Mum 2 Mum: How do you choose?

What is Mum 2 Mum? I have made many good friends online and often wish that I could sit down with them for a cuppa and chat like I do with my real life friends; other Mums with good advice, interesting stories to share, laughs to be had and experiences to learn from.  Mum 2 Mum is a place where as online friends we can share a little of our own experiences, so why not pop in for a cuppa and join the conversation.

Today I was reminded of a conversation which I had with two good friends not that long ago.  We were talking about the difficult task of  choosing who will have guardianship of your child/ren in the (hopefully) unlikely event that both parents pass away.  One friend shared that her sister would have been her first choice, except that they have very different religious beliefs.  This was something she felt strongly about and so she had instead named her brother as guardian of her child.

Personally, when Dad 101 and I were discussing this same issue not long after Immy was born, our primary considerations were who would be in the best position to put our child’s needs first and would they be able to support her both emotionally and financially.

Whatever your personal priorities are, I don’t think this is ever an easy decision to make.  I would love to hear what your major consideration/s were when nominating who would be named as guardian of your child/ren.

How did you choose?

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  1. My husband and I have reached a stalemate: I’d like to appoint my sister as guardian as she lives close to us, close to other family members and shares the same values as me. While my husband would like to appoint his sister, however she lives a long distance away and is isolated from family. I think that exposure to a wider family network would be key, and so the debate goes on…

  2. This was hard for us as the brother & sister in law we feel would be the best choice live interstate. Given our childrens huge issues with change we thought that were something to happen to us they may be better off staying with brother & sister in law who live 5 minutes from us. Whilst we differ in many areas of parenting I think they would love and care for our girls and the girls would have the benefit of their establish support network.

    1. My brother and sister in law are also interstate and though we felt they would be a good choice, the fact that they see Immy very rarely meant that we did not choose them. I think an established support network is vital to a child at any age and stage, let alone a grieving child.

      1. Very good point.

        It was much easier to write a list of who we did not want caring for our children.

  3. We wrote our wills knowing that we were planning to have a family. My Mum was a logical choice as we knew she’d be the main caregiver after us and she is and she is the Bebito’s absolute favourite person in the world BUT she isn’t the healthiest woman and in no way can provide the financial support we can for his education etc. so we made sure we had enough life insurance to cover that. We also had to stipulate a second person and we made that my best friend as we wanted to look at someone who was going to raise him as close as possible to the way that we would raise him ourselves. We have actually changed our wills recently to reflect that change as originally we had chosen the Mr’s Brother and SIL thinking they’d be a super dooper active part in his life….but they haven’t been and are actually more special guest stars. In some ways it was easier for us planning this in advance of having the Bebito.

    1. Grandparents are a difficult choice, due to the age difference and the likelihood of health issues. My paternal grandparents raised one of their grandsons and I will never forget the day that I saw him teased by other children about their age (we were all out together). It was so sad as they were such good carers.

  4. Sadly, we have not taken care of this issue. We should. We always say we should, but we haven’t. All of our kiddos’ grandparents would make excellent caregivers. I suppose that in a perfect world, I’d want my dad and step-mom to care for the kids’ spiritual needs, my mom and step-dad to teach them life skills, and my in-laws to take care of the educational needs of my littles. That’s a bit to complicated, though.

  5. We are in the process of this task. We have decided on some friends of ours that are very loving people. I know they would do a wonderful job. Her and I have been friends since 9th grade. I would have chosen my sister to tackle the task, but she absolutely hates my husband and he and I are afraid that she would treat them indifferently to her own also with mine she would then have 5. My husband has no family. He was in this situation growing up. His mother left when he was 2 and his dad died when he was 6 or so. His grandma took care of him until he was 14 then she died as well. His cousins took him, but really its not what they wanted. We don’t want our kids in this situation where they don’t feel wanted or loved. So actually this took us a couple of years to figure out. We feel our choice is the best.

  6. We are still undecided. I’m an only child with parents who currently have health issues and will no doubt continue to get worse as they age. My husband comes from a blended family and some of them are at different life stages or have different values to us. Throw in the fact that we have 4 children, and I wouldn’t want any of them to be separated should anything happen to us…..we are stumped.

