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v first world childcare dilemma - wwyd?

(12 Posts)
louloutheshamed Thu 20-Feb-14 21:00:48

(Disclaimer: I am aware how incredibly fortunate I am to have family to do childcare. My parents and pils are wonderful and I am beyond grateful to them and demonstrate this gratitude frequently)

I have ds1 aged 3 and ds2 aged 5 mo.

I will be returning to work ft in the summer. Up until recently our childcare arrangements were going to be as they were when I went back to work after ds1 - as follows:

Mon - Nursery
Tues - Nursery
Wed - dm (she travels though and stays on a Tues night, then spends Wed with them at our house)
Thurs - Pils (dh takes and collects as he works nearby)
Fri - Dh off

We were happy with this arrangement as it worked well after ds1, I felt like one day a week was just enough for gps so that it didn't feel like too much of a chore.

We asked both sets of parents if they were happy to continue with 2dcs and they said yes. (All in late 50s, fit and well, pils are retired though my mum works and Weds is her day off).

Then my mum threw us a curveball - she is winding down at work (she is self employed running own retail business) and she said she could take a tuesday off and have both dcs Tues and Wed.

I am unsure for a variety of reasons - firstly I am worried that it would be too much for her (hell I find it too much some days and i'm their mother!) esp as ds2 will be mobile and presumably more of a handful. DM is insulted by this as she tells me that she had 3 dc under 5 and no car and coped perfectly well (though seems to ignore the fact that this was 30y ago...).

Also, the following sept ds1 will go to school, and I think him going down to just one day at nursery to then go to ft school might be too much of a transition (when other kids will have been in pre-school every day etc).

Also my mum suggested that she could take them through to hers on a Tues, they could stay overnight, and she would bring them back on a weds. This would mean me not seeing dcs 1 night per week and though it would allow me to get loads done (am ft secondary teacher) i'm not sure how comfortable I feel about not seeing them every night, especially as I would like to continue to bf ds2 after my return to work. My mum's house is about a 30-40 min drive away, depending on traffic, but she lives in a village by the sea so in the summer there is loads for dcs to do near hers - eg great park/beach etc.

Another option is that she only has ds2 on a tues and has both of them on a weds. This would mean keeping ds1 in nursery 2 days. I would worry that if ds1 will only be going to nursery i day per week it would be harder for him to settle in?? This would mean she would stay at our house though, not take dcs overnight, though she could take them to hers during the day if she wanted and I could collect.

Another option but one I am not keen on is that we switch the nursery days to Mon and Fri and dh goes back to work ft. He is also self employed and so it would only be worth it if he made more that day than it would cost for childcare, and I suspect he might just end up spreading the same amount of work over 5 days. I also think that dh being in sole charge of ds1 one day per week was an absolutely wonderful thing for our family and our relationship (he never questions "what I do all day" on mat leave!) and he is looking forward to doing it again with both dss.

So, sorry for essay, I realise it's a good position to be in. what option do you think would be best taking all things into consideration?

Is the only 1 day at nursery thing an important factor or not really??

lljkk Thu 20-Feb-14 21:03:56

I suggest keep the things as are & see how your mum gets on with her new free time. She may indeed find that one day of the kids is plenty or start begging for more. Tell her that you just don't want to change anything in a hurry since the current routine works so well. She might want to do volunteer work etc with her extra free day.

Liara Thu 20-Feb-14 21:07:47

I really wouldn't worry about the only one day at nursery thing.

It is really great that your dc will have lots of interesting and different experiences with their gps, and the extra day at nursery is not really going to make the transition to school magically disappear.

BarberryRicePud Thu 20-Feb-14 21:13:54

Yes, personally i would say it is a big factor. I think 1 day a week in nursery is too little for them to settle.

I also wouldn't be happy to have a long term arrangement where dc were away 1 night per week, but that's just me. I really think you'd struggle to continue bf though as DS may well get confused and upset if he doesn't get that 1 night per week. Its the main reason i stopped bf as with my job there are some nights i couldn't be home to bf and didn't want my Dh to struggle.

I'd leave things as they are and maybe ask for the odd weekend instead perhaps. You could always say nursery have suggested not less than 2 days. Infact many nurseries won't take kids for only 1 day per week.

UniS Thu 20-Feb-14 22:04:08

IF your kids spend one night a week at grandma's , where would you spend that night?
I have a friend who has made that sort of pattern of child care work and her kids are at grandma's Sunday night to Tuesday tea. friend stays at grandma's on Monday night but not Sunday. like you grandma is a 30 Mon drive from home. Its got harder now dc1 is at school and childminder but dc2 is still at grandma's.

louloutheshamed Fri 21-Feb-14 07:28:30

No the idea is that I would stay at home and they would stay at my mum's. It's about an hours commute from my work to my mum's so would be a lot if extra travelling if i was to stay.

mycatlikestwiglets Fri 21-Feb-14 07:37:09

My inlaws started taking DS overnight once a week when I went back to work (and are still taking him now I'm off on mat leave with DC2). It's wonderful! Having a "night off" to work late if needed or go out to dinner with DH without worrying about getting home is very liberating. You soon get used to it and my DS always has a lovely time with his GPs so has a very close relationship with them as a result. Sadly the arrangement will be ending when I go back to work after this mat leave but I'd accept in a second if they were prepared to continue.

Bearwantsmore Fri 21-Feb-14 07:44:33

I would check your nursery's policy before you make any decisions - it's true that many won't talk children for 1 day only. The reason they give it's that it's harder for children to settle.

I agree, keep it as it is and see how things go.

waterrat Fri 21-Feb-14 07:46:15

Definitely do not change your partners day at home - you would be removing his day with his child in order to fit in with what your mother wants and that is crazy. It's wonderful that he gets a day don't mess with that

I think you should have faith in yourself - it makes sense to me that in the run up to school your son would benefit from nursery more than extra time at home

It feels as though you know what you do and f
Don't want and are only wobbling because of your nuns feelings. Be honest with her but focus on the practical not her age!

pickletalk14 Fri 21-Feb-14 08:16:51

Same quandary here and dc1 is still a bump... but PILs have already asked. They have offered 2 days and we have asked for 1. I will do one day and OH another.

We would like dc to do two nursery days a week for the same reasons, settling, continuity etc. and we would effectively get the second day tax free by using our childcare vouchers.

Second reason is we saw how tired they were looking after SILs two. They are a bit older than your mum but still active. They were fine with nephew alone but his little sister made it hard work!

We plan to use the extra leeway with them for the odd evening or half day to nip out and get a hair cut etc.

I definitely sympathise they already seemed disappointed, like we were banning them from coming at any other time!!!

Ragwort Fri 21-Feb-14 08:28:30

Definately keep things as they are.

Also, I am in my mid 50s and can't understand why your mother doesn't want to have more time to herself?

Once the children are at school it would be great for them to spend more holiday time with your mother, especially as she lives near the sea.

louloutheshamed Fri 21-Feb-14 12:28:16

I know you'd think she'd want the time to herself but she does love her dgss. She has always worked full time and now she is winding down but still very much wants to keep herself busy- which she most definitely will be!!

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