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Childcare dilemma: What would you do? Come and talk to me please!

(52 Posts)
angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 20:59:13

Hi all,

DS is 6.5 months and I am thinking about going back to work PT. The plan is always that I go back after 9 months PT: 3 days at office and 1 from home so that DS will go to nursery/CM 3 days a week. At the moment, DH and I are thinking I might take the whole year off instead as DS was a very difficult baby and I am just starting to really enjoy him now. Just a short history: I was abused (by an older cousin) as a child and this happened when I was being looked after by my grandmother who lived with my uncle and aunty so there were always lots of children around so the abuse just kinda happen in the ensuring chaos. Because of this, I was never keen on a CM, I just feel that in a nursery, there's more people around and less likely for things like that to happen. HOWEVER, I went to see one nursery and was not happy that all the minders looked like they just came out of school. I spoke to other mothers and am coming round to the CM idea as I like the idea of someone who is a mother to look after my LO instead of someone who has never had a baby. I do realise this is my personal preference...

Now, my inlaws have suggested an alternative. They live an hour away and we get along mostly very well until DS arrived... My MIL is well intentioned but she does have fixed ideas of how you should raise children and I felt very pressured by her to do certain things... Anyway, there was a lot of tension, which ended up that we didn't really see much of one another lately. My SIL (who is lovely) spent last weekend with us, heard our side of the story and understood as she knows what her mum is like. She said certain things to my inlaws and as such, we 'had it out' today. It was all very civil - what they saw as suggestions to make our life easier, we saw as criticisms and interference. What we saw as non-involvement on their bit was them backing off as they didn't feel welcome by us (I come from a culture where my parents have an 'open house' and we specifically told PILs when DS was born that they should feel free to come and visit anytime but they basically expect a formal invitation to come and visit everytime!). Anyway, it does seem there's a lot of miscommunication. Also, MIL said she doesn't come to us because she has panic attacks and can't drive herself far.

So what they have offered is this, that they will look after DS for 2 days a week BUT because of MIL's panic attacks, FIL will come and pick DS up say on Sunday evening and then drop him back to us on Wednesday morning on his way to work... I don't really know how to feel about this... If MIL said she would come to ours to look after DS, I would feel a lot more comfortable with that but if DS is looked after at theirs, there's so many implications.

PRO 1:
DS will be looked after by close family

CON 1:
I will not have much control over how they raise DS if it is done at their place for that length of time (Can I bear to have DS away from me 3 nights a week?). At least, with a CM or nursery, I have control over certain things. Like I said before, PILs and I come from different cultures and I just don't know if I want DS raise the way they raised DH (though I have to say they obviously did a great job with him and SIL) but how much say can I have if the care is happening in their home?

CON 2:
DS will still need to go to nursery/CM one day a week. Is that going to be more unsettling for him? I actually think DS will enjoy nursery as he loves baby/toddler groups for the social element (he likes watching other children etc).

CON 3:
Because of my childhood (I had to deal with issues of abandonment as an adult), I don't ever want DS to feel abandoned. Will he feel that way if he has to stay part of the week away from us?

Please help! I just don't know what to think!!!!!!!!!!! sad DH and I can just about afford to have me be a SAHM but I do love my job and I think I will be overall a better and more well-balanced mum if I work PT. I would really value opinions from people in similar positions either as parents themselves or if they had been placed in a similar situation as a child. I know my views are skewed because of what happened to me as a child so just need some honest opinions and any other issues that this might bring?

Ax

Heated Sat 06-Sep-08 21:03:17

Definite no to ds staying away from you 3 nights a week!!!!! That would be painful for you and ds (just at the stage of separation anxiety)

Tbh, given all your issues, I would find either another nursery that does pass muster or a CM that locally comes with rave recommendations.

twoluvlykids Sat 06-Sep-08 21:07:38

No don't agree to it. It's too early, he still needs you, and you need the night time routine after being at work. I'm sure you'd be miserable,and he'd miss you

funnypeculiar Sat 06-Sep-08 21:10:57

Personally, I wouldn't want my babes away from me three nights on a regular basis. (I'd bloody love it occasionally smile) Depends on your hours, of course, but it would be a lot of time apart for all of you.

