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How do I get my parents to help?

(12 Posts)
FeelingAwkward Wed 16-Mar-05 10:37:04

I am a regular poster, but have changed my name for this as my mum sometimes looks on mumsnet too.

I have a 7 month old DS. Unfortunately we live about 250 miles away from both our families so apart from relying on generous friends, we really don't get any help with childcare. Because of this we have only been out for about one or two evenings since he was born. At work, all the women who are grandmas talk about how they often go to stay with their grown-up daughters / sons so the couple can go away for a weekend, or how they always offer to babysit so the parents can get a rest.

My parents have never offered to look after our DS, even when we've been to stay (which is usually for a week or a long weekend about every 3-4 months), although they will for about an hour if I really ask / grovel. And even then I am made to feel quite guilty about it.

At the moment DS just isnt sleeping and I feel like I haven't slept for about a month (actually, I haven't slept for about a month) and all my mum says is 'oh, poor you, you must be tired'. I really want her to say 'why don't you come and stay and I will help you out for a few nights'. I am starting to feel resentful that my parents don't seem to want to help out when i really could do with some practical support. However I know that being a grandparent is all about enjoying the grandchildren without having to do any of the hard work. Am I being unreasonable? How do I sort this out without causing bad feeling or making my parents feel put-apon?

catgirl Wed 16-Mar-05 10:43:23

I bet that the daughters/sons of your work colleagues could start a thread about seeing too much of their parents!

I think you have to be honest and ask straight out "can you come and stay with us for a few days to help out, I am finding it really hard at the moment" and see what reaction that gets.

We are in the same boat, and last month my parents came down to stay so we could have 24 hours away, left lunch time Saturday, back lunchtime Sunday - a really good re-charge. Last year we asked my MIL. But it is us doing the asking, rather than them offering.

Sorry if this is a ramble, trying to do too much at once, but I think you have to put your cards on the table - I am assuming you generally have a good relationship with your parents?

Sleep depravation is the pits isn't it? for you.

colditzmum Wed 16-Mar-05 10:46:27

My mother hasn't looked after my son for over a year. He is an easy child to look after, she's only 50, she's not ill, and she only lives round the corner. She has never looked after him overnight. She simply does not want to.

Funnily enough, she adores him, and we are a close family!

Donbean Wed 16-Mar-05 10:51:17

I KNOW what you mean! how annoying is it.
I drop humongous bolders of hints and i just get a "ah poor you"! Bo*x!
It really annoys me and dh doesnt see it at all.
I had D&V last week and felt like death, i was meant to go and see 2 people, one a friend the other an auntie and i text them saying i was ill and couldnt come (after ds bieng ill for a week, no sleep, vomit soaked mummy every 2 hours!!!!)And they just text back, "ok no probs" offer to have ds for a couple of hours so that i could have a bath/sleep!
Its not just me then, this is an upsetting situation for other people as well than? Thank God!

skerriesmum Wed 16-Mar-05 10:52:58

My mil stayed for a long weekend AND my inlaws paid for our trip as a Christmas present, which was great. They live about 4 hours away so she can't be expected to help much. She also goes on business trips a lot with fil. My sil is close but she has no interest (no kids yet, no experience), I can count on one hand the times she's looked after ds (even when asleep!) To be honest I had hoped for more support from her but that's OK, I have a close neighbour who's great, we switch babysitting. All I can say is get to know the other parents in your area. I thought mil would be down to us all the time to visit but she's done the baby thing and will only help on her own terms, which is fair enough.

vict17 Wed 16-Mar-05 10:55:29

On the other hand it could be that when you go and stay with them they want to see you as well which is why they don't suggest you go out and leave the baby with them? My MIL would love to get her hands on my ds but personally i like to see what's going on

jangly Wed 16-Mar-05 10:56:11

I think people can lose their confidence when they haven't looked after a baby for a long time. Wonder if that could be the case with your Mum.

Donbean Wed 16-Mar-05 10:59:29

I am bieng unreasonable in my opinions on this i know because they all have their own life and comitments. Its just that i did it for them when their kids were small and i accept that people forget.
Im not sure if you are bieng unreasonable in your thoughts awkward but the resentment could become a problem if it surfaces i think.
I dont know what to suggest, i just grumble to dh and get on with it. Im not much help to you but im glad that you posted this because i do know what you mean.

pabla Wed 16-Mar-05 11:18:47

My mum lives in a different country but is always very good to babysit when she visits us or we visit her (tbh I assume she will do it!). However, the one thing I really wish she would do is let me have a lie-in (especially if I've been out and therefore up later than usual.) All my kids are early risers, so it does annoy me a bit if she is still up when I get in (or stays up long after I've gone to bed) cos I know it will be me getting up in the morning. It sort of puts me off going out because the net result will be that I am more shattered than usual. Even though she is willing to babysit, I think at the same time she feels she is missing out on the night out (especially if I go out with my sisters), which is why she stays up until we get home.

FeelingAwkward Wed 16-Mar-05 11:51:20

im glad i'm not the only one. My parent are young so its not like they are old and tired! Its such a catch 22 because i thought they would want to take care of him and relish it like other grandparents i know, but they like all the nice bits, like cuddles, etc but when it comes to the hard work, they don't seem interested!
i think i just am sensitive about it at the moment because i'm so tired.

eldestgirl Wed 16-Mar-05 12:09:23

I think you get a pretty good idea of what grandparent will be like from day 1. My parents are young, healthy and retired. When they visit, they are interested for about half an hour and then it's back to their interests. My mum does crossword puzzles in the morning and turns on the tv for ds1 and 2. Lie-in, naps etc just don't exist. DH's parents are not so well and much older, so stuffed there too.
Some of my friends have amazing parents who can't get enough of their grandchildren and are always helping out. Luck of the draw I suppose.
IMO, the only help you can rely upon is paid help. I have tried to broach the subject with my parents, but don't seem to get anywhere. So I just soldier on. I really feel it too because we live in SE Asia, and I used to take the children home by myself for a month so they could see everyone. After suffering hideous jet lagged days and nights without assistance and spending a lot of time at my parents house on my own (they have a busy life) without transport, I have given up. I only go home for 2 weeks a year with DH.
You are not being unreasonable at all. Unfortunately, I don't hold out much hope of any change in the situation. You can either offend them, or lose the closeness that comes with being involved. I chose to lose the closeness.
Good luck.

MeerkatsUnite Wed 16-Mar-05 12:40:46


I would most certainly concur with eldestgirl's comments made.

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