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How to broach the subject of childcare with MIL?

(283 Posts)
ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 17:50:18

I have a brilliant MIL who I get on with swimmingly. She's delighted I'm pregnant and really excited about having her first grandchild. We live 25 mins away from her (we're actually currently living at her house, because we're having work done to our bathroom). We might move in with her more permanently when I'm due, to have her help with the baby in the early days.

I'd like to broach the subject of childcare, but I'm not sure how to do it sensitively, and without looking like I'm taking advantage of her. TBH, I'd like to take 6 months maternity leave and then return to work full-time, and it would be amazing if she would volunteer to take on all the childcare after that. It's a big ask. She has a part-time job as a teacher, which she has hinted that she doesn't enjoy very much.

Is it reasonable for me to ask her whether she'd like to quit her job so that I can go back to work?
How should we recompense her for the loss of earnings? Could we offer to pay her (because we'd rather pay her than pay a childminder we don't know) but would she take offense?

Would be great to get everyone's thoughts on this smile

TheGreatHunt Thu 13-Mar-14 17:55:59

Er I wouldn't. At least wait until baby is here and see how you two get on then. Seriously.

cathpip Thu 13-Mar-14 17:56:12

I would wait and see if your mil offers, and also even if she is ultra fit full time care of a baby is hard work! You may want to investigate childminders and see if mil is up for a bit of part time child care mixed with a childminder.....

AtSea1979 Thu 13-Mar-14 17:58:34

Like others have said wait til baby is here and wait til she offers.

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 17:59:11

I would wait a bit you might find that you do not want to go back to work so quickly, or she might not want to give up work or....anything really.

MrsBungle Thu 13-Mar-14 18:01:14

Goodness, I wouldn't ask, she will offer if she wants to do it. To expect her to do it full-time is a massive ask.

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:03:09

Yeah I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't plan it so early. Nor would I move out my house with a new born to my MIL's house.

TheGreatHunt Thu 13-Mar-14 18:03:47

The main reason is that she might parent differently to you. My MIL is lovely but my god she pissed me right off when pfb arrived.

Casmama Thu 13-Mar-14 18:05:38

Absolutely do not ask her. It is not fair and if she is as lovely as you say then she will feel very uncomfortable saying no.
My mum doesn't work but has a busy life and I would not have dreamt of asking her. She loves my DS and babysits often or will help when he is ill but just doesn't want the respomsibility.

Don't assume she will want to paid or to.

Boggler Thu 13-Mar-14 18:06:08

Seriously you ate being very presumptuous to think she will want ti kook after your baby full time. I think you should wait for her to offer, then and only then should you start discussing anything. If she's a part time teacher she obviously doesn't want ft work so what makes you think she'll want to be your full time childminder? She won't get a lie in or a day off which is a massive thing to give up, not to mention having her hair done, shopping in peace going to the toilet etc.

Casmama Thu 13-Mar-14 18:06:15

Paid or not

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:07:55

Oh good God no!

Wait. Have your baby, and then see how you feel. It's a huge thing to ask and you can't expect her to give up paid employment to provide you with free childcare.

Just shock

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:08:28

Bluntly, no, it isn't reasonable to ask if she would like to quit her job and sign up to work for you full time (paid or unpaid) year round.

Some grandmothers might like to do this, but others absolutely do not. My mother is semi-retired, and a doting grandma. In future I could see her offering to do half term childcare or something. But not daily childcare. Every day of every week is a big, big commitment. Particularly if she currently works part time and term time and is used to time to herself.

She may volunteer. And if you want to give her the chance to do so you could start talking about how you are looking into childcare options for when you return to work. But you absolutely mustn't say "would you think about giving up your job for me and becoming my full time nanny", which is effectively what you would be asking her. It is the sort of thing which must be freely offered, never requested or put on the spot. That way future fall out lies. Especially if she is someone who struggles to say no.

OddFodd Thu 13-Mar-14 18:08:38

FGS don't put her on the spot by asking. See what comes up in conversation as time goes on - you'll end up talking about childcare at some point once your baby's here.

Also, you won't know how you feel when you've had the baby. You might want to go back at 6 months, you might not. You might not want to go back full time. Play everything by ear

whattoWHO Thu 13-Mar-14 18:08:59

Wait until baby arrives.
And then wait until she offers.
In the meantime start looking at other options.
Be prepared for your relationship to alter if she becomes your childcare provider.

You cannot pay her to look after your baby full time without her being an ofsted registered child minder.

I think you're being horribly presumptuous.

Also, when are you due? If she abate to resign she will need to do so with good notice as a teacher. What if you then change your mind / go back to work later? Also, I assume she works part time because she wants to work part time. Why would she suddenly want to work full time?

squizita Thu 13-Mar-14 18:11:02

This is a weird one because I wouldn't dream of asking. I'd assume my child + work = I need to pay for childcare (or make an arrangement with DH e.g. one of us part time). The parents choose to have the baby, they cannot make assumptions other relatives will just want to do a responsible, challenging job for free unless they offered.

Obviously if a relative offered, that would be wonderful all round! But just the assumption is a bit presumptuous.

Am I being odd here?

Oh god no don't ask at least until you are into your maternity leave and see how she is with the baby.

My friend had the same situation, mil working part time in a school, offered to give up her job and look after baby full time, for a bit less pay than the school job. Friend thought that a great idea.

6 months later, after baby arrived, mil was driving my friend nuts giving her baby porridge at 5 months, undermining my friend's parenting etc. Poor friend had no idea how to get out of this agreement.

One day I sat with the mil in the leisure centre café after a baby swim session. She told me she'd changed her mind now baby was here and didn't know how to tell her dil! Said she'd forgotten how demanding babies are and how she hadn't realised that she would be doing FULL TIME childcare whereas with her job she could meet her friends or go shopping in the afternoons.

Of course I reported this to the friend and she then pretended to 'broach' the subject with her mil. Baby went to nursery 3 days and the two grannies 'shared her' between mornings and afternoons the other days.

If your mil looks after a baby full time she has to synchronise her holidays with yours, has no time for herself, and will probably end up feeling very dumped upon if you have more children and expect her to look after those too.

Accidentallyquirky Thu 13-Mar-14 18:13:15

Hi op I agree with some of the others, wait and see if your going back to work for a start and see how you get on when baby arrives.
I went back to work full time when my youngest was 8 weeks, fil mentioned he wanted to retire but didn't want to be bored at home, I just straight to the point asked if he would consider minding the kids so I could work.

This has worked out great for us, as we couldn't afford to work without childcare.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:17:07

Well, I don't think I'm being presumptuous, because:
a) I'm not presuming anything, am I? I'm just asking you guys.
b) She doesn't enjoy her job, she just does it to earn money, she loves kids, and my husband said that she probably would want to look after the baby full-time (albeit without asking her).

Thanks for the tips though. I agree, it's much better to wait until she offers, rather than bringing up the subject directly.

BikeRunSki Thu 13-Mar-14 18:18:53

Don't ask, see if she volunteers. If she doesn't, don't assume that she want to. She may not want to! Keep her goodwill for adhoc babysitting.

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:20:43

You're presuming quite a bit.

There's a huge difference between adoring and spending time with your grandchild and having to care for them full time.

It's hugely draining, physically and emotionally, as any parent will tell you. To assume your MIL would want that level of responsibility full time for several years is a massive presumption to make.

Ragwort Thu 13-Mar-14 18:21:12

Wanting to give up your job and loving children absolutely does not mean that your MIL would want to be a full time carer for your child shock.

I am sure 100s of us would like to give up work and love children but no way would we want to commit to looking after a grandchild full time. You may be lucky in that she offers to do 1 or 2 days a week but as others have said, you need to think very, very carefully about this sort of arrangement.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:25:26

I'm a doctor and my husband's a solicitor. My husband works extremely long hours and sometimes I have to work night shifts. If we get a nanny she would have to be a live-in nanny, but we don't have room for one in our small flat.

It's not about the money. I'd rather pay someone all of my salary and have the chance to continue with my career.

We don't really have that much choice. Judge away.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:25:38

Well actually your follow up post sounds more presumptuous than your first. Not liking your job and loving kids is not the same as wanting to be a full time nanny (AFAIK she wouldn't need to register as a childminder if she cared for your child at your house, even if you paid her. That would apply if she cared for your child at hers. But nannies should have medical training, insurance, etc even though their actual training is not so strictly regulated).

Also bear in mind that she currently works term time only (barring preparation in holidays, of which I realise there is a lot but which can be done at times of your choosing mostly) and part time. You are thinking about full time and year round. And tying herself to holidays when you take yours. And 'parenting' your child rather than getting to be the doting granny who spoils them.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:26:38

If you guys think your kids are such a pain to look after full-time, why are you having them?

rubyslippers Thu 13-Mar-14 18:28:18

Maybe she wants to enjoy her retirement if she quits the job she hates

I cannot imagine asking my MIL or my mum to care for my kids FT

It's just totally demanding

Your MIL may be happy to
Do an as hoc day here and there or one day a week

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:28:47

I understand childcare is difficult. I know plenty of doctor/lawyer couples as a lawyer myself.

But people aren't judging you for saying childcare is difficult. They are saying that this is not the kind of thing you can ask a person to consider, I think TBH you are massively underestimating the demands of what you are asking against your MILs current job.

Presumably this was a planned pregnancy, so now I'm afraid you need to plan on the assumption you need to pay childcare. Your husband probably needs to step up to be home on time for the days you have night shift. He may even have to (shock horror) negotiate some form of flexible working himself. It can be done, it really can.

Or you move further out/to a worse area and you get another couple of bedrooms.

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 18:29:07

well why are you having a baby if you are not going to look after him/her and are planning to palm her off on your mil before he/she is even born?

you might feel quite different when the baby is here anyway.

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:29:15

My children are demanding, and tiring to look after. Which is why I wouldn't expect my parents or IL's to do it full time for nothing.

If I need childcare, I'll pay for a professional to it hmm

OddFodd Thu 13-Mar-14 18:29:16

Sheesh OP, nice bedside manner you have there!

Lookbusy Thu 13-Mar-14 18:30:08

I'm really going to go against the majority feeling here, Elle ! My son and daughter-in-law asked me whether I would be interested in taking on childcare for them when she returned to work after maternity leave. I was in a fulltime job that I had become unhappy in. We had already established that my parenting style is similar to theirs because they have an older child whose life I had been in since his birth.

To be honest my initial reaction to their suggestions was surprise mixed with apprehension, but I agreed to give it some thought. I won't go into all the details right now but it was a brilliant suggestion and we frequently congratulate ourselves on what a win-win situation we're all in. It's four years since we started!

Plenty more to relate (and some ideas about how we organised ourselves) if you're interested - feel free to PM me. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has such a good relationship with her daughter-in-law!

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:30:30

Oh dear goodness. I am currently a full time SAHM. It's fucking hard. Harder than when I was working. I love looking after them because they are my kids, and because I'm in my 30s. Not sure I'd be as keen for grandchildren in my 60s +. I had them because I wanted them. I am currently at home because I want to be. But that's not the same as expecting someone else to want to just because they are related.

Blueuggboots Thu 13-Mar-14 18:30:57

I was massively lucky that my parents offered to have DS when my shifts overlapped with stbxh's shifts.

I pay them £200 a month, which is NOTHING compared to what I would pay a "professional" person.

My parents were brilliant - we set ground rules from the beginning. When my STBXH and I parted company, they were having my DS (2.5 at the time) 4 days/nights a week with me helping in between my shifts and they admitted it was too much for them especially with the tantrums!

They planned to go on a 3 month holiday (and I would have done the same in their situation!!) giving me a year's notice that they were going so I was able to save annual leave and make alternative plans for ds's childcare while they're away.

It CAN work but they offered.

whattoWHO Thu 13-Mar-14 18:37:20

You do have a choice.
Have a nanny/childminder/nursery place during the day. Ask your MIL to help on the ocassions you have to work a night shift.
Did you not consider this before planning your pregnancy?

Roseandmabelshouse Thu 13-Mar-14 18:37:27

Of course you shouldn't ask her. She has brought up her own children. Grandchildren are to enjoy minus the hard graft!

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:37:50

Oh so DH thinks she'd love to do full time childcare.

There are quite a lot of disappointed men in the world who realise their mothers lives do not revolve around their own once they're grown up.

On a practical level if she works in a job she doesn't like it would appear she needs the money. You will need to pay her this at least plus tax plus employees NI plus employers NI just like any other nanny. Plus she'll be working 48 weeks a year so really you should pro rate it upwards.

squizita Thu 13-Mar-14 18:41:10

OP, my DH is a lawyer too. He is exploring how his career may have to change because I love my career (management in the education sector including out-of-hours pastoral work). It may be neither of us want to change a jot - but as you mention, that will mean paying for childcare.
Otherwise one or other of us will have to adjust our working habits.
I do understand how it leaves a dilemma some couples don't choose to face which (IMO) comes from sexism - and which it sounds like our DHs don't ascribe to. Some male lawyers I know take it utterly for granted that their partner will be the one who goes part time or gives up work as they're the 'big clever career men'. hmm Of course this isn't as it was 50 years ago! So then a tough choice has to be made.

I reckon we'll be dealing with that 'hit' financially, or with DH considering his workload. If someone offered to help: wonderful. Nevertheless I still don't think I could ever ask someone: I chose to have a career, I chose (indeed undertook painful medical treatment) to have a child... so I can't ask someone to make my compromises easier.

Viviennemary Thu 13-Mar-14 18:42:05

Take on full time childcare is a very big ask. YABVVVVU if you expect her to quit her job. Unless she would be really pleased to give up her salary and work for you for nothing. I feel sorry for people press ganged into being undpaid childminders.

justmuddlingalong Thu 13-Mar-14 18:43:55

Is this another MIL childcare thread kicking off? I could hear it from my kitchen! wink

Ragwort Thu 13-Mar-14 18:44:31

How can two presumably highly educated people be so ignorant about childcare and assume their Mother/MIL would be interested in being a full time childcarer hmm. The mind boggles.

We don't really have that much choice - what do you mean? You have the same amount of 'choice' as all of us and why didn't you think of this before you decided to have a child?

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:48:34

Nigella - When we were planning the pregnancy, I was going to take 1 year maternity leave and then go back part-time to train as a GP. I've since decided that I don't want to be a GP. Obviously, if my MIL isn't keen to look after the baby full-time, I will take longer maternity leave and consider different career options. But I'm really lucky to have such a kind MIL who I love and trust, so what's the harm in exploring all the options? (cf "palm off" my baby - effective use of emotive language, tick tick)

Lookbusy - It's so good to read your post. I'll PM you for more advice smile

Penguins - I appreciate your advice, but I'm not sure if flexible working is available in corporate law.

