With the exception of Pascal's and Vidcund's babies in Strangetown (they're called Titus and Andromeda ), all the babies born in my game to date have been born to married couples. After the birth, one has gone on working, and the other has stayed at home to look after the new arrival(s). There are single parent families in my game, but they are made in CAS, and the household invariably includes teens, who are just as capable of looking after themselves (and any younger siblings) as any adult. I make my single parents in CAS because I really don't want to play through a messy divorce, and I just cannot bring myself to kill Sims -- even for story purposes. Apart from Sims being widowed or divorced/separated, a Sim can of course become a single parent if a pregnancy results from a casual romantic relationship -- just the sort of relationship that my Romance Sims love!
From what his mother has told him, I understand that Andrew himself is the result of such a relationship -- Gloria's night of passion with a Scottish sailor whose ship was lying at anchor in the Downtown Creek. Of course, as I'm sure you've all heard before, Gloria is an excellent mother -- the best in the world according to Andrew. And I have to agree that Andrew, articulate and intelligent, really is a credit to her; the absence of a father in his life really hasn't held him back. But in some ways in the game, Gloria has had it easy. I'm sure Andrew must once have been a baby, and then a toddler, and then a child attending primary (or elementary) school. But I never saw it. Because I created him as a teen in CAS. So I just don't know how Gloria coped when he was younger, and couldn't be left unattended.
So, I'm thinking of building or finding a house, and moving a small group of women unto it. They'll be mainly Romance, but maybe one will be Pleasure. And they'll all be looking for woohoo -- without commitment. And at least some of them will have children. Now children in my game must be brought up in a loving home. (A codicil was added to my Sims' Constitution, saying that "Every child has the right to be loved".) So my idea is that they'll look after the children communally with some staying at home to look after the children while others go out to work to bring in money to buy things. It sounds ok to me in theory and I'd like to see how works out in practice.
Of course in theory such a commune could include men as well. But I think I'd like to make this first one all female, so that none of the children's fathers will be living there. Otherwise it might end up a bit too like an ordinary "nuclear" family. The fathers will (I hope) still be alive, and living elsewhere in the greater neighbourhood, so the children may have contact with them.
I know the "proper" Maxis answer would be to hire a nanny, but I fear my Sims have read too many horror stories about nannies on MTS to trust their offspring to an NPC nanny's tender care.
I'd like to hear what you all think of the idea. And I'm sure some other forum members must also have some less conventional "families" that they'd like to describe.
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Originally Posted by joandsarah77
This is why with dysfunctional families with bad role models kids grow up and often perpetuate the cycle of violence- bad role models in the formative years.
Jo quit making me put 2 and 2 together like this, I can't
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Possibly, with playable fathers, you might like to let the kids have overnight visits, moved in and out with the teleporter.
This sort of family works well for me. You might even want a larger family mod so as to get a really lively, chaotic household! Since you play with aging off for long periods, you needn't trouble yourself with directing children and toddlers to skill or interact. You can just track their needs so that the nearest big person can make sure they get enough food and sleep, and leave them to decide for themselves which toys they like, which other children they want to interact with, and what skills they get. You might as well get all the toddler skills taken care of, as having kids who can take themselves to the potty, walk around on their own, and talk to their creche mates and caretakers makes life easier and more interesting, and you may need to direct them to get to know their dads. Once they're children, you'll have to get them taught to study and direct them to keep up with homework, and of course take them on outings sometimes. But otherwise you can let them run wild and see who they grow up to be.
You will get to know these sims very well indeed, and may be surprised at which women are the most inclined to look after the others' children as well as their own. It's a shame your laptop can't handle Pets, as toddlers with cats and dogs are very happy toddlers, and children who are responsible for toddlers and animals learn important nurturing skills.
Look into mods like "children get bottles" that allow more interactions between children and little ones. In large families of any configuration, the children raise each other to a large extent, and the vanilla coding doesn't recognize this as well as it might.
