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Mil (age 67) and fil (72) say they now find it "too tiring" to have our dc to stay for 3 days in the summer holidays

(347 Posts)
Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:09:09

I'm a bit surprised. When I'm 67 I would hope to have the energy to hang out with a 10 year old and a 12 year old who require no more care than having their meals cooked and to be reminded to have a shower/go to bed (10 year old only).

Or is that unrealistic of me?

Mil is less than 17 years older than me to put it in context grin.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 18:11:16

I think it's fair enough - they've done their child-rearing and are finding it harder work now. By next summer presumably you won't really need them for childcare anyway?

ALittleStranger Sun 01-Sep-13 18:11:18

Maybe they're finding a polite excuse for the fact that they don't want to do lots of free childcare for you?

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 18:13:09

or maybe older kids are in fact harder to entertain.less happy with the playground etc

Not really surprised unfortunately.

My own parents have used the same reason as well towards me with regards to (now teenage) DS. Its their loss ultimately but I honestly do not think that they see it in that way.

RandomMess Sun 01-Sep-13 18:14:22

Perhaps it's just making conversation and interacting with others that is too much now because they are set in their ways and spend lots of time in silence grin

BrianButterfield Sun 01-Sep-13 18:14:39

But having children to stay tends to involve taking them out on day trips and generally doing things - I would imagine this is what is tiring for them. Having to take other people onto consideration all the time when you are used to doing what pleases you is mentally tiring.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 18:15:13

They don't want to for whatever reason, it is up to them isn't it?

Maybe just have them to do the fun things, family events, dinners, parties etc.

usualsuspect Sun 01-Sep-13 18:16:58

I dont think DC of that age need entertaining do they?

TrinityRhino Sun 01-Sep-13 18:17:13

They probably just don't want to do it anymore

maybe the older kids are harder to entertain

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 18:17:21

I intend to be very done with looking after children by the time I am in my late 60s/70s. I'm hoping mine will be long gone by the time I am 50! Happy to do a bit of grandparenting but at 70 I will be on a cruise...

DuelingFanjo Sun 01-Sep-13 18:17:28

Have they been doing it for years? Maybe they find it tiring.

I find this is an issue that has a great polarity of opinion. My mother stated before I myself became a parent that she was in no way going to babysit said child for any real length of time. Her reasoning was also along the lines of, "been there and done that". The end result is that my DS can hardly be bothered with them.

Your comment certainly made me laugh (in a good way) RandomMess.

In my case its basically a case of my parents being disinterested in anything much other than shopping, housework and enabling my childfree brother with regards to ferrying him to the airport, doing his housework and ironing.

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 18:21:45

they dont need entertaining but Gps dont like seeing them veg out

feel they arent doing anything

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 01-Sep-13 18:22:00

I'm not surprised. My in-laws are similar ages and I wouldn't ask them to have my 3 for 3 days. Of course mine are younger, but then they're in bed by 7'ish.

They will happily have one child for a couple of days though and enjoy that - would they do that perhaps?

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:24:31

Roffling at some of these replies!

You may have a point there LadyMilford.

WaitingForMe Sun 01-Sep-13 18:24:49

How sad for your kids. I'm so glad my grandparents (similar age) didn't get too tired to have my brother and I over to stay. We used to visit regularly until our late teens. I'd be gutted if my mum didn't do the same for DS - for him not me.

RandomMess Sun 01-Sep-13 18:25:30

Honestly I find it tiring when my eldest comes to stay (she lives with her Dad) OMG it's another person in the house who wants to talk to me, all my usual chill out opportunities vanish shock

I love having her here but it does change the dynamics and it's just well more tiring even though she helps out and does stuff with her siblings etc. confused

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 18:26:17

its unusual for hte GPs to bale before the Gk really. NOrmally at the age of abou 15/16 they want to stay at home

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 01-Sep-13 18:27:23

I think you have something LadyMH. My in-laws came for lunch today and mil was very fidgety as eldest was playing chess on his ipad - she had to take him for a walk instead.

usualsuspect Sun 01-Sep-13 18:28:02

Do your boys get on?

My dgs bicker all the time. I have to referee more than anything else grin

usualsuspect Sun 01-Sep-13 18:30:46

I dunno why I said boys, they could be girls or one of each.

Fraxinus Sun 01-Sep-13 18:30:55

Are you finding they contrast slightly with your own Parent's willingness to care for your children?

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:31:03

I have a girl and a boy. They get on great. They wouldn't dare bicker in gma's house!

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:31:33

Fraxinus: no.

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 18:32:25

my boys still love going to my ILs - who are almost exactly the same age.
They go and eat shit food and go bowling and stuff
I think the ILs like having them alone too, without me!

usualsuspect Sun 01-Sep-13 18:32:54

Mind you I took two of my grandkids out today. And now I'm having a lie down and I'm no where near as old as 67 grin

TwoTearsInABucket Sun 01-Sep-13 18:35:14

I loved staying at my grandparents, what a shame for your DCs. Don't think it was viewed as free childcare either, more as a family holiday.
My parents will take my two when they are bit older, but only one at a time. And it is seen as part of summer holiday ritual as that's what we did with our grandparents. Probably both together when they are your kids age. Although by then they will be late 60s early 70s so maybe not!

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 18:37:02

What a shame - 3 days isn't a long time once every summer.
My inlaws who are approx 71 & 74 always love to see their grandchildren (my nieces and nephews), which are a lot younger, 10 months 4, 5, 6 & 10 years, and this also includes sleepovers from time to time.
I worry about them because I wouldn't want them to get too tired etc., but they adore their grandchildren and get so much pleasure out of seeing them and don't see it as a chore at all.

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 18:37:24

Have you asked them what has changed? Or does that seem a bit cheeky?

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 18:38:50

3 days per week of the holidays or 3 days total ?

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:39:14

Just thinking back to when I went to my grandma's in the summer holidays (grandad was dead).

I used to go for 4 or 5 days every year, either with a cousin or two, or a school friend of mine. Until I was about 14, when I probably wanted to stop. Grandma would have been 70 then.

BIWI Sun 01-Sep-13 18:40:17

I would be surprised too. Mind you, my parents had the cheek to have a full social life which meant they could never fit us in. My PILs would and did do anything for us until they reached their early 80s.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:40:33

Anyfucker: 3 days in the whole summer holidays. 3 days in the whole year, infact. They never go to stay on their own at any other time.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 18:41:20

It's nothing to do with 'child care' whatsoever. It's about children knowing and having a close and loving relationship with their grandparents - afterall they are not around forever.

My parents do have a spare room (with a made up bed in it) in their house. Its mainly used these days to store my brother's ironing!.

I feel that my parents only visit here these days when they want my help with something, rather than wanting to see me or DS per se. I may be wrong but I do get that impression and have had feeling that more than once. As someone who had quite a close relationship with her now late grandmother, I feel at times very saddened by the choices they have freely made.

I have learnt some valuable lessons though in how not to behave in terms of grandparenthood!. If I am fit and able to help then I will do so, people younger than they get tired too!.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:43:59

No, quite right, its nothing to do with childcare. The gps have never done childcare for us ... they live 100 miles away!

Gosh, when people make assumptions in their replies they really do make an ass of themselves don't they?

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 18:47:38

What if you went with your dcs?

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 18:49:06

Ah. I am in the "selfish fuckers" camp of this debate then

My own parents are the same. They show no interest in their gc's life, then act all hurt when they are clearly sidelined by them in favour of my ILs

Consequences, m'dears

Oblomov Sun 01-Sep-13 18:50:04

My mum is the same. She is mid 60's and says she can't have ds's 9 and 5. Makes me really really sad and determined never to be the same.

TwoTearsInABucket Sun 01-Sep-13 18:51:00

I hope I didn't sound like I thought you were wanting free childcare, more that your children going to see their grandparents were like my childhood and now my nniece and nephew with their grandparents.

We went to see our grandparents in another country so it was always longer than three days!

So do your ILs have plans to see your DC at other times?

usualsuspect Sun 01-Sep-13 18:51:09

It's a shame really, if they live that far away.

I don't suppose they get to see them very often.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 18:52:42

My parents would never have any of my dcs by themselves, but love the opportunity to see them when we all go and stay (or have them to stay here).

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 18:55:29

Thread is supposed to be more about what I would feel capable of achieving at 67 than anything else. Pils constantly on our cases to see more of them! As it is we probably see them for a weekend about every 8 weeks.

forehead Sun 01-Sep-13 18:56:53

I also think that they are 'selfish fuckers'. The kids are old enough to wash , feed themselves fgs. It's only for three days.
My mother has just looked after my kids for five days and my kids are younger than the op's.

RatherBeOnThePiste Sun 01-Sep-13 18:57:07

Maybe there is a big difference between what they feel they should be doing and actually what really is needed, Maybe they find the extra meal planning/ shopping a trial. My mum in her early 70s only cooked if she could be arsed, often having a banana/toast for a meal.

Dunno really, maybe your DH could find out, make sure everything is OK, no health scares etc. Shame they don't live nearer (maybe!) so instead of 3 days or so it could be a one night.

Hope everything is OK

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 18:57:21

TwoTearsInABucket - no not refering to you at all - it was someone upthread.

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 18:59:15

my mil rocks - loves having them and when she comes here if we go away sorts out my linen cupboard and cleans out my drawers. LOVE IT PLus ina really low key way. not " oh it was such a mess"

she never judges - never gives opinions, makes me very happy to ask for her ideas.

She is superbo

TwoTearsInABucket Sun 01-Sep-13 19:00:25

Sorry, I'm so sensitive!

My parents do get tired, they are 64 and 67 but they do it anyway. They love their grandkids to bits and love spending time with them.

NorkyButNice Sun 01-Sep-13 19:00:30

My parents are a similar age and wouldn't manage with my 2 younger boys, whereas my inlaws would be Ok.

My parents live locally though so see the boys every couple of weeks and take them out to the park or have them round for dinner. They used to have DS1 to stay one night a week when he was little then look after him the next day to save us childcare... Luxury!

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 19:02:52

I don't think they are selfish, I don't mind if they don't want to have them next year, I am just surprised that it is "too tiring" for a woman of 67 (cos lets face it, she does more of the extra work than fil).

Makes me feel a bit gloomy about my own old age ...

BIWI Sun 01-Sep-13 19:06:06

I know what you mean, Mintyy. Part of the reason why in doing all this exercise is so that I am fit and healthy in my older years.

jchocchip Sun 01-Sep-13 19:06:20

Hmmm my mum is 88 and my dd1 (19) has just moved back to her house for uni. Was there last year too... mum has another dgd who is nearly 2... but will never be able to have her for a week in the summer sad as she did for my dd when she was in her late 70's. Big generation gaps in our family.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 19:07:50

Ah don't worry!
Btw you are very lucky that's the way it should be - I think so anyway!

reup Sun 01-Sep-13 19:10:25

Isn't 67 the new retirement age?

SirChenjin Sun 01-Sep-13 19:16:17

I would be surprised too - we're talking a total of 3 days here, right? And your children are 10 and 12, so don't need any real 'looking after' as such? MIL is 82, very active and alert and has our elder 2 (14 and 16) in the summer holidays for 5 days - she enjoys the company, they go out for lunches and she has them doing jobs around the house for her.

At 67 (the new age for retirement...) and 72 they should be perfectly capable of having their grandchildren to stay for a total of 3 days (ill health excepted obv).

5madthings Sun 01-Sep-13 19:23:28

I think its surprising. Are they generally fit and healthy?

My mil is 72 and she has ds1(14) or ds2(11) to stay and ds3(8) not all at once, she has them individually for a couple of nights, this holiday it was ds2's turn. He had a lovely time and so did she.

My parents are younger but will also have the boys overnight, again one or two at a time. And my mums rule is they must be dry at night and sleeping through the night, which is totallyfair enough.

I wouldn't expect our family to have all four boys (dd still little and co-sleeping) as they can be full on.

But two children of those ages is fine surely?

I certainly want to be doing stuff like having my grandkids overnight etc, once their patents are happy to leave them, I wouldn't demand it! But will let them know the offer is there.

Nanny0gg Sun 01-Sep-13 19:26:20

Maybe they love them but don't find it easy to interact with them?

Trills Sun 01-Sep-13 19:27:26

They've clearly hit that stage of life where they get stuck in a routine and anything outside of that routine is "tiring". It's not physical tiredness, it's the effort of hauling yourself out of the rut and doing something different.

CocktailQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 19:29:12

Do you mean three days each week or just three days? If the former, then fairy nuff. If the latter, then that's really sad. I enjoyed staying with my nana till I was in my teens and went to uni! Has there been an incident? What do your dc say?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 19:31:53

NannyOgg - good interaction comes with developing a good relationship. In order to do that, they need contact in the first place.

MrsOakenshield Sun 01-Sep-13 19:32:47

my mother had had a heart attack by 67 (and my father was dead of a heart attack at 63) so not in the best of health, unfortunately. But she has cared one day a week for 4 years for my niece. I think she would find more than that a bit of a struggle (and to be honest, I don't think she'd want to do it, which is fair enough). It would be nice to think I could park DD with her for a few days come the school holidays, but I'm not depending on her feeling up to it (she'll be over 75 when that day comes).

Mil could probably do it, though she's not in great health either (ironically down to the fact that she did an absolute excess of childcare for the gcs abroad a few years back, and was so exhausted when she got home that her heart started to give her problems).

yummymumtobe Sun 01-Sep-13 19:33:38

Sounds a bit weird - they're not old at all. Especially when there are 2 of them to share the caring. I find it so odd when Gp don't want to spend time with their children. My mum doesn't see looking after dd as 'work' - for her it's her favourite thing to do. I also used to spend a lot of time with my Gp.

My parents are <counts on fingers> 63 and 66 and had our DC to stay for a week this summer. DC are 4.5 and 7 yrs so still fairly high maintenance. I know it did tire them out, but I also know that they really enjoyed the time with their grandchildren, especially as we don't live close by.

They're both fit and healthy and have pretty active lives, the sort of life I hope to be leading at that age.

RandomMess Sun 01-Sep-13 19:35:06

Mintyy realistically I've calculated that I may not have finished paying the mortgage off by 67 so I'll definitely still be working sad

Some people really do get stuck in a rut and stop living at a very young age I guess though. Really at 10 & 12 the would be more than capable of actually running around after the GPs.

My ILs can't be arsed to do much with my dcs, it makes me so sad and they're not quite 60!

I think it's a shame OP. My parents have just had my THREE dc to stay aged 15, 12 and 6. For a WEEK. And my mum has two new kittens to look after. Nobody said anything about being too tired though tbh I think my mum did leave it up to the dds to get their younger sister dressed etc. They had a good time though and as they live 100 miles away it's important for them to spend time together sometimes.

