Finding adequate and competent childcare can be challenging for some mothers, especially those living on a tight or low budget. Often struggling to find child care services that are healthy and cost effective is impossible. If you are a mother who is living on a low budget, you may be hard pressed to find quality child care and, often, this may impede your ability to work or to attend school.
In many familial settings, mothers who live on a relatively low budget are tapping into their own familial resources for childcare services. In fact, the use of maternal grandmothers has become increasingly more common, especially in low-income families. If you are looking for quality child care, you may want to consider the services of your own mother and offer compensation in exchange for the child care she is providing. In addition, it is important to weight the advantages and disadvantages associated with this child care setting.
In addition to low cost, the maternal grandparent of your children can provide child care that is often flexible and readily available. This is important to a single mother as often you may be required to work odd hours or to work longer hours and will need child care that can accommodate those shift schedule changes. In addition, because the maternal grandmother is caring for her grandchildren, she is available to provide not only care, nurturing and food to your child, but can also prepare them for bed by bathing and changing clothes; a service not readily available at a childcare facility.
In addition to these tangible benefits, allowing your mother to care for your children will enable you to feel secure that your children are safe and in a loving environment. Because the children are familiar with the grandmother, they often do not experience separation anxiety associated with a parent leaving and going to work or to school. This bond between your children and their grandmother may also serve to strengthen your relationship with your own mother.
There are some key disadvantages with permitting the maternal grandmother to care for your children. While unfortunate, there is a risk for a blurring of role boundaries when caring for your children. It is not uncommon to experience some degree of “stepping on toes” in that your mother may feel it necessary to provide parenting advice, even when you do not feel any is needed. In addition, your mother’s care of your children may result in the re-living of your own childhood experiences that may not have always been positive.
Your mother’s health is also a concern. While you may not feel your mother’s illness or injury is a concern in the care of your child, it may adversely affect it. In contrast, some maternal grandparents simply need grandchildren in their lives on a regular basis to promote healing and healthy outcomes. This balance of your mother’s health must be considered seriously and childcare arrangements must be modified in accordance with her health issues.
Childcare on a limited budget can be difficult to secure. If the maternal grandmother is willing to assist with childcare, this may offer many benefits to you and your children. Before doing so, however, be certain you consider the disadvantages of this arrangement in childcare as well.