Another possibility would be to have a retired old woman (or old man, if you decide you want a male role model in residence; you can always make him gay to forestall any romantic relationships arising with his tenants) rent rooms to single mothers and act as child minder during the day while they go out to work. There's a great deal to be said for having all the age stages involved in raising children!
My PlantSims have a non-nuclear family structure, living in "Gardens" of loosely related individuals. The matriarch will produce a new PlantBaby as soon as the previous one grows up, so PlantBabies generally grow up in their mother's household, surrounded by brothers, uncles and cousins - the males move between Gardens according to where they're most needed - and occasionally an older sister who has not yet established a Garden of her own. The toddlers spend most of their time playing with toys or bopping along to music, but the adults will check on them between their own tasks, snuggle them and take care of any needs, so PlantBabies are raised by the whole community and never allowed to become unhappy. When a female moves out to become a matriarch with a Garden of her own, she may be accompanied by members of her mother's Garden or joined by whoever the older matriarchs think would be most useful to her - Daisy's daughter, Willow, has just moved out to establish a Garden and was accompanied by her Uncle Basil, who had been living with Rose.
Nannies are actually very good with babies and kids - it is other things they are not so good with. Babies will be fed, put into beds, etc. - in my game, the nanny even helped to potty train the young Newsons.
While she may make food for the children, the game prevents her to serve it - so just make sure there are leftovers in the fridge for them to get out.
In a bigger household, a nanny will only be there while the sim who hired her is at work - no matter whose child needs looking after. That means that you can pick the one with the shortest/most regular hours and have her hire the nanny. She will turn up until there is no baby/child to look after (but not for teens).
You need to hire her before the parent goes back to work - or she will be late/turn up the next day. Best thing is to hire her right after the birth.
Adding or creating an extra sim to take care of the kids means that you will have to look after that Sim's needs as well, or he/she will often go into aspiration failure.
I rely on nannies in my game; my families don't often have maids and gardeners, but they usually get a nanny, even if it is only for a shift once in a while. Even a stay-at-home parent needs a break and a night out once in a while.
Some of my Sims have been lifelong friends with their nanny and once in a while I allow them to invite her to a party or a wedding At least one nanny in my game has helped to raise 3 generations of Gavigan kids.
And if she turns out to be a big problem - just fire her.
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The game generates three of them: The Good Nanny, the Adequate Nanny, and the Bad Nanny. Due to the way the randomizer works, different people tend to get one of these nannies more often than others and their ideas of how nannies behave tend to be based on that. JustPetro, clearly, gets the Good Nanny more often than a lot of us do.
JustPetro also utilizes the nanny wisely and moderates her expectations. A lot of people tend to overwork the nanny or expect too much of them. A Good Nanny left alone with twin toddlers and two babies for eight hours is going to have as big a breakdown as a Bad Nanny - or as a lone playable in the same situation. She's an elderly woman, not a superhero! The Good Nanny will sometimes potty train, an Adequate Nanny changes a lot of diapers but will sometimes empty the potty, and the Bad Nanny will ignore a screaming toddler in order to watch TV or get out an endless string of bottles for a baby who's already full and just wants to sleep. Also, they are there to take care of the children, not to fix the exploding sink!
Like all uncontrolled sims, the nannies are limited by the randomizer, and may possibly be subject to the training mechanism. (I have no way to know whether NPCs are set up to use the SWAF in the same way playables are.) They get stuck in loops, go into motive failure, and react to advertising much like other sims. Since the changing table is broken and the code for recognizing a baby's needs is inadequate for playables, you have to expect a certain number of frustrating experiences with nannies in that regard. A nanny is also no more able to move a teddy bear or a baby out from in front of the refrigerator or the foot of the stairs without direction than any other sim. If you intend to rely on nannies heavily, you need to understand all this and plan your house around their limitations. You as player should also be prepared to intervene occasionally - to force an error on a nanny stuck in a loop, to use move_objects to move an obstacle, to direct a toddler or child to take action either directly or by using Influence on the nanny or a passing walkby.