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:49:28

DH is a lawyer and works stupid hours at times. He brings work home on the days he does nursery pick up. You have to adapt.

But your 25 weeks. So you won't really have thought about this yet. I finally realised it when when arrived home from the hospital. Might have been a bit later than ideal.

OwlCapone Thu 13-Mar-14 18:49:33

If you guys think your kids are such a pain to look after full-time, why are you having them?

You said that you'd prefer to be at work furthering your career than with your child. Why are you having one?


AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:50:38

Beginning to think this is all falling on deaf ears...

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 18:50:53

If you guys think your kids are such a pain
use of emotive language 'tick tick'
honestly elle, i bet you will be thinking quite differently after the birth.

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:51:06

A years maternity leave won't change your childcare options though - just delay the date you have to deal with them.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:51:20

Oh, so MIL childcare threads normally get so heated?

It might be a cultural thing. In some cultures (incl ours) it's more acceptable (dare I say expected?) that grandparents take a more active role. And conversely, we tend to look after our parents when they get older and frailer. But the society in this country is more Individualistic. That's why the working adults pay for childcare and the elderly are put into state nursing homes.

Iggi101 Thu 13-Mar-14 18:52:26

Is your mil paying into the pension fund at work? Can you pay her enough to make up for that loss?
I think you have the ideal solution to hand - use a nursery or childminder, and keep mil on side so she can collect from nursery/come to flat some evenings when you have to work. If you both adjust your work patterns a bit and have her help, it can all work out fine. If she looks after lo during the day too, will you then expect her to do the evening shift? That is v hard if so.
OP you haven't come across particularly well in this thread but most of us are completely naive about the realities of life with our first child. You clearly wish it all to be well organised, but some flexibility is essential to stay sane with a newborn.

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:53:07

You really think it's that this country has an individualistic culture that makes us put our children in childcare?

Yes. That's absolutely why grin

Iggi101 Thu 13-Mar-14 18:53:30

So you'll be giving up your career to look after your mil when the time comes? That's good to know.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:54:00

OwlCapone - I think it'll be an absolute joy looking after my kids full-time. But I love my work. Is that so hard to understand?

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:56:33

I think you're perhaps a little naive, and don't yet fully realise what a huge responsibility caring for a child full time is.

I think a lot of posters are wondering why you'd just expect your MIL to give up paid employment to take over care of your child when you have plenty of other options available?

justmuddlingalong Thu 13-Mar-14 18:57:30

Oh, so MIL childcare threads normally get so heated? Now and then. There was another MIL childcare thread earlier, from the Dil's point of view. Ironically.

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 18:57:58

but how will you know it will be 'an absolute joy'? it might not be.
and lots of mothers love their work so it is not that difficult to understand no need to be patronising.

whattoWHO Thu 13-Mar-14 18:58:21

I think you've made up your mind.

And I don't think you're prepared to consider any more options.

I'm staggered that you've not been thinking about this before now.

Iggi101 Thu 13-Mar-14 18:59:12

Requesting flexible working is a legal right, even in really really important, proper jobs like your dh has hmm
Getting it of course is another matter, but the more people ask....

Artandco Thu 13-Mar-14 19:00:36

I think your best option is full time nanny with mil helping. Ie if you need to be gone 7am-7pm maybe nanny could do 7am-7pm 3 days a week, and 7am-3pm the other two. With mil looking after baby just 3-7pm x2 days a week plus the odd night shift

However you can always be flexible. Everyone can, the law is on parents side. My dh is a lawyer and has managed to be flexible/ start late / or finish early on days to accommodate family life as I also work full time. He has been promoted twice since we have had children so Jo affect on work.

OddFodd Thu 13-Mar-14 19:00:53

All I can say before I bow out is thank fuck you're not going to train as a GP. You have about as much empathy as a cushion. If you're determined to pursue medicine as a career, you may want to consider specialising in surgery where an ability to demonstrate compassion isn't that important.
I'm being totally serious.

You asked for advice and you've been rude, dismissive and frankly petulant and brattish because you haven't heard what you want to hear. Just yuck frankly. And yes, I'm out of this thread. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and in resolving your childcare issues.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 19:01:50

Elle - I sincerely hope that your bedside manner is better than this, because you are coming across really condescending.

I worked in a corporate firm. I've seen it all. The all nighters. The VCs who decide to invest on ridiculously short timescales. The private equity houses who decide to totally restructure the deal and not move completion... Flexible working is what you make it, and what you make the effort to make it. I know one father, for example, who decided to move to a PSL role to support his wife's career. That's at the extreme end of the spectrum, but I also know parents of both sexes who have to leave the office at certain times, put the kids to bed and pick up remotely at 7.30 and into the small hours.

Good to know that you'll be giving up your job to care for your MIL should the time come though.

And FWIW, this isn't about MILs to me (or I suspect most others). That was a wee joke I think. I would have responded the same if it was your own mother or any family member.

AcrossthePond55 Thu 13-Mar-14 19:05:25

OK, I'm more than likely closer to your MiL's age, but I retired early and no longer work. I thought about it long and hard when I read your post and decided that I would NOT want to look after a grandchild full time, paid or not. Of course, I would do it if it was absolutely necessary to my children's job security & they couldn't truly afford childcare or if there was no safe alternative, that's just what grandparents do. But I'd expect them to exhaust all reasonable alternatives first. And I'd love the occasional babysit or overnight. But I've done my time and now am enjoying leisure and being able to take off for a drive or a trip at the drop of a hat.

That's just me (and frankly, my own mum felt the same but always made herself available for emergencies). My darling late MiL, on the other hand, watched DS2 (DS1 was already in school) from about 6 months to around aged 2. But, she asked us if she could when we started talking about my return to work, we didn't ask her.

My advice would be not to ask directly, but to start discussing professional childcare alternatives around her & see if she offers. If she doesn't offer, she isn't interested.

TheGreatHunt Thu 13-Mar-14 19:08:24

It's not about the money. I'd rather pay someone all of my salary and have the chance to continue with my career

Wait until baby arrives. Again you might change your mind.

When I was pregnant with ds I looked on childcare quite practically but didn't really think about how I would feel about returning to work. I just thought I'd go back and carry on.

Now my career matters less to me. I want to do stiff I enjoy but not fussed about climbing the ladder. I want to be with my children more.

Only1scoop Thu 13-Mar-14 19:10:23

It's a huge ask of mil....she may not love her job but I'd wait until she offers. Maybe when you talk about return to work with her she may say she will help out.

blueberryupsidedown Thu 13-Mar-14 19:12:14

Full time? No. Mixture of child-minder - nursery and grandparent, maybe. it's really hard work to look after a 6 month old full time.

Mintyy Thu 13-Mar-14 19:15:37

This isn't something you ask your parents to do. They offer if they are interested.

Mintyy Thu 13-Mar-14 19:17:32

Don't put her in the position where she has to say no if she doesn't want to do this! Its unfair.

BusinessUnusual Thu 13-Mar-14 19:22:05

And I work in one of the crazy client groups that Penguins mentions (sorry penguins grin) and I now work flexibly and so does DH.

woodlandwanderwoman Thu 13-Mar-14 19:22:24

Here are a few practical considerations to throw into the mix.

1) What happens when more GC come into the mix, either yours or DHs siblings? Your MiLs time is not on a first come, first served basis and she would want to treat everyone equally. If she cares for GC1 then she would have every right to do the same for the next GC because it's about the GC, not about the parents. It would be setting her up for a huge amount of pressure in the future IMO.

2) Have you thought about things like illness and holiday? Asking her to care for your DC ft would mean you would have to coordinate your holidays / time off at same time. SE would lose all independence. How would you manage if mil was ill?

3) What kind of person is she? If you were to ask her would she feel guilty about saying no and could you be certain she meant it if she said yes?

FWIW I think it's very unfair to ask, this kind of help should be offered so as not to put mil in a difficult position when it wasn't her who chose to have the child.

You will also change dramatically when you have the baby. You just don't know it yet.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 19:24:42

Ha ha BusinessUnusual. I loved you all really. Well most of you wink.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 19:26:18

Yes I might change my mind when the baby comes.

Yes we're happy to pay for childcare. We're not using my MIL as a free option. It's just one option.

Yes we are naive, as this is our first pregnancy and we're both in our twenties.

Yes I am taking all the posts in this thread to heart, even though I don't reply to everyone who posts. I'm finding it all eye-opening and useful advice.

Yes I will do whatever is necessary when my parents and parents-in-law become ill, including giving up my job.

We do have a lot of thinking to do, but we're only 7 weeks pregnant so I don't think it's too late hmm I think I'm actually planning quite far ahead.

BTW OddFodd - I wasn't mean at all until I got annoyed by the snide comments. I have a great bedside manner to my patients. You're not one of my patients. I don't have to be nice to you.

Armadale Thu 13-Mar-14 19:26:19

I am 19 weeks pg so thinking about this at the moment.

Of my four friends who have had their first babies before me, all of them changed their minds about childcare after the baby was born.

3 of them were all going to go back to work after 6 months maternity leave- 1 went back after a fulll year at home, 1 went back pt after a full year at home, the third became a sahm) and the fourth friend was going to become a sahm and instead went back to work full time when the baby was 4 months old.....

I have learnt my lesson from this!

Basically, anything could happen and I won't know until the baby is here, so I'm going to play it by ear.

Wandastartup Thu 13-Mar-14 19:29:16

Suggest you try posting this in the family forum on Disney, you would get more supportive/ helpful replies.

Wandastartup Thu 13-Mar-14 19:30:21

Sorry incorrect- doctorsnet, not Disney...

redshoeblueshoe Thu 13-Mar-14 19:31:08

Elle - it worked for me. My mum looked after my DC so I could go back to work F/T. Now I look after my GC's - I love it. I also looked after my DP's when they needed it.
Maybe you could see if she would have DC initially when she is not working, and see how it pans out. Good luck x

2468Motorway Thu 13-Mar-14 19:31:42

I don't think it is out of the question but there are so many things to consider.

Paying your MIL, can you afford to replace her current salary plus pension?

What happens if she is ill short term and what happens if she isn't capable long term? These conversations are really hard to have with a family member.

What if you don't like the way she looks after your child.

Think about when you little one is 18 months rather than a cute immobile baby or a reasonable 5 yr old. Will she want to deal with tantrums and running off and potty training.

What happens if you have another child and she either doesnt want to or can't anymore.

What if she has other grandchildren to see or would like to go on a long holiday.

If I was in your shoes I would get childcare for most 9-5 type working and hope she offered to help out for overnights or antisocial hours. You'd be surprised how much a kind helpful MIl would be great for when you want to paint your kitchen or pop to the dentist or buy new shoes or any number of extra things.

Also if she is looking after your child all the time she may not want to see you so much on a social level put side this.

All the best, it is hard to sort out childcare.

BusinessUnusual Thu 13-Mar-14 19:37:17


I intended to take six months each time and I did!

JohnnyUtah Thu 13-Mar-14 19:41:58

"We're" not pregnant. You are pregnant.

Why will you give uo your career to care for elderly family but not young family? Will you really?

Trooperslane Thu 13-Mar-14 19:49:05

Jesus. Massive presumption. Don't do it. She may well ask.

If you are a junior doctor and a corporate lawyer, both working full-time in the sort of hours and patterns expected in those careers, then you'd probably need more than one full-time nanny post's equivalent hours, and (as you said) you'll need to cover some overnights and (as you didn't say) some weekends.

I really think if you would like your MIL to take on some childcare, and she'd also like to take on some childcare, then expecting her to do all of that -- expecting any one person to do all of that -- is unreasonable. Given that it's not about the money for you, it might be worth exploring doing a fixed set of core hours with a nursery/nanny/childminder and seeing if your MIL could do wraparound care including the overnights and weekends that you need, or doing some days with a nursery/nanny/childminder and others with your MIL.

I do agree though that you should wait for her to offer. If it's so standard in your culture then surely she's likely to offer, if it's something she really wants to do?

And you really aren't coming across well on here. If people aren't reacting well to the idea of your asking your MIL to quit her part-time job (with NI, pension and employment rights) to take on a more-than-full-time job, including night shifts and 24-hour on-call, that you're not really planning to pay her market rate for (or, I'm guessing, pension contributions or PAYE or employer's NI) then it isn't necessarily because they don't appreciate your career, or they don't like having children, or because the whole national culture is at fault.

GingerMaman Thu 13-Mar-14 20:01:47

I am a SAHM currently on maternity leave, and goodness this is so much harder than full time work! I would never ever expect my mother or MIL to offer to look after my child, and they haven't either.

I think the issue here is you haven't had a child before, so you don't understand how demanding it is! Once you have it, you probably will and will lower your expectations from others.

Btw I am also from a culture where loads of mothers and mother inlaws look after babies for free.

Ragwort Thu 13-Mar-14 20:02:46

You are in your mid 20s so in your mid 40s if your child/ren have children of their own will you then agree to leave work to look after your grandchildren hmm? The career that you now think is so important that you can't possibly have a break from it to raise your own child?

GingerMaman Thu 13-Mar-14 20:08:41

Also I adore babies in general, absolutely love them, but no way do I want to look after them full time.

My husband also assumed his mother would look after our baby (as that is what is done culturally) but she hasn't even offered - because it is bloody hard work, and of course I don't blame here!

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Thu 13-Mar-14 20:14:15

My mum offered to have ds full time (well, 4 long days) when I was pg - she was newly retired. My reservations, although I adore her were:

What would we do if mum was ill / on holiday / had a doctors or hair appointment?

I didnt want mum to take on the parent role

Would ds get enough interaction with other children?

Would it simply be too much for her?

In the end mum does 1 day, dmil does a day and ds goes to nursery 2 days. Mum loves having ds and it's a massive treat for her. BUT she is shattered at pick up time and admits she'd have struggled to regularly do more than one day

FrumiousBandersnatch Thu 13-Mar-14 20:22:23

There's a joke that grandchildren are better than children because you can hand them back; it's true.

You don't say how old your MIL is but please consider that leaving her job now could have serious implications for her pension. You would also be asking her to leave part-time employment to switch to full-time, when presumably she has interests / activities / tasks that she does in her non-working time?

Please seriously investigate other childcare options. I don't know where you live but here (a 'nappy-valley' area of London) the competition is fierce for the best nurseries. A friend put her child down for one at her 12-week scan and still hasn't got a place for when he turns one. Perhaps the ideal scenario would be for baby to be with granny a few days, and then in nursery for the rest, if she offers.

GingerMaman Thu 13-Mar-14 20:30:13

I think it's very unfair to expect MiL to give up work for your baby when you your self don't want to!

