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Getting the balance right between Nursery place and family childcare

(28 Posts)
amandine07 Mon 14-Apr-14 04:05:51

Not sure if I'm posting in correct place.

I will be going back to work FT towards the end of this year, LO will be about 10 months old by then.

Currently they are on a number of waiting lists for local nurseries. Also, I'm in the lucky position of having my mother ready & willing to take care of my LO while I work.

However, I don't have the best relationship with my mother/both parents, to be honest I find them quite controlling, wanting me to do what they want etc.

My mother wants to care for my LO full time but I am quite uncomfortable with this and think it'll be a but much (she works part time, father is retired).

More significantly, my mum strongly disagrees with nursery and has made this clear already, accusing me of planning how I'm going to "dump my LO" while I go back to work hmm

Me and DP are trying to save to buy a house (we live in London) so as you can imagine we need all the spare cash.

We are keen for LO to go to nursery for a few days to get socialised with other little children.
Does anyone here have their mum/parents doing FT childcare for their kids? How does it work out...?

I know there is the obvious money saving angle, I'm more convened with "family dynamics"...

Am not sure I want my mum looking after my LO full time, also my OH is not that keen on my parents (my parents have made it clear they don't feel he "provides adequately" for me i.e. he's not bought us a house like my sister's husband) and I don't want family relations to suffer.

I'm trying to enjoy my maternity leave but already I can feel my mum judging me harshly, she has already given me a lecture on how selfish I am to put LO in a nursery and how disappointed she is in me for not providing a proper home for LO (we currently live in rented accommodation shock horror, but that's a whole other dispute!).

Sorry this is such a ramble, I'm finding the whole thing so emotionally charged and it's stressing me out already.
Again I will add that I realise how lucky I am to have the option of family helping us out.
Please tell me if I need a good slap & a generous dose of man the fuck up! grin

MistletoeBUTNOwine Mon 14-Apr-14 04:19:45

My dm looks after my dd when I'm at work. I was a lp for 7 years now with dp and have a DS (I'm also on mat leave). Dm hates nurseries, and personally I think little ones are better off being cared for by family if at all possible, and everyone happy with arrangement.
I should add that I worked pt (30 hrs) and will be returning on 15 hours so dp and I will do bulk of child care, dm is getting older and I think it would be too much for her to have both dcs.
HTH smile

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Mon 14-Apr-14 04:55:43

I work 4 days a week, and DM/DMIL have DS on alternate Fridays. So he is in nursery 3 days per week. I am really happy with the arrangement and the nursery is wonderful, staff are so caring and friendly. I think three days per week gives him chance to be settled there and gets him in to a good routine, whereas 1 or 2 days might be harder for baby to get used to. You could maybe drop a day/add a day at nursery when you see how things are turning out with your mother?

Barbeasty Mon 14-Apr-14 07:39:09

I'd be really careful to be honest.

Would your mum be able to cope for more than a day or two a week? My MIL offered to have DD full time, but we had to cut back from the 3 days we agreed with her and she has her 2 days now. Even if she's spent lots of time with you and LO, it's not the same as sole care for a 10hr day.

Could you rely on her to always be available? My MIL has been great. We agree any big holidays she wants and then negotiate the odd days she wants to go away as and when. But it's almost as though she has to apply for annual leave from us, and we have to see which of DH and I can get AL from work. Sometimes we have to rearrange with MIL if neither of us can get the time off, and that can ruffle DH's siblings' feathers- us dictating what time they spend with his mum.

What would you do if she's ill? If you already use a nursery a few days a week there's a chance you could get LO an emergency day, but if your mum had LO full time what's your emergency plan?

Do you trust her not to put in those little jibes? About how your DH hasn't bought a house, and other things, undermining you both using your LO?

It can be great. My DC have an amazing relationship with granny, but we are all relaxed and get on well.

I certainly wouldn't go with your mum full time. I'd get a nursery place for at least 2 days a week and take it from there. You can always change what you do if things don't work out on either side.

Phineyj Mon 14-Apr-14 08:00:02

My DM looks after my DD one day a week. DD is at nursery 3 days and with DH on the final day (I work 80% but due to job type need to go in every day). However - my DM is supportive of my/our choices and she volunteered to do this (I wouldn't have asked and we are very happy with the nursery and DD loves it). As DM and DF are in their 70s we may have to change the arrangement soon - a whole day is knackering for them.