    1. I would imagine it is harder with a larger family. Do you have friends that you could choose?

  7. We’ve actually had big problems agreeing on this….. We don’t have any family in our generation that we feel are suitable for our children so we agreed on my parents for an interim, but know we’ll have to revise that in the future as they get older.
    On the other hand I’ve recently signed three sets of papers to say that we agree to take on guardianship of children from two of our friends and my BIL and SIL…. on the off chance that something horrible happens to all six adults we’ll be a family of 14!

  8. When we initially went through this process, we selected my brother and his wife. At the time, they were the only ones in our family that were married, live locally, and planned on having children. They have always been loving toward our kids, and have the financial and emotional resources to support our kids (although we also purchased life insurance with financial support in mind). As more of my siblings marry (I’m from a huge family), we may change our decision. My kids are biracial, and I want them to be raised by someone who can knowledgeably discuss race, privilege and other complicated emotional issues.

  9. We don’t really have much of a choice in that my Dh is an only child, and I have one brother – who believes he’s descendant from aliens – who is a confirmed bachelor and too self-involved to raise children. Dh’s father has passed and his mother is 82, so no option there. This only leaves my parents. My father is another grumpy old man bachelor who lives on and isolated property (that he doesn’t own). My mother and her Dh are aging (in their 60s) but are very young at heart. Our only reservation is that they are evangelical Christians and (having been brought up that way myself) I don’t particularly want that to be my children’s experience. If we did pass suddenly, the boys would go to my parents, but honestly, we’re hoping to both survive another 10 years when my two oldest would be old enough to raise the younger two…

  10. Gosh – tricky and complicated would describe our situation. We have plenty of brothers and sisters, but they all live interstate and are either raising large families themselves or are single careerists, or have quite different lifestyles to us. Grandparents are an option, but not getting any younger and they are also interstate… We have friends nearby with kids the same age and the same parenting style and values – but I don’t know – it feels like too much to ask. So we’ve had the discussion and put off making the decision. Thanks for raising it – I’m going put it back on the agenda!

    1. Hopefully it will never happen but in the unlikely case that it does, I think it is important to have a clear decision made.

  11. Our children are all grown up now but when they were small we made this decision because my husband had someone at work who was a lawyer and was in court trying to sort out this problem for two very young children. Both sides of the family wanted them. We made a decision with the help of my Dad and my husbands Mum who were to have the oversite of our childrens welfare but not to care for them. We named my husbands brother but oth of the Grandparents could change that if the need ever came. It was also part of our will.

  12. We have 3 kids and when we wrote our wills, had only just had our first. We appointed a couple who are one set of his godparents. As someone else said earlier, religious belief was important for us and that’s why we went outside both families.

    Circumstances have changed somewhat, we now have 3, they now have 2. But when we had our 2nd and 3rd we did ask them each time if they were still willing to be guardians and the response was overwhelmingly positive 🙂

    It would be a noisy, chaotic house full but it would be full of love and I know they would do their utmost to involve our kids relatives in their lives still which is also important. Plus they live close to us, closer than any family in fact, so moving our kids to their location wouldn’t be too much upheaveal.

  13. I really hate this issue, it freaks me out.

    But must be considered, so after much thought we have chosen my SIL and BIL. They have three already.

    I also would have liked to put my sister.

    I knew if it was any of our siblings the girls would be loved and cared for. They would be ok financially with or without the income from our insurance.

    But…my sisters husband is a little traditional for my liking. After four babies, he did not change a single nappy…do I need to say any more??? Is that the role model I would want for the girls?

    Both our parents could be considered but I think that they will be a part of the girls lives no matter what, with whichever sibling of ours takes custody. There is no perfect answer.

    Again, I just hate even thinking about it.

    1. Me too, but at least once it is done it can be parked to one side and ticked off the list. Planning for our children’s futures when we are no longer here, in all sorts of ways, is one of the sad ‘grown-up’ things of life that come upon us when we are parents. It will almost certainly never happen and fortunately there are so many other fun, wonderful, fabulous things to think of and do as well.