Florin Thu 13-Mar-14 20:42:47

You cannot ask her, it is up to her to offer. Having her as back up/fill in for nights and weekends childcare would still be incredibly useful.
I have wanted to be a sahm Mum since I was a child and I am really lucky enough to live my dream and my husband has supported me in this. I do love it however it is such a hard job, I honestly don't think you will realise how hard it is until you do it. At 6 months to be honest they are immobile and IMO they are very easy. However our ds is now 20 months and is constantly

CPtart Thu 13-Mar-14 20:45:06

I never understand why any GP would agree to regular childcare of a young baby let alone full time. It would change the dynamics of your relationship surely?
Maybe I'm just bitter because no-one was ever prepared to have my DC on a regular basis and still aren't, although I won't ever feel as though I have anything to "repay" as my DM and IL's get older.

kernowmissvyghen Thu 13-Mar-14 20:46:33

Looking after a baby / toddler is tough. it is hard physical work. There is a lot of heavy lifting, twisting, bending, etc and it is hard labour. I understand that in your 20s (and not having had to do it yet!) this may not seem like a big deal to you, but actually it is, especially for an older person.

My mum loves and adores looking after my toddler DS, and before she retired she was a nursery school teacher. She has offered on numerous occasions to be our childcare, and has said she will register herself as a childminder with all the attendant ofsted requirements, etc. to do so. There is nothing she would enjoy more than to look after him full time.

But, and here's the thing you seem to be dismissing out of hand and getting all uppity with people when they say it, looking after a very young child full time is too physically demanding to expect someone to do when they are older. Despite the fact it was my mum's job for years, despite the fact she'd love to do it, it would wear her into the ground in about a month.

Far better to get a full time nursery place or something, and have Grandma on hand to do some pick-ups, overnights and occasional fun days out than have to give up your career a couple of decades earlier than you envisage(!) to care for MiL (and child) because you've driven her to exhaustion point with expectations of round the clock childcare... smile

Off topic, and I should let it go but you annoyed me so much with your snide comment about putting old people into care homes: as a health care professional you really should be aware that very few families take the heart-rending decision to hand over the care of their loved ones to professionals lightly or because they can't be bothered to care for them. It's almost always because the management of complex medical needs becomes impossible to deal with at home. I truly hope you never end up trying to care for your elderly, frail relatives who no longer recognise you and live in a world full of fear because of dementia, but please, try not to be so vile about the people who have been in that situation and have had to face up to the fact their relatives need professional care.

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 13-Mar-14 20:47:03

You asked how to broach the subject sensitively, well could you perhaps ask your MIL now if she would consider covering childcare for the odd long day or late night when you go back to work.

That way you would get a chance to see how she feels about it without her feeling any obligation. She may say that she'd love to and then might offer to give up work/provide childcare for a certain number of days per week, or she might say that she doesn't mind the odd occasion but doesn't want the responsibility all of the time. At least that way you know where you stand. That would be how I would approach it if I were you.

I don't think it's a very reasonable to ask her if she would give up work as that may make her obligated to say yes, or to do more than she actually wants to, and in time that could breed resentment and damage your relationship.

As for compensating her, if she says she'd love to help out, perhaps you could say something along the lines of "of course we're happy to pay you, we aren't expecting you to be out of pocket on our behalf". Then you can see how she responds and play it by ear.

Hope that helps.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 20:47:37

Frumious - Based on what the OP has said about their jobs, I doubt a nursery is a realistic option anyway. She is likely to be looking at a full time nanny to cover the core of the time and then maybe, if the MIL offers, grandma for evenings and weekends if/when her husband can't do it. I actually don't see how you do it the other way round thinking about it - if the Grandma does full time child care there will be no one to pick up the random weekends when the OP is on shift and her husband gets called into the office. That kidn of childcare is shockingly difficult to get your hands on on a paid basis.

Nubbin Thu 13-Mar-14 20:53:27

Just talk to her - you are not dissimilar to me and my dh - I am a city solicitor dh is a policeman. After a couple of years of my dm and dmil being 'emergency nan' and coming down from Manchester/ Leeds to london to help whenever the next illness/ court crisis hit - we spoke to my dm honestly and she admitted she had been waiting for the chat. We moved from our tiny central london flat to a big house outside and dm and df look after dd 2 full days a week and do nursery pick up and drop off for the other three. It works for us - more than 2 full days they found a struggle so we found a balance. I regularly check if they find it a bind and they say it is a joy.

FrumiousBandersnatch Thu 13-Mar-14 20:54:42

Good point, Penguins.

Kernow, great post thanks

Nubbin Thu 13-Mar-14 20:57:55

Just to add it was a huge compromise on our part too - dm and df live in our house (split into two) and pay nothing to mortgage/ bills as I thought that was the fairest deal. We wouldn't have done it if they hadn't been struggling to work out finances and retirement anyway.

Anyway - just ask the worst is no and then you can plan accordingly.

Florin Thu 13-Mar-14 21:00:37

Oops pressed send by accident.
At 20 months our son is constantly on the move. Much more than my friends babies (they all comment on it) He is extremely active and is incredibly confident and agile and has no fear. My husband one day turned his back for literally 5 seconds only to find him 6 foot up a ladder he had left out. He is constantly climbing and into every cupboard. He doesn't really listen to no very often and it is enough to drive you crazy and can be extremely stressful. I am 30 but I struggle to keep up with him. However we can't have any more and I am determined to enjoy every minute of our ds, I certainly couldn't do it for anyone's else's children even if they were my grandparents. Neither of our parents could keep up with our ds and on a regular basis it would be wrong too. I have seen my Mum look after my nephew (same age as my son but quieter) and by the end she was so knacked. Oh and my parents are extremely fit, they go to the gym and walk twice a day. My son is 15kg which is extremely heavy and although he is very capable of walking it is often necessary to carry him (often with him struggling as he is refusing to do what you need him to do) I never had problems with my back but now I do it must be a lot worse for an older person. They also have their own lives which would be unfair for them to stop them leading.
Lastly I think grandparents taking over childcare rather spoils the special relationship between grandparents and grandchild. They don't get to spoil them in the same way which is sad. Being a grandparent should be about spoiling them with presents, sweets and attention and then sending them home.

kernowmissvyghen Thu 13-Mar-14 21:00:46

Aww, thanks Frumious!

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 21:11:48

We're getting ourselves tied up in knots on this thread, and people are making assumptions about me and my intentions, which I've failed to correct.

My questions were, in the original post:
a) Is it OK to ask her if she'd consider full-time child-care?
- in the context of i) I have reasons to suspect she does want to, and ii) she's perfectly capable of saying "no" if she doesn't want to, in which case we'll consider other options. We're straight-talking people. And while being extremely nice, my MIL is not a pushover by any extent of the imagination.
b) How do we have this conversation appropriately and make sure she doesn't lose out on earnings or get offended?

The precise scenario I wanted to avoid was one where my husband and I were "using" her or forcing her into an arrangement she doesn't want. This is why I got tense - because it's what many posters have been implying.

The useful things I've learnt from this thread are:
- I've underestimated the amount of hard work childcare can be for older people.
- I should wait until my MIL offers her help, instead of asking her.

And I shouldn't have made those generalisations about nursing homes. I do meet a lot of people who should love their elderly parents a lot more than they do. But it's unfair of me to say that everyone who sends their parents to a nursing home could have coped at home if they'd tried.

Sparklyboots Thu 13-Mar-14 21:12:02

God, wait til the baby's here OP. I used to get on swimmingly with my MiL but have found her to be a total pain WRT childrening. So much easier to get clear boundaries and expectations with an employee. IME you can't really know what you want til the dust settles.after birth. Maybe she might b part of an overall package but that should arise.when you and the baby and she all know what the reality of her looking after your actual baby will be.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 21:17:31

Elle - The other thing you need to think about is that you are going to need a lot of childcare at awkward hours/times. You work nights and weekends at times. Your husband is, what, about 4 years PQE if you are still in your 20s. That is a difficult combination meaning that you might reasonably frequently find yourself needing weekend or overnight care at short notice. That care is basically not available on the open market and your MIL is very, very, very unlikely to be able to offer it if she has been doing regular long days with your child already. It's hard enough to do it when you're 30. And she would, obviously, still have her own life.

So even if she does offer, think very, very carefully about how you decide to use that offer. A family member who will suddenly pick up a Saturday, or the day the nanny is ill may well be more conducive to long term career stability for both of you than daily child care.

Assuming she offers...

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 21:20:55

Wow, I'm surprised at the heated response you got!

As a side note, should your dp not do the asking?

I imagine many grandparents would love to help. My mil looked into retiring bug it wasn't an option. She brought it up though. I think your one flaw is asking her to do it full time. At some point, it's perfectly reasonable to sit down and have a chat. Don't put her on the spot, tell her to go and think but ask if she'd be able and/or willing to help with childcare when the time comes. Say you'd love to be able to leave dc with someone you love and trust but that you completely understand if she can't. Then ask her to think about what days/hours she may be able to help with!

It seems pretty reasonable to me... You don't seem like the monster you've been painted!

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 21:23:26

Wow, I'm surprised at the heated response you got!

As a side note, should your dp not do the asking?

I imagine many grandparents would love to help. My mil looked into retiring bug it wasn't an option. She brought it up though. I think your one flaw is asking her to do it full time. At some point, it's perfectly reasonable to sit down and have a chat. Don't put her on the spot, tell her to go and think but ask if she'd be able and/or willing to help with childcare when the time comes. Say you'd love to be able to leave dc with someone you love and trust but that you completely understand if she can't. Then ask her to think about what days/hours she may be able to help with!

It seems pretty reasonable to me... You don't seem like the monster you've been painted!

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 21:24:35

Wow, I'm surprised at the heated response you got!

As a side note, should your dp not do the asking?

I imagine many grandparents would love to help. My mil looked into retiring bug it wasn't an option. She brought it up though. I think your one flaw is asking her to do it full time. At some point, it's perfectly reasonable to sit down and have a chat. Don't put her on the spot, tell her to go and think but ask if she'd be able and/or willing to help with childcare when the time comes. Say you'd love to be able to leave dc with someone you love and trust but that you completely understand if she can't. Then ask her to think about what days/hours she may be able to help with!

It seems pretty reasonable to me... You don't seem like the monster you've been painted!

TwoThreeFourSix Thu 13-Mar-14 21:29:15

We asked my parents. They said yes without hesitation. It works brilliantly (DF was already retired, DM worked PT in school term).

We pay them the same we would pay a nanny (including NI contributions etc) and have an official contract. We also give them bonuses, paying for weekends away or nice restaurants. We're not doing this to save money.

Theres 2 of them so they share the workload. I wouldnt want one to do it by themselves its too hard physically. But this means that they can do their shopping/washing/ironing etc during the week (whilst the other looks after DS) and their weekends and evenings are chore free.

So far they havent been ill at the same time but if they were we'd do what we'd do if a nanny was ill (take time off work!).

We are very open and talk frankly. I've told them many times to tell me if its too much but they love it and sometimes ask to see DS at the weekend as they miss him too much.

Im soon in mat leave with DC2. We'll continue paying them as before but will really reduce their hours whilst Im off. Then we'll increase the money as they'll be looking after 2 (like with a normal nanny) although DS will be in school from september.

The only disadvantage is I dont like to ask for babysitting as they already do so much. But its a small sacrifice.

Trumpton Thu 13-Mar-14 21:51:39

I help with my Grandchildren's child care . I am a fit heathy 62 year old . I had 18 month old and 3.5 year old today from 7.30 until 4 . I was in bed by 8.30pm.
I am so glad that's it's not every day. I have had many years in pre-school education and am very used to small people but I am shattered by the end of the day.
DD might increase her hours and I appreciate ( as she does ) that these are probably the most physically demanding ages . If she asked me to provide full time care I would have to say no.

1944girl Thu 13-Mar-14 22:00:29

I am a MIL.My DS2, his wife and their two children live with me, have done so since their first child was born 13 years ago.DS2's daughter from his first marriage lives here as well but that is a different subject.
I have had shared care of all of his five children from birth.
When his first was born 22 years ago I was working three days a week so helped when I could.
By the time he and his second wife moved in I was working in the nurse bank which meant I arranged my own shifts and cared for my two youngest grandchildren who are now aged 13 and 11 when my DIL was working as they could not afford nursery fees for two children.
I enjoy caring for babies and children but it can be awkward at times as you have to plan the days when you can be child free.When they started school DS took both of them, and I collected them both.It is easier now they are older, my youngest grandaughter goes and comes from school on her own now, my grandson has special needs and the local council provides a taxi to take him to his school and bring him home, but of course someone has to be in the house when they arrive home.
My DS is now unemployed so he is usually around then, my DH is disabled with heart disease so it is not fair asking him to cope.
As I have stated I do this because I enjoy it and get satisfaction that my grandchildren know I care for them.I hope your MIL will too.I understand how excited she feels now I felt the same way.Please have a talk with her about the long term aspects of her doing childcare, a baby is not a baby for ever.
Incidently I have just found out today that I am going to be a greatgrand mother, courtesy of DGD2!. Her mother and her partner's mother are looking forward to sharing the childcare, I am jealous already!.

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 22:01:42

Wow, I'm surprised at the heated response you got!

As a side note, should your dp not do the asking?

I imagine many grandparents would love to help. My mil looked into retiring bug it wasn't an option. She brought it up though. I think your one flaw is asking her to do it full time. At some point, it's perfectly reasonable to sit down and have a chat. Don't put her on the spot, tell her to go and think but ask if she'd be able and/or willing to help with childcare when the time comes. Say you'd love to be able to leave dc with someone you love and trust but that you completely understand if she can't. Then ask her to think about what days/hours she may be able to help with!

It seems pretty reasonable to me... You don't seem like the monster you've been painted!

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 22:01:43

Wow, I'm surprised at the heated response you got!

As a side note, should your dp not do the asking?

I imagine many grandparents would love to help. My mil looked into retiring bug it wasn't an option. She brought it up though. I think your one flaw is asking her to do it full time. At some point, it's perfectly reasonable to sit down and have a chat. Don't put her on the spot, tell her to go and think but ask if she'd be able and/or willing to help with childcare when the time comes. Say you'd love to be able to leave dc with someone you love and trust but that you completely understand if she can't. Then ask her to think about what days/hours she may be able to help with!

It seems pretty reasonable to me... You don't seem like the monster you've been painted!

