WWYD - childcare

(18 Posts)
VinegarDrinker Fri 11-Jan-13 19:20:28

After some objective opinions if you don't mind. Apologies in advance for epic post.

DS will be 2 next month, and DC2 is expected in July, all being well. DH and I both work essentially full time hours but our hours/days mean that one of us is at home 3 days a week. We both have decent jobs but have a big mortgage (London) and lots of career development/student loans so money is always tight.

We are VERY lucky and have 3 local grandparents (my Mum, MIL and FIL - who aren't together). All work but all have some days they can help with childcare. They all adore DS - he is the only grandchild on both sides so far so gets a lot of time and attention.

DS was at a staff creche at DH's work 2 days per week until he had to leave the job at short notice just before Christmas as they wanted him to work hours the creche wasn't open. It was lovely, tiny, friendly and relaxed and after a very rough first term he loved it there. Obviously he left as DH no longer works there.

So our options for the 2 days/week we need are

Grandparents (mix of the three). Pros: free! Tailored/1:1 care, they adore him. No major issues with any of them over parenting philosophies/discipline/food etc.
Cons. Hassle of sorting a 'rota' constantly which will change weekly. Hassle of getting him to them or them to him early - all are 15-20min away. Feeling like we are taking too much from them. Not liking them looking after him here/hanging around ages dropping him off (this is irrational but they have boundary issues and have been found in our bedroom etc....).

Nursery - academic as he doesn't have a place yet! convenient, local, small, friendly, creative. Cons - cost, they only take from 2 so DC2 couldn't go there, and not having a place yet!

CM - again unsure if she has spaces when we need yet, but lovely, highly recommended, flexible, local, could potentially take DC2 too.

Is it a total no brainer to go for the free grandparent option? .argh. WWYD?

Yama Fri 11-Jan-13 19:25:17

Would grandparents look after both children when the time comes?

Personally, I'd go for childcare. I don't like relying on people though. I'd keep grandparents for times when you need emergency childcare, or outside nursery/childcare hours.

VinegarDrinker Fri 11-Jan-13 19:33:09

Good question! I think/hope so. They all had DS regularly from 6m old, and he would be old enough for his free hours by the time I go back from ML so if necessary we could use those on their days so they mostly just had the baby

I agree I think in general about preferring childcare, but then I think, it's free, and they are his grandparents, they love having him and he loves them..... Argh. It does stop us going out really as we feel we can't then ask for any evening child care if they are helping so much in the days.

Yama Fri 11-Jan-13 20:06:19

One more thing to think about is that if anything ever happens whereby grandparents can't look after dc then they aren't settled anywhere else.

If you have thought about everything and it is all doable with grandparents then go for it - you will save a fortune. An absolute fortune. smile

VinegarDrinker Fri 11-Jan-13 20:47:33

I don't know if we have thought of everything! Getting it down in one place is helping though & I really appreciate your replies. They are all in their 50s and fit and well, and I guess I hope if one of them couldn't do it the other 2 would still be able to. It works out as about 2 days a month for them each as I have random days off before/after night shifts.

Yama Fri 11-Jan-13 21:37:47

So, you need childcare 6 days a month? For 2 children.

So, you can either pay for 12 days of childcare a month or use grandparents.

If grandparents are happy to commit and wont let you down then I think it is a great plan. Good for them, your dc and for your finances. If though, it would add to the stress of your day (logistics) then maybe paying for childcare and encouraging them to babysit regularly would be better.

I like to be in control, hence my reluctance to rely on people which is why I said in my first post that I'd go for the childcare option.

Glad writing it down is helping.

Tolly81 Sat 12-Jan-13 05:23:17

This is difficult! I use combination - nursery 1 day, MIL (at my house) another day, my parents (at their house another day). Keeping a one day nursery place means that we can get extra days if necessary (e.g. If my parents were ill/on holiday as MIL works the other days). My parents have already looked after my brothers' children 2 days per week so they want to be equitable. This is on the understanding that they do no evening babysitting (although as I have only had 1 day off them they have offered to do occassional evenings for me - but I try to avoid if poss). They already had all the gear and would prefer it at their house. Tbh, I felt a bit weird about having MIL in my house but didn't like the idea of dd getting used to 4 different places in one week and dd is first gc for pils so they didn't have any stuff (and I would have a think about this - they essentially need a buggy, highchair, clothes (lots), bibs, toys, stairgates, etc, etc). Also a day without drop offs and pick ups is heavenly. I would worry more but don't think she'll get the chance to poke around (I'd have thought there'd be even less chance with a toddler and a baby!). She still offers evening childcare as well but repeatedly offers and desperate to so I do take her up on it. I also don't like feeling "beholden" to people but they are family, they were looked after by their gps and I think when they're keen it's a bit different. The evening babysitting is something you have to think about too. There's loads to think about though, good luck.

