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Grandparent involvement

(29 Posts)
nvj Thu 27-Sep-12 22:26:26

How often do your parents or in laws bother to see their grandchildren.
Feeling a bit naffed off with my parents but not sure how to broach the subject without causing a rift?!
My parents are both retired but in early retirement and in their early 60s. My dad works one day a week volunteering.
We see them about once every 4-6 week or so and they live about 30 mins away and predominantly we have to go round there. Occasionally they will 'pop' over but usually only if combining it with another errand or visit.
They babysit my children (twins age 7) 3 or four times a year but never really keen to do it.
They have never taken them out for the day anywhere, never been helpful with having things at their house like wipes or plastic cups... We always have to take our own. Never bought toys to keep at their house etc.
I used to be really really close with my mum, like one of my best friends, chatted 3/4 times a week but now we only chat prob once every 2-3 weeks and I really don't know why.
Asked my parents to have girls next weekend (6 oct) but my mum said no as they getting new dog (got it y'day) and she wanted to make sure it was settled?!?! Whaaaaaat??!
I can't understand why they're not really interested in their grandchildren?? The whole thing baffles me.
My MIL is worse, even going as far as saying she doesn't like children in front of my girls!! Unbelievable!! Gutted that FIL passed away before they were born as he would have dotes on them!

AIBU to be annoyed, particularly with my own parents (mil not so bothered about as she's always been like that!)
Not sure what to do/say?? How do you even broach this without causing a rift??
Probably need to say something before I boil over though hey?!!

missymoomoomee Thu 27-Sep-12 22:31:31

They are probably just enjoying early retirement and being a bit selfish for the first time in their lives. I wouldn't say anything and let them enjoy it tbh.

Your MIL sounds a bit mean though, who says that in front of children?

CatsRule Thu 27-Sep-12 22:42:58

It would be much worse if they were interferring and overbearing! I can understand why, from your view point, how you would be hurt by your parents but (having one set of extremely overbearing gp's ourselves) maybe you have the lesser of the two evils situation!

BlueSkySinking Thu 27-Sep-12 22:43:45

Mine showed no interest either and I used to struggle with it too. Used to really upset me. What helped me was lowering my expectations hugely. I expected nothing from them and also left them to do half of the running about. For example, we would visit them and then wait till they visited us, before visiting them again. It took about a year before they realised that they had to make more effort and that DH was no longer a teenager at their beck and call. They are still pretty useless now on the whole but DH and I have quite a joke about it. I really see it as their choice and their loss. Thankfully they have lots of other lovely family members to make up it.

nokidshere Thu 27-Sep-12 22:46:00

Last time my parents saw my sons was 3 years ago when they came down for christmas.

They just cannot be bothered. Their loss.

larks35 Thu 27-Sep-12 22:46:09

TBH it sounds like your parents aren't into doing the whole full-on re-parenting grandparent thing. And there is no reason why they should! Why should they have toys, wipes, plastic cups etc. They did their time! However, I do think that if they are young enough to enjoy some time with their grandchildren, you should encourage this, but not as a child-minding thing.

They see your DDs every 6 weeks. That is about 5x more than my parents get to see our children. It isn't my parents or our fault, they are getting on and don't drive and we are too far away and working most of the time.

greencolorpack Thu 27-Sep-12 22:48:58

My mum is abroad for months on end. I asked my sis recently for babysitting help about three weeks hence when I needed help and didn't yet know dhs new job details, so we are talking about a one off babysit in three weeks time. My sister couldn't do it so asked mum on my behalf. Mum did it, and told me I really needed to sort out my own child care as if it was a massive imposition. I never even bloody asked mum!! I asked sister but my sister has no idea about protocol.

Dad hates my children I think. He "jokes"to me about how they are probably struggling at school because half their genes come from dh and In dads mind my dh is a moron. (He's not and even if he was anyway...). dad doesn't babysit.

I consider it an awesomely splendid year if several months go by without contact with either of them.

conkercon Thu 27-Sep-12 23:01:47

These types of threads always make me feel really sad but also to appreciate what my kids have had. My own father died when DS1 was 17 months and I was 8 months pregnant with DS2. I often wonder what he would have been like. He was an alcoholic and I had a miserable childhood and early adulthood with him. However, when DS1 was born he absolutely doted on him and tried his best to fight his alcoholism.

DFIL was absolutely brilliant with my kids as well as his other dgc. We saw him most Sundays pretty much until he died when they were around 9/10. He came on holiday with us and they have lovely memories of him. He was fantastic and we all still miss him.

DMIL died when they were very young and they have the odd memory of her. She liked to see them, but only for a short while and then she kind of wanted them to go. She was a little nervous and never looked after them as actually she physically was not really able.

