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Do your parents WANT to spend time with your kids, or do they just do it as a favour?

(77 Posts)
bohemianbint Fri 18-Jul-08 18:38:47

I'm just wondering as mine only ever spend one on one time with DS (23 months) when we ask them for help, and then it's done on the footing of them doing us a big favour, IYSWIM. And if we don't ask for help, they don't spend any time with DS at all. (They went 4 months without spending time with him earlier this year, before we had to ask for some help.)

They live 5 mins round the corner and are not ancient, and whilst they always make a fuss of him when they do see him, they don't do it off their own bat. I'm just wondering how normal this is, especially when I'm 36 weeks pregnant and could really do with some help now and again and I feel bad when I have to ask rather than it being offered; it makes me feel like I'm imposing, and indebted.

Am I being oversensitive if am hurt by their seeming indifference? Not just that they dont' want to spend time with DS, but they also don't seem to want to help me, and it shouldn't take a degree in psychology to work out that a very heavily pregnant woman with a toddler would need some help, should it?

expatinscotland Fri 18-Jul-08 18:39:27

mine love to, but they live over 5,000 away.

S1ur Fri 18-Jul-08 18:45:45

DP's love to, and are excellent at it.

Mine don't do it. Ever. And would never offer.

Are your parents quite youngish, working and busy? I think that's my parents excuse.

fillybuster Fri 18-Jul-08 18:46:06

I think all parents are different. Mine are similar(ish) to yours - they live 5 mins away and aren't old, clearly love seeing their gcs when we take them over etc but make minimal effort to see them in-between. We also have the 'taking them as a favour' thing.

I have to admit I've struggled with this and been really hurt - I want my parents to want to see my (lovely wink) children, but I've decided that they'll have to build their own relationship with their gcs on their own terms and in their own way.

By which I mean, I do make sure I take the kids over every few weeks for a short visit, and I try to make them available on the rare occasions my mother calls to say she's in the area and can she stop by (usually 5 mins before bedtime or mid-mealtimes...sigh), but I've taken a mental step back from it and decided that I mustn't take it personally, and that if my parents are crap it isn't my fault! grin

Fortunately my MIL is amazing, most of the time...

Try not to take it too personally - and if they're anything like my Ps then probably its not worth saying how you feel, but feel free to tell them you need some help at the moment and just after the new baby arrives...maybe they'll cope better with a 'task oriented' approach than an emotional one?

Good luck!

sarah293 Fri 18-Jul-08 18:48:51

Message withdrawn

wilbur Fri 18-Jul-08 18:49:29

I'm not surprised you feel hurt, but I know a lot of people in the same boat, sadly. I am v lucky with my in laws in that they are relatively young and adore all their grandchildren and would have them whenever they could - sadly they live 2.5 hrs from us so we can't take advantage of it that often, but BIL and wife who live near to them are hugely supported. They are as grandparents should be in an ideal world.

M dd is 17 months and my mum hasnt been to my house since she was born. twice in one week and thats it. Didnt even come to her 1st birthday party.

She lives about 3 mile away but has a shop so works full time and has no staff since I left on maternity. She also has five horses so when not at work is busy with them.
She never looked after dd even for 5 min and I wouldnt ask.

My dad and step mum have her and would have her at the drop of a hat. As I am 34 weeeks my step mum offers to have her all the time.

aGalChangedHerName Fri 18-Jul-08 18:56:00

DH's don't spend time as a favour to us because they don't want spend time with them at all.

Mine used to a little but my db's dc's have always been favourites (well eldest gd has)and so when we stopped asking them through for dinner weekly and for all bbq's etc they stopped coming at all really. We are lucky if the dd's see my mum once a week for an hour or so (dad doesn't bother coming at all usually) and my ds's have no time for my parents at all after being sidelined in favout of my db's dc for years.

I have to think in my head that it's their loss but it does hurt. I agree Bohemianbint that they should want to help you, their daughter out. It's shit isn't it??

No advice just sympathy xx

bohemianbint Fri 18-Jul-08 18:56:08

See, the in-laws have never been of any use either. I guess because both my parents are still both working and busy, that explains it to some extent. But I still think it shows a total lack of concern for us, especially when they got so much help from both sets of their parents when we were growing up.

My biological mother who I recently got back in touch with after years has been offering to come and help when the baby comes. My parents hate her with a passion and I'm wondering if they might get a bit more helpful if they think she'll help otherwise... hmm Not the sort of crap I want kicking off after giving birth however...

pedilia Fri 18-Jul-08 19:01:08

Sorry if this sounds blunt but they are your children, why should you expectaion be that parents or in-laws should help!
Or maybe they don't want to be seen as interfering or just don't want to be heavily invovled.

