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Grandparents providing childcare

(224 Posts)
Miggins Sun 02-Dec-07 20:40:48

Am I being unreasonable to feel hurt that my Mum does not want to look after my two children, aged 1 and 3, for one afternoon a week whilst I am at work? She lives 20 minutes drive away and is retired, fit, healthy, young at heart.

I know that in society today it is easy to expect grandparents to take on childcare of their grandchildren when they are perfectly within their rights to wish to enjoy their retirement at a leisurely pace without having to be tied to a regular childcare commitment, however, that said I still feel that she is being unreasonable.

Am I being unreasonable???? What do other grandparents do for you Mumsnetters?

moondog Sun 02-Dec-07 20:42:31

There seems such a gulf between those that put their own lives aside for their kids and those who do fuck all.

Maybe she doesn't want to be tied to a particular time and date every week?
It's a bit sad,but there you go.One can't really expect anything.

TheAntiCod Sun 02-Dec-07 20:42:59

my mil wishes i;d return to work so she could look after ds. i don't know how could i have it really.

TheAntiCod Sun 02-Dec-07 20:43:26

that's how GOOD i hav it.

Twiglett Sun 02-Dec-07 20:43:35

they're your kids I'm afraid, if she doesn't want to, she doesn't want to and you have no right to feel any way about it really

although I appreciate the annoyance and irritation at the fact .. you're not alone having parents who don't help / don't wish to help

doesn't matter what other grandparents do .. it is immaterial

bonkerzaboutxmas Sun 02-Dec-07 20:43:53

I only have a MIL and TBH i wouldnt expect her to look after my DCs. Infact i get told off for not asking her to help out with DCs but thats because i think grandchildren should be enjoyed and that grandparents should not be relied on. Can you not find a childminder? nursery? Would be alot less stress and also what would happen if your mum was poorly and couldnt have DCs? Using family as childcare just creates problems TBH

biglips Sun 02-Dec-07 20:44:13

YABU as my mum hadnt minded my DD since the Summer holidays started this year. She used to look after my DD one day a week before she started her part time job.

I think it this way...my mum had spent nearly 20 yrs looking after me before i left home so i want mum to enjoy life now so now its my turn to look after my kids

LoveAngelGabriel Sun 02-Dec-07 20:44:37

YANBU to feel hurt and to wish things were different. Ultimately it's your mum's choice though, but you already know that.

Twiglett Sun 02-Dec-07 20:45:25

I thnk it's unfair to say those who do 'fuck all' tbh

Parents bring up their own children, it is their decision how much involvement they have in the raising of their grandchildren

Now I'm pretty damn sure I'd want to look after my own grandchildren but I don't have the right to say my parents do 'fuck all' because they don't

Tommy Sun 02-Dec-07 20:46:25

I agree with Twiglett.

I think YABU to expect her to look after them. My Mum looks after my children on an ad hoc basis (I am a SAHM) and I ask her if I need someone but don't assume she always will.

LIZS Sun 02-Dec-07 20:49:14

I think the majority of us now can't depend on gp's for regular childcare be it due to distance, health or other commitments (ie work or social). YABU to assume yours should be different.

Ineedacleaner Sun 02-Dec-07 20:50:27

Yes sorry I kinda think you are.
I know it is hurtful and hard when you are in this situation. The thing is that even when it is only one day a week the realtionship between grandmother and gc changes when it is a regular care situation and I can understand her not wanting that to change. Grandshildren should be enjoyed, my mum and MIL have done their bit and I am glad they get to enjoy my dc's on an ad hoc basis rather than regularly.
Also it is a big commitment to give up one day a week and my parents are young fit and healthy and they do find it more tiring now having my children for an afternoon than they did us.

Also you say your mum is retired she has brought up her children and now has no job so it is time for her to enjoy ehr own time.

pippylongstockings Sun 02-Dec-07 20:51:44

One afternoon a week doesn't sound to much to ask to me.

But I am lucky, my mum used to do a 40min drive for me one day a week when my ds1 needed extra childcare as I changed jobs. We now live 15min away and she does every Wednesday for my two who are also aged 3 and 1. She works 4 days a week and spends her day off at my house!

My MIL has always made it clear that she will help in an emergency only. She does not work, but does not want to be depended on.

Will your mum consider say doing a trial for 2 months to let you settle into work?
Has she refused point blank?

mummyloveslucy Sun 02-Dec-07 20:53:29

No you're not being unreasonable at all. This isn't too much to ask surely? I would have thought she would like the bit of one to one time with her grandchildren. My Mum lives in N.Z so she's not available for babysitting but my mother in law loves to have Lucy whenever she can. She is 65 is not in great health and lookes after her 88 year old mother, two students, two sons and an incontinent dog. Even so she phones me up and askes if she can have Lucy who is 2.5. I don't like to leave her with her Grandma as I feel she has too much to do alredy but she can't get enough of seing her granddaughter.
Perhaps ask your mum her reasons for not wanting to have her grandchildren for a short amount of time, see what she says. Good Luck. wink

HonoriaGlossop Sun 02-Dec-07 20:59:04

This is such a difficult one. One afternoon isn't much, no but it does change the relationship to that of being regular 'carer'...which IS different to just being the doting grandparent that you're taken to see now and again...that's what my gran was to me, just the sort of loving person who you visit and who gives you treats. My Ds' gran, my mum, has been more the regular caregiver, and their relationship is so special. But my relationship with my gran was special too, I loved going to visit and it was an exciting treat. There's nothing to say that your children will miss out on having a special relationship just because their grandparent doesn't have sole charge on a regular basis.