Iggi101 Thu 13-Mar-14 22:43:15

Not a monster of course - but maybe someone better suited to a research role than one involving a lot of patient contact! Didn't realise my doctors were only nice to me because they needed to be! I just thought they were nice people hmm
It seems odd to give up your career without hesitation to look after a hypothetically dependent elderly mil (with a child at home too) for possibly 20 years, but to be so set on returning at 6 months post due date, working long, full-time hours etc.
I actually think the advice several posters have offered (get separate daytime childcare sorted and use mil for all the extra hours, if willing) is very sensible and helpful.

TheFabulousIdiot Thu 13-Mar-14 22:50:41

So long as you are prepared to pay her what she earns now, give her holiday time and contribute towards her pension I'm sure she might consider it.

How old is she?

TheFabulousIdiot Thu 13-Mar-14 22:52:31

Would you expect her to cover all school holidays too?

What about if you had another child?

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 23:02:39

I'd rather my doctor do his/her job and fix me than be my best friend blush . Manners are nice though!

sarahbanshee Thu 13-Mar-14 23:02:39

Agree with previous posters who have said that with your professions and work patterns, help from grandparents if (if!) forthcoming, might be best directed towards being first reserve for evenings, weekends, sick leave, nursery closure etc. Or if your MIL wanted to offer more then maybe one regular day a week, so that you don't have to have the baby in full time childcare - it would save you a bit and also give you a day when you aren't necessarily watching the clock and can afford to be a bit late home without incurring nursery late fees or the wrath of your nanny/CM.

But I'm afraid I also agree with previous posters that you give the impression of needing to think a lot about how things are going to work once your child is here beyond a slightly blasé "we will need FT care so how shall we ask his mum".

HelenHen Thu 13-Mar-14 23:04:19

Also apologies for the multiple post! Phone had a fit! blush

hartmel Fri 14-Mar-14 02:33:27

I haven't read all the comments but I'm saying from my experience.
We sold our house when I was pregnant and moved in with in laws when I was 7 month pregnant. To make the story short we lived in total of 7 month together. Mil is a very nice lady. We got along pretty good before we moved together but after that I cried myself to sleep because of her.

Wait till you have the baby. And in my opinion I wouldn't move in with MIL once baby is born. But it is your decision.

Also what happened to me, my DS is 6 month and guess what I'm 8 weeks pregnant with DC2. It was not planned but I'm very happy.

I hope you make the right decision

aroha77 Fri 14-Mar-14 04:16:00

Maybe she could just have them when your shifts fall outside of a childminders hours? E.g while you're on nights? I'd imagine it would soon get too tiring for her to do it full time?

Sunshineandwaves Fri 14-Mar-14 04:33:16

My MIL very kindly looked after my son for two days a week for a period of six months while we waited for a nursery place. My son was 18 months old. She enjoyed the experience however found it to be exhausting looking after him just two days a week. There is no way she would have been up to looking after my son full time (she is very fit and energetic).

meditrina Fri 14-Mar-14 06:32:32

To answer the questions as you put them in your later post;

A) no.
B) conversation no longer required.

But I suspectyou're goingto doit anyhow.

But please remember that grumbling about your job does not equate to willingness to leave paid workforce or reduce income/pension contribution/ independence. Work out exactly how you are going to over loss of earnings and, as she's probably in TPS, that number of years of public sector pension accrual and what it means for her income for the rest of her life.

If she is working for you full time during the week, what are you going to do to cover any antisocial hours?

weebairn Fri 14-Mar-14 07:06:29

Elledubloo, what stage of training are you at?

I don't know much about lawyers, but as far as doctors go, I am a core medical trainee with an 18 month old and another on the way. I had a year off for maternity leave and then went back part time. If you are in a training post, I believe they have to try and offer you less than full time working if you ask for it. I am not sure if this is the case for all training programmes but I think so. The BMA were VERY helpful outlining all this, and you can talk to them before you are willing to talk to work, early on in the pregnancy for example.

So I work a job share with another SHO. I still obviously do nights, weekends, etc. My DP has switched to 3 days per week, luckily his work can be flexible which days these are as long as they know in advance, so he works around my shifts. On night shifts or weekends or during busy patches my mum usually comes to stay, for an extra pair of hands. If she lived closer, she would probably take DD one day a week, but even as is she's up here every 2 weeks for a couple of days. We also do 1-2 days a week in nursery. So it's a bit of a mix of me, DP, nursery and my mum doing the childcare. Works for us.

Me and DP both wanted to be involved in rearing our kids and so these are the financial and career sacrifices we've made. Though I am obviously doing core medical training at half the speed, it has its advantages too - lovely work life balance, less exam pressure!, I actually get a wider range experience as I'll do 12 jobs in CMT rather than the standard 6. I understand the pressures junior docs, particularly mums are under, and I hope this will make me a better supervisor when I get to that point. Most doctors I know are not part time - our culture is not very accepting of it. As I said though, most training programmes have to try and accommodate it if you ask.

I could not have left my baby at 6 months - I was still breastfeeding every couple of hours at that point - and when you are up all night with the baby etc, work IS harder - I am pretty shattered even working part time. (and as I'm sure you're aware, part time as a junior doc is often 40 hours a week anyway - I did 56 the other week!) You may feel a bit differently once you are with your baby.

These threads are always full of men who "can't" possibly work any less or help out, even though women with equally demanding jobs DO work less and DO all the bloody childcare - it isn't "can't", it's "won't" - it would be good to have these discussions up front before the baby is here and you are both shattered and resentful! Female lawyers work flexibly and take time off - parental leave now exists - it doesn't have to all be on you.

Just some food for thought! Hope it's helpful.

As others above have said, I think your MIL will offer if she wants to do the childcare, and she will offer the amount she is happy to do.

weebairn Fri 14-Mar-14 07:17:17

(Feel free to message me if you wanted any details on any of the above.)

aroha77 Fri 14-Mar-14 07:31:19

I agree - I know lots of people on different tragi schemes (core medical, paeds, GP) who have gone part-time.

TwoThreeFourSix Fri 14-Mar-14 07:56:19

Forgot to say in my post - we haven't told our work that my parents look after DS, so no-one says "oh well, it doesn't matter if you're late home". We respect our hours and if we happen to be unavoidably late (never more than 15 minutes) we make up the time over the next couple of hours, either getting home early or leaving later. There have been one or two exceptions where my parents have had to do an extra hour in the evening, but we pay them in wine for that smile and warn them in advance so they eat their evening meal at ours.

TwoThreeFourSix Fri 14-Mar-14 07:57:00

over the next couple of days (not hours)

CinnabarRed Fri 14-Mar-14 08:07:14

These threads are always full of men who "can't" possibly work any less or help out, even though women with equally demanding jobs DO work less and DO all the bloody childcare - it isn't "can't", it's "won't"

I couldn't agree more, and it makes me really angry.

I also notice that no-one ever criticises fathers for choosing to work 80 hour weeks and not seeing their children for days on end because they're asleep when the fathers are physically in the home.

I returned to work FT, because I love my job, but eventually moved from a client-facing to a non-fee earner role to make it possible. I was lucky that an intellectually stimulating support role was available, and that I had the right skills and contacts to get it.

DH, on the other hand, has not changed his career on jot.

I am often resentful that he can decide spur of the minute to work late, or accept a client invitation to dinner without checking first, because I am always the default childcarer.

OP, I too would suggest a nanny for core hours and your MIL for wraparound care. That sounds perfect.

I would also strongly urge you to talk to your DH about how he intends to make his contribution to childcare. Your baby is just as much his responsibility as yours.

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 08:15:34

Yy Cinnabar.

Ragwort Fri 14-Mar-14 08:40:31

Do people discuss childcare with their partners before deciding to have children - it really seems as though many people just 'fall into' the trap of having a baby and not really thinking through what the arrangements are.

Cinnabar - you are clearly intelligent, did you and your DH discuss arrangements before having children? I agree it is totally unfair that so many men seem to think it is the woman's responsibility to assume child care (or arranging it if not actually doing it) but I wonder if some women allow themselves to fall into this situation?

I made it clear to my DH that I would only have a child if I stayed at home - I had achieved what I wanted to in my career and was more than happy to have a break & therefore take on most of the responsibility for childcare and domestic life grin and we agreed this before having a baby (and stuck at one grin).

TwoThreeFourSix Fri 14-Mar-14 08:44:43

I totally agree with the comments about fathers' careers not changing!

I'm a consultant and my company are pretty good at giving mums who return from mat leave an "easy" project to ease you into the first few months (particularly as I'm in a country where most mums go back to work when baby is 3-6 months old).

So the first 9 months I could easily do mornings and evenings, no impact on DH whatsoever.

Then I got given a project where for a month I had to work until midnight most nights. DH took over all the evening pickups, not easy but he understood that it was necessary. Then my project got extended another month...he continued to help but I did have to tell my work that I was no longer available 5 nights a week until midnight...

I spoke to a professional coach who says shes sees many many female consultants who end up resenting their partners, because the women's careers are heavily impacted (first by maternity leave then by childcare) whilst their DH's continue to advance at a normal speed (particularly noticeable as many couples are in the same job and often met at school so the woman can really see where she has lost out in career progression).

DH and I sit down every Sunday evening to see who has meetings when and who will do the mornings/evenings each day. It can also change last minute if one of us is stuck in a meeting. I do appreciate how flexible both of us can be.

Treaclepot Fri 14-Mar-14 09:02:26

Elle, I'm assuming you are Asian, apologies is I'm wrong. I completely get where you are coming from about the cultural expectations placed on families. Half of my neighbours and childrens friends are Asian and MILs do absolutely loads, a lot of people live with their MILs.

My advice would be to think long and hard about it. It could be brilliant, and I would definaitely talk to her about it at afuture date, especially if you decide to use a nanny as she may be very upset if she is anticipating you asking her.

A couple of things I have picked up from my asian friends and issues they have had:
do you want your child to be brought up with similar views as your MIL, a couple of people I know wanted to break what they saw as the 'little prince" concept of the boys in the family, and the subsurvient female that is present in some Asian famlies (obviously not all). Are y as religious as your MIL? If your MIL holds these views and looks after yr DC they will massively be influenced.

Also will she be doing it for a sense of duty, rather than because she wants to, in which case yu must seriously question where this duty has arisen from and should you allow it to happen?

My neighbour chose to live a few streets Way (rather than in the same house) as though she likes her MIL she didnt want to be at her beck and call for everything and be indebted to her.

BranchingOut Fri 14-Mar-14 09:12:48

My lovely MIL looks after my son one day a week and has done since he was one. She is fit, in her 60s and they have a fantastic relationship. On occasion, she looks after him for two days a week. For that time she is lively, energetic and I mostly hear the pair of them roaring with laughter...grin Oh,and she/my DH come from a culture that stresses family looking after family as you mention...

But she finds any more than two days too tiring and we are careful not to abuse her energy and goodwill. Seriously, i advise that you think in terms of nanny for 4 days, MIL for one day and for providing any emergency cover.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:13:19

Thanks for all the posts overnight.

When we decided to have a baby, it was in the context of:
a) being newly married and seeing lots of babies on our honeymoon
b) feeling broody
c) my husband saying that his mother would be delighted to take on childcare
d) the possibility that I could go part-time and train towards a career with better work/life balance

a) and b) were probably premature. But it's too late now! Hey ho, I still like babies smile

c) as we've mentioned already, I need to wait till MIL offers in person before counting on it.

d) I'm having second thoughts about. I've wanted to be an Oncologist since I was old enough to know about careers (almost impossible to work less-than-full-time, I've been told). But maybe it's time to be open to other options.

I'm not sure how we can get a full-time nanny, as we live in a small flat, and we can't afford to move. It might mean I'll need to work part-time for a while. I'll need to ask DH if he can do something about his career too, as nowadays he's coming home after midnight almost every day.

BranchingOut Fri 14-Mar-14 09:17:03

You can have a live out nanny.

If your MIL is nearby then she can come by and take over from the nanny on days when you or DH are working late.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:18:52

Treaclepot - very perceptive. We're Chinese. My own parents live 3 hours away but they said they will have the kids stay with them full-time if we're struggling (obviously that's not our preferred solution!) and parts of the extended family on my DH's side are living 3 generations under one roof (grandparents looking after the kids, the middle generation bringing in the income, etc). MIL and I (and the rest of the family) are all Christians and I think my parents in law are fairly progressive. She's a very capable woman but not overbearing. LOL obviously I really admire her at the moment, but like other people have said, we might fall out when things get more stressful with the baby. Thanks for your advice.

weebairn Fri 14-Mar-14 09:20:21

I've wanted to be an Oncologist since I was old enough to know about careers (almost impossible to work less-than-full-time, I've been told).

People told me it would be impossible to do core medicine part time and told me to be a GP instead. it isn't impossible. It's just hard.

I hope that since I am doing it, it will be easier for other women in the future.

Talk to the bma - they're really helpful.

weebairn Fri 14-Mar-14 09:21:32

I forgot to say - congratulations on your pregnancy and I hope you are feeling ok! First trimester + hospital medicine is a pretty grim combo smile

Dishaster Fri 14-Mar-14 09:23:15

You said your MIL works because she needs the money. Surely if she gave that up,my ou would have to pay her, thus she would have to be registered?

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:27:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:28:19

Weebairn - Thanks for that. I'll definitely give them a call.

MaryWestmacott Fri 14-Mar-14 09:41:38

OP - if approaching MIL, I'd start by asking if she'd do one or two days a week, and that you're looking at nurseries or live out nannies or child minders (that might be a good solution if you need longer hours than nurseries will offer but have a small flat, as they'd look after your DC in their home) for the other days. Perhaps say you'd love her imput in looking at those.

She might offer to do the childcare fulltime if she'd like to do that, but part time might suit her better as she'd have time to do her own thing, and while babies are easy enough, toddlers are tiring, I'm mid 30s and I find running around after DC1 (4 now) exhausting, and it's been knackering fr the last 2 years!

Plus if you already have other childcare in place part time if it doesn't work out with MIL doing care (if she has a different way of doing things you don't like or her health deteriates later on) it's easier to take that full time.

MaryWestmacott Fri 14-Mar-14 09:44:59

oh and re your DH's career, I konw several woman who work in corporate law who have flexible working arrangements, some go in early and leave early to do pick up, or have set days working from home etc, if your DH could also get a flexible arrangement (if not part time) that would help you have more childcare options.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:46:34

TwoThreeFourSix - That seems like the ideal solution. So happy for you smile Hope we can work out something similar.

Mary - Sounds good. I agree, starting with 1 or 2 days with the option of doing more, is better than starting full-time and then needing to cut down.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:47:42

He told me that he only knows one woman who did that! And she had to leave the firm because it wasn't working hmm Methinks he might be keeping stuff to himself.

CinnabarRed Fri 14-Mar-14 10:00:56

I also know several lawyers, and accountants, and [insert profession of choice here] who have been able to negotiate flexible hours.

