Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Let down by parents - am I overreacting?

(93 Posts)
Dipdaprules Sat 23-Feb-13 22:29:07

Dh and I have two ds's, age 4 and 2. They are lively and can sometimes misbehave, but not more than other children this age I think; they can also be very charming.

Since they were born dh and I have not had a night away from them (together). This summer is our 15th anniversary. We were hoping to go away for a night or two and asked my parents - in their early 60s and in good health - if they would be able to have the boys for the weekend, either at their house (where they have converted a bedroom into a kids room) or ours (where I'd offered to have a nanny come in for a few hours each day).

They have said no. Dad said the boys are too raucous and he's not sure he could cope with them. I am really upset - as he knows, we have nobody else who could take them and so we won't be able to go away. I can't imagine saying no to my own kids in those circumstances when they grow up. Dh is furious and thinks they are being incredibly selfish.

I suppose this is a bit of an aibu

Dipdaprules Sat 23-Feb-13 22:30:58

Argh pressed too soon - damn iPhone!

... Bit of an aibu to be upset / angry but I wanted a more measured response from those on this board to get some perspective. I think it's the comment about them being too raucous that's upset me as much as them saying no.

shoppingtrolley Sat 23-Feb-13 22:31:07

They are being a bit mean! But I guess there's nothing you can do about it :-(

izzyizin Sat 23-Feb-13 22:36:12

Dh is furious and thinks they are being incredibly selfish

Where is it enshrined in law that dgps should have their dgcs 'for a night or two' in order for the dps to have a break?

What about asking his parents to look after their dgcs?

PoppyWearer Sat 23-Feb-13 22:36:13

They sound like my parents, in their later-60s but still fit and active, with time on their hands. They used to babysit for us one evening a month with DC1 once she was about 18mo until DC2 was born, then my Dad became markedly less willing to help. This was just whilst we went out for a meal, an hour or so at most, no more.

I am very lucky that my PILs will have our DCs overnight. We only ask them once a year so we don't take the piss, but at least we know we can do it.

It's a shame, but I don't think you can do anything about it.

mummytime Sat 23-Feb-13 22:38:04

My eldest is 16, we've never had a night away from them together since they were born. We have gone to a luxury hotel with a nursery etc for a special anniversary.

If you can pay for a Nanny, you could hire one to do over night?

FlatsInDagenham Sat 23-Feb-13 22:38:41

Why have they converted a room into a kids' room? Do they have other GC? Or is it for when you all stay over?

I think I would be upset if my DF had said something like that - it's not so much the refusal (disappointing but totally their right) but the raucous comment. It's like a slur on your parenting. Have they ever indicated they don't approve of the DC or your parenting of them before?

Is it possible one of them is going through some kind pf heslth issue they haven't shared with you?

BrianButterfield Sat 23-Feb-13 22:42:33

If they've gone to the bother of making a kids' room YANBU to think they might actually want to have them. Seriously, only on MN is it seen as totally entitled and selfish to expect GPs to have their gcs to stay once every FOUR YEARS. In the real world it is normal and not selfish to want this to happen every so often if grandparents are around, in good health and nearby.

Corygal Sat 23-Feb-13 22:44:27

Yes, they are being a bit OTT. But give them time... they might be better when yr DCs are older. The special kids' room sound promising.

Ignore the raucous thing - any 2 yr old worth their salt is raucous to an OAP. Particularly a lazy one, no offence to yr DF.

But bear in mind some GP flatly refuse to lift a finger for DGC - you might have to suck it up. If that turns out to be the case, just get mentionitis about how great other people's 'proper' GPs are and go on about how much yr DC love their GPs and want to see them more often.

Dipdaprules Sat 23-Feb-13 22:48:41

DH father no longer with us, mother elderly and unwell.

Maybe they would be more willing to do it later on (20th anniversary...?) but I don't feel I want to ask them again now at all. They didn't even try to soften the blow by saying "but of course we will come up for the day" or something.

nailak Sat 23-Feb-13 22:52:00

I think 2 is a hard age. My mum will take my eldest two kids who are 5 and 4, and took them from around 3, but wont take my youngest who is 2.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 23-Feb-13 22:54:07

I think it's mean, especially since they've converted a room for them! They could have said they weren't too sure, rather than making it into a criticism of your boys.

It isn't unreasonable at all to hope your parents would help you like this: mine did for us, and I certainly hope I can for my dds in the future.

DeepRoots Sat 23-Feb-13 23:53:16

We are lucky. DMIL has ours from time to time. Its a major operation organizing it as she is so far away.

I don't think you are being unreasonable or selfish. Its not as if its a regular night but a special occasion.

Only thing I would say is mil wouldn't do over night breaks until eldest was 3. There's a big age gap and when the little one was born there was talk of us having our away time again when she got to 2/3. As it happened a friend asked us to a no kids wedding. Mil wouldn't hear of us not going even though dd was only eighteen months or so.

So maybe when they are older.

Why not ask about either a longer evening stint from 5ish so you could do theater/cinema and dinner?

I can't figure out why the converted a room into a kids room if they don't want them overnight. I think seeing it's a big anniversary, that they are being a bit mean, you did even offer for the nanny to come by each day and take over for a few hours.
I'd find out how much for the nanny for an overnight, and go from there.
Or if you have a friend who'd take one, split them up and see if the GP's will take the older and friend take the younger or vise versa.

