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Am I BU or are parents? what do people think is the norm?

(22 Posts)
quesadilla Thu 23-Jun-11 09:36:45

I have a 5-month old baby, am on maternity leave. Parents live about 100 miles away. Its a doable journey by bus/train but is quite a hassle (we don't have a car) and the travel eats a big chunk out of the day. DH works five days a week in a very physical job and studies on Saturdays so is beyond knackered and often can't really face doing much on his one day off. We can and do go down on Saturday night, coming back Sunday but its -- frankly -- a pain in the arse and means DH doesn't really catch up on sleep. Mother is not very well and its quite hard for both of them to travel so I do understand that its not that easy for them either and I'm prepared to make the effort. But we make a point of going down at least once every six weeks to two months and I went down on my own with baby 10 days ago and am planning to go and spend a week there later in the summer. For their part they've been here maybe twice since baby was born. Every time I speak to them they ask me when I'm coming and express disappointment when I say it won't be this coming weekend. I'm just curious to know if people think that the onus is more on me than on them and whether I'm being a bit selfish? Because I can't help feeling that it cuts both ways and there's nothing to stop them making a bit more effort and I am becoming a bit resentful of the fact that its automatically assumed that I will go down pretty much every other weekend....

GypsyMoth Thu 23-Jun-11 09:40:12

whats wrong with your mum? how do they travel?

Amaretti Thu 23-Jun-11 09:40:30

No it's not you. But they must be very excited about their new GC, so I expect they are genuinely disappointed. Longer stays are they way to go, as you ave worked out already. Are the always a bit apathetic about arranging things like visits?

Witchofthenorth Thu 23-Jun-11 09:43:18 mum lives 100 miles away and I only get down once every two or three months and my mum understands....and we do have a car....I have three kids and can't make the journey as much as either me or mum would like and I know it makes her upset, however, she understands that it is an issue of cost and timing, and anyways, we have skype for the in-between times. Oh my mum ill too and can't physically make the journey up so I know the onus is on me, but there has to be give and take when there is distance between family.

quesadilla Thu 23-Jun-11 09:45:45

ILT Mum has dementia. Not terribly advanced as yet but advanced enough that she wouldn't really be able to come up on her own. They would come by car and father comes almost once a week anyway on his own. My issue is really with father, who has been pretty selfish all his life, not to put too fine a point on it, although our relationship is generally OK now. I used to go down and visit a lot at the drop of a hat when I was young and single and he doesn't seem to have thought through the fact that its much more complicated for me now.
I know they are just excited and love to see the baby and I'm fully prepared to make the effort when I can but I just wish they wouldn't kneejerk the "oh its a pity you're not coming down this weekend" thing. It makes me feel like I'm being a shit daughter.

lesley33 Thu 23-Jun-11 09:46:33

I suspect YANBU in not ewanting to travel to yours more often, but neither are they. Sometimes if you haven't experienced ongoing chronic health problems yourself it can be hard to appreciate the impact.

So don't know what is the matter with your mum. But in some cases people who are chronically ill may manage the journey, but then feel terrible and wiped out for the rest of the visit and so not able to enjoy it. And understandably, they would want to be well enough to actually enjoy the visit, so would avoid travelling.

VeryStressedMum Thu 23-Jun-11 10:00:28

Why doesn't your dad bring your mum when he visits? If he can make it almost every week surely he could bring your mum too?
But, if it were me, and although I understand how much work it is to go to them with the baby on public transport - i would make the most of the time with your mum whilst she's well.

quesadilla Thu 23-Jun-11 10:01:15

lesley33 I totally understand this. It's not really chronic illness in that sense, its more that she's mentally not really up to dealing with travel. I'm not saying that I think they are unreasonable in their actions I just wish they would be a bit more understanding of the limitations on my time.

quesadilla Thu 23-Jun-11 10:07:44

VSM well this is exactly my point: he can't see that its wrong that he comes up on his own a lot but regards bringing her up as a huge hassle that he's only prepared to undergo once in a while: I keep saying to him that if he can do it on a weekly basis he can bring her and he dismisses this. He's basically not coping very well with being a carer, hasn't ever coped very well with family life and has always been much more interested in his career than either his wife or his kids. Now he has grandchildren and his wife's health is deteriorating he's starting to appreciate family more but he still basically thinks that organizing this kind of thing is women's work and doesn't see why he should have to be bothered by it (he hasn't said that as such but that's basically his view I think.)

