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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!


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.

mamababa Sun 24-Feb-13 08:19:41


No I didn't say it would change things. Nothing will as others have said on here. Maybe I should have said 'based on what the OP has said, I think they could have done it'. It won't make them but that's my opinion which she has asked for. Hope that clears things up

I think having two boys at this age for an overnight stay sounds like incredibly hard work - you might well have had a different answer if they were a couple of years older. It sounds as if your parents think that your boys run riot and are difficult to manage, and they are entitled to their opinion. Maybe they'll be much more into the idea when the boys are both old enough to listen to and understand them, and a bit more reasonable than typical 2-3 year olds tend to be.I have two dd myself, but I wouldn't dream of asking a friend to look after them overnight, nor would I offer to look after other people's dc overnight.

I wouldn't play silly games of not letting your parents see them, that would be cutting your nose off to spite your face (assuming they will step up to the plate later on). All this rambling to say: I really get where your parents are coming from, and I can see myself in a similar situation in the future (as in 2 and 4 yo, no thanks! 4 and 6 yo, yes please!) smile

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 08:22:58

"I would like someone to shoot me if I decide I can't manage a 2 year old in my 60's"


It kind of sounds like you are saying that we should euthanise people once they get too old to be useful (as babysitters).

Has it occurred to you that being unable to cope with something isn't something you necessarily get to "decide"?

My parents are young and healthy and very willing to help.

But because I love them I try my best not to take advantage of them.

They have never "decided" not to cope with a 2 year old.

But I see how tired they get and don't ask them to take on what I think will exhaust them and what I know is my responsibility.

DeepRoots Sun 24-Feb-13 09:20:27

"My parents are young and healthy and very willing to help"

Count yourself lucky. I and many friends have parents who play various games with the family dynamic and I can easily see where the op is coming from.

I wouldn't ask my own parents to have my two for a variety of different reasons including their opinion of them and the lack of effort made when they do see their dgc. This being the case even though my parents should be more able to take the task on.

I don't think the op is complaining so much as hurt that the one time she does actually want some support there is no one there to give it. Coupled with that the dgp concerned are not being honest enough to say, its too much maybe when they are older etc and are using the children's behavior (which sounds perfectly normal) as an excuse. Hurting their daughter in the process.

Op glad you are still planning to get away albeit with the children.

Not everyone is 'super parent', some people do need a break and it is healthy to want this. Don't forget children used to be brought up by a community of people not by isolated parents in nuclear families. Children are stressful but normal go jump at the chance to have dgc on their own without the parents interference

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 09:44:40

I do count myself lucky.

I don't think most grandparents consider their own children to be interfering with their relationship with their grandchildren.

Saying children are raucous isn't (to my mind at least) a criticism of their behaviour or upbringing.

I would have taken that as a statement of fact rather than something to get the arse about.

IDontDoIroning Sun 24-Feb-13 09:46:26

Your parents did the toddler stage when they and you were 20- 30 years younger.

My dc are teens /preteens so it was only 10 or so years ago I had toddlers. I wouldn't want to go back to having 2 for a whole weekend.

YANBU to ask but they ANBU not to want to do it and YA a bit U to feel upset about it.

RandomMess Sun 24-Feb-13 09:48:51

Where is it written down that gp should have children over night? Yes it's disappointing that they won't but if they don't feel like they can cope then it's for the best.

people are always so hard on mums who are disappointed by uninvolved parents on here. it's unnecessary! there is nothing wrong with feeling hurt and disappointed that your parents aren't more interested in and hands on with your children.

my parents have my son overnight once a week for which i am very grateful. it's great for my son to have extra adults in his life who love him, are committed to him and want to take part in caring for him. they did the same with my sisters three children so having my one is nothing iyswim in comparison.

why is it so wrong for a woman to be sad that she doesn't have that from her parents? especially a woman who by the sounds of it spent lots of time with her grandparents as a child and enjoyed having that in her life? it's perfectly natural to be disappointed and sad.

my parents for all their faults have taken an active part in teaching their grandchildren to read, to play cards, to hit a ball with a bat etc. it is of great benefit to children and parents to have extended family around them that are active in their lives. i don't really understand people having children who are not family orientated! having children isn't just about 18 years and then they're gone - it's about generations of interaction and support. or at least it should be. if you're not up for that i'd recommend getting dogs - they die after a decade or so.

