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Supporting elderly parents who were insistent on 'enjoying retirement'

(1000 Posts)
Keeg Tue 02-Apr-19 07:31:44

NC in case I get slaughtered...

When my kids were young we could have really done with GP help, but there were very much (as is most of mumsnet!) of the school off thinking ‘we’re done raising kids’. I coped, I raised children and I knew it was my responsibility... but I’ll admit I had some
Unvoiced resentment. DH and I had similar jobs to them, but a higher level, but we never had been able to access the housing etc they had due to the much higher childcare and housing costs. They’ve lived nearby in great affluence whilst their grandchildren were wearing second hand, a bit overcrowded etc. Obviously not their problem, but on the flip side they had great capacity to help and didn’t chose to exercise it. They probably spent 6k-12k on holidays a year, whereas 1k for us would have meant for example being able to run a car.

They didn’t offer childcare bar very very occasional inconvenient seeings, for example 1-2pm on Saturday, wanting them dropped off and at a time of day with heavy traffic (turning an 8min drive into a 40min) and meaning there was no time to do anything else. I remember an occasion my son had a last minute amazing opportunity and they couldn’t help by watching his sister (I later found out it was because she wanted to go and see a film at the cinema, 15 min walk away and on for months multiple times a day). They retired pre 60 with big lump sums and pensions, very active and able. No issue with health.

I left them to it, never commented, it’s their life. But I’ll admit I was underneath jealous of every friend who seemed to have GP helping. BUT they are now older, they are needing support and I’m not feeling at all warm in rearranging my life to give it. For example dad can’t drive right now, temporary due to an OP, and he wants hospital lifts. I feel like saying ‘get a cab’ because of all the times I wished for help. It’s hugely local, and I being petty? Or have others felt like this. In the long run, although I get on with them, I don’t feel like every offering to let them move in. They didn’t help their parents (who did offer childcare). I guess I feel a bit heartless but a bit ‘you made your bed, now lie in it’. Being nice I think, we’ll they obviously raised me as a child, but then on the other hand I think their expectations were that links stopped at 18. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t feel hugely bonded to them either and more like people not related that get on

Sirzy Tue 02-Apr-19 07:35:47

Sounds a bit tit for tat and offering help shouldn’t be based on what you get (or got) in return

That said you are no more obliged to help them than they where you so do what feels right

ShitAtScarbble Tue 02-Apr-19 07:36:58

You probably will get slaughtered - such is the nature of AIBU - but I get it. When all is said and done you reap what you sow and it sounds to me like they were a pair of selfish fucks who actively chose not to help you out when it would have been so easy for them. Yes yes, before it starts, everyone knows they didn't HAVE to but that's not really the point is it.
I completely understand how you feel OP and I'd make myself unavailable most of the time. Help sometimes but that's all.

GirlRaisedInTheSouth Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:01

The baby boomer generation will go down in history as the most entitled generation ever.

We’re similar to you, OP. I work 16 hours a day, DH works 12. In spite of this we will never be able to afford to get on the property ladder. And we get no help at all from anyone.

It does make me angry, particularly when I hear about the ‘sacrifices’ that people made years ago to buy their own homes. Yeah right, fuck off.

TreadingThePrimrosePath Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:17

No, that sounds reasonable to me, and I write as someone supporting two elderly parents quite intensively. You could choose to help in emergencies, but if the GPS have the capacity, they should be encouraged to be as independent as possible for as long as possible.
Then they can buy in quality care as and when requred.
Don’t get pulled in by guilt and the expectations of others.

TirisfalPumpkin Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:44

No slaughtering from me. I think continuing the status quo of friendly and slightly distant is probably the way to go. Neither of you are wrong. They sound a bit self-centred, you sound nice and reasonable, or else you wouldn’t be asking.

EL8888 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:58

Not being petty. They can’t have it both ways, even though they clearly want it. You said they don’t have any financial worries, they can get a taxi to appointments. My mother has taken great pleasure in telling me she will never babysit and she wouldn’t want grandchildren to stay at her house. If we are to visit from the other end of the country, then we would need to get a B&B, Airbnb or hotel. She only has a 3 bedroom house 🤔. Fine, l won’t be assisting her much in her twilight years.

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Apr-19 07:40:53

YANBU. They have the money to pay for help, just as you were told to pay for help with the children.

idontknowwhattosay Tue 02-Apr-19 07:42:01

I understand your point and to be honest i would feel the same.
My parents haven't seen my family in 8 months, they never have time, even over Christmas..but yesterday my dad called to ask me a favour of a lift to the airport. He got told no.
MY only question would be, Can you see yourself regretting your decision in the future?

BeanBag7 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:43:20

I probably would help them in order to "be the bigger person". But the help would be limited. A couple of hospital lifts, ok. A hospital lift at 9am during rush hour, sorry you'll have to get a taxi. A hospital lift when you have other plans, sorry you'll have to get a taxi.
I definitely wouldn't be offering for them to live with you. I get on really well with my parents and they are really great with my daughter but I would never want them to live in my house.

CKCSQ Tue 02-Apr-19 07:44:28

So they didn’t help their own parents when they were elderly. They have never taken an interest in your children let alone offered to help or babysit (ever?!), just wanted to see them on their own terms and to their own timetable. They have plenty of money and have had a really nice life.

