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To think that healthy grandparents who live nearby and who NEVER babysit are mean?

(99 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Thu 28-Feb-13 13:31:32

(Hard hat on). I am lucky with my dad; he does an odd bit of babysitting and is great with dd. He works full time so he dosn't have her for sleepovers , however this weekend he is having her over for a night so that I can go out my new man. However, I have a few friends whose parents are fit, healthy, living in the locality but never babysit except for once in a blue moon and then it's on their terms. For example; one friend dosn't really get on with her mum yet her mum moved 2 minutes away and dodn't like sitting. Another friend's parents got teased by their mates for never sitting and offered to help her out provided she cooked them dinner. She told em to forget it. I generally ask my dad to have my dd over for sleep overs otherwise I have to be back by 10pm and I feel like a teen with a curfew> Not that I am grumbling as I am luckier than most. I know we shouldn't take our parents for granted and we should let them enjoy theoir retirement but surely grandparents enjoy spending time with the grandchildren and that babysitting once a fortnight or month shouldn't be too much hard work...especially if said grandchildren are in bed. I have treasured memories of spending whole aftrenoons with my granpy. Ok, they only had me overnight occasionally but the times when he sat down with me for hours and made things like fairy wings and cradboard theatres will live with me forever and we had a great realationship because of it. (sorry return key broken so no paragraphing)

superstarheartbreaker Thu 28-Feb-13 13:32:47

And also the time that my granpy spent with me gave my mum who had pnd and exhaustion a much needed break. It benefitted everyone.

nenevomito Thu 28-Feb-13 13:35:49

I'm lucky that my parents really help out a lot with childcare, even though they would like more time for them. As for being selfish if they didn't - well I suppose I would be upset if they never offered to help, but I can't help feeling selfish myself for relying on them so much.

expatinscotland Thu 28-Feb-13 13:36:52

That's life as a parent.

superstarheartbreaker Thu 28-Feb-13 13:37:06

Yes i agree that the guilt is there for relying on them at al. I find it healthier to pay or ask a friend tbh.

N0tinmylife Thu 28-Feb-13 13:40:20

I agree OP. It always strikes me as sad when grandparents don't have a relationship with their grandchildren. Everyone then misses out!

Saski Thu 28-Feb-13 13:40:57

I'm of two minds. I can't understand not wanting to babysit, because I'd think that by the time you were a grandparent you'd be gagging to spend time with children again.

On the other hand, it's not their responsibility. They might have been incredibly relieved to close that chapter of their lives, and don't want to go back. Kids are frustrating.

I hope I'm the kind who babysits a lot. But I wouldn't want it to be expected of me, that would probably irritate me.

Saski Thu 28-Feb-13 13:42:05

My in-laws are basically the best grandparents I've ever seen, and it's made us so much tighter of a family unit. My kids think the sun rises and sets for them.

TheMaskedHorror Thu 28-Feb-13 13:47:38

I'm not sure about mean but I do think theres some dysfunctionality involved.
Even if you don't want to go back to looking after kids again, why would you not want to help your beloved children by babysitting from time to time?

Its sad that some parents/grand parents can't be loving and supportive.

BarbarianMum Thu 28-Feb-13 13:52:06

I think its sad not to have a relationship with your grandchildren but I'm not sure you need to have sole care of them to achieve this.

Me I'm predisposed to love spending time with children (Even before I had any) and if I'm sure if I have grandchildren I'll be queuing up to look after them. My mum and my MiL are also like this (lucky me).

My FiL loves his grandchildren and babysits (usually but not always w grandma) but this is definitely done as a favour to us. For his own sake, I think he'd be quite happy to only see them in our company.

My father never babysits. It never occurs to him to do so. The idea of him babysitting is actually mindbending (I can't imagine what he'd do with them - not mean but totally clueless). He was the sort of father that played for half an hour before bedtime, then handed us back to mum. His relationship with his grandchildren is not the one I'd want with mine but he does love them is a strange abstracted sort of way.

livinginwonderland Thu 28-Feb-13 13:52:29

i'm not close at all to my grandparents because we live on the other side of the world, but i don't think grandparents should be expected to babysit. there's a difference between them offering and them being pressured into doing it. they're entitled to enjoy their retirement years as they see fit.

BarbarianMum Thu 28-Feb-13 13:54:08

Should add - he's supportive in lots of other ways - decorating, help with moving - would help with money in a flash if we needed it. But babysitting is NOT HIS THING.

CockyFox Thu 28-Feb-13 13:57:14

My kids can barely stand to be in the same room as PIL, which is odd because to me they are inoffensive old people. They have never offered to babysit but once had to have the children because I had a hospital appointment and my parents were working. It was a disaster and the children (led I suspect by DC1) wouldn't speak to them for a few weeks, because Nanny and Grandad are too old, too loud and play tricks apparantly. I admit they do find it difficult to find the right level to communicate with the children but they really aren't in laws from hell in any way. Anyway in a round about way that leads me to YABU because in the case of my PIL and DCs they have a much better relationship with us there to mediate.

CockyFox Thu 28-Feb-13 13:59:32

Just to add PIL have come on a saturday afternoon and stay to tea every week since DC1 was born so certainly not strangers to the children in fact they probably see the more regularly than my parents who we can go a few weeks without seeing.

MsGee Thu 28-Feb-13 14:00:08

The relationship with grandparents and their desire to babysit are two different things.

