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Looking for advice from DGPs ...

(39 Posts)
FGSholdthedoor Thu 26-Oct-17 16:27:19

I'm a fairly young mum (early-mid 20s) my parents also had me quite early and as a result my DM and DF are also quite young DGPs (mid 40s). Growing up I was quite close to them and there was always a lot of inclination that I was going to be close to them (especially DM) when I had my own children etc and I know they always wanted to be hands on DGPs.

Over time due to certain events our relationship has become quite strained and we are trying to work on this.
I see them once a week, sometimes once every 2 as they both work and I sometimes have other commitments but I usually work it around the days they have off. They get a good 5hours or more with DS on those days.
DS does not sleep over and does not spend time alone with them I.e. They don't babysit. They keep subtly bringing it up and hinting at wanting to do that with him but due to past events this will not happen and they pretty much know this.
However, I find it really hard to be blunt with them when addressing the subject as it would strain our relationship even more and they will jump to conclusions - I need help with this.

Last week I saw them mid week and also went out for a meal with them and DS on Sunday as my DH was away (I wouldn't usually do Sunday's if DH is home as its out family day). My DM just got a pay rise and wanted to treat us all and asked to pay and it was a nice enough afternoon apart from my DF being critical of most things which I found odd.
I got home and texted DM to thank her for the meal, she sent a text back asking if DS slept in the car on the way back (he was upset and cranky and didn't want to get in the car seat when we were leaving), I said he was fine as soon as we set off. She then text saying "you should come more often with DS".
I didn't reply.
I feel like there isn't a reply I can send that will not aggravate the situation.
I also feel a bit deflated as I thought things were going ok but they keep hinting at wanting more.
I have since sent them pics of DS at the zoo as we went recently, they have seen them but not replied.

They feel they do not see DS enough and don't get enough time alone with him.
Last time my DF mentioned a good shopping centre where you could buy lots of lovely stuff for DS at good prices but it's far away so they would need to "go overnight and it's hard to buy clothes for DS without him trying them on" - I.e. a hint at wanting to potentially take DS away for a weekend.
It's just awkward...

If you're a DGP - how often do you see your DGCs? And do you think I'm being unreasonable with sticking to what me and DH want to do?
Is it unfair that they only see DS once a week?
How do I manage this?

Sorry this post is a lot longer than intended and I've already cut lots out...
Any replies are appreciated.

BlueNeighbourhood Thu 26-Oct-17 16:30:36

I think for anyone to give any sort of advice we need to know what has happened in the past between you and your parents which means you want to limit contact between them and your son.

SeaCabbage Thu 26-Oct-17 16:33:56

Yes, it is hard to imagine the situation, whereby you see them twice a week but something has happened which makes you not want to leave him alone with them.

Can you give a bit moreinformation?

BlueNeighbourhood Thu 26-Oct-17 16:38:11

If it helps in any way, when I was growing up (as I don't have children), my GP's basically took over looking after me, I'd see one set of them every single day.

Now though, one GM has a 7 year old who is my cousin, and she sees her once a week if that. The reason? Her mother thinks my GM can't be trusted to look after her because she's 83 now! She's fitter than most of us, looks a lot younger than her age and doesn't have any problems with children. It's just pure spitefulness.

So it differs, I think there's no set answer to your question and I'd be intrigued to know why you have a relationship with them but don't want their GS being left alone with them? Seems very odd.

Sooooooooooooooooooooo Thu 26-Oct-17 16:49:56

What past events? It’s hard to know if you’re being unreasonable without knowing the back story.

FWIW yes parents and in law’s baby sit, not a lot but I have no problem with it. They see the dc about 3 times a week.

FGSholdthedoor Thu 26-Oct-17 17:01:20

Ok this might out me on here as I've posted about it in the past but NC since but I will try to explain.

I see them once a week - the fact I saw them twice last week was a one off, as I said DH was away which usually isn't the case, also it was a special occasion as DM got a pay rise.

There has been a fallout between my DH and DP(arents). They have nothing to do with each other.
There has been a lot of unreasonable behaviour from them in the past especially my DM.
I've had her crying over the phone to me going from sad to angry and accusing me of "playing games" with them and telling me she will go NC with me "if she has to" even though it will "break her heart because I'm her DD and she loves me more than anything" - this was because I said I MIGHT have to rearrange the day I see them a certain week at short notice as I forgot I had an appointment.
She claimed I always do this and the days we see each other are never set even though it was supposed to be every Monday - it went from being a Monday to changing due to their jobs as they weren't always free every Monday hmm

I also feel like they won't respect my wishes fully if I left them alone with DS and I think given half a chance will question my methods.

junebirthdaygirl Thu 26-Oct-17 17:06:18

I was going to say let them have see for a hour now and then. But l recognise you and they are lucky to ever see him. I thought they were going back to their own country. Stop caring what they think. Ignore those messages. And live your own life.