I don’t think you’re wrong to leave them to it. On one hand I wouldn’t do a single thing for them that inconveniences you or makes you change a plan. If you can help easily and infrequently you might want to just to be nice, but it doesn’t sound like you owe them much.

On the other, what did they do for you as a child? Did your education come at a cost to them? Did they sacrifice careers or holidays or freedoms for your hobbies and needs or did they just carry on regardless? Looking at what they did or didn’t do for you as a child might also inform how much you feel you should help them now.

Babygrey7 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:45:24

Surely they can afford taxis

Help when it's convenient for you, but I would not go out of my way to be helpful in this scenario

Saying that, I never felt that my parents owed me anything (money or help)

LL83 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:45:35

Why did you take them over for one hour at unsuitable times? I would have said "traffic is busy you can have them at xx or come here"
"Why did my son miss opportunity because you went to cinema??? I am hurt you dont care enough to postpone an hour"

The time to address those issues has passed. What you do now is up to you, asking them to get a cab they can afford is not unreasonable. But when you can manage a lift I would.

GoGoGadgetGin Tue 02-Apr-19 07:45:58

You are absolutely not being unreasonable! I'd just say sorry am busy, and no explanation. Agree with above the boomer generation is in my experience intrinsically selfish, however has this belief that as post war babies that they had it the hardest ever!

MIdgebabe Tue 02-Apr-19 07:46:23

It’s not terribly fair to compare their affluence at 60 to your difficulties much younger. As children did they wear second hand coats and live in crowded accommodation? How old were they when they actually bought a house? If so they may see your life as being just like theirs was, but with more stuff and activities that they could ever have dreamt of at your age.Makes you sound bitter and jealous

Ignoring that, there is no obligation to help anyone especially someone who you feel has not been there when you needed them. Yes they looked after you as a child, but they chose to have children.

Bagpuss5 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:47:49

Hospital trips are an absolute chore imv. People become obsessed with their health issues, it is all they talk about (usually disgruntledly as they didn't get the medication/ sympathy/ expensive tests they expected). You have to sit around hot hospital, you have to waste time touring the car park for a space - it's a chore and really people (barring being totally unfit enough to achieve it) should get on with it. Hospital tests, ops are part of ageing now (barring cancer etc) and people need to find their own way there (assuming family don't have hours of time on their hands).
Make it obvious to DF that this is difficult for you due to other commitments but as it is possibly a one off until he drives again do this one trip.

user1471462428 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:49:32

Really agree with you. My parents are like this. I’m on my knees with tiredness and they just comment but never help. I’m stuck in a abusive relationship and am desperately trying to find a way financially to get out. They regularly have 4-5 holidays in a year, cinema trip, weekends away and nice things. I will of course care for them when they need help but it will be tinged with sadness that they have missed out on so much of my children’s lives.
I plan to support my children as much as is possible, I struggled to conceive them and in my view every day spent with them is a bonus.

NabooThatsWho Tue 02-Apr-19 07:49:41

So they have chosen not to sacrifice and any time or money to help you out when it would have been easy for them to do it. Fine, their choice.

So don’t feel guilty for treating them as they have treated you.

You weren’t asking for hours of regular childcare, just the occasional bit of help when you were really stuck. I know the MN mantra seems to be ‘you chose to have children, don’t expect GPs to ever help’ but I think families should help out occasionally/in emergencies when they can. Being selfish comes back to bite you on the ass when you get elderly.

UnderMajorDomoMinor Tue 02-Apr-19 07:50:44

Sounds reasonable to me. Emergencies - yes; otherwise - no. If you’re free and willing fine but if you have work/kids then that’s enough reason why it’s a ‘no’.

Awrite Tue 02-Apr-19 07:51:26

Well, my parents help/helped me hugely but they won't be moving in. Also, I work full-time so hospital lifts not possible.

I'll help out in ways I can but right now raising my kids comes first. My parents wouldn't have it any other way.

womandear Tue 02-Apr-19 07:51:41

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Don’t usually do quotes but this one is so true. I’d help them out on the basis that it’s the decent thing to do, you can, they’re elderly, and they are still your parents even if they didn’t help you as much as you would have liked.
There’s still time to repair your relationship with them if you choose to. In the meantime - take your dad to the hospital. It’s not just about getting a free lift, he may be feeling vunerablenand would prefer to not have a stranger take him. You’ll get the chance to chat. I would do this for an elderly neighbour, or any neighbour actually if I could.
I think you already know the answer to your own question and there’s a big jump between giving him a lift and offering for them to move in. You can do one without the other.

WipeYourFeetOnTheRhythmRug Tue 02-Apr-19 07:52:15

No way. Don’t give in. They set the tone for your relationship, keep following that. If they can afford that much on holidays surely they will have some tucked away for home help and taxis etc.

dayswithaY Tue 02-Apr-19 07:52:26

This is my parents too. Fortunately they are still fit and healthy, no idea what I will do if and when that changes. I do know my DH has already said he's not happy about me being their carer after years of them living the good life and no offers of help to me when my children were small. I even got told once "Don't ask for childcare as we've got too much going on."

