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So, so tired

(31 Posts)
candygs Wed 09-Oct-13 18:19:53

I am 65 years old, I live alone and am in good health, I have a dog and walk miles with her every day. My son and daughter-in-law live near by, they both work, I agreed to take care of my Grandson whenever they needed, when my DIL returned to work. Her folks also live near and the agreement was that we would share child care with them 50/50. My Grandson who is 20 months is gorgeous, I adore him and feel it is such a fab thing to be trusted to care for him but I am finding it so, so tiring. I have a car seat and have bought a buggy, I take him out to interesting places and for lunch etc. I am now having him for the whole time that my DIL works, my son and DIL bombard me with compliments on how happy he is with me, how well he sleeps, eats, talks etc, etc he is such a fab and easy little boy but I am absolutely exhausted. How do I say "what about DIL's parents" how do I say I am so tired.

MikeTheShite Wed 09-Oct-13 18:21:23

I have no advice but I wanted to say you sound wonderful.
A MIL in a million smile

candygs Wed 09-Oct-13 19:07:36

ahh Mike! thanks, your post made me cry, I just feel so old, too old to do my wonderful little Grandson justice.............

tribpot Wed 09-Oct-13 19:15:22

I don't think you need to say any more than you have here. You love your time with dgs but you're simply finding it too tiring to have full-time care of a 20 month old. You need not mention the suggestion that DIL's parents share in the care, it's up to your son and DIL to arrange for the care of their child.

Toddlers are absolutely exhausting and both you and dgs deserve to enjoy your special time together. My extremely fit and healthy MIL (walks 12 miles a day on a regular basis) was absolutely knackered looking after my ds when he was little, and that was when he was older than 20 months and only ever for an occasional day. My extremely fit and healthy mum would not look after him for a whole day as it would have exhausted her, and I wouldn't expect her to.

Don't offer a solution - just let them know you would prefer [x] arrangement, whether that's half days or only a couple of days per week.

herald Wed 09-Oct-13 19:16:09

Maybe you should just explain that even though you love to have him , it is getting difficult with being a little older, if they love you like I am sure they do they will understand and give you a bit of time off.

Squitten Wed 09-Oct-13 19:19:58

You must be honest with them. Tell them that you love having your grandson to look after but you just can't physically keep up this pace. Tell them exactly how tiring you are finding it and tell them that you need to drop a few days.

They will surely be able to find something to fill the gap and, if they are decent people, they won't make you feel bad about it.

lotsofcheese Wed 09-Oct-13 19:22:42

I think you sound lovely too!

Perhaps you could say you're just finding it a bit much & would like to reduce down the number of days you have him.

It's really up to your son & DIL to make alternative arrangements - it's their responsibility, not yours & if DIL's family don't step up to the plate, so be it.

BitOutOfPractice Wed 09-Oct-13 21:22:57

Oh OP your post made me well up! How I wish I had had such a wonderful, supportive and loving GP nearby when my kids were little. You sound smashing.

I suspect that, being first time parents, your DS and DDiL have no bloody dea how precious this kind of childcare is. They are taking it for granted. Which is very naughty

Just be honest with them. Phrase it just like you did in your OP and I am sure they will be mortified that they didn't realise and put other arrangements in place

Good luck

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 09-Oct-13 21:29:38

This is why 65 year olds don't have babies.

It's pretty shitty of your son and his wife to expect you to do a full time job for free.

Tell them you are a pensioner and it's too much for you to be looking after their child full time and they need to sort out childcare themselves without dumping on their parents the whole time.

CookieDoughKid Wed 09-Oct-13 22:35:19

Just be honest with them. They should understand. Emphasise what the baby needs which is healthy stimulation, active And safe care. The more tired you are, the more at risk to you and baby of accidents. Don't need to spell it out precisely like that but you need to be firm about the limits.

sarahjaye Wed 09-Oct-13 23:19:53

You sound just like my lovely DM who would always have my DS for some of the school holidays when my holiday allowance was stretched. I lived 130 miles away, so child care was always a bit of juggle, but tried not to take the piss when it came to asking for help.

My DS, on the other hand, lived close to DM and took it for granted that DM would effectively be a third parent to her 2 DCs.

Your DS and DIL are a) taking you for granted and b) probably not even realising how tiring a toddler can be if you're the one that's doing the lion's share of the child care.

Talk to them, if they're both working FT, they can afford a nursery for at least half of the time, and/or her parents need to step up.

