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To feel suffocated by parents?

(16 Posts)
hellohellohihi Tue 14-May-13 22:55:49

My parents are divorced and have remarried so I have two sets, then there's DH's parents. All live between a 15 minute walk and 15 minute drive away. They take it turns to have DD (17mo) 2 days a week (so every third week). We sometimes see them in between, sometimes we don't. DH and I work full time, I finish at 3pm and DH starts early and finishes late so doesn't see DD in the week at all.

Every now and again the grandparents make hints about not seeing DD enough and get put out if we turn down Sunday lunch invitations or hear if we've been to see one of the other sets but not them.

This week we've been super busy and tomorrow is my only free afternoon with DD so was looking forward to hanging out with her just on our own. My stepmum wants to come round because "she's not seen DD for a week" and it's really riled me. It's a simple request and isn't the end of the world if I can't have DD all to myself one arvo this week and I know I'm probably being really unreasonable but I really don't want to encourage (for want of a better word) them to think that going a week between seeing DD is a hardship. And if they all start doing this I can just see those precious afternoon hours (ie between 3pm and 5pm when I start dinner) being taken up with making sure the grandparents are seeing "enough" of DD whilst I get no decent time with her at all which I already feel guilty about as most of my friends are SAHMs.

If the others get wind of another set seeing DD then we get the guilt-trip that they haven't seen her. So I find myself omitting mentioning it or making up white lies so they don't know! This in itself is quite hard-going.

I feel shitty getting irked by this especially as they are helping out with childcare on a regular basis and also the very odd babysitting favour. So I feel like I'm being selfish and controlling by asking them to help out on our terms but then being reluctant to spend extra time with them. DH is adamant that weekends are family time and as that's the only time he sees DD he just doesn't want to share that time with the grandparents, certainly not as much as they would like anyway.

I dunno. I guess the fact that there's 3 sets makes it harder to juggle but ain't half wearing sometimes. And mainly because I feel like I'm being a bitch because ultimately I know they are sweet people who just love seeing their granddaughter.

Springforward Tue 14-May-13 22:59:07

I don't think it's U to want to spend a bit of time alone with your DD, OP.

DorisIsWaiting Tue 14-May-13 23:00:15

Tell them you have plans then don't elaborate.

YANBU wanting some quality time with your dd and they need to understand that they may not get to see her every week . The sooner this is understood by all the easier your life and relationships with them will be.

cerealqueen Tue 14-May-13 23:01:29

Explain how precious that time is, and keep repeating it.

hellohellohihi Tue 14-May-13 23:08:02

We've been so busy this week I haven't even thought of what I might do with this free Wednesday afternoon but stepmum caught me off guard and I mumbled something about needing to go straight into town after picking dd up from nursery. So I feel guilty about lying and even worse because stepmum is doing me a favour dropping dd at nursery later in the week whilst I need to go to an early work meeting. Yet the control freak in me is cross because I wanted to plan my Wednesday arvo at my own leisure and not have to come up with an excuse/lie about what we're actually doing.

IdreamofFairies Tue 14-May-13 23:19:51

would it be possible maybe for her to go to nursery less so they could all have more time with her while you are at work that way you all get more of her.

i dont think you are u at wanting to spend time alone with her or have the weekends as family time.

BAUagent Tue 14-May-13 23:20:14

I feel your pain - we have 4 sets to please, I don't think it's bu to ensure you have time alone or as a family though. If caught off guard maybe just say you're not sure what you're doing in future, give you time to think about whether it fits with your plans or whether you get back with a reason why it won't suit.

TigerSwallowTail Tue 14-May-13 23:41:46

Can't you just say 'no we're spending time just the two of us' if you're asked? If your given the guilt trip or told 'oh but we hardly ever see her' just reply with 'yes I feel the same too' and move on to talking about something else.

Decoy Wed 15-May-13 00:06:20

Can you arrange things with them well in advance, so they know when they'll next be seeing your DD, can look forward to it and so don't need to keep asking?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 15-May-13 02:57:56

I think you need to agree some boundaries with your DH and then make these clear. Don't feel pressured due to the childcare issue, that's separate and actually means the GPs see DD more than they would if she was in nursery full time. Remember that you have the right to a family life, as in, you, DH and DD. You three have to find your own way.

