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gentle advice please

(26 Posts)
satsum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:13:06

I know im not a gran but this is the only place to get sensible advice.
Im back to work soon and my husband and i will be sharing the child care. My husband does not want his mum to help out with childcare because she is quite smothering and possesive however i have convinced him to let his mum help
out one day a week.
Now she has decided that she wants to retire so that she can come to our house to help out with childcare everyday. We are so independent and we just dont want this. We have told her once a week would be lovely but she has taken it badly. My husband is losing his patience and im worried that the they are going to fall out. I just dont understand she has always been so busy and independent in the past. What do i do to make this better?

janeainsworth Mon 08-Oct-12 20:37:54

satsum are you going back to work full-time? If so, who will be looking after your baby the rest if the time?

gracesmum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:41:17

Oh poor you and poor Granny! You need to stick to your guns - who is doing the other dys? If it is to be nursery/childminder/your parents or whoever, your MIL will have to accept you have made your arrangements and live with it. Better to be firm (in a kind way) now than get into a situation you will resent in a very short time. Reassure her how grateful you are, how it will be wonderful to know she is there in an emergency, that there may bo other occasions in the future, etc etc, but stick to your guns - assuming you have a plan in place, Good luck!

satsum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:41:32

No part time. We want to use a nursery one day a week and then split the rest between us.

JessM Mon 08-Oct-12 20:43:29

Oh poor you, what an awkward situation.
Apart from anything else she will have "burned her boats" if she retires and then regrets it. The idea if probably very appealing at the moment but may not be so great when the baby starts being more active and she will not have any adult company. Lots of grans find looking after little ones far more tiring than they expected.
It would be a mistake for her probably and for you, if she is a bit overpowering.
There is also the issue of whether she should do so much for free. There are threads on this on this forum.
I think you should stick to your guns that one day a week is what suits your family. And see how it goes.

MiceElf Mon 08-Oct-12 20:44:13

Oh that's a tricky one. But, it is a decision for you and your husband. All I can suggest is that you jointly decide what arrangements you are both happy with and then take his mum out somewhere (it's easier to stay calm and quiet in a restaurant or similar) and explain that you are very grateful for her offer of help but that the baby is yours and you both want the joys of caring and sharing the responsibility, just as she did with her children. You will need to stay calm and stay firm. Practice beforehand if need be with all the arguments she might come up with, and a response to them. She won't sulk for long. To put it bluntly if you decided that she have no input that would put her in a worse place, and I suspect she knows that. Good luck!

JessM Mon 08-Oct-12 20:44:44

Just seen your answer to jane - all the more reason why you should stick to your guns.

glassortwo Mon 08-Oct-12 20:47:58

satsum I think you need to put your cards on the table from the start or you will end up in a nightmare situation. Make sure she knows how much you are depending on her the one day a week she is to have the baby and that she is an important part in your child care arrangements, but stick to your guns.

satsum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:49:37

It is hard to see her feeling so rejected.. Her and my husband were so close, but now he just wants to keep her at a distance because shewants to be so involved.

MiceElf Mon 08-Oct-12 20:52:30

You know, a day a week isn't rejection! Lots of nannas would be delighted to have that much contact.

You could gently remind her of this, and, as was said above, babies are exhausting. She will need all her energy and better to be lively for one day that worn out with more.

janeainsworth Mon 08-Oct-12 21:01:07

I agree with Jess, stick to your guns and start as you mean to go on!
Also, If the nursery is a good one I think it is very good for the children as they learn to share and be with other children. I was filled with misgivings when my DGD went to nursery at 5 months old, but the care is excellent and I am sure her friendly outgoing personality is at least partly due to nursery smile
Is your MIL perhaps looking for a reason to leave a job she doesn't like, but still wants a 'role' ? Some people aren't happy unless they feel they are being useful - but you must make it clear that although you will be grateful for her help one day a week and on an occasional basis, she must respect your privacy on the other days.
Good luck - it is a very difficult situation for you but I hope you can work it out. The main thing is for you and your DH to present a united frontsmile

janeainsworth Mon 08-Oct-12 21:03:30

You sound like a really nice DiL, satsumsmile

satsum Mon 08-Oct-12 21:20:45

Aww thanks. Yes we will be firm and hopefully it will all turn out well in the end. Babies can often cause us all to lose our sense of perspective.

PRINTMISS Tue 09-Oct-12 08:24:43

Can I speak as a gran who really wanted to look after her grandchildren, but whose daughter had already decided, before the baby was even born that she would go back to work, and the baby would be cared for from the age of six months at a day nursery she had sourced. I have always thought that babies should be cared for by their mums, although not a 'baby' person myself - love them at three months, when they begin to take an interest, love them too, when they are born, but in a different way. My daughter was adamant that their plans would stay, and I must admit I sat at the bottom of the stairs and cried. However, we now have two lovely grown up grandchildren, both cared for at nurseries from a very early age, and gran did lots of help when it was needed, but didn't get worn out doing it. So I would say stick to your guns satsum and hopefully gran will appreciate your decision.

PRINTMISS Tue 09-Oct-12 08:26:41

Perhaps I should just add here, that my daughter's children adore her and their dad.