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 10:26:30

The problem with your argument, swallowed, is that you erroneously assume that a grandparent who doesn't feel able to cope with a toddler and another small child for a weekend is uninvolved or uninterested.

That is not necessarily the case.

For example, my MIL used to do a day's childcare every week for SIL, but did not feel up to having both children at once all day.

Does that make her "useless", as another poster describes ageing parents who get tired? Should we shoot her because she got cancer in her 60s instead of going horseriding?

All your rantings about how people don't understand family are meaningless if the reality is involved and loving grandparents who just have limits on what they can manage.

Part of being a loving extended family is recognising others' limitations.

And caring about the wellbeing of all the generations, including those in late middle age.

If my Dad told me he couldn't manage my children for the weekend my concern would be for him, not my own disappointment at not being able to get away from my children.

lot of hyperbole there - never called anyone useless and don't advocate shooting anyone hmm

nor did i do any ranting.

what i did was try and stick up for the OP and her natural feelings that you seem keen to kick her in the guts for having.

whilst putting yourself up as some paragon of saintlihood.

don't worry OP - us mere human beings understand your disappointment. i suspect that you and i will be the kind to be there to support our kids even if we feel a bit tired. i feel tired most days now and i'm still here for my son.

clearly i am not commenting on people who are ill, elderly or genuinely unable just to fend off the tabloidesque response to my message before it comes wink

Dipdaprules Sun 24-Feb-13 10:40:49

Thanks all

It's my dad really, my mum is much more hands-on and I think would have agreed, I suspect he vetoed it, and my mum cant manage them both alone. He was fairly hands-off as a dad too if I recall. He has commented once or twice that he has 'had his turn' ie when me and my brother were children. He's becoming more difficult as he gets older, very intolerent of noise or anything which interrupts his routine. But he is physically fit (walks, skis, plays golf) and only just 60 so it's not physical incapability, it's purely that he doesn't want to.

Guess I just assumed my parents would want to have a close relationship with the kids, but they want to be a bit more distant. My mum at least shows lots of signs of caring eg buying new toys when we come to visit, keeping a photo album of them etc.

Don't want to blow this up into something bigger than it needs to be so I think I just need to find a way to tell my dad that I am disappointed with their decision then move on.

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 10:41:25

I'm not trying to kick her in the guts.

I'm saying there is no need to be hurt or to take the refusal as a rejection if her or her children, which you imply that it is.

Of course she's disappointed, it's disappointing to have plans for temporary escape thwarted.

But it doesn't mean her parents think she's raising her children badly or don't want to be involved with her family.

One thing does not follow from the other.

They are saying it's too much for them.

Why not take them at their word?

Dipdaprules Sun 24-Feb-13 10:42:54

Dh is unfortunately making it harder - he is angrier than I am - so I have ti try to deal with that too, feel stuck in the middle between him and my dad, and really don't want to be taking sides

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 10:44:34

"whilst putting yourself up as some paragon of saintlihood.

i suspect that you and i will be the kind to be there to support our kids even if we feel a bit tired. i feel tired most days now and i'm still here for my son."


honestly it sounds like your dad was selfish when you were kid and quelle surpise is no less so now you're a grown up. some people are.

you however sound lovely. just tell dh that you are feeling hurt and sad enough without having to deal with his anger too and feeling like you have two difficult men to deal with.

Astelia Sun 24-Feb-13 10:56:04

I do sympathise with the GPs. The thought of changing a nappy on a wriggling two year old would not thrill me. I hated doing all that with my own DCs nearly 20 years ago.

OP I think you'll find your parents much happier to look after the DGCs in 2 or 3 years time when they are less physically demanding and are more interesting to talk to.

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 10:56:28

Why is he so angry?

That's not a reasonable reaction to their refusal.

DontmindifIdo Sun 24-Feb-13 11:09:32

I agree if you are hurt, stop trying to arrange visits and see what happens.

