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AIBU about how often my parents see their grandson

(35 Posts)
Hobbes39 Sat 28-Jan-17 21:36:48

We live about 45 mins from my parents, and about 7 hours from my DH's parents. I take my 3.5 year old DS to see my parents around every 2-3 weeks. They sometimes come out to us to do very occasional babysitting (I can count on one hand how often) and while I asked when I was pregnant (and we lived closer) if they wanted to look after their grandchild one day a week, they said no thanks - which was fine as I know it's a big commitment.
Anyway, they regularly get upset about not seeing my DS enough... I feel they should be grateful they see him as often as they do as I had to convince my DH to live nearer them than his parents, so it could easily have been just holidays... AIBU? Should I be making an effort to take my DS to see them more? I work 4 days a week, DS in nursery when I work. Thanks x

HunterHearstHelmsley Sat 28-Jan-17 21:39:24

Do you stop them coming to yours or do they just not bother?

Patriciathestripper1 Sat 28-Jan-17 21:41:53

Well the didn't want to see him once a week to look after him so what do they expect?

TheresABluebirdOnMyShoulder Sat 28-Jan-17 21:45:22

I think that if they want to see him more then they need to put in some of the legwork to be honest. It sounds like it's always you who goes to see them (aside from the very occasional babysitting). If that's the case, could they make the journey to you in between times? That way, instead of seeing him every 2-3 weeks it would be more like every 1-2 weeks.

Have they said how often they would like to see you? Your idea of "seeing more of the DCs" might be very different to theirs. My PILs live about 10 minutes down the road and they only visit us to see DCs once a week for about 30 mins when they do their shopping nearby. My DM also lives 5-10 mins away but she pops in for a cuppa most days (otherwise I think she gets withdrawal symptoms) and we also tend to go for a day out once a week. Both sets of grandparents are happy with the amount of contact they get, although it's very different.

Hobbes39 Sat 28-Jan-17 21:45:55

I don't stop them from coming to see us, I just tell them they have to ask first - we used to live 20mins walk away and when DS was tiny they turned up unannounced a couple of times and basically brushed aside my DH (who is lovely) and acted like he wasn't there... this was when DS was days old and we were just settling into being a 'family' and it really upset DH. So since then I told them to tell us first before coming, but they have only ever asked twice to come over here since we moved further away 2 years ago...

fabulous01 Sat 28-Jan-17 21:59:04

It sounds like there is more to if. They have been offended (their perception) and they didn't visit
I also feel people should say they are coming but I know some people don't worry. Just how I was brought up but I would hate anyone landing at my door (no family near anyway)
But maybe they say it as they would want to see more but also accept situation. I also understand grand parents who don't want or are able to baby sit
Have a chat but it is hard as family weekend time is special

Mumzypopz Sat 28-Jan-17 22:00:18

So you see them once every two to three weeks? I think that's fine. You work four days a week, so you only have one day a week and weekends free. Have they suggested how you can manage it more often?

yorkshiremama Sat 28-Jan-17 22:04:31

Wish my parents wanted to see their grandson more .... only live 15 minutes away and they rarely spend any proper time with him. Usually see my mum for 10-15 mins once a week, but dad it can be every couple of months - really gets me down 😔

Love51 Sat 28-Jan-17 22:05:17

If you want to be proactive and see more of them, invite them for lunch or a day out every 6 weeks or so. If you don't want to, then keep visiting them as you currently do.

RandomMess Sat 28-Jan-17 22:08:39

Every time they "get upset" I would just frankly say "why don't you come up next week on x then?" They can't have it all ways!

Presumably they have more leisure time than you and DH so them doing more of the legwork would help?

BellonaBelladonna Sat 28-Jan-17 22:11:37

Sounds fine. Do they fret if they don't have a plan in the diary? Would they welcome that reassurance?

Cherryskypie Sat 28-Jan-17 22:11:39

When they 'regularly get upset about not seeing (your) DS enough' what do they say? Are they saying 'you don't bring him around' or suggesting any actual solution to this like can we visit next weekend? I know there are a lot of posters on here who've said their parents/ILs make a great noise of not seeing enough of their GC but refuse any actual opportunities to see them more often.

