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concerned when my mum watched my kids

(20 Posts)
needtomovesomewherewarmer Fri 26-Feb-16 01:00:45

Ok, I'm taking a chance posting here as I really don't wanting get flamed for being an ungrateful daughter who expects to much of her mother....but here goes.

My mother looks after my children one day every week whilst I work and on my other working days they go to nursery. I'm hugely grateful to her for this and what she sacrifices to help us.

The thing is, over the past few months we've spent lots of time together with the children on weekends or odd days off and......I've come to feel a little concerned about how she 'watches' the kids.

When I'm there I know i am responsible for keeping my children safe etc and I don't expect her to be running around after them all the time. But when we have a day together we often do something a little less ordinary (go to city museum/toddler friendly attraction etc). Something i wouldn't necessarily do on my own with a 2 and 4 yo, but is a nice day out with company and help.

Anyway, on these days occasions will come up...... one child wants to go in a different direction, needs the toilet etc .....when I will ask my mother to watch the other child (or both) for a moment while I go off in another direction. And I stress we are talking 0-5 mins max here. In these moments I am still always conscious to check the whereabouts of both children. On several (and I mean 2-4 per trip) occassions I will return back to mum after 1 or 2 minutes and the child I've left with her is gone. She hasn't noticed, is often distracted daydreaming, and we don't know they have gone. Usually they are found lurking around a corner but the point is........they have been outvof sight long enough to disappear....When something could happen

By way of example, today I left my mum with them for 2 mins max in a large outdoor play complex, while I dumped a bag in the car. When I got back my 4yo was running around a play area. My mum was nowhere to be seen. I spent 2-3 mins looking for her before finding her in a climbing frame with my daughter who wouldn't climb down. I know 3 minutes is not a long time but during this time she has not known I had come back or known where my son was (she confirmed this). Another example was at another attraction. If left her with my daughter for 2 mins whilst I dealt with ds. Specifically asked her to watch her. When I came back dd (2yo) had gone into another room and my mum was playing with a toy and hadnt noticed.

So today, I casually commented (despite being furious) that I knew it was hard but could she try to just keep one eye out for each child just to keep a check. I said it in a very calm way. She hit the roof
It was like it was a totally unacceptable thing to say.

So, firstly AIBU to a) be upset and b) be concerned - it concerns me especially when i am not there. And secondly should I be worried about her? As in, she's not neglectful and I think perhaps her reaction to my comment shows that. But could it be something else?

LeaLeander Fri 26-Feb-16 01:14:57

I would be nervous with her having them herself in a public place.

outputgap Fri 26-Feb-16 01:52:37

I would not be happy in those circumstances either OP, but I'm on the risk averse side, and think others would be fine with it.

soapybox Fri 26-Feb-16 02:07:56

How old is your mum? The distraction and 'day dreaming' sound like they could be dementia of some kind. The OTT response to your request to keep an eye on them could also fit the profile too.

Are there any other signs of her not being quite on the ball, from a cognitive point of view?

PitilessYank Fri 26-Feb-16 02:34:34

That would worry me very much!

HalfATankini Fri 26-Feb-16 02:50:07

My mum is like this. A few years back, I left my two with her in a shopping centre whilst I popped into a shop. When I came out one had wandered off and she hadn't even noticed. (At the time ds was about 2yo). I had to run like mad to catch him, and at the same time she wasn't even keeping a close hold on my other son!

Then to finally top it off she blamed it on them. They were approx 2 and 3.5yo. I've never again left them with her in public and rarely even at her/my house as she is not responsible and worse doesn't seem to think she should be! Now the boys are 8 and 7 (and I also now have dd who is 4) I suppose there's less risk but I just can't trust her.

VerySlovenly Fri 26-Feb-16 03:51:10

Unfortunately it sounds as though she is not on the ball enough to look after young kids. I agree with soapybox that her OTT response to you could mean something is wrong. Possibly mental illness or cognitive decline.

needtomovesomewherewarmer Fri 26-Feb-16 07:56:52

Thank you for your replys. In terms of her other cognitive signs that's worry me yes there are others.

The things she often gets distracted with are toddler activities i.e. she is building blocks, stacking boxes, colouring in a toddler app, colouring books, Lego etc. Not with the child but on her own.

Also if I tell her something, when I drop the kids off, for example she more often than often forgets. This has kind of been a long standing issue though and I've put it down to her just not listening. But she often looks shocked when she hears thins i know I've already told her. When we make plans she always asks me to remind her and often gets dates mixed up.

Other things are how they past the time when I'm not there. For example they have come home with bumps from soft play that she doesn't know how they got (less worrying for 4yo but not great for 2yo who imo needs watching /helping more closely). And just general how she passes time at home. More TV and less playtime. But I just put that down to her having 2 now not 1, and that neither thing (ie TV) was the end of the world.

I'm slightly glad people don't think I'm over reacting but it's also worrying too. Like I said she has my children for childcare one day a week and I'm expecting another so managing this is going to be tricky.

Any advice would be welcomed on broaching this.

needtomovesomewherewarmer Fri 26-Feb-16 07:58:13

Halfataknini how did you manage the situation with your mum and did she have any cognitive issues or was it just 've way'?

nephrofox Fri 26-Feb-16 08:01:06

It sounds like having 2 of them to look after is a bit too much for her.