Could you ask round your friends, see if anyone could recommend anyone who could do overnight childcare. You might find if you asked and told them the story, some would offer, I'd certainly offer to have a friend's 2 year old in this situation, even more so if you'd offer a return play date overnight for mine!

Other options include finding a hotel that has a babysitting service at it and booking a suite so they DSs are in a different room to you.

I think it would be worth telling your DH that it's not your fault and he needs to stop being a cock and supporting you finding another solution.

Oh we get all that 'we had our turn it's your turn now: grandparents don't do that' from the PIL's (also young). I used to growl under my breath that they had never done what we did as they never had a severely disabled child and it did use to make me very angry (I never expected an overnight, just an occasional hand in the morning when I'd had 2 hours sleep for the 14th night in a row :autism: or a hand with dinner - which was a nightmare in the days when ds1 wouldn't eat anything & I had a baby ds3 to feed as well).

But in the end I let it go. They didn't want to help, fine. Ultimately they have missed out compared to my much more hands on parents. Their choice.

But your DH isn't being fair. I realised however cross it made me it was more upsetting for DH. I did moan about them to him (although more to other people) but wouldn't have pushed further. I did insist on a few boundaries when their visits & lack of help made an already difficult situation worse, but we finally have a situation that works well for all of us. They stay elsewhere and visit during the day - that way they don't have to deal with the children for long uninterrupted periods and I don't resent extra work.

shoppingtrolley Sun 24-Feb-13 11:55:08

My parents can be arses like this too, but I suppose it is part of finally confronting head-on how they socialise in general. Do they do things like take meals for friends when they're ill, help out with feeding pets while neighbours take holidays etc. Remember to buy presents for friends having big birthdays?
I expect not. And so they don't know how to give you a 'treat' either.

Dipdaprules Sun 24-Feb-13 14:46:52

shoppingtrolley that's it really, they are self-centred and don't really put themselves out for anyone. It's not the weekend itself that matters, that's a small thing, it's more disappointment at the attitude, that they see any request as a burden or imposition (or at least my dad does) rather than actually wanting to help out. I imagine they will be less reluctant when the boys are older, too, I do know they are hard work.

swallowedafly thanks for the suggestion on what to say to DH, that's a good way to express it. Yes he is being a cock but there is a bit of a history here of my dad being insensitive (DH is from a different culture and my dad winds him up eg go on just try a bit of wine when he is a muslim... that kind of thing) and DH perceiving that I take his side. Having said that it is miserable being caught in the middle and DH needs to get over himself and stop making things worse.

Ragwort Sun 24-Feb-13 14:54:37

'He's in his 60s.' - unless there are underlying health issues 60 is nothing these days, I am only five years away from being 60 and am perfectly capable of taking 30 kids on camping trips three times a year grin; the Scout movement would grind to a halt if we didn't have volunteers in their 60s and older !!

I can appreciate your sadness and disappointment, its not as if you are asking them to look after your children on a regular basis.

My parents are in their 80s and are moving to be nearer us - one of the main reasons is that they want to offer to babysit more often grin.

shopping makes a good point, despite their age, my parents are the sort of people who are always out and about, helping friends & neighbours, getting involved in community work etc etc. But many people live very insular lives and just don't see the 'need' to offer to help anyone else.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sun 24-Feb-13 15:50:16

If it can reassure your DH, my 6 and 4 yr olds have just had their first ever sleep over, one night, a their GPs during this half term.

I think GPs are in their right to say no.

Yu know them better, so you will know if there is more to it, but is single event does not seem bad to me.

gasman Sun 24-Feb-13 16:11:14

Do you have any friends who will help out?

I've done overnights for a few trusted friends. I don't have my own kids. One couple were really surprised when I offered (I think they had never really considered me as an option due to the lack of my own kids) but by that point I'd looked after a few other children overnight (always in their own house though - my place really isn't set up for small children).

I quite enjoy it. I think you get a different relationship with kids when you look after them on your own without their parents present. I'm pretty lucky (I think) as i have lots of friends who are fairly relaxed about letting me do stuff with their kids and don't fuss too much if what I do is different from normal.