Movedalot Tue 09-Oct-12 14:02:35

I think you should tell her how happy you are that she is kind enough to do the one day a week and that, although you would have been very happy for her to do another day, you want to look after your own baby part of the time yourself. Tell her you have researched not only nurseries in general but this one in particular and that you think it is the best option for your child. I was not sure when mine went to nursery but am now glad he did as it has been very good for him and he shares and communicates very well. I am sure she will be fine when she knows it is all about what is best for the baby.

Granny23 Tue 09-Oct-12 15:38:51

5 years ago, when DD1 was returning to work after 6 months maternity leave, she sent me a link to research which looked at outcomes for preschool children in a variety of childcare settings. The results showed that maximum benefit in terms of vocabulary, socialisation, independence, confidence and so on, accrued to those who had a mix of care, ideally, part home with parent/s, part nursery, and part with Grandparents. This pattern gave a structure to their week, provided continuity as long as it was consistent and the toddlers learnt different skills and language from each segment.

DD had already decided on her plan - she would work full time over 4 long days, having DGS Friday, Saturday, Sunday at home, 1 day with each set of Grandparents, and two days at private day nursery. The research just confirmed for us that this arrangement was the best possible for DGS, our main priority, and also suited the 2 sets of GPs with just enough regular contact, the ability to be flexible and slot in smoothly in an emergency. We left (still do) Mum, Dad and children to have family time at weekends unless specially invited e.g. for a birthday.

nightowl Tue 09-Oct-12 16:23:41

I think it is possible to find research to support any point of view about childcare, and so much depends on the age of the child. What is right for a three year old is not the same as what is right for a six month old. I have undertaken a great deal of training as well as private research on child development and attachment theory, all of which informs my views, but I don't think there is one right way. The important thing is that parents have to do what they feel is right for their child and their family - grandparents may disagree and may be hurt by their decisions, but they have to accept them. I hope the grandmother in this case can accept that. You sound like a very kind DIL satsum.

JessM Tue 09-Oct-12 16:39:14

And a darn sight easier to get a baby used to nursery than try to start them there when they are older. (In the case of some children anyway - and you can never tell which ones will cry inconsolably!)

nightowl Tue 09-Oct-12 16:48:52

That's the problem Jess - some are simply not ready for it at 6 months; they are all different. What they all need is secure attachments ie. love and care from a small number of predictable 'caregivers'. When both parents work there has to be a compromise but that's to meet the demands of work, not the needs of the baby. Older children are a different matter. Just a personal view.

Bez Tue 09-Oct-12 16:57:23

I agree that your wishes should be paramount, but could you not soften the blow a little by suggesting that perhaps if the baby has a cold etc which may make it not possible for him/her to go to the nursery that MIL could be the first line of defence for you. There may be other times too that you need emergency care for the little one.
These things tend to sort themselves out especially when handled sensitively as you want to do - everybody loving the child will help with bonding and happiness within the family. Hope all goes well for all of you.

satsum Tue 09-Oct-12 19:17:27

Yes i think i will take her to the nursery and highlight some of the research and hopefully we can settle into a routine. Lots of good advice. Thankyou.

Deedaa Fri 19-Oct-12 23:14:56

When my daughter had her first baby 6 years ago she spent a lot of time researching local nurseries and settled on a very nice one ready for when she went back to work after 6 months. I was happy with this as I was not intending to give up work yet. In the event it became clear that he was not a baby who would like being left with strangers, she wasn't going to be happy leaving him and I didn't want OUR baby given to anyone else. Obviously the upshot was that I retired and looked after him Monday to Friday. Now and again she had to travel for conferences and I would go in early so his father could get off to work. At 3 he broadened his horizons at preschool and now he is at school I just have him for a couple of hours after school. He is very funny, clever and confident and I think we all feel it's worked very well. Hopefully it will be as successful with the next one.

nanaej Sat 20-Oct-12 00:22:09

Hi Satsum a tricky path to negotiate. My advice is that you communicate kindly but clearly that you and your husband have got a childcare plan which includes time at a nursery and time with each parent. If MiL would like to help out with one day that would be great & will reduce of the cost nursery fees and would she also be prepared to be 'on call' if your child in not able to go to nursery for any reason. If you can manage to let her have another small slot in the week.. maybe to let you have a couple of hours to yourself... you might find that very useful too.
Not sure how local she is to you but I know both my daughters appreciate me turning up occasionally at about 5:00 - 6:30 to 'do' the tea, bath , bedtime routine particularly if I know they have had a busy week /feeling a bit under the weather etc. Good luck!

FlicketyB Sat 20-Oct-12 11:23:26

I think what your MIL needs more than anything is to feel wanted. I live over 200 miles from my GCs but the other Grandmother, a widow, lives very close by. When first GC was born my DiL went back to work part time with care shared between nursery and Grandma looking after DGD one day a week, but that was only the start of it.

I do not know how DS and family would have managed without the local Grandma. She has been the backstop called in when GC are ill and cannot go to nursery. She has taken them for inoculations and health appointments when it was awkward and difficult for either parent to be there she has provided babysitting and care when parents also have been off colour.

Let your MiL know that although she only looks after your child one day a week how much you will depend on her to provide backstop care. You will be surprised how much you need it.