two or three hours a week, never for a whole day or even a half day - my Mum is in her 70s and I have a baby and a toddler.

doasyouwouldbedoneby Mon 16-Dec-13 23:50:35

My DH and l travel 180miles every 2 weeks to look after DGD. MY DH jobshares and works alternate Wednesdays. We do it because we love them, they are saving for a house and would have to pay for every Wednesday. It lets us see them all. It does help that we have a holiday home about 40 miles from them so we intend to spend a few days there as often as possible since we are up that way.
We offered DD did not ask, and has said if it becomes too difficult she will pay for childcare.

hoppinghare Mon 16-Dec-13 23:50:56

Have only read the OP so far. Just wanted to say my parents looked after my LO when I returned to work part time after maternity leave. It was not to save money. I felt he was too young to leave with people he did not know. We paid my parents the same daily rate as childminders in my area charged but as my parents weren't registered childminders we couldn't use childcare vouchers so they actually cost us more. It was definitely worth it.They were really great with him.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 16-Dec-13 23:51:50

Am I right in assuming that in scenarios where GPs are providing childcare they are no longer in other employment?

Or do some GPs still work but then have the GC on their days off?

When my mom had my sister's children she would have them for 12 hours on a Monday and then have to do her F/T hours at work (40 hours) over the remaining 4 days of the working week shock She was exhausted!
She first started this when my sister's son was 6 months old and it went on for about 4 years (as my sister had a 2nd child so the cycle restarted) but earlier this year my mom got a backbone and said it was just too much for her. Naturally my sister was quick to bitch about it....I just don't understand how she could be so ungrateful/selfish.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Mon 16-Dec-13 23:52:02

I should add to my post at 23:05 that although having the GPs do some of the childcare saved us a lot of money, if they hadn't wanted to do it we would have stumped up for another day at nursery, neither of us would have had to give up work, or change our work pattern etc. So, there was absolutely no pressure on my parents from that point of view, which made the decision easier.

doasyouwouldbedoneby Mon 16-Dec-13 23:52:56

I work 34 hours a week, Wednesday being my day off and l am also off the weekend.

doggydaft Mon 16-Dec-13 23:56:02

My DC are now much older (12 &13) but my DP's did look after them one day a week when they were pre school. They went to nursery the other 2 days I worked. I did 3 12 hour shifts till 8 pm. DP would pick them up about 6 pm on his way home.
Once they went to school we used after school care. My children have a fantastic relationship with my parents who are now in their late 70's and frequently take the bus after school to visit them. They don't have anywhere near the same closeness with their other grandparents who were not/are not as involved in their lives (their choice)
I was very grateful to my parents and it certainly made my working life so much easier in the early years.
I would like to think I never took them for granted, it was entirely their choice and they would have looked after them more but that balance was about right I think.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

doggydaft Mon 16-Dec-13 23:57:53

My DP' s were both retired when my children came along. In their 60's but fit and able.

Coveredinweetabix Tue 17-Dec-13 00:21:24

Neither set of GPs can in our case due to distance but, even if they could, I am not sure they would or would be willing to on a committed yes we will do X day every week without fail which is the sort of childcare I need. Once DC1 starts school next year, I think the GPs will be more involved as DC1 will be shipped off to one set or another for a few days at half term so that I can save my annual leave for the longer school holidays. I think the GPs will be able to handle that as DD will be 5 so, obviously, able to express herself, able to entertain herself for periods of a time, there's not much physical lifting and there's just her rather than her and DC2 so you don't have to be permanently trying to do two things at once.

Mimishimi Tue 17-Dec-13 00:47:15

If she doesn't seem enthusiastic or willing to offer, don't ask. I've seen and heard far too many unhappy grandparents at playgrounds and, especially, shops to think that this is a good long term option beyond emergency care. Not a few feel completely strong-armed into it and they discuss it quite openly with each other ... often in front of the kids.

Spaulding Tue 17-Dec-13 00:52:10

My parents have DS sometimes if DP is working. I work on one of his days off but once in a blue moon he might have to go in, so my parents will happily have DS for us. They also have DS overnight a couple times a year so we can go out as a couple, or if not overnight, for a few hours in the afternoon so DP and I can go for lunch or something.

