MIL Babysitting When I Return to Work

posted 2 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
6396 posts
Bee Keeper

FutureMrsGrabs :  I WOULD NOT have my Mother-In-Law watch my child if she has had previous boundary issues.  You are just asking for trouble.  Like poking a sleeping bear.

Find another option.  Daycare.  Paid babysitting from someone else.  Anything but your Mother-In-Law because I can just see in 9 months (after your baby is born), you’ll be coming back here about how your Mother-In-Law isn’t listening to your wishes and wants

Post # 3
1220 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

FutureMrsGrabs :  Im pregnant with our first child so this isn’t direct experience, but my Mother-In-Law has looked after my niece since she was a baby and seeing how that’s turned out has made me sure I’d never get her to take care of my child!! 

Ive been with Darling Husband since my niece was 2 (she’s now 7) and let me just say that I love my Mother-In-Law – we do have a good relationship. The issue I have is that she is the primary care giver for my niece, but she only sees herself as the grandma and thinks it’s not her place to discipline. Therefore my niece is turning into a spoilt brat because she spends so much time with my Mother-In-Law and always gets her own way. As long as your MIl can differentiate between family babysitting and regular childcare it shouldn’t be a problem but mine can’t! 

Post # 4
6896 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

FutureMrsGrabs :  You are setting yourself up for disaster. If your Mother-In-Law has boundary issues, it will only get worse after the baby is here, especially is she is the primary caregiver while you’re at work. I think in a normal situation it would be awesome to have that option of Mother-In-Law watching your child, but it sounds as though you’ve got concerns already – and I don’t think setting rules is going to keep her from pushing the limits.

If I were you I’d look into other options.

Post # 5
284 posts
Helper bee

I would plan to do a trial period of a couple weeks to a months before commiting to anything more long term. The plan was for my Mother-In-Law to watch my nephew after his birth last year, but she found that after a couple weeks she was just exhausted and didn’t want to continue long term. Luckily my SIL had a day care lined up just in case. Taking care of an infant is a lot different at 60 than at 30! A trial period would also allow you to make sure that it’s working for you and your Darling Husband.

Post # 6
220 posts
Helper bee

I would say as long as you like your mother in law you should be extremely grateful that is willing to quit her job and watch your child.  My friends have told me horror stories about daycare and the kind of people working in them.  I quit my job to stay home with my son but I’d love my mother-in-law to babysit my kid fulltime so I can work.  Nothing is perfect but she did raise the person you chose to marry out of everyone.  I would just tell your mother-in-law that you guys go to bed early, or have certain committments certain nights (date night, clubs, family night, etc) so she knows certain nights are off limits.  Or tell her to call before she comes over to visit. Hope it works out!

Post # 7
9096 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

my mom “retired” and became our nanny and watches my son 5 days a week while DH and I work.  1 day she comes to my house, i telework 2 days.  she used to come to my house both days, but now only one.

we live 30 minutes apart.

she has been our nanny since i went back to work at 15 weeks.  my son is now 14 months.  he is very social and socialized.  they go to story/play time 3x per week at various libraries, playground,  and lots of other activities.  DS loves people watching. 

we are now expecting #2 and I will be putting my son in a 2 or 3 day a week program when he turns 2.  but just because they have one on one care, doesn’t mean they are not socialized.


and PS my mom has boundary issues too that we’ve talked extensively with.  but I can’t beat free child care.

Post # 8
2705 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

I wouldn’t if she has a history of boundary stomping. You need a babysitter you can fire if it’s not working, and not have issues sitting across the table from them at Christmas.

Post # 9
2332 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

LaPetiote :  You and I must have the same MIL!

I have a 3 month old and I have a career that I have spent 9 years working on…… and I am actually not going back to work because I rather leave everything behind, than have my Mother-In-Law babysit for me. I wish my mother could babysit but she works 6 days a week so…… yeah

I love the lady to death, she is a wonderful grandmother……..but she has done some major damage to my niece. She also babysits daily, my niece is almost 3 years old and spends 90% of the time with her. She has spoiled her to the point of no return. That kid refuses to eat anything other than chocolate, she has zero manners….. she does whatever she wants, bosses everyone around…..theres zero discipline. She is my niece and I love her….but I can’t stand her. I shake in my boots whenever they come to my house to visit with her because she destroys my house and even my dog is terrified of her.

I work 12 hour shifts and my kid would be in that same environment for that time plus 2 extra hours of drive time. 

OP I think you are jumping a little too ahead of yourself here. You are only 9 weeks pregnant. You have a long road ahead of you and a lot can happen in the next few months. Pregnancy changes people and I’m not talking about you….. so you may be jumping into something too soon, that may not be an ideal situation later down the road. I had major issues with my Mother-In-Law towards the end of my pregnancy because of boundaries. Issues that never happened before. So I would suggest that you lay back, enjoy your pregnancy and revisit this once the time comes to actually start to think about it. 

Post # 10
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My Mother-In-Law and mom do shared care of our 18 month old son while I work full time mon-fri.  My mom does 2 days and Mother-In-Law does 3.  We are lucky enough that they both come to our house so my son has consistency in his day to day (naps in his crib, plays in his yard, eats his own snacks etc).  This arrangement has been the best thing for us and I truly believe that no one will give as much loving care as a grandparent. Also as Ajillity81 says, you can’t beat free childcare 😉  Free childcare aside, I wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would the grandmas!