As you're expecting another, I presume you'll be off on mat leave and so won't "need" her childcare for a while. Maybe when you go back you reassess the arrangement as she clearly wouldn't be able to manage 3

TwinklyMusic Fri 26-Feb-16 08:08:59

Perhaps you should think about nursery for an extra day. It sounds like your mum is struggling with two preschoolers so certainly won't manage three. Toddlers are hard work, especially if she's having some cognitive difficulties.

I'd also focus on having gentler days with grandma rather than busy, stressful activities.

It sounds like your poor mum needs a bit of looking after herself. I hope she's ok.

needtomovesomewherewarmer Fri 26-Feb-16 08:17:15

My mum is 58 sorry I didn't answer that.

She won't have 3 as Ds will be in school by then. I've broached the subject of how we spend time together when I'm off on Mat leave but she has a reluctance to spend all these days with me as she spends part of her day off with her sister and her sisters grandchildren. So wants to keep that up.

I'm happy to explore other child care, but I know that stopping her looking afyet them and putting them into nursery would not be taken well. I obviously need to think firstly about the safety of my children but, whilst it may sound like I'm expecting lots of her, I also do not want to upset her.

SitsOnFence Fri 26-Feb-16 08:18:10

What a horrible situation sad

Would your employer consider a temporary reduction in hours, down to 4 days a week for 3 months, maybe? You could tell your Mum that you are working a half-day from home on her childcare day and come up with a reason why you'd like to do this at her house (less driving/more time with children/lonely at home, etc). This would give you a period of time to observe her with the children when she is in charge.

At the end of this period you would hopefully know whether it was possible to continue leaving her with your DC. If not, it will be easier to broach it: "I hadn't realised how hard it was for you..."/"I noticed this..." If you do suspect dementia (I really hope not) then you should have more concrete examples to sit down with your Mum/other family members/her GP and discuss.

wannaBe Fri 26-Feb-16 08:21:48

Tbh the fact that you're pregnant is now the perfect opportunity to review your childcare arrangement with your mum on the basis that three kids are a lot to look after. Although presumably the 4 YO will be starting school soon. But nevertheless I would take this opportunity to change things where that's concerned.

The more concerning thing however is the fact that your mum's health seems to be declining, and how to approach that. Is your dad on the scene or does your mum have a partner you can talk to? Do you have siblings? Would your mum be open to a discussion about how she's feeling at the moment or whether she's forgetful etc and whether she' snot iced?

needtomovesomewherewarmer Fri 26-Feb-16 08:55:21

My dad is not on the scene but she does have a partner. However in respect of this situation he wouldn't be much use. I'm also an only child. However she is close to get sister so could speak to her.

My mum has thyroid and was recently diagnosed with pernicious anemia which she has been having treatment for and having googled that there seems to be possible links to dementia and cognitive memory.

I think I'll start the conversation asking how the treatment and how her other symptoms are going. Perhaps I'll suggest I go with her to her next appointment.

Aghhh I'm now more worried than when I started.

TheWordOfBagheera Fri 26-Feb-16 09:12:12

Would she cope with just the younger one? The older could go to nursery as part of 'getting ready for school' so as not to insinuate that she can't cope.

I've had similar issues with my mum just not being on the ball (one child ending up injured or nearly injured) and have concluded that for whatever reason she just isn't up to looking after more than one toddler by herself (which is fair enough, they are a handful!). I just don't lumber her with more than one at a time and all is good.

magpie17 Fri 26-Feb-16 09:17:33

This is tough but I wouldn't be comfortable leaving my children in this situation. My MIL is similar (although she is mid 60s), can be very scatty, forgets instructions for DS and gets very defensive when reminded about things. She has offered to take DS one day a week when I go back to work and I am very wary but DH thinks it's fine and is more concerned with getting 'free childcare'.

I am going to give it six months and then review the situation, DS is younger than yours so not even walking so it's less work for her now. Its also less difficult for me as she's not my mum.

I would leave it until you are on May leave, it's a 'natural' time to review your childcare with one going to school and another new baby so bringing it up with her should be easier. For me though, I would pay for another days nursery rather than be worrying about this. You can put it to her kindly as if you are doing her a favour to give her more free time. It's tricky but your children's safety is the priority.

magpie17 Fri 26-Feb-16 09:18:25

Mat leave not may leave!

Footle Fri 26-Feb-16 09:21:46

Someone I know with pernicious anaemia has cognitive issues which sometimes amount to dementia, IMO. The worst times are when her next B12 injection is due - or overdue. I think she has to wait too long between these injections. She is much older than your mum, which may mean the issues are different.

kiki22 Fri 26-Feb-16 11:28:05

This sounds like a really hard situation im really chilled out with actually being able to see kids when we are out I don't need to have my eyes on them every second but the leaving the room and her not noticing would bother even me, plus the fact its because shes busy messing around with toys.

At the end of the day your children's safety has to come first, what about doing an extra day at nursery for the older one to 'prepare for school' see how that goes it might be easier with one child but even then id think twice.

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