AlternativeTentacle Thu 26-Oct-17 17:08:17

Have you posted about this before? If not then perhaps it might be helpful to explain why your husband and parents don't get on.

Santawontbelong Thu 26-Oct-17 17:10:13

You aren't obliged to farm your ds out to relatives. .
Your dm has had her dc and any time spent with gc is a bonus.
I have my dgs 2 nights a week at dil request as she is not coping with him. . If she chooses to reduce this in the future that's her choice. . In the early days I saw him whenever she visited. Certainly would never have asked her to have him but she knew the offer stood for me to help out.

Jellybean85 Thu 26-Oct-17 17:14:10

Oh goodness are you the poster who’s oh went into business with Dgps and it didn’t work out?
If so they weren’t really innocent were they but can’t see that it would affect their ability to look after grandson.
If not then we need to know more about events to judge

loveyoutothemoon Thu 26-Oct-17 17:26:19

I think the text saying you should come more often with DS doesn't sound out of order, not sure why you didn't reply, that's rude. You could've said it's a bit tricky or spoken to her about it.

How far away do they live? If it's close, what's wrong with them seeing your DS more than once a week?

JaneEyre70 Thu 26-Oct-17 17:27:17

I'm blessed that my DD lives in the same village and my grandkids are here most days.... it's a family joke that DD spends more time here now than she did growing up! I do whatever I can to help her out, as when I had my DDs, my mum worked full time and DHs mum passed away when he was a teenager so I felt very sad that mine missed out a lot. I spent an equal amount of time with my grandmothers growing up as I did my mum.
I hugely respect DDs space, will always do my best to help and she knows that I never undermine her opinion. If she says no to something, then I respect it completely. The grandkids have a bedroom here, 2 very loving grandparents and 2 adoring aunties that live at home still and are as happy here as they are in their own home, and I love that.

BackforGood Thu 26-Oct-17 17:52:18

I'm not a dgp, but, growing up I would see mine 2 - 3 times a year.

When they were little, my dc saw their dgp about 2x a month, less as they have got older.

I think it sounds like your dp see their grandchildren just plenty.
Nor do I think it matters if dgps are laxer with 'rules' than you would be if they are just looking after them as a special treat, so, if they haven't done anything to suggest they would be unsafe, I wouldn't put a blanket ban on them ever sitting for you.

FGSholdthedoor Thu 26-Oct-17 18:13:05

I don't let them have DS alone as per DHs wishes, he is not comfortable with it and I understand and respect that.

@loveyoutothemoon it's not about it being out of order as such. It's more about the fact that it feels the more they get the more they push for IYKWIM . As I mentioned in my op I can't think of a way I could talk to her/address it without causing a fall out or my DM turning herself into "the victim".
So I ignored it because any possible response would have most likely caused a fall out.

Also they live about half an hour away. So an hour round trip.
DS has nursery 2x a week, I take him to a local playgroup once a week and I also have other commitments, and we generally try and make weekends just for our little family so DH DS and me.
I thought once a week for 5hrs was plenty.

Maelstrop Thu 26-Oct-17 18:15:12

Don't your parents have alcohol issues? I think I would be quite blunt and say that they will never have ds overnight and that once a week or less is currently enough times to see them.

FGSholdthedoor Thu 26-Oct-17 18:18:34

@Jellybean85 I am yes. Setting that aside I don't think they would be the greatest babysitters and I don't think they have proved themselves with the way they have been behaving either TBH.

Example - my DF was going to not use the car seat for DS when we went to the restaurant on Sunday because "it's only down the road" and he didn't want to faff about with putting it in his car in between me and DM. I shut that down quickly and made sure car seat was secured and DS strapped in it before we set off. And this is not the first time he's mentioned maybe not using the car seat as "it's just down the road" or "only around the corner". DS is 2.5yo for context.

DixieNormas Thu 26-Oct-17 18:36:37

I see dgc once a week, sometimes more. They live 10 miles away and tend to come for the whole day Saturday

This week they are coming for a while tomorrow night and staying over here Saturday night.