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 19:40:42

lord - mine had mine through D and V and chicken pox ALL THREE

I am surprised by the GPS who attach conditions

23balloons Sun 01-Sep-13 19:42:11

My 86 y o mil looks after my sil's kids regularly & stays when she goes a way for work to look after them. Kids are 8 & 10 she does it because she wants to even though it is exhausting. We live in a different country so she doesn't look after ours.

My Aunt looks after mine in some hols she is 72 & loves it too.

Charlottehere Sun 01-Sep-13 19:44:20

I find astonishing how selfish some grandparents are.

googietheegg Sun 01-Sep-13 19:53:36

My mum babysits as often as she can and her and my dad speak to my dd pretty much every day. Mil otoh barely acknowledges us from month to month and when she does visit just sits and reads until she has a picture taken with dd to show her friends. Then carries on reading. With a brief pause to tell me where I'm going wrong.

ChunkyFicken Sun 01-Sep-13 19:57:44

Obviously a lone voice here, but I don't think it's selfish of the grandparents at all. There may be health reasons (which they don't want to bother the OP with) or maybe they worry the children are too old or whatever.

I am somewhat surprised that there seems to be a general assumption that having grandchildren stay over or looking after them equates with a wonderfully close relationship.

With a bit of imagination the bonds can be kept alive and thrive without having grandchildren stay over. Yes, I guess in an ideal world it would be easier if there were holidays at granny's but it's not an absolute.

But maybe, as a parent who has never, in nearly 20 years, had my children stay over with any grandparent I have a different take.

skaen Sun 01-Sep-13 20:00:05

My mum has visibly struggled with having my 8 year old nephew to stay for a week so he ended up coming to me instead. She's 65.

To a certain extent though, the problems are down to her physical health and weight issues which make chasing round after an active child very difficult.

Onebuddhaisnotenough Sun 01-Sep-13 20:04:57

If this is a sudden thing I'd wonder why ? They have perhaps developed some health issues ?
My ex in laws are shit grand parents. I feel sorry for them as my kids are the only grand children and they really don't 'know' them.

Phineyj Sun 01-Sep-13 20:05:37

My parents are about the same age as your PILS and I don't think they'd want to have their GC to stay over for more than one night (or the whole family for two) because they find it tiring, especially my DM. Both my parents are in excellent health, touch wood, and my DM is very energetic, but she says setting up the beds, doing the extra laundry and cooking, arranging games and crafts and trips out is quite knackering. My DF feels she overdoes the entertainment and mutters darkly about how trips to the GP were very boring back in the day!

Feeling tired is subjective - I don't think it makes much sense to say 'well they shouldn't be tired by this because XYZ isn't'.

However, there's no reason you'll feel like this at their age - having your GC to stay may be higher up your list of priorities.

Phineyj Sun 01-Sep-13 20:06:31

Of course it does depend on the child! The DC playing chess on his ipad described above sounds ideal...

IceCreamForCrow Sun 01-Sep-13 20:09:35

My parents are similar age and have very very rarely had dc to stay (now aged 11 and 14). They've clearly never been able to manage it but wouldn't admit that. They don't mind staying over at ours or babysitting but having sleepovers at theirs has never really been on the agenda. They say they'd have one at a time but if we need babysitting that's not much help.

When I think my mum wasn't much older than I am now when I had dd1 I really think hmm to myself because the dc aren't a difficult bunch really, but well, if they don't want it, they don't want it. That's ok. I do feel rather hmm when my mum edits all this out though when it suits her.

LIZS Sun 01-Sep-13 20:10:08

Think you may be underestimating the level of noise and chaos which typical 10 & 12yo behaviour might cause. They may also feel they have to entertain them more than you probably would in the normal course of things finding it stressful and disruptive (ie. they can't take a mid afternoon nap or watch Countdown!).

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:13:32

Not a lone voice Chunky.

Regardless of age, having any child or teenager in your house takes effort. I know as I have nieces and nephews over a lot and there is always an element of entertainment - not like there is with toddlers but it is certainly harder than being by yourself or with my own dc.

I personally find that some people are very selfish re grandparents looking after grandchildren. Sometimes the grandparents daren't say no (not always obviously as a lot of the time the grandparents do genuinely want and request it). Sometimes I work with the elderly who meet for luches etc and it is often a topic of conversation. Sometimes the grandparents feel very used but will not tell their children that they feel like that. Sometimes its not that they find the children hard but they simply don't want to spend their time being used as a free babysitter. Its sad to hear it. I personally think it quite brave of your parents to make a stand. They are probably the envy of many of their friends who dare not!!

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:19:17

Op - Also - I would expect that there is a fair chance that you may not want to spend days and days with your grandchildren if you are a fit and healthy pensioner. You will be sailing, walking, traveling, going for dinner, yoga, theatre, dancing, etc etc.

Whilst I will adore any grandchildren there is a good chance imo that I will also have a life and feel that I have done my childcare bit and that if my kids have kids themselves, it is up to them to look after them! A day here and there would be fine and outings and fun with them would be good. But a stand in parent - no way!

HumphreyCobbler Sun 01-Sep-13 20:21:01

Mintyy is talking about three days A YEAR. Hardly being a stand in parent.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:25:33

Three days is a hell of a lot in one go in my book. I am only 40 odd and I wouldn't want another child for three days however much I loved it. And I am stuck at home with kids already.

But then I don't know anybody whose parents have their children for three days at a time so maybe it is alien to me. Most of my friends think they are lucky if they get 3 hours childcare from their parents!. My inlaws/parents are fairly typical and take about 10 holidays a year now they are retired. In between sailing, days out, eating out, bridge, gardening, chess club, WI, coach trips to stately homes, parish councils, etc etc. There is not a lot of time for 3 days childcare!!!

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 20:27:41

frog, are you being wilfully thick ?

Mumsyblouse Sun 01-Sep-13 20:28:08

frogwatcher- hardly free childcare is it, visiting your grandparents for three days in an entire year!

I think this is a big shame. Someone said that it's possible to have a close bonded relationship without staying over, I agree to some extent but only if the grandparents come and stay themselves or there are lots of regular visits, very hard if 100 miles away. And if you aren't prepared to spend days and days with them, and you can't be bothered to change your routine at all for them, no, they won't be as interested in you. You may not mind this however (although if you are like my MIL you will constantly go on and on about how you'd love to see the children while not making any effort to achieve this, so you don't look like a 'bad granny')

Mumsyblouse Sun 01-Sep-13 20:30:01

Three days out of 365, 100th of your time too much? Oh dear, you won't be a much loved granny, will you?

Nanny0gg Sun 01-Sep-13 20:30:36

I find astonishing how selfish some grandparents are.


Oh dear. I love my DGC to bits and see them an awful lot.

I've never had them for a sleepover and I have to admit I don't particularly want to...

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:31:37

Anyfucker - no, not willfully. Just am thick I think!!. Perhaps you could point out to me how I am so as for those of us who are intellectually challenged it is a little difficult to see?

Mumsyblouse - my dc have a great relationship with their grandparents but have never spent an awful lot of time with them. They do speak to them a lot though and write to them. The time they do have is great. I do think it is possible if the grandparents can't have them for days at a time.

IceCreamForCrow Sun 01-Sep-13 20:32:27

I also don't think three days is an unreasonable or excessive amount.

I do feel I'd like to think I'll be willing to to more in the way of sleepovers and help than my own parents have done if/when I'm a grandma and in similar health to my own parents are.

I do find it strange in my case, as I clearly remember being sent off (to my much older grandma) on many occasions as a child.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:33:23

My parents definately love their grandchildren to bits. The grandchildren know that even though they don't go to stay for ages.

Fridayschild Sun 01-Sep-13 20:35:04

My parents are both in their 70s and very fit, fitter than all their friends. They say my DC are too tiring to look after for long periods. I tried it once for 24 hours and found they had abandoned the DC to my brother.....

However they will look after the children of both my siblings who are younger than my DC. They will also baby sit for me in the evening at short notice, social life permitting, if I get stuck at work unexpectedly.

I have taken the view that I just need to Get Over It. The comments here about disrupting GP routines and not being happy with a DC having a lovely time on a computer are ringing lots of bells!

superstarheartbreaker Sun 01-Sep-13 20:37:01

Thay are quite old to be honest and kids are knackering. I know it is abonus if the grandparents can look after the kids but due to their age (72 fgs!) you are being a bit unreasonable.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 20:43:04

My dad is 70 and has my 14 year olds for up to a week or so most holidays. I so hope I'm like him and don't feel old old from my early 60s like some.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 20:43:36

Frogwatcer42 - you don't convince me.
Skyping, emailing, letter writing is not the same as contact IN-PERSON to build up good relationships between grandparents and children.

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 20:45:51

My new retirement age is 67

My job is physically, mentally and emotionally really full-on

5 days a week

52 weeks a year

Just sayin'

some of the Baby Boomer generation have forgotten what it's like to concentrate on someone else for more than five fucking minutes

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 20:46:19

Sorry, not 52 weeks, 46 weeks a year

foolonthehill Sun 01-Sep-13 20:46:22

My Grandmother (93) loves having the GC and greatGC, they still go and stay with her (though not the babies any more) otoh my parent(65 and 66) have made it very clear throughout my children's lives that they do not want to be be used as any sort of childcare and whilst they "love to see us" actually just get on with their own lives for the most part when I do take the DC to visit. When we are there they provide a place to stay but are seldom interested in actually spending time alongside the DC doing stuff (or nothing) . I am hugely sad for the DC who have no people other than me and my unmarried brother who actually "get" them in our family.

I wonder if it is the influence of their generation.....were those who were teens and 20's in the 60's raised with less family expectations and more ??????selfish????

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:48:57

Keepcool - honest. It is possible. I was extremely close to my grandparents but saw them rarely. I did stay with them for one night about once every two years though. I wrote to them a lot and they wrote to me. I honestly do not think our relationship was lacking - I could have told them anything, and felt they were there for me at all times.

They are dead now. I miss them so much. I miss their calls on my birthday, I miss their letters dropping on the mat. I miss calling them when I have done something or seen something I think they would be interested in. I miss our trips to see them as a family - and trips to the theatre with them. I miss their hugs, and the smell of my grandads jumpers. I miss seeing my grandads darned real wool socks on his feet. I miss my grandmas cakes. I miss the sound of the china cup on the saucer when she passed me a cup of tea. I miss my grandads rough hand in mine.

I am crying writing this. I couldn't have been closer to them I don't think. It was mainly done through phone and letters.

CookieDoughKid Sun 01-Sep-13 20:50:07

I think it really depends on the personality and temperament. My mother has just turned 60 but has never ever offered to babysit. I wouldn't ask either. Just spending an hour in the presence of my two dcs knackers her out. She is simply not interested in playing with them. My in-laws are not set up for kids at all. They are all in good health but have no interest in minding or playing with the dcs. They all prefer adult company, they never offer to babysit. It's just not something that interests them. I don't take it to heart but unfortunately, it means my dcs are not very interested in them either except at Xmas . it takes two to tango I think...

Walkacrossthesand Sun 01-Sep-13 20:50:21

Reading this thread reminds me how much I appreciated my dear departed mum, who helped me so much when I was a newly-single parent of 3 under 5s. At 66 (and a widow) , she would come and stay, and get up when they did to give me a lie-in - when I expressed my anxiety about this being tiring for her , she said 'I can lie-in any time I want when they're not here - I want to be with them now!' I hope to model myself on her when my turn at GPhood comes. Thanks mum...

kelda Sun 01-Sep-13 20:50:39

I'm not surprised. Three consecutive days/nights would be hard for my parents. They are happy to look after them in the day but have never babysat overnight, let alone three.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:50:45

And we did visit them about three times a year as a family. And they stayed with us for a weekend a year.

CookieDoughKid Sun 01-Sep-13 20:52:31

Im with fool on it being a generation thing of expectations..

ALittleStranger Sun 01-Sep-13 20:52:50

I said it was free childcare. It is! Unless the OP is taking in some cousins for those three days she and her DP get a lovely child-free time together. You might think there are benefits for the kids and GPs but there's also a massive perk for you!

I think families have different expectations. My mum made it very clear before DCs were remotely on the horizon that she would not do childcare and wouldn't do holidays. This isn't weird in our family as I never did overnights with my GPs.

A lot of posters here seem to think their parents are missing out by not seeing more of their GPs but surely they disagree. People maybe overlook how much parenting styles have changed. A lot of what you may think is charming or tolerable in your DCs is frankly intolerable for others.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 20:53:54

My dad must be the exception that proves the rule, then. He is very unselfish and generous.

CaptainSweatPants Sun 01-Sep-13 20:53:57

Surely saying they're tired is just an excuse

For whatever reason they don't want your kids overnight alone any more

You say they get on great , really all the time?? Perhaps they were bored & fed up & wanted to be at home with their mates

forehead Sun 01-Sep-13 21:00:27

I bloody well hope that when I am a grand parent, that I could manage THREE days a YEAR.
The thing is in a few years these children will be adults and will probably not want to spend any time with their grandparents.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:01:00

My parents are now in their 80s and took dd and my dn to Berlin last year. They are great with all the grandchildren.

BUT they never take two siblings. They take two cousins, in various and scrupulously fair ways.

They have NEVER had my three together.

They say time with grandchildren should be fun not respite for parents.

It has worked very well for us.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:03:00

Frogwatcher - I think you are being wilfully thick actually!

My mil, since dd was 4 years old, has asked to have the dgc for a few days in the summer holidays. She doesn't see much of them because we live a long way away and she feels the loss of having close family nearby very keenly. When she does have them we have to drive them to her (so 200 mile round trip three days apart, an enormous bunch of fun for us not)

This year she has said that she finds it "too tiring" and won't want to do it next year. That's fine, I don't mind, in some ways it makes our holidays easier.

The whole point of my thread was is it really too "tiring" to have a couple of pre-teens in your house for three days a year when you are 67? Pre-teens who you love and constantly say you don't see enough of? I am pretty dismayed to think that 67 is too old to engage in this kind of activity! Sigourney Weaver is 67 fgs, ditto Dolly Parton and Susan Sarandon iirc. 67 is NOT old but mil is behaving as though it is.

Neither of them have health issues. But they did have their children very young and probably have a skewed idea of what constitutes old age nowadays.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:04:51

But why am I being willfully thick.? Genuine question as I genuinely do not understand what I have said to be willfully thick?

I have had wine but even so???

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:04

Your mother sounds quite cold and selfish - did your children not think that odd compared with their friend's relationships with their grandparents.
I am not refering to 'child care' but did she never want to spend any fun time with them or take them out on an outing or something - surely???