Andrew can't use Get Leftovers, because that's a Seasons feature; but he can make sure the kids have a toy oven. I don't remember in what EP "call to meal" became a feature, but I've had success with using it on those frustratingly inaccessible nanny-made meals (hasn't somebody modded that? Somebody should mod that.) in order to get a visiting teen or adult to serve it so the kids can have some.
And of course if your primary use of the nanny is as a babysitter while the adults get a break for a date or an outing, none of this matters because the nanny is only there long enough for the date to take place. Even the Bad Nanny is good enough for that!
A lot of us who have good nannies have that hack.
I recollect that originally nannies did in fact serve the meals they made, I think that was broken with an EP. The main purpose of nannies, however, is to keep the social worker away. Even if she does a lousy job of caring for the kids, the social worker won't come get them (unless your child is flunking).
Edit : I remembered that I have, at times, just let a parent serve gelatin - before leftovers - it lasts long enough for the kids to eat it the next day.
Originally Posted by Peni Griffin
Here's the deal with the nannies.
The game generates three of them: The Good Nanny, the Adequate Nanny, and the Bad Nanny. Due to the way the randomizer works, different people tend to get one of these nannies more often than others and their ideas of how nannies behave tend to be based on that.
That's pretty interesting! I've had fairly good luck with nannies. They're usually decent at caring for the kids, seeing to their needs and interacting with them, and even occasionally cleaning if they have nothing else to do. They more often get fired for deciding to annoy their adult employers than because they're bad with the kids! As you say, it's necessary to understand their limitations but they can be worked around. I don't use Pescado's nanny mod, though I do have quite a cocktail of logic tweaking mods so some of them might be making my nannies more efficient/tolerable.
I usually don't have my nannies tend to babies unless I absolutely must. My parents will use their parental leave to stay home until the kid ages up to toddlerhood. With a toddler, I can mostly direct them as needed to play or sleep (or potty once trained). About the only thing I need to consistently watch is to turn the fridge around once the nanny has fetched a bowl of food from it for a toddler in a high chair. If I don't, she'll turn around and fetch a bottle after a second or two delay. The programmers apparently didn't give her enough time to wait and process whether the child was eating. Though this can be handy if she's tending to twins, because the other one currently not in the chair can just have the bottle.
I did notice the issue with the nanny cooking but not serving food and being frustrated because the child she was minding couldn't serve it themselves. But that's changed at some point, as now my nannies seem to be able to serve the meals they cook. I didn't get any fixes for that specifically, though I suspect Cyjon's Smarter Food Serving may have done so. The downside is that occasionally the nanny might try to eat a serving, if it hasn't been claimed.
All that said, not all of my sims use nannies (or butlers). I've had a mix of family types who mind their children in different ways. Sometimes a parent is a stay at home one, sometimes the parents switch off who stays home (usually just whoever has that day or time off normally), sometimes it's down to older siblings or relatives or housemates. I've even had fosters and children's homes. About the only thing I haven't tried yet is a daycare center set-up.
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-Plan chores so they're not all running around trying to do everything. In mine, I have one sim who cooks and cleans, another who watches the babies and toddlers, then the other adults do the work. And of course, flexibility for all, so someone else can jump in as needed. The more adults, the easier it is.
-In my polyamorous commune, everyone just pitches in to help raise the children and develops a relationship with them, not just their parents. It's anything but a nuclear family. And the kids all grow up together like siblings, even if there's no relation. If their biological father doesn't want to be as involved as another person, who cares? Kids just need love and support. I think it's cute when one of the men without kids helps a toddler learn to walk.
-Since you're going for the all-female route- try not to have everyone pregnant at once. You might think it'll be cute. It's less cute when all the adults are too tired and hungry to function.