Alone and desperate one day with newborn and toddler I asked them to come over for some company. They said they couldn't as were planning on going for a drive. They ended up in a shopping centre buying a dressing gown. I know as they proudly showed me when I was at their house next. I started a new job and needed just one afternoon of childcare, Mum pulled a face and said "but what will I do with them all that time?"

Many, many other examples - I could write a book. Money splashed around on luxury holidays while I work for minimum wage. Anyway, trying not to think about the future. Hopefully they have made financial plans for old age but they have previously spent £20k on holidays. No real advice, you have to do what your conscience tells you. I have friends whose parents would give and do anything for their children - unlimited childcare, financial gifts, advice, support, companionship, emotional care, they are a tight unit. I have always had to stand alone but the one positive that has come out of this is that I will never be like this with my children. Ever. Oh and they had full support from their parents (my GPs) so not learned behaviour.

Tattletale Tue 02-Apr-19 07:55:06

I'm in a similar position as you OP. I will not be putting myself out to help either.

SpamChaudFroid Tue 02-Apr-19 07:56:48

They sound awful. Don't whatever you do let them move in with you.
From what you say, they should have plenty of funds available for care homes.

Iamtheworst Tue 02-Apr-19 07:57:02

My dm is quite clear that all the help she gives me is ‘money in the bank’ for when she’s old - she’s nothing if not practical although if she’d had a second child that would have been more efficient.
I don’t think your obliged to help or offer any explanation.

formerbabe Tue 02-Apr-19 08:00:38

I agree with you op.

My own parents are dead so I don't have to deal with this...but for a kind of comparison, my view is, I've missed out on having my parents around, the grimmest silver lining I've got is that I won't have elderly parents to look after. I do have several older relatives/plus mil who whilst are lovely to me and we get on, they haven't done huge amounts to help me or my dc, so quite frankly, I won't be doing any of the heavy lifting so to speak when the time comes.

VixenAbroad Tue 02-Apr-19 08:02:16

As someone who has similar parents, though my case is not as extreme, I think thats fair. I do help mine out and provide emotional support but financially they are way, way wealthier than I will ever be and can afford lots of paid help and care.

Their attitude has always been that their jobs and life are more important than mine and I needed to work round them. However as an adult I don't feel obliged to buy into that any more. I'd never be uncaring but equally won't reinforce their selfishness.

frazzledasarock Tue 02-Apr-19 08:03:01

If it doesn’t inconvenience you then I’d do it.

If it does inconvenience you then I’d say no.

You reap what you sow.

But then my parents were/are hideous people and I’ve no intention of taking responsibility for them in their old age.
They did teach me an amazing lesson on how not to parent.

KitKat1985 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:03:21

No slaughtering here OP. I have some family members who are very much like this. I won't be making massive efforts to help them in the future either.

No reason that I can see that your Dad can't get a cab to the hospital when he has an appointment.

Inliverpool1 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:04:35

Absolutely no way will I be lifting a finger to any of the GPs, we were helped a little financially by ex’s parents do if they ever needed money and I had it I would give them back what they gave us. But that’s it.

Singlenotsingle Tue 02-Apr-19 08:04:45

You're not heartless. You've been taught by example how to behave. You could help them occasionally but only if it's convenient. I certainly wouldn't go as far as letting them move in!
And who's going to benefit from all this money when they pop off? Don't be surprised if it all goes to the local cats home!

NabooThatsWho Tue 02-Apr-19 08:05:57

* they are still your parents even if they didn’t help you as much as you would have liked.*

Shame they didn’t use that same logic for themselves. They were grandparents but chose not to take on any responsibility to help, so why should OP just because they are her parents?

OohYeBelter47 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:06:57

That's sad when GP's are like that, what a missed opportunity. As others have said do the odd thing when not busy but keep it distant and amicable. You don't want to be cut out of their will... (terrible thing to say I know - but it could be life changing for you and maybe that's their justification to themselves, who knows).

Catcuriosity Tue 02-Apr-19 08:07:47

No flaming from me

We have a similar situation with PIL, except they spent all their time doing childcare for golden SIL and none for anyone else because SIL must always come first
But when they need something, SIL is the first to get in touch to discuss a rota to help them because apparently we need to share the load.

We had an absolute classic a few weeks ago. Golden SIL wanted to plan a ‘girls night out’ for MIL with me, her and nice SIL but on a night when nice SIL’s DH was working.
Golden SIL told, didn’t ask TOLD her that she couldn’t ask FIL to babysit as he had to be on standby for her DH in case he couldn’t cope alone with their DCs.

Funnily enough, the night of lavishing praise on MIL for everything she does for our families didn’t go ahead

storynanny Tue 02-Apr-19 08:08:16

That is so difficult for you, I know I’ve been there! My elderly parents died 2 years ago and as they lived 200 miles away I did a lot of travelling to and from in the last year or so.
They had the same attitotude to grand parenting as yours and I felt sad rather than annoyed. Looking back it was mother calling the shots and my dad just did as he was told. They were many times in the 80’s with young children when I had absolutely no money and was making pyjamas for my boys out of old bed sheets! And they buried their heads in the sand and chose to ignore it. Their choice though.
However, I could never act like that with my grandchildren, it has certainly made me more aware of what sort of help to offer and I do as much as I can to make my adult children’s lives easier.
Another however though! I certainly don’t expect the help I freely give now to be positively rewarded in my old(er!) age, I don’t think it works like that. I think it is just down to individual personalities, so just do whatever feels right for you.
That was a bit rambling! What I’m trying to say I suppose is that we are all so different, some want to help, some don’t.