TBH the friends who do fuss don't get the offer of babysitting/ school holiday child care!

ThePinkOcelot Sun 24-Feb-13 16:14:30

I wouldn't want to look after a 2 year old overnight and I'm in my 40's. I just couldn't be bothered. My dds are now 11 and 8, so over that stage. My brother has a 2 year old and just over 1 year old, as much as I love seeing them, I'm also relieved when they get their coat on to go! You have to watch them all the time, and eyes in the back of your head at that age. Even though mine aren't old, it doesn't take long to forget the stages.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 25-Feb-13 01:57:38

You, and more particularly your DH, ABU. It's not written in stone that your parents have to have your DC overnight, or even the weekend that you wanted.

Do you have any siblings that might be able to have your DC? At 4 and 2, they'll still want quite a bit of looking after if anyone does take them, especially the 2yo.

I think you should be pleased they have been honest. if he doesn't feel comfortable would you really want them in charge?

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 02:23:09

OP I think it's incredibly bad form that you're planning to effectively restrict your parents' access to your dcs just because they won't play ball with your plans. It's a really nasty form of punishment. So just because they can't handle overnights you're effectively cutting off access (until they grovel & apogise to you & your DH)?

I can easily understand why they don't want to do it - you may not agree but it is absolutely their right. Minding a 2 and 4 year old is full on. I wouldn't have wanted to do it even if a close family member had asked me pre dcs and I'm in my 30s, not 60s.

Just because they have said no does not mean they don't like spending time with their dgcs. Equally just because they created facilities for them does not automatically mean they are up for having them overnight. Has it occurred to you they may have health issues you're not aware of?

Shame on you for contemplating giving them the cold shoulder because they couldn't do what you asked, how mean and childish. As for your DH, angry what an entitled and petulant reaction.

MrRected Mon 25-Feb-13 02:24:39


I can't imagine not being there to care for my grandchildren one day. It will be my privilege to help out (when asked).

IMVHO core family values are going the way of the dinosaur. In what world is it a chore to have your grandchildren for a weekend???

FWIW my parents are the exact same. When my mum visited us (we live in Australia), she wouldn't even fetch the kids from school - they had to continue going to Outside School Hours Care. Given she'd been sitting on her arse all day - not even bothered to get up to see them before school, I was pretty pissed off... Me = Bitter... NEVER grin

End of the day - you can only rely on yourselves, you can't change their behaviour, so no point getting narky (as much as it would be nice to wink).

KatieMiddleton Mon 25-Feb-13 02:44:52

Surely better to have them say no then the alternative of resentful struggling? I also wouldn't relish an overnight with a 2yo. My ds was 3yo before he had an overnight stay elsewhere. I expect dd will be a similar age assuming I can find anyone crazy able to manage the pair of them. I just have to suck it up because I chose to have two children.

Maybe try Club Med/Mark Warner type holidays with kids clubs so you all get a holiday and a break? Probably much better care than a stressed out GP as well.

YANBU to be disappointed but yabu to expect them to do it.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 25-Feb-13 02:52:52

ThatsNotAKnife where are you getting that she's going to restrict access? The OP said, only, 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 also that she needs to find a way to move on.

Egging her Muslim husband on to "have a bit of wine" is pretty nasty stuff from her Dad, too.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 06:55:46

Tortoise my reading of the passage you highlighted is that OP won't be arranging visitfor the forseeable future & wants her parents to ' take the lead', aka, apologise to her and DH. Apologies to OP if this isn't what she actually meant, however to me it seemed that it was actually a passive-agressive form of punishment.

