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Thread: Returning to work soon - CC dilemna...

  1. #1

    Cool Returning to work soon - CC dilemna...

    Sorry, this is going to be really long so I apologise in advance -just need to nut it out and get some opinions?

    I am due to go back to work in mid September. I am lucky that I am able to work only two days a week, so I will be retuning to part time hours.

    While Id love to stay home with the kids full time, financially wed be a lot more comfortable with me at work. We have some small debts to clear and also want to do a lot of renovations around our home, so my wages will help us to do this.

    The dilemma is about where the kids will go while Im working - we have two options, one is to send them to a brand new day care centre which is opening soon (I have their names on the waiting list but am yet to do any visits etc). I work in the city so I would be dropping them off at about 6.45am in the morning in order to get my train (DH leaves even earlier than me) and the centre closes at 6pm. Here lies the first problem - I dont usually get off the train till about 6.15pm and DH gets home closer to 7pm these days () so neither of us would make it back in time to collect them (not to mention the idea of our children being in care for that many hours a day). It is possible that MIL could collect them for us and Id pick them up from her place on the way home.

    The second option is to let MIL look after them. She had DD for me for the 18 months between my two mat leave stints and on the whole, it worked well. BUT there were some issues. She tended to overstep the mark (some examples are taking DD to the Drs without letting me know first and probably the biggest issue we had was her booking DD into occasional care on a day she needed to do something WITHOUT TELLING ME FIRST). These issues can probably be easily worked out with me setting the boundaries from the start and telling her exactly what I expect when it comes to these things. This is something Ive been too afraid to do in the past but DH is in agreement with me and will back me up against his parents.

    However, the most serious issue we had was she once took DD in the car without a child restraint - it was a very short trip but that, as we all know, is not the point. This obvious lack of judgment does concern me. We spoke to her at the time so she understands fully how we feel about it and I am confident would never do it again. If she does end up having them, DH and I plan to make sure she always has appropriate child restraints in her car for our children, and if that means us buying extra car seats, then thats what well do.

    If MIL was to take them, she would have DS all day but only have DD in the morning and in the afternoon as DD currently attends preschool and we would keep her enrolled there.

    So these are my thoughts

    PROS for CC

    • Professional environment where policies are in place and I would hope I wouldn't have to worry so much about what would be happening with the kids.
    • I would feel comfortable to complain about anything I wasn't happy about
    • A more structured type of care where the children's skills would be developed etc.

    CONS for CC
    • I personally feel 11 hours is a long time for a baby to be in care, I think DD would cope better, but only just
    • Fees would take all of my pay save $150 a week. Financially, we wouldn't be much better off and it would take us a lot longer to reach our financial goals
    • Drop off and pick up times will probably be quite tricky and if I get stuck on a train (Sydney siders will know how reliable city rail is!) wed have to have someone else collect them for us.
    • I would have to take DD out of her current pre school which she loves, has settled in well, made lots of friends and bonded with her carers.
    • DS will only be 10 months old and I worry about the lack of one on one care he would receive. I also worry about his routine being disrupted, sleeping etc etc.

    PROS for MIL
    • She really wants to have them when I go back to work, she brings it up every time I see her and I think will be really disappointed if I decide against it.
    • Its a home based environment, which I feel is important and more in tune with my parenting philosophies, especially for DS. He will have one on one attention all day.
    • We wouldnt have to take DD out of her current pre school
    • DD loves MIL to bits and doesnt see much of her these days. I know that MIL misses her
    • It would give DS and MIL a chance to bond - again she doesnt see much of him at the moment (I should say, this is my doing, not hers)
    • SIL and her children visit often (ie every day!) and it will give our kids a chance to play with their cousins - the kids shouldnt miss out just because of the issues I have with my inlaws
    • In discussions weve had with her about it, she has said we would only need to pay her a small amount to cover petrol expenses for preschool drop offs etc. Financially, we?d be a lot better off
    • If they werent in CC, my parents could have the kids when they were in Sydney (which is quite often) and we wouldnt have to waste a day of CC fees
    • MIL worked in CC for a number of years, so actually has experience in caring for kids
    • DH would prefer the kids went to his mums rather than CC
    • MIL is always happy to have the children when they arent well, so we wouldnt need to take carers days etc off work (obviously we would for serious illness but I mean colds etc)

    CONS for MIL
    • I do have some concerns about some judgment calls she has made in the past
    • My 'outlaw issues' tend to be magnified when Im seeing them so often and they are looking after the kids. I don't really have issues with MIL, but I do with FIL, SIL etc.
    • In the past she has overstepped the mark, it has caused problems between us and puts DH in the middle
    • Towards the end of the time she was caring for DD, she would book holidays or go away etc without giving us enough notice to make other arrangements


    To be honest, I think a lot of my issues with MIL having them are because of my personal feelings about my in laws. Don't get me wrong, MIL is a good person at heart, loves my kids and would never intentionally put them in harms way, but ultimately, shes my MIL iykwim?



    I also think a lot of my problem is I just don't trust anyone 100% to look after my kids, especially DS who I tend to be a bit overprotective of. Obviously this is not healthy and at some point, I am going to have to be away from them.