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:49

My mother is late 60's

She cannot wait to be old and incapacitated. I am serious.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:08:40

Anyfucker - please explain why I am being willfully thick. I obviously am as op says it too. But I genuinely don't know what I have said to offend?

prettybird Sun 01-Sep-13 21:11:05

I'm just glad that my dad (76) is fit and healthy and enjoys spending time with ds. My mum would have been 73 this year and, if she hadn't had an accident at 67 while cycling with dad in India (which eventually killed her last year sad), would have been equally involved.

When ds was younger (he'll be 13 in a couple of weeks) they had him to stay a few times and loved it. Dad still loves to spend time with ds.

I wish ds had spent more time with them when he was younger as he can't remember his granny from before the accident - only the diminished version from after sad.

It had been difficult to fit time in with them, as because they were fit and healthy and had taken early retirement and were spending the kids' inheritance now gallivanting around the world, we'd reserved ds spending time with them for when we needed it - and now it's too late. sad

In the OP's case there are 4 people to consider. If the GPs genuinely don't want to have their GCs to stay, they can't be forced to do so. But they can't then complain if the GCs have no relationship with them. Similarly, do the GCs actually want to stay with their grandparents? If they do and are disappointed at not going, then if the PILs still don't care, then that is very sad - but again they can't be forced. It's a harsh lesson for the grandchildren though - that blood is not thicker than water.

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 21:11:53

Nobody is offended, frog.

My initial comment to you was because you were banging on about gp's as childcare when OP had made it clear it wasn't about that. Myself, I initially replied in that vein, but backed off when I realised

Perhaps it's less that you are "thick" and more that you haven't Read the Fucking Thread ? smile

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:11:56

I think, frog, because it isn't possible at 67 with no illness or disability to find a 10 and 12 year old too tiring.

I mean, you only have to feed them and hand over the remote if you really are a bit tired.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:17:40

Anyfucker - thanks. That's clearer except, rather worryingly, I have actually read the whole thread as it has gone on!!!! Too much wine maybe!!

Maryz - it is possible to be knackered with a 10 and 12 year old. I regularly look after this age group (slightly older) nieces and nephews. It is exhausting!!! They are great kids, but still want food (endless food and drink!), squabble, talk a lot to me (which is great but still tiring as their energy levels are higher than mine), ask to do things that I am not 100% comfortable with and then want an explanation/argument as to why I say no (climb to the top of the trees at the end of the garden, walk to town along main road, bake etc etc). Its just having children other than my own that I find tiring. I actually find them more tiring than my large brood of smaller children!

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:22:25

I find that incredible. I really do.

I regularly have extras here. They don't have to be entertained.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:24:05

How old are you frogwatcher?

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:25:40

Maryz - its not really entertained as it would be with little ones. I admit they don't need help doing anything.

It just is tiring but hard to say why. I think it because they talk a lot (which is lovely and so entertaining), ask a lot of questions, want to do things that they feel they can because they are 'big' (I still get terrified when I see them up the top of the trees hanging from the ropes they get up there), etc.

They are so good, and so good at helping with my slightly younger ones. But it is still tiring. I don't know why.

Its not entertaining them rather than having a house full. A bit like having house guests is tiring.

AnyFucker Sun 01-Sep-13 21:30:00

Nobody said it isn't tiring

But 3 days out of 365 ?

Just rest up before and after. That's what I would do, in order to spend quality time with my GC.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:31:50

Fair enough. I still don't really get it though.

And too exhausting when they are your grandchildren and you only see them a couple of times a year I really don't get.?

Floralnomad Sun 01-Sep-13 21:32:16

Perhaps whilst your children were visiting this year they found them difficult to entertain and the children didnt seem to be having a good time . It maybe that your MIL thinks that the children won't want to go in future and she's saying she doesn't want to have them rather than be told they won't be coming IYSWIM . Getting in first so to speak . What have your children said about the visit this summer ?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 21:32:23

Frog - 3 days a year is no great shakes. Yes, we can all get very tired, but we do our best for our children and grandchildren, if health and fitness permits us to, no?

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:33:18

Of course, if mil had had a baby at 44/5 (certainly not unheard of) she could be dealing with a pre-teen day in day out grin. I might casually say something along those lines when I next see her!

ChunkyFicken Sun 01-Sep-13 21:33:27

I am a bit perplexed that there is an assumption that grandparents should be cartwheeling with happiness and eager to have grandchildren to stay. And if they're not they are lazy/selfish/doomed to have a crap relationship with the children.

And really, it is childcare if it's for three days. We can talk about benefits to the child/grandparents' relationship but I think we should be honest and admit there are huge benefits to parents too! Am probably green with envy as would love to have three child-free days, happy in the knowledge that my DC were being well looked after or even entertained.

But I just don't see that to be a wonderful grandparent (or thought of as wonderful) you have to do overnighters etc. I dunno. Sometimes I worry about how much I'll be expected to do as a grandparent (and this is after watching extended family members take the piss out of grandparents). Just feels there's such a lot of expectations on grandparents these days.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:34:00

Mintyy I am a fairly fit just past 40 year old (plus a little)!! I work a busy job, have a few children, have a busy social life, have a great husband etc. I only need between 5 and 6 hours sleep and am buzzing.

Generally my energy levels are high. I can work through the night happily (plus look after the kids the day before and after).

I still find a houseful of kids other than my own tiring - perhaps I worry about them too much and find it a responsibility as I am a bit of a worrier.

Chubfuddler Sun 01-Sep-13 21:35:54

I agree with chunky.

Perhaps they weren't very well behaved op and their gran doesn't want to say so, so has gone for " tired" as an excuse. Or perhaps she genuinely found it a physical or mental strain.

Chubfuddler Sun 01-Sep-13 21:36:36

I also agree with frog watcher and am at a loss to know in what way she has been "thick".

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 21:41:03

OP, I asked earlier but will ask again as with your more recent posts it still seems a relevant question: is it possible for you to stay with them? Would that make it easier for your PILs?

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:41:54

Chub - I am thick generally. Tonight probably especially so as I have had a few glasses of wine!!!!

I don't mind. I think what it was is that I missed the point of the thread and annoyed a few people as I repeated myself whilst missing the point!

MissBetseyTrotwood Sun 01-Sep-13 21:42:16

I had to go and stay with my GPs when I was around that age and they were pretty frail. I had to adapt; it's good for kids to follow a different set of rules and the GPs should be confident enough to explain they need a rest/for the noise to stop/for a tidy up to happen if that's what they're worried about. 3 days a year's not much to muck in on family life.

That said, my DM's a widow and suffers fatigue after surviving leukaemia. I wouldn't ask her to look after my two for more than a couple of hours. But a couple's a very different case I think.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:43:41

Well, interesting as it is, what chunky has to say doesn't really have anything to do with my situation! Roffle at the idea of free childcare. Really, it amounts to a few hours without the dc in the holidays. Its no great shakes when your dc are at school and you are used to having hours without them all the time.

I am quite certain that my dc weren't badly behaved chub. Fil said to dh that they were a credit to us.

They could be using the "its too tiring" reason as an excuse not to have them next year. Fine. I am more worried that a 67 year old would find this fairly normal day to day activity tiring, tbh. Might get dh to question a bit more closely and check that everything is ok.

My dm (82) was saying just the other day how sad she is that she's never had the room to have them to stay, as she lives in a miniscule bungalow.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 01-Sep-13 21:44:47

My PIL find my DC tiring, because they, well DD tbh, do not for their idea of how a child should be. There is a clash between their expectations and the reality. It is very hard for them, and hard for Dd too. We need to do something before next summer really... sad

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:45:51

Charlotte - yes, we could stay. But that doesn't really have much to do with my op either.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 21:46:46

frog, I don't think you're being thick. The OP had a point in mind when starting the thread, but conversations sometimes take unexpected turns. And although she said it wasn't about childcare, the whole assumption of the thread that GPs have to spend time with GCs without the parents around does sounds like "free childcare" dressed up to look respectable as "bonding".

Someone said that upthread much better than I just did!

Chubfuddler Sun 01-Sep-13 21:47:48

Perhaps you could explain what is and is not acceptable on your thread then op as everyone seems to be getting it so wrong.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 21:48:03

But have you asked your PILs and have they said they would prefer that? That might get you closer to understanding where they're coming from - which was I think one of the points of your OP?

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:48:17

Anyfucker makes a good point: a lot of 67 year olds still work full time.

I am worried that my mil is becoming old before her time.

DelayedActionMouseMaker Sun 01-Sep-13 21:48:27

Interested reading this because my mil has just confessed to us that its too tiring having us and he 2dc's for 4 days a year, and that's when we're there sorting all the kids stuff out.
My parents on the other hand would see us every day if they could, though of course they don't have to feed us etc...

I think once you have grown out of having kids or indeed other people around for whom you are responsible it takes a lot of effort to have to galvanise yourself all day...I personally find it knackering having guests for 3/4 days because I need an hours space for myself somewhere in the day for some brain rest and a snooze if I can fit one in, and I'm only 38. grin

ChunkyFicken Sun 01-Sep-13 21:49:19

I think it's a bit more than a 'few' hours Mintyy. And sorry if my point was not on topic, but I do think there is an assumption grandparents should do x, y and z and if not there's a lot of bafflement etc. As per this thread.

And whether the intention is to bond/spend time with darling grandchildren or to help the parents, it still amounts to someone else looking after your kids. So I'd call that free childcare smile.

DelayedActionMouseMaker Sun 01-Sep-13 21:49:36

Mne is around that age too minty and doesn't work, I do think just stopping like that without having anything to fill your time as you get older narrows your world irreversibly...which is very sad.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:50:23

"And although she said it wasn't about childcare, the whole assumption of the thread that GPs have to spend time with GCs without the parents around does sounds like "free childcare" dressed up to look respectable as "bonding".

Well, what can I do if you insist on putting your own spin on it Charlotte?

prettybird Sun 01-Sep-13 21:51:34

I'm 52 and will be having 8 12-13 year olds staying overnight next week as part of ds' 13th birthday party (rugby match followed by pizza and cake and non sleepover)

Easy to cope with as ds' room is on the attic and we can just shut the door to the noise

Re grandparents spending time with grandchildren, like maryz I really don't accept the stated ages as an issue, barring health or MH issues. If they don't want to, then of course, that is their prerogative sad - but they also need to accept that their relationship with their grandchildren will disappear as might their relationship with their son - and they forfeit the right to complain about it.

My dad regularly has is asked to look after his 3 year old twin grandchildren who are a real handful and would tire anyone out wink. 12 year old ds is a delight in comparison grin. Of course, he loves them all equally smile.

Bumpotato Sun 01-Sep-13 21:52:40

The thing is, no one, including the GPs, are obliged to take our cherubs. If GPs don't fancy it, for whatever reason. The parent needs to suck it up.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 21:54:04

Look, OP and Maryz and anyone else who expressed amazement at the "too tired" thing: I am a healthy 30-something, but quite introverted and being out of my comfort zone (with one other 30-something, let alone two pre-teens) tires me. That's ok - as AF says, it's possible to rest up before and after. But for me, three 14-hour days on the trot would be stressful. I would enjoy up to about 8 hours, I reckon. After that, too much.

I think it's quite possible that people feel more like that as they progress through their 60s. Which is not to say that all 60-somethings should feel like that, but that some might. People are very different from each other - why be amazed that some people are very different from you?

Viviennemary Sun 01-Sep-13 21:54:31

It does seem a bit unreasonable of them to refuse to have your DC's for just three days. I think having children to stay is tiring if they are not used to it. Especially if they are the kind that need entertaining all the time and are always 'bored'.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 21:55:25

And if I was prettybird's MIL and was told that I had to do a 3-day sleepover with her dcs or lose any chance of a relationship with them, I'd be pretty angry tbh.

Nanny0gg Sun 01-Sep-13 21:56:46

Mne is around that age too minty and doesn't work, I do think just stopping like that without having anything to fill your time as you get older narrows your world irreversibly...which is very sad.

I am recently 'retired'. I am not yet 60. As I said, I see a terrific amount of my DGC, which I love. I also try and slot in a social life.

I don't want them staying overnight.

So shoot me.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:57:25

I agree that if they don't want to they don't have to.

Just like my mum taking cousins of similar age instead of siblings because its more fun. It's her choice.

But it's worrying if the genuinely feel it is too tiring. It shouldn't be.

Mintyy, would they like to have them one at a time do you think? It might be worth asking the question even if it isn't practicable to follow through, just to get to the bottom of it.

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:57:58

Bumpotato - do you know you are right and summarise it well!

And to add to that, (and hopefully this time get the real point of the thread(!)), we have to remember that even as kids we all have different energy levels and find different things exhausting. Then as young adults we are the same. As older adults we are the same (I can work through the night etc but couldn't look after 30 children in a classroom - my friend needs her sleep or can't cope, but looks after 30 children in a classroom daily and finds it a doddle).

As grandparents we will find different things tiring, and have different energy levels. We will find different things do-able. As a worrier, I expect I will find looking after grandchildren exhausting as I will worry over everything. My dsis, who is the opposite of a worrier, will say what will be will be and the kids will run riot with her, have a ball, and she will not be tired!

Different horses for courses (or is it courses for horses!?!)

Nanny0gg Sun 01-Sep-13 21:58:05

What CharlotteCollinsismovingon said.

Chubfuddler Sun 01-Sep-13 21:58:13

My mother does look after grandchildren regularly but I am v concerned it is getting too much for her.

And ARF at the idea that a 67 year olds life is an empty husk if they are not either working or caring for grandchildren.

prettybird Sun 01-Sep-13 21:59:18

They forfeit the right to complain about the lack of a relationship if they are not wanting to do anything about it.

Relationships take time to develop. If you live 100 miles away (as in the case of mintyy's in-laws), they can't be built up be just popping around every so often.

NotWilliamBoyd Sun 01-Sep-13 22:00:06

I agree with Chunky Ficken's comments ^ ^ ^

My inlaws do love our dc, but I'm sure that if they were to be really honest they would admt that their preferred option for spending time with their dgc is here, in our home, where it's easier for the dc to mooch about with their own stuff and in their own routines and, perhaps most pertinently, with dh or I around to be ultimately responsible.

I think that the feeling of responsibility in itself can be exhausting for grandparents.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 22:00:27

Nanny, do yours live near you?

I think it's hard when grandchildren live a distance away. It's much easier if they can call round for a couple of hours.