You sound so lovely, don't let this become a huge problem for you. X

Matildathecat Wed 09-Oct-13 23:32:12

I bet they are bombarding you with compliments!

Sorry, but they are taking you for granted. You agreed 50/50 which was extremely generous. Tell them tomorrow. If you want to soften it a bit say you've seen the Dr and he's said you are doing too much and need more rest. Don't agree to any more than the original agreement.

You sound delightful and I feel really cross on your behalf.

ICameOnTheJitney Wed 09-Oct-13 23:39:11

See my Mum won't do any childcare and I don't blame or resent her at all for that! I know it would be too much...she's your age and has a part time job...no WAY could she look after my children too! You should just keep it short and to the point..."I can't manage this amount of childcare...I will be happy to do X amount from next week..." or give them a bit longer notice....but you need to be firm.

silverangel Thu 10-Oct-13 08:45:01

I think you have to be honest with them, they won't mind, or I wouldn't in their situation. I work 3 days a week and have 2yo twins. My mum and mil take it in turns to do one day one week, two days the next but I worry the two day week is too much. I keep asking them if they're ok with it and they say they are (same age as you), but I think we need to look at nursery one day a week as its tough having them all day. You sound wonderful but if you run yourself into the ground you won't be any help to them at all!

Anniegetyourgun Thu 10-Oct-13 09:04:52

Hell, mothers in their twenties find it quite tiring at times to look after a 20-month-old all day. Grandmothers of 65 can certainly be forgiven!

Definitely some compromises needed here.

candygs Thu 10-Oct-13 09:20:44

thank you all for your lovely posts. I know and have known for a while that I need to talk to them, he is a delightful little chap and I so enjoy my time with him, it is, however, hard work, I sometimes ache with tiredness, I am more than happy to have him 2/3 days just not every day! I suppose my fear is that they will be hurt and see it as a rejection of him, which of course it isn't. I am having him today so I will talk to my DIL when she collects him.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Thu 10-Oct-13 09:25:47

Say just what you said just now. It is not a rejection of him, just physical tiredness.

Good luck.

OvertiredandConfused Thu 10-Oct-13 09:30:22

You sound fabulous!

My parents did quite a lot of care for my children at that age (and still do) although it was never full-time care. My mum really struggled with how much she wanted to have them - she felt it should be most of the time but that was just too much - and we planned the remained of the care around what she wanted.

In the end, I pointed out that I wanted her to have the time and energy to do stuff just for her and also to not do so much childcare that she wasn't able to do the fun grandparents stuff - you know, relaxing the rules on sweets, bedtime, doing some weekend babysitting occasionally.

Might it help to put it like that?

unlucky83 Thu 10-Oct-13 10:50:00

candyygs - have a word - you do need a rest and shouldn't be expected to do everyday!
But also maybe you sound like you are doing a lot with him? Maybe too much? I don't know but ...
My parents (older than you - and my DCs are older too ) live a long way away -when we visit - or they visit us - they are always wanting to take DCs out somewhere/do something everyday ... in fact my DD1 has got back from a visit asking if we can have a day doing nothing, staying in and lounging about !!!
I think nowadays -especially because most people drive - we are expected to entertain our children 24 hrs a day - taking them out exciting places etc etc - everything has to be fun and educational - I think parents get sucked into that ...and think grandparents might feel under even more pressure...which would be fine if you didn't see him everyday...
I know he is still quite young...but some of my favourite memories of visiting /staying with my GPs are of 'helping' - peeling veg, cleaning my grandmother's brass ornaments - or cleaning her 'for best' room - dusting, polishing and hoovering ...
For a start - why don't you take your GS with you on the walk with your dog?
(also does he get to mix with other children? -see if you have a toddlers group/playgroup you can take him to - or even soft play (might need ear plugs!)

Tiinam Thu 10-Oct-13 11:10:03

If you were them, what would you like you to say. I am sure that they want you to be happy and healthy and might not have realized that you are exhausted. I can imagine that your son and DIL are so busy just making their own day to day work and havent stopped to consider the effects on you - not because they don't care but because life is getting in the way.
For the benefit or you, your GS I do hope that your chat went well.

And as many of the others have commented you do sound absolutely fabulous and it is important to take care of you as well. So that you can continue to be fabulous.