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So, yeah, completely awful (for males, but believe me I've done awful things to females in other scenarios, so I'm equal-opportunity awful) but fun to play. But my point is that the girl-children were all raised communally. No one (except the game, of course) knew or cared who their father was
As for nannies...I don't use them often. I prefer playable nannies. They're playable Sims that I give the custom NPC Child Care career. (And if there isn't a Sim with that job in the neighborhood yet, then there are no childcare services available in that neighborhood, so parents have to make other arrangements.) But when there is a "nanny" and I'm not playing their lot, they get transport-mirror'ed to other households when they're needed and then paid and transported back to their own household when they're done for the day. (And when they are being played, then they just go to work as usual, since they have a job.) But when they are working in someone else's household, they're fully-playable Sims that I can command to do whatever needs to be done, and I don't have to deal with the game's nanny AI or screwing around modding nannies and all that. The only thing I might have to deal with is giving them days back in their life, if they're working on someone else's lot when 6PM rolls around, since they become members of that household when they're working. But that's easily done with an Insimenator object.
Or, possibly, since you play with aging off, use a hack to add vacation days.
Or have the parent save enough money to quit and stay home while the child is little. Which is probably what Gloria did, if you think about it: didn't she start at a level one job when Andrew was a teen? She probably had enough savings (and maybe some welfare or life insurance or something) to quit when he was born and start working again when he reached high school.
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Andrew: I must say I regard Andrew as a success, even if he did lack a male father figure for much of his upbringing. I was aware that the conventional wisdom is that teenage boys ideally need good adult male role models in their lives. So, when I created Garry Mackay as a boyfriend for Gloria my original intention was that they would marry fairly quickly, and Garry would become Andrew's stepfather, befriend him, and take an interest in his development. Two factors stopped this happening. Firstly, being a total newbie, I reckoned without the Romance Sim's legendary fear of commitment. I made both Gloria and Garry Romance in the hope that they would fall in love quickly. This they certainly did, and I thought I saw engagement wants in their panels. But when I looked more closely I saw that these weren't wants, they were fears! They were both afraid of commitment at that stage. So for a while, while they continued their relationship, at the same time they both had affairs with others. But secondly, and I think more importantly, I was impressed by the very strong bond between Gloria and her son. They played together, exchanged friendly hugs and family kisses, and had long intense conversations about every subject under the sun. Including kissing and woohoo. I got the impression that they had no secrets from each other. In short, Andrew didn't appear to need a father. In fact felt he might even resent an outsider muscling in on his exclusive relationship with his mother. As an only child, with no father present, Andrew had Gloria all to himself.
Of course Gloria was still in a relationship with Garry, and to begin with at least, was having a couple of other relationships on the side (which didn't get far), but Gloria and Andrew were still alone together in the house a lot of the time. Andrew himself, in the process of discovering his sexuality and falling in love with his best friend, went through a bit of a bad time with both his behaviour and his schoolwork suffering. (Probably it was really due to my inexperience!) His mum's support was vital at this time, and, if anything, they grew even closer. Then, as Andrew began to recover, it was Gloria who suffered emotional setbacks, first through a failed relationship with fellow army officer Donte Chalmers, and then through the loss of her army career. Now Andrew was able to use his growing maturity to give her the understanding and support she needed.
