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Anybody out there use DM for childcare? Advice please.

(28 Posts)
andapartridgeinaRowantree Fri 07-Dec-12 00:37:04

Hi. I'm going back to work part time when DD is six months and then full time at nine months and I'm lucky enough that this coincides with my Mum-a teacher-retirement.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice about the benefits and pitfalls of care by a parent. What did you arrange in terms of money,for example? Mam says she won't take anything but I don't want her to be out of pocket!

Any other things we should think about discussing beforehand? Any probles you've faced and wish you'd discussed a plan of action beforehand?

Thanks so much!

Pinotgrigioplease Fri 07-Dec-12 00:54:38

I have no advice as such as I don't go back to work until Monday but my DM will be doing 2 days childcare for us so I have wondered about the same things.

Re: money we will not be paying her but will pay for all groups/activities that DS attends with her. We will also leave money in the house in case she needs to buy anything. She probably won't use it but at least we will have tried!

In terms of routine we have tried to make her see that for the 2 days she is primary carer and not Grandmother. ie no chocolate!

Hope all goes well when you return to work

Tanith Fri 07-Dec-12 07:19:07

The main pitfall that arose for us when DS was a baby, and has come up repeatedly in parents who've turned to our childminding service in desperation, was reliability.

MIL was also a retired teacher and you'd think she'd have understood: not a bit of it!

Your DM needs to be to clear that she simply can't take time off as and when she feels like it because you are relying on her. That often causes resentment on both sides, with Granny feeling that, now she's retired, she should be able to go on holiday at the drop of a hat, and the parents having to cover her absence often at the last minute.

My DM was not like this: she was a cleaner, happily dropped her job to look after my sister's kids, and never once let them down.
I hope your own DM will be the same, but you might be wise to have a Plan 2 in reserve, just in case.

bangersmashandbeans Fri 07-Dec-12 07:29:18

I use a combination of my sister, my mum and nursery for childcare and have done since dd was 9 months old. On the whole it works very well. I pay my sister but it's not a lot but don't pay mum (she only does 4 hours once a week). The positives are that if dd is under the weather they are still happy to have her, their houses were already familiar to her, she gets to grow up with her cousins etc. The pitfalls come when they don't stick to my routine and I don't feel like I have any right to criticise. Also with my mum I occasionally get 'well you lot turned out ok didn't you' when she does something I'm not keen on. I also don't feel like I can ask DM to actually do anything with dd or take her anywhere as I'm always very aware (not that mum ever says it) that essentially she is doing me a big favour and dd needs to fit into her routine. The other thing is just that my parents are in their 60s and go on holiday a lot!!
But on the whole I love dd being with my family so much of the time. She is nearly 3 now so if I could afford it I'd put her in nursery more but when they are still so little it's unbelievably reassuring to hand them over to someone who already knows and loves them.

Meglet Fri 07-Dec-12 07:41:03

I've used my mum 2/3 days a week for 5 years now. She was very good as she knew the dc's were in strict routines as babies and didn't mess around with it. No payment (she is much better off than me and doesn't even like me buying her xmas presents).

The only blip we had was when my work pattern changed so I decided to pop DS in nursery one morning a week from 18months. She was concerned about him being there so young and insisted she was fine having him an extra morning. After a while she said that actually nursery did him the world of good.

She does treat the dc's to more comics than I ever got though hmm. No junk food though as she's a health freak.

Meglet Fri 07-Dec-12 07:47:52

Mum also checks with me when she books holidays and tells me months in advance. She has the odd last minute thing pop up, but over the long term it's been smooth sailing. The dc's are 6 + 4 now so she does regular school / nursery drop off and collections.

dizzy77 Fri 07-Dec-12 07:49:25

I work 3 days, DS has a day at nursery, a day with my parents, and my husband is at home for a day too. I'd be wary of asking my parents to do more than a day or two as I think it's quite exhausting as they're in their 60s - they really enjoy their one day though and between them play "tag" w DS so it's not too exhausting. I am lucky to have these options I know.

Do talk upfront about what happens if they, you or DC are sick, on holiday etc. decide which bits of your routine/parenting preferences are non-negotiable, and which bits you're more relaxed about (eg I prefer to BLW, DM gets this to a point but enjoys making & feeding him a mush roast meal once a day, no real harm afaiac once a week so haven't said anything).

Ask up front how they think you'd be taking the mickey, eg being late/early etc, and what you might do/say if it's going wrong. Makes it much easier to keep the dialogue open, particularly if things get sticky later.