However from a purely gut reaction point of view I would feel the same as you - sad that she doesn't actually WANT to do that one afternoon. I know if it was me I would be falling over myself to do it smile

But I still think from your children's point of view this isn't a problem - more annoying for you than anything, but as others have said when we have a child we can't actually EXPECT anyone on this earth to actually WANT to look after them, except us!

evenhope Sun 02-Dec-07 20:59:49

I think it's the regularity of it that's the problem TBH. Using grandparents as an occasional babysitter is OK but once you get into the realms of every Wednesday afternoon it becomes a chore.

My mum was going to volunteer to go into school to hear children read until they told her she'd have to commit to regular days/ hours. As she said she's had years of WOH and now she's retired wants to be free to go off if she fancies without having to ask permission.

I'm old enough to be a grandma now (DD1 is 21 and DS1 is 20). They'll be stuck asking me to babysit as I (usually) have to work FT.

DontCallMeSantaBaby Sun 02-Dec-07 21:00:47

You're perfectly entitled to be hurt by anything that hurts you, but the implied expectation that your mother will provide childcare is unreasonable, IMO. My parents do a lot for us - babysit at our place, have DD overnight, have her on odd days that I go on courses when I'd normally be off work. But they will NOT (and I wouldn't ask them to) commit to a regular arrangement, as long as we would be reliant on it. They're retired, they have other things to do, people to see, holidays to go on, they don't need me looking at them all askance cos I can't go into work on Tuesday afternoon cos they have something else to do than look fter DD.

I have said that once DD starts school if they could regularly pick her up once a week so I can get some extra hours in that would be fabulous, but I won't rely on that (bonus flexi hours, rather than 'I must work till five on a Wednesday to make up my normal hours')

Miggins Sun 02-Dec-07 21:04:23

I would just like to add that I never expected her to provide childcare, I assumed (incorectly) that she would love to do so and would enjoy it.

inamuckingfuddle Sun 02-Dec-07 21:06:13

both my parents and PILs look after our twins on a regular basis. We have never expected them to though - they offered adn we accepted. TBH it is becoming a bit of a pain, so DTs are off to nursery f/t in Jan, currently 3 days, which will cost us alot more but we will get our lives back

Kewcumber Sun 02-Dec-07 21:06:58

I'm afriad you are being unreasonable and I speak as one who's mother does look after my DS ne day a week. It is a commitment for her week in week out, she can't go out for a walk when one of her friends ring on the spur of the moment, or if my sister offers to go shopping with her.

I'm hugely grateful that she does as it mean I can keep my childcare a reaonable enough cost to be able to stay in my house and not have to move to a cheaper one. There is something in it for her as moving would mean she wouldn;t see as much of us. If it weren;t so important financially I doubt she would agree to do it on a weekly basis but instead would probably offer it on an ad-hoc basis.

Like evenhope I suspect it is the weekly commitment that is the problem, also 1 and 3 yrs together are hard work! Why do you need her to do it - can you not aford the childcare?

inthegutter Sun 02-Dec-07 21:07:58

I agree with the posts which say grandchildren are there to be enjoyed. Once it becomes a case of providing regular childcare so you can work, I think the relationship changes, even if just in a subtle way. Your mum may have all sorts of reasons for not wanting to take this on - not least because even if it's just one afternoon, it still means it's a regular commitment. Maybe she's worried that if she had something else on and couldn't do it, then it would mess you around with work. Why not sort out a childminder or nursery so that your mum can be free to enjoy her grandchildren as and when, without feeling that it's an obligation?

deenymcqueenygoreandguts Sun 02-Dec-07 21:08:06

ive stopped having my mil having mine.
this is because she isnt well.
she had mine for 2.5 hours once a week.

it has realy struck home how much she didnt want to continue because we dont hear or see any thing from the in laws for weeks and weeks on end.
unless dh takes child to her, we do not hear a thing.

she made one or two comments that made the alarm bells ring about her not wanting to do it any more.

i didnt EXPECT it and we paid her to do it.

its very very difficult.

inamuckingfuddle Sun 02-Dec-07 21:08:36

meant to say yes, YABU in expecting it - SIL does and it means retired teacher PILs are still tied to the school day hmm

motherinferior Sun 02-Dec-07 21:09:01

I'm afraid I find your assumption that she'd 'love to do it' quite unreasonable.

paulaplumpbottom Sun 02-Dec-07 21:10:47

My MIl will look after dd now and then but she would never on a regular basis. I found this hard at first as I come from a family that really sticks together and everyone pitches in to help out. Its just the way she is. She thinks she has already raised her kids and that grandkids should be a treat not a commitment. I can't argue with that. I do secretly think its selfish though.

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