If it puts a slightly different spin on things, I grew up with three sets of GPs - one set close by (who didn't divorce) and then the divorced couple and their respective new partners lived about an hour away. I actually didn't realise extra grandparents were out of the ordinary until a teacher at school pointed it out! Anyway, the two remarried grandparents and their partners got on well, despite the divorce, and I have many happy memories of birthdays and Christmases where everyone was invited. If I went to stay with one set for the holidays, they'd take me to visit the other set. If I went shopping with gran, step-gran would come too as they all lived in the same town.

So - is there any way that visits could be combined? Do any of the parents get on? This might free up some time, especially for special occasions, Xmas etc. I have to say I have the utmost respect for my grandparents, who never, ever bad-mouthed one another to us/my parents - I don't like the sound of the competitiveness that you seem to be experiencing and that needs to be nipped in the bud.

I also wanted to say that I know exactly how you feel, as along with the divorced grandparents, my parents are also divorced and so every trip home (I don't live locally) is spent divided between two places - and that's without adding DP's parents into the mix. It does make it really hard to split time 'fairly' - do you split half and half or into thirds? I've actually noticed us spending more time with DP's parents as it's less stressful - my parents don't get on unfortunately so there's no chance of the scenario my GPs had!

Good luck with getting some time for just you and DD/DH.

wigglesrock Wed 15-May-13 06:37:17

This can be a downfall when parents live nearby - bitter voice of experience smile. Can your husband not take your daughter to see his parents for an hour at the weekend. I know its family time but surely the three of you don't spend every hour of the weekend together. They could be there and back in an hour - advantage of living near parents smile

No it's not horrible of you not to see them every week but I do think it's tight to only see grandparents when they're babysitting.

isitsnowingyet Wed 15-May-13 06:51:53

I'm jealous envy that you have so many people wanting to help you out and love their grandchild. Also jealous of being of invited for Sunday lunch anywhere and someone else cooking it.

hellohellohihi Wed 15-May-13 06:58:09

Thanks for your replies, it's reassuring to know I'm not just being a megabitch about it all!!

I did think that perhaps they could have a day a week with DD and she'd just do 2 days in nursery which may placate them all a bit more. But I wondered whether it might be confusing for DD having pretty much a different arrangement every day. Plus... I find the nursery days easier. I pick her up and drop her off and that's it (nursery is a 5 min walk). The grandparent days are always more hectic, they are reluctant to pick her up and drop her off, she's never ready and they want to sit and chat so from a selfish point of view it'll be even more of a headache! And DD does love her nursery. It's great they have her when they do, but it doesn't always feel like a "help" if that makes sense!!

I know I can be a control freak so things like this make me query whether I'm just being controlling because the arrangement wasn't on my terms. After all, it's not unheard of for me to pop in to any of their houses when we're passing but I much much prefer to do that at my "convenience".

Hopefully DC 2 will come along soon meaning another round of mat leave! I halfjoke to DH that we need to have only 2 school years between DC so childcare isn't an issue for longer... Oh and a friend tells me to make the most of it as once you've got two kids grandparents can find it overwhelming and back off a bit!!!!

hellohellohihi Wed 15-May-13 07:03:51

Is it - I know we're lucky. And I am grateful but it's hard being pulled in different directions. And hard to get to grips with feeling selfish because of that. I don't like getting frustrated with this situation but I feel I have to prioritise DD's needs first, then mine and DHs. If I put the GPs first we'd honestly be run ragged by doing nothing but making plans to see them all equally/fairly in every last drop of our limited spare time.

Kat101 Wed 15-May-13 08:03:45

We have a similar problem also. DH's parents have time, we have none. They resent us for not making time for them, accommodating visits, chats etc. We resent them for not being prepared to help out sufficiently with the kids to make meetups more feasible. I haven't yet found the answer but after 9 years of parenting I now tend to prioritise like you: kids, us, them.

I don't think there is an answer actually, they want what we haven't got to offer. Time. We tried family holidays taking both sets of grandparents and it was a disaster I knocked myself out doing all the work while they enjoyed their grandchildren, never again

What we do now is give them dates that are convenient to us and arranged far in advance (which is easier than your situ as they live far away and don't do regular childcare). Or we say, everyone welcome round on Sunday Xth of June for lunch. I find that as long as you have offers on the table for time for them to spend with DGD, then you remove the guilt of saying no when its a time that you want it to be just you.

wellieboots Wed 15-May-13 09:31:32

You are so lucky. DD has 3 GPs one (my DM) lives thousands of miles away and the other 2, (PILs) have told us recently that they have no interest in a relationship with DD. She is 6 months and I can still count on two hands the number of times they've given her a cuddle sad

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