But if they live 200 miles away, then the choice does Coe to overnights or not at all, surely? You can't drive 400 miles for lunch.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:01:07

"Wanting to do anything about it" and "having the GCs for 3 days" not exactly comparable, though.

singaporefling Sun 01-Sep-13 22:01:25

My 15 ds has gone to my parents for a sleepover tonight - they're 73 & 83 and enjoy every minute with him and vice verse... My 83 year old dad cooks fabulous food for him, my mum watches grisly dvds with him and gives him hand/foot massages! They were the same with ds now 26 and dd nearly 20 - but i guess i've been very very lucky - in their 50's/60's they nappy changed/babysat /holidayed with my 3 in one's or two's and have always been doting/enthusiastic gp's - i know its NOT the same for everyone

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:02:46

Good point, NWB. Are the PILs able to travel, OP? There's another possibility although probably also nothing to do with this thread.

kalidanger Sun 01-Sep-13 22:04:14

I'll just pointlessly add that I'm a child free 39 yr old and I am dead on my feet if I have (forced at gun pint of course) to mind my DBs 13, 11 & 9 year olds. Kids are utterly exhausting. If one is quiet the other two are talking to me. Round and round all fucking day, bless them.

bigTillyMint Sun 01-Sep-13 22:05:09

How sad that she feels it is too tiring to have her own GC to stay for a few days, aged 67!!! It is not normal to feel that would be too tiring at that age. Even my DM would have managed that at 67!

My MIL is 72 (FIL 68) and they love having our two to stay (and believe me, DS is not easy!) Infact, MIL "house-keeps" part-time for a family with 4 boys aged 6-15.

And so sad that they don't want to put themselves out to see their own GC.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:07:27

Are you listening? May I say something directly to you?

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:09:08

All this talk of how "worrying" and "sad" and "not normal" it is for a 67yo to be tired in this situation comes across as passive-aggressive, tbh.

Be creative and find another way to encourage them to have a relationship with your dcs! Stop with the hand-wringing!

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:09:22


Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:10:33

If I say something will you please take it at face value and not read anything in to it?

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:11:22

Um. Er. Will try.

singaporefling Sun 01-Sep-13 22:12:34

Actually meant to say also that, yes, I'd hope to be doing LOTS with/for grandkids one day... However, I have step grandkids and dh/i had them for around 6 hours for the first time last month, they're 1&3 and we're 50/58 - we were exhaaaaausted!! After dropping them off at teatime we immediatley had to lie down for an hour to recover! I'd truly forgotten how tiring smaller kids can be and appreciated even more how lucky I was with my parents! Your kids are older tho and I don't think you're asking for/expecting too much at all

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 22:17:42

In answer to your ACTUAL thread:
Health permitting/MH wellbeing, at 67 I would unequivocally have my grandchildren stay for 3 nights (more if they wanted to). I would not see this as child care (semantics aside), but a good normal family relationship. I would actually feel honoured that they wanted to.

Why don't you ever have your grandchildren over for a sleepover?
Do you ever see it through their eyes?
Would they not really enjoy it and cherish the memory (depending on age, sleepovers are very important)?
Would you not do it for just one night so they have that special memory?

Hi Mintyy

I think it might be more about life outlook/attitude/energy levels than about age! MIL is 70, has the DDs to stay, organises fun outings and activities, bakes cookies, hosts tea parties, reads books, takes them swimming, shopping, visiting, writes them emails when they return home, while still keeping up with being Ladies 18 president at the golf club, on a couple of boards, volunteering, socialising, running the world...

I should point out that most of this happens while I am actually on the premises as it's in Canada so a bit far for the DDs to travel on their own. I basically get off the plane, hand over my children, and sit by the lake with a magazine for the duration grin

OTOH DM is 67 and is so involved in being the full-time carer for my DF who has terminal cancer that she is exhausted by the thought of any thing else being added to her plate, even if that thing is spending time with her grandkids, whom she loves dearly.

NotWilliamBoyd Sun 01-Sep-13 22:18:45

Also, saying that they are 'too tired' to continue to have them to stay could be code for worrying that the gdc are bored with them, not knowing how to entertain them any more (you may feel that they don't need entertaining but ime gps do tend to feel that they have to keep dgc busy) or just that the responsibility sits too heavily these days. Doesn't mean that they love your dc any less, it's maybe just no longer a pleasurable way to spend time with them, or that they fear that it's no longer fun for your dc.

Taffeta Sun 01-Sep-13 22:19:25

My parents have never looked after my children. Mainly I think as they were 67/68 when the first was born, and my mother certainly can't cope with the responsibility. She is a massive flapper. They also live 60 miles away.

The PILs however are another matter. MIL was 61 FIL 72 when the first was born and they are always up for a bit of childcare. The most we've ever asked is an overnight at our place, no ore than once a year. FIL generally falls asleep when he's reading DD a bedtime story. grin But they are generally way more at ease around children than my parents are. So it's no biggie for them.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:20:40

<can't stand the suspense>

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:20:41

Right. I think I've already said all of this on this thread but just to repeat myself

1. We have never asked mil and fil to look after the dgc. It just isn't possible because they live so far away.

2. The dgc have a relationship with them because we take them to stay at their house for the weekend, or they come to us for the weekend, every couple of months or so.

3. For the past 8 years mil and fil have asked us if they can have the dgc to stay at their house for 3 or 4 days in the summer holidays.

4. I actually said no when dd was only 4 and ds 2, as they would have been unsettled to be away from us. So let's say they have been going for the past 5 or 6 years.

5. This year mil said it was "too tiring". My thread was about whether it really is too tiring for a 67 year old to have a 10 y/o and a 12 y/o in their care for 3 days.

6. It has got nothing to do with childcare or unreasonable expectations of grandparents. I don't expect them to do anything!

7. I do fervently hope that I won't be so old and frail at 67 that I couldn't cook a bit of extra food and go on a couple of outings in a 3 day period.

I wonder if that is clear or perhaps I should give up now?

I just hope I even have grandkids when I'm 67. It's the whole reason I had kids tbh.

NotWilliamBoyd Sun 01-Sep-13 22:22:07

Why will a sleepover automatically be a 'special memory'??? Surely not if the gps aren't keen!

I don't really understand why so many people seem to feel that overnights with gps are really important?





NotWilliamBoyd Sun 01-Sep-13 22:23:31

Sorry, questions not just for OP....

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 22:24:28

increasingly the actual issue is always ignored

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 22:25:11

i think overnights are special

i have happy memories of bresakfast with my grandpa

NWB - for example - one thing my mum does do and does love is reading the DDs a bedtime story. Now granted they are 10 and 7, so younger then Mintyy's lot, but the chance to see them en famille freshly scrubbed and sweet smelling in their jammies, is IMO not something you can replicate with a day visit.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:31

Perhaps you should give up, OP. grin

It's still not clear to me. Ok, there's semantics there: I'm using "childcare" to mean any time with children in loco parentis. You're using it to mean a regular arrangement, I think?

But this is unclear: you say you don't expect them to do anything, but you expect them to cook a bit more food and go on a couple of outings, along with the responsibility of being in loco parentis.

I can see that it seems very little to ask to you. But (obviously) your PILs are not you.

And sadly, both your OP and your latest post made it sound like the point of the thread was to talk about how you hope you will be better than them when you get to their age. You don't seem willing to delve a little deeper into understanding their perspective.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:28:08

I'll consider myself to be incredibly lucky if I become a gp by the age of 67 but that's my fault for having my dc so late!

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:28:50

But something that they have plenty of opportunity to see in the weekend visits, Hearts.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 22:29:00

They may not be important. But sleepovers with grandparents can be fun. And exciting. And often an introduction to nights away from home without parents, which is a bit of a milestone for some children.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 22:29:28

It's only a special memory if the grandparents are really in to their grandchildren and make it fun.
If not - yep pretty miserable alround.

prettybird Sun 01-Sep-13 22:30:05

My own grandparents (both sets) lived 6000 miles away from the time I was 3.

As a result, my grandmother paid for my brother and I (age 11 and 13) to go over for two weeks so that she could get to know us better (she'd visited us two, maybe 3 times before then). She wanted to spend time with us.

She could afford it far less than my mother's parents (who had also visited a couple of times) but family was important to her. She didn't take it for granted. She would also write weekly, send thoughtful not expensive presents and was a lovely person.

As a result, I have very fond memories of her and as an adult would take time to go and visit her. Dh also learnt to love her. She was my Mum's favourite relative as her own parents were somewhat toxic

I am so glad we were able to visit with ds aged 13 months, so that she got a chance (at 87) to meet her first great grandchild.

But it does have to be something that everyone wants to do. You can't force it. Relationships require effort on both sides.

sameoldIggi Sun 01-Sep-13 22:30:07

My dm is desperate to have ds stay with her, she has over ten years on the OP's mum and lots of health issues. My MiL is younger, fitter, and finds it too hard. not that I'd leave him there anyway
I think attitude comes into it as much as actual fitness or lack of it.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:31:02

Am I expecting childcare if mil and fil invite my dc to stay with them? is that what you are saying confused?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 22:31:29

Charlotte PLEEEEEEEEASE read the ACTUAL THREAD - Please your doing my head in!!

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 22:31:35

Be very careful what you wish for.

Dd aged just 17 has come home from a week away squeeeeeing over an older friend's baby. I'm not sure 17 year olds should be allowed near newborns.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:31:37

No, not expecting it. But getting it, nonetheless!

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:37

I aaaaaaammmm! I'm just a totally different person from you and I am reading it through my eyes!


Ok, I'm off to bed. I clearly don't get it!

HabitualLurker Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:35

My parents are in their early 70s, have my nieces for sleepovers regularly and will hopefully do the same for my son when he's old enough.

BUT, I'm pretty sure 3 days in a row would be too tiring for them these days. They've really aged in the last 5 years, and I can see that they find hosting other people draining. As someone said upthread, it's not necessarily the physical work, it can be mentally tiring to have someone there all the time to interact with if you're not used to it.

Mandy21 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:56

Havent read all if the replies but I think its upto them, it msy be an excuse, or they may generally think its too much.

Its a shame because I think the grandparent / grandchild relationship is very special - I'm not saying they cant still have that without sleepovers but imagine its easier when they spend lots of time with each other.

My parents are similar age (68 and 70). They've just taken my 3 children (youngest is 4 - so pretty full on) abroad (5hr flight) for almost 3 weeks! They all had a fabulous time (although think my parents slept round the clock the day they got home!!)

Mandy21 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:22

Havent read all if the replies but I think its upto them, it msy be an excuse, or they may generally think its too much.

Its a shame because I think the grandparent / grandchild relationship is very special - I'm not saying they cant still have that without sleepovers but imagine its easier when they spend lots of time with each other.

My parents are similar age (68 and 70). They've just taken my 3 children (youngest is 4 - so pretty full on) abroad (5hr flight) for almost 3 weeks! They all had a fabulous time (although think my parents slept round the clock the day they got home!!)

MacaYoniandCheese Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:16

Is it possible that they are worried about being responsible for your children in case something goes wrong? My children used to go and stay with my PILs (individually) when they were tiny but MIL declined having them after a few years. It turned out that FIL was beginning to have some health and dementia issues (tiring enough on their own) and she was worried about the children coming to harm (he used to enjoy taking them for rides on his ride-on lawnmowner and things like can imagine the implications).

Nanny0gg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:32

NannyOgg -Why don't you ever have your grandchildren over for a sleepover? Do you ever see it through their eyes? Would they not really enjoy it and cherish the memory (depending on age, sleepovers are very important)? Would you not do it for just one night so they have that special memory?
I actually think I have made (and hope to continue making) lots of special memories with my DGC. (Yes I live quite near them in answer to a previous poster). We go out lots, they visit and I visit them, together and separately.
I don't think them staying in my house will make much difference to them. And I suppose I am not a particularly fun or exciting GP!

IceCreamForCrow Sun 01-Sep-13 22:38:10

At what point do you think:

'Regardless of the fact that I'm still fit and well, that these are my grandchildren, that my own child could clearly use a small bit of help here, that it's only a few days out of many I now have actually...I'm too tired/it's never possible for x,y,z, reasons. Because the bottom line is that this just isn't something I want to put myself out for.' ?

Gawd I hope to god I don't go don't go down that route in my 60's health permitting.

My own mother would be aghast to see it put that way. She adores my dc and is a lovely grandma. But they never ever stay over and I admit I really could have used that help esp when they were a bit younger. It wasn't forthcoming and yes I suck it up nicely.

Absolutely my dc, my problem etc. Any sleepover would primarily have benefitted me it's true, but if my own dc become adults who are beyond knackered with three dc under three and need a rest I'd like to think I'd step in.

But from the age of her being 54-> when she became a grandmother (not so much older than I am now incidentally) my dc have never done sleepovers with her. We never mention it because she likes to be seen as a very hands on grandparent and I pave the way to make it look like she is. It's easier all round to collude with her on her ideal of herself, to allow her to essentially cherry pick the bits she wants. That's probably the perogative of a gp after all.

But the truth is, yes to myself (and I'd never say it to her of course), I find it hard to understand. Because as a child I spent an awful lot of time at my own grandma'sconfused. An awful lot looking back.

ChunkyFicken Sun 01-Sep-13 22:43:59

Well Mintyy (trying desperately to stick to topic), I guess if the grandparents say they're too tired to have dgc then I guess they are just too tired. For whatever reason.

And yes, you probably will be a much more involved grandparent. Don't we all think we'll be better than the previous generation at most things?!

As an aside, being new to MN, aren't we allowed to wonder even slightly off topic on threads? I always thought of them as a conversation and other elements of the main conversation crept in. Or is that not allowed (genuinely confused...).

prettybird Sun 01-Sep-13 22:47:42

Like BIWI earlier, this thread is a salutary lesson to me to maintain my fitness (in both body and mind) so that I can cope with ds and any grandchildren hopefully a long way in the future and actually enjoy their company smile.

My dad's aunt (his mum's older sister shock) has only just died, aged 100. If granny had stayed in Denmark all her life, I'm sure she'd have had a similar lifespan.

I hope that Dad has the same genes so he can enjoy seeing his grandchildren growing up - and they can enjoy getting to know him when he is not gallivanting around the world

And I hope I in turn have the same genes grin. Especially as the retirement age is going up. I think mine is currently 67 - but that may change hmm.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 22:48:45

IceCream - just wanted to say I can really relate to that, and I found your post really interesting - you put it so well!

thegreylady Sun 01-Sep-13 22:49:23

I am 69 and dh is 77. We are not in best of health but have had dgs aged 4 and 6 for two nights and 3dgc aged 10, 13 and 15 for a separate two nights. If they wanted to they could I am sure. I'll have my dgc to stay as long as I am able..

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 22:50:35

Oh yes we can wander off topic and discuss the dire treatment of some grandparents and the expectation that they will provide free child care.

