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to expect grandparents to prepare a meal if they are babysitting at dinner time

(185 Posts)
ilovemypjs Wed 17-Aug-16 12:16:53

I have been a sahm for 8 years and returned to work 10 weeks ago. My Mil volunteered to have my kids 1 day a week from after school (she has my youngest all afternoon as he doesnt start nursery until sept) until my partner gets home at about half 6 ( my other 2 shifts i am home in time to cook dinner myself). Every week i leave food that my 12 year old can cook for himself and his brothers as mil wont cook for them. Yesterday i had to do compulsory overtime and asked my mum to have them but it was over dinner time and a lot of fuss was made as she felt what i had left was too time consuming for my 12 to do and let him cook something else and when i queried it with her she got really upset and is now not speaking to me. So really i am just wondering what other people do when family babysit at dinner time?

OwlinaTree Wed 17-Aug-16 12:20:31

Well, if my pil or p have my son overnight I will offer to send him with a dinner they can heat up in the microwave. My dh cooks usually and freezes little portions for him. Sometimes they accept, sometimes they say they will do their own. Could you try something like that so your 12 yo/mil can just put the food in the microwave rather than prepare from fresh as such.

LemonBreeland Wed 17-Aug-16 12:20:39

I find it strange that your MIL would sit there and let a 12 year old prepare a meal and not at least help. Also, I really don't get what your Mum's problem was. If she wouldn't prepare them something, why couldn't she just let the 12 yo get on with it?

Thattimeofyearagain Wed 17-Aug-16 12:22:32

Erm, I would leave a meal to be heated up. You seem to be expecting free childcare and cooking hmm

BertrandRussell Wed 17-Aug-16 12:25:05

I don't understand. You leave for for your 12 year old to cook- but you think your MIL should cook it for him? Er-why? He's 12, not 5.

And I don't understand the thing with your mother at all- why did you even have the conversation? You left food - but she suggested he cook something else that was quicker. Or am I misunderstanding?

user1471427096 Wed 17-Aug-16 12:30:12

I definitely wouldn't expect the grandparents (or any other babysitter) to prepare a meal.

I would expect the parents to have prepared the meal themselves in advance. Most people I know also provide a nice ready-meal meal (or money for a takeaway) for babysitter if they are providing care over meal times.

Wouldn't it just be easier for the children to eat when their father gets home 6.30 so that he can make their tea? Granny can give them a piece of fruit etc as an after school snack to tide them over.

Isetan Wed 17-Aug-16 12:30:48

Would I expect someone to cook for my child if they really didn't want to? No, I wouldn't. Send your 12 year old with food to reheat and pick another battle.

ilovemypjs Wed 17-Aug-16 12:31:49

I dont actually expect anything, as i said my mil volunteered when i started thinking about going back to work and said i was going to use childcare, and my mum only did yesterday as i was stuck, it was definitely a one off. i do leave food to be heated up like a shepherds pie or a bolognaise but i leave the veg or pasta to be done fresh as it cant really be done in advance? the food yesterday was to be prepared completely from scratch but that was as i had already bought it expecting to be at home to do it myself

beginnersewer Wed 17-Aug-16 12:34:09

I think grandparent childcare is provided on their terms i.e. they do what they are prepared to do. (Unless you're paying them). Some grandparents decide they are not prepared to do regular childcare at all. If they are not comfortable to regularly cook, for example (or put them to bed, or any other aspect of it they don't want to do) then that is up to them I think, and you need to work round it. In an emergency is different, but on a regular basis you need to work round them as they are providing free childcare. Especially as if I've read your post right there is an under 3 year old - I find it challenging to cook with my 2 year old around, so if your mil isn't used to doing it (or not for many years) I can understand why she wouldn't be happy to do it.
Also, until you have all settled into the arrangement I would try not to question judgements they have made in your absence (eg letting 12 year old cook something different) as long as they are not dangerous or seriously unhealthy (giving them all Coke just before bed or something) as they might feel criticised, and then worry about everything they do when you're not there. I guess it will take some adjusting for you all, it must be a big change after 8 years - good luck!

davos Wed 17-Aug-16 12:34:10

My dad has my kids at my house occasionally. I never expect him to cook for the kids as well.

We leave something to be microwaved and Dd (12) would donor or at least help.

Wether you mil offered to babysit or not, isn't relevant.

You can cook pasta in advance if you need to.

Bunfighter Wed 17-Aug-16 12:36:11

My mum always brings her own food, cooks for the kids and brings something for me and Dh like a bolognese or curry. Am clearly spoilt. She's ace.

veryproudvolleyballmum Wed 17-Aug-16 12:36:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Didiusfalco Wed 17-Aug-16 12:40:27

I must say if grandparents babysit I leave something that just needs microwaving or that can be eaten cold - I know they find looking after the kids enough to do, although mine are smaller.