    So, after all that, in my situation, what would you do?
    Last edited by Willow; June 5th, 2008 at 08:56 PM.

  2. #2

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    honestly, i think the mil option sounds more appealing to me.
    where does dh think ds should go?

  3. #3

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    Gracie, he wants his mum to have them....

  4. #4

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    That's a tough one Willow, I'd be inclined to go with your MIL but keep the kids on the CC waiting list. That way, if it doesn't work out with your MIL you have a back up. I think you will need to set really clear limits with her, but in the long run it would be really beneficial for the kids to have so much one on one time with their Nan.


    HTH
    Spring

  5. #5

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    We chose the family day care option for our son, i found a lovely lady with a warm home environment. There are pros and cons for family day care i know but for us it works. My son was 8 months old when i went back to work (for financial reasons, 2 days a week) and i feel it has been a positive thing for him to experience.

    Do you have any family day cares close to you? The one i am using i was directed to by my council and i find it is closely monitored and has a lot of policies in place similar to the primary school i work at. Go For Your Life (healthy eating and activies) Sun Smart, administering medication etc. I can not fault my experience so far.

    I am not sure about the hours and if they would work for your situation but if you found a lady that you were happy with it could end up being a home away from home for your children and you'd know that they would never be taken to the doctors without your consent or in a car without a restraint.

    My son was able to continue the routine he was following at home and the carer does do kindergarten drop offs and pick ups for a couple of kids.

    I found returning to work a really hard decision to make and i felt guilty until i saw how much my son enjoyed his days and now i see it as a good thing for him to have a fun happy day with someone other than myself.

    Good luck with your decision making, it's not an easy one.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Spring, that's the way I'm leaning at the moment. I'm sure you know the "issews" I'm having leaving him with anyone!

    Kirst - I have considered FDC, but I figure if I do that, I may as well send them to their Nan's. I was wondering if some carers would drop DD at preschool and pick her up...it is an option I can look into.

  7. #7

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    I'm Mrs. Issews Willow.

    I was just thinking, there have been times when I have been caught on the train for hours because the line has been closed. In those circumstances (although rare) it would be much better for the kids (and Mummy) for them to be with their nan.

  8. #8

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    I know, I know...these are the things I keep thinking about. She's really not a bad old chook, it's just some stuff that's happened in the past concerns me a bit.

    Hey, I forgot you worked in the city - maybe we could do lunch! LOL! Before you buzz off that is

  9. #9

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    OK, so got home today from doing the groceries and MIL was here. *Gulp*

    DH saw her yesterday and she was nagging him about minding the kids again. So he said "look mum, I don't have a problem with it but you know what Willow's like, she's just worried about the kids. We need to sit down and set out some ground rules if it's going to happen".

    So, I knew why she was here. Thankfully she waited till FIL left the room to bring it up. I just said to her "look - it's not a big deal. Mainly, I just need to know what's going on with the kids. If you want to take them to the drs or you think they should go, I want you to ring me first. If you want to take them somewhere or do something with them, then I want to know what's going on." pretty lame but she kinda caught me off guard. I guess little things like that though I will address with her when and if needed.

    We also discussed the car seats. We told her we'd brought a second seat for DS and we would look at getting one for DD, that we wanted them to stay in her car, they were for our kids only and SIL was not to use them or take them to put in her car (something she does ALLLL the time). We also told her that we don't want her driving the kids all around the country side, that we want them to be at home with her as much as possible. Of course we don't mind if she wants to take them out every now and then or she has an appt or whatever, she has a life too, but we'd prefer they were at home with her. She agreed with this and said she probably wouldn't go out much with the two of them anyway. The other thing is, DD's preschool drop offs and pick ups will restrict her from going too far anyway.

    I also told her we'd set up our porta cot at her place for L because I don't want him and his baby cousin sharing a cot, I want him to have his own space (let alone SIDS recommendations).

    So, at the moment, I think this is what we'll do. If it doesn't work out we can always make other arrangements. We also need to work out how much she wants to be paid, we asked her today and she said "I don't know yet" *sigh*. DH and I think $60 a week is reasonable. She never wanted to be paid for minding DD but this time will have fuel expenses etc in dropping off and picking DD up from preschool. We provide all food and drink, nappies, wipes for the kids too.

    Do you think $120 a fortnight (4 days) is reasonable?

  10. #10

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    Yes heaps reasonable Willow.

    I know its scary, and I think it would be more scary for me to leave my children with my MIL than with a carer. I guess because I would be scared MIL wouldn't listen to what I wanted & what I thought was best for my children.

    Our FDC carer is amazing, sends home a daily description of what went on in the morning, what Jovie ate for morning tea, lunch, arvo tea and exactly how much water she drank during her time there. She writes what time she changes nappies and what was in them.... we use cloth nappies so its good to know before opening the wet bag

    She sometimes takes photos during the day & emails them to me. She wouldn't dream of giving extra food to my girls or taking them anywhere without discussing with me first. She has phoned me before to say someone's parent brought in balloons & popcorn for his birthday & did I mind if Jovie had some.