7to25 Fri 07-Dec-12 07:51:45

I am actually the MIL that looks after the baby.
From my point of view, 5 days a week is too much and I would aim for at least one day in nursery.
It is hard work! And if it isn't then you are not doing it properly. I take my grandson out and about to activities, swimming etc. the parents share the rest of the care as she works shifts.
I do not get paid, nor do I want to be. I want to contribute to his upbringing and help out my DIL and DS. I try to keep to their rules! they supply food and nappies. I am not alone, I see many granny and granddads at groups, but none of them are full time.

littlemissnormal Fri 07-Dec-12 08:01:08

I used DM full time for DD 6 years ago, part time for DD and DS1 4 years ago and will use her for DS2 when I go back to work after maternity leave next year.

She was a registered childminder before she had DD so had a safe house and lots of toys, books etc. She's got the patience of a saint and would spend every minute interacting with them and so they have an amazing relationship with her.

She won't accept payment, so we just made sure her birthday and Xmas presents were extra special, would occasionally bring up a treat for her like cinema tickets for a weekend. I also made sure the kids had everything they needed there so she wouldn't have to pay for wet wipes, nappies, snacks etc.

The main issue that I have had is with the blurred line between grandma and childcarer. She is awful as disciplining them as doesn't like upsetting them. She would often let them nap in the afternoon which would affect their bedtime routine. She also has a very relaxed attitude towards food and would quite happily feed then apple pies, sweets, crisps and coke all day with no regard for meals, fruit, veg etc.

This can all be very frustrating and at times I've had to either get my sister to suggest to her not to do things as she is very sensitive and would then not talk to me if I said anything to her!

I got slightly around the food issues by providing everything; frozen home made meals and a big snack box for them. I know that quite a lot of stuff slips the net though!!

I've had to teach myself to suck a lot of it up as I know how lucky I am to have free childcare!

doublecakeplease Fri 07-Dec-12 08:02:08

We use a mix of my Mum, dp's Mum (we're very lucky, I know) and 2 days nursery. Personally I wouldn't like to use just my Mum, as much as I love her. Reasons being -
= we didn't want 1 person being the main care giver. Possibly selfish but we didn't want granny being almost parental in our place full Tone.
= cover - we can ask nursery / the other granny to take ds if one us on holiday / ill. Relying on one person means you're really stuck if they're not available
= both grans have raised their babies and worked all their lives. We want being a gran to be a pleasure, not a job.

Each to their own but the mix works really well for us. Ds (10 months) loves his grans, is socialising at nursery and is happy :-)

AvidMarion Fri 07-Dec-12 08:12:41

My DM looks after DD 2 days a week & DMIL looks after her 1 day a week. It has worked well for the last year but we've found we have to be very clear about changes in (sleep) routine etc - we just wrote down what her typical day would look like so that they had the information (whether or not they wanted to stick to it!)

We don't pay them, as they refused to take any money, but we are treating them to a holiday as a thank you.

HappyAsASandboy Fri 07-Dec-12 08:24:05

My DM looks after my DTs two days a week, plus extra days in an emergency.

I know it takes a lot out of her week, an I bend over backwards to fit my Childcare around her social calendar and holidays. She is doing me, and to a huge extent, my children, a huge service, and I pu a lot of planning into making it as easy for her as possible.

I have been able to find a nursery that is set up to accommodate nurses shift patterns, so I can vary the days in nursery to fit around my mum. I wouldn't have my mum do two days a week if I couldn't do that, as I think it'd restrict her life too much.

Good luck! If you can make it work your DCs will have such a wonderful and close relationship with their Grandma smile

GirlsonFilm Fri 07-Dec-12 08:33:11

To echo a few of the previous posters - blurred boundaries between being a GM and childcare, GM's understanding that they can't just take the day off at the drop of a hat (causes a bit of friction) and finally my DM feels that as she looks after my DC's one day per week, that's it so no more babysitting at other times (causes a bit more friction).
Pluses are I trust my mum implicitely so no worries about her childcare technics (although she lets my DCs get a way with far more than I ever did) and the fact that the Dcs get to stay in their own home.
My advice would be to look at a mix of childcare providers (perhaps one day per week at nursery) then you have fallbacks for when your mum is unable to cover.
Good luck

My parents are DD's main carers. It does mean that we have to juggle holidays so that I can take time off if they're not around. I can also work from home at short notice if they are ill.

As for payment, they also wouldn't take a penny, so I buy nappies, wipes, etc. and the odd bottle of wine.

The main problem I have found is ensuring that both GPs are up to speed, understand and use the methods of child rearing that I have chosen. She is their only grandchild and is therefore indulged, but I think not spoiled.

