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Difficult mother/grandmother

(16 Posts)
floppops Wed 12-Sep-12 17:49:21

My mother has always been quite a difficult person to get on with. When I told her I was pregnant (at 36! ) she shouted Oh no,no.. And we were in a restaurant!
Anyhow my DD is 2.7 now and I sometimes need her help with childcare when I'm working. DD is in nursery 3 times a week but they only do mornings for 3 hours. So very occasionally I need her to look after DD for 2/3 hours. Maybe couple of times a month. She mostly says yes when I ask her for help but acts as though it's the greatest inconvenience. she said once that she had put her whole life on hold for us..
I needed her to collect DD from nursery today as I was going to be half hour late to collect her myself and she made such a big deal of it, she phoned me to say she couldn't find the nursery-she's been there before. And she got to my house 2 hours early when I was at work and sat around and then got to the nursery an hour early..she keeps panicking about her car breaking down or the car seat straps not working. Then when I got back as she just arrived back from the nursery she wanted to go immediately. And DD cried as she wanted to play with her grandma, so she stayed 10 minutes.
She is very capable, socialises a lot, has many interests, doesn't work and has a very reliable car! And DD is her only grandchild.
Why is she such a pain? I know I shouldn't just expect her to help but I have no other family and I'm a part time working single mum and I need some help. I can't wait for DD to extend her hours at nursery next year and hopefully I won't need to ask for help anymore.

Twitterqueen Wed 12-Sep-12 17:52:09

Do you think she might be scared of children?

I know it might sound odd but I suspect you are an only child and it makes me wonder if she's so lacking confidence in her own ability to parent that she's completely freaked out by the responsibility of looking after your lovely child...

Some people are genuinely scared of being responsible for someone else's life...

floppops Wed 12-Sep-12 18:38:01

I have a sister who is mentally ill. But it does ring true that my mother lacks confidence especially with my dd. She is always scared DD will hurt herself. She wasn't a very good parent to us when we were growing up-she was an alcoholic-now in AA.

OTTMummA Thu 13-Sep-12 17:00:25

Tbh i don't understand why you want her help if she is an alcoholic and wasn't a great mother to you as a child. I understand how much easier it would be for you if she just said yes happily to your requests for help, but she does not seem to want to help, or enjoy it either. She may have confidence issues around children, she may also simply not enjoy the massive responsibility of looking after a small child, for someone with certain issues like your mother, I wouldn't be surprised if this was true. I think you should find a childminder or alternative childcare as I think over time this arrangement willdamage your relationship with her and your daughters relationship with her grandma. I do understand your disappointment and frustration as my
Mum is mentally I'll and I can't rely on her for much at all, but you just have to lower your expectations.

ZuleikaD Thu 13-Sep-12 18:49:12

Sorry, but I think YABU. Your mother's clearly got a busy and full life of her own and you shouldn't expect her to provide support to you if she doesn't want to. I think you'd be better off finding alternative childcare rather than expecting your mother to be stepping into the breach.

floppops Sun 07-Oct-12 09:45:12

I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for help twice a month actually.
However I do look forward to when I don't have to do that. I only ask when I get last minute work and to be honest I am now often taking DD with me to avoid asking.

QTPie Sun 07-Oct-12 10:14:51

It is very sad, but some grandparents are either unable or feel unable to take the responsibility for caring for young children...

My mum is similar (except I don't ask now). I was a week under 36 when DS was born (although she was delighted). First time we got her to babysit (DS was 3 months old, we went out to the cinema for a few hours one afternoon), she put her back out lifting him (he wasn't that heavy!). Getting her involved with baths gets the reply "oh I can't, I might get my sweater wet!" etc. she is just not a baby person (not physically or mentally confident enough): maybe being mid 70s with only one child (and very little contact with babies) doesn't help. As DS has gotten older (now 2 years 8), she is more interested. However cannot care for him: since still in nappies and so needs physical handling...

DH's mother couldn't be more different! Would come here at the drop of the hat to take care of grandchildren (and she lives in Hong Kong! So not quite as convenient....)

Sorry, not a lot of help, but I know how you feel.

I make myself promise to be a "hands on grandmother" (when the time cones): they get so much more out of it!

Acinonyx Sun 07-Oct-12 13:54:48

Could you find a childminder instead? Personally, I would stop asking your mother. Imagine how you would cope if she just wasn't there.

Goldenjubilee10 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:01:46

It was your decision to have a child and I think your mother made it quite clear how she felt from the outset. She clearly doesn't want to look after her.

My dsd has a 10 month old. I have looked after him twice. Once in an emergency for the whole day when he was newborn and once to let her have a night out. I would never see her stuck but don't want to provide regular childcare, for that she would need to employ a childminder or a babysitter. I don't believe I will feel any differently if/when my ds's have children and I think that's ok - I have done that bit.

I think you should make your childcare arrangements leaving your mother out of it.

floppops Sun 07-Oct-12 16:13:42

I do have childcare arrangements. She goes to nursery three mornings a week and I had a childminder over the summer as the nursery is only term time.
Actually golden jubilee my mother said when i was pregnant and even now how she'd be happy to have DD stay with her and how she'd babysit in the evenings. It's just when it actually comes to it she changes her mind. Neither have happened.So no she did not make it clear how she felt.
I am not and have never asked for her to do regular childcare. Two hours twice a month is hardly regular childcare-come on..

ajandjjmum Sun 07-Oct-12 16:17:12

Do you do stuff to help your DM? Not being funny, just wondering if it's a two way thing - if not, she might just think she's done her child-rearing!

Hopeforever Sun 07-Oct-12 16:18:44

I'm not sure why your mum is sending you mixed signals but the most obvious one is she doesn't feel comfortable helping.

Sadly you need to find alternative emergency helpers, friends or childminders.

It's hard understanding that grandparents don't want to be involved as much as you'd like, but fighting it just makes it hurt more sad

floppops Sun 07-Oct-12 16:34:21

I think this discussion has solidified my thoughts on just not asking for help ever anymore. It's just difficult when DM offers help and then changes her mind.
She bought a cot for her spare room and did it up as a nursery almost three years ago but has never wanted DD to stay. She mentioned recently to my DD whether she'd like to stay over at grandmas and then when I said how about over half term she changed her mind.
She bought a car seat but has only used it once. She said she'd be collecting DD from nursery if I needed her to-to the nursery staff when we looked around for the first time but the only time she has collected her she was obviously not comfortable to do that.
So it is difficult to get these really mixed messages. I usually just pretend she hasn't offered as I know it'll never happen.

Goldenjubilee10 Sun 07-Oct-12 18:41:43

Ok, so that changes things a little as it didn't sound like mixed messages in your OP, she shouted oh no no. Why don't you try calling her on it? Next time she asks to have her or mentions staying over discuss it with her. You might get to the bottom of the problem.

floppops Sun 07-Oct-12 19:31:07

Yes I have tried but she will insist it's fine. As in the staying over. I said how about in half term and she said maybe around Xmas and then later she said I'd have to stay as well. And I said that wasn't really the idea so she said she'd have to come over to ours and watch how I put DD to bed. So I have invited her over a couple of times to do that but she's always busy..
Tbh I'm not going to mention it again and she probably won't now and it'll never happen. Which is prob best if she's not comfortable with it anyway.

NeedlesCuties Tue 09-Oct-12 19:46:33

OP - your DM sounds like my MIL, your thread has struck a cord with me.

She cancels about 90% of her visits at the last minute. So much so that I don't even tell the DC that she's coming until I actually know she's en route.

She also did a spare room up as a nursery and bought a buggy... both used a handful of times in 3 years.

not good

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