The wine thing between the dad & DH isn't nice I agree, but doesn't change the fact that the dad is allowed to say no. The DH's behaviour regarding this incident really is poor.

no i read it as take the lead as in if they want to see them fine but not forcing it upon them as they're clearly not bothered.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 07:23:35

Just because they don't want to babysit them for a full weekend does not mean they're not bothered swallowed.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 25-Feb-13 07:48:43

I think it's lovely if grandparents want to help out - my MIL used to collect my dc from nursery one afternoon a week when we lived in the same town, and we were very grateful to her for it, and I assume that if my dc have children I will be happy to help out wherever possible - but I don't understand the attitude some people seem to have that their parents are somehow obliged to help out or selfish when they're not keen. I can understand someone being cross if grandparents won't help out in an emergency, but wanting a night away from your children isn't an emergency, sorry. My dc are 5 and 7 and we have never had a night away from them together. It's a luxury, not an entitlement.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 25-Feb-13 07:53:18

I should clarify that where the family circumstances are particularly difficult, e.g. a disabled child or illness in the family, I think it's reasonable to feel disappointed if gps won't help out without good reason. But being furious because, in an average family situation, your parents won't have your dc overnight is not on IMO.

no but from what the OP says they give the general impression they're not bothered. so she's going to stop chasing to see them and let them take their lead on saying when they want to see their grandchildren.

i'm lost as to why people want to give a mum a kicking for being disappointed that her parents don't want to be an active part of her children's lives. it sounds like when their children were young they utilised plenty of help from op's grandparents (and op enjoyed seeing her grandparents) but they don't want to pass that forward themselves.

thesnootyfox Mon 25-Feb-13 08:11:29

I don't think you are being selfish or entitled. However I can see your parents point of view, looking after two young preschoolers is incredibly hard work and I don't blame them for not wanting to do it. I can remember when my mum was in her 50s and had my nieces and nephews for the weekend she was exhausted at the end of the weekend and it wasn't really fair on her.

It gets easier as they get older. We have a large age gap and are at the toddler stage again. We have never had a night away from the children and I don't envisage that happening for a long time yet. Our friends had the normal 2 year age gap and now both children are at school they are finding that the grandparents are happy to have them for the odd weekend.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 08:12:49

I don't see any evidence in OP's posts that the GPs aren't interested in their dgcs, & no mention of how much help the GPs had from their parents when OP was young.

i suggest you read closer then.

echt Mon 25-Feb-13 08:19:47

I've read the OP's posts and yes, she went straight from the first post where the GPs are not so enthusiastic to OP proposing winding back on suggesting visits based on ......nothing else, just a vague lack of interest. So yes, it does sound like passive-aggressive punishment for not coming up with the goods.

Has the OP been "chasing them"?

Also, children described as "lively" can appear quite differently to others. (I do not imply they are hell on wheels).

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy is spot on about the difference between emergencies and planning.

echt Mon 25-Feb-13 08:23:36

Nah, swallowed can't see the refs to GPs' parents' help at all, nor to anything specific about GP s not being keen, at least not before the hint about being less forthcoming herself, which came first.

Branleuse Mon 25-Feb-13 08:28:40

they sound useless and id be upset too. i had a great relationship with my grandparents and so did dp, spending entire holidays with them. They're missing out on having a close relationship if they won't take them for breaks and i think its one of the things when you have children, you get grandchildren too and my mum takes mine and dps mum would in a shot too, and i expect to do the same for my gc later on down the line. Even if they're raucous, its only a night or two.

Abra1d Mon 25-Feb-13 08:45:49

I am roaring with laughter at how people are claiming 60- somethings are so ancient!

But seriously, OP, how do your children behave? I am asking this gently. I know what two-year olds are sometimes like. Have other people commented on their behaviour?

diddl Mon 25-Feb-13 09:14:21

It sounds as if it would be easier to accept if your husband wasn´t so up in arms tbh.

So you've put that your mum can't cope.

And your Dad says he can't-but you don't seem to believe him??!!

Of course YANBU to be disappointed, but that's just life for a lot of folks.

Weekends away as a couple don't happen when you have young children.

diddl Mon 25-Feb-13 09:37:30

They haven´t really let do down though, have they?

You just can´t do something that you would have liked.

I think that two young kids for a weekend is a big ask tbh anyway.

I´m only 50 but think I'd find it hard-I´m used to teenagers & have forgotten the young years!

I can´t believe that your husband thinks that they are selfish.

Maybe they think that you two are selfish for even thinking of a weekend away?

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 09:39:52

Some 60 somethings are in great health. Some are not. Others might be just starting to feel the effects of getting older.