When I was pregnant with DS, there was mention of my mum having him for two days a week while I worked. But after having him, and as the time came to decide what to do about work, it was best not to use my mum as childcare. She isn't in the greatest health. She can't chase after DS or carry him for long, so with that in mind we decided I would only go to work on DP's day off so he would be home with DS. My parents only ever have DS all day if my dad is also home. He's older but in good health. Can run about like a bloke in his 30s, so he tends to take the lead while my mum helps out.

Using GP for childcare only works if they are happy to do it. By the sounds of it OP, your MIL isn't keen on the idea either.

southerngirl25599 Tue 17-Dec-13 04:21:18

It's not an option for us as the in-laws live on the other end of the country and my DM lives 2.5 drive away. My DB and SIL took advantage of this she was looking after 3 kids for 5 years for 5 days a week, they never gave her a thank you, or anything. And the first two kids were twins.

And my DM had to move towns (4 hours away!) because of this. This has put my DM off looking after GC forever. Their has been a lot of resentment because of this and DB, SIL and DM are no longer speaking

I wouldn't do it to my DM even if i had the option, as she doesn't want to and i respect that.

FelineExtraStrongMincePie Tue 17-Dec-13 04:37:43

My parents live 4 hours away and although fit and well, are in their 70s, enjoying well earned retirement.

DD was in paid for childcare pre school. Me and DP worked 4 days each to reduce costs and have time with her.

Now DD is in school, we pay for after school club. Holidays are a challenge. My parents come and stay with us for a week, during which we book DD into a holiday activity. We work that week, and my parents do the dropping off and picking up of DD. It works well, they adore being with her, they get time to themselves, and DD gets to show off to them for a week. We couldn't be more grateful.

vvviola Tue 17-Dec-13 04:58:39

When we lived near my DPs they were our back-up. If DD was sick, or the childminder couldn't take her for whatever reason, or if we were running late, my parents would pick DD up. I'd often get a phone call on a Wednesday afternoon asking if they could pick her up early too. grin

But it was all very much on their terms, and we were hugely grateful for whatever they did.

Then when we moved away the first time, DD would often spend a week or long weekend with my DPs if DH & I couldn't get time off during crèche/school holidays.

We're now too far away for anything like that which is a pity as it means DD2 doesn't have the same close relationship with my DPs that DD1 has.

NotYoMomma Tue 17-Dec-13 05:54:10

my mum and Dad have my kids 3 days a week. they offered and I gratefully accepted.

mum is 63 and Dad is 67 shrug

we are all very happy with this

blahe Tue 17-Dec-13 07:22:42

I have no family nearby so it was never an option for us anyway. However my Mum already said she wouldn't do any childcare in order for me to work as she "doesn't agree with working mothers" - completely bypassing the fact that she was one herself and I went to my Nan's hmm.

I did not want them to help anyway because as much as my parents are fantastic, they do overstep the boundaries and this would give them the "green light" to have more say in my children's upbringing then I would want.

They have the boys at the weekend approx every 6 weeks which is great as it means DH and I have time alone. They do help out in emergency when they have been poorly and couldn't go to childcare eg chickenpox - and again I am SO grateful as they had to leave home at 6am to get to me so I could leave for work.

I really feel I have the best of both worlds. The boys are in stable, reliable childcare BUT I have my parents as emergency backup (if they are able) and to enable us to have some time out.

Groovee Tue 17-Dec-13 07:30:13

My ds is 11 and in his last year of primary. I have a childminder whom I use 2 days a week. Dd is now 13. But if I had to work any of the days I didn't have the childminder, then MIL would have them before/after school. That way I felt I wasn't asking too much (unlike SIL who thought MIL should do free childcare even though she didn't work).

MIL still does the odd morning, but I'm usually home for ds.