I want my DD to have a great relationship with both sets of GPs. One will babysit, the other won't - no big deal to be honest. In reality we don't see either that often so I prefer to pay for a babysitter.

KurriKurri Thu 28-Feb-13 14:00:50

I would say spending time with grandchildren and babysitting are two different things, - I would be surprised at any GP's not wanting to spend time with her GC (although obviously I know there are many who don't) but I think asking people to babysit is just that - a favour to which they can reply no. It shouldn't be an expectation, and maybe the fact that it is an expectation is what makes some GP's reluctant, - they feel they are being used.

You give an example of someone who doesn't get on with her mum, but because the mother lives close, she is expected to babysit, - why should she?, I wouldn't ask a next door neighbour I didn't like to babysit, and if I did I'd expect them to say no.

I think family relationships are like all others, about give and take, you shouldn't expect things of people just because they are family, you should ask nicely and be prepared for 'no I'm busy' just as you would be for anyone else.

ElliesWellies Thu 28-Feb-13 14:00:55

YANBU. You don't stop being a parent just because your children are grown up. My mum and dad brought my sister and I up with no parental support whatsoever. They help me out a lot with DS because a. they enjoy it and b. they don't want me to have to struggle without support like they did. They live nearby and are in good health. I think it is mean - they must know how hard it can be having children, why wouldn't they give their own children a break?

I don't like all this - 'they are not their responsibility' stuff. Legally, true. But it's like saying I'd see my own sister on the street because she isn't my responsibility. Of course I bloody wouldn't. Families should help each other out where possible.

redskyatnight Thu 28-Feb-13 14:02:19

TBH OP your examples are not particularly well chosen.

Why would you expect (or want) a parent you didn't get on with to babysit for you?

And why wouldn't you cook a babysitter dinner? If I had someone babysitting over a meal time I'd leave food for them to heat up or have something ready. Don't think that's unreasonable at all!

N0tinmylife Thu 28-Feb-13 14:03:51

I don't think grandparents should be expected to babysit. They should be able to do as much, or as little as they like. It just seems sad if they are not willing to do it at all. While it is nice to do things all together, I think when the parents are there, the relationship with grandparents can't be the same, as having one on one time, and getting to know each without parents input.

cantspel Thu 28-Feb-13 14:05:12

You are going to hate me as when the time comes for me to be a grandparent i am not going to be first in line for the baby sitting.
I want to be the grandparent where the family comes to lunch on the odd sunday and then they all go home again.

I was never baby sat by my grandparents nor did they do sleepovers or the like. We would go to lunch with them with our parents, we would visit boxing day and spend time with all the family. I loved them dearly and even nearly 2o years after my grandads death i miss him.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Feb-13 14:08:47

I agree its weird and I know people like that but it is always in families that arent very close.

Davsmum Thu 28-Feb-13 14:11:08

Its lovely when grandparents enjoy and want to babysit but I don't think you should 'expect' them to want to or to even do so.
If the grandparents don't want to there can be many reasons but in the end its their choice.
I have a friend whose parents refuse to babysit because she has no routine or boundaries for her children - they go to bed when they want and are quite unruly and her parents will not babysit under those circumstances. I don't blame them.

Binkyridesagain Thu 28-Feb-13 14:11:29

My children have a relationship with only 1 of their 4 grandparents, 1 grandfather lives in another country and they haven't seen him for 4 years the only contact he has is B'day cards. The other grandfather visits his other children/ grandchildren regularly but never let's us know he's coming and the rest of the family don't bother telling us either ( last time my DSs met him they had no idea who he was), their Grandmother lives 2 miles away, visits her other GCs once a week at least, my DCs she has made an effort with for 1hr over the past 18 months.

The only grandparent the DCs talk about or want to be with is my DM because she works at having a relationship with them. She doesn't babysit but only because I don't need or want her to, her DH works away and IMO her weekends with her DH are more important than lookin after my DCs, she would do it if I asked though.

Based on the above I think I'll fence sit and risk the splinters.

NotYouNaanBread Thu 28-Feb-13 14:13:14

There are too many variables. There's a big difference between a grandparent in her late forties or fifties, and one in her seventies, for starters. My Dad is fit and healthy, but at nearly 70, he'd be nervous taking both of my children out on his own during the day, but is perfectly okay with 2yo dd2 on her own, or babysitting at night.

And if a grandparent would rather eat glass than mind small children, then so be it - there is no obligation. Presumably this is a state of mind that you would already be prepared for and therefore not be shocked and wounded when unlimited babysitting isn't liberally offered.

NUFC69 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:14:01

My mother died before I was married and had children and my husband's mother died when he was a teenager; also we lived miles away from any family when we had our children. My only surviving GP lived hundreds of miles away from me when I was a child. I now have two GC (and a third on the way) - we have always had my GS one day a week since my DD went back to work when he was nine months' old. He is just two and recently he has started to stay over occasionally in preparation for when his mum goes into labour with DC2. We have a wonderful relationship and my DH and I just love looking after him. My DiL will shortly be starting back to work and we will be having my GD once a week to help out there. Having DGC is such a pleasure and I really regret that my DC didn't have GPs around. I can't imagine that my DH and I would ever turn down babysitting for them, unless it was impossible. Yes, we have our own lives, but it is important for us to be part of their lives, too.

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