But that's different from latecomers not bothering to RTFT and accusing the op of expecting free child care.

It's a very subtle difference grin

frogwatcher42 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:52:10

Chunky - of course you can wander off topic. That is, in my experience, one of the joys of mumsnet.

This has been an odd experience of a thread. Best to bale out and go to bed.

I would be interested to see if all these people who think they will be capable of having two young house guests at age 67, find for some that they can't. When the government were first talking about extending the pensionable age, the main argument against it (including here on MN as far as I can remember) was that people are too tired to work at gone 65. Also that a lot of people have ill health by then too.

Now on this thread, it is expected that we are all to be happy, lively and capable of having guests for days on end at age 67 plus. Obviously some will, but a lot won't for various reasons. 67 is still quite an age regardless of those who will be as fit as fiddles. That is why the pensionable age is creeping just past 67 to 70 - the advisors to the government assume that a lot of us won't make that so pensions are cheaper!

As my customers say at work (elderly lunch guests), old age creeps up on you and then is a total shock when it hits. Energy is one of the first things to go!!

VileWoman Sun 01-Sep-13 22:52:22

My Mum is 67 and is travelling 500 miles to look after my 5&4 year olds during half term for 3 days. She lives next door to my brother and looks after his 2 year old one day a week, and does the wrap around care for his 5&7 year olds 3 days a week. Plus looks after the kids when DB and SIL have trips away. So, no, I don't think it's too tiring, especially since they've offered to do it the last few years. My MIL regularly offers to come and help with the kids and she's 76 and also lives hundreds of miles away.

On the other hand my SIL's Mum never has my nephews to stay and rarely even babysits in the evening. She says she finds them exhausting, but she is 61 and in good health. So who knows what goes through people's minds.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:52:53

Of course threads evolve and conversations meander. Its just that I won't be accused of saying or thinking things I haven't said or don't think. Am fussy like that.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:54:53

I think it is an attitude thing and some people (we all know them) are old before their time. I know my mil was absolutely horrified when I had a baby at 40! She had her dc at 18 and 19, so I must have seemed absolutely ancient to her.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:55:22

My parents are in their 70s, fit and well, and would not have DD (19mo) even for one whole day because they find her too tiring/difficult (she is a normal toddler!). I am jealous of anyone whose parents / inlaws are happy to have gc overnight!

It's your parents' choice and sounds like they have been hands on over the years. Now they've had enough and I don't see how you can complain.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 22:56:10

Don't get me wrong, I genuinely bet you are an absolutely fantastic grandmother - you certainly sound like one, but you didn't actually give a reason for not ever having a sleepover. Is it tiredness after spending lovely days with them, not enough room? You don't have to answer - I know I have got a very inquisitive brain, I am just interested.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:56:16

Oh gawd.

prettybird Sun 01-Sep-13 22:57:29

Chunkyficken - yes, conversations can go off-topic. Used to happen a lot in the early days (I've been on MN far too long since 2002) and threads would morph a long way from the premise of the OP but now that there so many MNers, threads can move really quickly, you don't necessarily "know" the other contributors plus and probably most importantly not everyone reads the whole thread before posting, so off-topic discussion can be mis-interpreted.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 01-Sep-13 23:07:54

"I would be interested to see if all these people who think they will be capable of having two young house guests at age 67, find for some that they can't."

Did not all those posters say this was only if health and MH health permitted it?

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 23:16:59

I bet you wish you hadn't started this Mintyy grin

DelayedActionMouseMaker Sun 01-Sep-13 23:18:12

I am recently 'retired'. I am not yet 60. As I said, I see a terrific amount of my DGC, which I love. I also try and slot in a social life.

I don't want them staying overnight.

So shoot me.

Nanny unfortunately mil hasn't and doesn't do any of these things, she has admitted she finds it hard to motivate herself to do anything. She's gone from never watching TV to watching daytime tv, which if you had known her even a year ago you'd have thought impossible. In my post I said stopping and having NOTHING to fill the time can narrow your world irreversibly. I believe this of a person of ANY age, but obviously it is more prevalent in SOME retired people because, well they stop work. Not everyone fills that void as successfully as you.

Her world has narrowed, in a very tangible way.

Mintyy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:24:15

I am a bit hmm about it all Mary! Still, Mumsnet never fails to be entertaining eh?



Right I am jolly well pissed off and tired now if I have resorted to shouting on MN.

Isabeller Mon 02-Sep-13 00:41:09

Read first 2/3 skimmed last and ignoring some of the juicy themes here to mention

My Dad, always fit and active began to slow down in retirement (late 60s early 70s) and put it down to getting older. Then went to the dentist with jaw pain and angina was eventually diagnosed leading to a very successful heart triple bypass and a new lease of life. If one of your PsIL is suddenly unusually tired there might be a non serious medical cause, anaemia or whatever or something that really needs looking at even.

Or maybe they've taken up a secret hobby grin

BarbarianMum Mon 02-Sep-13 00:54:00

Bloody hell!

So they've been happy to have the children to stay in the past (in fact for years) and now they're not and you are posting on here, why? To ask if we think they're lying???

And apparently they are being unreasonable because a) lots of people on here would like to their (as yet unborn) grandchildren to stay with them at that age in the future or b) because other people's parents are able to manage it.

It beggars belief.

And what's with this 'not entertaining them' rubbish. They are going to build a deep and lasting relationship with their grandparents by - doing - what? Sitting in front of the telly all day. Playing on the Xbox? Bickering?

I had my 12 year old nephew to stay for 48 hours this year and it was knackering. And the less entertainment I provided the more knackering it was as he came up with new and dangerous exciting ways to entertain himself. And I'm a lot younger than 67!

EldritchCleavage Mon 02-Sep-13 01:09:58

Barbarian, I got the impression more that OP was saying it ought not to be too tiring,but if it genuinely was, perhaps she and DH should gently explore to make sure there was nothing wrong with the PIL. Ie., she not hoisting up her stroppy pants, she's bewildered and wondering if she should be concerned.

bigTillyMint Mon 02-Sep-13 07:31:02

So all of you lovely MNers who have DGC and are more than happy to have them during the day, why don't you want them to stay overnight?

Is it because the DGC don't sleep well or won't go to bed when asked or?

I can't see that having DGC overnight is more tiring than during the dayconfused Surely they will be asleep for 8+ hours?

(My DM could only cope with mine overnight - DS was way too tiring during the day!)

Bonsoir Mon 02-Sep-13 07:34:42

I don't think any of our DC (18, 16 and 8) would be able to spend any time alone with any of the GPs (who are 80, 77 and 76). The general pace of life is incompatible.

I take DD to stay with my parents, but she needs me there to entertain her. My mother seriously underestimates just how much DD needs to do, and that she needs other DC.

brettgirl2 Mon 02-Sep-13 07:44:44

Mine are younger (children and gps) and gasp in horror my parents provide free child care, one day every week. Interestingly they will never have them overnight and I'm not sure why because they are much easier asleep grin They are happy to babysit and then drive home at midnight (which I would find knackering).

My ils seem to be more into sleep overs but they live further away.

Everyone's different, accept it. It doesn't make them bad.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 02-Sep-13 07:46:48

Its interesting the whole baby-boomer generation thing - and am about to generalise madly here. But, I'm going to go back to work soon and mentioned this to mil, her first comment 'I hope you won't want more childcare'.

Now as they have never every done childcare for me I was rather perplexed. But I reckon its because they have friends who do provide regular childcare for their grandchildren that they sort of think in some weird way that they do too. It was very very odd as they've always made clear that they want to live their lifes and although they see my dc's regularly, I'm normally around too.

I wonder mintyy if your mil has similar friends so she feels like she's doing a lot more for your dc's than she actually is.

Emptychairs Mon 02-Sep-13 07:56:37

My mum felt she was invincible and loved ds to bits until she turned 80, had some health issues and was very sorry she couldn't do more for him (would have collected him for secondary school too!) and then sadly passed away 2 years later. They were very close although she was nearly 70 when he was born.
My pils see one GS regularly and babysit and do overnights often (boisterous 7 yo). But after having my dsd, 16, stay with them for a school term (they live abroad) they won't do it again, not even wanting her to stay the summer hols, now she has friends there to visit. Why? They totally went out of their way to spoil her, paid for everything (dh paid them her maintenance) and then some, chauffeured her around and generally didn't want her to be bored. The complaints came after she left. Not once did she do her laundry, help with housework, cook or clean or be useful in any way. I don't know why they went overboard, they see her (and dss) every year for a few weeks.
Maybe gps feel bad about not being able to offer same standards as always, dc getting older etc.

Bonsoir Mon 02-Sep-13 08:01:14

MrsCampbellBlack - as I get older, I realise that people's perception of what they do (what they tell you they do) can be quite different to what they really do! It is very odd and difficult to deal with.

TiredDog Mon 02-Sep-13 08:05:44

I'm hooting at the posters deliberately ignoring the main question in the thread and deciding the OP has an axe to grind because she needs childcare...when it obviously is not about that!

My 78yr old father had my DD (10) for 3 days this summer and loved it...took her on the fairground rides, swimming...etc He'd be mortified to think someone thought he was too old.

At 67 I intend to take up serious cycling and do Lands End to John O'G because retirement will give me that time to do so

Being old at 67 is a state of mind. However choosing not to have your GC is her prerogative

Willemdefoeismine Mon 02-Sep-13 08:10:51

I think all grandparents are different. My parents weren't terribly interactive as parents so I didn't think they'd turn into the type of grandparents who would be wanting to have the grandchildren to stay for any length of time, if at all. I've been proven correct grin but don't have an issue with it....

I would just say to those of you who do have very willing and able parents to help out with your DCs that you are jolly lucky!

I also wonder, OP, if it's because your PILs obviously had their children young that they're less than willing to help out. DH and my parents were in very early 20s when they had us and I always feel that because they missed out on being young because they had a family of children to look after, it's meant that in their retirement they don't want to go thro' the whole looking after children process again? Does that make sense...

However, I can quite easily see that it shouldn't be beyond them to look after tweens for three days, if only to give your DCs a change of scene. On the other hand, having a tween of my own, I can also see that if they're in that apathetic "it's boring" type of groove which means that they're reluctant to do anything other than mooch/play computer games/listen to music, your PILs might find the whole scenario quite trying.....--I know I do sometimes--

Stepinstone Mon 02-Sep-13 08:15:52

I'm also introverted and find other children around - even my own - tiring.

I have no desire to look after grandchildren or to "earn" a relationship with them. I will love them and support them and be honest with them but I'm fucked if I've got to "work" at any relationship! How very entitled?!?

MrsDavidBowie Mon 02-Sep-13 08:19:47

I hope I don't have grandchildren at allgrin

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 08:33:17

If you have people to stay overnight then they are still there in the morning.

DumSpiroSpero Mon 02-Sep-13 08:38:23

Whether they are getting old before their time or simply cba it's their choice I'm afraid and you will have to be very careful about questioning their motives if you don't want to cause offence.

Having said that, I would be suspicious that there was more to it than meets the eye, especially if they have always been keen to have them in the past.

Just because they haven't told you about any health issues yet doesn't mean they don't exist.

My mum spent several months worried that one of her close friendships had disintegrated as her friend kept making excuses not to Skype her and sending v. short emails instead. It turned out she was trying to hide the fact (from herself as much as anything) that she was in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease and the stress of speaking to someone online when the shaking was visible was causing panic attacks. Thankfully she's now diagnosed and medicated and Skyping every week again.

Jammee Mon 02-Sep-13 08:46:21

My two brothers and I used to spend almost every other weekend with my GPs until my grandad died when he was 75 (GM was 70). When we saw them one of them often had health problems but they always took us out for lunch, cooked a big meal for us on a Sunday and took us into town and to car boot sales. They never seemed tired of us. As we got older (12ish) we started to play on GPs PC (they got one way before our parents did) and spent less time with them so we didn't need much occupying. I think it depends on how needy the children are. We loved it.

I really miss my GPs.

Runoutofideas Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:10

Having just lost my step-dad this week at the age of 72, I feel that how much grandparents want to do should just be accepted, rather than questioned. They should be valued whatever the involvement. Probably too simplistic, but we are all in a sad place right now.

JustinBsMum Mon 02-Sep-13 09:03:27

I wouldn't have a clue what to do with a 10 and 12 year old. I imagine they mostly loll around with the tv on, or maybe just play games on their ipad.
Thing is I would feel I should be doing something with them which would be stressful.
Hopefully it won't be like that with my GCs as I will have seen enough of them to feel at ease when they are mooching about.

Mintyy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:20:26

Really properly laughing at Barbarian Mum grin.

Just to reiterate: we do accept it, we aren't going to question it, we are grateful for the times they have had the children in the past although it was something the dgp asked to do, the dc won't mind and can still go to visit their 67 year old step grandma instead who is always complaining she doesn't get to see enough of them!

I hope they are alright health-wise, of course I do.

My df died at 81 and my dmum is still going at 82. Both of my grandmothers died in their 90s. To me 67 and 72 doesn't seem old, but I'm obviously wrong about that!

AnyoneButLulu Mon 02-Sep-13 09:20:50

Lurching off topic here, two relatives in their early thirties looked after DD for 36 hours when she was 30 months old while we went away to a wedding. DD was a little madam at that age still is but really not an abnormally difficult toddler, and she slept through the night and napped mid afternoon. DPs came down to visit for the lunchtime to help play with her (so, 4 adults to entertain 1 toddler) and they moaned at length about how exhausted they were. We were grateful for the babysitting, don't get me wrong, but we are unsurprised that they remain child free ten years later.

janajos Mon 02-Sep-13 09:25:27

My parents are similar ages and love spending time with their grandchildren, they took all of them away for a week at a time (in two lots!) this Summer (they have 7, ages from 4 to 16...)

They have a fantastic relationship with all of them (not all 7 are mine!!) and are loved by all ...

I think it depends on the individuals, but a little effort will go a long way in establishing long-term relationships.

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:26:00

Perhaps setting expectations might help? ie you do not need to feel stressed because they are watching television or lolling about doing nothing.

I have to say that I'm intrigued as to who these GPs are who feel they have to entertain. My parents generation (ie in their 70s and 80s)definitely did not see themselves as entertainers of children - all of us as children in the 70s were very much left to get on and amuse ourselves.

