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To be ever so slightly jealous of people that get free, willing, childcare from family?

(202 Posts)
Swankyswishing Mon 17-Oct-11 12:30:59

I probably am being unreasonable but hey-ho.

So many people that I know have family that help them out with childcare. A friend of mine works 3 days a week and the childcare for her children is shared between her mother and her mother in law. My sister works full time and her MIL looks after both of her children for her, totally free of charge and free of resentment. Another friend is a midwife, working shifts, and her mum happily stays at hers for several days to provide childcare if her husband is working shifts too and they're finding the childcare hard to manage.

My mum is one of those people that will very rarely do anything to help, and if she does it is met with resentment. She looked after my niece whilst my sister was in labour with my younger niece and my mum moaned about it the whole time. Last week my 2 year old was ill one day and I really didn't want to drag him out onto the school run and I asked my mum to pick up my middle child from school (eldest is at secondary school so obviously makes their own way there and back), and she did do it but very very reluctantly and resentfully, and wouldn't really speak to me when she dropped DD home. BTW my mum doesn't work, doesn't have any friends or do any social things, lives 5 minutes away from me and the school yet apparently this was too much trouble. My inlaws would help more if they could but they both work full time.

I know it was my decision to have children, and I don't expect anyone else to look after them for DH and I, but I see so many people have so much help and sometimes get upset. I don't work at the moment as there would be no point; all of my wages would get taken up on childcare, there would be no point in working as I have never had a career as such to maintain.

duvetdayplease Mon 17-Oct-11 12:37:42

I understand why you feel like this, I do too, no help from either set of GPs. Just another example of the unfairness of life!

I have vowed a million times to be more help to my own children if I get the chance.

allnewtaketwo Mon 17-Oct-11 12:40:15

Yes I do, particularly since my parents would really love to be able to help me but are overseas. DH refuses to move there, so we're stuck here, quite near his parents who don't help at all sad

ThatllDoPig Mon 17-Oct-11 12:40:53

Me too.
Hope those lucky people appreciate it!

redskyatnight Mon 17-Oct-11 12:40:53

YANBU. I think having lots of (useful) family support makes such a difference. One of my pet peeves is hearing people how have amazing support basically on tap take it for granted or moan about it (and another is people who get loads of free childcare from grandma smugly saying that they could never "leave their child with a stranger").

hiddenhome Mon 17-Oct-11 12:41:09

We have absolutely no help either, but I do have peace of mind that they're not having to be cared for by gps who might give them endless sweets and fruitshoots grin

Swankyswishing Mon 17-Oct-11 12:41:16

Ditto here, Duvetday! I was saying to my DH yesterday that when my children have children of their own I will be delighted to help them a) because I love my children and want to do things to help them out and b) because I will love my grandchildren and will be happy to spend time with them.

PippiLongBottom Mon 17-Oct-11 12:42:15

Me too, me too. I can get quite bitter about it. My parents live abroad. We have to mange it all ourselves and its gets very difficult. DH works FT, I am a FT student and work 3 evenings. Today I have 2 of my 3 DC ill at home and am missing uni.

Its shit.

switchtvoffdosomelessboring Mon 17-Oct-11 12:42:18

YANBU at all.

I am very very fortunate to have a mum who looks after my children. I appreciate this very much and know that our situation would have to vastly change if she was not able or willing to do it.

I feel for you Swanky.

I too promise to help out as much as possible with my grandkids (if i'm lucky enough to have any) and will try not to be an interfering old know it all!

Proudnscary Mon 17-Oct-11 12:42:34

I think that's tough for you and I really sympathise.
Others will probably say 'her life, she doesn't have to help with childcare so don't feel entitled' but that's not what you're saying. You're talking about her wanting to help you, especially or even only in times of need.
My mum is a pain in the arse on many levels but when it comes to helping out with the dc she is always ready and willing.
The thing is there is nothing you can do I'm afraid, you can't force it. You have to decide whether to carry on being disappointed when you ask for help or decide never to ask again, and come to terms with it.

Bramshott Mon 17-Oct-11 12:43:10

It's never really 'free' though is it? I would imagine it always changes the relationship between you and your parents, and you can't ask parents to do things your way in the way that you can with a professional childcarer.

babyheavingmassofmaggots Mon 17-Oct-11 12:43:25

Laughs at hiddenhome we pay the GPs to look after our youngest, but they do exactly just that and it drives me bonkers.

TestAnswers Mon 17-Oct-11 12:43:26


I think that part of a normal loving family is quite a big deal to miss out on. My mum died when I was little - so I missed out on all the normal things that you have growing up with a mum. When I had my first DC it hit me all over again. It is life though and I know I am very fortunate in other ways. My ILs will help out occasionally but it isn't quite in the same way as my rose tinted glasses version of what I thought life in a 'normal' family would be like. If I am stuck for childcare I will definitely ask friends (and I reciprocate) or try and pay for childcare before asking them.