Dipdaprules Sun 24-Feb-13 00:24:44

Thanks all. I have a lot of friends with family who will take their DCs at a drop of a hat. Guess I am a bit envy and also struggling to understand as I'd do anything for my own kids. I think they disapprove of our parenting and think we are too soft on them.

Nanny overnight not really an option as she has her own kids; anyway, it's taken the shine off the whole idea and so we're going to go away with the kids instead. As for my parents I think the ball is in their court, they don't seem particularly fussed about spending time with their grandchildren so I am going to stop suggesting visits and let them take the lead and see what happens. And yes they probably will be more wiling when the kids are older, in the meantime though I can't help feeling hurt.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 24-Feb-13 00:32:58

Can you ask the nanny to have them over at hers, paid of course, and have your getaway at a local hotel?

hopeful suggestion from someone whose last date was a fried breakfast + 1 cocktail in poshest local hotel while DS was at school. blush

Mimishimi Sun 24-Feb-13 07:06:50

Sorry to say mine are the same. They will only take 1 GC at a time and often not that. My grandfather, the children's great-grandfather, has helped more than they have ( and that's only been about three times overnight). I am good with making sure they are fed and prepared but my parents refuse too. The odd thing is that they had lots of help from both their parents when we were growing up.

Perhaps get a sitter for the weekend?

Flossiechops Sun 24-Feb-13 07:13:46

It's not enshrined anywhere that dgp should look after their gc, however I would it find it pretty hurtful that they won't once in a while babysit. Not out of duty and not forced to do it but because they love their gc and would like to spend time with them, also that they love their daughter enough to give her a break. I am very very fortunate that me parents adore my dc and look after them without hesitation but I could never ask them if they found it a bind. I don't think you are overreacting to feel let down at all op.

TheFallenNinja Sun 24-Feb-13 07:15:11

It's fine to ask for this kind of thing but its folly to be upset when people say no. That is the point of asking, you give them a choice.

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 07:53:00

It doesn't make sense to feel hurt that your Dad doesn't feel able to cope with a toddler for an entire weekend.

He's in his 60s.

He may be in good health, and long may that last, but he won't have the energy of a younger man.

It's good that he feels able to refuse and to be honest about what he can cope with.

I'm sure you wouldn't want him to agree and spend the weekend struggling to cope because he felt obliged to say yes.

My mother is dreadful for agreeing to things she can't manage, so I have to be very careful what I ask her to do.

I certainly wouldn't ask my similarly aged parents to take two children of 4 and 2 overnight just so I could get a break from them.

I see how knackered they are after a few hours of having them.

And they are dying to have them for overnight visits. When the children are older and caring for them is not so demanding and exhausting it will be lovely for all if them.

I think your DH is being unfair to be angry with them and I suspect his bad humour is rubbing off on you.

Instead of focusing on your own disappointment, maybe think about what it means that your Dad feels this is beyond him. He's getting old. He's slowing down.

He's not doing that to hurt you.

Although, yes, it does hurt to see your parents start to decline.

mamababa Sun 24-Feb-13 07:54:16

I would be pissed off too tbh. I think they could manage 1 night maybe if you dropped kids lunch time sat and returned lunchtime sun and did a local ish hotel with maybe a spa etc to relax. It's not entitled. IME Gp's make a huge deal of wanting dgc's, but then don't want to help you. And what's really irritating is that we can all remember as kids being with our Gp's and whoever else so they clearly had help!! The converted room is odd though, why do it?
There really is nothing you can do unless a friend would help out but I would play them at their own game tbh. Don't take kids over and if thu say they want to see them say you haven't brought them as they are ina 'raucous' phase grin but then -I'm a bitch- like that!! smile

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 08:01:49

"I think they could manage 1 night maybe if you dropped kids lunch time sat and returned lunchtime sun and did a local ish hotel with maybe a spa etc to relax."

You think they could manage?

Oh, well that changes everything!

hmm

fertilityagogo Sun 24-Feb-13 08:04:48

I'm sorry OP. yes I'd be hurt/upset too. My FIL recently made a similar comment about our DS's ((same age as yours) and we were both a bit surprised and disappointed.. Can you talk to him about it and let on that his comments affected you?
I agree that none of us are "entitled" to grandparents doing overnights, but the op is hardly taking advantage!!

They sound fairly useless, but I think you are right to not ask them again. Make alternative plans (easier as they get older).

My parents are in their mid to late 60's, lots of energy, my mum still works, they happily have my 3 including severely autistic teen (thank god as we really will never have any other options with him), still head off to SE Asia with only 1 night booked in a hotel, but the 60's seems to be a decade that divides people (even more in the 70's) . Some people do seem to suddenly start to get very old - even if only in the way they think- & think everything is too much hassle.

Personally - assuming I have my health - I would like someone to shoot me if I decide I can't manage a 2 year old in my 60's, I want to be like the 80 year old I know who still ride horses everyday. Or my friend's parents in their 80's who are so busy they're rarely at home & when they are they're looking after their 3 year old grandchild. Give me that over the old mindset anyday. Unfortunately if your parents are like this there will be little you can do to convince them they're not that old.

So, although no of course parents have no rights to expect grandparents to have their kids overnight yanbu to feel miffed or upset - especially given that they are young. IME it is them who lose out though - who wants to spend their last 20 plus years feeling too old to look after a 2 year old?

exoticfruits Sun 24-Feb-13 08:08:57

Have you thought of suggesting they come and stay at your house? That is often easier- all equipment - all child proofed.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now