I also, personally, think that unless you have very consistent ideas, childcare via family can be really tricky.
How will you handle things if your PIL are doing things you're not comfy with? Esp given it sounds like - however lovely they are - communication isn't straight forwards. When someone's doing you a favour basically, it's hard to make things happen in the way you want. Esp a problem with first babies, I'd say, too.

I would look at as many local options as you can - cms & nurseries. There will be somewhere that 'feels' right.

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:12:28

Hi Heated,

My plan is to put the word out next week to all the baby groups I go to (3!) that I need a CM to see if I can find a good CM that way... And I am going to see more nurseries... One I am seeing next week has a good Ofsted report but doesn't have a free space till May 09 but I think we can sort something out for the 2 months in between I start work and him starting nursery... DS is PFB and I don't know if I can stand the idea of him being away from him for such a big part of the week. On the other hand, I think having him looked after my family is better than strangers? Thanks for bringing up the separation anxiety issue, I haven't thought about that... I don't think I could bear it if he cried while going with FIL! sad

Ax

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:13:34

Lots to think about... Please keep your opinions coming... I am not being too PFB about it all then if I do say no to PILs???

KatyMac Sat 06-Sep-08 21:13:49

DD (10) floats between her grandparents & our house pretty much at will - she is confident in each environment and secure

She started staying at their house regularily from about 2 - staying odd nights befoe that

I think that for your DS to stay at the g'parents occasionally would be lovely but 3 days a week every week seems an awful lot (IMO)

3 days at a C/Mer/nursery would be routine and he would come home every night

I don't think you should underestimate how much you would miss him - all day is bad enough, all night as well? I couldn't do it even now she is 10 - at least not every week

onepieceoflollipop Sat 06-Sep-08 21:16:19

3 nights a week away from you sounds quite an extreme solution tbh, particularly with your background. That is half of the week practically.

I would suggest visiting a few nurseries and possible childminders, it can take a while to find the right childcare.

Don't give your ils at this stage the impression that you definitely want them to consider this option seriously.

If they did end up having him for 3 days he wouldn't necessarily need to stay over - perhaps fil and you could meet at a half way point for example (half hour's drive for both of you)

Tbh the "fixed ideas" that your mil has set alarm bells ringing for me. There has already been some sort of falling out over quite minor issues. What happens in a few weeks when she potentially makes decisions re your ds because he is in effect living with them for half the week?

1girlie1boydy Sat 06-Sep-08 21:16:22

Hi, I had the same views about cm's so opted for a nursery with dd and ds. However I have more friends who use cm's than nurseries.

I think you have answered your own question as your cons far outway your pros.

Take some time out to visit some nuseries in your area. I'm sure you will come across one you feel comfortable with. I know what you mean when you say the staff look like they have just left school and to be fair they prob have.

They all have to be fully qualified to be in charge of your ds and my dd's key worker was brilliant. A real caring individual that took great care of her.

I think childcare will always be a tough one but unfortuatly a real one. You could always try sending ds to a nursery and if it dosen't work out think about your PIL's suggestion then.

Hope some of this helps and you find a way which makes you all happy. x

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:26:31

Thank you all so much for your opinions. I really needed them as I don't know if my background has coloured my opinions somewhat... I just feel so protective of DS and am determined that he will never go through what I went through but don't know if I am being overprotective (one of the things I have been accused of by PILs but surely he is my first, I am allowed to be a bit PFB about DS???).

1girlie1boydy - I was told by the manager of the nursery I went to see that only HALF of the nursery staff needs to be fully qualified, which shocked me. Anyone knows if this is true? I also did not like the way she tried to pressure me into putting down a deposit to ensure DS's place in the nursery...

KatyMac Sat 06-Sep-08 21:28:34

It is true (there are some changes with EYFS I'm not aufait with tho') But remember the older 'mums' are likely to be the staff without the qualifications

Where abouts are you we may be able to get you a reccommendation

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:33:34

I'm in SE London so looking at Woolwich / Plumstead / Blackheath / Greenwich areas...

pudding25 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:35:45

I am going back to work 3 days in Jan when dd will be 8 mths old. No way in this world would I have her stay away for one night, never mind 3. In fact, my mil (who will prob do one day childcare) said that if they make me go back full time, to save money, she will help more and dd can stay with her overnight (they only live 20 mins away but in the opposite direction to work). I nearly started crying at the thought and said no way. If they make me go back full time, I will be very very miserable anyway, never mind if dd stayed out one night.
Also, if your in laws think totally differently to you, it will be hard.