I have 4 Dc's, I get no practical help from my parents neither do I expect it.

bohemianbint Fri 18-Jul-08 19:11:45

Seriously? You don't think grandparents should be interested in their grandchildren, or their own kids welfare?

Ewe Fri 18-Jul-08 19:17:22

I think it's really sad that these days lots of people think it's ok for GP's to not make an effort.

I feel very lucky that my folks and my IL's adore spending time with DD and think that's how it should be, lack of family involvement has a big part to play in a lot of the problems we have in this country IMVHO!

pedilia Fri 18-Jul-08 19:18:38

Certanly they should have an interest but you can't force people to have either an interest or the type of interest you think they should have IYSWIM

Iwould have loved it if my parents had offered to have my DC's for a couple of hours while PG with DD4 ( 4 weeks) especially as DH is away Mon-Fri, but they didn't offer and I would not have asked.

I chose to have my children so I see them as my responsibilty not my parents, they have finsihed raising their children, they can be concerned without having to offer practical help IMHO

fruitful Fri 18-Jul-08 19:20:02

I don't think parents or ILs should help, unless they want to.

But I do think that they should want to!

fruitful Fri 18-Jul-08 19:20:39

Its not about responsibility though, its about emotions, isn't it?

bohemianbint Fri 18-Jul-08 19:21:26

It is a pretty shit state of affairs though, isn't it? Like I say, we spend loads of time with both sets of parents when we were growing up and had a brilliant bond with them as a result. I learnt so much from spending time with my GP's and was devastated when they died.

I think it's sad that my kids won't have the same bond. Because surely, it shoudl be a two way thing, shouldn't it?

bohemianbint Fri 18-Jul-08 19:22:06

(we spent, not spend! blush)

bohemianbint Fri 18-Jul-08 19:22:37

(and I meant with both sets of grandparents. Doh!)

neva Fri 18-Jul-08 19:35:39

I tend to think that the generations should help each other out if they can; so, ideally able bodied grandparents would help out with the grandchildren, children help their elderly parents and so on. Surely those who don't reach out to help are missing out on family life? On the other hand, I don't yet know what it feels like to be a grandparent, and my parents don't yet need help...I suspect that some people find it hard to handle having their normal daily routines disrupted in order to help others.

ALMummy Fri 18-Jul-08 20:47:09

I wouldn't expect grandparents to help out but I would hope they would want to and yes I would feel hurt if they didn't have any interest. I don't expect the grandparents to bring my kids up but I do think it would be a bit crap if they just didn't bother. They know how hard it can be with small kids and to just not bother themselves to help out once in a while is pretty selfish.

izyboy Fri 18-Jul-08 20:58:33

Out of interest, what level of 'help' would you expect from GPs who do not live in the area (say 2.5 hrs away). Also would you expect them to play, read stories, interact with the kids when they visit?

GrinningGorilla Fri 18-Jul-08 21:00:41

My mum is retired and single and has masses of time on her hands she lives 10 doors down and this is what happens:

She tells me she will have my kids two days a week so I can increase my hours. Three weeks after starting the extra hours she tells me she can't do it anymore.

She will babysit once in a blue moon and never past midnight.

She will never have them overnight.

I was recently in the heart unit (newly diagnosed with heart probs) she refused to have them overnight so dp could carry on his night job that he had started only two weeks before. She came into the heart unit to tell me that she was exhausted after having all three of my "ferrell" kids for 5 hours while I was being shocked back into life.

My mum doesnt want to spend time with her grandchildren, she doesn't deserve them and I shall be so glad when we move away.

BasementBear Fri 18-Jul-08 21:06:49

Ask yourself what they were like as parents and that will probably tell you what they will be like as grandparents! My Mum once told me as a child, quite matter of factly, that given the choice again she wouldn't have had kids shock. She wasn't a bad mother as such, just went throught the motions! Sure enough, she liked to visit and play the granny - with me running round like a nutter making cups of tea for her etc but never offered to do anything that would actually be a help.

MIL, on the other hand loves children, was a midwife, and was over the moon to have grandchildren .. unfortunately we live in London and she lives in Wales sad

GrinningGorilla Fri 18-Jul-08 21:09:40

BasementBear I think you have hit the nail on the head. If you want to know what the grandparent is going to be like look at them as a mother!

expatinscotland Fri 18-Jul-08 21:11:24

These threads are always so sad!

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