Of course I don't know what adult males may have had contact with Andrew during his infancy and childhood, but he has formed a close relationship with at least one adult male since he became a teen. I refer of course to Gloria's boyfriend (and now fiancĂ©) Garry Mackay. I well remember the day their friendship started. Garry had stayed the night and had had woohoo with Gloria. Since it was a Saturday morning, Andrew didn't have school, but Gloria had completely forgotten that she had to go to work -- until the Humvee turned up in the dark to collect her. Although she had had woohoo, and had had only about an hour's sleep, she put on her uniform and left. How she did it I don't know -- I think she was serving in Elite Forces at the time. Andrew had been up late too, and would have liked a long lie, but quite early in the morning Garry came into his bedroom and said quite audibly, "Munchies!" Andrew took that to mean, "Get up and make me breakfast," and so, tired though he was, he complied. Over the meal and afterwards they got into conversation with each other, and found that they got on well together. Fairly quickly it developed into a strong friendship. But, in the absence of any formal relationship between Garry and Gloria, it has never been in any sense a father-son relationship -- far more a meeting of equals. Is Garry a good influence? Well he's Romance, but neither Andrew nor I are going to hold that against him; after all Gloria is Romance too. He's in politics, but modern Veronaville sees to be a rather well-run place, so that's probably a plus too. But all in all, I think Andrew could be just as good an influence on Garry as the other way round; it was Andrew who persuaded Garry to start going to church on a Sunday morning with him and Julian. (Gloria usually has to work on Sunday mornings, so she seldom goes.) Andrew's closeness to Garry has worked in an unusual way to help Gloria too. After her failure to seduce Donte Chalmers, Gloria was afraid to invite anyone round in case she was rejected. Andrew said, "Don't worry mum! I'll phone up Garry and invite him round -- so even if he says 'no' it won't be you gets rejected." Since then it's become their normal routine. When Gloria feels the need for woohoo (which is often) she tells Andrew, and he rings Garry and says, "Mum needs woohoo again. Can you come round and satisfy her?" Garry always agrees -- there's nothing he likes more than woohoo with Gloria! Of course Andrew knows what his mum and Garry do when they get together. In fact I think she's described it to him in graphic detail -- part of their "no secrets" relationship. It doesn't bother him. I think that shows his maturity. He knows his mum has a high sex drive, and he reckons the relationship with Garry is good for her. Even though, apart from being gay, Andrew is more conventional and conservative in his love life than his mum. He wants a church wedding before he and Julian have woohoo together. (And I think it's wonderful that a teenage boy in modern Veronaville can take that stance. )
So, all in all, Andrew today seems so mature and level-headed, that I really don't think that the absence of an active father in his life has done him any harm at all. Of course Andrew might just be the exception that proves the rule. Not so long ago, and perhaps even still in some conservative circles, Andrew being gay might have been seen as the unfortunate result of the absence of good straight adult male role models in his life. But, whatever I may have thought in the past, I refuse to see Andrew being gay as a character defect. And I think Andrew himself has helped me to that view.
Nannies: I've never used them so far because of their bad reputation. But Justpetro's and Peni's posts are thought-provoking. I've certainly seen playable Sims at their wit's end trying to meet the needs of toddlers. Bill McBain was always wanting to stay home from work, so I let him give up work completely, and stay at home to look after Peni Jo and Peregrine. Soon he was tearing his hair out. I'm sure he was thinking that work was much easier -- he even got paid for it! With his wife out at work earning money, the teens at school, and himself too tired to think -- let alone get bottles, change nappies, put toddlers in bed, and generally clean up, Bill was tempted to phone up and hire a nanny. But all these awful tales about nannies put him off. I think, before any of the girls in my new commune have any babies, I'll go back to the McBains and play them for a few days. . . .and let Bill hire a nanny to help out. I think all the nanny-from-hell stories I have heard have been about nannies left alone in charge of the kids. Surely, when there are (supposedly) competent family members in the house, a hired nanny will just be an extra pair of hands. That must help!
Children helping with Toddlers: When playing the Newsons, Gallagher and Gabriella often give the impression that they'd like to help more looking after Georgia and Garrett, but they can't. Peni mentioned a "children get bottles" mod. I'd love to know more about that and similar mods. I don't think we'd want the children changing nappies (diapers), and maybe not even emptying the potty, but I'm sure a lot of kids would enjoy helping their little brothers and sisters learn to walk and talk, and playing with them.
Well, I know I haven't deal with everything that's come up, but this is already an unreasonably long post, so I think I'll call it a day for now. By the way, I've created another Romance female called Priscilla Hand. I've made her a townie for now, but I expect she'll eventually join the others in the commune.