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So sad that my parents didn't get excited

(64 Posts)
mandbaby Wed 12-Mar-14 14:30:13

Hubby and I went for our 12 week scan yesterday and saw our DC3 - it was amazing and made everything so "real". I was on top of the world despite my doubts that having a third child was going to be too hard.

Up until then, we hadn't told anyone about my pregnancy.

We have two sons, aged 2.5 and 4, and they go to to nursery for 3 mornings a week while I'm at work. At 1pm my parents pick them up and take them back to their house and take care of them until I can pick them up at 3.30. Without my parents help, we'd really struggle and it would cost us a small fortune in childcare. (I don't want to give up my job because I work in a school and get all the school holidays off - jobs like mine are like hens teeth - so rare - and I'd be mad to give it up because I know when ALL 3 of my children are at school, my job will be worth its weight in gold).

When DC3 is born, my eldest son will have just started school, and the year after when I return to work after maternity leave, my youngest son will be starting school, so it will just be DC3 who I'll have to find childcare for. I was hoping (but not expecting) that my parents would want to take care of him/her for 3 afternoons a week as they've done with my 2 boys.

But yesterday when I broke the news of our pregnancy to my mum, she didn't hug or congratulate me. She just sniggered and asked me if I was mad. Then she said "I assume you'll be giving up work this time as your Dad and I are getting too old to be looking after them".

Ok, my Dad's a healthy 65 yr old, and my mum is a fairly healthy 63 year old, so whilst they aren't spring chickens, I know that if they didn't look after my boys for 3 afternoons a week they wouldn't do anything else with their time.

Whilst I don't expect them and haven't asked them to help out with DC3, I think their reaction (or rather their lack of reaction) to the news that they're getting another grandchild was a disgrace. My dad just rolled his eyes and didn't speak. He didn't even shake my husband's hand.

If my mum's hairdresser was to tell her she was expecting a baby, my mum would be thrilled and would undoubtedly show her excitement - but with me, nothing.

I came away from their house holding back the tears. Even my boss at work hugged me today!

Scuttlebug Wed 12-Mar-14 14:38:37

Perhaps they had calculated how much longer they had to help you out with afternoon childcare? And panicked that a third child would mean another 4 years of helping out.You sound very lucky to have such support, maybe it's time to get something else in place rather than relying on them.

My DM first response was to ask if I was planning on going back to work! It annoyed me at the time but I got over it.

However, inexcusable not to congratuate you regardless...they are grown ups, they should act better.

Congratulations on your 12 week scan though! You're having a baby!smile

mandbaby Wed 12-Mar-14 14:45:27

Aww, thanks scuttlebug (for the congrats). It really does mean a lot - even coming from a "stranger" on my computer screen. The very fact that my parents can't say it hurts like a knife.

We WILL manage without their help, it's just the very fact that it's the first thing on their mind. I knew it would be. Their reaction was totally expected, I just wish they could react like "normal" parents of a happily married mother of 2.

Scuttlebug Wed 12-Mar-14 14:46:23

Oh and you say that they would have anything else to do other than look after your DC? Personally, I think that attitude needs a rethink!

Scuttlebug Wed 12-Mar-14 14:48:21

No one has normal parents!

Try not to let their first response cloud this happy time but I do think you need to evaluate your expectations of how much they help you, maybe a separate discussion?

mandbaby Wed 12-Mar-14 14:49:19

No really, they wouldn't. Only recently my dad was complaining to my hubby that he was bored. Whenever we're off on school holidays my Dad is itching to come and see my boys.

And my mum has NO hobbies at all and would happily sit all day in front of the TV.

When they're not looking after my boys, they're both just sat at home, bored. My Dad tinkers around, but that's it.

What's life about if it isn't about spending it with your family. My children wont be children forever - you'd think they'd happily want to spend as much time with them as we'd allow them to! I know I would!

kerala Wed 12-Mar-14 14:53:19

Sorry but I can see their point. They do a huge amount of childcare which you have blithely extended by 3 years! Am taken aback I must say. My parents are great very supportive but no way would they provide proper consistent childcare while I worked. It's a huge ask - they can't go on holiday outside term time or pursue their own interests.

householdchorewhore Wed 12-Mar-14 14:53:49

You don't know that OP... Come back to us when you're 65!

Missvaughan85 Wed 12-Mar-14 14:57:09

Congrats on baby news!! Feels great to see the little one on screen.

Can you sit and have a chat with them? Do you think there reaction was one of concern for child care??

My dads initial reaction to both pregnancies were firstly practical. I'm 28 have a six year old, married, own my own house and hair salon. Yet he still thinks practical.But he is happy for us all. Speak to them you might find that they are actually happy for you. X x x

mandbaby Wed 12-Mar-14 14:58:05

ok, I hear what you're all saying, but I haven't ASKED them to look after DC3.

I did say in the first post that I hoped but didn't expect that they would help. I've never asked them to look after my sons - they offered, and I accepted and they know how grateful we are. They even asked us to move closer to them 4 years ago when I gave birth to DS1 so that they could help more.

My disappointment and sadness on what should have been a magical day was the fact that they didn't say "congratulations". All my mum said was "are you going to give up work".

Missvaughan85 Wed 12-Mar-14 15:04:49

Mandbaby, can you speak openly to your parents?? I'd sit down and talk to them x x

NestingNesting123 Wed 12-Mar-14 15:06:33

Hmm. There's a big difference between seeing the grandkids because they enjoy doing so and seeing them because they have to and are committed to doing that regardless of what else they might fancy doing that day. I like my job but I'd like it an awful lot more if I didn't have to get up and come here every day. The reaction you got makes me wonder if they have been getting to a point where they might be looking forward to having their freedom back, even if they haven't mentioned it before.

