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Childcare conundrum. Whatever we do we're wrong.

(7 Posts)
greencolorpack Tue 06-Sep-11 20:33:19

My MIL lives in the same town and wants to babysit in the tricky period between school-out and dh coming home from work, which is a two hour period. Now we have a very good afterschool club which the three can go to, the downside is it's expensive and they need to know when children need it on the Friday before the week it's needed.

So MIL has emphysema, she has some very bad days and not so bad days. She lives with my SIL who is a vulnerable adult, able to walk the children home from school but not really capable of being a responsible adult on her own, so I only ask MIL when she is around, I never just ask SIL.

IF: we ask MIL in advance "Can you have them Tuesday" she says yes, not just yes, but also cooks a meal for them and offers to do this and that on top of just two hours care.

IF she is then taken bad, she never tells us. Just soldiers on, while gasping and looking like death. Sits around quietly and gets SIL to do any heavy lifting. Children are old enough to amuse selves/computer/telly.

IF: I, like a sensible parent, decide to employ the afterschool club, MIL takes it like a slap in the face, and gets all weepy and acts like we're scum for daring to employ outside help when she could do it for us for nothing. And she loves to see the children.

IF I ask afterschool club to have the children every day next week, because MIL is bad in health today, sod's law will invariably state that MIL will be hale and hearty all next week and will spend every day mumping and moaning about how the children should be with her not at afterschool club.

So I've got a choice of either inflicting three children on a very ill frail gran or I am the DIL bitch from hell who dares to use the afterschool club.

And the afterschool club need advance notice but nobody knows how MIL's health will be, it changes on a day to day basis.

Has anyone been up against this kind of thing? What would you do?

Boarding school, and/or moving to Australia is out of the question.

rookiemater Tue 06-Sep-11 20:58:54

Book and pay for the afterschool for all the days required, that way you have your guaranteed cover in place

If your MIL is in good health let her look after them one day per week, so as it doesn't become too much for her.

Let your DH, as her blood relative, explain why it is imperative that you have water tight child care cover in place, and why she should only look after them one day a week.

Grit teeth and be thankful that whilst it is annoying at least you have a MIL that wants to spend time with her grandchildren.

greencolorpack Tue 06-Sep-11 21:11:25

We don't always need childcare, it's just an occasional thing, sometimes two days, sometimes all five. Dh is just as scared as I am of MIL when she does her emotional vampire thing. I think I will book some for next week. I just hate having to rely on her when she's obviously not well, not just that but she lies to us and acts fine even when she isn't which means I can't trust her.

I'm glad I have an interested MIL, it was pretty hard work when we lived here before she moved nearby. My own family are very fair weather and they all live hours drives away.

rookiemater Tue 06-Sep-11 21:25:14

Can you just lie to her and say that you need to book and pay for set days all term or you lose the place?

Bramshott Tue 06-Sep-11 21:30:15

If MIL is poorly, I wouldn't look on her having them more than 1 day a week as an option really. Can you work on the basis that she will have them on a set day - say Friday, if she's well, and you'll book childcare for all the other days you need? Then if she has to let you down on a Friday, you can try to cobble together a solution with friends etc.

meditrina Tue 06-Sep-11 21:33:18

Are the days when care is needed fixed - ie could you book the same two days at the club as a regular thing, and MIL have them on the "excess" days, if there are any? Or would this be no good, if it could be any day?

greencolorpack Tue 06-Sep-11 23:48:43

Good ideas Meditrina. And others. Spoke to Dh and he has agreed to speak to her about it. I just want her to be honest about how she is. She acts martyrish and acts like we want to stop her seeing them, which is nonsense, all in her head but it makes making practical arrangements hard to sort out. And I hate being lied to.

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