I found the key thing is to fully accept the way it is and not to allow it to become a big swell of resentment - which really really can affect your life in a negative way. I know because I wallowed in it for a while!

AKMD Mon 17-Oct-11 12:43:41

YANBU. DS has a great set of grandparents who help out so much that it's actually embarrassing. They all work so he goes to nursery during the day but they fall over themselves to do everything else. I know I am very lucky and I do wonder how people with no support nearby manage. The UK seems to be fairly unique in the world for extended famiyl support not being the norm.

startail Mon 17-Oct-11 12:46:03

YANBU, DHs parents are dead, his sister lives 5 hours away. My parents and sister live 2 hours away and My parents aren't fit enough to chase children anyway.
DSIS has said she'll niece tame for my birthday (the DDs aren't babies).
I'm veryenvy of a friend who has her mum at her beck and call.

halcyondays Mon 17-Oct-11 12:48:14

Yanbu, I don't think I would want to provide childcare five days a week while parents worked, if I was a grandparent, but I can't imagine not wanting to help out in an emergency. And would want to babysit sometimes both to spend time with gc and to give parents a break. I envy people who have family support.

thesurgeonsmate Mon 17-Oct-11 12:49:08

I can't see that it's worse than being jealous about anything else! I have so much help my problems revolve around how to ensure I don't appear to be taking the piss. These are, I assure you, minor problems. But there are lots of people in your situation, I think, don't feel your mum is the only one to take this approach. (Although moaning about the labour-care seems to be pushing it a bit!)

OriginalGhoster Mon 17-Oct-11 12:53:14

my mum doesn't work, doesn't have any friends or do any social things

Is she depressed? What does she do all day? Does she enjoy seeing the dcs when you are there?

If she's just the sort of person who keeps themselves to themselves, there's probably not much you can do, except to be a person who does help other people, including your friends who are maybe in the same boat without family prepared to help.

travellingtime Mon 17-Oct-11 12:56:32

am the same.

my dps both retired and ok are an hour's drive away but they never offer to come and look after the kids. though, if i ask them to, they will - i travel frequently with my job and they will gladly have them for a few days (as long as all arrangements are made far enough in advance, and i give them a comprehensive list of instructions !) without any complaint.

mil 4 hour drive away and doesnt drive and isnt hugely fit and able but the willingness is there with her and she will happily have the dcs for a weekend whilst dh & i go and have a night in a hotel or whatever. if she lived near us, i suspect she would offer to have the kids one day a week - dont think she could manage a lot more than that!

I have a great deal of envy for people who have on-tap, free childcare from family members. our childcare bill is about £15k annually, if i had free childcare, i would be a very very happy bunny!

soandsosmummy Mon 17-Oct-11 12:56:50

YANBU - both mine and dp's parents live hours away. My brother and SIL have 2 boys, he works full she, she works part time and her mother does all the child care. I wouldn't mind except SIL makes pointed remarks about me wasting money on nursery fees and baby sitters. then they always have more money than us and wonder why we can't afford things they can


(disclaimer - i don't begrudge them just wish they'd stop going on about money!)

MotherOfHobbit Mon 17-Oct-11 12:58:12

YANBU - I wish I had family here, not just to help but also because I remember spending so much time with my GPs growing up, and I'm sorry DS wont get to have that same special relationship.

shubiedoo Mon 17-Oct-11 13:00:56

Hmm, I don't know. I would wonder about grandparents who really don't have anything better to do than babysit full time. Aren't they happy to be retired and want to do their own thing? It is exhausting looking after little ones all day.

Dh's cousin has 2 kids under 3 and her mum was really delighted to help at the start, but is now getting resentful at doing too much. What do you do then? You lose not only the childcare, but also your good relationship with your parents.

That said, I can't imagine living 5 minutes away and not helping in an emergency.

Willabywallaby Mon 17-Oct-11 13:01:46

I would find it very hard to approach my DM or MIL if they were caring for my 2 DSs in a way I found inappropriate, so I'm quite happy to use a nursery.

AngryFeet Mon 17-Oct-11 13:04:17

I am very lucky to have two sets of GPs who have the kids quite a lot so we can have nights out and weekends away regularly. I am very aware of how lucky I am. One good friend does not have this at all so I always offer to have her two DDs whenever she wants a night out (overnight if needs be).

Maisiethemorningsidecat Mon 17-Oct-11 13:04:36

YANBU at all. We don't live close to either my parents or my MIL, and I'm incredibly jealous (in a nice, supportive sort of way wink) of all of my friends who have at least one set of parents within easy driving distance, with babysitting and childcare on tap.

DH and I have vowed that we will do everything possible to help our children with their childcare (within reason, I'm not retiring to look after grandchildren f/t) and with their babysitting.

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