ProfYaffle Tue 02-Apr-19 08:10:00

I'm in a similar situation with the in laws. I leave dh to do what he feels he needs to, I don't put myself out at all. Decide for yourself what your boundaries are in what you're prepared to do and stick to it. Polite but distant is the way to go.

Whereareyouspot Tue 02-Apr-19 08:10:15

YANBU at all
I completely understand how you feel and think you should stick to your guns here.

They can pay for care and taxis etc

You mr kids will be older and finally start to be a bit easier and why on earth should you spend their teenage years when you could be starting to get some free time again, ferrying your parents around

They also sound selfish and thoughtless

cassgate Tue 02-Apr-19 08:10:20

I can see your point of view but I am very much like your parents. My children are still teenagers but they have both been told by me that if and when they decide to have children that they will be their children not mine and as such their responsibility. I will of course offer the occasional babysitting service but will not be offering to take on childcare so they can work. I did not expect my children’s grandparents to do this either and I looked at the options and decided to give up work instead of paying to put them in a nursery. On the flip side I do not expect my children to look after me in old age either. Giving lifts to hospital appointments are a bit different though. Yes of course they could get a taxi but if you are available then why not. Think of all the times they gave you lifts here there and everywhere as a youngster and probably put their own lives on hold to do this. I know my own children’s social lives are far busier than mine at the moment and much of our time is spent waiting for the phone to ring with one of them asking to be picked up from somewhere. We do this freely and I would hope that the occasional lift will be forthcoming from them in the future should I need it. I would not expect it though.

MilkTrayLimeBarrel Tue 02-Apr-19 08:12:05

YABU - you chose to have children - why should your parents have to give up their lifestyle choices to look after your kids? Get a babysitter if you need to go out at short notice.

Sallycinammonbangsthedruminthe Tue 02-Apr-19 08:12:32

OP I pressume they have no guilt on how they chose to live their lives and thats have the right to the same slating from me either!

CigarsofthePharoahs Tue 02-Apr-19 08:13:35

If it is at a convenient time for you and you're not too tired then maybe consider helping.
Otherwise no. I'd be tempted to give similar replies as they have but I'm a bit petty like that!

SnuggyBuggy Tue 02-Apr-19 08:13:43

I wouldn't feel bad, if they have money for holidays they have money for taxis and carers. My DGF was 200 miles away and when he needed regular hospital appointments he just had to get on with it because there simply wasn't a relative to drive him or do his shopping.

AndOfCourseHenryTheHorse Tue 02-Apr-19 08:13:57

Yanbu. You will get some people saying you should rise above and be the bigger person etc. I obviously wouldn’t leave them in agony or refuse to advocate for them if I thought something terrible was happening to them. But, assuming they are safe and not being harmed, I would leave them to it. I do find the “I’ve earned my retirement. I’m going to enjoy it and leave my kids to it” crowd seriously entitled.

My grandparents and dh’s grandparents were not like that at all. They loved having their gcs to stay and were very involved.

But my surviving parent and dh’s parents have made it clear that we are way down their list of priorities. I don’t think it would come as a huge surprise to them, if we didn’t rearrange our lives to offer them daily care if they need it when they get older. Maybe some of the money they currently spend on £££££ holidays to SA, Caribbean etc could be saved up to pay towards their care later 🤷‍♀️.

I actually don’t even think they’d want us to provide their care when they’re older. I certainly can’t imagine them asking.

PurplePiePete Tue 02-Apr-19 08:14:40

I hear you. My mother has never once offered to look after her grandchildren let alone actually done it. She does polite interest for about half an hour then gets irritated by them. Conversely, she wants me to drive a two hour round trip to visit, take her to hospital etc etc. I was sent to boarding school weeks after my 9th birthday and she’s never really bothered to get to know me, but expects (after many years) a warm relationship which is hard to conjure out of thin air.
Do what you can do that you don’t end up feeling guilty on top of resentful but don’t be afraid to say no, not convenient you need to take a taxi this time. Letting them know why might not hurt - say that you feel that they didn’t help when you desperately needed it and they were able to.

Sitdownstandup Tue 02-Apr-19 08:15:06

I think there's a distinction between not wanting to do regular childcare as a grandparent, which is understandable, and refusing to step in so your grandchild can enjoy a significant, one-off opportunity because you want to go to the cinema, which is less so.

But anyway OP I think it's fine not to offer assistance for routine appointments.

AlphaNumericalSequence Tue 02-Apr-19 08:15:47

I think you would love to be able to accept that your resentment was unjust, because then you would be free of it. Take the plunge! Give up this poisonous emotion. Resentment is way more burdensome to cope with than childcare.

Your resentment seems completely unreasonable to me. Why would your decision to have children involve them in a commitment to provide childcare?

