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Grandparents helping with childcare - do you get help? Did your parents?

(186 Posts)
DorotheaHomeAlone Sat 18-Jul-20 08:48:29

We’re lucky to have weekly childcare help from my mum with our three dc. She’s come pretty much every week since I returned to work after mat leave with my first.

A lot of friends have said how lucky we are. I agree, Mum is great! She also offers the occasional overnight and we holiday together every couple of years. Her mum provided similar when she had children and both enjoy close relationships with their gc as a result. I hope to offer my kids similar help if they choose to have kids one day.

A lot of parents I speak to would love this sort of help but don’t have it and it’s got me wondering why that is. Were our grandparents‘ generation more inclined to help than our parents? Is it because people are less likely to live near family or because they’re starting their families later and grandparents are too old to help?

So my question is: did your grandparents offer childcare when you were small and do your parents offer now? If not, why not?

OP’s posts: |
icedaisy Sat 18-Jul-20 08:51:47

My maternal grandparents were local and looked after us.

My parents have my nephews, my Inlaws have my niece. Neither help me as it would be to much. Dd is 21 months and they have never had her.

Sil2 had same issue as me, hers are grown up now but she would take Dd if emergency type scenario as she knows I'm stuck.

PotteringAlong Sat 18-Jul-20 08:52:05

No and no. My mum lives 300 miles away and my FiL works. My MiL asked if she could look after our youngest 1 day a week and then changed her mind 10 days before I went back to work after maternity leave.

So I pay £1200 a month in nursery fees. And always wonder if people who have family doing childcare know truly how much financially they have saved them.

Echobelly Sat 18-Jul-20 08:52:20

My grandparents looked after us sometime, including overnight and taking us on short holidays when we were kids. I don't know/remember how much they did when we were small, but I expect a fair bit.

My parents have helped my siblings and I a lot with the kids, although it's limited by my mum having a chronic illness, so there were never any regular arrangements. My mum always said had she not been ill she might have committed to having them one or two days a week to save us the childcare, but we all understood we couldn't expect that of her.

But we were very lucky and able to start going out when our kids were little without babysitting costs. Now the youngest ones are 8 (and my sister is moving away) they do much less - also they now have a second home abroad and are there for about 25% of the time.

Weenurse Sat 18-Jul-20 08:53:05

Nope and nope.
Everyone lived too far away.
My Grandmothers lived half hour to 45 minutes away in different directions and did not drive.
We only had 1 family car that Dad drove.
My DM lives 9 hours away, along with DH parents in the same city, so too far away there as well.
You are very lucky

OnlyFoolsnMothers Sat 18-Jul-20 08:53:40

My parents are both dead, so the idea for me is redundant. My husbands mum lives in Italy, but when she’s here does fuck all- though tbh she didn’t even raise her own children, her mum raised my husband.
My parents didn’t have particular help from my grandparents (a couple of nights a year sleeping over at theirs was it), but tbh they didn’t need it. My mum didn’t have to work, we had au pairs and additional help. I think grandparents taking on several days a week regular childcare is a new phenomenon, thanks to the cost of living and both parents having to work.

I do know some very well off families that imo take the piss with the amount of help they demand on their parents. To me that’s just being cheap!

HanPanPeg Sat 18-Jul-20 08:55:28

No my mum is the only grandparent nearish us, she is in her 70s and wouldn’t want to commit to a regular day (as it would stop her taking holidays). TBH I think it would be too much for her. But that said she didn’t help my older sister or brother who had children a while before I did. Any childcare is v much on her terms.

foreverandalways Sat 18-Jul-20 08:55:38

I previously cared for my grandson 4 days a week for years...I have no relationship with him now sadly due to my daughter....I would give anything to be able to take care of him...it's simply the best..truly is and these grandparents do not realise how extremely lucky they are.....it was my life, he was my life...now I have all the time in the world and no one to take care of...such a long day.....I have a lot of love, patience and time to offer.....wish I could help...xx

grafittiartist Sat 18-Jul-20 08:55:40

On regular basis- no and no.
Not near enough, and the other set worked.

AmandaHoldensLips Sat 18-Jul-20 08:56:09

I live in fear of being asked/expected to look after grandchildren (who don't exist yet). After 20+ years of raising kids I would rather gnaw my own arm off than go back to any form of child-rearing.

I know. I'm a terrible person.

Standardy Sat 18-Jul-20 08:56:11

My mum offered to have DS a few days a week when I returned to work, and although he would be in very safe hands, I didn't think it was fair really; she's done her time with little ones and I didn't want to make her feel obliged to take on that commitment. She sees him loads and the granny role rather than childcare suits her better. There has been the odd day where the childminder is poorly or whatever where she has, but I would rather pay for childcare than have her take on that burden. I certainly don't see myself wanting to look after children when I'm retired if I have grandchildren, so feel it a bit hypocritical of me to ask the same. It's nice she offered though.

