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Let down by parents - am I overreacting?

(93 Posts)
Dipdaprules Sat 23-Feb-13 22:29:07

Dh and I have two ds's, age 4 and 2. They are lively and can sometimes misbehave, but not more than other children this age I think; they can also be very charming.

Since they were born dh and I have not had a night away from them (together). This summer is our 15th anniversary. We were hoping to go away for a night or two and asked my parents - in their early 60s and in good health - if they would be able to have the boys for the weekend, either at their house (where they have converted a bedroom into a kids room) or ours (where I'd offered to have a nanny come in for a few hours each day).

They have said no. Dad said the boys are too raucous and he's not sure he could cope with them. I am really upset - as he knows, we have nobody else who could take them and so we won't be able to go away. I can't imagine saying no to my own kids in those circumstances when they grow up. Dh is furious and thinks they are being incredibly selfish.

I suppose this is a bit of an aibu

gasman Sun 24-Feb-13 16:11:14

Do you have any friends who will help out?

I've done overnights for a few trusted friends. I don't have my own kids. One couple were really surprised when I offered (I think they had never really considered me as an option due to the lack of my own kids) but by that point I'd looked after a few other children overnight (always in their own house though - my place really isn't set up for small children).

I quite enjoy it. I think you get a different relationship with kids when you look after them on your own without their parents present. I'm pretty lucky (I think) as i have lots of friends who are fairly relaxed about letting me do stuff with their kids and don't fuss too much if what I do is different from normal.

TBH the friends who do fuss don't get the offer of babysitting/ school holiday child care!

ThePinkOcelot Sun 24-Feb-13 16:14:30

I wouldn't want to look after a 2 year old overnight and I'm in my 40's. I just couldn't be bothered. My dds are now 11 and 8, so over that stage. My brother has a 2 year old and just over 1 year old, as much as I love seeing them, I'm also relieved when they get their coat on to go! You have to watch them all the time, and eyes in the back of your head at that age. Even though mine aren't old, it doesn't take long to forget the stages.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 25-Feb-13 01:57:38

You, and more particularly your DH, ABU. It's not written in stone that your parents have to have your DC overnight, or even the weekend that you wanted.

Do you have any siblings that might be able to have your DC? At 4 and 2, they'll still want quite a bit of looking after if anyone does take them, especially the 2yo.

HairyHandedTrucker Mon 25-Feb-13 02:17:32

I think you should be pleased they have been honest. if he doesn't feel comfortable would you really want them in charge?

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 02:23:09

OP I think it's incredibly bad form that you're planning to effectively restrict your parents' access to your dcs just because they won't play ball with your plans. It's a really nasty form of punishment. So just because they can't handle overnights you're effectively cutting off access (until they grovel & apogise to you & your DH)?

I can easily understand why they don't want to do it - you may not agree but it is absolutely their right. Minding a 2 and 4 year old is full on. I wouldn't have wanted to do it even if a close family member had asked me pre dcs and I'm in my 30s, not 60s.

Just because they have said no does not mean they don't like spending time with their dgcs. Equally just because they created facilities for them does not automatically mean they are up for having them overnight. Has it occurred to you they may have health issues you're not aware of?

Shame on you for contemplating giving them the cold shoulder because they couldn't do what you asked, how mean and childish. As for your DH, angry what an entitled and petulant reaction.

MrRected Mon 25-Feb-13 02:24:39


I can't imagine not being there to care for my grandchildren one day. It will be my privilege to help out (when asked).

IMVHO core family values are going the way of the dinosaur. In what world is it a chore to have your grandchildren for a weekend???

FWIW my parents are the exact same. When my mum visited us (we live in Australia), she wouldn't even fetch the kids from school - they had to continue going to Outside School Hours Care. Given she'd been sitting on her arse all day - not even bothered to get up to see them before school, I was pretty pissed off... Me = Bitter... NEVER grin

End of the day - you can only rely on yourselves, you can't change their behaviour, so no point getting narky (as much as it would be nice to wink).

KatieMiddleton Mon 25-Feb-13 02:44:52

Surely better to have them say no then the alternative of resentful struggling? I also wouldn't relish an overnight with a 2yo. My ds was 3yo before he had an overnight stay elsewhere. I expect dd will be a similar age assuming I can find anyone crazy able to manage the pair of them. I just have to suck it up because I chose to have two children.

Maybe try Club Med/Mark Warner type holidays with kids clubs so you all get a holiday and a break? Probably much better care than a stressed out GP as well.

YANBU to be disappointed but yabu to expect them to do it.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 25-Feb-13 02:52:52

ThatsNotAKnife where are you getting that she's going to restrict access? The OP said, only, they don't seem particularly fussed about spending time with their grandchildren so I am going to stop suggesting visits and let them take the lead and see what happens and also that she needs to find a way to move on.

Egging her Muslim husband on to "have a bit of wine" is pretty nasty stuff from her Dad, too.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 06:55:46

Tortoise my reading of the passage you highlighted is that OP won't be arranging visitfor the forseeable future & wants her parents to ' take the lead', aka, apologise to her and DH. Apologies to OP if this isn't what she actually meant, however to me it seemed that it was actually a passive-agressive form of punishment.