My granny retired when I went to school. She saved my mum and dad a fortune. But it was hard not going home every day after school.

allotmenteer Tue 17-Dec-13 07:45:09

GPs here.... we shared DGS with other set of GPs - they had him two days and we had him every Friday - we share overnights. We work, they are retired - we just don't work Fridays. Worked fabulously for us GPs and for DGS who is an absolute smasher - was very very very hard for mum and dad who had to share DGS with four other doting adults who thought the sun shone, water parted etc etc whenever he was around. Bump will be making an appearance shortly so mum now on maternity leave - she is planning to take off a year so no need for us GPs to be so involved. We will be tho' as want the close relationship to continue with DGS and as he will be in nursery for three days soon we will be in a position to start to have the same relationship with bump when the time comes (can't wait). We have been absolutely privileged to have been able to offer this care (and know other GPs feel the same) - it has been magical. My OH is a bit long-faced as he is losing his playmate for a while!

comingintomyown Tue 17-Dec-13 08:37:13

DM lives abroad so my teen kids have never been looked after by her apart from the odd night babysitting when visiting. I doubt it would be a lot different if she lived next door !

Projecting ahead I doubt I would want to be tied into a regular childcare arrangement and I know of a few GPs who resent doing it but feel they don't have a choice.

Braeburns Tue 17-Dec-13 08:48:33

We moved to be close to my family and my mum has had my older son 1 day a week since he was one and my dad & stepmum for another day. My mum works part-time and my dad/sm are retired.
Next year my mum will have ds2 for the full day and ds1 for only half the day and I'm going to start paying (I was previously doing petrol and activity money only). My dad/sm will have both for one day plus also have my sm's grandchild and don't need (and won't accept) payment.
So far it's been great - I'm happy for them to feed/do what suits them and they have a great relationship with the kids which is the key thing for us.

CuppaSarah Tue 17-Dec-13 08:56:11

My Dads DP so I guess technically my Step Mother, has offered free child care for DD when I return to work next year. I've been really against free Grandparent child care and accepted I wouldn't be able to go back to work. But last week Dads DP flat out asked if she could have DD if I went back. Turns out she'd been hinting for months and months about it, but felt it would be too pushy to ask. I'm really excited to go back part time, but can't help but feel like I'm taking advantage.

mumaa Tue 17-Dec-13 09:53:28

I agree with OP in that I think if GPs offer to take care of your DC and want to do it then it is fine. I know some people who expect that their parents will look after their children certain days and i know GPs who resent the assumption that they will, but also feel obliged to do so as they don't want to turn away their grandchildren. I also know other GPs who want to have their DGC for a day in the week and that is 'their' time with their DGC and love it.

Ultimately, i believe it comes down to what you and your family are comfortable with. I know examples where GPs help out one day per week to ease the childcare costs and it works really well, but i also know other examples where it has gone horribly wrong with GPs feeling they are taken advantage of and not valued, it all depends on the situation and the people involved.

For our situation, presently i work on one of the days when DH is off so that he can take car of DD and have dad time. All of our parents work so GP childcare wouldn't be an option, but im not sure if i would be comfortable with a regular arrangement if it were an option. But that's down to me personally.

HowlingTrap Tue 17-Dec-13 09:57:43

I agree with the sentiment of not wanting to 'take advantage'

I know someone who has their parents look after their child from friday afternoon till monday morning, every.single.weekend.

and have a few week long childless holidays thrown in too , no payment thankyou card etc, Then there's me in hospital for a week with youngest so they have my eldest, I get them a thankyou card and I was in bloody hospital!! x

sopsmum Tue 17-Dec-13 10:23:43

Loads of grandparents help out in my set (30 ish working professionals). My mum used to but is now unfortunately unwell. I only let her do it one day a week as I thought it was too much for her otherwise but sh built up a really special bond with my son and thoroughly enjoyed having him on a regular basis. Oh and she was more like 70 at the time. I hope I am not to decrepit at 60 to look after my grandchildren on a regular basis.

There is a blance I think with families and I think local grandparents with free time are selfish not to offer. It astounds me how entitled some seem to be as they only want contact on their terms. Equally parents that abuse their parents good nature are selfish too. It's beyond me how it can be grabby to ask though - and I didn't have to ask the offer of full time care was there (although I chose to only take her up on one day).

But ultimately it's their (gp) decision as you can't leave your children with them if they don't want them!!!

Writerwannabe83 Tue 17-Dec-13 10:38:45

i think local GPs with free time are selfish not to offer

shock I'm honestly shocked that you said this.

And you say it's the GPs that are entitled......

