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How much do your parents help?

(55 Posts)
Lizita Mon 11-Jul-05 23:12:20

I always think my parents have been really helpful in terms of babysitting. They are my most frequent evening babysitters (i.e. I put dd to bed at theirs then out i go) and they have also got up for me in the morning and had her till the afternoon a few times. But i keep hearing about grandparents who seem to take on child care so much more! My mum doesn't work Wednesdays and dd and i normally go and stay that day & night every week to spend time with her. But unless we actually go out, my mum spends most of that time cooking or she'll take dd round the shops for half hour but that's it. (I appreciate the cooking, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't have to be anything special!!) Also, whenever I'm there I tend to be the one chasing around after dd and i feel like i should be able to relax a bit and let her grandparents take over! At the same time I feel guilty feeling like this, and absolutely loathe asking for help (i.e. babysitting - getting better at it though). I know they love spending time with dd but because they never actually offer I can't help feeling guilty.

Lasvegas Tue 12-Jul-05 16:01:42

My mum is 4 hour drive from me. She comes for long weekend every 6/7 weeks at her insistance so that she can spend time with DD. She will babysit in eve including giving a bath, and breakfast next day and watch DD in afternoon while I go to supermarket. But she makes digs about the fact that I don't want to spend 24/7 with DD. I work full time and she thinks this is bad and that at w/e I should spend every minute with DD and never relax myself. If I wanted to go to cinema she wouldn't sit in day time but agrees when it is supermarket. So I get some help but the emotional battering doesn't make up for it!

tabitha Tue 12-Jul-05 16:15:43

Not meaning to sound nasty but I think that you're very lucky to have parents who babysit as much as they do. I know that some grandparents do babysit more but lots and lots, for various reasons, babysit much less than yours do.
Also perhaps when you are your dd are at your mums, she maybe feels that as if she doesn't want to take-over looking after your dd if you are there. Have you spoken to her about this?
My mother babysits once a fortnight for me for dd3 during the day as I can't find childcare for that particular day (funny working patter ) and that's it apart from very occasional evenings (like maybe once every six months) and during the school Summer holidays when she is very good at having ds at her house for a few days. In laws and my father to even less, practically nothing.
To be honest, I don't think that it is right for people to expect their parents to act as full-time or almost full-time childcare for them. Ffs their parents have lives and other interests and their own jobs as well.

Gem13 Tue 12-Jul-05 16:19:43

No help here. No babysitting, bathing, changing nappies,etc.

Both sets are older grandparents (late 60s, early 70s) but fit and mobile.

Neither live close by and when they come to stay will read a story, fetch a drink, keep an eye on one child while I'm sorting out the other one but that's it.

I don't mind really. Have a helpful DH and we do a lot together.

dyzzidi Tue 12-Jul-05 16:23:20

My mum will not mind any of her grandchildren. She has 15 of them and says you have these children you look after them! I don't blame her really as a lot of members of my family would really take advantage if she let them.

There have only been a few exceptions and that is literally when there is nobody else and people have been in hospital.

Any help you get should be appreciated as some people don't get any.

moondog Tue 12-Jul-05 16:24:21

Gosh Lizita!
Don't know what you're so disgruntled about. Sounds like they do more than enough. She is your child,not theirs you know!

WigWamBam Tue 12-Jul-05 16:24:56

I think you're lucky, too. My dd is 4, my MIL has baby sat three times (and then only once dd is in bed and only until 9pm) and my parents have sat for us maybe half a dozen times. Neither of them have had my dd for even an hour on her own, let alone an afternoon.

To be honest, why should grandparents feel they have to take on childcare? My dd is my responsibility, not theirs.

Mosschops30 Tue 12-Jul-05 16:24:59

Message withdrawn

Lizita Tue 12-Jul-05 16:25:07

Tabitha yes i totally agree with what you say. I'm sure my mum holds back for the reason you say, for which I am grateful. I can relate also though to what you say Lasvegas. Other than at the very beginning (when I was staying at my parents') my mum has never directly said she thinks i should be 100% there for dd, I do get the feeling that she thinks I lead too much of a life outside her, maybe because she didn't really have much of a life when we were babies. And that's ridiculous, i'm a SAHM, I just go out in the evenings occasionally cos I'm lucky enough to have a good supportive group of friends!

I'm not suggesting for a second that anyone should expect their parents to provide full child care for them. I'm just sometimes surprised to hear how much some grandparents do. I know I'm moaning unfairly about my parents....

Lizita Tue 12-Jul-05 16:27:24

Maybe I started this thread in the wrong section, I couldn't work out where to put it....

moondog Tue 12-Jul-05 16:28:58

My mother's cousin looks after her daughter's two year old and seven year old from 6:30 (they turn up unfed in their pyjamas) until 6:30 five days a week.

The woman complains constantly to which we all say 'Well don't bloody do it then!'

I think she secretly enjoys felling put upon.
More fool her.

moondog Tue 12-Jul-05 16:29:24

And for nothing...

Lizita Tue 12-Jul-05 16:31:45

Perhaps I should add that I'm a single mum, so help from my parents, who I don't feel obligated to the same way as I do to my friends, has been really, really important. Does that make sense? I don't for a second mean I take them for granted or should be able to, just......well, it's difficult isn't it.

moondog Tue 12-Jul-05 16:33:57

Yes it is (speaking as someone who does 90% of the childcare alone) but I tink that is the nature of raising children. Any help I've had has either been paid or unexpected. I never expect it as a matter of course.