It's such a shame that families who are generally close don't feel that they should put themselves out in any way for each other for such a short amount of time. It works both ways - my Dad came to visit us recently as he fancied a change of scene, and stayed for 3 days. DS gave up his bedroom, we entertained him, and we all had a great time (and that's not easy with my Dad, long history...). He is about to go in for a biopsy and a CT scan, so I will take time off work, make childcare arrangements and drive 120 miles to be with him. If things don't go well, then I will no doubt have to repeat the process. Why on earth would you not just put yourself (if that's how you see it) out for a few days?? sad

Maryz Mon 02-Sep-13 09:26:15

Well it's all very well for you to say that now op, but we all know that you are drip-feeding and changing your story, and that really you are being extraordinarily unfair to two old people who have done more than their fair share of parenting your children over the years shock

I have never seen such an unreasonable, entitled, selfish thread.

<anticipates next fuckwit who hasn't RTFT>

Sorry about your step-dad, Runout flowers

TakeItAsRed Mon 02-Sep-13 09:26:27

Campbell Its interesting the whole baby-boomer generation thing - and am about to generalise madly here. But, I'm going to go back to work soon and mentioned this to mil, her first comment 'I hope you won't want more childcare

smile 'd when I read this 'generalisation', but would agree with an extended version : that GPs fall into two distinct camps - the 'engaged' variety, or the 'disengaged'
I adore having my grandchildren. In fact have just had a wonderful long weekend with the youngest (one year old) who ran me as ragged as only a toddler can. Reminded me that I can still giggle at 6am. And keeps me young. I would have any one of mine, at the drop of a hat.

His other grandparents adore him, live roughly the same distance from him, and have never had him to stay. SIL is their only child, so focus for them is solely one directional). Its not about love - they love their SIL, seem to love my DD and could not be more proud that they have their first GC. They are simply not child orientated, and do not cope well with looking after him even in his own home.

The difference applies also to how they regard "support". I have always managed work plans, or socialising, to fit with whatever my children have needed in the way of family back up when their children were young; and have actively changed plans at the last minute to do that. DDs inlaws would give them anything they needed, but are also prone to phone at the last minute to say they have changed plans and won't be coming and would never consider changing their own plans to assist.

Its a priorities thing, not a love thing.

For what its worth, OP, I am in my 60's and have no issues with running around after the GC's. I love it. My MIL took my eldest on a three State driving trip in America, at 67, and took my youngest on a week long trip swimming with dolphins at 71. No issues, and she spent months showing the boasting books of holiday pix, to anyone who would look !!

In your shoes, given everything you have said about the situation, the latest statement seems totally out of character for them, and I think I would be wondering if someone is hiding an illness?

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Sep-13 09:35:04

I dont think DC of that age need entertaining do they?

That might be the problem though, if they have their head stuck on electronics, perhaps the GPs think they aren't interested in doing anything with them anymore

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 09:42:15

I wasnt actually talking about electronics, I was thinking more that at that age they entertain each other.

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Sep-13 09:48:45


I don't think you are being thick, I do however think others are being wilfully rude to you!

OP, there is no way of telling if the average 67yr old finds it tiring because everyone is different. My dad (he is single) is 70 & lives with a houseful of kids still (and I am talking toddler to 7 & he has my brother's 3 who are 8 - 14 every other weekend so he & their mum can work/enjoy some kid free time (overnight)).

My mil & fil (similar age, give or take) wouldn't be able to do it. They see my children & take them out & bring the home, but I think overnight would be too much.

It is horses for courses & no one of us can say if they find it tiring or not.

sameoldIggi Mon 02-Sep-13 10:55:31

Takeitasred what a lovely post smile

Ezio Mon 02-Sep-13 11:14:35

My ex inlaws are both in their 70's and have my 6 yo DD every school holiday, they do loads of things with her, she loves it.

I guess people are different when they get to that age.

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 11:34:59

I think people are different at any age - full stop. Some will happily go the extra mile occasionally, others will pull out all the stops at the drop of a hat, others will not lift a little figure unless it suits them.

Ezio Mon 02-Sep-13 11:36:02

Sir That is the case with everyone, your right about that.

tallulah Mon 02-Sep-13 11:39:41

That's a bit sad. My mum who is 74 and on her own has just returned my 6 yo. She had her for week (and she's hard work). They had a great time.

Lovemynailstoday Mon 02-Sep-13 11:53:13

The elephant in the room could well be a health issue PILs have chosen not to share with you. Just say'in....

Sorry to be gloomy.

mirry2 Mon 02-Sep-13 12:26:03

Is there any chance that the grandparents feel the can't afford to have the children for 3 days? There would be 2 more mouths to feed and entertainment to be paid for and they may be on a limited budget.

They may also feel that the dgc will have unrealistic expectations of what they're gong to be doing.

Blu Mon 02-Sep-13 12:38:01

As I won't retire until just before 67, and as I have all sorts of long distance walking hols in mind I do very much hope I have the energy to knock up a spag Bol for a couple of pre teens! My nephew has been speeding ahead on mountain walks for years so I do expect to be going at a steadier pace than my (theoretical) GC.

Some older people think themselves into old age. My MIL is 12 years older than me and carries on as if she was truly ancient, wailing 'I'm old now' and believing she can't do all sorts of things that she easily could.

Mintyy Mon 02-Sep-13 12:46:29

Interesting points, thanks all! Blu - I guess your dh is a lot younger than you then? Mine is 2 years younger than me, hence tiny age gap between me and mil.

Mirry - they are on a limited budget, so we give them money to cover the cost of things like cinema tickets, fair ground rides, bowling etc. We gave them £40 this year, I think.

My dc aren't hooked on electronics but are quite happy to read/veg in front of the tv/play cards/go blackberrying/walk the dog etc. In laws live in the country and have a gigantic garden so they can more or less open the back door and let them get on with it!

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 12:47:44

Quite agree Blu.

There are some absolutely justifiable reasons on here why they may not want their older GC to stay for a one-off 3 days - ill health and lack of money for example, but some older people do become very insular and lack get up and go (many younger people do too, come to that!). Forcing yourself to step outside your comfort zone, mix with younger people, and get up off the sofa is good for both your mental and physical health.

Crikey, if I thought that I was going to go from a fit, working adult of 67 to someone who couldn't look after my 10 and a 12 year old grandchildren then I might as well lie down and give up now.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 02-Sep-13 12:57:10

See, my MIL would never whip up a spag bol. Just outside her frame of reference. And they eat their main meal at 1pm. MIL would never cook in the evening. So days out are difficult to process for them. They do it, and then fret about lunch, and restaurants, and cost. They are so, so set in their ways. The effort of flexing arrangements for the children is tiring for them. My PIL are an extreme case mind...

Blu Mon 02-Sep-13 13:00:16

Minty, DP is 4 years younger than me and his Mum had him when she was 16.

As regards engaged GPs, I hope v much to be able to take my GC on adventures of many kinds. Trips out, weekends away and at home etc. but having been a f/t WOHM and needing to work until retirement , I will not be tying myself down to a regular childcare commitment to cover working hours. I will move heaven and earth to offer cover or help in a crisis of any kind though.

Cretaceous Mon 02-Sep-13 13:10:37

I find this thread quite depressing at the lack of empathy for the aging process.

As the teenager is to the parent, so the parent is to the elderly person. In other words, we can't imagine how we will be when we are 67, and we swear we will do it differently.

However, Mintyy's PIL have enjoyed having the grandchildren to stay until this point. Now, it's getting a bit much. Maybe it really is getting a bit much, there's no hidden agenda. Now, while I'm sure when I'm that age, I'll be up for having my grandchildren for sleepovers, in reality I may not be. It might not be because I've given up, I'm not keeping myself fit, I'm not putting myself out etc. It might not be my fault at all! That is just the randomness of aging.

"Crikey, if I thought that I was going to go from a fit, working adult of 67 to someone who couldn't look after my 10 and a 12 year old grandchildren then I might as well lie down and give up now."

Well we all like to look on the bright side, but in reality some of us will be dead by then, or wheelchair bound, or just exhausted and struggling. smile If I were Mintyy, I'd be asking what I could do to help make their life easier.

By the way, I'm 50.

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 13:15:46

Which is why I said a fit, working adult of 67 - which is the age of the OP's MIL - and made it clear in my post that I was not talking about people with ill health.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 02-Sep-13 13:19:45

my mil hasn't looked after my children for at least 2 years and hasn't seen them for a good 6 months. I just conclude that she's not interested in them. They are 3 and 7 and luckily my mum and sister pay them a good deal of attention

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 02-Sep-13 13:20:42

oh and my mil is 64 and my mum is 85, so age isn't really an excuse

DottyboutDots Mon 02-Sep-13 13:24:30

My DM wasn't a great mother and is kind of repeating the process with the DGs, except that she does try and is happy to step in for a couple of days. If she didn't do that she wouldn't really see them as we live really far away.

Cretaceous Mon 02-Sep-13 13:25:37

But as you get older, you slow down not necessarily because of ill-health per se, but in the general aging process. Things take longer. At 67, there will be many people who are fit and working, but who find it takes more effort to work.

Gosh, my DP is only 50, but he's already saying he's slowing down at work, and doesn't know how he'll keep on to 67 in the same pressured job. And he's someone who's fit and healthy.

Of course, there are always the mils who aren't interested, but Mintyy's PIL have been interested. The issue is they are getting tired and it is too much.

Well my Dad is in his 70's he still has all his grandkids to stay, my 16 and 19 year old went for a week, he likes to talk to them, they went out to the beach and for dinner ect, its up to him, I know he gets tired, not so much with mine, but with his younger grandkids who need more looking after. if he said he was to tired to have them to stay I would say that's fine, its his life I don't expect him to want to look after them. I think he is just grateful they still want to spend time with him, being as they are teenagers and normally just want to be with their friends.

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 13:39:09

Agree - to a point - but we are talking about looking after 2 children of 10 and 12 for 3 days as a one off. If you are able to work at 67 then really, you should be able to keep a vague eye on 2 pre-teens.

I'm 44 and DH is 50, we have a 6 year old and 2 teenagers. We both work f/t in demanding jobs, and both feel our age - but are determined to play as active a part in our GCs lives as possible when/if they come along. MIL is 82 and very kindly has the older 2 for a few days in the summer holidays when she takes them out for lunches, puts them to work in the house and sits down with them to watch TV (she has Sky, we don't, they love her!)

I really think a lot of it is attitude to life. I have a friend who doesn't work, potters about, and complains that she doesn't know how I manage with 3 children and 3 jobs. As long as you are physically fit and able, sometimes you just have to push yourself a bit.

iwantanafternoonnap Mon 02-Sep-13 13:59:03

Blimey my mum has my DS 3 from 6am until 8pm one day a week and from wednesday night until friday morning every week so I can work and she is 63! She also has my dog too grin

I hope to god I am not going to be too tired for my grandchildren, if I have any, at 67. 3 days is hardly a lot and they can rest at night.

MadAboutHotChoc Mon 02-Sep-13 14:06:51

They won't get a rest at night because the children are too old for early nights.

I can see both sides - its tiring having a guest, you're always thinking about their needs (even if they are adults).

Cretaceous Mon 02-Sep-13 14:07:11

I think what I'm saying is that it isn't only attitude to life. I'm not saying that attitude has nothing to do with it, but there are other factors involved.

Your MIL at 82 is lucky she can manage to have the children. However, many people that age - by luck of the draw - cannot manage themselves let alone grandchildren. People seem to lack empathy about Mintyy's PIL, who are now finding it difficult, even though they were previously keen to have the grandchildren. Who are we to say it's all in their mind?

As I said before, as the teenager is to the parent, so the parent is to the elderly person. When we start to slow down, then perhaps we will understand ourselves. And while my mum was going strong into her 80s (and was also very unsympathetic about her ailing friends), not everyone will be so lucky.

"3 days is hardly a lot and they can rest at night." Gosh!

Mintyy Mon 02-Sep-13 14:24:26

Cretaceous - I don't think anybody is lacking empathy with my pil. All I am doing is expressing mild surprise that a grandparent of 67 would find it too "tiring" to have non-demanding well behaved children to stay for a few days. My attitude, I hope, would be that I could rest the other 361 days a year when I didn't have them.

Cretaceous Mon 02-Sep-13 14:59:53

The lacking in empathy runs all the way through the thread. grin

If I give my DIL plenty of notice that I really am tired, I hope she would understand. Because there are plenty of 67 year olds who would be too tired. Just as there are plenty of 87 year olds who have enough energy.

Perhaps one of them is starting to get dementia, and they want to pretend all is fine for as long as possible? Or perhaps it was all too much for them last year? But if you think - and judging by your quotation marks perhaps you do - that she isn't really too tired, but has other priorities, then that's a different question, isn't it? I would hope that my grandchildren would be a top priority, and if it is a question of priorities, in your shoes I would be disappointed in them.

Mintyy Mon 02-Sep-13 15:03:24

The quotation marks denote a quote, funnily enough hmm. That is what she actually said. I just wanted to use her words.

I can't see anywhere where anyone has said, for example "how awful, they really should step up to the mark, they are just being lazy" but perhaps I haven't read every single post word for word.

Cretaceous Mon 02-Sep-13 15:14:09

You see, I would say that is the subtext of many of the posters. And putting tiring in quotes suggests to me that it is her words, and not the words you would choose. grin

I guess it would be nice to take the children up and all stay with them, if you could. It would be sad if the PIL missed out as they get older, because they can't cope. Particularly as they had been so keen to see them when they were younger.

Personally, I'd be very disappointed if I found my grandchildren tiring at that age, but plenty of people do. I think you underestimate this.

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 15:17:08

I do think it's an attitude - providing you are otherwise fit and healthy. I think there are people of all ages who take a can't do, rather than a can do attitude to life.

The OP is not asking them to do anything more than keep an eye on 2 older children for 3 days. She isn't asking them to entertain them or run around after them. At 10 and 12 they should be perfectly capable of looking after themselves and helping out round the house - which in turn might actually help the PILs (who can then rest and 'recover' the rest of the 360-odd days in the year)

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 15:17:55

Oops, one too many rests there!

WetGrass Mon 02-Sep-13 15:22:17

Not a lot you can do - but I would also be disappointed in your shoes.

Frankly - having a posse of grandchildren to clutter up my house with gadgets and screechy music is my reason for having had children in the first place!

Grandkids-grandparents is a key link for inter-generational friendship, empathy and shared experience.

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Sep-13 16:00:12

But you can't know that they don't find it tiring, as you are not them. You are being unreasonable, op.

Instead of wondering why they suddenly find it tiring, you are seemingly throwing your toys out the pram because you will not get your three nights childless.

I am not saying that is it, but you don't sound awfully concerned as to why they feel it is too much.

Mintyy Mon 02-Sep-13 16:14:58

Sorry but that is utter crap!

bigTillyMint Mon 02-Sep-13 16:21:57

That is not what Mintyy is saying - she is not bothered about the "three nights childless", she is questioning whether she is being unrealistic to think that at 67 you could cope with 2 sensible pre-teens.

