One Grandparent wants us to visit, one clearly doesn't anymore(49 Posts)
We used to live at the opposite end of the country to my parents and therefore visits resulted in an overnight stay due to distance.
When the children where 8 and 11 we moved locally for my parents to be able to see more of the children which they wanted desperately and because
after ending up on my own with two children I was persuaded by them that moving up to their area would enable them to support us better especially as both myself and one of the children has disabilities and I was also struggling to work enough hours to support us alone. The support offered didn't happen after I moved (a whole other story) but they still wanted the overnights to continue and I was grateful of the company after leaving friends and supportive neighbours behind and ending up on my own in their area. Something that without the promised support made my life a lot harder in every aspect.
Fast forward a few years and I have suggested various times that we just come for the day as we are fairly local now but this causes upset and I'm told to stop being a martyr.
One parent wants us there but the other clearly does not. They would prefer to be on their own, are grateful when even my other parent is not in the house and has told us they wouldn't want us to move in if the other parent dies.( I've lived on my own since I was 17 and now in my 40s so not sure why that was brought up) I do get they want the peace.
One parent gets upset as they say they will take us back after we've had tea while the other is literally pushing us out of the door at 8am.It causes arguments between them.
The kids are now older so not and have never been not running riot (there's WiFi for a start) and we clean, offer to cook, wash up etc so not leaving any work for them.
One parent will play with one of the kids, tell me off for trying to keep them quiet and say they are only playing while the other parent will literally cringe at the other parent making them giddy.
I feel guilty even posting because honestly both parents have done loads for us and bought clothes and uniform and trips and bailed us out but it's not making a very nice environment when even the kids have picked up on not being wanted there in the last few weeks.
The parent who wants us there would be heartbroken if we didn't come and coming to ours isn't an option due to us living on the second floor and steps.
I do get they want the peace.
The unkeen parent is probably doing everything all week and then has guests at the weekend which they find a bit much. Make the visits shorter, perhaps one night and do something while you are there that takes part of the load off them.
I would stop blaming them for the move as well, because it does come across very strongly indeed that you feel they make your life difficult. I'm not sure what the answer to that is but you do seem to resent them for it and that may come across IRL (I'm wondering if this is the cause of the martyr comment).
Sorry, no easy answers to this one OP.
Could it be the less keen parent is shattered from caring for the other and the additional stress work and noise is just too much? Often the fitter carer is at the end of their strength and needs a break but feelings like duty and worrying about others being able to meet the partners needs make them soldier on quietly with outbursts on totally unrelated things. They often hide their own health problems too.
Can you offer them a break, either a day off while you stay home or an overnight at yours while you do the caring, it may not be accepted purely because of feelings mentioned above but it would show some understanding. Do you get time to ask them how they are coping or is it all about how is x, we must look after x's needs? Or is it about your own issues and how much you need the support?
My situation is a mirror image of yours.
Was the not so keen parent once loving and keen? Or have they always avoided you and dc?
If they were loving before and now are no longer, then I would hazard a guess that this is due to ill health, age and exhaustion looking after the other parent and themselves. Under these circumstances it would be difficult but not impossible to move away given they have tried so hard to support you.
If the not so keen has always been not so keen, and hasn’t supported you beyond what was pushed on them. I would consider carefully the value of staying locked into your situation.
Underneath all of this there is one single thing that strikes me. Where is your life in all of this ‘care’ and responsibility? Where would you choose to live given the choice, after all your life will continue long after theirs. It strikes me you need to build up a life, friends and a happy life of your own and not just living out an extension of their life choices by default.
I also wonder what the true motivation was of getting you to live close by, their support of you? Or your support of them in declining health........
Start with restricting visits to a few hours only. No overnight stays.
Start considering the much bigger picture before it is too late.
Springwalk excellent post.
OP please check everyone is getting their full benefits for caeing for others, disability etc. Go to an independent advice centre. They night be able to tell you.
E.g. when my mum got older and ill she got a xarers allowance to spend on her care. Not a lot but enough to lighten the load a bit.
My friend has a child with a hidden disability, she got a small allowance.
These things might mean you can all afford more things to make life better. O know it is a long shot bit worth looking into.
Would you consider moving back to the area you lived in before? That all sounds like a nightmare of guilt.
it's probably a lot more than one parent wanting more peace. How do your visits impact the unwell parent? They want to see you but are they more ill after you leave? Is the fitter parent feeling the strain and also seeing a deterioration in the health of the ill person?
Are these both your biological parents?
I would encourage the fitter parent out for a few hours when you visit so they could have a break, perhaps even to stay overnight at your home.
It certainly sounds like the best solution would be to move back to your original area where you have support, friends, transport, social opportunities etc. The present set up isn’t working for you or your parents. Surely it would be possible to find a job back there that would at least cover the rent on a modest flat? Your teens will also want to be in an area where they have transport and a social life - they definitely won’t want to hang out with grandpa at weekends.
@Italiangreyhound - read back what the OP has written - she stays with them from Friday night until Sunday night - she is picked up and dropped off, there is limited public transport, it is rural - the parent is also fetching and carrying for a disabled spouse, there are no trips other than to hospital/GPs. The endless cycle of people being reliant you you is wearing, demorilising - open your eyes @italian , read some other threads about carers ground down with bo respite or support.
Everyone else on this thread seems to 'get it'.
Stop singling me out, please. I am interested on the OPs situation. I am not suggesting she visits every weekend. I am suggesting she thinks of her own situation. She sounds unhappy and maybe she can change things. She certainly does-t need to go every weekend.
@italian - well you were thone who got the snark and singled me out. So if you could kindly get back in your box and I'll ignore you too. Cheers.
I think other PP have got it. The unkeen parent is struggling as it is and overwhelmed by additional guests and taxi service requirements. Their own physical and mental health may also be compromised.
As your own DC get older their social life with their friends will be important at weekends, seeing Grandparents, possibly less so.
Forgive me OP as I have no idea of your, or your DC’s disabilities, but you appear to live independently except for the driving. Are you able to offer your parents any practical assistance when you visit to help them out? Or could you or DC do some cooking or pay for a take-away perhaps?
Basically, what could you do within the limits of your own health, to ease the burden on your parent?
the nature of disabilities may mean op is unable to drive even if wanted to or learnt
so is the keen grandparent whom is also disabled themselves driving to get you or the other parent?
the nature of disabilities may mean op is unable to drive even if wanted to or learnt
OP hasn't said that though, just that she didn't need to before.
'Who is looking after the parent who is doing all the fetching, carrying, running round after a three generation family, all with additional needs? I assume they are the driver ? So they are at everyone beck and call.'
I'm going back reading and answering now but just to add that no one is running around for me at all. I do everything myself as you would expect! Apart from the pick up and drop off which the disabled parent does.
If I offer not to come or to make our own way there it is the non keen parent who calls me a martyr and states that the keen parent will be upset.
The driver is actually the disabled ill person (the disability has come with age and a developing medical condition rather than born with disabilities if that makes a difference)
and they are fully self sufficient although clearly poorly at present despite being disabled but obviously this may change.
If anything they do all the shopping, running around in the car, hospital trips, taking the non keen parent to appointments etc.
While there I offer constantly to cook, I clean up after us all, I hoover, do odd jobs for them. I definitely don't add work for them.
It's not something that has occurred over the last few weeks. It's just the kids have picked up on it the last few weeks as the keen parent was vocal about being annoyed about us leaving at 8am.
The non keen parent is great in many ways but not so much on a practical or emotional basis. I don't think they ever have been thinking about it.
I think it's become more prominent recently because they are more vocal about it even to the point of being glad when the keen parent isn't in the house. I don't know how much of it is also the children aren't cute little kids tottering round the house after them but hulking teens.
If they were requiring care i would absolutely understand as I unintentionally as I lived the closest ended up as near enough the sole carer for my Grandmother for three years until she passed away while dealing with my own health issues and my children. As the only child this will be my duty again with my parents shortly at a guess . This is what has prevented me moving back. They are both getting on and will need someone to help sooner rather than later.
We go home at 8am Sunday not Sunday night as someone has commented. I'm happy to do less.
There's a reason I don't drive related to my own health.
OP what do you think is the state of your parent's relationship?
I'm wondering if the keen parent with the disabilities is finding life with the other parent tough if their life has got smaller.
Ali tbh I don't think it's been great for years. Due to a major life event some years ago they have both suffered with depression in the past and I have memories of being younger than my children now and the less keen parent talking about divorcing them if they had had the opportunity.
In honesty the keen disabled parent is from what I witness good to the other parent. They ferry them everywhere, collect from events, pay for trips they can't go on so the other parent doesn't miss out, constantly buy treats and if there's anything the other parent wants and they have the cash they will get it for them but they have had depression which hasn't made them easy to live with I suspect. They both have had depression.
If your keen disabled parent (ie your mum) can drive to pick you up.
there is no reason she can’t spend the weekend at your house rather than you all going to non keen parents... surely this is a better result?
there is no reason she can’t spend the weekend at your house
OP has already said that this isn't possible due to stairs and mobility problems.
Ah I missed the the second floor and steps. bit
That sounds tough for all of you.
Do you think the keen parent would want a change or are they at peace with the situation? Could they be persuaded to discuss the issues with someone outside of the family?
In terms of your own situation, I think might need to put yourself and your needs first, but in doing so might actually be better placed to help your parent/s.
Sorry to hear about this OP. I have faced a similar problem with my parents. I am assuming that the keen parent is your mum (although may be wrong). It seems to me anecdotally that a lot of men get less patient as they get older and less keen on having their children's families over regularly/prefer their own space.
I only see my parents every 6 months or so as they live abroad. I used to see my mum much more regularly as she came over loads whilst my dad didn't. Now she is too sick to come over, I go over as often as I can recently quite a bit as she is very ill). I love my dad but know he is always going to be happier on his own with her (and its nothing personal) - when I go there I just ignore the deep sighs etc because I want to see my mum and I know it makes her happy and he can just lump it/go out.
I'm not so sure about your situation because of how regular the contact is, I might have an honest conversation with her, tell her how much you love seeing her but you think he needs his space (and kids might also) so cut it down to every other week (but not too much as you'll regret it if you don't spend time with her when you have the opportunity.
You might just have to "grow a pair" and say your kids can't spend every full weekend with grandparents they need to do hobbies, see friends, do schoolwork, chill in their own home etc.
Sometimes in life we have to have these difficult conversations.
You need to ask yourself the question about where you and dc happiest?
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