Why should they offer?? The parents who chose to have the children are responsible for caring for them. Grandparents are under no obligation to provide childcare just because they have spare time on their hands. They've raised their children, they worked most of their lives, they done their fair share......maybe they deserve a rest!!

I would never, ever, EVER think of my parents or my PIL as being selfish just because they aren't prepared to look after my children for me on a regular childcare basis. That's insane.

Melonbreath Tue 17-Dec-13 10:43:12

Yes and I hate it. I wanted to give dd to a childminder the 2 days I'm at work but mil threw the most awful tantrum and dh backed her up.
Now it's hell.
Everything is about them, they want me to work different days so it's better for them. Dh has missed loads of work (self employed) as they are busy sometimes. they dont change dd's nappy often enough so she gets rashes. Dd comes back too late and overtired.

I'd rather pay someone else.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 17-Dec-13 10:45:55

Ooh dear Melon....sounds tough!!!

if I'm honest, I wouldn't want to leave a child of mine under the care of my mother. From my own childhood I know what parenting tactics she uses and it's not something I'd want inflicted on my own, lol

My mom is probably very glad I haven't asked and I'm glad she hasn't offered grin

cerealqueen Tue 17-Dec-13 10:48:13

We don' have any GPs so not any issue for us. However, lots of people I know use GPs for childcare. Hearing some of the moans about it, I have concluded that it certainly isn't 'free' - it costs, just not financially.

redexpat Tue 17-Dec-13 10:50:30

MIL and/or PIL have DS every tueday while I work and DH is at cubs. So from 4pm-730 ish. They are a super helpful family and do anything for anyone. It's wonderful. They both work full time, but she is a carer and has one 24hr shift, and one 12hr, so has quite a lot of free time. If DS is ill she will help, as will FILs sister who is currently unemplyed.

winkywinkola Tue 17-Dec-13 10:51:45

I wouldn't use gps for childcare even if they were local.

It would really create problems in terms of boundaries and a sense of obligation to them. I loathe feeling obliged to anyone.

Plus I fully intend not to do childminding of any gcs I might have. I've done my lot and apart from regular babysitting in the evenings, that's it.

It's not selfish. Well even if it is - shoot me. I will want to have some frivolous and outrageous fun in my 50's and 60's god willing I live so long.

winkywinkola Tue 17-Dec-13 10:52:33

Cereal queen, you're right. It does cost a lot but not in money!

MrsGrasshead Tue 17-Dec-13 11:09:20

My mum used to have my dc one day a week. She offered. It was great in the early years - she really had a good bond with dc and they enjoyed the time with her. But she did get a bit entitled at times - undermining me a bit, thinking she knew better than me with decisions for them.

Once dc hit 2.5/3 - they wanted other dc to play with and preferred nursery. It was then a difficult thing having to communicate to dm that we no longer needed that help.

I would absolutely not try to persuade someone to look after young dc if they aren't keen. It involves a lot of patience, energy and resilience which just wouldn't be there.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 17-Dec-13 11:21:44

See one day a week isn't too bad if the Grandparents are retired - for some reason it just makes me feel uncomfortable when they are expected to do more than this.

My friend has a 10 month old baby who is left with his Grandma (her mum) for 9 hours a day, 3 days a week. This same Grandma also has to pick up the other daughter from school every day (she is 5) and so then has both children until my friend picks themselves both up when she has finished work. My friend just doesn't see what the issue is despite her mom being 66 and not in the best of health. My friend doesn't really show any gratitude. When she was making her 'return to work' plans and told me about the above she said, "I only want her to have the baby (and 5 year old after school) three days a week as I don't want to put on her too much...." I honestly didn't know what to say. The grandad is not happy with the situation at all.

If my MiL were to have the baby (I plan to return to work after 12 months) it would only be for 7 hours, one day a week.....but I just couldn't bring myself to expect her to do it. Even if she offered I just wouldn't feel right accepting it because although she only works part time (about 27 hours a week) I just don't see why she should have to give up her free time in order to provide childcare for me.

It's a weird feeling being so 'anti' something that seems to be the norm smile

oscarwilde Tue 17-Dec-13 11:23:01

I think your DH will be a lot more realistic when he has a small child on his hands and understands in real terms what he is asking of his mother.

Plan on the basis that no family care will be available and anything which is then offered is a huge bonus.