Laquitar Thu 23-Jun-11 10:09:35

Why don't you go on thursday or friday, then dh comes on sat and you return together on sunday?

diddl Thu 23-Jun-11 10:11:17

TBH, if your father has been once a week to see you, I can why he/they think that you going evry 6wks/2months isn´t up to much.

Although every other weekend might be too much, I would have thought once a month would be reasonable.

Do you/they have Skype?

dreamingbohemian Thu 23-Jun-11 10:11:50

I think as your mom is not well, and you are on maternity leave and don't have to juggle a job at the moment, it would be nice if you could go see them more often for the time being. Assuming you could go during the week? Perhaps stay over a night, give your husband a night to himself to rest?

I'm really sorry to say this, but having had relatives with dementia, it may be a good idea to make the most of the time you have now, while she is still doing okay, the baby is portable and easygoing, and you are not working. I understand it will get more difficult when your ML ends but hopefully they would understand that.

Alternatively, could either of you do skype, with the video cam? We've started doing this with our parents abroad and it's magical (and free!). It could be a good top-up between visits and alleviate the 'when will we see you' guilt for you.

LunaticFringe Thu 23-Jun-11 10:18:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Buda Thu 23-Jun-11 10:18:37

Well I think your dad is being unreasonable not to bring your mum.

What if you arrange dates in advance so they know the weekends you are coming and don't have to keep asking?

Also is your dad having any help or support with your mum? He may be coming to you for a break from her.

My mum has dementia too and it is very hard on my dad and he has always been fairly good with shopping and cooking etc.

diddl Thu 23-Jun-11 10:26:08

It does sound as if Dad should bring Mum-but he perhaps does want a break & would he then expect OP to look after her?

It´s impossible to say without knowing how ill she is.

quesadilla Thu 23-Jun-11 10:27:33

diddl he's not coming to see me at all, that's my point. He's just coming up to see friends and to "work" (and I use the word advisedly because it normally is just stuff that tickles his intellectual fancy rather than stuff that actually brings money in.) And he's leaving her on her own often as well, which I think is potentially dangerous. But dreamingbohemian think you may be right: perhaps I need to just get off my arse and do it more, hard though it is.

thumbwitch Thu 23-Jun-11 10:33:23

And I say this as someone who lived 15minutes from my parents, and they almost never came to visit me, I always had to go to them. The few times I really needed their help, it took them around 4 hours to get to me. Not in travelling time - they just faffed around with other crap first because I just wasn't that high priority.
Some parents are just like that - ignore their attempts to make you feel guilty! You can choose not to feel guilty, you know.

ComradeJing Thu 23-Jun-11 10:34:40

Why can't you go on your own without your DH? Tbh your dad is BU but I do think you're also BU for only going once every 6 weeks whilst on ML.

diddl Thu 23-Jun-11 10:35:28

Well then if your mum is well enough to travel you should insist he bring her.

Is she now to ill to be left?

If not you have to tell him he either brings her or finds care for her whilst he visits.

Or he doesn´t come.

dreamingbohemian Thu 23-Jun-11 10:39:20

It does sound hard, but I think in the long run you will be glad you did it. Try to wall off any frustration with your dad and just focus on how happy it makes your mom (I have some similar dynamics in my family so I know it's not easy, but it does get easier with practice too).

Are there any dementia support groups where your parents live? Sometimes you can get volunteers to come spend time with people, it might give your dad a bit of a break without having to leave your mom alone.

quesadilla Thu 23-Jun-11 11:02:20

diddl I've tried that, its not that simple. He basically regards it as an infringement of his human rights to be asked not to do that. He also apparently can't grasp the fact that she can't look after herself. Last year he was planning to travel to a different continent for 10 days leaving her on her own just with friends dropping in, until the penny dropped (heavily pushed by myself and my siblings) that that wasn't going to wash. I've asked him repeatedly not to go out and leave her at home and he's agreed and we've subsequently discovered he went ahead and did it anyway. He's not the ogre that he sounds -- he's having a really hard time of it and he does need more support than he's getting. But he is also one of those men of a certain generation who can't really get his head around the fact that he's not the centre of the known universe.
But those of you saying I can go without DH are right -- it's more of a hassle and DH isn't wild about it as he thinks I need the support but its been done before and can be done again.

diddl Thu 23-Jun-11 11:43:18

I´m sorry that your Dad it finding it hard, but imo that doesn´t excuse it.

Are your siblings close enough to be with your mum when he goes out?

And if you don´t want to see him every week (not say that that is the case) then he has to accept that.

Why does your husband think that you need support to travel on a bus with your baby?

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