I would be very wary of using a family member for childcare who was openly critical of how I lived my life. I have come across the attitudes you describe in friends' mums and PILS - it often turns out they have no idea what a good nursery is like, or that they disapprove of paid for childcare on principle. One friend pays for 3 days at nursery and DPs pick up her DC one day for the afternoon and DPILS another, and look after DC at her house till she gets home. So the GPs get to enjoy having the DC but not so much pressure to do the full day - I think friend is paying for nursery time she's not using, however, as nurseries are generally reluctant to offer half days - I expect in London any good one can fill all its spaces.

At the very least, whatever you do re childcare, I think you need to have a free and frank conversation with your DM about her critical attitude - stay positive and assertive and remember that it will be much harder to challenge things she says when/if you are in a position of owing her a massive favour!

Sharaluck Mon 14-Apr-14 08:09:31

I wouldn't involve your mother at all in childcare considering the circumstances hmm it does not sound like a recipe for peace of mind.

Phineyj Mon 14-Apr-14 08:28:05

Yes, consider the extra money as payment for peace of mind! Do you think your DM would do the occasional day of emergency or back-up childcare? That could assist you a lot and she could feel like she was helping. I have found good nurseries have no flexibility at all (regarding swapping days and so on) precisely because they are popular and full.

Have you looked into childcare vouchers etc? Also, re the house - if you get used to saving for childcare now, you can then save a chunk after LOs turn 3 and get the free hours as it will seem cheaper.

amandine07 Mon 14-Apr-14 08:44:40

Thank you for your replies

Home that's helpful in terms of working out how many days at nursery might work...I was thinking that 2 was probably a minimum, as 1 day might just be unsettling.

mistletoe thanks for describing your arrangement. My mother is early 60s and I feel like FT care of our baby will be too much for her although she wants this. She has cared for my niece & nephew at various points and I know my parents found this exhausting especially when they became v mobile and were all over the place.

Regarding work I think I'll have to remain FT- it would be nice to drop a day but we're aiming to get a mortgage in the next 12 months or so, really need to maximise earnings!

Littlefish Mon 14-Apr-14 08:45:31

From what you've said about your and your husband's relationship with your parents, I would not ask them to do regular childcare. You are simply giving them the opportunity to be critical and controlling. Save up for longer for your house, and maintain your self esteem which will inevitably be damaged if you enter into any kind of regular arrangement with your mother.

Perhaps she could have your child half a day or one day a month at a weekend.

amandine07 Mon 14-Apr-14 09:02:12

Just refreshed and seen the other replies- thank you!

Re childcare vouchers, not really properly investigated yet, just about emerging from post-natal haze!

Childcare, it's a really emotive thing isn't it?!
A part of me feels that I should go with my mother/parents to look after LO entirely as they are family & we can save for a house deposit more quickly.

However, being totally honest with myself, we do not have an easy relationship and the last year has shown that my parents have massive issues about how me and DP live our lives.

We rent in London, have pretty ok jobs to provide a decent income & both work very hard at our careers. Now judgements are being made about how we plan to bring up LO and deep down I really don't want to listen any more.

The way my mother goes on you'd think we were living on some crack estate somewhere...just because our home is small, no garden etc (lots of lovely parks nearby!).

I was recently very stung by my mum telling me she thought both me and DP were being very selfish by not 'choosing' to buy a proper home (hello?! London property market?!).

She also insulted our accommodation- yes it's tiny, but it's our home, it's warm, secure and close to lots of public transport.
When I tried to explain this to my parents they just snapped back that I was deluded, that it was a box and not a home.
I felt very hurt by this.

Oh god, when I read back over this it sounds like a recipe for disaster! Starting to see that the money we save by not using a nursery might come at a cost of our sanity & strained relations with family!

Yes am sure my mother/parents would help out for emergency childcare if we go down majority nursery route.
However I could see her making annoying comments...although if our LO is ill I guess nobody can be blamed...?!

amandine07 Mon 14-Apr-14 09:10:34

Just to add that DP's family live very far away so would not be a factor.

Also, I have 2 younger siblings- my mother had briefly done childcare for them. My sister is now back at work FT but her and DH have a mum is surprisingly ok with this, probably because they live nearby (in a beautiful 4 bed house) so she sees my nephew regularly.
Plus, her DH is an investment banker who earns silly amounts- this all adds up to making him great in my parents' eyes.

My brother lives further out of London- his wife is planning to become a SAHM in the next year or two. They have just recently bought a large house out in the leafy Surrey commuter belt.

