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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

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:26:38

If you guys think your kids are such a pain to look after full-time, why are you having them?

rubyslippers Thu 13-Mar-14 18:28:18

Maybe she wants to enjoy her retirement if she quits the job she hates

I cannot imagine asking my MIL or my mum to care for my kids FT

It's just totally demanding

Your MIL may be happy to
Do an as hoc day here and there or one day a week

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:28:47

I understand childcare is difficult. I know plenty of doctor/lawyer couples as a lawyer myself.

But people aren't judging you for saying childcare is difficult. They are saying that this is not the kind of thing you can ask a person to consider, I think TBH you are massively underestimating the demands of what you are asking against your MILs current job.

Presumably this was a planned pregnancy, so now I'm afraid you need to plan on the assumption you need to pay childcare. Your husband probably needs to step up to be home on time for the days you have night shift. He may even have to (shock horror) negotiate some form of flexible working himself. It can be done, it really can.

Or you move further out/to a worse area and you get another couple of bedrooms.

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 18:29:07

well why are you having a baby if you are not going to look after him/her and are planning to palm her off on your mil before he/she is even born?

you might feel quite different when the baby is here anyway.

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:29:15

My children are demanding, and tiring to look after. Which is why I wouldn't expect my parents or IL's to do it full time for nothing.

If I need childcare, I'll pay for a professional to it hmm

OddFodd Thu 13-Mar-14 18:29:16

Sheesh OP, nice bedside manner you have there!

Lookbusy Thu 13-Mar-14 18:30:08

I'm really going to go against the majority feeling here, Elle ! My son and daughter-in-law asked me whether I would be interested in taking on childcare for them when she returned to work after maternity leave. I was in a fulltime job that I had become unhappy in. We had already established that my parenting style is similar to theirs because they have an older child whose life I had been in since his birth.

To be honest my initial reaction to their suggestions was surprise mixed with apprehension, but I agreed to give it some thought. I won't go into all the details right now but it was a brilliant suggestion and we frequently congratulate ourselves on what a win-win situation we're all in. It's four years since we started!

Plenty more to relate (and some ideas about how we organised ourselves) if you're interested - feel free to PM me. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has such a good relationship with her daughter-in-law!

PenguinsEatSpinach Thu 13-Mar-14 18:30:30

Oh dear goodness. I am currently a full time SAHM. It's fucking hard. Harder than when I was working. I love looking after them because they are my kids, and because I'm in my 30s. Not sure I'd be as keen for grandchildren in my 60s +. I had them because I wanted them. I am currently at home because I want to be. But that's not the same as expecting someone else to want to just because they are related.

Blueuggboots Thu 13-Mar-14 18:30:57

I was massively lucky that my parents offered to have DS when my shifts overlapped with stbxh's shifts.

I pay them £200 a month, which is NOTHING compared to what I would pay a "professional" person.

My parents were brilliant - we set ground rules from the beginning. When my STBXH and I parted company, they were having my DS (2.5 at the time) 4 days/nights a week with me helping in between my shifts and they admitted it was too much for them especially with the tantrums!

They planned to go on a 3 month holiday (and I would have done the same in their situation!!) giving me a year's notice that they were going so I was able to save annual leave and make alternative plans for ds's childcare while they're away.

It CAN work but they offered.

whattoWHO Thu 13-Mar-14 18:37:20

You do have a choice.
Have a nanny/childminder/nursery place during the day. Ask your MIL to help on the ocassions you have to work a night shift.
Did you not consider this before planning your pregnancy?

Roseandmabelshouse Thu 13-Mar-14 18:37:27

Of course you shouldn't ask her. She has brought up her own children. Grandchildren are to enjoy minus the hard graft!

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:37:50

Oh so DH thinks she'd love to do full time childcare.

There are quite a lot of disappointed men in the world who realise their mothers lives do not revolve around their own once they're grown up.