The big plus is that she is getting to spend lots and lots of quality time with them as she grows up, and as they are both over 70, every second with them is precious.

MrsLHofstadter Fri 07-Dec-12 08:58:18

I was the child looked after by GM 5 days a week from being 6mo to starting full time school. Mornings were spent cleaning either our house or her's and afternoons running errands.

Up until my teens I had a great relationship with GM which became strained as I felt she was trying to be my parent and that's not what I needed from her. Our relationship worsened further when I became a mum in my early 20's. At one point we didn't speak for 7 months.

It also put a huge strain on my DM's relationship worth GM and she wishes she had put me in nursery instead.

Woodlands Fri 07-Dec-12 09:04:20

My mum looks after my DS for one (short) day a week while I'm working from home. It used to be tricky at first as DS hated that I was in the house but couldn't be with me, but it's much easier these days and he loves the time he spends with her. One day a week is a nice balance I think. I pay her travel expenses and try to take her for treats periodically to say thank you.

MaryPoppinsBag Fri 07-Dec-12 15:00:11

My DM and MIL looked after DS1 now 7, 1 day each a week, when I returned to work PT (2 days) when he was 11 months.

It worked really well for me, I had cover if one went away and my DS loved spending time with his GPs.

I don't think it worked so well for my Mum though and she withdrew her services whilst DS(2) was in the womb! She carried on looking after DS1 but said no more.
I felt really sad as I thought she enjoyed looking after him. Maybe she did but she now has to work.

I gave up work because I didn't want to put them in childcare, and although my IL's offered, they went on holiday for a month -the very month I was due to go back, leaving me without childcare.

I think if I did go back to working outside the home I would need to have a CM or after school club in place. As I would be left in the lurch by my in laws 8 + weeks a year on holiday! (which of course they are entitled to)

I think that grandparents sometimes offer without thinking if the commitment aspect of it. My MIL offered to have mine whilst I did my PGCE - then on further discussion she said well we'd work out between us - thinking my parents and sister would step in. And my parents won't, my DSis might but she is just about to have a baby so obviously won't be able to!

I am now a CM so I have no issue with Childcare!

It might be better to combine care with a CM or nursery - so that you have cover.

I am also of the same mind as a friend of mine who would rather have her parents occasionally babysit on a weekend, than have them all/ part of the week and begrudge it. That to me is more what I want a grandparents relationship to be like. And then I don't feel bad about asking for an occasional night off, drinking relaxing with the husband and not having to get up at 7am!

anewyear Fri 07-Dec-12 19:38:23

There is noway on earth I would have used DM & DF or MIL for full or parttime child care and to be honest wouldnt want to be 'beholden' to them.

Im gonna sound a bit judgy now, but I guess im a bit 'old fashioned',
I saw it as my job to look after my children and didnt go back to work until DS2 was 4 months off going into reception class, He then went to a CM 8 hours a week
which worked well, as I started work then in the same school & school hours..
now Im a childminder/pre-school practitioner. Bully for me.

However If I did use them, I would bloody make sure they were paid, and wouldnt take no for an answer, because looking after other peoples children is bloody hard work..

CPtart Fri 07-Dec-12 19:59:46

Can't believe how lucky some of you are. No-one has ever offered to look after my DC and it has cost us over £50k in childcare over the years and continues to do so in childminder and after school club fees (DC now 10 and 7), and I have only ever worked part time.

Don't know how I would have felt about it really even if the offer had been there. There is nothing worse than seeing a GP minding a youngster through so-called obligation or "duty" and looking completely shattered. I sadly think too many GP 's are afraid to say no, exactly as my DM did..and probably as I too will do. I plan to spend a lot of time in the sun on my retirement and certainly not the playground or any more soft play areas!

seenbetterdays Fri 07-Dec-12 20:51:56

I am a granny who looks after four grandchildren full time. The parents both work long shifts. I am paid, I used to be a childminder. Don't under estimate how tiring it is for slightly older people! Pushing double buggies,getting strugglng toddlers into car seats, dealing with tantrums etc... Having said that I love them all dearly,and always keep to the mothers rules, after all it's my job. Good communication is always the key .Luckily my daughter and I are very close and would never fall out. I think that the children really gain, it's lovely to be so involved in their lives.

andapartridgeinaRowantree Fri 07-Dec-12 21:01:48

anewyear how lovely for you. hmm

ReetPetit Fri 07-Dec-12 21:02:46

i would never ask my mum to look after
my dc full time, i know as a cm how draining and also restricting it is so would
nevet expect someone to do that for free!! especially someone whos getting on a bit. i would feel awful that my dc had become a chore rather than a joy.
1 day possibly, 2 days max imo, any more than that is really not on imo

andapartridgeinaRowantree Fri 07-Dec-12 21:27:56

I think is should say my mum is 57. Not getting on really.

