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'Giving' baby to granny?

(242 Posts)
Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 11:53:34

Bit of backstory: relationship breakdown, subsequent discovery of unplanned pregnancy which I have decided to keep. The father wants to be part of the baby's life when it arrives.

I am in London, and to carry on working in my field I need to stay in London. The father is also in London. I work fulltime, 8-7ish, plus some evenings and weekends. Giving up work/going part-time is not an option for financial reasons. I might be able to work from home a bit, but not sure yet.

I have been looking at London nurseries etc, fulltime care for the baby from about 12 weeks.

My parents live about 2 hours from London, and are retired. My mum offered yesterday to look after the baby fulltime during the week at their home. It is just too far for me to commute daily, I'd never see baby awake, and it would be nearly impossible for the father to have a relationship with the baby. Initially I thought she was mad, as I did not decide to keep the baby to never see it.

But then I thought maybe I am being selfish, and if the baby cannot have me 24/7, maybe it would be best to have my mum, rather than being one of many at a nursery. She was brilliant when I was little, and they have a big garden, parks nearby etc, and, most importantly, time. By being able to stay in a smaller flat and not paying childcare I'd be able to save up enough to do really nice things with the baby when we are together, whereas both living in London we are not going to have much (any) spare cash. Then when the baby is school-age the plan would be to come 'back' to London.

Just wondering if anyone had any experience of a similar situation, or bright ideas? I want to do the best I can for my baby (who doesn't?), and maybe that is not being with me at the moment sad

PeterParkerSays Wed 31-Jul-13 11:58:07

I wouldn't tbh. Small babies need attachment to one care giver, and that needs to be you rather than your mum.

What maternity leave package do you get at work, if you're only planing yo take 12 weeks off?

Walkacrossthesand Wed 31-Jul-13 11:59:42

No personal experience of this, but I know my cousin was a single parent for a few years and had just this arrangement - her infant son lived with grandma in Home Counties during the week so she could work. As it happens, she met someone, married, and started a new life where her son could live with them. I know another family where grandparents pretty much raised the child for 10 years! If it works for you as a solution now, fine. Maybe as time goes by you could shorten your working week, to have more time with DC.

Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 12:00:56

It is 90% of salary for 12 weeks, then down to statutory minimum. I cannot pay my rent and still eat with £135 a week, and I cannot afford to run at a loss.

Lulabellarama Wed 31-Jul-13 12:03:23

I don't think, in theory, it's a bad plan. You can further your career, create a solid homelife for your child down the line etc.
However, I think you're probably underestimating how hard this will be, for all of you.

CockyFox Wed 31-Jul-13 12:03:24

One of my school friends lived with her Nan in the week and her Mum at the weekends, not sure when from but she had a great relationship with both and had no difficulty knowing mum was mum and nan was nan.

popperdoodles Wed 31-Jul-13 12:06:29

from a practical point if view it would work but am not so sure on an emotional level.

nemno Wed 31-Jul-13 12:09:03

It is not a bad plan. I know many families in other countries do this successfully. You can always try it and see how it works, see how you feel.

maja00 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:09:42

Sorry, but I think if you are going to keep the baby you can't work 8-7.

The previous poster is correct that a baby needs to form a secure attachment to one/few people. Never seeing you in the week and being in a nursery long hours from 12 weeks is not going to meet that baby's basic emotional needs.

If you or the father can't fulfil the primary attachment role, then granny is definitely the best option.

Fraxinus Wed 31-Jul-13 12:09:42

I wouldn't tbh. Small babies need attachment to one care giver, and that needs to be you rather than your mum.. Why?

Sunnysummer Wed 31-Jul-13 12:12:46

In Russia and Eastern Europe, this was not uncommon among my friends - and those who were raised this way are usually still close to their parents, especially as they get older. If you do go ahead, your mother sounds exactly the type of GM who would do a great job.

However, it is a hard path and one needing commitment, and from what you've written it doesn't sound like it is necessarily what you actually want.

Your baby won't need spare cash, but you're right that it will need your time, or the time of the father or another dedicated main carer. I see that mat leave isn't an option - would you be able to have your mother move in with you during the week instead, even from 12 weeks to 6 months? Could the father take leave instead? And shouldn't he be helping with funds?

Or could you take something related to your field but nearer your parents for a couple of years and refocus later? I was - and am - quite career focused, but when DS arrived my short-term priorities did shift a bit.

maja00 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:13:32

If you don't want to give the baby to your mum, then use a childminder or nanny rather than a nursery. Nursery environments are poorly set up to meet the needs of very young infants - the baby's primary attachment won't even have been fixed by 12 weeks.

The baby needs to make a strong attachment to someone consistent and responsive - that attachment is going to effect the whole rest of their life. If you are working 8-7 plus some evenings and weekends, that primary attachment might not be you, it won't be a nursery, but it needs to be someone.

noisytoys Wed 31-Jul-13 12:13:58

It sounds ideal. And it's the same reason my DCs will be spending the school hols in Cornwall with DM while me and DH work. Daycare would cripple us and not working isn't an option

Cabrinha Wed 31-Jul-13 12:14:04

That sounds very very hard. Fantastic offer from your mum, and lovely to read that you were happy yourself with her as a child.
To be honest, I would be looking at more options though.
If you have to work, then it's easier to swallow if you earn well so can afford nice things. But don't kid yourself - none of those things you can buy are as precious to either you or your baby as time together. I'm not having a go at you - just wanting to be realistic.
If you do this, I would do everything you can to maximise your mat leave first. 3 months is nothing.
Can your parents give you money, even if you get an extra week at home, that's worth it.
What about the baby's father? What will he contribute? You're saving him half of childcare fees - in London, let's say that's £500 his half a month. Some upfront money from him could keep you off another month.
How about going home for your mat leave? Are you renting? Can you give up the flat and have a few months money back from that, plus no outgoings - that'd buy you more mat leave time.
If you pay a mortgage, how about a mortgage holiday?