The vast majority, as Mary says, start early and finish early. Although there's no reason why it couldn't go the other way - start a little late and finish as late as you need to to get the job done a little late.

(Ragwort - when I fell pregnant with unplanned DS1, DH was in the process of moving jobs from one of the Big 4 accountancy firms into industry. So for the next 4 years, he worked hard but other than overseas trips was largely available for childcare. And, TBF to DH, if I tell him that I can't be home for 6pm on a particular date then he does his best to rearrange his diary to accommodate me. I just wish that I wasn't the default childcare. Anyhow, a couple of years ago he moved back into the profession, and it was clear that while he was establishing himself in his new firm it made sense for me to take up any slack. Now he's up for an important promotion so, even though he's now firmly established I still have to take up any slack. I have a feeling that he now assumes that I always will, as his client work always takes priority over my an internal role. My viewpoint is that although my long term projects are easier to balance than client projects, the partners to whom I answer are just as demanding as clients if not more so.)

squizita Fri 14-Mar-14 10:04:35

Just chipping in to agree with what Cinnabar and Weebairn re men who "can't".

I am very very lucky - the only silver lining that came out of a hellish year of health problems last year was my husband went from the "Oh, my career is all-or-nothing" to having some eye opening conversations with female Heads of Chambers and judges, and realising there was scope. Men just don't talk about it so many don't even realise... or don't want to. Women always talk about it (e.g. when I say "I run xyz in large inner city schools..." men will mention toughness, behaviour, good solid pension etc'. Women go "Oh that will be useful when you have kids - holiday childcare." Yes. That's why I choose to work in such a rough and tumble, competitive world, marching around like Mrs Trunchbull. hmm ). It's a silent assumption and some men are quite happy with it!

...as for culture. Half Asian, Half Irish. If this pregnancy goes well it will be 1st grandchild. grin I'm terrified the entire extended family will move into my 2 bed terrace house!

squizita Fri 14-Mar-14 10:06:35

PS. I don't look like Mrs Trunchbull and have never hoid a kid over a wall by their pigtails staff on the other hand...

TryingToBePractical Fri 14-Mar-14 10:13:00

Elle, I would not necessarily assume you husband is holding stuff back. I used to work in that field (now do something related). Some firms are more enlightended than others, and some practice areas are easier than others. my perspective is that, although it is improving, flexible working is often permitted but significantly slows promotion becuase there are certain parts of the job that dont fit easily with flexible working and therefore those on flexible working often do not develop the full range of skills required for promoition as quickly. That is not to say he should not ask (I think he should) but should do so with his eyes open. The more people who do it, the quicker the requirements for promotion will change.
I am a bit surprised at your financial situation given your jobs, but no doubt there are reasons.
I agree with others who have said you you should not ask MIL to do all the hours, particularly since you need more than full time. In fact, even if she asks I would be minded to say no becuase it is just not feasible long term. There is a reaosn why it is not easy to find paid childcare to do those kind of wrap around hours.

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 10:13:25

OP, I know someone who faced the same choice as you between GP and Oncology. She eventually plumped for GP.

Your DH could consider a move to a different kind of law too?

CinnabarRed Fri 14-Mar-14 10:27:33

I have to leave the office at 4:30 to be home at 6 when our nanny finishes for the day. I try very hard not to accept meetings or calls after that time (although occasionally they are clearly unavoidable - meetings with our UK managing partner spring to mind - in which case I either arrange for DH to be home for 6, or ask our nanny to work late).

When I decline meeting/call requests, I never explain that the reason is childcare. I simply call the organiser and explain that I have prior commitment (which they inevitably assume is a previously arranged work-related meeting) but that [alternative date/time] would be convenient.

I also make myself available for calls after 8pm when the boys are in bed, although not many people take me up on that!

I have never once had pushback.

TwoThreeFourSix Fri 14-Mar-14 10:50:43

It's a very good solution for us but there is need for give and take. It's also quite hard having a grandparent in such a prominent role. Fortunately for me, my parents let me decide for things like food etc. They don't impose what they think. They will suggest stuff but leave it up to me to decide.

We've been doing it 2 years now and it's allowed me to get a much-wanted/deserved promotion. However after DC2 I'm going to go for a role with fewer hours (I'm currently out the house 8.30am - 7.30pm at least).

Also I do get jealous as they have such wonderful times together - and I know all about them! Whereas if we had a nanny, she'd tell me bits but not all of it. It is very hard sitting in an office, having come out of a horrible, stressful meeting, only to be greeted with a text saying "in X park in the beautiful sunshine. DS is on the swings - pure bliss!"

MaryWestmacott Fri 14-Mar-14 10:56:11

to be fair OP, all the woman I know who've got the flexible arrangements in law careers had their first DCs in their mid-late 30s, it could be your DH is a good decade younger and being more junior, be less valuable to the firm so they are less likely to say yes out of fear of him walking out...

That said, I know several men who've got arrive early, leave early arrangements and arrive late (after 9:30am), leave late arrangements - if both parents get this, it makes drop off and pick ups from childcare far easier. Working from home one day a week is also a regular arrangement a lot of men and woman have, this is particularly helpful if a grandparent is doing childcare on those days - gives Granny a bit of a break too.

Thing is, your DH can ask, they can say no, but like your MIL, there's no harm in asking.

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 10:59:45

And he can ask by way of a formal flexible working request which they have an obligation to consider and follow due process, not just a "I wonder if.." Conversation (though depending on his set up he may like to have one of those as well)

PenguinsEatSpinach Fri 14-Mar-14 11:06:53

Elle - I wonder how many years PQE your husband is? TBH, he has probably made things more difficult for himself if you are only late 20s, so I am guessing, what, around 4 years PQE. There's a good reason that a lot of women leave it until 6-8 years PQE minimum to have kids- you are that bit more senior and able to say "I will deal with this remotely tonight." But then, people obviously make decisions about when to have children for lots of reasons, and career timing is only one of them.

There is also a big element that his choice of firm will affect his flexibility. If he's routinely home after midnight (not just on one big deal once in a while) I'm guessing magic circle or close to it? If work/life balance matters to him, he could move to firms a step down. He won't be walking out the door at 5.30, but he would be less routinely gone all night, or until the early hours. Which obviously makes a difference.

Even if his current firm is a tough one for flexibility and he doesn't want to leave, he needs to open his eyes. If you both want a career then you both need to give. I have seen soooo many couples where the wife ends up giving up her career and bitter because the husband's career has continued with no change. He needs areas that are his job, no questions, to understand the strains on you. For example, two days a week when relieving the nanny is his responsibility. Where staying late means making alternative arrangements. Too many couples default to the woman having to always be the one to juggle and the husband just the back up who might sometimes pick up the slack. It's not just about the time - it's about the responsibility.

I'm not sure if I missed something in your withdrawn post, but I don't quite understand your financial situation either, unless you are supporting other relatives or have some other major financial commitment. I'm guessing, barring that, that your choice has been to live in a pretty expensive bit of London. You might find that you have to do what we pretty much all do - move further out/to a less desirable area to get more space. Even if that means renting out a flat you currently own and renting a family house.

PenguinsEatSpinach Fri 14-Mar-14 11:10:00

Oh yes, on the 'one woman had it and it didn't work comment', there are as many flexible working patterns as people. One pattern not working means nada. Especially if what we are talking about is fixed hours or part time days, as opposed to other forms of flexibility.

For example, corporate law is notoriously afternoon/evening loaded. I saw lots of corporate colleagues who would be working into the night, then come 10am wandering around the office, slightly dazed from lack of sleep, drinking coffee, filling in timesheets and waiting for responses from all and sundry. I often thought that one viable option for them would be a later start each day (obviously depending on how that fitted with their partner's working hours).

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 11:16:21

I have seen soooo many couples where the wife ends up giving up her career and bitter because the husband's career has continued with no change. He needs areas that are his job, no questions, to understand the strains on you. For example, two days a week when relieving the nanny is his responsibility. Where staying late means making alternative arrangements.

^^ this.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 11:27:06

Penguins - I graduated med school 1.5 years ago, so salary is still low despite all the on-calls. DH is 3 or 4 years PQE (I think) and TBH I don't know where all his salary went previously. He spent over £400 on a suit the other day sad But to his credit he's managed to put down a deposit on our flat, which is in a lovely part of London, but isn't worth enough for us to swap it for a house in zone 6 or even further out.

I'll ask him about arriving late and working late. He does say that, sometimes, he doesn't have much to do during the day, but he ends up staying late as he's expecting emails he needs to respond to before the next day.

CinnabarRed Fri 14-Mar-14 11:28:26

Could he deal with those late emails from home?

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 11:30:17

Only sometimes.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 11:31:52

I think we need to have a chat.

squizita Fri 14-Mar-14 11:35:11

DH is bar so slightly different, but when I was unwell he started to do a lot of work 'remotely' by email, conference call etc'. Just had to get a home computer with the correct security settings.
Actually as Penguin said he made some tough choices about which set he went to. Essentially from the sharks to being a big fish in a slightly smaller pond- more trust, more flexible, more local (we are zone 2) but with extremely good connections (so his workload and grading were unaffected).
This would be hard in the 1st stages of his career though- practically and CV wise.

Don't get me started on suits. Was it from a legal outfitters? They save fabric on the arm and a leg you have to give them for a bog standard 3 piece with the right label. E&R and Stanley Ley ... I look at them and think "new sofa", "new boiler" etc'. grin It's a law thing.

PenguinsEatSpinach Fri 14-Mar-14 11:36:45

Ok, so he's earning at least, what £85k plus bonus? I'm a bit out of touch with earnings at that level, but that's what Roll on Friday gives me as a guess for the lower end of the big firms at 3 years PQE. I'm still not quite getting why that, plus whatever you earn, isn't enough to rent somewhere a bit further out that could accommodate a live in nanny if that's what it would take to keep your career on track.

And remember that that's what we're talking about here. We're not talking ideal world. We are saying 'what sacrifices will he make to support your career'. For a start, the £400 suits will have to go (don't let him bullshit you about needing it for his career. He doesn't. It's just nice to keep up with the designer suits and Tag watches you see your peers buying with their disposable income!)

He can probably deal with a lot more from home than he thinks. I know, because I've been there and done it. It does require being properly networked though, not tapping away on his Blackberry. He might, to be fair, find it harder on his PQE so that might get easier in time. But if you set the expectation now that he doesn't have to change, he never will.

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 11:38:52

Do you have shared finances?

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 11:40:57

75K, but you're right, it's a lot. We should be able to manage.

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 11:42:04

And I think it's very unusual for a two career couple to have children and not compromise somewhere.

For DH and me, that means slower career paths; for others it might mean live in nanny, for some it means one person keeps the high pressure job and one "drops down".

I think your DH would like everything to stay the same and your MIL to just solve everything. Not sure that's possible or reasonable.

Weegiemum Fri 14-Mar-14 11:49:39

I wouldn't count on GP being family friendly. In order to do all clinical work and keep on top of practice admin, my dh is rarely home before 8-9pm and as he works in a rural area, does an average of 3-4 nights a fortnight on call plus 1/5 weekends.

Once his associate starts in the summer he goes down to 4 days and I flipping can't wait!!

PenguinsEatSpinach Fri 14-Mar-14 11:49:56

Honestly, the more I think about this, the more I think you need paid childcare for the core hours and your MIL doing the anti-social/short notice stuff if she volunteers.

So you work nights. I don't know much about medicine, so just assume you need to leave at 6/7pm for your night shift. Your husband often doesn't get home until midnight. Who is going to cover that? Certainly not your MIL if she is already doing full time care. And even if she did, how? Is she going to travel 25 minutes home at midnight and come back the next day? There isn't anywhere for her to stay in a one bed flat. There are a lot of practicalities that I think your husband needs to get his head around, rather than just thinking "we'll ask my mum, she'd love to do it".

squizita Fri 14-Mar-14 11:55:19

What Penguin said. I think you need to have a frank chat about where his money is going (he may not even realise himself).

After the sacrifices DH made, 'downsizing' if you will (let's not lie, downsizing in a London profession you still earn very well compared to most people), we still comfortably pay for a house in zone 2 between our salaries. By cutting back on luxuries and making 'boring' choices such as a small 2nd hand car, fewer holidays/breaks, low key Xmas etc' (--actually I'm fecking tight with money--) we've also saved a considerable amount to supplement my maternity pay.

And that's with me on a mere public sector wage (albeit up at the top end for someone actually doing something not pushing paper in Whitehall).

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 13:06:14

Weegie is your DH a partner?

glorious Fri 14-Mar-14 13:26:53

OP you might be surprised how far your money would go in a different part of London. We're in zone 3 in the South East, perfectly pleasant area - parks, good pubs, cafés. 10 minutes to London Bridge / 20 to Charing Cross on the train. Our house is a big 3 bed, 21ft kitchen, huge bathroom, cellar. It's worth £450. We earn a bit more than you now but we were on far less when we bought it.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, and I personally think you're doing well to be thinking about childcare at this stage. But I do agree with the suggestions about seeing if MIL can help with the antisocial hours rather than full time smile

Btw my cousin is training to do paediatric oncology and has had her children while studying for her PhD, might that be an option? She's a bit ahead of you career wise though.

weebairn Fri 14-Mar-14 13:35:00

We live ridiculously comfortably on £35K between us, in a huge city centre flat, everything we need… I always feel so sorry for people who live in London!

When we were both full time, we saved around 10K a year…

Sorry that's not a massively helpful comment but it always blows my mind...

TheArticFunky Fri 14-Mar-14 14:00:41

I would tell mil that you are looking into childcare options and if she is interested to let you know. Keep it quite vague and leave it up to her to come back to you.

Before we had children my mil always said that she wanted to look after our future children and be our childminder. Once I was pregnant she never mentioned it again and now I will occasionally ask her to babysit and she agrees about 50% of the time. Your mil may be very excited at the prospect of becoming a Grandma but the reality of taking on full time childcare is a different matter altogether.

TheArticFunky Fri 14-Mar-14 14:01:41

You can pay relatives without them having to register as childminders.

eepie Fri 14-Mar-14 14:46:41

All the posters who are up in arms about how 'presumptuous' the OP is being.....I think it's quite presumptuous of you all to think you know the OP's MIL's personality/work habits/financial situation/what she wants for her retirement/what role she wants in her grandchild's life etc. My MIL wants nothing for her retirement but to see her grandchildren as much as possible and for as long as possible - due to bringing up 3 boys as a single mum and her personality type she doesn't put a high price on 'me-time' and hobbies, coffee mornings, getting her hair done etc - she's not remotely interested in any of that - spending time with her grandchildren, family and friends is the only way she wants to pass her time and is naturally a very selfless family-orientated person and gets great joy from children and childcare still even though she is 60+ - she's still got lots of energy and imagination to play wonderfully with her grandson. Maybe the OP's MIL is like this too - who knows? We certainly don't, but the OP and her husband do which is why they're even thinking of this as a possibility - why would they even entertain the idea if they thought the MIL wouldn't be of the personality type to want to help with her grandchild?