It's also worth pointing out to your DH that a weekend away for the two of you as a couple at £10+ per hour makes a weekend away without your child an expensive undertaking before you spend a penny on the actual weekend.

In a normal year, between emergency childcare (estimated at 7 days per annum - more in a chickenpox year), doctors and dental appointments, nativity plays (even in daycare), and an annual parents weekend away, you will probably ask for and receive anywhere between 7 & 15 days "free" childcare before any ad hoc babysitting so you have a social life. Not taking the piss now by assuming anything will pay off in other ways.

ScrambledSmegs Tue 17-Dec-13 11:30:54

I think my mum is going look after DN one day a week. Frankly DSIL and I think she hasn't realised what a commitment it is (and what about when she heads off on holidays) but at least DSIL is realistic and is aware that she may need to sort other childcare when DM is unavailable, so has potential alternatives in place.

However I think they're also going to reimburse her for travel expenses at least. At least, DSIL will. My brother's wallet has the proverbial moths in it...

Luckily DM has pretty much turned into the perfect DGM and MIL and has the utmost respect for the way DB and DSIL are raising their child and would never dream of doing something they wouldn't like, so hopefully no issues there.

MsJupiterJones Tue 17-Dec-13 11:39:45

winky that is the thing I find hard - feeling obliged to someone. Even though it was her decision and request. But the (non-financial) benefits do outweigh that.

To those saying they are surprised how common this is, bear in mind the OP was asking for experiences so there is obviously a high incidence here - there are certainly plenty of children in childcare settings too. I am the only one of my friends who has GP care as the main source of childcare, so it seems uncommon to me.

FCEK Tue 17-Dec-13 11:54:04

My DPs have looked after dd since 5 months. Mon to Friday.

I get really annoyed at all the digs from so called friends about how lucky I am.

Not everyone is able to be a sahm. Not everyone can afford childcare.

Dd is with people I trust and who love her. She is disciplined my way, gets 1:1 attention, is doing well at school and plays with the kids in their street.

Yes it's tiring for them but they won't hear of me looking elsewhere.

Mil on the other hand very reluctantly looks after dd.

peggyundercrackers Tue 17-Dec-13 11:54:22

both sets of our parents wanted to take our DD for a day a week - both sets of parents are getting on now as they are retired but not by much and they want to spend as much time with their DD as they possibly can whilst they still can. Its obvious they love their DD and she loves spending time with each of them and has a special relationship with each of them - she looks forward to seeing them - if you ever say to her wheres gran or grandad she goes to the door to look for them when they come in shes all smiles, squeals like mad and is jumping up and down when she sees them.

I dont think we or them view it as child care as such - its about getting DD spending time with them, getting to know them, being close to them and having her own relationship with them.

LadyInDisguise Tue 17-Dec-13 12:06:44

No regular arrangement here for my dcs but I know my parents and my mum esp would have happily agreed to have the dcs like this.
HOWEVER, they were living overseas and hadn't had the opportunity to see me much for years and they moved close to us to be able to see me and the dcs as often as possible....

I still feel uncomfortable to ask her for some help even though she is very happy to do it and make sure that I regularly tell them how thankful I am for their help.

A friend of mine had her mum looking after her dd. A disaster even though her mum was a primary school teacher and had had all the nursery years for a very long time. It created a lot of tension but my friend (and her mum) would have never contemplated leaving her with a childminder and as a single parent she had no choice but to work.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 17-Dec-13 12:12:51

Do the couples who would 'never contemplate leaving them in childcare' or know they can't afford to pay for childcare actually sit down and discuss this with the potential grandparents before they have the baby?

Do they say, "me and partner want to have a baby but we don't agree with /can't afford childcare so if we have one are you happy to look after it for us when I go back to work?" Surely if this is the plan that parents want they must get consent off the grandparents before TTC?

Or do they have the baby and then tell the Grandparents they don't want to put the baby in childcare, or can't afford to, and just expect them to help?

Mattissy Tue 17-Dec-13 12:48:58

My parents pick mine up from school and give them tea 3/4 times a week, my dad is 71 and my mum is 70 this week.

