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To expect grandparents wanting to holiday with their grandchildren to do some childcare?

(133 Posts)
Wellington3 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:25:22

Am probably being unreasonable as feeling fraught after a family holiday with the in- laws. In-laws (grandparents to my dc) were very keen to spend time with the dc so we rented a cottage together. Their spending time with DC (aged 4 & 5) involved them looking at the children and doing nothing to help entertain them. DCs requests for a drink or the loo went "unheard" until either DH or I were back in the vicinity.

Obviously they're not their DCs and the responsibility for them is mine and DHs but isn't part of spending time with the children dealing with the boring stuff too? Everyone is fit & in good health. Perhaps cherry- picking the good bits is a grand-parents ' prerogative. Keen to hear of your experiences.

LizzieMint Mon 18-Aug-14 22:28:49

We go on holiday with the in-laws most years and while they don't do anything towards the feeding etc, they generally take the children out for a day on their own so we get a day off. They offer to babysit in the evenings too so we can go out for a meal (although this has never happened, we're usually too knackered!). I think once my MIL has got up with the children, back when they were much younger and my DS would start the day at 5:30 every day. They are brilliant at entertaining them though, they have way more energy than I do!

Mim78 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:29:38


They don't have to do childcare of course, but I too would have thought this was implied in the request to holiday together.

A night out for just you and DH for instance might have been on the cards?

But maybe you should have discussed the parameters before going on hols.

I guess they will not be getting another holiday with the DCs? Or if they do ask again, maybe discuss whether or not they could help out more?

Did you ask them at all to help with the DCs while you were away?

But I broadly agree that the main benefit to you in extending your holiday beyond your immediate family unit (i.e. you, DH and DCs) would have been to get some help!

Mim78 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:30:53

PS - I am very lucky with my parents and PILs in this respect so am not really in a position to say anything but Yanbu!

CSIJanner Mon 18-Aug-14 22:33:24

YANBU for the pure fact that your DC's had to wait for a drink or to goto the loo.

MrsJohnDeere Mon 18-Aug-14 22:38:06

We recently holidayed with MIL, her idea. She didn't do anything at all with the Dcs over the whole 10 days. I'm not sure she even spoke to them directly, let alone play with them or take them out anywhere.

Even ds1 (8) observed that grandma doesn't really do anything except read her book and drink wine.

Wellington3 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:40:10

Thanks for your replies. Yes, DH and I were hoping for offers of time "off" but none were forthcoming. Should probably have been more direct (although none too subtle hints were dropped) but we were conscious that it was the in-laws' holiday too. The kids are pretty easy and great fun to be with (particularly when you have to do no more than smile at them). Bring on the next holiday with a kids' club!

We go on holiday every year with my parents and we never even discuss helping, we just slip into being a family of 6 instead of 4, so we plan meals, days out, evenings out taking everyone's needs into account. The DCs have spent days at their house without us since babyhood, so are very used to being looked after by GPs, so it does just happen naturally. I'm not really sure what to suggest, but YANBU.

PonyoLovesHam Mon 18-Aug-14 22:44:09

We went on holiday a year ago with my mum, she looked after dd for one morning while me and dp went on a trip for a couple of hours, which involved staying in the apartment. Otherwise no evening having dd for one evening so dp and I could go out, nothing. And I feel IABU about it sometimes because why should she look after dd, but surely that's what family holidays are for! wink

I don't think YABU op, it's just a bit disappointing isn't it.

Wellington3 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:44:24

MrsJD, your MIL and mine have much in common! Why on earth do they bother coming on these family holidays? I would love to read books and drink wine without interruption from small people, but it ain't an option!

PonyoLovesHam Mon 18-Aug-14 22:44:38

Dd and my mum staying in apartment, not me and dp!

Pugaboo Mon 18-Aug-14 22:47:35

Did you pay for them to come with you?

My PILs do virtually nothing with DS except take photos of him to show off to their friends what devoted GPs they are . They have babysat maybe twice, but only for a few hours once we'd already put DS to bed.