I am looking at nurseries over childminders are I want dd to be looked after by more than one person as I think it is safer and for other reasons (so you are not being unreasonable). I am on London and do not have to give a deposit to put my name down, only when I confirm a place.
All staff will be crb checked (not that is neccessarily something to rely on) but at least there are lots of other staff around and lots of fun activities for your baby to do.

KatyMac Sat 06-Sep-08 21:36:18

I have linked this thread to one in childminding

Kbear Sat 06-Sep-08 21:41:58

Get a childminder, pick your baby up after work and keep your MIL at arm's length is my advice!! I know it's not that simple but I can hear alarm bells ringing already.

Get a copy of the Bexley list of childminders as well if it's not too far from where you live.

Good luck

1girlie1boydy Sat 06-Sep-08 21:42:25

Yes you are prob right that only so many have to have certain qualifications but unfortunatly that is the case in all childminding orgainisations.

If you use a cm she/he could have other staff helping out. I know a few who have their partners or parents helping and i'm sure they won't be qualified and prob not CRB checked.

At least with a nursery you have the added security of other people around, parents coming and going to collect their children at different times and most have security locks on all doors and passwords which you set up with the manangement.

It is a difficult one and only you knows how you really feel about it.

Hope you find a solution. xx

Heated Sat 06-Sep-08 21:42:57

And there is nothing lovelier than coming back from a day at work to someone who is absolutely squirming with delight at seeing you (excluding dh of coursegrin)

You could put up at CM/Nursery post on MN asking for recommendations in that area too and check out childcarelink if you haven't already for CMs and nurseries in your area.

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:44:12

Thank you KatyMac, that is very kind of you. Almost makes me cry that there are people like you looking out for me! I have to say that funnily enough, I come from a culture where it is extremely common for close family to be involved in childcare i.e. kids are often look after by a grandparent most of the time and I myself stayed with my uncle's family most of the week. My parents came to visit Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the weekends. It sounds horrible but my parents were doing the best they could for me and they did not know the abuse would happen. The good thing that came out of that is I am extremely close to my uncle's family (the abuser was a regular 'visitor' not one of my uncle's kids) and my cousins are like my sisters. But I do remember how much I look forward to my parents' visits and how sad I often were when they left... So I don't want to ever put DS in that position ever. Like I said before, I just don't know how much that has clouded my view of the proposed arrangement!

Heated Sat 06-Sep-08 21:44:47

Oh, I see Katymac's been very efficient smile - she's given me some excellent CM advice.

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 21:45:56

Thank you all. I have bookmarked the childcare link!!!!

findtheriver Sat 06-Sep-08 21:57:13

No no no!! 3 nights away from home is a totally extreme 'solution' and I think would be very unsettling for you and your baby. It sounds as though in your heart you feel a CM is the right solution. Follow your instincts.

bozza Sat 06-Sep-08 22:08:37

There is absolutely no way that my child would be away from home 3 nights a week regularly, even now, and they are 7 and 4. I am now reconciled to 2 night stops - but occasionally (twice so far this year but quite a few one nighters). And TBH I don't think 3 nights is reasonable.

Maybe just Sunday night? Then pick him up after work on Monday? Or maybe dont' bother and say you would just like them to be grandparents and maybe have him the odd weekend and when the CM is on holiday?

Also am a bit hmm about your plans to work from home while looking after a toddler....

Definately no. I could not have my baby away from me 3 nights of every week. They would in effect have joint custody, and it would probably have a devastating effect on your DS. Definately look into a childminder or nursery.

I was supposed to be going back to college this month and my mum was going to look after DD2. But seeing how much input she warrants and how much she takes over when she stayed her for a week (longest week of my life wink) I just couldn't leave dd2 with her 5 days a week for over 7 hours. I'm now waiting until dd2 starts school.

angel1976 Sat 06-Sep-08 22:15:15

Bozza Yes, I recognise that the working from home bit with a toddler might not work so it will be either CM that day too or a friend of mine who has a DS almost the same age as DS might be up for taking DS as she only works one day a week! grin

cat64 Sat 06-Sep-08 22:15:56

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