    She's the first person my DD1 wanted to invite to her big birthday party coming up.

    I did have issues with another carer at FDC when I interviewed her, but our carer atm is brilliant and Matilda stayed with her for 2 years and now Jovie has been with her for a while.

    I guess to me the reassurance is that all the carer has to do for the day is look after the childern. She doesn't do anything other than that unless the kids are all asleep at once, if they are all asleep she turns the monitor on and goes to her room to do her own stuff. I'm happy with that. And she discusses with us beforehand exactly what she does & where things are. She knows our children's routine and sticks to what we want.

  11. #11

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    Yeah, I know what you mean Christy. But on the whole, MIL was really good with sticking to our routine and doing what we wanted her to do from day to day. It was just the occasional thing that came up. I guess it's different when it's family - it has its disadvantages, but I think it also has big advantages too. Well that's what I'm thinking at the moment anyway!!

    I think we're going to give her a go, if after a few months if it's not working, or if we have any issues, then I'll look into family day care - my only hesitation with that is I want DD in a structured preschool program and not sure if I'd find a carer who would drop her off and pick her up.

  12. #12

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    willow - my mum did FDC long term - and would transport the kidlets to whichever programs the parents asked of her. it wasn't unusual for her to have a few different places to go each day - but she basically did as the parents asked. i'm sure there are a lot of other FDC carers around like that... even now, i remain friends with many of the children (not that they're kids anymore) that mum looked after as we developed a strong bond with them - they effectively became one of the family (and remain so today!)

    FWIW - i think your MIL sounds like the ideal carer if she is prepared to stick to your rules regarding your children. i think sometimes it's harder to put your foot down to family about what it is you're wanting and expecting, and what the consequences will be (ie, she'll no longer be able to look after the kids if you can't trust her).

    from a financial perspective - work out what it would cost you at a long day care centre - chop that in half - that's the MOST you'd pay for care (less if you are entitled to a CCB payment). negotiate with that as your maximum amount. i think the amount you're offering is plenty generous for your MIL looking after your children.

  13. #13

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    You'd be surprised what you can find. & the MIL option doesn't sound bad at all!! I totally understand how hard it is to leave your babies with anyone else.

  14. #14

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    I'm going to be a lone voice here I think. But FWIW, here is my opinion. My boys have 2 days a week in Day care and 3 days a week MIL and FIL come here to mind them. I personally like the balance, as I think they get a lot out of day care, and they really love it. Personally I find it easier to leave them on day care days. I think 2 days each way could work well for you too.

    Given the difficulty with timings for you though, I don't think a centre near you will work well. Have you looked into centres near work? When I went back to work after J, he was in day care in the CBD near where DH and I worked. I loved that he was so close, and we got all that extra time together with the trip in and home, and I also went and bf/played with him every lunch time until he moved rooms and slept at lunchtime. It was always great to know that we didn't have to rush to pick him up too. If one of us was running late, the other one went down to pick him up and if need be took him back to work to wait for the other parent (we were lucky we worked in the same building). Anyway, just some food for thought.

  15. #15

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    MR yep, I have considered that option but I think Sydney CBD and Brisbane CBD might be too different things! (but it's been a long time since I've been to Brisbane!). Day care fees in the CBD start at $100 a day per child (I'm yet to hear of a centre in the CBD that charges any less and even if they did, I assume the waiting list would be enormous). That's $400 a week at least and we just can't afford it. Well we can but there'd be no point in me working really, most of my pay would go on day care. Kinda defeats the purpose. And I catch the train to and from work - a peak hour City Rail train is no place for a 10 month old baby. I would be genuinely concerned about his safety.

    I work for one of the bigger law firms in the city, I wish they'd get with the times and have on site day care, how much easier would life be...although I'd still have the concern with public transport.

    WRT splitting their care, if it was more than two days, I'd definitely consider it because I think any more than 2 days would probably be too much for MIL. But having them in care one day and with her one day doesn't really appeal either. I think it would put both of their routines out and would take them so much longer to adapt to care if they were only going one day a week. DD is a sensitive child, she likes routine and doesn't cope with change as well as some kids (bit like her mum really!!) She has also been going through a phase of separation anxiety since L was born and I think would benefit from being in familiar surroundings for the time being.

    I'm feeling a big sense of relief thinking that the kids won't be going to day care - that's gotta be saying something right??
    Last edited by Willow; June 7th, 2008 at 08:47 PM.

  16. #16

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    Willow, I think that tells you all you need to know hun.

  17. #17

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    Yeah, me too...

    Thanks so much for helping me nut this out girls, as always, you've been a huge help!

  18. #18

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    I think you are making the right decision going with your MIL, she sounds ideal. I would much prefer a family member that I trust than someone I don't really know. I think it will be great for your kids to form a special bond with her. It's great that you've spoken to her and set some boundaries. Don't be afraid to follow them up if you have to, she won't hate you for it!

    I am very overprotective of my boys and can't imagine putting them in DC (please don't think I have a problem with DC, I think I have personal overprotective "issues" LOL), but I would definitely feel comfortable with a capable and (mostly) trustworthy family member.

    Your sense of relief is definitely telling you something

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