I guess many people say that's too much, they've brought their children up, they're too old, but those people assume the grandparents don't want to do it, my mother would be downright hurt if I put them into childcare or that I hadn't asked in the first place. I couldn't ask before having my ds as he was a bit of a shock.

If tomorrow she said she couldn't manage then I'd put dd into childcare and ds could let himself into the house, I'm not USING my parents, they love it and have a relationship with their gkids that is second to none.

Writerwannabe83 we could afford full time childcare, I contemplated going back part time but the choice was made for me when both lots of grandparents offered. My Mum couldn't wait to get DD all to herself.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 17-Dec-13 15:30:24

I know lots of people who use GPs as part of their childcare, but none who use it as their only childcare apart from one who had her entire childcare from baby to secondary school age done by GPs (she worked pt while DCs were pre-school, ft once they were at school and is a teacher so term time only). As far as I know everyone was happy with the arrangement.

Izabelblue Tue 17-Dec-13 15:39:45

My MiL and her partner look after 14mo old DD 2 days a week at the moment while I go to work but this is going to go down to 1 day a week in the New Year when DD goes to nursery.

Both of them are in their early 70s (I'm an old new mummy) and have a harder time than we can imagine with things like stairs and travel etc - they live 5 tube stops away from us but we pay for them to go back and forth from us in black cabs.

It's been a great help to us and I couldn't thank them enough. We 'pay them back' by sending them on hotel breaks, concerts, etc.

My silly issue is that having my MiL in the house all the time means I feel like everything needs to be wonderful and clean and organised so I spend much more time than I would if DD was in nursery tidying etc on the days when I'm not at work! I'm looking forward to slacking off a bit when DD has most of her childcare in nursery :-)

elliejjtiny Tue 17-Dec-13 16:23:47

No regular childcare here but inlaws and grandparents will help out in an emergency eg the older 3 went to stay with inlaws for 2 nights when DS4 was in hospital and DH's granddad picked up the older 2 from school today because DS3 and I have a tummy bug and I was worried about one of us puking at the school gate.

Monka Tue 17-Dec-13 16:38:53

When I go back to work (baby will be 10 months) then I will be using my MIL and DM to look after my daughter. They will each do 2 days a week as anymore would be too much for either of them. My MIL has looked after all the previous GC and wants to look after my daughter. My mum is nearer to my work so that will be a massive help. The pros are that my daughter will be looked after by family who love her, the obvious financial benefits. The cons are that my MIL is a bit older now and we have very different views on what constitutes healthy eating but I would rather my MIL look after my daughter then send her to nursery as my MIL will dote on her.

CPtart Tue 17-Dec-13 16:42:22

We use my mum for emergency childcare/sick days etc but not on a regular basis. She made it clear she doesn't want to be tied and I absolutely don't blame her. The number of beleaguered grandparents you see trudging about with buggies saddens me. Who wants to be doing the school run in retirement week in and out?

drudgetrudy Tue 17-Dec-13 19:13:37

I may sometimes look like I'm trudging with a buggy, but I'm enjoying it -Honest!

Neither my parents nor my inlaws live close enough to provide regular childcare (both live in different parts of the country). They have helped out for the odd week during school hols and in emergency situations.

However, I get the impression that even if my parents did live nearby, they wouldn't be that keen to sign up for a regular childcare arrangement. Not because they don't love their grandchildren, but because they have a lot else going on in their lives and a regular day a week would feel a bit like a 'job'.

One of my mum's best friends provides childcare for her daughter and I think my mum has seen how tired her friend gets (also has some physical health issues) and how much time it takes up. The commitment means that her friend is less able to be spontaneous too.

Totesamazeballs Tue 17-Dec-13 19:24:48

I have always felt the same as you Writer. I wouldn't expect my parents to commit to childcare. When they can and want to help that is great but I don't expect it. I don't think its fair on them. They paid their dues already!

ModreB Tue 17-Dec-13 19:43:55

My DM had a part time job when I had DS3. Prior to that I was firstly a SAHM, but had worked PT when DS1 & 2 went to school full time, there was a 9 year gap between them and DS3, and DS3 was a surprise welcome addition to the family. My DM offered to look after DS3 so that I could go back to work, and I must say that 14 years on it worked well.

