Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

GRANDPARENTS - how much help do you get?

(58 Posts)
69bex69 Wed 08-May-13 10:50:16

Ok i have 4 children, 10, 7, 21mths and 5mths. I have a hard working hubby and live 20 miles from the nearest relative. I love being a sahm and all is dandy except for one thing; my 7yr old boy. He's very hard work not just for me but his teacher and when he used to go to a childminder.

One day i was at my wits end and we needed a break from each other so i called my dad and asked if he could just have him for one night. Never asked in 10yrs for any help. He said he couldnt as he was very unwell so i asked the other grandparent and he stayed there. Fair enough?

Then i get a call from my sis saying he lied coz he didnt want to, why the f**k should he!? Well i thought that was what family was for? I have my sisters kids now and again and its not a problem. Never ask anything in return. I do it because they are my family. Simple.

Have to say he hasnt bothered with them in the past, birthdays, christmas, school holidays so i guess it shouldnt of been much of a suprise but i dont think its normal. He had plenty of help when we were kids!

Think i may just cut him off.

TheOriginalNutcracker Thu 09-May-13 00:34:34

Oh my ex's parents don't see our kids btw. It's the only thing me and ex agree on.

Mimishimi Thu 09-May-13 00:32:52

My parents have had DD several times in school holidays. They live too far away (2 hours drive) to provide any other help. They've never offered to take our 6 year old special needs son overnight by himself either. I think it would be too much for my mum or she worries it would be. Last holidays was the first time he noticed it and I could see the hurt in his eyes as he asked why he couldn't go to Nanny and Poppy's too. I don't expect them to though and would never consider 'cutting them off' because they didn't want to. What would that achieve?

TheOriginalNutcracker Thu 09-May-13 00:25:57

My mum will babysit when ever i ask, and stay overnight if needed and always has done.

My dad struggles to spend more than an hour with us cos he can't stand the noise lol, but he is always there if I really need him, and sometimes helps financially, like if my car is knackered etc.

thezebrawearspurple Thu 09-May-13 00:21:57

Pil would move dd in with them if they could and have her a few times a week, my own take her for a few hours every couple of weeks, neither do it to help me out, they just want to spend time with her. They'd be running in the other direction if she was so difficult that even teachers and childminders found her hard to deal with tbh. Perhaps your father felt that he wouldn't be able to cope with him.

thegreylady Wed 08-May-13 22:39:38

Different families different dynamics I guess. I have 9 grandchildren and would look after any of them whenever asked and for as long as needed. Last month I had three aged 15,13 and 9 for a couple of nights and next month I am having two aged 4 and 6 for a weekend. But you see I love doing it and if I didn't I would probably be less willing.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Wed 08-May-13 22:38:54

Sorry you are having to put up with this. It's shite, isn't it.
My MiL wouldn't come and watch her 1 grandchild the day after we moved house and were all really ill. We were utterly desperate or DH wouldn't have asked. Her excuse? I've go a lot of ironing to do. A part of DH died that day. We haven't bothered with her much since then.

I will always be there for my kids. It's so hard with no support whatsoever.

Jezabelle Wed 08-May-13 22:33:20

69 Bex, I'm sorry you've had such a tough time. I get no help with my DDs either. Dad lives 2.5 hours away and never has offered. PILs live 4 hours away. We don't see them much. When we do they dote on the DCs but don't give much practical help. DD1 just turned 7 and did not get a single present from family.

I think you've got a hard time from some of the posters here. It's not like you're complaining that your DCs GPs don't take them on holiday or help provide weekly childcare or something. You were low and needed some support. I don't think that's unreasonable and think that it is natural to feel hurt by the reaction you got.

My guess is that your dad did feel out of his depth and probably didn't feel he would be able to cope. He lied to you as he didn't know what else to say. What he said to your sis sounds like he was using attack as a form of defence.

I can't say whether or not you should maintain a relationship with him. Maybe leave things until you are feeling stronger and less angry and review the situation then.

What I do know is that, partly as a result of having no support, I feel so very close to my DDs. Didn't spend a whole day apart from them for the first 6 years. No one can say I did not bring them up. They are lovely people and I am proud of them.