Congratulations though, a third baby, how lovely!

Missvaughan85 Wed 12-Mar-14 15:06:47

I wish you all the luck in the world. Parents are a breed of their own. But just enjoy your pregnancy. Xx

purplebaubles Wed 12-Mar-14 15:12:58

Congratulations on your baby!

TBH, I can understand though your parent's reaction. Clearly you have been using them as free childcare. I'm sure if/when I'm 65 odd, I wouldn't be particularly excited at the thought of that extending another how ever many years!

Although you say you hoped, not expected, that they would help, I think that has come across probably that you were expecting them just to carry on. Honestly, if it were me, I'd have announced the pregnancy and then immediately said, don't worry, we're sorting something else out re. childcare. They you'd have probably got the more excited reaction you were hoping for!

Just out of interest, what were your plans for childcare?!?! I think your parents have been incredibly generous.

DomesticGoddess31 Wed 12-Mar-14 15:14:31

My PILs are in their early 60s and help my DSIL out with childcare twice a week for her 2 and I know, as much as they adore their grandkids and live having them, they are finding it pretty exhausting. They certainly couldn't cope with a third. Yours may have offered to help but that doesn't mean to say they're not finding it tougher than they anticipated and perhaps your happy news just scared them a bit. I do agree though a congrats in the first instance would have been nice!

MyNameIsKenAdams Wed 12-Mar-14 15:15:34

So have you told them that you dont expect them to mind dc3 and that you will look for alternative childcare for dcs 1&2?

Viviennemary Wed 12-Mar-14 15:24:15

YANBU to be sad your parents aren't excited to have a new grandchild. But you are unreasonable and entitled if you think you are should have free child care. One extra child and a few more extra years. I must say I can well understand your parents reaction if they think you expect them just to carry on.

CinnabarRed Wed 12-Mar-14 15:27:47

IME, based on the limited sample of my parents, my PIL, and our uncles/aunts, there is a big difference between 59 & 61 (which they were when you had DC1) and 63 & 65. And even more of a difference to 67 & 69 (which they will be when DC3 starts school).

All bar 2 of our relatives in that age bracket have experiences significant health deteriorations in the decade between 60 and 70.

I suspect that this is a big part of it. They are getting tired and more fragile.

Although a congratulations wouldn't have hurt.

So - congratulations.

CPtart Wed 12-Mar-14 15:29:44

Perhaps your parents haven't enjoyed as much as they thought/have found it harder/have simply had enough of looking after young children. It has cost me over £50k in childcare fees over the years and at 10 and 8 I am still forking out even now! My DM will not take on any regular childcare. At all. I think you've been very lucky so far. I too don't want to spend my retirement doing the school run. Life is about family but also holidays, hobbies and simply being able to do what you want and when without being tied to the demands of young children.


Stevie77 Wed 12-Mar-14 15:37:34


I think it's a shame your parents reacted like that but I can totally see it from their POV, they feel/think you're assuming they'll be looking after your new baby too. And TBH, I think it's time for you to put other childcare arrangements in place. They clearly didn't imagine spending their retirement years providing regular childcare, and it is understandable. They want to do their own thing, even if you feel it is nothing. I would too. Based on that I think you're being a little bit unreasonable.

RedandChecker Wed 12-Mar-14 15:46:35

It's saddening your parents reacted like this and they should have been more mature about the situation but it is completely up to them if they are finding it too much, whether they are healthy or not they will probably want to be enjoying their own time. It is a big commitment to make sure you are available 3 afternoons a week and they may have been looking forward to having a bit more flexibility when both DCs were in school. Sit down and talk to them about this and how they feel. If DC3 will be the only one requiring childcare when you return to work, 9 hours with a childminder in those 3 afternoons isn't that expensive, although obviously I'm no aware of your finances but you'd be saving anyway with DCs 1&2 in school.

Good luck with them I hope they come round to the idea and are more supportive. Congratulations

Writerwannabe83 Wed 12-Mar-14 16:32:56

I can kind of see why your parents may have reacted that way - it comes across as though you fully expect them to continue childcare with this child just as they have with the others. They were probably counting down the time until they could have their space again and now you've put them back at square one.

When my sister had a baby my mom took on some childcare for her - and when my sister announced she was pregnant with number 2 my mom's first reaction was, "Well don't expect me to look after it for you!" As it turned out my sister did expect this and my mom got backed into a corner and was soon looking after both children a few days a week. A few years ago my mom turned round and said, "Enough is enough" and my sister had to find alternative care.

I'm currently pregnant with my first and I have made it quite clear to my mom that I will not be expecting ANY childcare from her as I'm sure when I broke the news it was her first thought. Me and DH have also told his parents the same thing.

My view is if you are expecting someone to provide free childcare for you if you have a baby then you check with them before you try to conceive. You don't get pregnant and then tell them what you hope expect from them...

Many congratulations on your pregnancy though - try not to let this dampen your spirits too much.

moomin35 Wed 12-Mar-14 16:36:22

Know exactly how you feel. My mum told me she was 'in shock' when I told her, I thought that sounded really horrible (ie shock us usually bad), she could have just said how happy she wax for me. My whole family's attitude has stunk in my opinion sand I'm distancing myself from them as result!

expatinscotland Wed 12-Mar-14 16:40:26

So, when you began trying to conceive, you did so with full expectation that your parents would not be looking after the baby whilst you went to work?

Patchouli Wed 12-Mar-14 16:48:14

You do seem to be assuming that they're going to do the childcare for the next couple of years with DCs 1 and 2. Without DC3 even coming into it.
Do you think they didn't really expect it to be going on this long.


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