PerspicaciaTick Wed 17-Aug-16 12:41:48

What is wrong with these adult women that they can't cook pasta and heat up some sauce? What do they normally eat? It is well within the capability of a 12yo and when my parents babysit I let them sort it out between themselves and my DD as to who does what.

However, I do always provide enough food for them if they are babysitting at a meal time, so that they and the children can sit down to eat together. Are you leaving enough for everyone or are the babysitters expected to feed themselves when they get home?

ilovemypjs Wed 17-Aug-16 12:43:01

the babysitting is always at my house ( grandparents choice) and as i said i am already leaving the food to be reheated. I guess after 8 years at home i am not used to relying on other people and i thought it was unusual for grandparents not to cook for their grandchildren, mine certainly cooked for me, but i accept i am wrong and will carry on as i was.

veryproudvolleyballmum Wed 17-Aug-16 12:44:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MackerelOfFact Wed 17-Aug-16 12:45:26

It is a bit weird for her to stand there and supervise a 12-year-old cooking food (which presumably she is) for his siblings rather than do some/most/all of it herself.

However, YABU to expect her to cook. Leave pizzas or something that just needs to go in the oven, and a bag of prepped salad. She's doing you a favour - a nanny would happily cook whatever you wanted but would also charge you £££ for the privilege. You'd be crazy to fall out with her over this if you're relying on her for regular childcare!

HateSummer Wed 17-Aug-16 12:45:29

This must be a cultural thing! I don't have parents or inlaws but in our culture you wouldn't dream of sending your child to a grandparents or aunt's/uncle's house with food! The child will eat whatever is cooked at the grandparents and no one gives this kind of thing a second thought. I'm really shocked that a grandparent or other family member won't cook their grandchild/niece/nephew food...really really odd.

rosesrest Wed 17-Aug-16 12:46:00

I used to babysit my grandkids and make not only their tea but also Dds and partner for when they got in from work. Other grandparents never lifted a finger. I didn't have to do it but I always liked to make their lives easier.

ilovemypjs Wed 17-Aug-16 12:46:07

The food is just for the children ( and my partner, but he heats his up when he gets home) but this is again their choice as they come alone and leave grandfathers at home and have refused offers of me leaving enough for them

user1471427096 Wed 17-Aug-16 12:46:15

Your thread is titled "to expect grandparents to prepare a meal".

There does seem to be an expectation on your part regarding the grandparents, going by the title.

Most veg can be prepared in advance, and then left either in water or in the fridge. I agree a 12 year old should be more than capable of boiling some pasta under Grannie's supervision.

If there was a lot of prep to be done yesterday, then maybe MIL felt she was being taken advantage of as she felt she had to be around to supervise? Couldn't they just have had something quick and easy like beans on toast yesterday and use the ingredients today when you are home?

Maybe she was upset because all this extra, unexpected cooking meant she wasn't able to make her own meal at the normal time? She's helped out at short notice after all.

PrimalLass Wed 17-Aug-16 12:47:06

Erm, I would leave a meal to be heated up. You seem to be expecting free childcare and cooking

It's perfectly normal for grandparents who babysit to cook for them.

kurlique Wed 17-Aug-16 12:47:42

I find it a bit bizarre that your MiL doesn't cook the meal rather than your DS esp as she volunteered to look after them, I would envisage granny cooking a meal for everyone, herself included, from your supplies... But everyone is different I guess. That said, I wouldn't expect to eat as early so really DH could cook when he gets in... Something quick obvs or get a slow cooker... And just leave an after school snack for the DCs to tide them over but then my DS's friend says we must be Spanish because we eat so late And as for your DM, I can only assume that you weren't impressed that she changed the menu... Only you can know how to fix that, is your mum a least said soonest mended type or are you going to have to swallow your pride and apologise for an easy life?

ItsABanana Wed 17-Aug-16 12:48:14

I used to either leave them with a ready meal or something that I'd batch cooked and frozen over the weekend that could just be defrosted and heated up well.
(Eg cottage pie, chilli, etc)
I certainly wouldn't have expected them to cook (although would be lovely if they did, obvs grin )
I figured they'd have had enough to do with a full on day of running about, over boisterous kids! smile

CatNip2 Wed 17-Aug-16 12:48:47

Well my mum used to have my two before and after school two days a week. For breakfast she made them bacon sandwiches or hardboiled eggs and soldiers, dad would make little union jack flags on cocktail sticks and stick them in their sausages on their birthdays.

For tea after school they would have a full proper dinner with a sponge or crumble with custard for pudding.

I love my parents grin

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