Good luck getting through this tough period. Post in SN or behaviour forums for more advice about your DS.

golfyc Wed 08-May-13 22:09:21

Not much
Think its really difficult when you see other people getting lots help ie getting washing, housework etc done - would be fantastic luxury though!. - However you also see what you are expected to do in the way of a circus and performing kids when you parents and or in laws help out all the time.
I am from a very small family and basically its always been stand on your own two feet. It means I don't get day to day help but also means we don't have to spend every weekend somewhere I don't want to be.
My sons grandparents do get time with him and he does adore them but time is spent when we want to.
Think some grandparent think they've had their time and why should they start again?
Maybe look at getting a good network of friends that can help out and the kids can play together - winner all round

TheSecondComing Wed 08-May-13 22:06:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

XBenedict Wed 08-May-13 22:04:16

A bit but all begrudgingly done sad, came home on promises of helping us out so I could go back to work etc

WestieMamma Wed 08-May-13 22:01:56

My parents had my daughter to stay at least 1 night a week, more in school holidays, and always took her on holiday with them. Their lives revolve around their grandchildren.

Her paternal grandparents aren't really interested. They put in a token amount of effort to be involved at Christmas and birthdays. Now she's an adult she can't really be bothered with them either.

My son is only 2 weeks old and it's looks like his paternal grandparents came out of the same tin as my parents. In fact I think MIL may have moved in.

JustinBsMum Wed 08-May-13 22:00:05

Disappointing about GP but I would try to work out why DS is playing up.

My middle DD insists she is the ignored middle one whilst the others, by dint of being the first born and the baby of the family got more attention. This is probably true. Not deliberate of course.

Perhaps DS feels he is missing out with 2 littlies to compete with, doesn't matter if he is or not, it's whether he thinks he is that counts.

Perhaps there are some books that can give you advice. Perhaps DH could give him some one to one time? and don't include the 10 year old in this DH time.

mrscoleridge Wed 08-May-13 21:54:51

I cannot understand this not helping malarkey. In lots of European countries families help each other. This cuts both ways and means the older generation are also cared for.
obviously if health or distance is an issue then that's different. The attitude of only being responsible for one generation is why there are so many isolated lonely people in this country. It also partly explains our high divorce rate.
I used to live in Italy and their kindness and care to family was amazing

echt Wed 08-May-13 21:46:20

OP - your sister is the problem here, not your dad.

If he's not been involved for the last 10 years, then I'm surprised you thought he'd be up for it. If you and the school find your DS difficult, how would your dad cope? The help he had when you were children is not the point.

You don't seem to like him much so perhaps you should cut your losses.

looseleaf Wed 08-May-13 21:36:54

My parents do a huge amount to help me and DH eg have us to stay for literally weeks and are amazing. But they don't particularly want to look after their 2 grandchildren or talk to them apart my dad who'll read to them. my mum complains about how her sister ends up looking after her 5 and though they love our two v much it never occurs to her there might be joy in it. I think everyone is so different and it's lovely seeing they're enjoying their friends etc a lot and so busy.
At the same time, I'm very different/ have always loved children and would certainly be very hands on if that is welcome if/ when the time comes. Dd (6) has already said I can share her children!!

Fleecyslippers Wed 08-May-13 20:40:13

On my side, a close, loving supportive family. As a single parent i rely on them a lot and it works both days - I do a lot of paperwork/online ordering/finding insurance etc for them.

My ex in laws are incredibly selfish and lack any sense of family. It will come round to bite them when they are old and perhaps need help. because they sure as hell won't get any from their son wink

louisianablue2000 Wed 08-May-13 20:39:20

None. MIL does offer to help sometimes but they live several hours away and FIL is in his 80s and in poor health so I don't really want her to leave him to help us out. She did help out BIL and SIL when their kids were little (they're >10 years older than our DC) and I do appreciate the offer.

