Better to provide childcare for family or non-family? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-17-2011, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm going to become a SAHM shortly and want to provide care for one other child, partly for cash flow, partly for company for DS (2.5yo), while still having the freedom to be out and about.


Short version of my issue: is it better to provide childcare to family or a relative stranger?

I’ve heard stories of childcare arrangements souring friendships and can’t imagine what would happen if the same happened within family. Also, the relative stranger in question parents much more in line with the way we parent DS.


Longer version:
I've got myself in a bit of a pickle in that I mentioned the possibility of providing childcare to my step-sis, thinking I could watch my 1.5yo nephew for them. Although he's in a dayhome they're happy with at the moment, they live only a few doors down from us and my step-sis has said in the past how she’d prefer him to be with family if possible. We get along, but don’t quite align on a lot of parenting issues and while it's not a big deal for now I can see if becoming a bigger issue as the boys get older. I'm also slightly concerned about the possiblity of being taken advantage of due to our relationship, as well the boys being VERY different in personality (for example, DS loves nothing more than books, whereas DN has no interest in them and prefers to push trucks around all day long while DS almost never even touches his trucks)


The same night I mentioned it to my SS, I got an email from a LLL acquaintance of mine asking if I knew of any dayhomes in the area with an opening for a 1yo and also asking me about my experience with pumping, cloth diapering/EC and nap routines. They've apparently been looking for a couple months, her mat. leave runs out at the end of the month and they're really not having any luck. Without really thinking it through I mentioned to her that there was a very faint possibility that I could care for her son, which of course got her all excited. And I can’t blame her, what I would provide is exactly what would’ve been my ideal when we were looking for care for DS!


Somehow I feel the younger baby would be easier to care for, as it’s not likely the 1yo would be 32lbs (like my nephew is) and would be easier to babywear, never mind already used to being worn, Also the slighly larger age gap might give DS a bit more time to get used to sharing all his toys?


So in my gut, I’d prefer to care for the 1yo, but my head feels I should follow through with my offer to my step-sis. Can anyone offer perspective of pros/cons to each side? WWYD?

- C reading.gif + Tsuperhero.gif = DS 08/08 bouncy.gif  DD 02/12 angel.gif and D? praying.gif sometime around March 16/2014 

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#2 of 10 Old 02-18-2011, 07:21 AM
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Tell your SIL you want your kids to be able to be friends which isn't going to happen throwing them together all day 5 days a week at their ages. 1.5 year olds and 2.5 year olds like too many of the same things (yeah, you've said they don't, but trust me, that'd change as soon as it could be inconvenient to you for them to have a conflict about a toy).




Non-family is easier to change out if the kids don't click.

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#3 of 10 Old 02-18-2011, 09:57 AM
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In the situation you described, I would almost definitely choose the 'stranger' -- unless your step-sister is really desperate (financially or otherwise), which it doesn't sound like she is.... I don't see many 'pros' to choosing family (aside from the obvious of being able to help out family) -- it doesn't sound like the kids have common interests and I could see the parenting differences causing a lot of tension down the line. You have less commitment to a 'stranger' so if you don't feel it's working out for whatever reason, it would be much easier to back out. The stranger's parenting views are more similar to your own & that will make things much easier, plus the larger age gap will likely be easier on you AND your DS. Could you just let your step-sister know someone else was really desperate & unable to find care? How definite was your original offer to watch your nephew?

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#4 of 10 Old 02-18-2011, 06:54 PM
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I agree with with pp's and want to add that I think it would be harder for you to ask for the proper amount of money if you were dealing with family. You'd maybe want to give them a break OR they'd expect a break and over time you would likely come to resent it.

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#5 of 10 Old 02-18-2011, 08:59 PM
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So in my gut, I’d prefer to care for the 1yo


I think you need to go with your gut on this one.   I can see a lot of sticky situations arising from this.  My sister in law has 3 kiddos with one on the way and she lives a couple blocks from us.  Her parenting style is different from ours, and the older ds gets, the bigger deal that becomes.  So I think you are right to be concerned about that, and you need to do what is best for your ds and family dynamics. 


She has childcare now that seems to be working for them so I would just be very diplomatic and relaxed about politely declining.

Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).

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#6 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 09:48 AM
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I do daycare for a living and I would be very cautious about taking on family or existing friends. I think the other family sounds like a great fit and I bet they would be very grateful to find someone who has the same parenting values as them.

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#7 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 10:06 AM
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You could also tell your SIL that if you are her primary care, you cease to be available as emergency backup care. If her regular care provider is sick you could take your nephew for the day, but where does SIL take nephew if you need a sick day?

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#8 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 10:14 AM
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Since she already has care she likes, I'd "backtrack" and pretend my previous offer was to serve as her backup. I'd jump on the other family since you likely will be able to better set boundaries, get more money, etc.

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#9 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 10:23 AM
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No matter which person you choose to go with, absolutely have a contract to protect both parties.

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#10 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 09:26 PM
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I would tell step sis that you could really use the extra money right now, so you decided to take on the 1 year old to increase cash flow, but that down the road when you're a little more settled, you might be able to take on another child. Then if you ever feel like the boys might become a better fit for each other, go for it, but you have some wiggle room for saying no if need be.

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