If you choose to see the support they need in old age in terms of a quid pro quo it would be more normal to think of it as payback for the care they gave you when you were a child, rather than as a return on their chipping in with caring for your own children.

But I don't think that the support they need now is the real issue: it just seems to be another hook on which to hang your resentment about your childcare obligations. I can't even begin to understand the massive sense of entitlement that is involved in thinking that your and your partner's decision to have children can turn other people into part-time care workers.

Disfordarkchocolate Tue 02-Apr-19 08:15:54

No criticism off me. Help in emergencies but no to regular help. This is the relationship they have built with you. Don't leave yourself with regrets but be clear that you need to keep working as you don't have the financial security they had at your age due to the high cost of renting and childcare. It won't be easy but that's the practical issue that won't change as its quite likely they will need their own funds to cover care homes etc.

hellotoyellow Tue 02-Apr-19 08:17:04

This is totally fine OP.

I would also explain why.

Nanny0gg Tue 02-Apr-19 08:17:53

The baby boomer generation will go down in history as the most entitled generation ever.


OP, I do sympathise. Speaking as a Baby Boomer who bends over backwards to help with my DC and DGC in whatever way I can, I think your parents were unkind. They could have had a balance between living their own lives and giving you a hand.
I don't think you should help (much) either.

littlenit Tue 02-Apr-19 08:18:01

I have a similar situation luckily FIL is very involved and loves helping us with kids. My advice let them do what they want and stop worrying about it, they won't change

pepperpot99 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:18:35

OP you are not BU. Your parents sound selfish and tight fisted tbh. Just tell your dad to use some of his mounds of cash to pay for taxis. Why should you be giving up your time for him? he's a hypocrite.

MariaNovella Tue 02-Apr-19 08:18:47

I agree that the Baby Boomer generation is extraordinarily entitled and doesn’t understand inter generational reciprocity.

HopefulAgain10 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:19:02

Yanbu op. They had many opportunities to help you or their own gc out which would have not put them out. And with their big fat payouts they could have done something tiny for you all. It's not tit for tat, they don't deserve extra care now that it benefits only them.

Nomorepies Tue 02-Apr-19 08:19:13

No you’re not being unreasonable at all. I totally get it! My parents do nothing for me and we’re low contact. They’ve caused so much damage and hurt me by not seeing my DC for months at a time. Now my mum who isn’t even 60 yet needs taking to the drs etc, I’m just letting my dad get on with it. Family goes both ways. Sounds like they think it’s ok not to bother with you but expect that you’ll dammed well wait on them because they’re old. Oh well they did you favour didn’t they, they saw you through childhood to adulthood so now you owe them! hmm

Don’t feel guilty and definitely don’t have them live with you, just do the minimum you’re comfortable with. They can afford taxis and home care so let them crack on.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 02-Apr-19 08:19:49

FiL had a stroke in September and has been living with us (with carers 4 times a day) since November. He died recently.

We have had so many people saying, “Wow I couldn’t do that,” and yes, at times it was grim. Though at times it was also lovely.

DH takes the view that FiL was an absolutely fantastic Dad to him and BiL; kind and loving and encouraging. When we moved to DH’s home town with a toddler and a newborn, FiL took the toddler out several mornings a week to give me a break, going outside his comfort zone and learning how to do nappies (which was a big thing for a Grandad 20 years ago). He carried on this pattern with all 4 of our kids and they all adored him. He was so proud of them.

FiL had a massive stroke of good fortune when his older brother, who had lived his life in utter frugality, amazingly left him £300k. He had never been rich himself. He immediately gave £100k to us and 100k to BiL.

So yeah, why wouldn’t we look after someone who has always been helpful and generous to us? It wasn’t a decision we agonised over. You reap what you sow.

Princessmushroom Tue 02-Apr-19 08:19:56

Wow you sound bitter.

They don’t owe you £1k to fix your car. They don’t owe you babysitting or childcare.

That said, I couldn’t let this drop. I would have to sit them down and tell them how much their actions hurt and how I’m finding it hard to assist them now.

Littleraindrop15 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:19:57

I honestly don't think you are being unreasonable.. I know relationships aren't about keeping score but it should be 50/50 in helping each other out. They can't expect people to bend themselves backwards and forwards if they aren't willing to do the same for you.

Troels Tue 02-Apr-19 08:19:57

YABU - you chose to have children - why should your parents have to give up their lifestyle choices to look after your kids? Get a babysitter if you need to go out at short notice

In this theme I'd say, you didn't choose to be born, if they need help they should have planned to pay for that too?