Mum is far away so I'm not expecting her to be able to help out a lot but I've been disappointed this maternity leave. When the DDs were little my father was very ill and she always said 'If your DF wasn't ill I'd come down a lot to see you' which was fair enough (Dad needed her more than I did). But now she's a widow she still doesn't come to visit, she came when DS was born in September but hasn't been since and is not talking about coming to visit any time soon so I doubt I'll see her here before I return to work. I'm disappointed more than anything that she is missing out on my kids. She is such an active grandparent with my DB's kids, they live next door and she does the wrap around care for the eldest and has the youngest 1 day a week. Plus ad-hoc days. This weekend she had my niece and nephews for the whole weekend because SIL was at a henny night and DB is a farmer so was working. Mum said 'oh it was much easier to have them here' and of course DB got Mum to make all his meals... Not jealous at all.

DewDr0p Wed 08-May-13 20:38:39

My parents are great with the dcs but I have to say I don't think my Dad would feel confident about having them on his own overnight, even just one of them. Perhaps if he's never babysat before then immediately going to an overnight stay feels a big jump? Maybe a couple of hours one afternoon would be a gentler start?

Overall though we don't get much help from any family really.

Springforward Wed 08-May-13 20:27:17

My parents have both passed away sadly, but I do know that if they were still here and fit enough my DS would have had fabulous grandparents, as they were wonderful to all the grandchildren who came before. In fact although DM was perhaps not the, er, easiest mother, she was a lovely nanny.

The ILs? I have learned to expect very little, frankly, that way I am not disappointed.

jasmineramsden Wed 08-May-13 20:10:18

I'm surprised that the majority on this thread seem to be saying well its tough if GP's don't help out and its their choice.
Well yes, it is their choice of course but in my opinion its bloody wrong, selfish and a bit cruel if healthy GPs who live near and have some free time don't help out at least occasionally. I personally have been very, very ill recently and unable to care for my baby which has been awful, I would have been lost without the support of my mother and my in laws, they are fantastic. We pull together and this goes both ways. I am very lucky, clearly. To me this is the way its meant to be. If I become a grandmother in the future I would also expect to help out if I was fit enough. Its really sad that this isn't the norm for some people.

Smartieaddict Wed 08-May-13 19:09:44

These threads always make me sad. No, Grandparents don't have to look after their grandchildren, but surely most want to?

We are lucky in that Grandparents on both sides love having DS, and I can't wait until DS has children, if he chooses to, so I can do the same!

I don't think it is unreasonable to be sad if your parents won't have their grandchildren once in a while.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Wed 08-May-13 19:06:13

YANBU. You've got your hands full. You asked him once in ten years. I think he could have been kinder, instead of being an arse. It's hardly taking the piss to ask once, for one child, in ten years.

You know not to ask him again. It's his loss. Grandchildren can be wonderful and life enhancing or they can be some kids you ignore and don't bother with.

I know which camp I hope to be in one day.

stillenacht Wed 08-May-13 19:05:07

My mum and dad are my saviours. Without them I just couldn't keep going (and Dh too). Mum will take DS2 aged 9 who has severe autism if I can't cope. They have him when I have parents evenings or concerts. DS1 lives with them one week on and one off as he struggles to cope with DS2. They mean the world to us. I am v v v lucky.

threesypeesy Wed 08-May-13 19:01:04

Reading this I find us to be very fortunate for our help we recieve from our families with our 3dds we have a large family and all grand parents on dh side both mil and his gps have them more twice a week overnight my parents have them all weekend once a month and take them on two holidays a year.

I am hoping not to sound smug as if I am honest we are very fortunate and I think I would be be very stressed and run down if I didnt recieve family help.

You sister sounded like she was trying to stir things op and I find it terrible that she never helps out even after you give her support, I would reconsider doing so in the future

BabyHMummy Wed 08-May-13 18:57:09

I am sorry your df has made u feel that way and u really need to tell ur sister to get lost and stop stirring. I suggest asking why the fuck should you next time she wants u to have her kids.

You can't force your df to grow a.pair esp if he was a crappy dad i am afraid. Adjust your expectations and tell him to do one if he comes to u wanting help.

My dp's parents are Fab and will have my stepkids at the drop of a hat for us which os brilliant. They have offered to have dd when the is born too and to cover childcare if i go back to work. We have declined that as at 80+ i feel its unfair on them but i know if we needed it they would be there.

My parents both work but will be demanding childcare duties i am certain.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: