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Delegating parental responsibilities to grandparents

(43 Posts)
Ticklemonster2 Fri 07-Oct-11 13:03:22

my friend has a two year old son and a baby due next year. Since her son was born she has continued with her partner to go out at weekends, leaving her baby/now toddler over night with her mum or partners mum.
My husband and I are the sole carers for our son as we like the consistency that provides him and we don't like to put on others. We do go out but only once a month together and then babysit for each other to see friends every so often.
Since being pregnant for a second time my friend has taken to staying at her mums with her son as she is finding it difficult. The grandparents seem to have the grandchild for a 3rd of the time which seems a lot. The grandparents have even taken on their dog so they don't have to walk it.
I am concerned as a friend that she does not seem to be coping as i and my other friends do all this and work without any support. Also when her son is with her she meets up with friends who seem to do all the running around.
Am I right to think that either she isn't coping or needs to be more realistic about the never ending responsibilities of parenthood?

Sirzy Fri 07-Oct-11 13:08:08

It sounds to me like she has an arrangement which works well with her parents and unless you have any reason to suspect the children are in danger then it's nothing to do with you!

Ticklemonster2 Fri 07-Oct-11 13:15:44

Oh your right. I wouldn't interfere,but a few of us have been concerned for how she will cope with another. We all have our own children and can only offer limited help. I know some parents cope with it all with ease and others don't find it so easy....
Just wondered if anyone outside our circle of friends felt it was a sign she is struggling to cope. If so, how can we help without offending?

PandaNot Fri 07-Oct-11 13:19:34

Until fairly recently the situation you're describing where grandparents have a great deal of input into family life was very commonplace, certainly around here (industrial North East!). It's only really since families started to move around more and live a long way from one another that the extended family has seemingly become less important. If it works well for them leave them to it.

lec0rnsillk Fri 07-Oct-11 13:19:46

I think it's a sign that she her parents want to be actively involved in their grandchild's life.

Iggly Fri 07-Oct-11 13:21:32

Sounds like she is coping by calling on her grandparents. I think the more help you have, the less you have to cope with and deal with on your own.

I do know some people who use the grandparents a lot and I'm sure the ILs would help out more if we let them , but we don't.

Maybe you feel uncomfortable because you think her son will suffer for being shipped off regularly? Is that what it is?

Ticklemonster2 Fri 07-Oct-11 13:53:33

Iggly he is shipped off a lot. Even my husband has disapproved! Friends have commented that they treat him like an accessory, but I can't really comment on that. It does seem a bit of a shame as he never seems 'cherished', more of an object.
I suppose I was raised by strong parents who coped well and took their parenting responsibilities really seriously. Therefore it seems at times as if she is lazy. I feel there is a place for grandparents and that is'nt in raising my children.
Each to their own and all, but I know I find caring for mine so rewarding. My friend seems to treat her son as a job or possession which I find a bit odd.
It has been muted that her situation suites because she does not want to parent full time and she has ticked the box marked children. I feel that's a bit mean, but I want to give a rounded view.
I suppose my question is. Are there parents out there who can't handle 'doing it all'.? If so, I will give myself a pat on the back...

Ticklemonster2 Fri 07-Oct-11 14:00:50

It may be worth adding that her mother is very domineering to the point where some of us have asked 'who is the mummy'. It seems that she hasn't been left to be a mum on her own and is now dependent on all this help.
My mother in law is much the same an we came to blows when I had to set healthy boundaries.

AMumInScotland Fri 07-Oct-11 14:05:05

I think there are plenty of people who prefer to cope by having lots of help, rather than do it all themselves. Some people have nannies, some have grandparents very involved.

That doesn't necessarily mean she couldn't cope if she had to, just that it suits her and them fine to do it this way.

If he spends a lot of time with his grandparents, and feels secure and loved, then its better for him to have them than not IYSWIM, whaveter the rights or wrongs of it. There's no point in anyone "disapproving" unless you think he's being harmed by the arrangement. "The never ending responsibilities of parenthood" only exists if you don't have any support - she has support and uses it to the hilt. Each to their own!

Portofino Fri 07-Oct-11 14:07:33

Well you sound a bit smug to be honest.

matana Fri 07-Oct-11 14:58:41

Tbh you sound very disapproving of her parenting and parenting choices are so subjective that you're on shaky ground. Just because you prefer to do it all yourself (i have to say that i'm similar - i love spending time with my DS but that's also down to working FT and cherishing every moment i do get to spend with him) doesn't mean other people should. I think it's lovely when grandparents want to play an active part in their GC's lives and i think a close extended family is something to be cherished. I wish my ILs were more involved, for example. Also, my sister (a SAHM) gets a lot of help with her DD for hair appointments, nights out (not often though) and other last minute support when she plans things. But she's a fantastic mum who gives her all to her DD 24/7 so i don't begrudge her getting away from it all sometimes. She can cope fine, she just believes it's healthier both for her and her DD to have time away from each other sometimes.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 07-Oct-11 15:01:57

Presumably said grandparents are happy to do do all this - sounds like a perfectly good arrangement, TBH, OP you come accross as rather holier than thou.

As someone who had no extended family to help, I rather envy your friend!

lec0rnsillk Fri 07-Oct-11 16:21:03

why would you give yourself a pat on the back? hmm

Sirzy Fri 07-Oct-11 16:24:06

Because she is such a perfect parent of course, hence being able to pass judgement on families who don't do things exactly as she does!

dearheart Fri 07-Oct-11 16:25:34

Sounds like she is having a lovely time to me.

plantsitter Fri 07-Oct-11 16:28:06

If you want to bitch about the woman, just bitch about her. Stop passing it off as concern. Most of us would rather have help than to 'do it all'. You can never know the full story about somebody else's life, either.

lec0rnsillk Fri 07-Oct-11 16:29:40

this has got to be a wind up. Surely nobody is this smug.

ColdToast Fri 07-Oct-11 16:35:04

It's not a competition. Some people are like your friend and have lots of help. Others might view you going out once a month without your children as excessive. Each to their own.

pandorasbox21 Fri 07-Oct-11 16:46:16

Think you sound very jealous tbh. its good for a child to be close to their gps. Good for parents as they have a break, meaning no fighting or arguing with husband still have good sex/social life which in turn is good for family relationships. The child gets to spend time with different people who love them more than anything and a range of experiences. Gps love it as they get to spoil their grandkids and take them places which most decet gps love doing. Its win/win for all tbh

cory Fri 07-Oct-11 16:50:48

Lots of cultures would view your own arrangements- what you think of as coping well without much involvement of grandparents- as a tragic sign of the breakdown of family closeness in the UK. Not saying it is, just that it could just as well be seen that way.

A recent UNICEF survey of child wellbeing seemed to suggest that this was higher than in the UK in both the other countries surveyed: Sweden where there is more state support of parents, and Spain where there is more support from grandparents and other relatives. As other posters have pointed out, the Spanish system was also common in the UK until very recently.

It's nice if your way works well for you; it doesn't make everybody else a failure.

LapsedPacifist Fri 07-Oct-11 17:01:41

Are you jellus? Believe it or not, small humans are NOT designed to be raised solely by their biological parents. Look at how other cultures do this child-rearing- malarky. Sounds like you need to sign up for Anthropology 101.

springboksaplenty Fri 07-Oct-11 17:45:34

Argh really?! Take your patronising concern elsewhere. You actually came here to do a 'see what an amazing mom I am' stealth boast by putting your friend down? Or did it never enter your mind that heaven forbid she may get on with her dm and - shock horror - her parents enjoy building a relationship with their grandchild?

Grumble grumble grumble

ScaredBear Fri 07-Oct-11 17:54:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Fri 07-Oct-11 18:32:15

The nasty thing is that it's not just the OP patronising her friend: from her posts it appears there is a whole group of them who spend their time in this unproductive fashion. I'm glad my baby group wasn't like that.

itsybitsy08 Fri 07-Oct-11 18:45:20

Its hardly shipped off if her DS is with his grandparents.
I presume they have him because they love him and enjoy spending time with him.
I don't understand at all why that is a problem confused

My DD spends a lot of time with both my parents and my grandparents. They love having her and she loves going with them. They have a very close relationship which I think is great. Its not because I can't cope with my own daughter fgs. Its because we are family and its nice to spend a bit of time together.

Stone me now, when my mam and dad went on holiday for a whole week this year, they took DD with them. Because they wanted to. And she had a whale of a time.

Whats the problem???

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