OP I'd do occasional lifts if I wasn't doing anything, but not book time off or change plans to help. They reap what they sew.
My mother is now elderly and still active, but I know she will need assistance eventually. I will help. However if she had acted the way the OP's parents did then chances are she'd have to sort it out and pay for others to care for her. Unless I wasn't busy myself.
I had more help from my mother than you OP and I lived 5000 miles away from her.

averythinline Tue 02-Apr-19 08:20:55

My key learning from slightly older friends with older parents who have been through this your energy/time/feelings of duty...for when there is a crisis and even then step back as quick as possible...

day to day stuff and going to appts is that should be encouraged to do them selves as much as possible .....

sorry am busy/at work/at childrens event - doesn't work for me

If there is a crisis - then you help as much as you can but step back as any service will assume/dump caring on any family member they can irrespective of feasibility (5ft MIL expected to assist6ft 18stone FIL after his stroke/hip replacement)

I woudl suggest your focus is your family you/DH/DC then your friends and support network and they get anything left you have capacity is important not to burn through your capacity too quickly and as for moving in ......NO is a complete sentence

SnuggyBuggy Tue 02-Apr-19 08:21:16

The other thing I've always noticed is how older people with family nearby become frail and dependent on other people to take them to the Drs far sooner than those who don't live near family.

OohYeBelter47 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:21:49

@cassgate not that I think you should have to give up work to provide childcare so they can work (if/when they have children) but you do sound pretty heartless saying you would do only 'occasional' babysitting.

I doubt my daughter will ever want children but if she did I'd want to support her. Probably because I never had any support myself to bring up my daughter and was a single parent, so I know how hard it can be.

Sitdownstandup Tue 02-Apr-19 08:22:01

If you choose to see the support they need in old age in terms of a quid pro quo it would be more normal to think of it as payback for the care they gave you when you were a child, rather than as a return on their chipping in with caring for your own children.

No it wouldn't. Parents make the decision to have children themselves, so children don't owe them payback for providing care.

Also, those of you talking about OP feeling entitled to assistance with her own children are missing the point rather. That ship has evidently already sailed, as she talks about when they were young children in the past tense. It's about whether OP should offer assistance now.

justilou1 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:22:32

I would help - occasionally - if it is convenient....

But I wouldn’t change plans or go out of my way. And if something better, more interesting or more convenient comes up, I wouldn’t hesitate to change their plans at short notice and tell them to get a cab either.

AndOfCourseHenryTheHorse Tue 02-Apr-19 08:23:50

I think there's a distinction between not wanting to do regular childcare as a grandparent, which is understandable, and refusing to step in so your grandchild can enjoy a significant, one-off opportunity because you want to go to the cinema, which is less so.

There is. But I think the op is merely pointing out that they could have done more to help and chose not to. That’s something they have to live with and if it means they don’t get in return what they never gave in the first place, (mildly inconveniencing themselves so that their children wouldn’t struggle), that’s a consequence they have to live with.

I know that “regular childcare” is a dirty word, (two words... phrase?), among Mumsnet gps, but actually, I see no reason why, barring ill health, anyone would choose to insist their dc shell out for childcare they can’t easily afford, if they were able to have their gcs one day a week or so. Obviously nobody is OBLIGATED to do that, but I do not understand people who balk and clutch their pearls at the very idea. ME?! Do childcare once a week?! What about me ‘olidays angry?!

You retire from work, but I do not understand people who think this means they have retired from being part of a family. And then they complain that they aren’t included, visited, don’t get to see their gc enough. Really, what do they expect? I’m talking about the extreme here, not your average, sensible grandparent.

Nobody should force a gp to do regular, or otherwise, childcare, but nor should anyone force a dc to provide care for their parents when they get elderly. It’s not tit for tat, it’s just applying the same logic to a different situation.

SpamChaudFroid Tue 02-Apr-19 08:24:47

YABU - you chose to have children - why should your parents have to give up their lifestyle choices to look after your kids?

Using that same argument, why should OP have to give up her lifestyle choices to look after their aging parents?

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 02-Apr-19 08:24:52

Sadly, they sound exactly like my parents.
Jobs for life straight from college, first house was a new build, retired at 50 and 55, several holidays a year, very little babysitting.
They've never had the kids for an overnight stay but offered inconvenient things like they will have one of them overnight but not both hmm.
And yet they go on about how tough life is.

Middlrm Tue 02-Apr-19 08:25:16

I do sympathise with your situation, In terms of you had little help when needed.

But is the illness something that makes them feel vulnerable? For an example?
If they are being tested for cancer or some multitude of issues they may need a little hand holding , you are within your rights to say no. But you sound like a nice person and guilt is a cruel master.

I wouldn’t move heaven and earth for them in all scenarios but in some it’s a little greyer x

stepup123 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:25:16

I don't think you are being unreasonable. I can completely empathise with your situation. My parents sound very similar.

Accountant222 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:25:30

I totally understand your point of view and given the same circumstances I wouldn't be offering any help, they've probably got enough money to pay someone to help them.

ApolloandDaphne Tue 02-Apr-19 08:26:28

I think what people are saying about baby boomers is not true for everyone. I am a baby boomer. DH and i were able to buy a house young and have done well financially due to DHs career choices. We have assisted my FIL to move closer to us now he is very elderly and frail and i although my DPs are still able to manage by themselves i am there to support them as required. We are also close to our 2 adult DDs and support them also where's emotionally or financially. We understand how lucky we have been and are happy to help out where we can with n o massive feelings of obligation or guilt.

OP your parents have made their bed, they need to lie in it. Keep a level of emotional detachment and don't be sucked in. Your DP clearly have sufficient money to get transport to appointments, and in the future, buy in services.

AndOfCourseHenryTheHorse Tue 02-Apr-19 08:27:01

YABU - you chose to have children - why should your parents have to give up their lifestyle choices to look after your kids?