Nobody said they were ancient but minding two very active small children for a weekend would easily take it out of most people, never mind two retirees.

nailak Mon 25-Feb-13 09:47:49

My mum is in her fifties although she is capable of looking afte thirty five year olds five days a week, she doesn't feel confident in being able to look after a two year old overnight. That is fine. they are very different things.

oldwomaninashoe Mon 25-Feb-13 09:54:40

Well I'm ancient, I am 61, work full time, and am in fairly good health. DH is 4 years younger, and I have 3 grown up sons living at home....

BUT, we have had my 23 month old nephew staying with us as his Mum has been in hospital. He is a lively gorgeous little chap, but me and DH would be totally exhausted if it were not for the help of our sons who do "physical" type play with him.
I honestly think that people in their 20's,30's, and 40's do not realise the extent that your energy levels diminish when you hit your late 50's early 60's.
I think your DH is being unreasonable, I also think when yours are older it will be a different story and they will probably look after them overnight.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Feb-13 09:56:47

We also didn't have anyone to mind our dc overnight when they were little. It is a shame but there's not a lot you can do about it.
It certainly is not a reason for your dh to be so upset, and it is not fair to expect your parents to do this. Fine if they feel confident to do it, but they obviously aren't.
Maybe go somewhere that has a crèche, baby sitters etc, or hire a nanny.

Flossiechops Mon 25-Feb-13 21:22:35

Bollox! my parents are in their 60s my dad has severe arthritis in his spine and walks with aids,my mum still works nights and they have their 5 grandchildren several times a week. Some grandparents just can't be arsed its a simple as that!!!

EuphemiaLennox Mon 25-Feb-13 21:52:18

2 is just a baby.

Babies are just scary or dull or tedious or complicated or hard work to some people.

Mine are 12 yrs and 9yrs and Im with the poster above: I wouldn't want to look after a 2yr old. I couldn't be arsed.

Maybe your parents will enjoy them more once they're over 5yrs.

Once there are no nappies, potties, bottles, cots, tippy cups, pushchairs, routines, broken nights, early mornings, messy mealtimes etc.

Once they can go out on trips, chat and plan, share interests, relax in restaurants, be left unsupervised for a bit while grandad reads the paper etc.

Maybe they're just looking forward to those nice bits of grandparenthood and don't want the hard work??

Disappointing for you, but there could still be a lovely relationship to come with the GPs and your children, maybe they just don't want to do the baby stuff?

kerala Mon 25-Feb-13 22:35:27

It is a shame. We had similar with ILs (early 60s retired time on hands) asked them to have our 2 very easy girls for the weekend to go to my sisters childfree wedding. My family would normally have helped but all at wedding. Ils agreed then pulled out for really lame made up reason. It was the first and only time we had asked anything of them they made it very clear how low we were on their list of priorities. An already shakey relationship never really recovered from that.

emess Mon 25-Feb-13 23:02:05

Disappointing but you can't do a lot on this occasion. However, do they see a lot of them at other times? If they become familiar with all the paraphernalia a 2yo has,how it works (whether toys or equipment), his routines, his likes and dislikes, and they learn more of his ways, then it might be less scary for them. Bear in mind also that small children change very quickly and what calmed / entertained / amused / excited him 3 months ago probably won't work now and will be different again in 3 months time. GPs can find this difficult to keep up with, especially if they don't spend a lot of time with them, just doing "everyday" things.

My ILs didn't look after mine much, so I can sympathise. But if that's the way they are, it's the way they are.

Mollydoggerson Mon 25-Feb-13 23:09:38

My parents were the same. Just too exhausting for them to look after the kids for 48 hours, same with dh's side. We get a few hours babysitting from time to time but that's it (2 or 3 times a year).

I just accept it now, it's their perogative to not babysit. Maybe they are just not up to it.

Toddlers and preschoolers are very hard work when they are excited (as we all know!!).

I think yabu if you hold a grudge, just let it go. Could you hire a babysitter/aupair?

Dipdaprules Tue 26-Feb-13 00:06:31

Wow lots of replies since I last checked.