Of course there's the chance that OP will feel differently when the baby comes and of course there's the opportunity for falling out with MIL once the baby comes so that's the reason to hold off on discussing it. There's nothing wrong with testing the water to see if it's something MIL would consider in a part-time or full-time capacity- paid or unpaid. It's a lot to look after your grand child full time but a lot of people do it and are happy - even thrilled - to do it - plus as OP mentioned - hopefully the MIL will be looked after by her family in the same way when she is very elderly/infirm, and she'll have the immense joy of a close relationship with her grandchild to treasure in the later part of her life, which not everyone is able to enjoy sadly.

It does seem to make sense (if your MIL wants to!) to have the child be looked after by her rather than a stranger if she's semi-retired anyway. Whether she wants to do it full-time or not is up to her to offer I suppose.

weebairn Fri 14-Mar-14 16:16:54

There's been a few comments hinting at how you should have waited till you were older/more established at work to have babies which I think is a bit unfair.

So in the interests of counterbalance:

younger women often conceive, carry and deliver babies more easily
(very relevant to this thread) your own parents are younger and may be healthier and have more energy to help
I can't speak for lawyers, but most doctors I know wait till they're registrars if not consultants before having kids. The flip side to this is when YOU are a reg/consultant, your kids will be in school and your sleep deprived days will be behind you, so you can concentrate better on these more senior posts

I am convinced 6/7 year olds must be easier than toddlers, please don't correct me haha

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 16:55:59

Squizita - I don't know where his suit is from. He mentioned a shop that I'd never heard of. I also bought him a watch for Christmas for £450 which he thought was entirely necessary and reasonable, as his colleagues are apparently all wearing £1000+ Rolexes. I just don't know how to deal with this. I didn't think we were that sort of people. (But this is off-topic)

Where do you live? (only if you're comfortable letting me know) because I've been checking Rightmove on an almost daily basis and can't find anything of that description under 500K within an hour of Waterloo.

GarthsUncle - You're right. We're both trying to "have it all" but we need to figure out exactly what we can have and what we need to compromise on.

Weebairn - Nope, not helpful :p LOL. I know, I'd personally love to leave London, but DH is tied to the City. And yeah, if we want kids early, we want kids early. Other women get criticised for prioritising their careers and having kids too late. There's no right answer.

Eepie - THANK YOU! smile

NurseyWursey Fri 14-Mar-14 17:02:30

Maybe you should see what it's like to have a baby all day everyday first then see if you're going to subject your MIL to that.

squizita Fri 14-Mar-14 17:05:21

I live in North-West London. Not a trendy bit though, boring old suburbia but a short tube/bus ride from lovely places. Waterloo would be about an hour on the tube. Central London about 45min. We looked out for houses that were live-able but also faded (with a view to DIY over several years) and haggled. Got a small terrace house for about £300K 2 years ago. Kept an eye out to be in the cachement for good state schools/hospitals but not 'just next door' to them and it worked well - but it took us a while to find the idea property. smile

squizita Fri 14-Mar-14 17:08:59

OH... and DH was the same in his 20s, all this "but I have to image is everything. If I wear the wrong suits the clerks won't instruct me on high profile cases..." I think it's a macho 20-something-law thing. Because it faded of its own accord as his mates had kids, bought houses... basically grew up. Now he is more flexible e.g. vintage (he's still too law to call it plain old second hand) re-shaped by a tailor (works out 1/3rd price, looks the same) or plain old going to the sale and getting his suit half price.

GarthsUncle Fri 14-Mar-14 17:10:26

OP if you go onto MN Local for Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and ask then you will get ideas for places in your budget on the lines into Waterloo.

glorious Fri 14-Mar-14 17:22:06

We're in Hither Green. You have to be the Lewisham side though, the Blackheath side is a bit more expensive. I organise the local meet up so I'm not anonymous anyway! grin

PenguinsEatSpinach Fri 14-Mar-14 17:27:58

I was going to say try looking in bits of SE London as well.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 17:37:24

Sorry, I meant to ask glorious where she lived. Was looking at the wrong post.

ElleDubloo Fri 14-Mar-14 17:44:25

NurseyWursey - my MIL brought up 3 kids of her own, so I think she would know, and she would say "no" if she's not up for it.

BTW I had a chat with her just now as we were preparing dinner together. She told me she took 4 years off work when she had her kids, then she asked me how much maternity leave we get in the UK, and I said maximum 1 year, but then my BIL came into the room and he doesn't know about the pregnancy yet so we stopped talking.

NurseyWursey Fri 14-Mar-14 18:16:55

Elle sorry but it's completely different when it's your own and I assume she was much younger then. Don't get me wrong I'm sure she'll love your child, it's her grandchild, but don't overestimate how much this means to her and don't take advantage of it.

The thing with 'no' is she might feel unable to say no.

Lj8893 Fri 14-Mar-14 18:31:52

Have only read bits of the thread but considering both your jobs are likely to fall outside the usual childcare hours, I would think keeping your mil as " back up" or " out of hours" childcare is your best option ( if she's up for it of course!)

PenguinsEatSpinach Fri 14-Mar-14 18:54:41

Elle - My mother is a teacher (still does part time) and took five years off when she had us to stay home. So she's done the full time mother thing and also worked with children a lot. She has commented when she comes to visit me (so not even in sole charge) how exhausting she finds it. Parenting young children is one of those activities which really takes it out of you in your 50s/60s compared to your 20s/30s, something which even the grandmothers themselves don't necessarily realise until they do it. Just worth bearing in mind...

milkysmum Fri 14-Mar-14 19:10:12

You'd like her to take on ALL the childcare after 6 months- really?shock

glorious Fri 14-Mar-14 19:45:47

Elle not sure if you saw but I mentioned it smile

BranchingOut Fri 14-Mar-14 19:55:00

Elle - your DH needs a reality check about expenditure given that he is about to have a baby and your flat sounds on the small side...

My DH has been a partner in a city firm for years without the assistance of a £1000 watch...hmm grin

Iggi101 Fri 14-Mar-14 20:12:45

If MIL has three dcs, is there not a chance that other grandchildren may come along?

flowery Fri 14-Mar-14 20:17:19

"I'd personally love to leave London, but DH is tied to the City."

My DH works in the City also. We live in Cambridgeshire. He gets a fast train and his commute is not much longer than it was when we were living in Wimbledon. Most of DHs colleagues who have families live outside London and commute in.

flowery Fri 14-Mar-14 20:18:17

"My DH has been a partner in a city firm for years without the assistance of a £1000 watch... "

Indeed, mine too! grin

Daytona79 Sat 15-Mar-14 13:59:44

Well we just asked my husbands mum outright and said no pressure think about it and let us know when time comes

We have still paid deposit for nursery but have offered her to look after baby for 3 days a week and we will pay her £800 a month

Choice is totally hers , of course it's nicer if she did it but if not we happy to put baby to nursery

I'm only 12 weeks gone and I'm returning to work at 6 months so she has a long time to decide. As I said we have place at nursery as back up so no pressure at all on her.

Daytona79 Sat 15-Mar-14 14:01:23

Should of added she currently works at Tesco and hates it , what we will pay her is pretty much same amount she earns now.

HandragsNGladbags Sat 15-Mar-14 14:11:03

My DM loves being involved with my DC and was totally unimpressed when we put DD1 in childcare as why would we when we had a perfectly good Granny at home hmm

Then we had DD2, and now have DC3 on the way. DD1 at school, DD2 at nursery three days a week which are the days I work. DM picks up from school and nursery and covers any late nights/early mornings. Anymore would be too much for her even though she would never admit it.

Practically it also gives you more options. If DMIL is on holiday/ill/breaks a leg what would you do? You have no back up. However by using a mixture of both where you can that means you always have options.

johull Sat 15-Mar-14 14:45:53

I love my job (secondary teacher) and will also love my baby when she comes along in 2 months time. Elle, I asked my mil about childcare already as I appreciate as a hard working woman you want to be efficient and organised ready for the birth of your first child. Luckily I have managed to go part time so I was only really asking my MIL to do 3 days a week Max!! I have also lined up a nursery round the corner from school if MIL would just like to spend 1-2 days with her first grandchild. My MIL felt very excited when I asked her but I very much placed the ball on her metaphorical court so that she could accept/decline knowing I had a 'back-up' in place.

I have to say that I have never seen a threat go quite so mad before! I think it's probably the heat and the fact that some are jealous of the potential child care. Not everyone wants to be a SAHM once they've had children. Some, like myself and Elle have been to university for years and are atill only 25:26 years old, why throw it all away? Who says you cAnt have both. Both sounds good to me :-)

Good luck Elle x

LittleBearPad Sat 15-Mar-14 14:57:06

You don't throw it away. You take responsibility and find a childcare solution that doesn't involve running back to mummy unless she offers.

And until you have that baby you have no idea how tiring looking after children is.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 15-Mar-14 15:03:32

hello OP.

I don't think anybody knows what looking after children is like until they have them themselves.
You might decide not to go back to work for a long time.
As for having help during the early days I think it is better to manage yourselves as this is the bonding time for you dh and baby.
I get on swimmingly with my mil, but certainly didn't want her around after I'd given birth.
I would wait and see what happens, very early days yet. smile

Lj8893 Sat 15-Mar-14 15:05:22

johull I've just turned 26 and am a graduate. (Unfortunately I don't wish to use my degree but will be returning to education to train as a nurse next year hopefully)

I, like you and like the OP, when I was pregnant didn't realise how much hard work it is looking after my beautiful daughter! I had intended to be a sahm (I'm currently on ML) but now I have decided to go back to education to retrain, a) because I want a proper career and b) because being at home 24/7 with my dd is hard hard work and she is what many would call an easy baby!!
For childcare there is no way I would want my dm or dmil to become full time childcare, as I want them to enjoy thier dgc, not have it become a job. (And they are both relatively young)

Trust me, its hard work, I can't stress it enough.

JanePurdy Sat 15-Mar-14 15:30:44

So you are a pregnant FY2 expecting your first child in your first year of CMT? Honestly, in your situation I think I would plan to go back into LTFT for a few years. You are young & have plenty of time on your side. After a year or two of LTFT your DH should be in a position to control his work schedule more & it becomes his responsibility to manage more childcare/domesticity as you go back into full time training.

That's just my take on it. We had DC1 in first year graduate medical school & DC2 in the first month of FY1. I was a sahm for a while - DH is the doctor - but I am working full time now while he works part time. For us i don't think we could cope if we were both working full time. My mum looks after tr DC while we work but she volunteered & is also clear that she will stop in a year.

LauraBridges Sat 15-Mar-14 15:30:59

If you paid her a nanny's wage or something like £20k a year she might prefer that to her part time job. I think it should be properly and fully paid so neither side feels advantage is being taken. I know my mother who still had my brother at home and still at school when our first was born was waiting and waiting for that day when she would be free of the daily grind (and she would not have been up for childcare of any kind) which is fine. I will be working until I am 80 full time for myself so will not be looking after grandchildren although happy to play with them at weekends etc. I only took a few weeks off to have my babies and went back to full time work as I find 24/7 childcare and housework very boring.

porcito Sat 15-Mar-14 23:26:55

Good luck Elle, I think if the relationship is good with your MIL, there's absolutely no harm at all in broaching the subject with her, as long as she isn't the type of person who'd be pressured into saying yes when it's not what she wants. If my MIL lived closer, I'd definitely be considering asking her the same as will be going back to work relatively soon after the baby is born. I really don't see anything wrong with it, but obviously depends on the individual person and situation.

DinoSnores Sat 15-Mar-14 23:36:31

It is perfectly possible (just hard work) to do oncology LTFT. But as jane says, you have barely started your career. There is plenty of time!

Hobnobissupersweet Sun 16-Mar-14 00:05:57

If your career is so important to you I simply cannot understand why you have chosen to have a baby in FY2, in another few years the night shifts will be much fewer/ non existent and it would be so much easier to have a baby then.
You do seem very set in your ways over certain things, such as having to live in what is clearly a very expensive part of London! why not live in eg cambridge ( good oncology options for your career) and DH train it in. You are basically expecting your MIL to have your baby virtually 24/7 and even if culturally MIL help with childcare she will find it exhausting, and something she had no choice in.

ElleDubloo Sun 16-Mar-14 20:32:08

Well, DH asked his mother tonight, and she said yes. I haven't decided whether to take 6 months or 1 year of maternity leave, or whether to go back full or part time. But DH says she's happy to take over all the care, regardless, whatever we need.

Once again, thanks everyone for the advice given on this thread. Some of it was a bit rude, some much more sympathetic, but all of it was useful, because it gave me lots of different people's perspectives. We plan to give her about £2000 a month - either for herself or for her to hire a nanny to help her (we haven't mentioned this to her now). And I'll keep an open mind about how soon (and how often) to go back to work.

GarthsUncle Sun 16-Mar-14 20:36:22

Glad you've made progress.

Do you know if she's agreed to late nights as well or just 9-5 care?

Do post on the nanny board for advice about PAYE etc.

Jellymum1 Sun 16-Mar-14 20:49:43

2 grand a month!! Bloody hell. Good luck my MIL had my beautiful child while I went back to full time work and it was the beginning of the end of a lovely friendship. Cant really stand eaxh other now and no she doesnt have my daughter any more

ElleDubloo Sun 16-Mar-14 20:54:31

Nights and weekends included. Obviously she gets a break when either of us have time off work.

ElleDubloo Sun 16-Mar-14 20:58:54

Jelly - it's a bit less than my salary and it means my husband and I don't have to worry about working late or getting enough sleep during the night. It sounds like a lot, but if she spends £400 a week on a 9-5 nanny, there's not that much left for herself. Sorry things didn't work out with your MIL, that must have been really hard.

Artandco Sun 16-Mar-14 21:16:20

Elle - bare in mind you will need to be a nannies employer. So £400 for nanny will be more to you as you will need to pay tax and employers ni etc on top. So £400 to nanny at a guess is around £600 to employer a week

GarthsUncle Sun 16-Mar-14 21:17:06

I think it sounds like "not much" rather than "a lot"!

The general guide on here is nanny salaries in London are £10+ ph gross, I believe.

GarthsUncle Sun 16-Mar-14 21:18:19

Oh didn't spot that she might hire a nanny to help her. Then she'd be an employer too??