PickACoolUserName Sat 18-Jul-20 08:56:38

My Mum used to palm us off onto her parents all the time when growing up so she could go out with friends (single parent) so it's a little galling that she is reluctant to provide any help with my kids. But then I suppose she wasn't interested in being a parent so I shouldn't be surprised she's not interested in being a grandparent either.

Standardy Sat 18-Jul-20 08:57:22

I also do see the value, personally, of a childcare environment regularly socialising with other children, getting out and about.

Crumpets111 Sat 18-Jul-20 08:59:02

No my parents live near me and according to them, are too busy to help.

cptartapp Sat 18-Jul-20 09:01:06

We spent over £60k on childcare over the years. DM helped when asked, maybe six times a year. PIL helped when asked, maybe half that. Ad hoc help only, no-one would commit to regular help or had them overnight.
Now teens we are beholden to no-one. SIL got help on tap for years and is now 'expected' to payback care to elderly frail PIL. She's mega stressed. It's come at a price.
I don't expect to be doing regular childcare though when retired. We plan to travel, not be doing the school run.

SqidgeBum Sat 18-Jul-20 09:01:09

The most grandparent help we have had is the odd date night. When I say odd, I mean once every 6 months, and my MIL wants payment in some form, mainly we buy her a takeaway or chocolate. My parents live in another country so that's obviously not an option for us, but my mom always said she would never agree to being childcare for us. She wanted to be a grandmother, not a parent again.

My parents had no grandparent help. Mine were all dead bar one once I came along. My DH saw his grandmother a lot but she didnt do any childminding for them. However, my DHs parents do childmind their grandson and are very involved in his day to day life.

SwimWhizz Sat 18-Jul-20 09:02:43

No and no. Too far away (one set) and too toxic (the other set).

Murraygoldberg Sat 18-Jul-20 09:03:08

Both sets of parents did not help as were terminally ill / dead before children born. My GPS did not as likewise. I would not do childcare for any future gc except emergency for sickness /closure but would babysit, do some overnights. Reasons for this, I would find regular childcare too much of a tie, I think childcare is a parent's responsibility. Also as a single parent, Childcare is not what bothered me but sickness cover and babysitting were an issue

megletthesecond Sat 18-Jul-20 09:03:22

Yes and yes.
I hope to be able to support my dc's when they're older. Could be 30+ yrs yet though.

ageingdisgracefully Sat 18-Jul-20 09:03:41

All dgrandparents dead before DD was 3 so no help there.

My GPS lived almost next door so minded both myself and my cousin whilst my mother and aunt worked.

People with living, helpful GPS are very, very lucky imho.

ConiferGate Sat 18-Jul-20 09:03:44

No and no. My life would be so different if we had someone in our life who was willing and able to do what your mum does. I don’t think people with grandparents on tap to help out can ever really understand what it’s like for people who don’t have that support (and they don’t have to live locally, going to stay with them or having them to stay for extended periods still gives you a break that others don’t get)

Waxonwaxoff0 Sat 18-Jul-20 09:03:46

My mum still works full time so she can't do any regular childcare in the day anyway. She will happily have DS overnight if I fancy the odd night out, but I am divorced and DS goes to his dad's some weekends so I don't often ask unless there's a concert or something on a specific date that I want to go to. She also takes a week of annual leave in the summer holidays to help me out while I work.

I used to go to my grandparents in the holidays as a kid and I used to love it. I used to go to my auntie a lot as well, she and my mum used to share childcare for me and my cousins when they were at work.

BalanceGreen Sat 18-Jul-20 09:04:19

My grandparents were too far away (I am in awe at home my mum coped!).

We do get grandparent help now - but very much instigated by them; we would have used nursery and there was no expectation.

My DC has met lots of new adults and will have a much better relationship with GPs than I did, which is something I hadn't really thought about early on.

CMOTDibbler Sat 18-Jul-20 09:04:20

Ds is 14, and in his whole life spent 1 night and 2 days alone with any of our relatives - but then no one has come with us on holidays, days out etc either.

My parents didn't have any help from their parents at all, and neither did the PIL. PIL did have their older GC to stay, went on holiday with them though. They had just had enough by the time DS was born

Waxonwaxoff0 Sat 18-Jul-20 09:06:07

I doubt I'll be able to do regular childcare if/when DS has children either because I will be still be working, I can't afford to retire early. But I'll babysit if he wants a evening out, same as my mum does.

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