Not brilliantly all the time, we had different opinions and I had to be assertive firm sometimes about what I did and didn't want for him, on the whole she respected my decisions and although she did find it hard in the later years to let go of DS3, we sorted that and he had a very, very happy and loved babyhood and childhood as DS3 was the priority for both of us.

And, as she had given up her part time job, I paid her the equivalent (less than a CM or Nursery) so she didn't lose out, I could afford to work which benefited the whole family, not just financially but in terms of my own sanity, and I had someone to care for DS3 who loved him nearly as much as I did, looked after him in his own home, and was prepared to look after him when he had minor niggles, colds etc. I still took time off if he was proper poorly.

It can be done, but only if the offer is made and the groundrules are set and stuck to.

1944girl Wed 18-Dec-13 22:04:27

I am a grandmother of five and have had care of all my grandchildren since they were newborn while their parents worked.
Three youngest live with me, ages 17, 12 and 11.I just do the collecting from school with the youngest now and help out with her and her brother in school holidays.Other side has never offered to help.
I regard this as a privelige now.I was separated from the three oldest for two years after my DS's divorce from his first wife. This nearly broke my heart and since then have never taken my grandchildren for granted.

catgirl1976 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:41:03

My parents take DS on a Sunday afternoon and bring him home on a Monday evening. They have done this since he was about 1.

2 days a week he is at nursery and 2 days a week at home with DH so this does keep our childcare down.

They love having him and would have him more happily but I don't want to take advantage or have it become too much for them. However, if DH gets a job next year as planned they will have him an extra day

It hasn't caused any issues or tension to date

I don't see them as free childcare though. I see them as family who adore spending time with him and who offered willingly and genuinely.

Your MIL hasn't offered so I think YANBU to have such reservations, especially as you say it's clear it's not something she wants to do. Your DH is being U.

Trigglesx Wed 18-Dec-13 23:01:30

Have done it for DD. When DGS was a baby, it wasn't a huge problem, although it could be restrictive for appointments and so on.

As DGS gets a bit older (8yo now), DD is quite strict and has a tendency to impose rules on him that affect him when he is at our house, and seems to expect us to include our two that are still at home in those rules as well. Not happening. My house, my rules. I'm happy to go along with some things, but when she tells him "no video games" and then expects me to keep my two from playing them because it's not nice to play them in front of him, then I draw the line. And I can't have him sitting there watching them play, that's just cruel. So I've basically had to say "look, you do what you need to do at home, but when he's here it's a clean slate or it's not fair on my two here. And if that's a problem, then I just won't babysit." <shrug> That's life.

I don't like doing regular childminding for DGCs. Much more relaxed to just be grandparents. (and guess what? I have a life too!) Regular family childcarer is the way to arguments and tension.

OP - Nice to see that you're keeping in mind that they have a social life and need down time as well.

MillyChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:06:31

No I never used my parents or my DH parents as childcare. I did it all myself until they went to school and I don't intend to do it for my children either as my DH and I have lots of plans for when we retire as its "our" time again to enjoy the years we have left after all the hard years of childrearing and little money. I will have them if they are desperate but otherwise will have them when I would like to have them if it is ok with parents.

MillyChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:09:17

And I don't mean I will have them whenever I want them, I mean that I will arrange in advance a suitable day with the parents when I can have them.

Jengnr Thu 19-Dec-13 05:37:54

I'm going back to work 3 days a week next month gulp

He's having a day in nursery and a day with each grandparent. Everyone is happy with this arrangement (although I'm aware we're very lucky that both sets of parents are reasonable human beings).

I appreciate they're doing us a massive favour and try not to take the piss (eg they were worried about if they go on holiday and I've told them they must still book holidays as they would now and we will sort it out) but at the same time it's not just that we're using them as 'free childcare' - it's an arrangement that will benefit everyone.

My SIL is a SAHM and my niece spends one day a week with my Mum because she wanted that time with her granddaughter, even if I wasn't working I think my MIL would want something similar tbh.

It's not something that could work for everyone but I think it's the best way for everyone concerned in our situation and everyone is happy with it.

