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'Giving' baby to granny?

(242 Posts)
Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 11:53:34

Bit of backstory: relationship breakdown, subsequent discovery of unplanned pregnancy which I have decided to keep. The father wants to be part of the baby's life when it arrives.

I am in London, and to carry on working in my field I need to stay in London. The father is also in London. I work fulltime, 8-7ish, plus some evenings and weekends. Giving up work/going part-time is not an option for financial reasons. I might be able to work from home a bit, but not sure yet.

I have been looking at London nurseries etc, fulltime care for the baby from about 12 weeks.

My parents live about 2 hours from London, and are retired. My mum offered yesterday to look after the baby fulltime during the week at their home. It is just too far for me to commute daily, I'd never see baby awake, and it would be nearly impossible for the father to have a relationship with the baby. Initially I thought she was mad, as I did not decide to keep the baby to never see it.

But then I thought maybe I am being selfish, and if the baby cannot have me 24/7, maybe it would be best to have my mum, rather than being one of many at a nursery. She was brilliant when I was little, and they have a big garden, parks nearby etc, and, most importantly, time. By being able to stay in a smaller flat and not paying childcare I'd be able to save up enough to do really nice things with the baby when we are together, whereas both living in London we are not going to have much (any) spare cash. Then when the baby is school-age the plan would be to come 'back' to London.

Just wondering if anyone had any experience of a similar situation, or bright ideas? I want to do the best I can for my baby (who doesn't?), and maybe that is not being with me at the moment sad

JoJoH1 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:36:58

Sorry just saw you comment about the dad as well - so it's not likes he's offering to spend any time with the baby so he/she doesn't have to be in nursery for so many hours? You need to think about what is the best environment for yoru baby to thrive in.

Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 12:38:08

Maja00, I strongly believe that the career does have the potential to be child-friendly. But giving up work for two years is surely not possible for many people?

Sparklysilversequins Wed 31-Jul-13 12:38:29

There's rarely the ideal time to have babies and yet we manage.

The OP did not ask for opinions and advice on whether she should be having a child at all so I think it's inappropriate to offer an opinion on that.

maja00 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:39:45

Waffly I'm replying to you saying that secure attachment doesn't have to come from a one to one relationship with the mother. It doesn't, but it needs to come from a responsive, consistent relationship with someone.

I mention nursery nurses as the OP's other plan is to put the baby in a nursery full time from 12 weeks.

A child won't die without a secure attachment, but it is a very basic emotional need. Poor attachments in infancy continue to affect people through out life.

davidjrmum Wed 31-Jul-13 12:39:50

I was in a similar situation with my oldest daughter - now 26. I lived with my mum and dad for a while and they took on a lot of the responsibility for looking after her while I was working full time trying to get established in a decent job, then I moved 200 miles away and left my daughter with them during the week and came back at weekends. She came to live full time with me when she was about 5. I think I made completely the right decision to let my parents help out while I got my career going - it has made all the difference to our quality of life now and my daughter is still really close to my mum which is fantastic.

Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 12:41:00

I will definitely look into working remotely. One of my colleagues does it very successfully, so there is a precedent as well.

maja00 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:41:44

Bestforbaby - if your career has the potential to be child-friendly later, then having your mother care for your baby initially seems like the best option all round.

LackaDAISYcal Wed 31-Jul-13 12:42:48

Personally, I couldn't do it. I was in a similar situation when I had my DS1; father lived in Leeds and was a seldom visitor, my parents lived 30 miles away. I had originally intended to go back to work ft when DS was 18 weeks old when my OML ended, but as that time drew near, I just could not leave him. I suppose I had underestimated just how emotionally attached I would be to him whilst I was still pregnant as a baby was a bit of an abstract concept and something I felt I could fit into my life rather than the other way around! I ended up taking extended maternity leave, then some holidays. As a single parent I was entitled to some tax credits etc which eased the burden somewhat. I had also squirrelled away quite a bit prior to going off on ML and had bought several months worth of nappies that I stockpiled in the attic as I knew things would be harder and made sure that the mortgage was covered for a few months.

I also took a payment holiday to cover the end of this time as well and lived very frugally.

In the end, I chose not to go back to work and sold my flat when DS was 7 months old and moved back to my parents for a few months in my hometown. I then rented for a while and eventually got back into work when DS was 2 years old.

Would moving back home be an option? Even if not with your parents, renting near them so they could do the day to day childcare? Are there job opportunities there? Or would you be prepared to take a lesser job to enable you to be with your baby? I think you may be underestimating the strength of the feelings you will have towards this little bundle of helplessness once he/she arrives. I certainly did.

FasterStronger Wed 31-Jul-13 12:42:52

attachment theory says a baby needs at least one attachment. not only one.

also attachment disorders can occur in children who grow up uncared for - e.g. in old style eastern European orphanages or neglect in the UK.

not children who go to nursery.

there is lots of confusion on MN around what attachment really means and its not healthy or helpful.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 31-Jul-13 12:43:11

silver not as twattish as having a baby you are planning to barely see. Why bother? It's a person, not a weekend accessory.

FasterStronger Wed 31-Jul-13 12:44:29

oh someone if my family lived with granny while parents migrated to the UK for work. she is fine and has a good relationship with them.

LackaDAISYcal Wed 31-Jul-13 12:45:44

I was also in a very male dominated profession, and the career holiday didn't hurt my career one bit.

Thurlow Wed 31-Jul-13 12:45:45

I think if you can see a way out of this situation (for lack of a better term to call it) in a few years time, because you will be earning more money and be a lot more flexible in your working hours, then this is the best plan for you. As long as you are thinking longer term, that's what matters.