AmIOverReacting Sat 12-Jan-13 06:09:41

I could personally go with CM or nursery, if it was GPs I would find them way to over bearing and I knew that they mil would do things how she wanted and not what we wanted

vvviola Sat 12-Jan-13 06:27:25

I would go with paid childcare with GPs as emergency back up.

That's what we did with DD1 - my parents lived nearby and were happy to take her if she couldn't go to the childminder for any reason. They would also call me occasionally and ask to take DD out early. They'd take her to the park or somewhere and then cook dinner for all of us when DH & I came to collect her. grin

It meant they were still happy to do occasional evening babysitting, but we also had the childminder too (who did evenings & overnights if needed - so we could actually go out with my parents sometimes!)

We moved away when DD1 was 18 months & never had childcare so easy again (although my parents would frequently have her for holidays - and once for a whole month around the time DD2 was due).

ZuleikaJambiere Sat 12-Jan-13 06:35:33

Would the nursery/CM be able to offer the flexibility of different days each week? If they are at capacity then they may want you to commit to every Monday and Tuesday (for example) so they can book other children in at the times you won't be there. Could you have one fixed day each week at nursery/CM and the other flexible day with a GP?

VinegarDrinker Sat 12-Jan-13 06:58:05

Thanks all. Re the flexibility, it is generally the same days (Tue and Thurs) but sometimes we don't need them, so before we paid for creche and sometimes didn't send him or sent him for a short day. Really should be sleeping pre/post night shift tbh!!

What are people's thoughts about two days not together in terms of new nursery/CM? Do you think it would be a nightmare to settle him in?

Obviously the GPs don't do things totally identically to us, but there are no big things they do differently or we disagree over.

ZuleikaJambiere Sat 12-Jan-13 07:24:04

My DD1 has just turned 4 and for the last year has had a mix of nursery, MIL and a couple of sessions at the village pre school. She has no trouble remembering that Tuesday is pre school morning, Wednesday is Grandma day and Thursday is nursery. If you're thinking ahead for the baby, then a week is a long time and both of mine settled into nursery quicker once they went more regularly. Could the baby do Tues and Thurs half day at nursery and grandparents pick up at lunchtime? It worked for my DCs, but yours might be different of course

waterrat Sat 12-Jan-13 07:45:50

two days not together is pretty normal - my ds does that - I think in some ways it's nice as they get a break from it and it's not too relentless.

I think it's worth trying the grandparents - even if as part of a mix - it's really lovely for them to build up a relationship and the money saved is huge - you can think of all the things you could do with that money, holidays for example.

re. boundaries - I think if you are going to use them for anything regular then you need to really think about potential problems and how you can talk openly about them. Perhaps say to them - as we are going to have a regular arrangement I need to be able to be honest and open etc - and in a kind/ polite way highlight any potential issues - ie. saying honestly that you need your time as a family after work and can't be socialising with them every day they have the kids. I'm sure there is a nice way to say it...

It seems a shame not to take them up on it - after all, if it doesn't work you can change it later...

farewellfarewell Sat 12-Jan-13 22:48:42

I would go with grandparents no question. They love him! You won't get that with other options and imo that outweighs everything with such a young child.

VinegarDrinker Sun 13-Jan-13 13:36:17

Thank you all very much. Really helpful to get it down and get others' perspectives.

GoldPlatedNineDoors Sun 13-Jan-13 13:40:35

Id go for every tuesday and thursday at a CMs and then if it is any odd exttra days, GPs could do them. If you are off on the tues or thurs, use tge CM still and get yourself some.rest.

MrsHoarder Sun 13-Jan-13 13:50:01

Can you have 1 day at the CM? Then you have someone your DS knows and who will give you preference should you need extra days one week but you aren't paying out too much and he is generally with his family.

BackforGood Sun 13-Jan-13 14:01:51

Generally, I would go with CM if you can possibly afford it (get your Childcare vouchers and don't forget tax credits). My only concern would be if the CM could / would take irregular times.
I think it's great to have grandparents around for babysitting if you want to go out in an evening, or to a wedding or something at a weekend, or if you need to go to a funeral or to a medical appt or even just to get your hair cut, but you can't really ask for all these things if you are already using them 2x a week. Plus of course, illness and emergencies.
That said, I've met people who are really keen on the idea of looking after their grandchildren a day or two a week and look forward to it as a priviledge, so, if that's your Mum / in laws, then it would make sense in those circumstances to use them.

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