ElleDubloo Sun 16-Mar-14 21:19:36

OK well, she's family, and currently she's happy to do it for no money at all. If she needs more later on we can reconsider.

ElleDubloo Sun 16-Mar-14 21:23:02

Also, FIL will be retiring in the next year, and apparently he's keen to help.

GarthsUncle Sun 16-Mar-14 21:25:39

If you are paying her you need to employ her as your nanny (if in your house) or pay her as a childminder (in her house) - for which I think she needs to register. There's no "oh well she's family" box unless she is doing it free.

ElleDubloo Sun 16-Mar-14 21:34:21

Thanks for the tip wink

PenguinsEatSpinach Sun 16-Mar-14 21:38:30

That is great Elle.

Two things though:

- Be prepared for the possibility that she may not be able to manage full time plus nights and weekends. As in, may be very happy with the idea at the moment, but not physically cope when it happens. Watch out for signs of that. Also bear in mind that if she hires a nanny to help, there could be friction between them. It's hard for that outside nanny to serve two 'masters'.

- You need to get this properly sorted from a PAYE perspective. If you pay her, you are her employer. If there is another nanny involved, you need to be very clear who is the nanny's employer (you, or her? Bear in mind that, if it is her, you can't fire or discipline that nanny). You absolutely must, must do this properly with income tax and NI deductions. You could find yourself with a whopper of a bill otherwise. Organisations like PAYE for Nannies, Nanny tax, etc will all (for an annual fee) deal with all of this for you and advise how to set it up.

LittleBearPad Sun 16-Mar-14 23:23:00

If there's the possibility she may hire a nanny, why don't you just do this? Them mil could be emergency childcare or extra childcare.

I think you are creating a heap of tax and accountability problems here.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:00:06

We're definitely not giving MIL the money as a "salary", as she doesn't want to be paid for childcare anyway. It's just money to help our parents-in-law get by, because neither of them will be working by then. And they can use part of it to hire a nanny if they so wish (in which case they'll sort out the tax stuff). Baby will probably sleep at their house (which is quite close to us) during periods when we're both working.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 10:03:18

It doesn't matter if YOU don't see it as salary I'm afraid Elle. It is how HMRC see it that counts.

If you start giving your parents money at the same time that your parents provide childcare (or now in anticipation of them doing so) you are likely setting yourself up for a massive tax bill if and when they catch you.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:17:16

I don't understand. Plenty of people I know give their parents money on a regular basis, especially when they don't have an income of their own. And plenty of grandparents I know look after their grandchildren on a very frequent basis (which appears to be almost unheard of on mumsnet). The very nature of family relationships is reciprocal. What if we're living in the same house, my parents-in-law retire, we continue to work, and the parents-in-law do all the household chores? - Do we have to register them as employed cleaners? Absolutely ridiculous.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 10:22:08

It's not ridiculous.

You are planning to start giving your parents money at the same time they start providing childcare. You are planning on giving them a regular amount. It isn't unreasonable for HMRC to see that as salary for childcare.

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 10:23:02

You might see it as ridiculous but HMRC do not.

Someone provides a service. The same someone receives money. HMRC view this as pay for the service.

If you were already giving your MIL £2000 a month to support her and this amount remained unchanged after she started doing childcare, you'd probably be ok (though if you died then she might be caught by IHT on the gifts)

If you all lived together and she did the cleaning and you didn't pay her for this, that would be ok.

It's not up to you whether it's salary or not, unfortunately.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:37:17


^Should I get paid by my son / daughter to look after their child?

This may be an important issue for you to discuss at the outset. One common arrangement is for parents cover the grandparents’ expenses (lunch, outings etc). A minority of parents do pay grandparents for providing childcare, but many grandparents are quite happy to look after their grandchildren for nothing. When that is the case, parents may choose to treat the grandparents to a meal out or small gifts as a way to say thank you.

Legally, they can also give you money if they wish, but if this is a payment for childcare rather than a gift, then you become their employee. An employer-employee relationship entails certain rights and responsibilities including potential tax liability (depending on your total income).^

And truly and honestly, we're giving them this money to cover their expenses (incl nanny), to thank them for their generosity, and to help them get by during their retirement (i.e. it's a gift). We don't see it as an employer-employee relationship at all, therefore HMRC might decide to have a look at us, but I doubt they'll find anything to do.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:38:08

Sorry, I meant to put the three paragraphs between quotes. It's copied from the website.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:43:45

GarthsUncle - I'm pretty au fait with inheritance tax, as my own mum died 2 years ago. Regular maintenance payments are exempt, including to "relatives who are dependent on you".

So people who were initially calling me "presumptuous" and being outraged at the idea that I'd even ask my MIL for help - now you're trying to catch me out on the law. Chill out guys, just be happy.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 10:45:37

Honestly Elle, from my knowledge of HMRC, your optimism could well be massively misplaced. You need some expert advice.

Your own quotation (which I found too), says that payment for childcare is taxable.

You pay their expenses. That's fine. You pay for a nanny, well I am not sure about that as I still don't understand why you wouldn't employ the nanny directly.

You give them money to 'thank them for their generosity'. That's pay. Assuming we aren't talking about the odd thank you lunch, etc.

You give them money to 'help with their retirement'. Which coincidentally starts when they start looking after your child (or during your pregnancy and after childcare has been discussed). They are doing full time + childcare. You haven't been giving them your whole salary until now, have you? And your mother in law will be giving up paid employment to take on this responsibility. HMRC will quite rightly see this as pay.

Honestly, don't be naïve. If HMRC see this, they will likely assess you for tax and send you a big bill with interest and penalties. And quite frankly, I wouldn't blame them. If you'd been giving your in laws money to support them up until now that would be different. But you haven't. And you wouldn't be giving it to them if they weren't doing the childcare (how could you, you'd be paying someone else).

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 10:47:59

We are not trying to catch you out on the law, we are trying to help you!

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:49:52

OK, we'll employ the nanny ourselves. No biggie hmm We have a whole year to figure out the practicalities.

Slh122 Mon 17-Mar-14 10:50:16

Sorry if this is a stupid question but how would HMRC find out that the OP is giving money to her in laws?

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 10:55:16

I said it "might" be a problem just to flag it.

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 11:00:53

It's not wise for a solicitor (OP's DH) to knowingly breach HMRC regulations, slh122

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:02:04

Slh122 - Good question. I'm not sure. I think HMRC would only become aware of it if somebody else files a report.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:02:56

GarthsUncle - It's not good for anyone to breach HMRC regulations.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 11:03:29

I was going to raise that too Garth.

Also, how do they find out? Any number of ways. Normally when the in laws have to declare the money they have coming in for some other formal reason and someone joins the dots. Or when someone tips them off. Or possibly (not sure about this one) when the OP and her husband disclose their finances to someone official (bank for a mortgage, etc) and there is a possibility it may trip money laundering reporting rules.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 11:04:18

No, it isn't good for anyone to breach HMRC regulations. But solicitors can face particularly severe career sanctions for doing so.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:07:44

Well, I'm a doctor, and it's not my intention to breach any regulations either.

I've done a bit of research this morning and I can't find anything that says we can't give regular expenses/gifts/maintenance to our parents, with or without them providing free childcare for us. But I'll ask my DH to look into it, and we'll do the right thing. My instinct is simply that it's ridiculous to be forced to register your parents as "employees" in this situation. But ridiculous things do happen sometimes, and we'll look into it later when we've got more time.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 11:12:20

Yes Elle, you can give them gifts and maintenance. But what you can't do is start giving them these things because they are providing childcare. Which regardless of how you emotionally view it, is what you are planning.

And why is it ridiculous? You don't have to 'register' your in laws as employees. There isn't a register of employees. You just have to tax them as employees and make the proper reports to HMRC. And I see no reason why someone should be able to pay their relative for a job tax free that they'd have to pay NI and tax on if the person wasn't a relative. To that extent, it's no different than a family business - should those people also be paid free of tax?

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:22:09

I'm still not convinced, reasons being:
- We're not a family business. Similarly, if we pay an external nanny, we don't suddenly become a business confused
- Seems to be just the temporal relationship that's bothering you, the fact that my in-laws' retirement is coinciding with the birth of our child. That must happen fairly often in the general population.
- You still haven't provided me with any official literature to back up what you say.

We're just going in circles now, and will continue to do so until one of us comes up with an HMRC article or other official source of information. As I said, we'll look into it later, and do the right thing.

Artandco Mon 17-Mar-14 11:25:45

You need to pay for a nanny- ie the £2000 you mentioned.

Then, give your mil some money to cover expenses when looking after your little one. Ie you could give say £200 for odd things. Then register her oyster with your card so you cover travel expenses. Then pay for swimming classes etc yourself and pay for their food order for example ie register their ocado account to your bank . That's how you avoid tax as you aren't giving a full 'wage to them'. You are simply covering expenses

The nanny wage/ employment definitely needs to be with you though. You need to be liable for nanny sick pay/ holiday pay/ maternity etc etc if needed. Otherwise if nanny went to claim and it wasn't all declared properly then everything would be looked into and you mil would be liable.

Bornin1984 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:29:12

I'm 32 weeks and work within the nhs! I've opted to take 9 months off which is fine,we are also already looking at child care, my dh works mon-Friday but the hours change, when ds arrives I'll look after him! I'm his mummy! I won't be moving to my mum although when dh goes back to work she will come help me lifting and stuff!

When I go back to work, I need
To see if it's feasible for me to work 3 times a week long days so from 730 until930 pm, I will have work every weekend one day or the other as dh will have him, we also looking at a childminder one day a week and the other my aunt will have him, she doesn't want paying but has asked for contribution towards things like bus fare! We think we would give her a bit more than that! It means dh needed to broach his employer for flexible working which he did, it can take 14 weeks for
An answer but we are looking at a year away but we need to plan! My mum and sister have offered to have ds for the short time after he has been to childminder until dh comes home!

This is the only logical option we have! We think it will work well provided we get flexible working from both employers!

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:29:50

^ That's a good idea.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 11:31:21

I didn't say you were a business. You seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me. I was simply making the point that HMRC do not differentiate between relatives and non relatives when someone provides money for a service. Also, I wasn't a business when I hired a nanny. I still had a legal obligation to operate payroll.

It isn't a blooming coincidence of timing. Are you really suggesting that, at this stage in your training, had you not become pregnant, you would have offered your mother in law the chance to give up work and you'd give her a gift of the majority of your salary? I think HMRC will find that unconvincing. Your mother in law has a job. Which she will give up to be free to provide childcare. And there is no suggestion you would suddenly have started handing over your full salary without the childcare aspect.

It isn't my job to provide you with 'official literature'. I am warning you, based on my dealings with HMRC both as an employment specialist by training and as a former nanny employer. Go and talk to someone. Even your own quotation backs up what I am saying to you.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:32:22

Sorry, delayed posting. My "good idea" comment was made for ArtAndCo.

Bornin1986 - Sounds like you've got it all planned smile Happy for you.

Penguins - We're wasting time and you're getting agitated. I simply need to do more research, so let's stop talking about this for now.

NurseyWursey Mon 17-Mar-14 11:34:10

Elle you really need to stop dismissing people's educated opinions on this, they're all right. They're just trying to stop it biting you on the arse further down the line. You're providing money for a service and it should be taxed - rightly or wrongly in our eyes - still should be.

Bornin1984 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:38:57

Im still shock 400 for a suit,

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 11:43:41

Oh you know what, I give up. You are incredibly patronising. I am not 'agitated'. I am just trying to help you. I am trying to save you from potentially a big tax bill and your husband potentially bother at work. But yes, just agitated and emotional because you don't like what I'm saying...

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 11:44:45

I'll look into it. Thanks for the tips.

mummytime Mon 17-Mar-14 11:49:56

Okay - I haven't commented before, but this may be relevant.

A few years ago we genuinely "forgot" to declare some income. So we didn't pay tax on it.
A few years later HMRC contacted us about it. On re-examining all our records, we realised where the mistake had come from (two amounts of money of exactly the same amount paid in at the same kind of time, but on two different statements). The people who'd paid the money had also not issued all the correct paper work. We did all the foot work to find out how this had happened, quickly repaid the missing tax. However we were still liable for a fine, which could have been up to the original amount of tax (or possibly even more) that is in addition to the tax. Nevermind the possibility of being audited.
We were very fortunate and the Inspector believed us and gave us a very low fine.

Do not underestimate the HMRC ability to spot when tax fraud is happening, and do not think any sob story you come up with will necessarily be believed.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your tax is paid, and tax and NI is paid for any employee.

If you are going to work at a hospital do they have and child care? My local hospital has the best nursery in the area, which is highly in demand.

squizita Mon 17-Mar-14 11:50:03

The problem is that 'expenses' mean petrol, food etc'. A few hundred a year. Not entirely hiring a nanny. HMRC will view £20k at way over 'expenses' and hence it will be a wage.

Bornin1984 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:50:25

A lot of handy tips on this thread not
Just for the op but anyone in similar

Shame a lot of it gets taken out of
Context :-(

Bornin1984 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:57:27

Op - could it not be an option topped a joint account with your mil that way she has access to so called expenses?

Iggi101 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:58:24

What is difference between a) OP's plan to get Mil to be in charge of childcare including having a nanny for day times and b) plan suggested by many posters to have a day time nanny and see if mil will take on all the out-of-hours stuff. Would b) not just be a lot more straightforward? Would nannies like working with a pair (once fil retires too) of grandparents in the house along with the baby? I am not a nanny but I don't think I'd be keen on that at all!
OP it is very hard to hand over quite as much control of your dc as you are planning to do. Before you have the child it is hard to know where your parenting style will fall, how this will match up with mil's, how often you would be happy for the lo to be away from you - especially the overnights you mention. I would never have predicted how my work/life balance changed after my pfb was born, or how strongly I felt about him being cared for the way I (and fortunately, dh too!) thought was best.
Try not to plan everything just now.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:02:29

For me, I hate paperwork and I like things to be simple, which is why it's tempting to just give her £2000 a month and let her sort things out as she sees fit. But I see now it's a bit more complicated than that.

What about if I just give her my debit card and let her use it however she pleases? Incl paying her household bills, groceries, new TV, hiring a nanny in my name, etc etc? Is that any better?

What if we live in the same house? Is that any better?

I have a colleague who is a single mum and a full-time doctor. My colleague's mother gave up work to stay at home and look after the two kids (grandkids). They share the income. Is that an employer-employee relationship?

Didn't mean to sound patronising and dismissive. Genuinely interested.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:08:43

Also, I respect my MIL a lot. She brought up three excellent kids. I'm sure I'll be going to her for advice, rather than imposing my own parenting style on her.

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 12:09:30

"What about if I just give her my debit card and let her use it however she pleases? Incl paying her household bills, groceries, new TV, hiring a nanny in my name, etc etc? Is that any better?"


"I have a colleague who is a single mum and a full-time doctor. My colleague's mother gave up work to stay at home and look after the two kids (grandkids). They share the income. Is that an employer-employee relationship?"

Probably not as that's closer to a SAHP/WOHP scenario assuming the grandmother has the mother's house as her primary residence.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:12:42

GarthsUncle - What's a WOHP? If my DH and I moved in with my MIL and FIL, would that approximate the above situation?

titchy Mon 17-Mar-14 12:13:57

Seriously OP you're clearly financially well off. Just pay her a wage!!!!! You can go through one of many payroll companies that calculate all the holiday pay, tax, NI etc for you, then you don't have to deal with the paperwork and you won't fall foul of HMRC.

Don't try to find ways of out-witting HMRC, you wo't succeed.

Iggi101 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:15:31

She brought them up a while ago though. I can remember saying something very similar about my (wonderful) dm, but it did not take long before some rather more possessive instincts took over! Allow yourself to change your mind, if need be. I think there is a potential to spoil the relationship by taking on these roles (rather than a more relaxed visiting grandparent role) as there will inevitably be some issues you disagree on (breast feeding? Weaning? Controlled crying? Routines? Fresh air? SIDS guidelines? Smacking? Naps? Fruit shoots?)
You have an adventure ahead of you but part of it does involve not being able to predict everything, which I sense you would like to do!

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:15:58

LOL most of my questions are for interest. This is not an elaborate tax evasion! Just very interested to know more about the technicalities of what is emerging to be a very complicated area.

We were thinking of moving in with the in-laws anyway, so we can be closer to be baby. We started talking about this over a year ago when we first fell pregnant (and MC'd).

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 12:19:01

WOHP = work out of home parent.

Yes if you move in with your PILs and share a household budget, you might not be employing your MIL. But if a nanny is needed to help your MIL then that nanny would need to be employed.

Would you want to live with your PILs though?

Please note I am not giving personal tax advice, just my opinion.

squizita Mon 17-Mar-14 12:19:56

I would second hiring an accountant or similar to work it all out for you if you hate paperwork! DH is self employed and he loathes paperwork but got rapped on the knuckles (ie a massive fine) for a genuine tax error so now pays a man to sort it out for him.

mummytime Mon 17-Mar-14 12:23:20

I am so pleased you are not married to my son (he is too young for you anyway).

I love children, but I wouldn't want you "moving in with me" even for just around the time of the birth. I would think you were strange for wanting to do so, having just given birth is not the most dignified time - and I much prefered only having "visitors" around, and definitely being able to disappear off for a nap without anyone commenting (never mind all the messy bits). I would also not want to bring up anyone elses children - if I had wanted to I'd have become a child minder. It is a huge responsibility, and you will undoubtedly have different ideas on some aspect of child rearing.
Being related has the potential for making things so much worse.

Would you ask your own mother this?

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:25:30

I feel this can be such a grey area. We have lots of extended family nearby. What if the grandparents-in-law (who are still fairly fit) decide to take the baby for one day a weak? What if my own parents come visit for a week every month, or every weekend, to help? What if we send the toddler to live with my parents for a couple of months to give my in-laws a break? I don't want to pay my parents, because they don't need the money, whereas my parents-in-law do. If we reduce their hours of childcare, without reducing the money we give them, at what point does it turn from "salary" into a "gift"?

Once again, bear with me when I say, I think it's silly to tax families for their own private financial arrangements. But hey ho, if that's the way it is...

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:28:56

mummytime - I'll return the compliment. I'm glad you're not my MIL.

Would I ask my own mother to look after my baby? Oh how I wish I could! She died two years ago, and she wished more than anything else to see me married and start a family, and she would have been delighted to help.

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 12:29:50

And it was MIL who invited us to live with her... just in case anyone thought I was being presumptuous again...

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 12:41:11

If you pay people to provide a service more than their reasonable additional expenses eg petrol and lunch to provide that service then somewhere along the way that payment will be liable for tax.

Whether they are related to you or not is irrelevant.

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 12:42:49

Your relatives can provide as much free childcare as they like though!

LauraBridges Mon 17-Mar-14 12:43:54

Ah, when does a relative become an employee? Fsacinating issue. When does an occasional evening babysitter become an employee? When do you employ family? Nigel Farage employs his German wife we now know (rather than an English woman or someone not nepotistically connected to him).

Where I live 3 generations often live together - lots of Indian families and the grandparents do loads of childcare. They won't be paid. Often the grandparents own a very rich business but do not give more than pocket money to the sons for working in it so that if the son divorces the daughter in law gets none of the business or money. I doubt money changes hands for babysitting either or even full time childcare. So if the grandparents allow the children to live in their big house totally rent free and in return the children get full time 5 days a week childcare how are the tax experts of Mumsnet going to say that should be sorted out?

cheeseandpineapple Mon 17-Mar-14 12:46:41

Mummytime, you may have missed up thread that OP is Asian and there are cultural differences. OP, I understand why you have a different outlook about living with your inlaws and vice versa, there are different expectations. I left home and started my own family thousands of miles away from my parents and inlaws. Now I have my children, I love the idea of us all living together as an extended family in the future, at the moment they do too but suspect when they're older and have their own partners they might be less keen!

If you're all living together and your inlaws are your dependants then maybe there aren't any tax issues, I don't know though, as people suggest perhaps best to get some advice, your DH should be able to find out. There must be a very large number of Asian families in the UK in the situation you're proposing, I don't think it's that unusual or unique.

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 17-Mar-14 13:15:12

How old is your MIL though? If she is young and still working then she is still paying into a pension probably.

What will happen in 10 - 18 years time when her services may not be needed so much. Will you continue to pay her a decent wage beyond those 18 years? What will her pension look like when she's much older and has no job?

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 13:25:34

She doesn't have a pension and has never had a pension, for various reasons, but she has savings and a house (and us). I don't really see how that's relevant though?

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 17-Mar-14 13:29:17

it's only relevant if she would be giving up a pension and NI payments that she might be getting for her part-time teaching job.

Just thought that it might be something you need to consider for her sake but if she's not getting these perks in the first place then I guess it isn't relevant.

Are you in the UK? How do NI payments work RE the state pension?

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 13:32:10

Yes we're in the UK. No idea how NI payments work though. And I don't feel comfortable asking her about her financial situation, so I'll just keep it simple and assume that, if she says she's happy with the arrangements, then she's happy.

Georgina1975 Mon 17-Mar-14 13:47:50

With the others on this...do not bring it up yet.

You do not know how you will react to being a new mother. I could not wait to get back to work when DC was 5 months. Plenty of people I know (including a bio-medical researcher who was very invested in her career) never returned. Some return to work and find - for all sorts of reasons - they want to be a SAHM - it also works in reverse. Just wait and see how you and your husband feel once baby is here.

That said. I do think you are being a little unrealistic. FT flexible childcare (with some overnights included) is the dream having a moment. But with a family member? Big risk - however lovely you all are.

I assume you get a reasonable degree of warning regarding your nightshifts? Perhaps you can get professional childcare for most of the daytimes and (assuming she is willing) ask MIL to do overnights with DC. But please also be aware that - as other people have said - even such a relatively small amount of childcare would be a HUGE ask. Small children - however much you love them - are exhausting.

Another possibility - is there any way you can request a temporary arrangement whereby you are do not undertake nightshifts for the first six months of after your return to work? I did something similar (for 14 months in total inc. my 5 months mat leave) and it has not harmed my career.

Georgina1975 Mon 17-Mar-14 13:54:00

Not a great idea to assume that somebody is happy if they say they are happy. Family can be great (including mine) but is also famous for being a hotbed of quiet resentment.

It also concerns me that you would feel uncomfortable asking about finances, but okay about the childcare. Pretty much everything about childcare can become deeply personal. I would not even think about going down this road if you cannot raise the subject of money.

Georgina1975 Mon 17-Mar-14 14:13:36

This is a pretty good starting-point resource for anybody in a similar situation (including grandparents) http://www.grandparentsplus.org.uk/grandparents-helping-childcare

ElleDubloo Mon 17-Mar-14 14:27:23

Thanks Georgina, I saw that page too, very helpful.

OK everyone, I'm pulling out of this thread. Everything's been sorted out beautifully as far as I can see, and continuing to be bombarded with negativities is not what I need at the moment, albeit from people who are "concerned" for me and "watching out" for me.

1. I'll take 1 year maternity leave and look after my baby full time.
2. After my baby is 1 year old, I'll go back to work FT and my MIL and FIL will take over, as they will both be retired by that point. Yes my MIL is only retiring because of the baby, but she wants to stop working and is only waiting for a reason to do so.
3. We'll make sure they don't suffer financially. We'll do everything above board, of course, once we research what exactly that involves.
4. We'll hire a nanny if they require one.
5. We might or might not live with them. Haven't decided yet, but they've made us welcome.
6. Other family members will help out too. A lot.

I've been really blessed by such a great family. And the advice on this thread has been invaluable. I've been upset by people who've accused me of being presumptuous, selfish, tax-evading, and a number of other things. It's hard to judge someone accurately when you don't know them. But things have really worked out in my life, so I hope you'll be happy for me. No hard feelings.

GarthsUncle Mon 17-Mar-14 14:36:47

Good luck, OP. FWIW, no one accused you of tax evasion - plenty of people think that the set up you proposed shouldn't cause any tax issues so Penguins, myself and others were flagging this to be helpful.

weebairn Mon 17-Mar-14 14:37:35

Good luck ElleDubloo.

I also get loads of help from my mum. I'd get even more if she lived closer. I don't think people are built to bring up babies alone, it's really tough and a team effort is better.
I went back to work as an SHO part time when baby was 10 months, working nights etc, and it was really hard, but I got through and am glad I'm working now. I would miss my baby too much full time though - and full time as a doctor is much more full time than most people's full time. So go easy on yourself and be flexible if you find the idea impossibly hard when you get nearer the time. (You may be the opposite of me and longing to get back to work!)
If you'd suggested living with my parents before I'd had a baby I'd tell you you were mad, but now I wouldn't run from the idea!
I would get your husband on board- you're both having a child and you both need to make sacrifices.

Good luck with your pregnancy and don't let the hospital be complete dicks about it -they were to me! Call the BMA if you hit problems working nights late into your pregnancy etc.
All the best.

PenguinsEatSpinach Mon 17-Mar-14 14:44:57

Glad it is all working out.

FWIW, I didn't accuse you of tax evasion. I said you were being patronising when you called me 'agitated', which I think you were. But on the tax all I was trying to do was point out you were misunderstanding the tax and that it wasn't as simple as you (and many people) initially assumed.

cheeseandpineapple Tue 18-Mar-14 09:34:04

Good luck, OP, sounds like you have lovely inlaws and since your mother has passed away, it's great that you have a close relationship with MIL and hope it continues to go from strength to strength. I'd be delighted to have a daughter in law who wants to live with me and involve me so actively with my grandchild, really hope it all works out well.

moregranny Tue 18-Mar-14 15:02:27

I would of been horrified if my daughter had NOT asked me and her mum in law to look after the baby from 9 months onwards and the 2nd one due in September, we are not super fit grannies and granddads but to have missed out on the joy that little girl has given us would have been awful, it is hard, it is tiring but it is worth more than money.

applepearorangebear Tue 18-Mar-14 15:17:09

Good luck with it all OP. The only suggestion I'd like to make is that you can (I'm fairly sure) top up your own / someone else's NI payments voluntarily so if it looks as though your MIL (or FIL) won't have enough qualifying years to get a full state pension due to taking early retirement, you might want to look into doing that for her / him. Time limits apply though - I can't remember what they are (you have to make the payments within years rather than months, if I recall correctly, but I could be wrong on that) but the DWP should be able to help you, and will provide your MIL / FIL with a pension forecast (and advice on when to make any top up payments / when they would need to be made by) for free.

My parents are also extremely supportive and provide lots of free childcare very happily - it's been an absolute godsend to us, and I hope you all have many very happy child-filled years ahead together smile

Mumunder3 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:43:33

I got pregnant (planned) at end of f2. Initially went back to paeds training part time 60% but after 2nd changed to gp training also part time. I love my kids and wouldn't change anything but looking back may have been easier to have got further in training before kids although maybe if I'd waited I would have still wanted to change to gp post kids but would have been too late & if did change would be even more behind than my peers than I am now.
Great that your mil can help out, my mum and mil do but remember that they need a break too so maybe consider 1 or 2 days or nursery. That's what we do plus think good for kids to have that social interaction.
Would say think you'll change your mind about full time once you have your baby. As remember it not just the 'day job' but the time spent revising for exams, doing audits, presentations, stuff for cv etc. you'll hardly get to see your child and think you'd really miss out plus be exhausted. I really appreciate the days I have off and that time with them. You won't get that time back but you'll be working for a long time and few years extra for training won't make a difference. You'll soon find that your cohort that you graduated with all start to go off in different directions either by having kids, changing specialities etc so you start to notice less the extra time it's taking you to get through training.

PastaandCheese Wed 19-Mar-14 07:42:40

Just to offer a different perspective I think you should at least explore a part time nursery place. I've just had DC2 and I had to sign him up before he was born to get him into the private nursery of my choice that my DD attends. Don't miss the boat on a good nursery because you think childcare is sorted.

My BIL and SIL are hospital Drs and they have a nursery place 3 days a week and MIL does the rest of the childcare including overnights and weekends where they can't arrange shifts to compliment each other.

That said they were both consultants in their respective fields before their DD was born and SIL was lucky enough to get a 4 day position. I agree this is much harder if you're still training.

DH and I earn a little more than you and your DH and don't live in London. We would really, really struggle to pay our mortgage and a nanny. I know my BIL and SIL would too. £2,000 per month when you have to make NI contributions and deal with tax for the nanny won't buy you many hours in London if your MIL does decide she needs help.

Personally I think a nursery place mixed with support from your ILs is an ideal solution. I know my MIL is really happy to help out in the way she does but she is also very grateful that she only has to help with drop offs and pick ups at nursery 3 days a week! It also knocks out any taxation issues.

Also, your DH does need to get properly set up with a virtual office. I'm a lawyer too (public sector so not corporate but still central gov and therefore still demanding) and I really value my home access. I can get home and put DCs to bed before carrying on with work through the evening.

PastaandCheese Wed 19-Mar-14 07:47:40

See mumunder has suggested the same thing based on her experience of balancing medicine with childcare.

Good luck OP. I hope it works out for you. No woman should have to sacrifice her career for children in this day and age.

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