The wine thing between the dad & DH isn't nice I agree, but doesn't change the fact that the dad is allowed to say no. The DH's behaviour regarding this incident really is poor.

swallowedAfly Mon 25-Feb-13 07:16:56

no i read it as take the lead as in if they want to see them fine but not forcing it upon them as they're clearly not bothered.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 07:23:35

Just because they don't want to babysit them for a full weekend does not mean they're not bothered swallowed.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 25-Feb-13 07:48:43

I think it's lovely if grandparents want to help out - my MIL used to collect my dc from nursery one afternoon a week when we lived in the same town, and we were very grateful to her for it, and I assume that if my dc have children I will be happy to help out wherever possible - but I don't understand the attitude some people seem to have that their parents are somehow obliged to help out or selfish when they're not keen. I can understand someone being cross if grandparents won't help out in an emergency, but wanting a night away from your children isn't an emergency, sorry. My dc are 5 and 7 and we have never had a night away from them together. It's a luxury, not an entitlement.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 25-Feb-13 07:53:18

I should clarify that where the family circumstances are particularly difficult, e.g. a disabled child or illness in the family, I think it's reasonable to feel disappointed if gps won't help out without good reason. But being furious because, in an average family situation, your parents won't have your dc overnight is not on IMO.

swallowedAfly Mon 25-Feb-13 07:58:04

no but from what the OP says they give the general impression they're not bothered. so she's going to stop chasing to see them and let them take their lead on saying when they want to see their grandchildren.

swallowedAfly Mon 25-Feb-13 08:00:17

i'm lost as to why people want to give a mum a kicking for being disappointed that her parents don't want to be an active part of her children's lives. it sounds like when their children were young they utilised plenty of help from op's grandparents (and op enjoyed seeing her grandparents) but they don't want to pass that forward themselves.

thesnootyfox Mon 25-Feb-13 08:11:29

I don't think you are being selfish or entitled. However I can see your parents point of view, looking after two young preschoolers is incredibly hard work and I don't blame them for not wanting to do it. I can remember when my mum was in her 50s and had my nieces and nephews for the weekend she was exhausted at the end of the weekend and it wasn't really fair on her.

It gets easier as they get older. We have a large age gap and are at the toddler stage again. We have never had a night away from the children and I don't envisage that happening for a long time yet. Our friends had the normal 2 year age gap and now both children are at school they are finding that the grandparents are happy to have them for the odd weekend.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 08:12:49

I don't see any evidence in OP's posts that the GPs aren't interested in their dgcs, & no mention of how much help the GPs had from their parents when OP was young.

swallowedAfly Mon 25-Feb-13 08:16:30

i suggest you read closer then.

echt Mon 25-Feb-13 08:19:47

I've read the OP's posts and yes, she went straight from the first post where the GPs are not so enthusiastic to OP proposing winding back on suggesting visits based on ......nothing else, just a vague lack of interest. So yes, it does sound like passive-aggressive punishment for not coming up with the goods.

Has the OP been "chasing them"?

Also, children described as "lively" can appear quite differently to others. (I do not imply they are hell on wheels).

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy is spot on about the difference between emergencies and planning.

echt Mon 25-Feb-13 08:23:36

Nah, swallowed can't see the refs to GPs' parents' help at all, nor to anything specific about GP s not being keen, at least not before the hint about being less forthcoming herself, which came first.

Branleuse Mon 25-Feb-13 08:28:40

they sound useless and id be upset too. i had a great relationship with my grandparents and so did dp, spending entire holidays with them. They're missing out on having a close relationship if they won't take them for breaks and i think its one of the things when you have children, you get grandchildren too and my mum takes mine and dps mum would in a shot too, and i expect to do the same for my gc later on down the line. Even if they're raucous, its only a night or two.

Abra1d Mon 25-Feb-13 08:45:49

I am roaring with laughter at how people are claiming 60- somethings are so ancient!

But seriously, OP, how do your children behave? I am asking this gently. I know what two-year olds are sometimes like. Have other people commented on their behaviour?

diddl Mon 25-Feb-13 09:14:21

It sounds as if it would be easier to accept if your husband wasn´t so up in arms tbh.

So you've put that your mum can't cope.

And your Dad says he can't-but you don't seem to believe him??!!

Of course YANBU to be disappointed, but that's just life for a lot of folks.

Weekends away as a couple don't happen when you have young children.

diddl Mon 25-Feb-13 09:37:30

They haven´t really let do down though, have they?

You just can´t do something that you would have liked.

I think that two young kids for a weekend is a big ask tbh anyway.

I´m only 50 but think I'd find it hard-I´m used to teenagers & have forgotten the young years!

I can´t believe that your husband thinks that they are selfish.

Maybe they think that you two are selfish for even thinking of a weekend away?

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 25-Feb-13 09:39:52

Some 60 somethings are in great health. Some are not. Others might be just starting to feel the effects of getting older.

Nobody said they were ancient but minding two very active small children for a weekend would easily take it out of most people, never mind two retirees.

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