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Parents attitude to childcare

(61 Posts)
Frozentoes Mon 19-Oct-09 10:49:36

I'm just posting to see what others think about this situation. Perhaps should have posted in AIBU?

I am due to go back to work (p/t) in January next year. We plan to use combination of family and nursery place. However my parents have made it very clear that they "wont be able to help" to look after DS as they say they live too far away. They live about a 35-40 min journey away. Now I don't really care if they look after my son or not, but do feel a bit slighted that they are not interested, or that a journey of that length is putting them off. Mainly though i feel quite embarrassed. Most people I know have parents who are dying to get their hands on their grandchildren. Also they look after my sisters children one day a week, although she does live closer.

Obviously they are under no obligation to do anything they don't want to, but I think this is a weird attitude to take. They are generally keen to see my son, and it also annoys me a bit that they would not help me out, but will definitely expect to see my son at weekends, therefore impinging on the limited time me DH and DS have to spend as a family.

What do you think?

6feetundertheGroundhogs Mon 19-Oct-09 10:52:15

How old is your DS?

Frozentoes Mon 19-Oct-09 10:53:52

He will be 10 months when I go back to work.

moaningminniewhingesagain Mon 19-Oct-09 10:54:09

My dad lives about 5 miles away and he sees the DCs once every few weeks if that. But then he is a twat.

I am also going back part time in Jan but will be working around DH's hours so we share the childcare and avoid using nursery - mostly because we work shifts and times when nurseries are shut.

I can undersatnd why you feel a bit hurt that they have declared their intention not to help, it does seem a bit unkind, so YANBUwink

thedollshouse Mon 19-Oct-09 10:56:12

I do think that they live too far away to be relied on to help for childcare. I'm sure they don't mean to be unkind but are just making it clear so you don't base your plans around their availability.

thelennox Mon 19-Oct-09 10:57:04

My own parents live over 3 hours away, so can't really help at all, but my in-laws are about the same distance as yours, and watch dd on a Monday and Tuesday. We drive her over on Monday mornings, and mil brings her back on Tuesday, and picks ds up from school as well. I work full time and it means dd is only at nursery 3 days a week, rather than 5. Works really well for us. I am always a little shock at parents who don't want to help. But think that is because my inlaws are so happy to help. And my parents as well - they do long weekends, and come and take them out for afternoons etc. You have to be selfish about weekends though - we are, especially when we both work full time. We will make the effort in school holidays, as I am a teacher and it is easy for me to pop over, or spend a few days, but other than that we are a bit selfish about our weekends. Its our family time. Not theirs! I would suggest seeing them 1 a month, and if they moan, point out that they could spend more time, but they chose not to!!

thedollshouse Mon 19-Oct-09 10:58:29

I can see your point about the family time at weekends. Dh's family have always insisted that they see ds at weekends, but when they have been off work in the week and I have suggested coming over they don't want to know and yet when ds was small it was during the week that I wanted/needed company.

Ivykaty44 Mon 19-Oct-09 11:02:42

Do they work? Perhaps if they work they want to enjoy not having to look after a child as they did for years before?

I would be wanting to help with any gc I have in the future and my own parents wanted to look after my two, my father provided full childcare for my part time job until she was two and went to nursery (I also worked shifts so nursery was not open correct hours etc)

But perhaps they want time to themsleves and not have a commitment - where they can just go off on holiday when they want etc without having to let you down or arrange other childcare whilst they are away.

my dad now goes aways or months at a time as he is retired and has not ties - I changed my job and put dd into nursery as I realsised that he had been fab but it is his time to do what he wants after 40 years of working hard and being restricted by work and dependants.

MaMight Mon 19-Oct-09 11:03:37

I am sorry but I think you are being unreasonable.

You "don't care" whether they look after your son or not, so this is not about you wanting them to have a good relationship with him.

You feel put out that they won't provide childcare, but at the same time are cross that they will "impinge" on your family time at the weekend. Not a very nice attitude really, and I don't blame them for making it very clear from the start that you can't use them, as you were clearly hoping you could.

6feetundertheGroundhogs Mon 19-Oct-09 11:06:49

I rather think it's the GP's not wanting to do the baby thing...

My mum always said that she'd not do the minding thing. Although since she's got the hang of being a GM, she's always saying, Oh I'll have him, he can stay with me etc. I'm reluctant cos she was off with me when i was pg, and came out with the I wouldn't do the minding thing. He's nearing 4yo, and I've been back in the UK for a few months and she will potentially this Thursday all morning on her own.

I kind of don't blame them, 10m is pretty demanding. Perhaps in assuming that they would want to be regular carers for your baby you may have set yourself up for a fall on that one.

Did you talk with them about this and agree on it? If not, and you assumed that they would take on the care of your DS, it's pretty unfair I'm afraid.

Frozentoes Mon 19-Oct-09 11:08:17

Thanks for responses. It is a bit weird I think. They really enjoy the time they spend with my nieces (go on about it in fact). My mum says they would love to help, but are too far away. I feel like saying "it's not really that far is it" but don't.

I think my Mum knows they are being a bit tight, and keeps bringing it up and asking what we are going to do, I think so I can tell her I agree about the distance thing. The whole thing just stresses me out!

Fennel Mon 19-Oct-09 11:08:28

It sounds really normal to me. We have two sets of grandparents who don't want to do any useful sort of childcare, there are lots of grandparents who aren't dying to spend their time looking after grandchildren. One of our lots likes to come and see them but not do anything useful, the other lot couldn't care less.

We live with it, though I agree it's annoying if they do a lot for other grandchildren (as one of our lots did). But it's not worth getting stressed about, if that's how they are, there's no point trying to change them.

flowerybeanbag Mon 19-Oct-09 11:12:57

It does astonish me the sense of entitlement people have. Providing childcare every single week especially involving a 40 min commute is a huge commitment, especially for slightly older people, and young children are very hard work.

Perfectly reasonable of them to not want to make such a big commitment and tbh I can't believe you are embarrassed by that!

If your friends are so nosey that they want to know about your childcare arrangements and might raise an eyebrow that your parents aren't providing free regular childcare for you, then lie and say you felt it wasn't fair to rely on them and ask them to make such a big commitment. Nothing embarrassing about that. That would be considerate and thoughtful of you.

And not wanting to provide childcare so you can go to work isn't the same as your parents not wanting to help, presumably you've got no reason to think they won't be happy to babysit from time to time, for example?

frostyfingers Mon 19-Oct-09 11:16:43

We've had help twice altogether from both sets of gp's in 14 years - neither live close, one occasion was when we left dt's with in laws for 3/4 day whilst we went to a wedding. The 2nd time they stayed overnight whilst I was in hospital having ds3. My SIL has had loads of help from her mother, but although it feels unfair, there's nothing we can do about it. My mother has never looked after them, and I've never asked as I know the answer. We don't see them regularly, but no longer stress about it - I see it as their loss really, although I'm sad that my children don't have a particularly close relationship with their gp's.

I think you need to be philosophical, let them decide what level of involvement they want, and don't get cross or frustrated if they aren't hugely hands on. It certainly isn't worth stressing about, each to their own!

gingernutlover Mon 19-Oct-09 11:17:43

IMHO she keeps bringing it up cos she feels a bit guilty

my mum did this when i went back to work, she spends a lot fo time abroad and so dd goes to nursery all year round, She kept saying "Oh i wish i could help more so dd didnt have to go to that place, i could have her some of the days when I am around but not every week..." in the end i got so fed up with her that I told her it wasnt helpful and that she had made it clear she wasnt able to help in the way i would need to her to so to just stop saying it. She did in the end. I am pretty sure the only reason she kept saying it was to ease her guilt about not helping (I didnt expect her to by the way, but that didnt stop her feeling guilty)

If I was in your position I would say something along the lines of "yes we realise you have made it clear you cannot help, we are looking at our options"

anniemac Mon 19-Oct-09 11:18:21

Message withdrawn

6feetundertheGroundhogs Mon 19-Oct-09 11:18:21

How old are the nieces?

Oh and 'shame that they are too far away' line is often a convenient way of distancing...

Don't base your childcare on them, you'll have to arrange your own cover. They just want the lovely easy stuff at the weekends.

..BUT, what's good for the goose... if they are not bending over backwards, i.e asking you constantly about what you are doing, and making a point about not offering..? Then you get to pick and choose how much of your weekend is spent having them over...

GPs don't get to have all the lovely easy stuff while mummy does all the hard stuff on her own...

zazen Mon 19-Oct-09 11:19:23

Sorry to hear that you're upset frozentoes.
I agree there is no point in trying to change your parents.

BUT you need to lay down ground rules to protect your family time. And this sounds like your most urgent action at this time to me.
If your parents are only interested in coming to see you at weekends, that you will have to plan your weekends to protect your family time.
Suggest that they visit at a time when you feel like seeing them.
And dissuade them from visiting any other time, saying "no that's family time for us" endof.

FWIW, my mum lives 20 minutes away, and told me that she was 'retired' from looking after children when I had DD.
So I had absolutely no help from her when DD was a babe at all, even now DD is 5.

But you will find someone to help you out, it just won't be your parents.

And please don't feel embarrassed that they look after your sister's kids, and not yours: it could be a blessing in disguise, as you can call the shots with your childminder.

Lots of people have no or little contact with their parents due to distance / inclination. No one is to blame: it happens.

Good luck going back to work, hope all goes well.

gingernutlover Mon 19-Oct-09 11:21:09

oh and i know how it feels for the SIL to have much more help. My inlaws are like that. They kept secret from us that they had taken their other grandson on holiday for 2 weeks to give his parents a break. They do help with dd but it is very occasional.

Try to just accept the situation as it is, they wont change and you will just bottle it up and feel worse.

Hope you find a nice nursery or childminder for your son.

gingernutlover Mon 19-Oct-09 11:21:10

oh and i know how it feels for the SIL to have much more help. My inlaws are like that. They kept secret from us that they had taken their other grandson on holiday for 2 weeks to give his parents a break. They do help with dd but it is very occasional.

Try to just accept the situation as it is, they wont change and you will just bottle it up and feel worse.

Hope you find a nice nursery or childminder for your son.

Frozentoes Mon 19-Oct-09 11:22:38

No, I didn't assume at all that they would help out, and have not made plans assuming they would. In fact DS will spend some time with me, some time with in laws (who have been very keen) and sometime in nursery. I am pleased he will be spending some time (in nursery) with other children as I think it will be good for him, so in a way i'm happier overall with way things have turned out.

I think i just think it is a shame that they will inevitably not have such a close relationship with my DS as in-laws (or my nieces) and all for sake of a 40 min journey. I know I am not a grandparent, but feel if i was in their shoes I would relish the chance to have DS all to myself!

Accept though what has been said about hard work of 10 month old!

Fennel Mon 19-Oct-09 11:25:00

Yes, as others say, if your grandparents aren't doing useful childcare it does make it easier not to feel indebted to them and to make your own plans without always having to worry about them. Which can be quite a relief. It's not all bad having grandparents who aren't totally involved in your lives. You can be firmer about telling them you're busy or doing something else at weekends, if you don't owe them the massive debt of loads of free childcare.

And it reduces guilt if you don't want to go and see them that much. I was irritated at first by the non-interested grandparents who were over-involved in earlier grandchildren, but actually it's freed us up to do our own thing, in the longer run.

anniemac Mon 19-Oct-09 11:27:04

Message withdrawn

Flyonthewindscreen Mon 19-Oct-09 11:27:04

My ILs live a 25 min drive away and I would consider that too far for a regular childcare committment - not that they have offered anyway! so I don't think your parents are BU using distance as a reason for not helping out.

But as others have said, don't be afraid to protect your family time at weekends.

thedollshouse Mon 19-Oct-09 11:30:05

But 40 minutes drive is too long a journey! You obviously don't think so but I wouldn't be prepared to do it.

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