So did the grandparents. That doesn’t stop, just because the children become adults. Especially when these particular grandparents are enjoying the perks that some of the baby boomer generation have been very fortunate to enjoy, while the op has struggled to raise her family.

AndOfCourseHenryTheHorse Tue 02-Apr-19 08:27:38

I think what people are saying about baby boomers is not true for everyone

Absolutely. We shouldn’t generalise.

Strugglingmum73 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:28:02

I do get it but they are your parents. They raised you and did all the running around for you as a child/teen.
I know you feel resentful snd I understand why but I think you may regret this when they are gone if you don’t help them now when they need it.

ThePittts Tue 02-Apr-19 08:28:28

Only help on your terms, set yourself some guidelines and don't go beyond. Maybe help with finding a cleaner/gardener etc for them to take the load off them. Obviously emergencies are different but day to day you have your life and your family, which must come first.

FamilyOfAliens Tue 02-Apr-19 08:28:38

OP I agree it must be annoying but why are you blaming them for your childcare issues?

You must have had an inkling they wouldn’t be providing childcare when you chose to have children. Or if you didn’t, you should have asked them, then you would have been able to adjust your expectations with no resentment.

ivykaty44 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:29:16

Sounds like you need to explain your resentment, explain that as you weren’t offered help or understanding whilst raising your children, that you don’t feel like offering support & assistances in return now they need it. That doesn’t mean to say you don’t help but that it is begrudgingly as it wasn’t offered from them and for you it’s a bitter pill to swallow but out of duty you will - if that’s what you want.

I was very fortunate and had help, we help each other and still do. But communication is a big part of that

Did you ever tell your parents you needed some help? Was assistance refused?

SoupDragon Tue 02-Apr-19 08:29:19

You can't really compare choosing to have children and getting old.

Accountant222 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:29:51

I'm of the baby boomer generation, please don't tar us all with the same brush

Contraceptionismyfriend Tue 02-Apr-19 08:30:18


Disfordarkchocolate Tue 02-Apr-19 08:30:58

I agree we shouldn't generalise lots of middle-aged people/women face a reality of having had children older than their parents and having parents live far longer than their grandparents did. It's a reality many of today's pensioners didn't face.

Margot33 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:31:01

I'm in the same situation as you. I have to live with my choices, so I give lifts to health appointments but rearrange many of them to suit me as I have two children. But i don't take them to social events as I have enough running around to do with my children. When they die i don't want to be feeling guilty. I face time them twice a week and visit properly once a fortnight. I know that they are safe, warm, fed and loved.

SandyY2K Tue 02-Apr-19 08:31:05


Even though my parents live in a different city, my DM would take time off and come to help if I needed her. She would do that at her own expense.

Which means now that she and DF need some support, I gladly help along with my siblings.

She stayed for a month to help when I had each of my DC.

If they weren't helpful, I wouldn't feel the need to go out of my way now.

I think parents would do good to remember that.

ILoveAllRainbowsx Tue 02-Apr-19 08:31:33

I am a grandparent who does help financially (quite substantially) but cannot spare time (I have a demanding job and hobbies I love).

I do not expect my children to help me in my old age. They have their own lives to lead and their own families to support.

Contraceptionismyfriend Tue 02-Apr-19 08:32:07

YANBU. Car a lot less. You have your life that you have built and I'm assuming you get a bit more freedom now your children are older. Enjoy it!!

If they ask for a lift etc I would hoe slyly day you can't as you're going out for coffee.
Ignore their requests and keep the exact relationship that they designed over the years.

This is now your time to enjoy your life.

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 02-Apr-19 08:32:40

Yanbu. They’ve stood by and watched you struggle. My parents haven’t done any babysitting etc but they recognised they weren’t (because they still work) and helped me out after I left abusive exH but paying for a cleaner and for babysitters etc.

Elizabeth2019 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:33:03


Like others have said, help when and if you feel able to do so. They are your parents and you might regret completely not helping.

Familial ties do not outweigh bad behaviour.

EmeraldShamrock Tue 02-Apr-19 08:33:34

Yanbu. You get from people what you invest in people, it works both ways.
I get they are aging, they'll need to employ help.
Ny parents lean on me so much, they were always there to help so I don't mind as much, it is tough, I can't imagine doing it, if they were selfish with me.

echt Tue 02-Apr-19 08:33:52

Tell them to drive themselves. You don't like them much. Get on with your life.

And don't forget to pay it forward to your own children, like an insurance policy, so they'll have your back in later. Or maybe they won't, they might remember it differently, see you as unsupportive when you thought you were being OK.

You need to explain your feelings at the very least, they might be surprised.

YABU to name change so as not to get flamed.