Things have calmed down. I spoke to my mum, she explained they didn't feel confident taking the kids all weekend, adding that my dad has recently been getting chest pains when under stress (I had no idea - had never been mentioned - poor communication in my family but that's another story). I said I was disappointed, she said maybe next year they could manage. Dh was reassured that I hadn't just said 'ok fine', but had been honest with my mum about how I felt, so he has also calmed down, and I've told him I don't want him making a hard situation worse.

The issues are not totally resolved, I still feel a bit hurt at the way my dad expressed himself and am a bit sad that they are not keener to build relationships with the grandchildren (we live under 2 hours drive away but my mum keeps saying if only we lived closer they could help more - ?) but I at least understand better their decision on this occasion.

Absolutelylost Tue 26-Feb-13 00:14:14

My parents in their early 70's, quite fit and young at heart, have just had my three nieces 8, 5 and 9 months for 4 days whilst my brother and his wife went away. It was hard work, particularly for my mum, I think gsvjnv the baby was asking a lot but they enjoyed spending more time with her, as they don't live locally, and they were happy for their parents to have a break. Not that my sister in law seemed particularly appreciative.... But that's just her.

AThingInYourLife Tue 26-Feb-13 01:25:10

"am a bit sad that they are not keener to build relationships with the grandchildren (we live under 2 hours drive away but my mum keeps saying if only we lived closer they could help more - ?)"


My sister lives around the corner from my parents. I live 2 hours drive away.

Who, do you imagine, gets most help?

If you are nearby then you can pick the kids up from school, watch them for a hour, take them to the park etc without even noticing.

To do those things for someone who lives a 2 hour drive away involves travelling, possibly staying away, dropping responsibilities at home.

Why do you equate building relationships with grandchildren with providing free childcare?

What efforts are you making to foster the relationship between your children and your parents?

And come on - your Dad is having worrying chest pains and you're sulking about how he expressed his reluctance to incur those pains so you could have a weekend away? Really?

echt Tue 26-Feb-13 05:34:34

I'd rather expected this thread to turn into what Dad's having done about his chest pains. They should never be ignored. A&E.

Oh, and under 2 hours means, I guess 1 hour 50 minutes. That's a long time in horrible traffic, or a long way right on the speed limit. No easy distance/time.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 26-Feb-13 05:49:34

If I were your mother I'd be appalled that even after hearing about your father's chest pain (very worrying for them both I imagine) my daughter still harped on about her weekend away & thought it appropriate to express disappointment we couldn't do it. Incredibly self centred.

OP are you really this childish or are you just doing what your husband wants you to do? Was he not embarrassed that you complained to your parents buy it was actually health concerns that are writing them? Did he enquire further after your dad or just express satisfaction that you twisted their knife in your conversation with your mum?

Your dad in his 60s has chest pains & all you can do is moan you've no childcare on tap. Astonishing.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 26-Feb-13 05:50:44

Worrying,not writing, and the, not their

cavaqueen Tue 26-Feb-13 05:59:55


Not unreasonable to be disappointed at not getting the chance to go away, but very unreasonable if you are disappointed with your parents for not wanting to mind your dc's.

What exactly is your dh 'furious' about anyway?

diddl Tue 26-Feb-13 08:13:24

My goodness-you both need to get over yourselves.

Nobody ever has to look after anyone elses children for any reason at all!!

I adored all of my GPs-and never stayed with any of them.

You don't need to sleep over to have a relationship.

And your husband-oh I'm so relieved that he's happy with the way you handled ithmm

Afterall, it's all about him, isn't it?

Aren't you at all ashamed of him?

TBH if I was your mum I'd be ashamed of you.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 26-Feb-13 08:28:45

Absolutely diddl.

OP I'm embarrassed on your behalf. Your poor mum.

Startail Tue 26-Feb-13 08:38:26

YANBU to be cross, their choice, but still a bit mean.

My DSIS has no DCs and no experience of them, but she will come a considerable distance and mind my two overnight, once a year so we can go to DHs works do (lots of commuting and split sites so you get a good rate on a very nice hotel).

This is hugely appreciated as we have no one else to ask. PIL sadly deceased, DSIL 5hrs away and my parents not fit enough.

We all need a break sometimes.

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