I've babysat dgd once for around 6 hours but she is only 5 months old and bf. I'm having dgd and dsgs in January but have no idea how long for, probably the same as last time

We would probably see more of each other if they lived closer

However I think 5 hours a week is plenty. I don't understand why gps push to have dgc on their own either tbh. They know if they need me or want me too then i will .but I have no right to try and demand it.

seven201 Thu 26-Oct-17 19:09:14

My dd is 16months and probably averages seeing her paternal grandparents (live an hour away) once a month, sometimes a little more often. She sees my dad probably once every 6-8 weeks (lives bit over two hours away). I wouldn’t want to see them more. You’re not obliged to spend time with them!

upaladderagain Thu 26-Oct-17 19:34:25

I’m a grandmother and look after 12 month old dgd once a week and she’s just stayed for a few days. I have an excellent relationship with my daughter - we are very close. BUT my attitude is that her child is her child, and if she trusts me to take care of her that is a privilege not a right. Why is it that so many grandparents feel entitled to dictate how their offspring parent their own children? I’d guess they are the same sort of people who’d throw a blue fit if anyone tried to interfere in their private lives.

FGSholdthedoor Thu 26-Oct-17 20:12:50

I think the tricky bit is is that they don't "demand" it.

It gets brought up in little ways and hints that are a bit painfully obvious.

But I never really address it as I know it would cause conflict.

If I say "well that doesn't work for us" they would question me if its "us" or DH.
If I say both then I'll be made out (indirectly) to be a bad daughter, I will be told about how hurtful it is, I will have DM crying down the phone saying I've taken sides, that they don't get to be "proper" DGPs etc.
If I say DH then he will be made out to be evil and spiteful. It will be then passed onto my own DGPs (who live abroad so can't really have a great perspective on this) which will make the family situation even more awkward.

I don't have a great relationship with either of them, that wasn't always the case, I was very close to them, especially DM but I was also blind to their faults and would brush them under the carpet. Over the years as I've grown up and realised it all I subconsciously distanced myself from them. I didn't even want my DM there when I was giving birth, I didn't tell her this but I just wanted my DH.

mindutopia Thu 26-Oct-17 21:01:12

I'm not a grandparent, but I can speak about our own situation. My family doesn't live in the UK, so they only see my dd about 3-4 times a year, but for about a week at a time (they come to stay with us). During this time, they might have one evening alone with her (but she's asleep in bed) while we go out to dinner. Basically, they babysit for us to have a rare night out. It's not really about 'alone time' (they don't drive here, so there's not much they can do but spend time hanging out with her at our house). They've stayed overnight with her at our house maybe 2-3 times (in 4 years), again so we could have a night away, usually for a wedding or something else we can't bring her too. We try to coordinate their visits for these times for that reason.

As for my husband's family, we no longer have contact with MIL/SFIL, but that's relatively recent and due to safeguarding issues related to child sexual abuse (not related to our dd, another child in his family, but anyway, that's another story). But back when our relationship was still good and happy before all this happened, they would see our dd maybe 4-5 times a year, usually for the better part of a day, but with us there. They never had her alone together (thank god, in retrospect). But MIL did babysit for us on her own, again mostly in the evening after we put her to bed so she was asleep when this happened, maybe about 3 times ever.

I don't think it's weird to see your grandchildren several times a week. I spent nearly every day with my grandparents as a child (they were my mum's childcare while she worked) until I reached school age. They also used to do the school run so I saw them every day after school too when I was older (again, because my mum needed their help). Maybe about once a month I spent the night or the weekend. But they were awesome and loving and mum was comfortable with that.

You should never do anything you're uncomfortable with. I know what it's like to have to make the decision that a grandparent is not safe to have alone time with your child. If that's your gut reaction or you feel you just can't do more than you're already doing in terms of contact, then that's your choice. The contact you already have is far more than we've ever had and I would say far more than most of my friends' kids have, but everyone is different. You just need to be assertive and upfront about it if it's not what you want. It's your choice.

DancesWithOtters Thu 26-Oct-17 21:11:51

Oh god, I remember your previous posts OP sad

Bless you for persevering with them still, but I would have gone NC with them ages ago. I know you have the FOG (fear obligation guilt), but from what I can recall from your story they are not a positive influence on your life, and I wouldn't want them around my children.

If you desperately want to keep them in your life then I would reiterate every time they go into manipulation mode that they will see your child on your terms or not at all. And tell them you are deadly serious and not willing to listen to any guilt tripping and drama.

Again, I would go NC. flowers

springydaffs Thu 26-Oct-17 21:23:27

So that's a big story here? Impossible to make any suggestions when most of us don't know what the story is..

FGSholdthedoor Thu 26-Oct-17 21:28:53

@springydaffs I didn't think the story was needed....
I guess the main issue is I just want to know if people think I'm being unfair with the amount of time/frequency my DPs see my DS.

springydaffs Thu 26-Oct-17 21:32:07

But that clearly isn't the main issue. There is a whopping story here which is causing you to repeatedly sidestep and blank them without explaining why you're doing it. It's also a pretty momentous thing that your dh doesn't want them to have ds solo...

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