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How to broach the subject of childcare with MIL?

(283 Posts)
ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 17:50:18

I have a brilliant MIL who I get on with swimmingly. She's delighted I'm pregnant and really excited about having her first grandchild. We live 25 mins away from her (we're actually currently living at her house, because we're having work done to our bathroom). We might move in with her more permanently when I'm due, to have her help with the baby in the early days.

I'd like to broach the subject of childcare, but I'm not sure how to do it sensitively, and without looking like I'm taking advantage of her. TBH, I'd like to take 6 months maternity leave and then return to work full-time, and it would be amazing if she would volunteer to take on all the childcare after that. It's a big ask. She has a part-time job as a teacher, which she has hinted that she doesn't enjoy very much.

Is it reasonable for me to ask her whether she'd like to quit her job so that I can go back to work?
How should we recompense her for the loss of earnings? Could we offer to pay her (because we'd rather pay her than pay a childminder we don't know) but would she take offense?

Would be great to get everyone's thoughts on this smile

TheGreatHunt Thu 13-Mar-14 17:55:59

Er I wouldn't. At least wait until baby is here and see how you two get on then. Seriously.

cathpip Thu 13-Mar-14 17:56:12

I would wait and see if your mil offers, and also even if she is ultra fit full time care of a baby is hard work! You may want to investigate childminders and see if mil is up for a bit of part time child care mixed with a childminder.....

AtSea1979 Thu 13-Mar-14 17:58:34

Like others have said wait til baby is here and wait til she offers.

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 17:59:11

I would wait a bit you might find that you do not want to go back to work so quickly, or she might not want to give up work or....anything really.

MrsBungle Thu 13-Mar-14 18:01:14

Goodness, I wouldn't ask, she will offer if she wants to do it. To expect her to do it full-time is a massive ask.

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:03:09

Yeah I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't plan it so early. Nor would I move out my house with a new born to my MIL's house.

TheGreatHunt Thu 13-Mar-14 18:03:47

The main reason is that she might parent differently to you. My MIL is lovely but my god she pissed me right off when pfb arrived.

Casmama Thu 13-Mar-14 18:05:38

Absolutely do not ask her. It is not fair and if she is as lovely as you say then she will feel very uncomfortable saying no.
My mum doesn't work but has a busy life and I would not have dreamt of asking her. She loves my DS and babysits often or will help when he is ill but just doesn't want the respomsibility.

Don't assume she will want to paid or to.

Boggler Thu 13-Mar-14 18:06:08

Seriously you ate being very presumptuous to think she will want ti kook after your baby full time. I think you should wait for her to offer, then and only then should you start discussing anything. If she's a part time teacher she obviously doesn't want ft work so what makes you think she'll want to be your full time childminder? She won't get a lie in or a day off which is a massive thing to give up, not to mention having her hair done, shopping in peace going to the toilet etc.

Casmama Thu 13-Mar-14 18:06:15

Paid or not

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:07:55

Oh good God no!

Wait. Have your baby, and then see how you feel. It's a huge thing to ask and you can't expect her to give up paid employment to provide you with free childcare.

Just shock

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:08:28

Bluntly, no, it isn't reasonable to ask if she would like to quit her job and sign up to work for you full time (paid or unpaid) year round.

Some grandmothers might like to do this, but others absolutely do not. My mother is semi-retired, and a doting grandma. In future I could see her offering to do half term childcare or something. But not daily childcare. Every day of every week is a big, big commitment. Particularly if she currently works part time and term time and is used to time to herself.

She may volunteer. And if you want to give her the chance to do so you could start talking about how you are looking into childcare options for when you return to work. But you absolutely mustn't say "would you think about giving up your job for me and becoming my full time nanny", which is effectively what you would be asking her. It is the sort of thing which must be freely offered, never requested or put on the spot. That way future fall out lies. Especially if she is someone who struggles to say no.

OddFodd Thu 13-Mar-14 18:08:38

FGS don't put her on the spot by asking. See what comes up in conversation as time goes on - you'll end up talking about childcare at some point once your baby's here.

Also, you won't know how you feel when you've had the baby. You might want to go back at 6 months, you might not. You might not want to go back full time. Play everything by ear

whattoWHO Thu 13-Mar-14 18:08:59

Wait until baby arrives.
And then wait until she offers.
In the meantime start looking at other options.
Be prepared for your relationship to alter if she becomes your childcare provider.

PotteringAlong Thu 13-Mar-14 18:10:44

You cannot pay her to look after your baby full time without her being an ofsted registered child minder.