My Mother-In-Law is a pretty strongwilled, ‘speak your mind’ older Irish lady.  She doesn’t take crap from anyone and I was initially worried that we might butt heads.  However, she’s watched all her grandchildren (5 others) from infancy to school age so I do trust her judgement.  If there’s something she does that I’m not happy with or would do otherwise she actually has been great to talk with.  It’s actually surprised me how easy going she’s ended up being.  Hopefully your Mother-In-Law will be the same.  On the otherhand, my mom is very timid and a people pleaser so she’s also super easy to work with!  She’ll always run things by me to make sure I approve.  I often give guidance via texts, which I wouldn’t be able to with daycare. 

Basically it’s all about balance and finding a routine you are all comfortable with.  In the beginning I wrote a 6 page (!) schedule outlining every little detail of my LO’s day to help the transition.  But it quickly became second nature for them and now I have no worries.  Just be clear on what your expectations are and if you find that they are not being met/followed then you will have to work hard on re-establishing boundaries.  If all else fails, you can both move on to something different.  But as a PP said, it is quite early to worry so much about this.  Everything ‘should’ fall into place, FX’d! 


Post # 11
598 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I think it’s fine and a completely normal situation where i’m from.

This website as a bizarre all MILs are evil you must cut them off and never let them hold your baby attitude. 

Post # 12
918 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception / Courtyard Marriott Legacy Ballroom

I think maybe you shouldn’t commit to definitely having your Mother-In-Law babysit yet! Maybe you could try it out, but you have to have a backup in case it doesn’t work out. My Mother-In-Law is a boundary stomper, but I didn’t know how bad until after I gave birth. I feel like she was on her best behaviour up until that point. 

She babysits for us about once a week (sometimes she skips a week if she can’t drive down due to her job), and we’re constantly butting heads with her about doing things we’ve asked her not to do (for example giving my DS juice, walking around our not-so-safe neighborhood, cleaning our bathtub while DS is right next to her, taking DS outside when it’s 90+ degrees out.). Her atittude is that she raised 3 boys, so she know what she’s doing. She’ll be perfectly behaved one week, then act like she forgot all the rules the next week. This past week she decided to let herself into our house to leave some food in our fridge and take some boxes into our garage (we’re currently getting ready to move and all our packed things are in there). Thing is, she didn’t ask us if this was okay and we didn’t know it happened until after I saw a note she left us in our fridge! She seems to believe she’s the ultimate authority in her sons’ lives since she’s their mother (btw, her sons are 34, 31, and 28 years old and all live on their own) and that she can do whatever she wants to/for them whenever she wants, regardless of whether her sons’ actually want her to. I actually heard her on the phone with her middle son a couple weeks ago saying that she’s The MOTHER, that’s her job, and he needs to listen to her.

I’m about ready to tell Darling Husband that we can’t have her babysitting at our house anymore – she used to stay at my mom’s house to babysit, and at least there, my mom could keep an eye on her. Plus she wouldn’t be doing anything we didn’t want her to do at our house! But we moved it to our house because my DS was showing a strong preference for my mom over Mother-In-Law. She’s also been late twice, which made me late for work and late for an appointment. If she’s late one more time, I’m going to tell Darling Husband that’s it.

P.S. My mom is our babysitter for the other 4 days of the work week, and she’s got some boundary issues, too, but mostly with giving unsolicited advice. She learned a lot from accidently stomping all over my brother and SIL’s boundaries. She’s great at listening to what we want and DS absolutely adores her.

Post # 13
1220 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

abouttodoit17 :  i dont think that’s the attitude people are expressing here. I clearly said that I love my Mother-In-Law, but wouldn’t want her to be a full time care giver to my child. I think it’s easier to tell an outsider if you’re not happy with how they’re doing things, and also, my Mother-In-Law was not free childcare for my niece – My SIL paid her to do it. I’ll be perfectly happy for my Mother-In-Law to visit and hold and love our baby, but not to take care of her on a regular basis.

Post # 14
7286 posts
Busy Beekeeper

abouttodoit17 :  I think the majority of people who have great relationships with their MILs just don’t post about it online, so this is definitely a select sample which is why it seems like everyone here is so anti-MIL.  My Mother-In-Law has asked to watch our baby one day a week and there are many reasons why that’s not ideal. I think grandparents and child care providers have very different roles in a child’s life and while some grandparents are up to wearing different hats others are not. 

Post # 15
9771 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I don’t see any issue with trying it out.  Go tour some daycares and have a backup in mind in case it doesn’t work out.  I do agree with PP re: the spoiling.  So it’s helpful to know where your Mother-In-Law would be here.  For instance, I don’t think I’d ever want my dad to watch my kid fulltime and he definitely spoils her and lets her do whatever she wants.  My mom though won’t let her get away with stuff so I would feel totally comfortable in that scenario.  And I also agree it’s good for them to be in daycare after about 1.5-2 so they can socialize.  They need to be around other kids frequently and while I imagine some grandparents might be able to do that, I doubt very many (especially in my experience with my friends who have had parents watch their babies full time- they have all ended up transferring to daycare once the kid is 1.5-2).  Maybe you can discuss doing a trial 2 or 3 month period with her just to make sure it works.

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