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My mum has offered to take a considerable amount of time off work to look after my son. Should I say yes?

(9 Posts)
felixfelicis1 Wed 27-Jul-11 13:43:50

I am soon to have my first child and will not be able to take as much maternity leave as I would like. My mum has very kindly offered to take six weeks off unpaid from work once I am back to work to be the full time carer of my son for that time. She currently works four days a week so she could still offer lots of help by doing one day a week of looking after him without taking this time off. It is an unbelievably generous offer but I am really not sure whether to accept for the following reasons:

She will suffer (slightly) financially by doing this and I am concerned she feels slightly like she has to.
I am nervous my mother will start to feel (and want to feel like a third parent). I really want all of our family to be involved and be very close but I want my husband and I to be the parents. I know my mum will be doing things the way she sees as best (and will be with him for a substantial part of the day) rather than perhaps doing things the way I have asked her to.
I feel nervous at the idea of feeling like my mum is raising him rather than me - establishing bathtime and bedtime routines etc.
I am nervous that, although my mum is being so generous and doing this to be kind, there also might be a slight element of her wanting to make sure she is seriously involved. She has jokingly said on occassions before 'I'm the main grandma' and I know it sounds a bit silly but I'm worried my husbands mother will feel elbowed out. I know this would make my husband unbelievably sad.

What do you all think of the idea? Has anyone had similar experiences.

alarkaspree Wed 27-Jul-11 13:48:44

I wouldn't do it. If she is doing you this huge favour you will find it very difficult to challenge anything she is doing that you're not happy about. And she sounds potentially a little overbearing.

But I also can't see much advantage of the arrangement. I would expect it to be more disruptive for your ds, getting used to her as a main carer for a few weeks and then someone else once he has to start whatever will be your long-term childcare.

felixfelicis1 Wed 27-Jul-11 13:54:03

thanks alarkaspree that is a good point. I also would really like to a long handover with whoever comes in to do long-term childcare before I go on maternity leave so that I can feel comfortable and feel like my son has had a chance to adjust etc.

My main reason for doing this would be money. We are stretching ourselves quite a lot to get childcare and it would save us six weeks of it (which I suppose isn't that much in the grand scheme of things).

Ultimately I do feel like leaving my son with my mother isn't any different from leaving him with a well selected nanny that I trust. And hopefully someone who is employed by me will listen to my choices re childcare routine etc. Don't get me wrong my mum is a wonderful and kind woman but I don't imagine that, when I'm at work, she will follow my instructions if she thinks things should be done a different way.

I am quite worried about hurting her feelings though. She had a terrible mother who did not help her at all and I know my mum may well feel really hurt and that she wished her mother would have shown an interest like she has.

MovingAndScared Wed 27-Jul-11 15:19:31

I wouldn't - as you say in the scheme of things is not loads - and actually in someways it would be harder for your son if he goes to full time with mum, then full time with granny then a lot with another carer - also she may not have thought it through the reality of full time with a baby and when the time comes may be very glad to be only doing 1 day a week
Just make sure she knowes that she really appricate the offer and how she involved - maybe write her a special letter or something

BranchingOut Thu 28-Jul-11 12:33:42

I think having her do 1 day a week might be a good idea.

Just to put the other side of the coin - I was initially very reluctant to have my MIL care for my son, but one day I realised that she would look after him as carefully as I would because she loved him. She does one day a week for us and, although we have had to set boundaries at times, it has worked really well.

felixfelicis1 Thu 28-Jul-11 14:22:38

Many thanks for everyone's advice. I have decided that it isn't a good idea.

Although hopefully she will agree to help out one day a week on occassion.

I now really don't know how to tell her 'thank you for your generous offer but no'

tethersend Thu 28-Jul-11 14:33:08

I say do it- but my mum has my DD for 3 days a week and has done since she was 8mo.

It will save you money (I am assuming your reasons for not having as much ML as you would like are financial), and it sounds like she will take great care of your DS- as BranchingOut says, she loves him

I would say nothing until you have actually had your child. Not only will your mother be very hurt at you rejecting her offer, but nothing can prepare you for the feelings you will have once you've given birth. I was very surprised at how having my DD strengthened my relationship with my mother, and how relieved I was to be able to leave DD with her. DD is now 2.8 and they still have a very close relationship- a 'third parent' is sometimes a very positive thing indeed smile

felixfelicis1 Thu 28-Jul-11 14:40:28

I would be happy to have my mum doing three days a week. In that way it wouldn't be so intense and full on. It's more the concept of her taking such a large chunk of time off work. I'm nervous of her viewing this as a time to establish herself as the 'main grandmother' (which she has jokingly said lots of times) and possibly secure her involvement a little more than I would like.

I definitely hear what you're saying about them having a close relationship. That is fantastic and is of course something I want. But my cousin had a very similar situation with her daughter and my aunt (her mother) ended up being the main parent. I am quite young and I'm worried my mother will end up too involved and particularly that my husband will feel that she is taking things over.

Unfortunately its not an option to wait until he's born as she can't just take the time off work without organisation and notice. She has asked me to tell her yes or no ASAP.

Fennel Thu 28-Jul-11 14:44:55

I agree with the others that maybe it would be easiest for your dc to go from you to the next daytime carer, it takes them a while to settle. But can you ask her if she'd be interested in doing a day a week instead, longer term? That way you would still save money, and not be rejecting her.

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