I feel like the poor relation in all this! sad

amandine07 Mon 14-Apr-14 09:19:47

Yes that's what worries me- I can only see them becoming more critical and controlling, the more 'power' I give them by relying on them for more childcare.

Also, I'm mindful of the impact on mine and DP's relationship. I don't want us to be undermined as patents by effectively allowing my mother to bring up our LO by having him the entire working week.

Just to add- my parents are the sort of people who stew about things silently but have a sulk and it's hard to find out what the issue is (my father especially).

They have shocked me in the past by referring to events that occurred months or years ago, whereby they were unhappy about something I said or did- but they didn't mention this at the time, they've used it as 'ammunuition' at a later date.

So, we have fraught communications as it is plus they surprise me with their attitudes to lots of things- which seem to clash with most of mine!

Feeling sad I don't have a better relationship with them, especially my mother, I thought our LO would bring us closer together...sadly we've had more heated exchanges/arguments than ever!

Littlefish Mon 14-Apr-14 09:49:07

amandine - I have a generally very good relationship with my parents in law. Even so, I found it hard to have them looking after dd for one day a week when she was little. I was feeling very vulnerable about returning to work, and took any slight suggestion, or deviation from the way we did things, to be a criticism of my parenting skills. I know now that that wasn't what they were doing, but dd is now now 9!

If they show that they can be kind and supportive to you and your dh, you may be able to ask them to help with chldcare in the future. I absolutely agree with your comments about the impact on your relationship with your dh. I really would counsel against asking them to have your child for the whole week. If you feel you have to have them at all, go for one day a week and no more.

Phineyj Mon 14-Apr-14 11:32:54

Absolutely do not rely on your DPs for childcare given what you've said - it will just cause you stress at work. Who needs childcare with a side order of judgement? I suppose you can pick the nursery with the nicest outdoor space and say to your DPs you thought they'd approve as they are so keen LO has a garden grin. I do think it helps DC to do several days at nursery a week as it becomes more 'normal' and they (and you) get to know the staff better.

Regarding the vouchers -- if you or DP can get them through work, sign up asap as you can get them from when the baby is born, but they can't be backdated. So you could be saving them up now to use when you start paying for childcare. If you work for a large organisation, just Google their name and childcare vouchers and that might take you straight to their scheme.

If that doesn't work, contact your HR depts or whoever does HR asap - we found the vouchers very straightforward to set up with DH's employer but mine was faffy as it had to go through a third party organisation. I was told I couldn't get them while on maternity leave but friends have been told differently. There is also the new childcare subsidy to consider, although it looks as though it will work out less generous than vouchers (there is a briefing on this website somewhere with info).

ROARmeow Mon 14-Apr-14 12:15:35

your sanity, working life and marriage is important here. if you know DC will be well looked after on daycare then use that. no guilt, no fuss, no crossed wires.

also, don't rush for a mortgage and bigger house as a way to prove yourself to your DP. they seem judgemental and bit rude.

do what's best for yourself, DH and DC.

trilbydoll Fri 18-Apr-14 14:20:43

One of my colleagues has her Mum/Mil looking after her DC. It is a nightmare, there seems to be no understanding that she can't have a week off every month, and no backup if someone is ill.

I would dress it up as your parents have earnt the right to chill out, have lots of holidays etc, it would not be fair to expect them to dedicate their whole week to childcare.

trixymalixy Fri 18-Apr-14 14:23:02

My parents look after my DD two days a week, she is then in nursery two days and I am off on Fridays. It is quite a good balance for us.

TheABC Fri 18-Apr-14 14:31:26

DS went to nursery from eight months old for 4 days a week and loves it. If you get the right one, it can be wonderful. Good luck with deposit saving and ignore the snide remarks from your parents. Not everyone can be married to bankers!

Mrsrochesterscat Fri 18-Apr-14 14:54:48

I have the same relationship with my mum. From those comments I would wonder if we are related!

I restricted contact between DM and my DDs, even so, she has caused significant damage.

DM has always openly criticised my parenting, to the extent that my daughters repeat her phrases. I am a bad mum for working, for sending them to childcare during holidays, for 'forcing' them to go to bed, for not buying a house, for not being able to afford enough bedrooms so they have to share... The list goes on.

My teenage girls are completely messed up they don't understand that DM is playing 'who is the better at parenting'. And since they have had their own phones I can not regulate contact - DM calls them after 10pm, just to reinforce how unacceptable it is for me to make them sleep.

