To be annoyed at my parents(64 Posts)
Parents live 5 hrs away and have just returned from a visit with DC1 who's two and a half and DC2, three months. I am increasingly realising that my parents, whilst they love their grandchildren, are not particularly interested in them, particularly in situations where we are not around to closely supervise. Parents are in their early 70's, fit and healthy and these are the only grandchildren they will have, but they just don't seem to be that into the grand parent thing although with me feeding through the night I thought it was clear how much some help would have been appreciated.
They will help out if asked to do a specific thing, but don't offer and don't seem to enjoy it massively - my mum helped out for a few days after DC2 was born but it was quite hard work (she kept wondering off with her iPad, wasn't that patient with DC1). I feel sad for my DC's and also if I am honest for us, as it would be nice to have some help now and again, but it feels like we would do better with a babysitter
I guess I am feeling a little bruised as I've seen a number of friends recently whose parents seem to bend over backwards to provide regular free childcare (which is not what I am asking I just want more help when we visit and some help when they visit us) and in one case have helped cover the costs of maternity leave.
I have felt like this before with parents - our wedding when no offer was made to cover any costs and we ended up paying for their accommodation as well as everything else and when I left uni (funded by grants and part time work and to be fair help from parents) lots of friends were helped by their parents either with connections or by letting them move back home, non of this was possible from my parents as they live in a rural area and don't have any connections beyond this.
I know I probably am being unreasonable but would appreciate any ideas on moving myself past this as they are lovely people in other ways (active, interesting) but it doesn't feel like grandparenting (or even parenting anymore) is there bag and I need to find away not to choke everyone a friend tells me how supportive their parents are. It's also not a one way street we have helped them practically and financially in a number of ways.
You are being a bit unreasonable but I can understand why.
Your parents don't owe you anything, I think as far as they're concerned they've done their bit on bringing you up.
It's tough but you just have to get on with it and appreciate the relationship for what it is.
I don't have any answers; it does hurt when people are inadvertently "bragging" how great their parents are whilst you are there knowing "you're on your own". People don't realise that it's hurtful having your nose rubbed in it, just the same as if they had an amazing house, or huge inheritance, or they have DC whilst you have infertility.
One of my parents is like this, love her to bits but it's better to accept that it is what it is. You're adults and it's their choice how much or little to get involved.
The trouble is they are the spoilt generation, retiring young on generous pensions.
They have no idea what its like to work these days and having to retire later on less money - and by they the government won't have ring fenced all the generous benefits.
One day they will need your help, but you may be too busy putting your lovely children first to be around much to assist. Remember, if you have to go over to help, seem irritated and take your Ipad for amusement.
Ahh I know what you are saying and I agree with you about being annoyed. My mother is the same.
She came to my house when my baby was about 4 days old, so I was 4 days post c section and sat waiting for me to finish bf my baby so that I could make her a cup of tea and lunch...oh and she brought my younger sister with her who also sat waiting for me to finish.
I looked like a corpse. I felt like death, I was in pain.
After I had made them both tea and lunch, baby then needed feeding again, so I sat down, my lunch untouched, my tea cold and fed him.
They left, they left me to clear up and wash up.
I have never asked her for anything. I felt so let down, abandoned, uncared for and disappointed.
I now avoid her and my sister and actually if I didn't go to her, she would not see my children from one year to the next as she would not make any effort.
My parents have often been rather like this although when they ever did see their grandchildren they were lovely with them and when we visited them they were helpful and delighted to see us.
They brought up though to believe that I shouldn't ask them to help out with my own children because they had "done their bit" bringing us up and after that it would be their time, which is in many ways fair enough and I have respected it.
That said though,my Mum was great each time I had a new baby. She did come down for 2 or 3 weeks afterwards to look after the older ones and cook all meals. Can't fault there.
We don't live close to them though, and in some ways I do regret that their lack of desire to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren has meant that they don't really know them all that well.