My DM is still here and is quite ill and cranky now. But never ever with the kids. They are 15/16 now and they are her world. She loves them more then me I swear grin. When they were little she used to look after them one day a week and probably spent one week at our house and one week at her own. But as her health has deterioted we don't see her so much now. When I got home from work I was so lucky, house would be immaculate, kids fed a dinner for me and dh. We were spoilt and she loved doing it. I used to nag her not to because she has a chronic illness but she would never let it beat her so I used to have to hide the iron when I went to work or that would have been done as well.

I was very lucky and look forward to my own gc coming along in future years if I should be that lucky. And I will really try to be a good MIL.

nvj Thu 27-Sep-12 23:05:53

Larks35- you are right, they shouldn't have to reparent or have the things I mentioned but I can't imagine not wanting to help out when my children have kids!! When the girls were babies it was a military operation to go anywhere and to havea few basic supplies round my parents house would have really helped at certain times!!! I just don't understand how you can't want to be more involved in your grand children's lives. I just find it quite sad that's all!!

Born2bemild Thu 27-Sep-12 23:11:40

It doesn't sound like you make much effort either tbh. I mean, you used to be close and you only live half an hour away.

greencolorpack Thu 27-Sep-12 23:12:24

Conkercon you are lucky. It's good to appreciate the good family members.

I would start a thread about this but all my threads sink like bombs, I have a friend who has a difficult time with in laws but she says to me, she has to go and see them so that her daughter sees her being a good daughter to parents, because my friend says she is modelling behaviour for her own daughter to copy. Ie if you don't get on with your parents, your own kids will have no problem dumping you and not visiting when they are grown themselves. Is there any truth to this? I don't try and get my kids to spend time around my da cos he ruined a lot of my childhood and I want to save my kids from the same fate. My kids have Good self esteem, they know his behaviour is out of order whereas I am cowed into silence around dad even when he says devastatingly hurtful things to me. I'm glad my kids find him unacceptable. Shows they have good self esteem themselves.

nvj Thu 27-Sep-12 23:27:04

Born2bemild- I work full time (about 50 hours a week!) and my husband works nights and I have twins with a very active social life! I also help out my nan (my mum's mum) who lives in the same town as me.
Please don't judge me, ask me instead!!

LadyWidmerpool Thu 27-Sep-12 23:31:17

I wouldn't want a small child to be around a new family dog until it was settled in tbh.

echt Thu 27-Sep-12 23:37:00

OP, unfortunately you've expressed much of your problem in terms of your parents being a service provider; wipes, toys, babysitting. They do babysit for you, though the lack keenness could be addressed. Just say, you don't seem terribly keen, is there a problem. Unfortunately the answer may turn out to be they didn't want to do it but had agreed with rather thin lips. I hope not.

You say they pop over, so they are visiting you. Do you want something different, stay for a meal, you don't make clear so it's hard to comment.

If you had such a close relationship with your mum, then surely you can approach her about this (not the service providing, but the many chats)

As for apparent unreasonableness of settling the new dog, then they're NBU; having two young children about - you don't say for how long - could well be unsettling for the dog. If it's a puppy, then your parents be constantly on the alert for piddling and not up for entertaining of any kind. Having done this myself, I can vouch for how time-consuming it is. I was fit for no-one by the end of the fortnight's house-training.

There seem to be two issues; not being as close to your mum - by the way you can up the number of phone calls yourself. Is it always you who calls?

The issue of now being "useful" is quite another, and one you may have to let it go.

Your MIL, though. Yikes, that's just nasty.

DuelingFanjo Thu 27-Sep-12 23:47:31

I think it's wrong to expect grandparents to be abything other than grandparents, they don't have any obligation to baby-sit.

nvj Fri 28-Sep-12 00:03:12

I'm not saying they have an obligation but why would you not want to?! My kids are pretty well behaved (well, one more than the other!)

Yes maybe you are right echt- I should phone more maybe... Feel annoyed though that it's always me that phones!! And I did mention once that I felt sad that we weren't that close anymore but I felt my mum shrugged it off a bit.
Just frustrating that my girls don't have a special relationship with their grandparents. Just makes me feel bit sad :-(

On reflection I am prob being unreasonable about the dog thing so thanks for your feedback on that.

Pandemoniaa Fri 28-Sep-12 00:19:13

I'm a grandmother. I adore dgd (20 months) and consider myself very lucky to be welcomed, at any time, by dd2 and ddil. I also live close by so I see dgd at least 2-3 times a week and babysit whenever possible. It's been wonderful to watch her grow up and be around for all the memorable milestones - I was there when she took her first steps, for example.