I think YABU to expect it but YANBU to want it!

Wellington3 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:48:51

Yes, Ponyo, I feel disappointed too rather than grateful that the DC got to spend a perfectly pleasant holiday with their grand-parents.

indigo18 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:49:57

If the GPs paid their share, I think you are being unreasonable. Did you only agree to the holiday for free childcare? It would be nice if they offered, but maybe you need to be more direct.
As for Kid's clubs- yuk! I would hate my DC to be herded in with other kids and bored, underpaid staff running 'activities'. A family holiday for us was the family enjoying each other's company and doing things together.

indigo18 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:53:00

Wellington you will get your turn drinking wine and reading books when your DCs take you on holiday, in the hope of free childcare!

Wellington3 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:53:26

Pugaboo, we split the cost of everything equally. In retrospect, we should have paid for a babysitter so we could have had some time off. Wouldn't have known any babysitters there though and would have felt even more cross with in-laws.

Pico2 Mon 18-Aug-14 22:53:39

YANBU - we seem to be really lucky as both sets of GPs really do muck in and offer us a break if we are with them.

PonyoLovesHam Mon 18-Aug-14 22:53:50

By disappointed I meant - disappointed that my mum didn't want to spend time with her granddaughter, not disappointed dp and I didn't get an evening to ourselves! Dd was 2 and a half then and although not an angel she was pretty charming most of the time... hmm

Thebodyloveschocolateandwine Mon 18-Aug-14 22:54:49

My youngest is 14 and it's great to go on holiday now read and drink wine. grin

However of my older ones ever condescend to make babies we would offer to help out as and when.

But fuck off for the holiday. That's hard work so been there and done that.

Still you are quite reasonable to dream of help but not up expect it.

Thebodyloveschocolateandwine Mon 18-Aug-14 22:59:54

Totally agree with indigo re kids clubs.

Yeuk. Holidays are to spend time with your kids not farm them off to teenagers in their Gap year ( like my ds) great as he was at his job grin

They are little for such a short time.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 18-Aug-14 23:01:25

I think sometimes that grandparents would like to just 'be', to soak up the atmosphere and watch the grandchildren at play rather than being the ones having to run after them and actively entertain them all the time.

If they babysit for a few hours here and there, surely that counts, doesn't it? As for the taking photos to show off... how about taking photos as reminders of a nice holiday?

I wonder also if it's a chance for grandparents to spend time with their own adult children on a holiday? It's a shame that it seems that their presence seems to come with childcare conditions so firmly attached.

Lemons1571 Mon 18-Aug-14 23:03:21

Been there too. It's crap. The last time we did it I felt I put everyone else's needs first, always considerate, knocked myself out enabling a nice holiday for the other generations. Still feel resentful now of how tired it made me feel and how oblivious everyone else was. I recommend First Choice kids clubs and no more holiday cottages.

HappyYoni Mon 18-Aug-14 23:04:46

I had some fab experiences at kids clubs on holidays when I was young, I loved all the activities and meeting new friends. Was always really proud when I went back to my parents with a certificate for something or other, or when we put on shows for the parents. Loved it!
Sorry beside the point but thought worth a mention

minipie Mon 18-Aug-14 23:05:37

To be honest the main reason I go on holiday with parents or in laws is to share the childcare/food prep burden.

I mean I love them dearly (genuinely - we get on well with both sets of folks) but I still wouldn't choose to holiday with them if it was going to be just as hard work as going just with DH and DC. Pretty sure they know this and don't mind grin

OP do your PILs help out in other ways? Perhaps they do most of the food shopping/ cooking so make your life easier that way?

DaisyFlowerChain Mon 18-Aug-14 23:07:05

I think it's nice they can just enjoy their grandchildren without the responsibility. They have done their child rearing and were perhaps just looking forward to a nice holiday.

Expecting them to both pay for the holiday and then provide childcare isn't very fair.

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