For me it has all improved somewhat now that my three are no longer little children (eldest is 21, youngest is 14) and can now be very good conversation and company. My parents
and I all enjoy them much more now that no actual childcare is involved and we don't have to entertain then or go running after them.
My parents just seem to like their own company and the odd visit by us to remain in touch (in their 80s now and no longer like to drive long distances). That is fine too a d we are always still all welcome at their house for visits.
I would just accept them for what they are OP, if you get on with them and they are interesting be grateful for that.
My parents aren't very interesting, quite racist and homophobic, argumentative and didn't help me with one penny whilst at uni/wedding etc so I understand how you feel. And I have friends whose parents paid for their entire wedding or gave them 3/4/5k etc. But I also have friends whose parents are similar to mine and give them nothing but grief!
I lost my mum when my DS was little and my DF doesn't really have much interest in children. So support with childcare is non existent.
Saying all that still wish I had my mum, so I would just think about the fact you still have your mum, not your child's grandparents, but your mum. That may help.
The trouble is they are the spoilt generation, retiring young on generous pensions. They have no idea what its like to work these days and having to retire later on less money - and by they the government won't have ring fenced all the generous benefits. One day they will need your help, but you may be too busy putting your lovely children first to be around much to assist. Remember, if you have to go over to help, seem irritated and take your Ipad for amusement.
I don't know where to start with this post so I shan't bother.
OP - I think you'll just have to accept that your parents may love you and your DC but they feel they did their bit as parents, got you to Uni and then off.
And they may well be better when your DC are older.
topsy - They brought up though to believe that I shouldn't ask them to help out with my own children because they had "done their bit" bringing us up and after that it would be their time, which is in many ways fair enough and I have respected it.
^ ^ Pretty much sums up my mums attitude too. Great for an afternoon watching the GC play quietly and pose for a couple of photos, but no overnights, no poo'y nappys and very few evenings babysitting at all. Ever.
AND when they have done something you never hear the last of it. OH that was the week i missed out watching so and so on BBC1 because Weeeee Were Babysitting
My parents split up when I was 15. Dads quite a bit older than mum, he's 72 not in the best of health so I don't expect much but he will watch my 9 and 7 year old for me for an hour or so on the odd occasion. My mum has never offered any help. She watched them once one new years eve during the day when me and dh had to work other than that she's never spent any time with them. I recently told her I was expecting again and she said oh that's lovely etc but still hasn't asked how my 20 week scan went. She gets in touch Christmas and birthdays but expects me to come to her, wont do the 20 minute car journey to me.
YABU I'm afraid.
I'm 20 yrs younger than your parents and wouldn't have the energy /stamina to look after 2 little ones anymore - we are genetically designed to give birth at a younger age for a reason.
You are sleep deprived and finding life tough - all normal - but they have been there, done that, and, quite frankly are probably aware that every mother wants to do things her own way and doesn't want to much inteference from a previous generation.
You are not being unreasonable. It's so natural to want our family to support us, particularly because being parents to small children is so difficult. They use to say it takes a village to raise a child but now mums are expected to raise children on their own, and lucky if their partners help out.
People who say your parents should choose to do whatever they want are just not capable of empathy. True, if they don't help out much, eventually you can only accept that's the level of support you'll get. But it doesn't make it any easier.
The comment below from Laiste made me smile wryly; it is spot on with regards to my parents as well, particularly my mother who was very much of the "been there, done that, do not want to do that again" School of Parenting and Grandparenting.
"Pretty much sums up my mums attitude too. Great for an afternoon watching the GC play quietly and pose for a couple of photos, but no overnights, no poo'y nappys and very few evenings babysitting at all. Ever.
AND when they have done something you never hear the last of it. OH that was the week i missed out watching so and so on BBC1 because Weeeee Were Babysitting"
My parents put their shopping, holidays and cleaning my childfree and single brother's house well above babysitting in terms of their priorities (they still do actually).
My mother actually told me years before I became a parent that she would not look after any children I would perhaps go onto have so the writing was on the wall back then.
My parents never even took any photos of DS when he was young. Unfortunately such people
Unfortunately such people like my parents are inherently selfish. They have not altered.