I think you're being horribly presumptuous.

Also, when are you due? If she abate to resign she will need to do so with good notice as a teacher. What if you then change your mind / go back to work later? Also, I assume she works part time because she wants to work part time. Why would she suddenly want to work full time?

squizita Thu 13-Mar-14 18:11:02

This is a weird one because I wouldn't dream of asking. I'd assume my child + work = I need to pay for childcare (or make an arrangement with DH e.g. one of us part time). The parents choose to have the baby, they cannot make assumptions other relatives will just want to do a responsible, challenging job for free unless they offered.

Obviously if a relative offered, that would be wonderful all round! But just the assumption is a bit presumptuous.

Am I being odd here?

Flibbertyjibbet Thu 13-Mar-14 18:11:40

Oh god no don't ask at least until you are into your maternity leave and see how she is with the baby.

My friend had the same situation, mil working part time in a school, offered to give up her job and look after baby full time, for a bit less pay than the school job. Friend thought that a great idea.

6 months later, after baby arrived, mil was driving my friend nuts giving her baby porridge at 5 months, undermining my friend's parenting etc. Poor friend had no idea how to get out of this agreement.

One day I sat with the mil in the leisure centre café after a baby swim session. She told me she'd changed her mind now baby was here and didn't know how to tell her dil! Said she'd forgotten how demanding babies are and how she hadn't realised that she would be doing FULL TIME childcare whereas with her job she could meet her friends or go shopping in the afternoons.

Of course I reported this to the friend and she then pretended to 'broach' the subject with her mil. Baby went to nursery 3 days and the two grannies 'shared her' between mornings and afternoons the other days.

If your mil looks after a baby full time she has to synchronise her holidays with yours, has no time for herself, and will probably end up feeling very dumped upon if you have more children and expect her to look after those too.

Accidentallyquirky Thu 13-Mar-14 18:13:15

Hi op I agree with some of the others, wait and see if your going back to work for a start and see how you get on when baby arrives.
I went back to work full time when my youngest was 8 weeks, fil mentioned he wanted to retire but didn't want to be bored at home, I just straight to the point asked if he would consider minding the kids so I could work.

This has worked out great for us, as we couldn't afford to work without childcare.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:17:07

Well, I don't think I'm being presumptuous, because:
a) I'm not presuming anything, am I? I'm just asking you guys.
b) She doesn't enjoy her job, she just does it to earn money, she loves kids, and my husband said that she probably would want to look after the baby full-time (albeit without asking her).

Thanks for the tips though. I agree, it's much better to wait until she offers, rather than bringing up the subject directly.

BikeRunSki Thu 13-Mar-14 18:18:53

Don't ask, see if she volunteers. If she doesn't, don't assume that she want to. She may not want to! Keep her goodwill for adhoc babysitting.

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:20:43

You're presuming quite a bit.

There's a huge difference between adoring and spending time with your grandchild and having to care for them full time.

It's hugely draining, physically and emotionally, as any parent will tell you. To assume your MIL would want that level of responsibility full time for several years is a massive presumption to make.

Ragwort Thu 13-Mar-14 18:21:12

Wanting to give up your job and loving children absolutely does not mean that your MIL would want to be a full time carer for your child shock.

I am sure 100s of us would like to give up work and love children but no way would we want to commit to looking after a grandchild full time. You may be lucky in that she offers to do 1 or 2 days a week but as others have said, you need to think very, very carefully about this sort of arrangement.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:25:26

I'm a doctor and my husband's a solicitor. My husband works extremely long hours and sometimes I have to work night shifts. If we get a nanny she would have to be a live-in nanny, but we don't have room for one in our small flat.

It's not about the money. I'd rather pay someone all of my salary and have the chance to continue with my career.

We don't really have that much choice. Judge away.

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:25:38

Well actually your follow up post sounds more presumptuous than your first. Not liking your job and loving kids is not the same as wanting to be a full time nanny (AFAIK she wouldn't need to register as a childminder if she cared for your child at your house, even if you paid her. That would apply if she cared for your child at hers. But nannies should have medical training, insurance, etc even though their actual training is not so strictly regulated).

Also bear in mind that she currently works term time only (barring preparation in holidays, of which I realise there is a lot but which can be done at times of your choosing mostly) and part time. You are thinking about full time and year round. And tying herself to holidays when you take yours. And 'parenting' your child rather than getting to be the doting granny who spoils them.

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