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  15. We made this decision before our first child was born and decided on my eldest brother and his life partner. They are definatley in the best financial position to take on the cost of raising a family, they love children but have decided to share in the joy of ours instead of go through the process of adopting their own, and of all the family members they share the same values in life as my husband and I.
    We sat down with them prior to DS birth and asked if they would accept this responsibility, tears were a definate yes.
    My mother is on her own and for health reasons would be unable to do it. My in-laws at first I think a little put out have agreed that we made the right decision and they know that they would have a huge part to play if anything was to happen to us.
    We often joke that we should look out as the “uncles” might kill us off. They love our children completely and really that is the most important thing.

  16. My husband and I wrote our wills about 16 years ago when we had our first son and before we were married. We’ve never done another one.
    Those wills say that my parents will take our children, we now have three sons. The problem with that is that my parents are now in their mid-late 60’s, Dad still works full time because he can’t afford to retire and he’s pretty much caring for Mum full time as well because she’s got early stage Alzheimers (sp?).
    *Starting to wish I hadn’t read this forum*
    My brother is a single Dad of two sons born about 18 years apart to two different women, both one-night stands. He’s also a confirmed bachelor.
    Our second choice would have been my second son’s godparents, my husband’s brother and his wife, except they have now divorced and have new partners that we don’t know! My father-in-law died a few years ago and my mother-in-law is in her mid-70’s, no time for raising kids. My husband’s sister .. well let’s not go there!
    Throw into this mix, all of our family is on one side of the country and we’re on the other.
    None of our family has the level of income that we have so the boys’ lives would change dramatically. We have some investment properties now, so maybe I need to schedule some time to speak to my husband and oldest son (16) about what they think we should do, then have new wills drawn up and speak to people about being guardians. I don’t want our kids to have to move interstate either, so we’ll need to look at friends.
    Oh this is just so depressing!

  17. One thing that I’ve been thinking on overnight after reading all the comments is how important it is to equally make clear if there is anyone you definitly don’t want having care of your children.

    I love my parents, but I’m also aware that Dads fundamentalist Christian beliefs would be the opposite of the way I wish my children raised. Between that and my mothers OCD* I don’t think my girls should ever be in their care and we have made this very clear both in writing and in speaking to our family.

    *when I was growing up if I had friends come to visit who were not wearing ironed clothing, or it was not ironed to my mothers liking she would get them to take their clothes off and she would iron it ‘properly’ and return it. OCD untreated is not pretty.

  18. Thank you for bringing this up. We have still not decided. My sister is in a great position for the job – large house, plenty of financial stability BUT she doesn’t agree with our attachment parenting and home ed choices so for that reason we can’t opt for her. I have older children (18 and 21) one of whom is also a parent but again, they don’t follow our lifestyle. I agree that LOVE is probably the ultimate decider but every time we have family gatherings I feel the distance between us all growing. We are meeting new “family” on our journey in life and hope that along the way we can trust another family to fulfil that role. As it stands at the mo though there is nothing written on paper. I’m glad we are not the only family struggling with this decision. Is blood more important than family philosophy?
    Note to self…….sort this out.

  19. Good topic, and one we have discussed in the past and have made a decision that we both feel comfortable with. What I want to know is do you “choose – choose?” What I mean is: Do you, after making the decision, also have to make a Plan B in the event that your Plan A doesn’t go as planned (ie marriage breakdown, terminal illness, unforseen event) or does that pass to the couple (or person) with whom you left your children with? Imagine the scenario – you have passed and your children have gone to your carefully chosen guardians. Then unexpectedly, something happens that means they have to be moved again (I’d be coming back from the dead about now). Do your chosen guardians make that decision (and have they put that in their will) or do you make this decision as an addendum to your first decision in this event should happen.

    1. I don’t see why you couldn’t include an additional clause (is that the right word?), that said “in the case that option A is not possible due to death, ill health or divorce, our alternative guardian is xxx.”

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