Back to the 5 days with your mother... would she be prepared to spend one or two nights at yours? So you can see baby briefly at night?

The thing that worries me in your arrangement is you saying you work some weekends. How is that going to work in future?

orangeandemons Wed 31-Jul-13 12:14:51

No, I don't think you will be able to work 8-7. You'll be too bloody knack armed for one thing. I think you need to find a way to make your life more baby friendly and keep the baby with you

lambinapram Wed 31-Jul-13 12:17:01

I think it would be better for your baby, but you may find it hard as you will miss the baby a lot (hormones will contribute to this) and the baby will probably attach to your mum as his/her primary care giver.

12 weeks is very early to live separately from your baby.
Could you use the money you save on nursery fees to spend a bit longer on mat leave? Maybe live with your mum before you go back to work?

WafflyVersatile Wed 31-Jul-13 12:18:45

I wouldn't tbh. Small babies need attachment to one care giver, and that needs to be you rather than your mum.

That's not true. There is more than one way to gain secure attachment. Something like a third of young children don't have secure attachment consistently throughout childhood anyway.

There is no way of saying if this would work for your child/any of you or not, or even deciding what counts as 'working'.

Maybe you could try working contracted hours at work, ie do longer days for 3 or 4 days a week to maximise time spent with baby.

Consider other ways you can arrange it. Cheaper property a bit further out? Check out what benefits you would be entitled to if you only worked part time etc.

Takver Wed 31-Jul-13 12:18:51

I think that sort of arrangement was much more common in the past. My mum was basically brought up by her nan until she was 7 (wartime) and my grandad by his nan pretty much entirely (his mum was widowed while pregnant & went back to work on the stage to support them all).

My mum had a fantastic relationship with her nan, I don't think it harmed her. The only disadvantage was she didn't go to school until she was going on 8, but that was due to wartime disruption & housing problems, not her nan!

HeySoulSister Wed 31-Jul-13 12:20:26

What does dad think?

Viviennemary Wed 31-Jul-13 12:20:42

I don't see anything wrong with this plan if it suits everyone concerned. Your baby will be well looked after. Years ago this was a far from uncommon arrangement. I think this is a much better option than 10 hours a day in a nursery.

Thurlow Wed 31-Jul-13 12:21:30

I don't think it is that bad an idea, really. If there is no option of going for another job which might have less hours then living with your mum might be a better option in the long run than being at a childminder's 11 hours a day, 4 days a week. I assume a nanny or a nanny-share wouldn't be an option? If you feel your parents are up to looking after a baby full-time, with the night wakings etc., then that's great (personally I don't ascribe to the 'mum is the only possible main care giver' idea, there are many people who can play this role).

I do, however, think that the points mentioned by other posters about long long-term plans are worth considering. Are you looking at a good payrise in the future (so you could afford live-in childcare), or the potential to go part-time, or could you take a side-move in your career and move nearer to your parents?

I think it's incredibly brave of you to go ahead with this pregnancy and you are clearly thinking this all through in a very practical way, which is great. But without meaning to sound too negative, I think it is worth thinking about how this will all pan out not just while your baby is a baby, but while your baby is a toddler, when your baby becomes a child. A career and your own sense of self-worth is important (if a career is what provides that), but equally it will be many, many years before "being able to do nice things" is something your baby will understand or appreciate.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 31-Jul-13 12:22:09

If you're going to do that, why have the baby? Borrow a friends puppy for walks.

Takver Wed 31-Jul-13 12:22:19

Another way to look at it: you wouldn't be doing anything different from what an awful lot of fathers do. It is pretty common given financial pressures at the moment for a dad to work full time long hours, away from home and/or shifts in the week, and only get to see baby at weekends.

The dads I see around me who work away all week still seem to have a good & full relationship with their dc.

Takver Wed 31-Jul-13 12:23:18

"If you're going to do that, why have the baby? Borrow a friends puppy for walks."

WTAF? So a father who works full time away in the week to support his child while his partner is at home looking after the family has no greater relationship with his children than he would with a dog?

Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 12:23:24

Thank you for all your answers. I will try and answer some questions below:

My mum would be happy to stay one night a week in London, so could do two days of childcare that way, but would rather be at home.

The father will pay half of any childcare costs.

The working at weekends is visiting places, mainly, which could be done with a baby in a sling, though obviously not with a toddler. Also, as I said, the father will want some time with the baby too, so pretty sure that will not be an issue.

Re returning to work, I do have some savings so could stretch it a bit, and am saving up holiday to use then as well. But I worry that actually I would just be prolonging the inevitable separation, and it might be better to just bite the bullet and get on with working again (which I know will be really hard), and keep savings for emergencies. Not that they are that big anyway, but it is nice to have a buffer.

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