Trigglesx Thu 19-Dec-13 07:21:10

although I'm aware we're very lucky that both sets of parents are reasonable human beings

I don't think that refusing to be free regular childcare for my grandchildren qualifies me as an UNREASONABLE human being. I have 2 grandchildren, but I also have 2 children still at home (4 and 7). I have other responsibilities and other commitments. Even so, I still did it for awhile, and had to stop because it was just too much stress trying to coordinate another schedule into our already insane schedules.

If I didn't have young children at home, I'd most likely be working full time, which would mean I couldn't provide free childcare either.

I think that nowadays with older people having to work until they're in their late 60s and early 70s (and the pension age getting higher and higher), there are going to be less and less grandparents that will be free to provide childcare anyway. Although ironically, with all the government's talk about family providing care for elderly, all those adult children being pushed into full time work will then be less available or able to care for their elderly parents either - so everyone is going to be struggling. A lot of poor people (who might benefit from free childcare from grandparents) are being encouraged/pushed to move due to housing availability or not being able to find a job - only to then be in an area where they cannot access family to help with childcare.

We personally have MIL close by, but she cannot provide childcare (paid or free) because she is elderly and beginning to have memory problems and much as she is a wonderful sweet woman, I cannot safely leave the DCs with her.

exhaustedandannoyed Thu 19-Dec-13 08:12:18

My dm looks after dniece 1 day a week, she offered and does really enjoy it but she also finds it very tiring at 60, she has to get up very early and drive nearly an hour each way and is always picking up bugs that dniece brings home from nursery on the other 2 days dsis is working. It is also a bit of a problem with holidays as now is the time that she and df are wanting to go away more. I think it's better to do it without involving them if it is possible.

exhaustedandannoyed Thu 19-Dec-13 08:14:32

We don't live anywhere near my dps but my dh is sure that if his mum wasn't still working full time, she would be delighted to provide as much childcare as needed. I don't know if this is him having a warped view or if she genuinely would.

WinterWinds Thu 19-Dec-13 11:22:51

Op i totally agree with you.

I am a sahm anyway so don't need or never have needed childcare. I would never dream of asking my mum if the situation was different. I hated asking her to babysit on the odd occasion in case she felt obliged to do it.
But she would offer and that would only be when I was stuck.

I have a 2yo DGD. I made it clear from the start that I couldn't offer full time childcare when DD returned to work.

I have 3 dc's still at home, so am still parenting. I struggled massively with my youngest dd when she was a baby due to PND and I know the emotionally I couldn't do it again. Even though I am not yet 40 I do find it physically draining looking after a young child. DH and I have never had a relationship without children and we are certainly looking forward to spending time together as a couple when they have all upped and left or fending for themselves.
I might sound selfish but I am looking forward to the day when I can just think about us without factoring in the DC's.

We have 5 Dc's altogether and when dh retires we will probably do a lot more travelling and things we enjoy. I don't want to be tied down to the many GC we will possibly have in the future just because I don't work.

Don't get me wrong, I love to spend time with DGD and will also help out in an emergency for whatever reason. But I have done more than my fair share of childcare, I need a break.

MillyChristmas Thu 19-Dec-13 12:14:40

Winterwinds this is exactly how I

My In Laws kindly take the kids a lot. I don't work so no need for regular childcare, but they love having the kids and so when they aren't screamingly busy with their jobs they tend to have our three kids overnight. In Christmas holidays often I will hardly see my kids for a few days at a time. I try really hard not to take advantage of their generosity with childcare, I was angry at my husband last week as I was really ill and couldn't look after anyone, I was stuck in bed for a week. He could easily have done the school runs and dropped the kids off with me in the evenings, our oldest is 9 and all three are quite good at being self sufficient, she can use the microwave to feed them all snacks etc. Instead he kept asking his mum to get them from school, knowing she would end up keeping them overnight and he wouldn't have to do the morning run either.

If they didn't want to have our kids that would be fine too. I don't let my own mother babysit as I don't trust her not to shout and even hit them if they are bad, and I don't trust her partner not to lose his temper. I love them very much, but their parenting methods aren't gentle like my in laws.

ThurlHoHoHow Thu 19-Dec-13 16:14:35

I don't think it is selfish at all. Grandparents have already raised their children. I think it is quite unfair to ask them to do it all again. It's one thing if they offer, but quite another thing to ask someone to go through toddler wrangling again.

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