I didn't ask my mum as it goes. She offered and we've got the kind of relationship where if it gets too much she will be able to tell me. We've discussed this and that she will be honest.

We (me and mum and DH) would rather Dd was with someone we know and trust than a childminder while she can't talk. When she has language we will be breaking it up with childcare. This follows my nephew being bitten four times and suffering a Black eye at the hands of another child at childcare when he was seven months.

Anyway this is not a thread asking whether people agree with our choices but for advice from people who've made a similar choice.

Morph2 Fri 07-Dec-12 21:32:39

my mum looks after DS 2.5years, 3 days a week since i went back to work after my 9 months maternity leave. It still seems to work well. I give her £20 a day but she looks after him at her house so buys all his food etc for the days he's there. She also buys him clothes, comics etc quite a bit. She would do it for no pay but i didn't feel that was right if i was out earning money, she's not particularly well off herself. If i wasn't giving her the £20 a day and was paying a nursery instead then she wouldn't be able to afford to buy him treats (which i presume she likes doing or she wouldn't do it) plus i'd be more skint.

DS and DM are very very close and sometimes he wants granny, for example the other night he woke up in the night and was crying for granny and didn't want me (had to make do with me in the end as it was midnight!) this doesn't bother me but some people could get resentful in this situation.

TwoHats Fri 07-Dec-12 21:54:53

My DM does 2 days a week childcare for us and it works brilliantly, but I do worry about her (DS2 in particular is very hard work). Her DM did full-time childcare for her, from long before I ever considered having children it was always clear that she wanted to do the same for me. DM won't take money so we buy nappies, wipes, a selection of toys for her house and assorted wine and chocolate to be enjoyed when the DC go home.

We are very aware of what a huge commitment she has made to us and we use most of our leave to cover her holidays, we try to make sure looking after our DC never stops her from doing things she enjoys.

The benefits of having the DC with someone who loves them are immense, I've never had tears at drop off time and DS1 refers to DM's house as his spare house. DM has an amazing relationship with them and (I hope) they will grow up with happy memories of all the time they spent with her.

Sometimes you have to put up with things, both DSs have had longer naps with DM than I would let them have and it means bedtime can be tricky, it's sometimes tiring when you've worked all day, but I'd prefer my DM to have a bit of a break, even if it means we reap the whirlwind later!

Make sure your DM can say if she's unhappy, too tired or it's not working for her. It's better to find alternative childcare than let an arrangement which is making everyone unhappy sour the family relationships.

And good luck on your return to work! smile

DowagersHump Fri 07-Dec-12 22:07:43

I think it entirely depends on the relationship you have with your mum. My mum absolutely respected my parental decisions and never did anything contrary to my wishes. I have the list I gave my mum when I first went back to work which is cringeworthy but very funny (although not intentionally). Thankfully my mother was kind enough to nod at it all seriously and not point and laugh at me grin

Apart from my PFBitis, it worked really well and she and my DS (who is now at school) still have a very loving and close relationship.

I have other friends whose parents haven't respected their parenting decisions and have totally ignored them and that has led to enormous friction.

MaryPoppinsBag Sat 08-Dec-12 12:41:46

Just thought of another thing to add.
Due to my Mum saying no to having my 2nd I feel very reluctant to ask her to babysit much now.
It's an awkward situation.
And I feel my sons relationship is very different with my parents to the one they have with my IL's. My IL's love to have them although they have retired and come and picked them up because they are bored!

I have accepted my parents have a life and jobs of their own etc. But I do sometimes wish they had a closer relationship with them. And I wonder at what point it went wrong - my Mum used to love coming to see DS1 when he was small. Now it's like they cannot be bothered!

With hindsight I'd have used a childminder from the start as it would have set the precedent, and would've made it easier for me to return to work outside the home after DS2 as I wouldn't have had to rely on someone else.

Lovemarmalade Sun 09-Dec-12 09:00:52

Marypoppins i think the novelty wears off, it did for my mum and she only ever looks after DS for a few hours a week... When he was a baby she couldn't get enough of him and begged to look after him, now he has hit the terrible 2s she isn't so keen, wants him dropped off as late as possible and picked as early as poss. I dont feel comfortable asking her to babysit now either as it feels like she doesnt enjoy spending time with DS anymore hmm

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