Agree with PP, just accept it. I have friends whose parents do everything for their little ones and my parents don't bother at all never even watch them while I nip to docs or anywhere. But they don't owe me anything, were great parents to me as a child and they deserve to chill now.
You are a grown woman with a family and you are complaining that your parents don't parent YOU? What does this even mean ? Should they manage your finances for you? Tell you what time to go to bed ?
You also want them to be regular babysitters for you .....even though you live five hours away. How would this work ?
The sort of relationship you appear to want is usually a co dependant one with parent and child living close and spending lots of time together. You presumably moved five hours away to live an independent life, they probably have no idea you've just moved the goalposts . How would they ?
BackforGood - I'm your age and have young children, as do many of my friends. I'm sorry you're finding your 50s so exhausting - personally I find I've got loads of energy!
Anyway - back to you OP. You have to accept your parents are who they are. I bet you have loads of friends who don't have parents who will help or who are unable to, but you aren't hearing their voices.
Did you move 5 hours away or did they incidentally? That's a long way to expect babysitting to be honest.
I know what you are saying, but it's just the way things are. I've got hung up on this in years gone by, I've been consumed with jealousy because my friends have parents who pick their kids up Friday and drop them off Sunday teatime, take their Grandkids on holidays, do school pick up, you name it they'll do it. My friends did not even realise how lucky they were and just took this huge help for granted. Whilst our only option was a paid babysitter. Fast forward several years and both my parents are dead and my FIL is a weak, frail old man.Strangely, I'm glad they could enjoy their final years without the burden of my children and for them it was a burden, it wasn't something they enjoyed. It is, what it is.
My parents made it v clear that they weren't parenting again. They are lovely people, hugely generous and v good grandparents. They just don't want to do the whole parenting lark again. Totally fine by me. They come, they hang around, they don't expect to be waited on, they are patient but they have their own life, their own friends etc. DS loves them to bits. I quite like it that way. I pay for childcare and I prefer that. In terms of my parents when they are here, they will help out generally at home but they are too old to do much with the DC and that's fine. Not offering to babysit or look after grandchildren or not having much patience with the faff associated with small children (I find other people's children quite tedious!) doesn't make someone a bad person.
I'm 35 and both my parents are dead. I would give anything to have even just 1 one of them still here and involved my life. Sorry OP, but yabu. Try to just appreciate and enjoy them.
Babysitting every now and then isn't 'parenting again' though is it? It would be a different story if she was looking for them to be full time child minders but helping out every now and then shouldn't be a big deal.
They didn't ask you to have your children I presume? They don't have to do anything.
I know it's hard when you don't have support ( both my parents are dead and FIL does absolutely nothing ) but I chose to have my children so can't expect anyone else to help me out.
Have you actually asked for help? Maybe they don't want to intrude, or aren't aware that you are waiting for them to offer? Maybe they think you are coping just fine.
Also, I think the scenario you describe is more often seen in grandparents living on the doorstep. People traveling five hours tend to be guests.
I'm sure they are interested in your children, even if they actively don't get involved. Maybe they will feel more at ease when the children are older.
There's a mn's saying - comparison is the thief of joy. Appreciate your parents for who they are, not what they are not.
My parents very clearly saw bringing their own children up as a massive chore, and their children as standing between them and the life they wanted.So it wasn't that surprising when they showed no interest in my children, except when they wanted photos to send to relatives or when one of them became old enough to do DIY for them.
They are what they are. They just don't have what you want/need from them. It isn't their fault, they are just wired differently. (Or as MrZ likes to put it, "What do you expect from a horse but a kick?")
I never wanted free babysitting and to be honest I wouldn't think my mother was a fit person to be left alone with a child. It isn't about that, it's about having to explain to my 4 year old yet again that I don't know why his grandmother won't come and visit him (she lives a couple of miles away and drives. I can't drive and can barely walk). It's about a basic level of disinterest and almost contempt when I can see what fabulous little people they are and how hurt they are by her behaviour.
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