GoodLuckTime Sat 28-Jan-17 22:18:35

No advice, though I hear similar from my mum who is about an hour away, and who also turned down the opportunity to be in the childcare roster (I also work 4 days,DD now 3.5 is in term time nursery but at the start we had a nanny so my mum could have done a day a month or a day a fortnight and we'd have scheduled the nanny around her).

I get childcare is work, but honestly if they are close enough and declined to help out, I have limited sympathy.

I don't see my mum as often as you, but it's easily once a month, sometime just us, sometime confined with my siblings and their kids. She comes here more often.

She means both about frequency and about us not going to her more. What she'd really like is more frequent visits (and more to her) without her having to do much.

I ignore her. We have busy lives and I'm clear that if she isn't going to be helpful, I'm not giving up more of our time to facilitate her seeing DD when she's not prepared to make more effort.

Now DD is in a school hours term time nursery we have found a good format where she visits during the week, does some pick ups and drop off. That helps us out if our nanny is off and is manageable for her: she finds the idea of full days with DD a bit much (though it generally goes well if she does it).

So I continue to look for more opportunities for contact, but only if they work for us.

Think gps need to own their choices. Not doing childcare is a totally fair enough. But then you have to understand you are one of many demands on free time and there are other things to be factored in: family time, free time, other gps, seeing friends etc.

Vice versa if you do do some regular childcare you have a direct relationship with the gcs, which makes it easy to slot in. You put more in, you get more out.

I've written myself a letter to remind myself of all this when I'm the gp!

kitkat321 Sat 28-Jan-17 22:25:13

I think your current arrangement is fine given the distance and your working pattern. My dd stays with my mum one night a week because she jumped at the chance of helping out with childcare. If we didn't have that arrangement she'd probably only see dd once or twice a month as I work full time, she lives 45 minutes away (when roads are quiet) and doesn't drive.

I think it's great for kids to spend time with grandparents but you shouldn't be expected to plan your lives around accommodating this.

Hobbes39 Sat 28-Jan-17 22:29:44

Sorry, I realise this is a bit drip feeding, but I guess there is more to it... didn't want my opening post to be hugely long, but to explain a bit more... hen I say they regularly get upset about it, its often unsaid but I just know as they get frosty about me having other plans, rather than doing the more standard thing of saying 'oh that sounds nice etc...when they openly have got upset about it, it's been twice recently - both times just before they have gone on holiday. The reason for posting today is that my dad sent me an email telling me my mum was upset as they are going away on Tuesday and haven't seen my DS in ages (we went to see them 8 days ago). But basically because they are going away, they won't see him for about a month. I am annoyed that I am expected to drop everything - i.e. Plans to spend time together as a family with my DH to accommodate their holiday plans, but my dad seems to think I'm being unfair to be annoyed. I should also add that my mum has a history of depression and my dad often alludes to this in a way I feel is trying to manipulate me into doing what they want. That probably sounds awful, and I do love them, but our relationship isn't close and it's hard to explain why, but for example I recently went through an unsuccessful round of ivf but we didn't tell them about it as rather than being supportive I know that it would just have been something else for me to worry about if I was dealing with their disappointment too... I hope that makes sense?

RandomMess Sat 28-Jan-17 22:34:37

I think you need to grow thicker skin in one sense but I would email your Dad back with something along the lines of "I see you are disappointed that you won't see DS for a month however I work 4 days per week so the time available when we can get together is limited for everyone that wants to spend time with DS not just you"

BellonaBelladonna Sat 28-Jan-17 22:36:06

Hobbes that sounds horribly familiar, the drop everything we're going away do need to see grandchildren.

No real solutions but goodness do I hear you

rookiemere Sat 28-Jan-17 22:42:35

I would try to develop a few stock phrases for use in email and phone calls:

"Hey we'd love to see you here any time. If it's during the week, you're very welcome to take DS out of nursery - I'm sure he'd love to spend some quality time with his GPs"

" Gosh DF I know you love to see us, but we saw you just over a week ago so not that long ago at all. You're welcome to visit us as soon as you come back from holiday. Why don't I pencil that in the diary?"

"Oh yes DS would love to see you before you go on holiday. Why don't you pop in for a cup of tea on your way to the airport?"

Once every 2-3 weeks is more than enough if the visits aren't reciprocal. Although I do think given your DM's history, it was probably very sensible of them not to commit to regular childcare and better to know in advance than be let down.

GoodLuckTime Sat 28-Jan-17 22:44:56

Er op are you me? We're also having ivf to have our second and likewise have not told our parents, as it would become all about them in the most unhelpful way.

You're right your dad is trying to manipulate you. Possibly, being charitable, he is thinking about how to support your mum. But not much about what you need. In this situation I would:

1. Think about what you are reasonable able to off, if anything. Eg if you're off to the parks tomorrow, invite them along. But not if it doesn't suit you and what you need is family time, or to stick with some plan you already have.

2. Reply.
- either making your on your terms offer, or not, depending on what works for you. I'd give a brief explanation which reminds them of your commitments. So sorry we can't do this weekend / can only suggest you come here briefly to tomorrow but with ... And then list out some other commitments ...xyz on... To remind them you have a busy life which they are (selfishly) ignoring.
-Then id add something like 'shame there will be a bit of gap now, but you did see him last week and now have your fab holiday to look forward to'.

3. id also maybe now, or at another point, re-make an offer on child care. So something like I hear you'd like to see ds more. With work,nursery, play dates, we can't do much more at weekends without having too little time at home. Would you like to get involved with a regular pick up from nursery so you've always got something lined up to see him?

Then they either say yes, or when they say no, you say, ok so we manage to see each other more than once a month. That's pretty good. Look forward to seeing you on xx.

I'd overtly remind of any time they say no. So if you get the hints, say something like 'yes, such a pity you couldn't come over the other week'

Bat back their choices. Consistent. Cheerful. NO GUILT OP.

sometime I think about having this kind of thing out with my mum but I know the chances of it getting better are slim, and then chances of it getting worse are high.

Hobbes39 Sat 28-Jan-17 22:47:16

Thanks Bellona - sorry to hear you have the same! It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't go away so often (4-5 times a year...!)
Random - thank you too - I have tried to talk to my dad about it, and I did reluctantly say they can come out tomorrow afternoon as we are at home, so they might do, but neither of my Ps will talk reasonably about anything..my M will just get upset and defensive and my D just won't entertain the idea he is ever in the wrong, or that someone may have a valid different perspective on something... 🙄. When you say I should get a thicker skin, what do you mean?

GoodLuckTime Sat 28-Jan-17 22:49:47

Bat back. Ignore. Say no more. Agree it's a shame but do nothing different. Stay cheerful.

In these circumstances I'd be figuring out how to see them less, not more. Your family is not their personal entertainment programme.

Hobbes39 Sat 28-Jan-17 22:58:50

GoodLuck - literally good luck to you with your IVF! And thank you - that's a useful list of ideas - and the offering again re childcare is something I will think about - my reluctance is that as Rookie says below, it's probably sensible that they didn't want to do it, given what my M can be like... and DS is a lovely boy, but high energy, and they struggle to keep up most of the time and when they have had him at theirs without me he comes home telling me he's watched 2 DVDs (when he's only been there an afternoon) so I think they do that as it's the only way they don't get exhausted.
As you say, their protests actually bring out the stubborn in me and my gut reaction every time this happens is that I wish we lived further away as then their expectation would be lower.. but then I feel bad about that, as I do want them to see him, I just don't want to feel guilted into it. We really do struggle to fit in everything and we often don't see people we would love to...

RandomMess Sat 28-Jan-17 23:07:15

Thicker skin - they are being unreasonable/unfair so don't absorb it as being your fault let the criticism bounce back off!

Pineappletastic Sat 28-Jan-17 23:12:42

They sound like hard work OP. Just tell them that you feel you see enough of them, and maybe point out that they had their chance to be more involved and said no, and that their whining makes you want to see them even less. You are not responsible for their happiness.

My parents live three hours away and want to come stay for a few days every other month, my mum started referring to this as a 'family holiday'. I (on mat leave) spend most of the time they are here making sure they haven't let the dog out or shut the cats in or put hot mugs on delicate surfaces, they drink all my wine and get all un-PC, and then I have additional laundry, and DH has to go to work on come home to his MIL! Oh, and they spend barely any time with their GD, because they need to watch the football in the pub. Obviously sadface ensues if I dare point out that they are basically shit guests! I liked it better when I had no DC and was LC with them!

CheshireChat Sat 28-Jan-17 23:16:35

My PIL are like that (my mum's abroad). I just say 'let me know when you can have DS, he'll love it'. They've stopped mentioning it now!

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