On a practical level if she works in a job she doesn't like it would appear she needs the money. You will need to pay her this at least plus tax plus employees NI plus employers NI just like any other nanny. Plus she'll be working 48 weeks a year so really you should pro rate it upwards.

squizita Thu 13-Mar-14 18:41:10

OP, my DH is a lawyer too. He is exploring how his career may have to change because I love my career (management in the education sector including out-of-hours pastoral work). It may be neither of us want to change a jot - but as you mention, that will mean paying for childcare.
Otherwise one or other of us will have to adjust our working habits.
I do understand how it leaves a dilemma some couples don't choose to face which (IMO) comes from sexism - and which it sounds like our DHs don't ascribe to. Some male lawyers I know take it utterly for granted that their partner will be the one who goes part time or gives up work as they're the 'big clever career men'. hmm Of course this isn't as it was 50 years ago! So then a tough choice has to be made.

I reckon we'll be dealing with that 'hit' financially, or with DH considering his workload. If someone offered to help: wonderful. Nevertheless I still don't think I could ever ask someone: I chose to have a career, I chose (indeed undertook painful medical treatment) to have a child... so I can't ask someone to make my compromises easier.

Viviennemary Thu 13-Mar-14 18:42:05

Take on full time childcare is a very big ask. YABVVVVU if you expect her to quit her job. Unless she would be really pleased to give up her salary and work for you for nothing. I feel sorry for people press ganged into being undpaid childminders.

justmuddlingalong Thu 13-Mar-14 18:43:55

Is this another MIL childcare thread kicking off? I could hear it from my kitchen! wink

Ragwort Thu 13-Mar-14 18:44:31

How can two presumably highly educated people be so ignorant about childcare and assume their Mother/MIL would be interested in being a full time childcarer hmm. The mind boggles.

We don't really have that much choice - what do you mean? You have the same amount of 'choice' as all of us and why didn't you think of this before you decided to have a child?

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:48:34

Nigella - When we were planning the pregnancy, I was going to take 1 year maternity leave and then go back part-time to train as a GP. I've since decided that I don't want to be a GP. Obviously, if my MIL isn't keen to look after the baby full-time, I will take longer maternity leave and consider different career options. But I'm really lucky to have such a kind MIL who I love and trust, so what's the harm in exploring all the options? (cf "palm off" my baby - effective use of emotive language, tick tick)

Lookbusy - It's so good to read your post. I'll PM you for more advice smile

Penguins - I appreciate your advice, but I'm not sure if flexible working is available in corporate law.

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:49:28

DH is a lawyer and works stupid hours at times. He brings work home on the days he does nursery pick up. You have to adapt.

But your 25 weeks. So you won't really have thought about this yet. I finally realised it when when arrived home from the hospital. Might have been a bit later than ideal.

OwlCapone Thu 13-Mar-14 18:49:33

If you guys think your kids are such a pain to look after full-time, why are you having them?

You said that you'd prefer to be at work furthering your career than with your child. Why are you having one?


AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:50:38

Beginning to think this is all falling on deaf ears...

NigellasDealer Thu 13-Mar-14 18:50:53

If you guys think your kids are such a pain
use of emotive language 'tick tick'
honestly elle, i bet you will be thinking quite differently after the birth.

LittleBearPad Thu 13-Mar-14 18:51:06

A years maternity leave won't change your childcare options though - just delay the date you have to deal with them.

ElleDubloo Thu 13-Mar-14 18:51:20

Oh, so MIL childcare threads normally get so heated?

It might be a cultural thing. In some cultures (incl ours) it's more acceptable (dare I say expected?) that grandparents take a more active role. And conversely, we tend to look after our parents when they get older and frailer. But the society in this country is more Individualistic. That's why the working adults pay for childcare and the elderly are put into state nursing homes.

Iggi101 Thu 13-Mar-14 18:52:26

Is your mil paying into the pension fund at work? Can you pay her enough to make up for that loss?
I think you have the ideal solution to hand - use a nursery or childminder, and keep mil on side so she can collect from nursery/come to flat some evenings when you have to work. If you both adjust your work patterns a bit and have her help, it can all work out fine. If she looks after lo during the day too, will you then expect her to do the evening shift? That is v hard if so.
OP you haven't come across particularly well in this thread but most of us are completely naive about the realities of life with our first child. You clearly wish it all to be well organised, but some flexibility is essential to stay sane with a newborn.

AllThatGlistens Thu 13-Mar-14 18:53:07

You really think it's that this country has an individualistic culture that makes us put our children in childcare?

Yes. That's absolutely why grin

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