Be well

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 10-Oct-13 19:22:16

You can walk your dog for miles but s/he can do a lot without you being vigilant and you're not expected to be bright and talkative and feeding is a lot simpler! It is mentally tiring as well as physically draining looking after little ones so I am not surprised you are finding this tough and it's DIL's parents' turn now.

How did your chat with DIL go today?

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 10-Oct-13 20:04:00

"it's DIL's parents' turn now"

Er, NO, it isn't their turn.

They took their turn when they raised their daughter.

They are under no obligation at all to provide free childcare for this couple.

They should pay for their own childcare and stop exploiting their parents.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 10-Oct-13 20:06:28

Sorry, the couple should pay for their own childcare is what I mean.

The very idea that a grandparent has an obligation to provide free childcare while their child earns money and it is an insult to the CHILD if they refuse is ridiculous.

Looking after children all day is hard bloody work.

Who just dumps that work on their own parents for 5 days a week?

Seriously?

TSSDNCOP Thu 10-Oct-13 20:16:10

You sound lovely.

My DM has DS and I have to be very careful not to take advantage of their mutual adoration of each other or she'd be knackered.

Couple of points: could DGS go to a playgroup some of the time. Second scale back the excursions, which whilst fab aren't vital for every day.

JustinBsMum Thu 10-Oct-13 20:39:39

Well, aren't you entitled to a life, OP?
Interests, friends, maybe some interesting voluntary work?????
Your good health won't last forever.

candygs Fri 11-Oct-13 08:32:55

Thank you everyone! Well we had the chat last night and they were horrified and mortified, my son just said "OH Mum!" and my DIL was a bit teary, they were so sorry, I ended up reassuring them!! They said that we (my GS and I) seemed so happy and My DIL said on the few occasions my GS went to her parents he watched Cbeebies much of the time and was given rubbish to eat resulting in him being grouchy and hyper. They are going to look into a nursery, which they were already considering once he is 2, I really do want to have him and have our lovely time together, so I will now have him 2 days one week and 3 the next. Unlucky83 (thank you) you are right I do "do" something with him every day, the park, the zoo, feeding the ducks, taking him somewhere for lunch etc but just lately lifting him in and out of the car has left me almost in tears with tiredness. Yesterday it was so horribly windy with heavy rain that we stayed in all day and just played, it was lovely and he was just as happy. I have also done more than I needed to such as giving him supper, bathing him and having him ready in his pj's when Mum/Dad arrive to collect him. I am so pleased they were okay about it and that I can still play a part in his care, their love and concern for me was so obvious and so endearing.

silverangel Fri 11-Oct-13 08:58:55

I'm really plewased for you, well done for confronting it and hope you continue to enjoy your time with your family, who all sound lovely!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 11-Oct-13 09:05:43

They do sound concerned and I'm glad you've all worked out a different timetable.

chebella Fri 11-Oct-13 09:08:03

Well done! I bet you had to really steel yourself to tell them!

Fwi, our children's' grandparents have never done more than the odd hour of childcare in five years so I am so glad you have been listened to and appreciated. You are a jem!

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 11-Oct-13 09:36:28

"I will now have him 2 days one week and 3 the next."

No you won't, not if he's going to be in nursery the rest of the time.

You can do either 2 days every week or 3 days every week.

I'd go with 1 day personally. But make sure you don't end up doing 3.

I think their tears and concern were at least partly disingenuous.

How can it not have occurred to them that they were taking the piss expecting you to give up ALL your time to the tune of a full time job for no pay to look after their child?

You know that plenty of grandparents are very involved with their grandchildren and spend lots of time with them without being used as free childcare by their children?

unlucky83 Fri 11-Oct-13 12:05:37

Candygs - well done - it must seem a relief ...
Now you have said something it should be easier to say again if the 3 days is too much ...

and glad you think you might be doing too much!
I do think we are under more pressure now to 'entertain' than parents have every been...
I had an argument with my DM about the 'do something everyday' - I found it exhausting - especially as I had to decide what we were doing and find something she, DF and the DCs wanted to do - so if I suggested a walk in the fields to look at the cows (DD2 is cow mad) - DM would sulk!
I know when were children - DM didn't have a car - we had to entertain ourselves at home - without Cbeebies etc!
On the other hand - half term this week and my DDs have been in the since Sunday - youngest had D&V - just well enough to venture out today - had something planned but now the eldest has started with it - we are all bored mindless ...and can't even do things like baking ...
(really grateful for cBBC!)

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