I've had years of this. If I could go back in time, I would have gone NC from birth. I wouldn't allow her near your children. They need to know they can trust you and your decisions as a parent. They will become pawns in her games.

TurquoiseDress Tue 29-Apr-14 03:34:02

Thank you for all your interesting replies- so useful to hear of others' experiences and how they balance out childcare with the family/in-laws.

It's so hard- I want my parents to have a relationship with my baby (there were various issues which meant me and my siblings missed out on our grandparents for the most part)...but I don't want to compromise happiness with OH and risk constantly being undermined by my mother for my choices in life.

I feel a bit sorry for my mum, to me it's obvious that she has so much baggage from the past and issues about family relationships...can see she wants to make things different however I don't know whether she's going about it the right way.

Even now with my baby who is only a few months old, she chats to him and makes comments about how "your mother is useless...she has no idea" or "your mum & dad are full of talk and no action" (referring to our apparent lack of willingness to buy our own home...if only it were that simple!

I know it's only small talk with the baby, but it feels like a dig or sideswipe at me and OH. Have just ignored it so far, I know my mum if I make an issue of it she'll throw it back in my face and say I'm being over-sensitive.
Can't bloody win!

By the way- I am the OP! Since the password change drama I've not been able to log-in as my email was from years ago when I first signed up and it's now defunct.

Tried to contact MNHQ a few times, then gave up and created a new account!

TurquoiseDress Tue 29-Apr-14 03:41:18

Sorry to hear that, yes it sounds like we may be related...!!
Your DDs are much older but from what you describe it's had an obvious effect on them.

That's what scares me- my mother (and to extent father) being openly critical of the choices me and OH make for ourselves, as a family.

I do not want to cut her out and risk history repeating itself however I don't want to continue blindly along without thinking about how things might be in the future.

Partly I think it's me being freaked out at the thought of going back to work...I've still got several months left and I don't want to think about now, but I kind of have to so I can organise things.

In just trying to be grateful for having my parents around still and wanting to be involved in my child's life.

2468Motorway Tue 29-Apr-14 04:16:08

Honestly don't do it. It is a massive ask to have a child everyday for 10 hours a day. I just don't think your relationship with your parentss is up to it. As you say a 10 month old is quite different to a non napping into everything 2.5 yr old.

TBH they don't sound very nice. I will be bursting with pride if my kids found a nice partner, a steady job and had a lovely baby. The salary just wouldnt matter, as long as no one was breaking the law and my child was happy I would be too. I think mine is the normal reaction and as I said they just don't sound nice.

Hold you head up, sort out the vouchers now (it will save more the earlier you and your DH do it), and put him in nursery. Could ask your mum for occasional days when you can't pick up or tail end of chicken poox, emergencies only.

TurquoiseDress Tue 29-Apr-14 06:40:43


Yes I think it's a big ask too but my mum seems keen to do it full time- I've now told her that we are definitely going for nursery at least a few days a week and would she be able to help out with the other one or two days.

It's progressed a bit from her saying I was selfish and looking for a crèche to dump my baby in- this really hurt but I'm trying to look beyond and to the future.

I truly don't know- my parents seem happy for me when it's something they want me to do but throw a partner into the mix and they go all frosty especially my mother.

Me and OH are getting married in July, unfortunately my mother cannot work up an ounce of enthusiasm for it, she's better than she was last year when we announced the engagement- back then it was obvious she was not happy.

I felt totally cringey and embarrassed at my mum's reaction compared to my OH's family who were totally delighted and happy to demonstrate this.

Think my mother (& father to an extent) feel we should cancel the wedding and put the money towards a house deposit....the fact is, even if we did put the wedding money towards a property we still very likely wouldn't be able to buy one given the current climate.

So there are so many issues tied up with this, not just sending my child to a nursery and debating how many days my mother should have him.

AnneElliott Tue 29-Apr-14 06:50:07

I would say no more than 1 day per week. And make it Monday otherwise you get charged at nurseries for bank holidays when they are not open.

I have a similar issue with my mother but 1 day per week has worked out ok. It's also easier to get childcare for an additional day if it all goes wrong, rather than having the whole week to cover at short notice.

TurquoiseDress Tue 29-Apr-14 07:06:10

Ok thanks for the heads up about Mondays!
I do feel that one or two days will work, just need to take the plunge and see, hopefully we can make adjustments if necessary.

Just worried about depending on my mother too much (have v busy job) and she'll be all negative about it when we have a childcare crisis!

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