I'm not expecting a medal for this, incidentally, but my own dm was across the Irish Sea and although she loved my dcs, they had very little contact with her and missed a lot of their childhood. So I always hoped I could have a closer bond if and when I had grandchildren and it's wonderful that this has actually happened.

wherearemyGOLDsocks Fri 28-Sep-12 00:42:54

My parents are brilliant, we don't see them very often due to distance and all working but they always have stuff for dd's at their house when we visit. Mum would even buy in nappies and wipes so we didn't have to bring them with us, she bought Welles for them to leave at their house so they could play in the garden. They bought a high chair, toddler bed and toys and we only go up there about 4/5 times a yr. And when I took dh away for a birthday treat they came to our house to look after dd's as dd1 had school.

My PILs otoh, well I've been to their house once in 10 yrs and they've never been to ours, they only want to meet in restaurants. My youngest is nearly 3 and I think they've met her twice, 3 times max.

When you do see them say something along the lines of how nice it is to see them and how much fun you've all had and that it would be nice to see them more often. Also if you work a lot and are often busy maybe your mum doesn't phone much as she's not sure the best time to get you. I speak to my mum about 1/2 times a week but I usually call her as, like you I am very busy and it's usually easier for me call her when I've actually got time to chat.

1944girl Fri 28-Sep-12 00:54:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

spidermanspiderman Fri 28-Sep-12 03:29:51

Seriously stop doing the running round to maintain a relationship with them. Leave contact for them to establish just fill your life with friends who care for now. Otherwise you will always be doing the running.

deleted203 Fri 28-Sep-12 03:50:00

nvj are you my long lost sister? My parents are just the same - but they live ten minutes down the road. I don't particularly mind this (I did when DCs were little however). What I DO object to is my mother's hypocrisy. She would phone me up to say, 'Oh Ted and Janet and the others from the bridge crowd are coming over on Wed - why don't you drop in about 3.30pm with the children. They'd LOVE to see you'. What this meant was that she expected me to drop everything and present myself on her doorstep with clean and tidy looking children so that she could do proud Grandma bit whilst her friends gushed about what gorgeous grandchildren she had. Eventually I got pissed off with this and when she said one day to friends, Oh yes, we're very lucky. We love having the children so close I said (in amazed tones) Do you, Mother? She shot me a furious glance and said, You know we do! and I answered, Well yeah, but not to the point of ever looking after them though. You've never even had 'em for an hour for me. She was livid!

The thing that really peed me off was the pretense. If she'd said to her pals, Oh yes, the kids are nearby, but we're too busy to see much of them. I don't want to be regularly babysitting or anything well, fair play to her. She's got the right to do that. Because of the way I've (badly) spaced my family I've know it's likely that my eldest ones will be making me a granny whilst I've still got surly teens at home and I keep warning them I will be 'Shit Granny of the Year' I reckon after about 30 years of child-rearing I want a break, rather than immediately launching into looking after grandkids. Although I might do the odd bit of babysitting wink

Alligatorpie Fri 28-Sep-12 05:34:28

This type of thread also makes me very grateful or what I have. My dc's have three loving sets of grandparents, who would do anything for them. The only problem is we live a 5 hour flight from dh's family and a nine hour flight and six hour drive from mine, so we don't see them very often.

I think it would be very hard to address anything to your parents. Maybe once the dog gets settled you could start asking if the girls could go over to walk the dog once a week ( or whenever)

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 28-Sep-12 05:53:09

My dc's have three loving sets of grandparents, who would do anything for them. The only problem is we live a 5 hour flight from dh's family and a nine hour flight and six hour drive from mine, so we don't see them very often.

You know what though, Alligator, sometimes I think it works better like that. I live in Asia, so 12 hr flight from both sets of gp's and although they complain that they dont see the GCs much, I'm not sure they'd be able to maintain the level of enthusiasm they show on their 2 week/ 3 times a year visits for 52 weeks a year grin.

Someone mentioned upthread re how your own parents relationship with their parents informs your own, and I wonder if thats right. My own GP's lived 200 and 300 miles away, so we saw them for maybe 3 weeks a year for one set and 2 weeks for the other, and it probably was a different relationship to if they lived down the road- it was all sweets and treats. I guess that's what I now see as a normal GP role.

SammyTheSwedishSquirrel Fri 28-Sep-12 07:58:03

My parents used to see her 2 or 2 times in the week and she'd stay at theirs every other weekend Saturday afternoon to being dropped off at school on the Monday, plus all holidays they had away and half of any school holidays at home.

Her paternal grandparents hmm, I can count the number of times they've seen her on my fingers and she's 20 now.

Step grandparents, as much as they can given that they live in a different country. So 3 or 4 times a year for a week or so and a Skype call once a week.

SammyTheSwedishSquirrel Fri 28-Sep-12 07:58:26

2 or 2 times? Need more coffee.

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