In the absolute worst case scenario that you don't feel you could leave your baby and return to work (again, I say worst case for lack of a better phrase!), would you parents still be there for you if you left your job? Could you and the baby move in with them while you thought about what you want to do?

Yes, a baby will do best with one primary care giver. But this can be mum, dad, grandparent, nanny - it's consistency that is key, rather than a blood bond. And as they get just a little bit older most adjust easily to having several primary care givers.

Yes, the baby an form a secure attachment with someone other than a parent and be happy that way. But is that what you WANT? When your baby runs to granny for comfort rather than you, when you don't know your child's routine, little foibles, when you don't understand their toddler babbling but granny does so you have to ask her what your child is saying, when you aren't sure which foods your child likes most, what her essential thing is that she needs to help her get to sleep, who her little friends are at nursery, being there to take her for health appointments etc.......

Any parent who works very long hours/works away during the week (mother OR father) will recognise that feeling that they are are the less knowledgeable parent in their child's life - my dh is a brilliant dad but works long long hours or away from home. I constantly have to tell him stuff about my sons' lives that is second nature to me but just by not being round enough he can't possibly know. How would you feel about that?

Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 12:47:33

Onesleep, in an ideal world, I would be able to stay at home and give 24/7 care without having to resort to handouts. In reality, if I don't work, the baby will not get fed. The baby was unplanned, it is certainly not unwanted. Believe me, this is not a situation that I would ever have wanted. But it is the reality.

Thurlow Wed 31-Jul-13 12:48:24

Oh, and onesleep, you really think just because the OP is facing a difficult work situation for the next few years she should just terminate her pregnancy? That's just as twattish. There'd be just as many people castigating her for making a decision to terminate based on that. And he OP isn't asking for opinions on her decision to keep the pregnancy. if she saw the baby as a weekend accessory I doubt she would even be asking for advice and support.

davidjrmum Wed 31-Jul-13 12:48:53

"You also need to bear in mind that it wont be a case of simply moving back to Londn to start school. Your child will presumably have started pre-school where your parents are, and made friends, and would probably want to start school with all their pre-school friends." I don't think this is at all relevant. Loads of people with children move around with their jobs. Children don't generally form strong attachments with friends until they are about 7 or older. At my youngest child's primary school they switch the classes around each year until Y3/4 so my ds is with different children each year anyway.

probablyhadenough Wed 31-Jul-13 12:50:09

Don't want to patronise you OP but this sounds like the sort of plan people often make before they have children. I had quite firm views on how my working life couldn't and wouldn't change at all - then along came the baby and I had an absolutely visceral, instinctive need to be with her. Cue major change of working hours and priorities....

It might not work exactly like that for you but I suspect there will be some adjustment in what matters most once your baby arrives.

noblegiraffe Wed 31-Jul-13 12:50:36

You might find it difficult to find childcare with those extended hours anyway. If you are working in the evening, who would pick up the baby? Even if you aren't, finishing at 7 would mean not getting to nursery until after baby should be in bed. How would that work?

Grandma would be a better option than a stressful week juggling childcare. But I would find it very difficult to hand my baby over to someone else to effectively bring up, even in the short term.

Every woman is different and there are benefits to this plan. I know it works in a lot of places. When I look around at the school gates I wonder how the British economy would cope without grandparents providing free childcare.
Personally, now that I know how it feels to carry a child, feed them, care for them, hand them over to a nursery, go to work at a demanding job, live on much less money than I did before, I would never ever let my child live away from me for the sake of my career. When DS was 4 and DD 18 months DP and I had to live in separate places for 6 weeks. I had the DC every other week and I knew they were safe with their dad the other week, but it was still the worse 6 weeks of my life. I physically hurt ever night when I couldn't put them to bed. It would have been a million times worse if they had been small babies.
If you absolutely cannot manage financially, the father needs to step up. Can he take 6 months off work and look after the baby, either at your place or his? He should certainly contribute more than half the childcare. He should pay proper maintenance. I saved a lot throughout both pregnancies so that I could pay the mortgage during my year off. It was hard, but so worth it.
12 weeks is very very young. Can you at least take 6 months off?

LackaDAISYcal Wed 31-Jul-13 12:52:19

titchy, maintenance payments are not ignored for benefits purposes, sadly. DS's father and I had a perfectly amicable arrangement re maintenance which worked whilst I was on maternity leave and JSA etc. However when I started to claim income support and housing benefit we had to go through the CSA. He paid the CSA £50 a week; they gave me £10.

ALittleBitOfMagic Wed 31-Jul-13 12:52:41

Op how pregnant are you now ? I'm thinking if you put a small amount away each month from now until mat leave , that along with hb and tc you will be entitled to on SMP , that could maybe bring your income up to a workable amount on top of your SMP ? Even if you could stay of until maybe about 6mo ?

As for your childcare arrangement I don't know . I know I couldn't anyway . It has the potential for your mum to become the mother figure and you will have very little say ^in how your dc is raised . But then if you think you could cope with all the cons then it's really your choice . I think you need to be really careful though .

Is there no option at all for you to go part time ?

noblegiraffe Wed 31-Jul-13 12:52:52

Will the new rules on shared parental leave have come in by then?

bragmatic Wed 31-Jul-13 12:52:59

Do it. It sounds like a practical solution to a situation that you didn't plan for. You could always hire a childminder a couple of afternoons a week, to help with the care of the baby and lighten the load for your mum.

gymboywalton Wed 31-Jul-13 12:53:58

bestforbaby- putting a baby in nursery in london for 11 hours a day will not only be bad for the baby but financially crippling.

what will happen when you need to work evenings?

the reality is that at 12 weeks, your baby will still be incredibly new and needy and you will still be hormonal. you won't be getting much sleep and will be exhausted.

i feel desperately sorry for you that you are in this situation.

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