Sosayi Tue 02-Apr-19 08:34:10

I think you reap what you sow
My mum and dad were incredibly helpful with my DS when he was a child
They would have him at a drop of a hat for any reason. I could go on last minute holidays and my parents were always happy to have him
Same for my sister and her kids. None of us had to pay for childcare
Now my parents are older. Multiple illnesses mobility problems and my mum has dementia and Alzheimer’s and my dad is her career .
So I’ve done loads for them.
Arranged for a free disabled bathroom to be installed. Got them a blue badge each and a disabled parking space
Did the forms for attendance allowance so they get around £175 a week extra so they get over 2k a month including their pensions Arranged for new central heating to installed for them
I do all the admin for them like dealing with social services and other professionals
I arranged for my my mum to get a free place 3 times a week at a day. Center so that my dad gets a break
I organised them getting a will done .
I see them at least 3 times a week and when I can’t my DH will pop in and see them and make sure they are ok
I ring them every day just to check that they are ok
I often take them in little treats like cakes and pasty’s and once a week I get them a fish and chip supper 😂 and I go on holiday with them once a year .
I also clean their house for them when I can and generally just keep them ticking over
Because they are lovely kind hearted people and I don’t mind helping them out

Cecedrake8989 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:34:22

I think it's very reasonable. They didn't help you so you don't help them. It seems very simple. Yes they raised you as a child but I really don't feel that means you owe them anything - they CHOSE to have children so the very least they could do is raise you. That was their job. You don't have any duty to them and if you're not close and they didn't help you then don't help them! I wouldn't. You clearly still have some resentment about their behaviour and helping them will make this worse so just don't worry - they didn't worry about you or your children.

Needallthesleep Tue 02-Apr-19 08:34:54

My parents sound very similar to yours, and while mine are still fit and healthy, I would have exactly the same resentment that you do.

Recently I was parenting alone for a week while my DH was away with work. I became very unwell during that week, and could have really done with a bit of help. When I told my parents they basically said ‘tough luck’.

foxstar3 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:36:21

Do not help

We have x4 sets of selfish spend spend spend GPs.

The 'best' one actually said to me last week 'grandparents don't help any more' when I asked if there was any way she could come up to come one evening she bought us an 'experience voucher' for Xmas for.

Unbelievable perfect health 60yr. Sees grandkids for 2h per month.

Stuff them.

Isitteayourlookingfor Tue 02-Apr-19 08:38:02

Yanbu in the slightest. I wouldn’t help and I wouldn’t feel guilty about it either

AndOfCourseHenryTheHorse Tue 02-Apr-19 08:38:59

You can't really compare choosing to have children and getting old.

It’s not a direct comparison, but the op is their child. They ‘chose’ to have her and when she really needed help, they declined to provide it, despite being more than able to. Now they may really need help. I would not be providing it in the same circumstances, above what I’ve already said; if I thought they were genuinely unsafe, in agony etc. The same way I would care for a stranger or an animal. I wouldn’t leave them to truly suffer, but I would not behave like their child as they did not treat me as their child when they left me to “sort you own childcare. I’m going on me ‘olidays wahay”!

BackinTimeforBeer Tue 02-Apr-19 08:39:26

OP I totally see where you are coming from. Mil said the same thing to sil and now in old age expects an enormous amount of care - dh and I thankfully do not live close to either of our parents because mine despite not explicitly saying they wouldn't help were no better.
I really don't get the whole - they are your kids, we've done our child rearing but if you are going to have that attitude then you shouldn't expect help in old age.
I do plan to help my kids with looking after their kids because I know how hard it was without support and I want to get to know my GC, we get on better than my family did anyway.

Rumbletum2 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:40:06


I’d tell them to jog on and I’d tell them why.

TixieLix Tue 02-Apr-19 08:40:09

I came here to empathise with the OP and ended up saddened that all Baby Boomers are being generalised as selfish. I just scrape into the end of the BB period but I do loads to help my two DDs and will continue to do so when they leave home and have their own children as long as my health (and finances) allow. I'd much rather spend money on them than on myself. However, I think my own upbringing has a lot to do with how I now am. My own DPs were incredibly generous with their time. They provided free childcare several days per week when each of my two DDs were born and my DF was always playing taxi ferrying my kids around when I needed help. Because of this, when my DF was dying, I was only too happy to take some time off work to help care for him in his final months. I'll do the same for my DM should the need arise.

As for the OP, I totally get where you're coming from. I'd agree with what some others have suggested - do the occasional favour when it suits you to do so, just to keep things amicable, but don't put yourself out. Your DP weren't bothered about saying "sorry I can't do that", so you shouldn't feel bad doing the same.

mclaleli Tue 02-Apr-19 08:40:41

I am a bit torn on this one.

Posters are saying they didn't do anything for you so why would you for them, but they did do their bit for you, they just didn't extend it to your children.

However I think that helping elderly parents has to come from a good place, a close place, not a sense of duty, so if you don't have that relationship anyway, then it's probably right not to help.

That said, I'm NC with one parent so they have no chance, but the other parent, I would do absolutely anything for. I'm in the position now of becoming more involved with the care of a grandparent, but we have a very close relationship so I can't imagine not doing it, even though they never looked after my DC.

It's a hard one.

Babyhumps Tue 02-Apr-19 08:41:05

YANBU. You don't owe them anything because they raised you, they are your parents. You reap what you sow. If they're so loaded, they can sort themselves out with their massive pot of cash. One of our set of parents is the same... We have a disabled DC and have really struggled this past few years. No help or visits from them.. They are going to get a big bloody shock if they think they're going to get any help from us when they're incapacitated.

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