PeachyClair Tue 12-Jul-05 16:35:47

My Mum used to do childcare til I moved (paid!), now she does my sisters childcare instead (again, paid). She is also great if I need a babysitter (Dad works nights so she doesnt go out) although she has mobility problems now which restricts her.

I DO take good care not to ask too much though. I will often pay a babysitter rather than ask her again.

MIL? Nothing. Doesnt want to know. Was alright until DS1 diagnosed with aspergers, then she stopped. He didnt have a personality transplant with the dx!! FIL (who lives with mistress) offers a lot, but actually hasnt bothered to make contact with them since January

twirlaround Tue 12-Jul-05 16:36:50

My parents help me loads - almost whenever I ask - and looked after dd 3 days a week from age 6 months to 5 years while I worked. They are very supportive of me and very doting re dd.

Dp's parents live 3 miles away and are fit and healthy but offer no help at all. Different people, diferent attitudes! Needless to say I will feel no compunction to offer dp's parents any help when they are old and frail!

Lizita Tue 12-Jul-05 17:33:31

Well moondog it's my own guilty feelings talking I think. I HATE asking for help, I would love to be completely independent, especially from my parents, but if I was, I wouldn't have a life of my own. I can't afford to pay babysitters, or else I certainly would.

QueenEagle Tue 12-Jul-05 17:39:52

When I was a single parent, my dad and his wife would look after the kids during the day if I had to attend meetings or other important events. Also he would have my kids for the weekend twice a year when I went away with the girls.

Now I am married again, I get no help except if there is a hospital crisis or some other emergency, but if i were to ask him to sit so i could go out the answer would be no.

I have asked if he could have my youngest 2 in November for 2 nights to go away with dh and the older 3. He said he wouldn't babysit for me just so i can swan off to have a nice weekend away. Er, why not I wonder as he did it when I was single?

kama Tue 12-Jul-05 17:49:07

Message withdrawn

Lonelymum Tue 12-Jul-05 17:56:31

My parents don't live nearby and only occasionally have the children to stay with them (but then, there are 4 of them). They have dropped everything to cover for me in a real emergency though. Basically, any help they give is very much on their terms and strictly limited. My in-laws are Australian but MIL comes over every summer. She is usually more helpful but hasn't been this year (but only due to circumstances beyond our control).

I do feel quite hard done by in terms of the amount of help I get. I think grandparents should help out more, especially if they are retired as ours are. I don't mean they should have the children all the time, but I do think they should be involved and that, if extended families pulled together more, as they did in the old days, then the family unit would be stronger.

jessicaandbumpsmummy Tue 12-Jul-05 18:04:47

Dad lives 25 miles away, but will come over every couple of weeks on a saturday to see us all. Will play with and ammuse jess no end - even watch her while i go for a nap! My dad loves her to bits, and is taking her to Scotland in August for 10 days to give me and DH some space. If i ever need him to watch ehr for an evening, he has no hesitations unless he has plans which is fair enough, but it has only happened once!

The evil MIL has only babysat once..... we have moved away from her now, but we were there for the first 7 months of jessicas life and she came over at 8pm and TOLD us to be home by 11pm!

coppertop Tue 12-Jul-05 18:29:09

My mother lives nearby but we get no help at all - even during hospital emergencies. I'm pretty much used to it now and would probably be more shocked if we had a babysitting offer tbh.

Lizita Tue 12-Jul-05 19:15:37

Interesting what you say QueenEagle. I have a boyf and a lot of the babysitting I need is because I am going out with him/his friends. I may be being unfair and projecting my own hangups onto my mum but I always get the feeling she thinks I'm "swanning off" as you said. Cos I'm not a traditional family unit (boyf doesn't live with us or anything, he's not playing "father").

I had another thought, another example of something that bugged me. I asked my mum if she wanted to bath dd once, a while ago, simply cos I thought she'd like to (all my other friends jump at the chance) and she snapped "No! You can do it!" as if I was trying to get out of it. She's only ever bathed her twice I think (other than when dd was first born and I needed help), once when I was ill, and once the one time they put dd to bed for me. It scares me that apart from that one time, I am the only person ever to have put dd to bed. I want her to grow up feeling safe with the world & with other people, not too dependent on mum, but as a single mum I have no idea how to do it... dad is supposed to help with that transition isn't he? .... oh dear... have a feeling this should've been in the lone parents section, sorry......

Donbean Tue 12-Jul-05 19:32:46

MIL has ds for 3 hours on a friday afternoon at our house while i go to work until dh gets home.
I make her a nice lunch and dh cooks her an evening meal before she goes home at 8ish.
About once a month she baby sits for us in the evening, we put ds to bed (ALWAYS, im a bit anal when it comes to that, only either me or dh do it)And i make sure that we are always always home before 10.30.
we pay her for this.
I am very very grateful for this and sometimes feel as though we are putting on her.
She says not and adores having ds.
I do sometimes (secretly) wish that the inlaws would offer to take him occasionally for a couple of hours without us asking/booking them.
My parents...zilch, never. Ds wouldnt stay with them as he hardly knows them.

Donbean Tue 12-Jul-05 19:36:57

Just thinking about that last secret wish comment, i now take it back as i think that i am bieng unfair saying that.
I do not like to part with ds at all. I have to because i have to work, but that is a trauma to me.
MIL knows that this is how i feel and so she probably doesnt like to ask as she knows that i would be very reluctant.
I cant bear to be without him.

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