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 16:26:48

throwing your toys out the pram because you will not get your three nights childless

What utter rubbish.

JaquelineHyde Mon 02-Sep-13 16:31:56

My Mum is 64 and my Dad is 56 but not in good health, they have special guardianship of a nearly 5 year old and a 23 week old baby.

They are understandably knackered a lot of the time. 2 teenagers 3 days a year would feel like a dream to them smile

However, they don't look after any of their Grandchildren, ever. They have 7 children (9 if you count the 2 special guardianships) so if they had one grandchild to stay they would then have to have the other 11 and no one wants that grin

prettybird Mon 02-Sep-13 17:04:39

To quote Mintyy from yesterday afternoon, "I am more worried that a 67 year old would find this fairly normal day to day activity tiring, tbh. Might get dh to question a bit more closely and check that everything is ok." - and there are a number of other occasions when she makes it explicitly clear that she is worried about whether her expectations of a 67 year old are unrealistic (in the OP - so hardly drip feeding the info) and whether her MIL is becoming old before her time.

Hardly the words of someone who is supposedly just worried about three nights free child care hmm. Mintyy sounds like a rather lovely DiL who is genuinely worried about her MiL and is indeed showing concern.


Mintyy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:19:38

Thank you prettybird and everyone else who rtft smile flowers

Maryz Mon 02-Sep-13 19:15:26

But who do you think you are expecting your in laws to provide free childcare you selfish cow op, that's what I want to know


janajos Mon 02-Sep-13 19:22:47

Three days in the holidays is hardly 'free childcare', more spending precious time with grandchildren. Some posters are extremely rude OP, I would ignore them....

SirChenjin Mon 02-Sep-13 19:29:48


These posters are the same ones who in years to come will be huffing and puffing and declaring that they are not free childcare (occasional or otherwise), and that on no account should their grandchildren ever think they will be welcome to stay.

wordfactory Mon 02-Sep-13 20:16:14

OP, some people seem to get very old before their time!

On retirement some still remain very active, but some become very home-bound and spend an awful lot of time sitting. When that happens, any activity out of the ordinary must seem really knackering.

prettybird Mon 02-Sep-13 21:01:45

Some of the posters also seem to expect that a relationship just happens and doesn't have to be worked at. Just because you are a blood relative, doesn't mean your grandchildren (or grandparents) have to like you or want to spend time with you.

But in the mintyy's case, the in-laws appear to be have been involved up until now but something has changed sad Quite rightly, she is now going to get her dh to explore a bit further to check if anything is amiss.

lljkk Mon 02-Sep-13 21:12:10

I'm a bit shock at how much my dad has declined; you couldn't imagine a more fit 40 yr old and now he's a mildly rickety 70yo. I sure hope I have a better innings.

lemonstartree Mon 02-Sep-13 21:18:33

my mother (75) had my 3 (14,11 & 8) all boys for EIGHT days on her on this Summer so I could go away with my DP alone.

I am extremely grateful. It IS free childcare with someone you can trust - but she also has a close relationship wit them because of her willingness to spend time with them. They are hard work too, at times....

camtt Mon 02-Sep-13 21:19:13

my parents have just had my 2 children (10 and 8) to stay for three weeks - just them the first two weeks then in the final week I came, bringing my youngest. They are 80 and 76 and they have done this every year since the children started school (sometimes along with my sisters two children). I guess it will stop soon but while they feel able I think it is good for my children to learn something about their background where I grew up and have the chance to develop a relationship with my parents who don't live close enough for popping round for the afternoon. It is also childcare and helps me manage the summer holiday. My grandmother provided childcare for my mother and she is happy to do it for me in whatever way works best, which is this - none of us stops to ask whether I am being presumptuous, or whether she was 30 years ago. I think that comes very much from my mother - she would just have seen families helping each other out as the norm, there would never have been any expectations of leisure time that you would resent being taken up doing childcare for relatives

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Mon 02-Sep-13 21:25:48

<creeps back into thread nervously>

Ok, I have now rtft twice(!), but the second time just reading the OP's posts - it does come across differently. I now read it that your focus is on your MIL or PILs, OP, whereas before I thought your focus was on the 3 days.

(I wonder if the sudden strong reactions against me last night were because people were reading into my posts what they'd read in others, as well?)

The focus of a lot of posters is on the 3 days, and a lot of people seem to assume that a sleepover is essential in good grandparenting. (I'm not sure you are saying this, though, OP.)

in-laws appear to be have been involved up until now but something has changed I still think this sort of comment is overstating it - the OP has said that GPs and GCs see each other every couple of months and that regular contact is continuting.

<creeps out again hoping not to have done anyone else's head in tonight>

Charlottehere Mon 02-Sep-13 23:00:15

I think retirement is generally bad for you. I will keep going partttttty as long as possible.

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Sep-13 23:51:34

Really? Because she isn't coming across like she cares about her in laws at all.

Mintyy Tue 03-Sep-13 09:26:36

What is up with you differentnameforthis? Are you being deliberately goady?

lljkk Tue 03-Sep-13 10:00:33

My dad is still working. Life just caught up with him. his parents were both healthier at same age. He's an ID twin & his twin has had parallel decline despite some other big differences in life; ID twins are a little weaker anyway.

NeedlesCuties Tue 03-Sep-13 10:42:56

Kudos to you Mintyy for hanging around, answering questions and trying to explore things. I have no idea why some posters are being dense; could be because it's an emotional topic for many, and some may be defensive.

differentnameforthis Tue 03-Sep-13 10:56:51

No I am not, I am being truthful, op. Your posts seem to lack concern for your ILs, just saying it how I see it.

Mintyy Tue 03-Sep-13 12:12:13

But why do that when you have been told that the way you see it is wrong? Its bizarre.

SirChenjin Tue 03-Sep-13 12:20:59

Well, you are the only one who sees it that way differentnameforthis? Does being factually incorrect not bother you?

differentnameforthis Tue 03-Sep-13 14:27:29

Just because I see it differently, doesn't mean it is wrong. I see it how I see it, you can say it is wrong all you like, and I accept that, but I still think you come across that way!

Cretaceous Tue 03-Sep-13 14:35:32

Actually, I see it like that, too, and think that people have been quite rude to differentnameforthis. (Not the childcare part, obviously, because it is a hassle for Mintyy to take the children to see her PIL, and she's not bothered about the three days.)

I think most of the replies seem to be saying that their parents can still do all these things into their 70s and 80s, so Mintyy's should be able to as well. And they can't because they don't want to engage with their grandchildren, so they don't deserve to have a relationship with them. There just is no empathy for how people feel as they get older... just that they ought to pull themselves together, step up to the mark, catch up on their sleep some other time, etc etc.

Someone mentioned celebs at that age, and how well they were doing. Well, I'm a bit younger than Madonna, but no-one would ever compare us. wink

I see it as PIL are genuinely unable to cope, and the three days is the last straw. Perhaps it's because I've spent some time around less vibrant people of that age, and seen them struggle through. We all think we'll be different when we get there - just as my children think they will be different when they hit middle age. Just as pre-children, I swore I'd still be partying every night when I had given birth...

As I said before, if there's another issue, such as the PIL genuinely not interested, that's a different issue, and a different question.

PiperMaru Tue 03-Sep-13 14:45:07

There is definitely an age where GPs change, from 'getting older' to 'old and tired'. My ILs have hit the latter. It was quite sudden and unexplained.
With them it seems to be as much to do with patience as anything else. Children are needier than we think, as parents, because we have got into the groove of doing stuff for them alongside doing everything else. We automatically think about them. I get the impression with my ILs that the sheer effort of having to look out for another person is too much.

Unfortunately it comes across as 'god we can't be arsed with your child' so that's not very nice. I am sure there are ways of handling this which don't make your children harbour great resentment for not wanting their children to be part of your family.

Mumsyblouse Tue 03-Sep-13 15:14:02

67 is the new retirement age for women, so hopefully we will all be fit and well at this age otherwise it may be extremely difficult to work full-time.

The point is they don't want to do it, not clear why. It could be slowing down, ill-health you don't know about, can't be bothered, lots of reasons. I would not automatically assume ill-health or tiredness aged 67 but it is a possibility. It might be worth having a sensitive word to see if there's a major issue underlying it, but if not, just accept they don't want to do this anymore.

But, they could live another 30 years and it's quite young to really give up people staying over completely unless there's some other issues going on.

RatherBeOnThePiste Tue 03-Sep-13 15:15:36

Talking to DH about this, and when he retires, we are going travelling. Neither of us went when we were younger and we have Big Plans.

I really hope that I'm not too tired to do all the things I shall want to, one of which will be to have my lovely grandchildren to stay. Although my DD who is only 16 says she will call her daughter Titty. I might have a problem with that. I hope she jokes. grin wine

Thymeout Tue 03-Sep-13 15:16:16

i think the mental effects of ageing are hugely underestimated. I can still do almost everything I used to be able to do, but my comfort zone has definitely shrunk. Change in routine, new appliances, going to unfamiliar places, are all more of a worry now. And, above all, feeling that I'm responsible for someone other than myself. Never thought I'd be like this.

I think your PIL may feel that they need to have days out to give the gc a good time. Or it's a strain, now, to find some common ground, something to talk about. They can't just switch off and it's tiring to be 'on duty' for 3 days. Or did something happen the last time they had the children to put them off future stays?

I love spending time with my gc while it's actually happening, but must admit I'm sometimes a bit daunted by the thought of it in advance.

TakeItAsRed Tue 03-Sep-13 15:54:30

"i think the mental effects of ageing are hugely underestimated"

Oh I do agree.
I can run around after under-5's all day long, but please don't ask me what we had for lunch last week - or where the hell my glasses are!

SirChenjin Tue 03-Sep-13 18:09:00

I think it's up to us as adults of whatever age to keep ourselves as young as possible, both mentally and physically. It's too easy just to give up and say "I couldn't" when in fact stepping outside our comfort zone and pushing ourselves is actually good for us.

AnneUulmelmahay Tue 03-Sep-13 18:59:12

Ermagerd at the non RTFT-ers

Minters it's one o' them tings. We have the opposite, Mama, widowed, a leetle bit doddery, still insisting on taking mah boys out for day long hikes through the woods. As fast as I can say Mama, no need, lovely cafe at the Park she bats me away with paddled hands.

Cretaceous Tue 03-Sep-13 19:48:02

You see, SirChenjin, I could follow you if you said "I think it's up to me to keep myself as young as possible..." but how can you tell other people what they should do when you are not in their shoes? That's a bit of a "get on your bike" speech. smile

Personally, I follow your philosophy. But then I'm lucky, in that I am in robust health and very confident. There comes a time when even pushing yourself isn't enough to, say, run a marathon in two hours, however much you want to step outside your comfort zone.

Surely we should show people some empathy, and if the PIL feel it's all too much, we should sympathise.

I think Thymeout made some good points about what the problem is. If the PIL looked after the children every day, they might find it easier. But three days a year may be what makes it so difficult.

SirChenjin Tue 03-Sep-13 21:10:52

I didn't 'tell' people to do anything - I expressed my views, demonstrated by "I think..."

I also said "as young as possible" - so for some that might be walking to the end of their street, it might be joining a club, it might be running a marathon, or it might even be having their grandchildren to stay for 3 days wink

BangOn Tue 03-Sep-13 22:26:24

My ils are very cold & remote. Think they've babysat once in 7 years. My parents will do some childcare & the occasional overnight stay, but it always comes at a price - emotional rather than financial. Having a childminder for the past two years has been one of the happiest childcare experiences for dd. Really sad that the only really helpful help dh & i have evrt had we've had to pay for.

differentnameforthis Tue 03-Sep-13 23:41:28

Thank you Cretaceous

I am happy to take back the comment about op not wanting to miss out on her three childless days. I appreciate now that it isn't an issue, I said it at the time because reading her posts, that is exactly how it read to me

My FIL & grandmother are a very similar age. I think he is 2 yrs younger than her. She is practically house bound, can't shop on her own (if at all, her daughter does it for her) she only goes out once a week to get her hair done. She uses a frame to get around, even in the house & find moving about very difficult.

FIL walks miles every day (only slowing now to bad knee), he is very active with my dc, does a lot in the garden, for neighbours etc. But I know that he would find having my dc for an extended period of time very tiring!

It really depends on the individual. And this is what the op doesn't understand.

differentnameforthis Tue 03-Sep-13 23:47:26

Both are in their early 80s

zatyaballerina Wed 04-Sep-13 02:26:06

They're both very old and their health depends on genetic and lifestyle factors which can make people feel a lot older than their biological age.

Tbh, I'd find three days with other peoples pre teens too much, other people in general are tiring to have under your feet for more than a day because you have no space to recharge. Add the natural tiredness of an elderly body with whatever health problems it may have and it's multiplied.

I don't see what's so offensive about someone telling you that they are too old and tired to take your kids for a few daysconfused

dollywobbles Wed 04-Sep-13 06:18:04

I've RTFT, and I get that no one's supposed to hold a different view from the OP. But, I think the use of inverted commas around 'too tiring' in the opening post suggests that she doesn't think the in-laws find having their GC to stay tiring.
I think this discussion about being 'surprised' is all a bit disingenuous. Why would it matter if someone was tired? It doesn't mean you will be.
Neither my parents nor my in-laws have ever looked after DS (other than 1.5hrs on one occassion). That hasn't led to inner turmoil for me, 'what if I never look after my grandchildren'. I just think 'fair enough, it's not for you'. We still spend plenty of time together and DS loves them.

sameoldIggi Wed 04-Sep-13 06:54:29

Zatya - "they're both very old" - at 67?! I take it you are a long way from your 60s if you think that!
I know people still working at that age,though that is their choice.
Heaven help us though when we are all expected to work full-time till we're almost 70 by the government, never mind look after gcs for a few days.

prettybird Wed 04-Sep-13 10:06:49

The OP has already explained that she put the quotes around "too tiring" because, well, she was quoting her MiL. Strange that, using quotation marks for a quote hmm.

"Or is that unrealistic of [her]?" to quote the OP hmmconfused

prettybird Wed 04-Sep-13 10:12:07

I too wonder if those that think 67 is "very old" are themselves still very young - and maybe don't even realise that they'll still be expected to be working at 67. Alternatively, I hope that they are saving very hard (while they are still young) so that they can take early retirement before they get very old.

TakeItAsRed Wed 04-Sep-13 11:01:26

You have a major point nailed, there, prettybird
If 67 is old, slowed up, and not able to function at previous activity level (as a generality) then the Government have now created a section of the labour force that must by nature be deemed unfit for purpose.
Maybe we should go figure ......... sad

CookieDoughKid Wed 04-Sep-13 11:12:34

I think that grandparents SHOULD make it clearer much early on to their OWN dcs, that they are NOT interested in looking after their gc in any respect. Any if they ARE interested, then in what circumstances would it be acceptable according to the grandparents? I think too many families don't address this and it causes tension especially between MIL and DIL.

I think these sort of conversations would have been helpful and practical - (sorry OP - I don't mean to hijack your thread so please tell me to keep shtum!!) It really helps to have as much transparency and communication, in an understanding manner rather than having people 'guess' as to why activities like weekends aways etc are being withdrawn.

CookieDoughKid Wed 04-Sep-13 11:19:22

I know even 30 year olds who DO NOT have the temperament nor the energy to look after dcs of ANY age. It doesn't matter the age, it matters more on the person and willingness.

IMO - and it's my IMO only;) People suddenly find a lot of ENERGY and enthusiasm to do things they ARE interested in (despite if they are 37 or 67).

For my MIL, she finds my gc "tiring" yet can do two days worth of gardening back to-back as well as the shopping/cleaning/cooking and clearing out her garage ON HER OWN.

Of course, we know MIL LOVES her gcs and I would NEVER EVER berate her but let's not give the crap excuse as that gc's are 'tiring'. I'd much rather she just come out with it and say playing with gc's isn't her bag and she loves them but that's all she can manage.

PeachesForMe Wed 04-Sep-13 11:19:43

I know from talking to my father that the mental effects of ageing are really getting him down.
He fights it, because physically he can at the moment. When he can no longer do the things he loves which keep the grouchiness/self-centredness/worry/fear/thoughts of dying away, he will of course find it harder to spend quality time with his grandchildren, it stands to reason.

Also isn't it true that some happy people are just happy and accommodating during old age? And if you're not one of those naturally happy people, everything mutates into a giant slog and an imposition?

SirChenjin Wed 04-Sep-13 11:27:18

I agree. My Dad was a useless father and an even more useless grandfather. He's happy enough to phone about once a week and asks after them, and remembers birthdays and Christmases - but he's the most insular, self-centred, non-demonstrative man you will ever meet, and he made my poor Mum's life very difficult. She was the more hands-on one, but sadly died last year. We live about 120 miles away, so her visits were every 3/4 months for a couple of days.

He doesn't have any real interest in the GC and used to complain about being 'tired' when they came to visit (on the very odd occasion with me), and yet can happily travel the world, goes hillwalking and is an obsessive gardening. He is supremely fit for his age, but just not interested in his GC (or children really sad), so I'm afraid I find his being 'tired' quite irritating.

I wouldn't even ask him to look after the DCs, and it's not surprising that the youngest DC didn't actually know he had a Grandfather who was still alive.

SirChenjin Wed 04-Sep-13 11:27:53

I mean didn't know when he was younger

Rules Wed 04-Sep-13 11:41:55

My kids are 21 and 23.. My husband and I started enjoying having our lives back about 5 years ago, date nights, going hill walking etc. We want to enjoy our time left together and have found each other all over again as a couple. I do not want to feel obligated in any way to have to look after my grandchildren when they eventually happen. We have done all those years of child rearing and did it bloody well with NO help from anyone. Was the most amazing time of my life and I was a stay at home Mum for a lot of it. Now it's our time. I will babysit occasionally but not as a regular thing.

CookieDoughKid Wed 04-Sep-13 11:48:02

That's great Ruth and I'm sure your children will appreciate you as the amazing grandmother you will become - when they have kids. Of course, you should be able to do as you wish in terms of childcare assistance. Would you be open to having a frank conversation with your future d/s-in-laws and tell them it won't be a regular thing and why? I think it would be a huge help - it would have been for me - and also set the right expectations too. They will still love you and even more so, with clarity.

Rules Wed 04-Sep-13 11:56:03

My kids know how I feel and have explained it and they understand. I will probably spend a lot of time with grandchildren cause I want to, just don't want to be a " childcare" provider as seems to have become the norm now. Now I have come out of my childbearing days I feel it's important to find yourself and your own life again. Life has just begun for me all over again.

Rules Wed 04-Sep-13 11:57:08


Cretaceous Wed 04-Sep-13 13:08:28

Prettybird said: "The OP has already explained that she put the quotes around "too tiring" because, well, she was quoting her MiL. Strange that, using quotation marks for a quote ."

But I think that people generally use the quote to denote they don't actually agree with what has been said... you only have to look at this use on this very page, so I guess that is why dollywobbles suggested the OP might be disingenuous. For example:

CookieDoughKid with "For my MIL, she finds my gc "tiring" yet can do two days worth of gardening back to-back "

and SirChenjin: "used to complain about being 'tired' when they came to visit" and her later sentence "I'm afraid I find his being 'tired' quite irritating"

Now, in those two cases, they might have reason to be irritated. But the original question is about a different case entirely, where the PIL have previously had the children for three days, and now find it's too tiring. Well, maybe they do find it too tiring. (And many people can't work to 60/65 now, let alone to 67, and certainly not at their former levels.)

People support their children in all sorts of ways, not just by childcaring. So if I were Rules' DIL (and I'm far too old!!!), then I would certainly see her point of view, just as I hope to be a hands-on GP... and my 12yo is certain she will never have children grin

SirChenjin Wed 04-Sep-13 16:33:42

I assure you that I used 'tired' in the same way as the OP ie to denote what my Dad used to say.

Lovemynailstoday Wed 04-Sep-13 16:46:46

It's a bit off topic, but I think "tired" is all in the mind and is a very relative state. I have a friend (50) who is constantly "exhausted"--drives me crazy. She has no DC or DP/H and works part-time at something not very demanding. I think it is a habit to say she's tired all the time. No health issues either BTW.

Rules Wed 04-Sep-13 19:08:47

How old are you "Love"

Lovemynailstoday Wed 04-Sep-13 19:12:41

55. why?

Thymeout Wed 04-Sep-13 19:14:01

OP - where have you gone?

I've been thinking about this and wonder what activities your pil used to do with the gc. And did the gc enjoy their visits? Is it different now they're older? Often it's easier to find things to do with younger children.

You said that the gc require no more care than meals cooked and supervision of shower and bedtime, but that's not really true, is it? They have to be entertained/occupied as well. And there's nothing more 'tiring' than coping with gc who seem bored and at a loose end. It's not a positive experience for anyone.

I'd be interested to hear your reply.

Mintyy Wed 04-Sep-13 19:19:41

Hi thymeout, the thread is still on threads I'm on but I decided not to post any more because of people putting words into my mouth and saying that I am disingenuous for using quotation marks in my op when obviously I didn't do that in order to quote my mils actual words, but for some other reason which proves that I am a using scrounger with outlandish expectations and am now throwing teddies out of my pram because I can't get my regular fix of childcare!

dollywobbles Wed 04-Sep-13 19:42:06

Just to clarify, I didn't think you were disingenuous for the 'too tiring' comment. It was the 'I'm a bit surprised' bit. I didn't understand why you'd be surprised, to be honest. It's the kind of comment I'd have taken at face value. But you, obviously, know your in-laws and know if it's likely.
I certainly don't think you're a scrounger, or whatever else you said.
I also don't see that having a break with Grandparents = childcare. It's just a little holiday for the GC really, isn't it?

Thymeout Wed 04-Sep-13 19:45:35

Oh - sorry. I just ignored that bit! (But can see it would be annoying for you.)

Hope you find a solution. I used to be v close to my gd - but now she's 10 she seems quite shy with me. On the other hand, I'm now getting on better with her younger brothers who previously clung on to my dd. i think 'tiring' is code for not enjoying it. For whatever reason.

Here's hoping they'll be able to find some way of reconnecting when they're a bit older.

AfricanExport Wed 04-Sep-13 19:47:27

I must be very lucky with my MIL, she is 73, she stays with us for 6 months a year. She is a workaholic, the dear lady. She does the following:

washing & ironing
childcare for 12 & 8 year old... the whole summer!

and I mean everything. She does this by choice and reckons she will die if she stops, I reckon she is well on track to reach the 100's . She is at it 16 hours a day.

Back home is SA she often looks after the ggc and loves it. She plays house at my SIL if she is there, plays tennis a couple of times a week., basically she is very active.

My kids are very lucky because although they have no grandad they have two wonderful grannies who care for them and put the kids first. Neither would ever refuse to help us or care for the children if they were able.

I do think, after having her over for the last 10 years, old age is a state of mind ( unless you're sick).

digerd Wed 04-Sep-13 20:14:07

DB and SIL were both 65 when they took on their 8 month-old GD. She is 8 today and they entertain her in the school holidays still while their DD works full-time.
They are both blessed with good health and a strong constitution and lots of energy. SIL's DM died aged 68.
Neither had help from their parents or pil. And we never stayed with our gp as children as Dad's mum died at 84 when I was only 5 and had been almost blind for some years. DMs mum died in childbirth.

brettgirl2 Wed 04-Sep-13 21:53:54

rules that's exactly what my mum said before they actually arrived. I was confused when she suddenly offered to have them one day a week. Both kids and gps love it smile if they didn't we would happily make other arrangements.

Blu Wed 04-Sep-13 22:47:22

Mintyy - and don't forget your children who have been badly behaved wink

I was thinking about this thread when I heard about the 63 yo Cuban woman who swam non stop for 53 hours from Cuba to Florida - the first person ever to have done it without a shark cage shock.

TeamSouthfields Wed 04-Sep-13 22:52:14

It doesn't mean they love them any less !!!!

Rules Wed 04-Sep-13 23:00:56

Lovesmy.....just wondering how old you were in relation to your friend. It is annoying when someone says that they are always tired isn't it.

TakeItAsRed Thu 05-Sep-13 09:18:02

It doesn't mean they love them any less

This thread has been preying on my mind, for some unknown reason.
I posted earlier, saying something similar to TeamSouthfields, but have continually returned to the thought and now feel confused.

Part of the reason I adore looking after GC, and will cheerfully change plans to cover if needed, is utterly selfish. I really do love spending the time with them. It is a pleasure equal to anything I might find in solely "me time" activity. ( to be fair, I got the need for extended foreign travel out of my system when younger, so understand travel may be an exception for others )

I get a huge kick from all that we do together, whether being swarmed over on arrival, with questions about where we might be going, or whether they can stay the night. Or just cuddling with a sleepy child and a storybook. One of my secret pleasures in life in sitting with a coffee watching mayhem as they race around the garden with my dogs. Little else compares.

I would not dream of questioning levels of love, but perhaps do now question how much the 'dis-engaged' grands derive from their contact, on a personal level? do they not feel the same pleasure in these things as I do?

Does it relate to how much people enjoyed being parents? have those who do not 'engage' always found the company of children to be boring and hard work? is a lack of pleasure in the company of children perhaps the reason why they see that company as a chore, rather than fun opportunity?

Please don't think I am suggesting that there is anything wrong with the difference in attitude!!
I am genuinely wondering what lies at the heart of the radically different views.

Rules Thu 05-Sep-13 10:27:07

Well I don't have grandkids yet, my grown up kids 21 and 23 still at home and at Uni. I guess I have answered the question based on how I feel now. My husband and I want to do so much together in the future. We want to build ourselves a house, travel, explore, date nights and generally enjoy the second half of our lives together. I was a stay at home Mum and emersed myself totally in that world and loved every single minute of it and can feel very emotional when I remember back to the fun we had or times I just sat watching them. But ...I know that it is now time for me again. I will be starting my own business sd well next year. My daughter and I are very close as is my son and myself but my husband and I want to put each other first now.

SirChenjin Thu 05-Sep-13 12:57:07

TakeItAsRed - Based on my own personal experience (therefore it must be true!) I agree with what you say, and think there is a strong link between how you parent your own children and how you 'grand' parent your grandchildren. My own Dad was not really interested in us as children, and when he did interact with us it was very much on his terms. That lack of real interest, or interest outwith his terms, has continued with his grandchild and so consequently he plays very little part in their lives which is very sad, esp. as my eldest DC, like my Dad, is a very keen hillwalker and they would have a great deal in common.

Otoh, DH and I are very involved with the DCS and we do a lot together as a family. We are a very isolated, nuclear unit so really value the limited time we have with our extended family. If/when the GC come along I like to think that I would want to spend time with them and unless I was really unwell would put any feelings of 'tiredness' to one side, certainly for a short period such as 3 days - although I wouldn't want to be committed to looking after them on a weekly basis as an unpaid childminder.

Biscuitsneeded Fri 06-Sep-13 18:45:30

Fair enough. I can't leave my kids with my own parents (age 67 and 68, in good health) because my Dad is a very lazy man who has no patience and my mum wears herself out trying to play cluedo/help build a spaceship/do an activity book/walk the dog/keep her house stupidly clean/cook supper all at the same time. She doesn't realise that she can ignore the kids for a bit, or ask them to find their own entertainment. After about 24 hours she makes herself ill and then there is a smell of burning martyr for the next god knows how long. I wish I could leave the kids for maybe 48 hours, but I don't think it is my right to be able to do so. MIL and FIL (78 and 82) regularly have my niece and nephew for as much as 5 days at a time. I think my SIL is being a bit cheeky - they are knackered afterwards!

NeedlesCuties Fri 06-Sep-13 20:37:48

biscuit your description of your DM sounds just like my MIL... except mine is a decade younger.

FreddieStarrAteMyHamster Fri 06-Sep-13 20:57:24

Mum is late 60's and has DD 3 long days a week while DH and I work. She loves it and says she wouldn't have it any other way and that it "keeps her young". She frequently compares herself to her peers who are retired, don't have anything to do and are "always tired" and has concluded that the less people do the less they want to do. Her and DD's bond is very strong. There is a pattern in that when I was young me and mum lived with her parents until they died in their late 80's and they always looked after me while mum worked evenings, and we in turn looked after them as they became old and until they died. We were a loving and close unit. Isn't that model the way things have always been until recently though?

Mintyy Fri 06-Sep-13 21:02:06

I think it is very true that being around young people keeps you young, Freddie.

At least that's what I am hoping for in my case as I am a 50 year old mum to a 12 and 10 year old!

SirChenjin Sat 07-Sep-13 09:26:20

DH is 50 and I'm 44 - our 6 year old certainly keeps us young in that we don't have the option of sitting still for much more than 2.5 minutes! When my Mum and Dad was 50 both my DSis and I were in our early twenties and had left home, and they had slipped into an insular late-middle aged life. Dad took early retirement at 52 with a very nice pension which meant he didn't have to work again, and he seemed to age in attitude quite quickly after that.

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