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How much is too much?

(70 Posts)
RuislipNan Sat 07-Apr-12 12:48:47

Both my daughter and her partner work anti social hours so they rely on myself and my ex husband for (free) childminding for their 2 children.
They live an hours drive away and I originally agreed to help them out one afternoon/evening a week, every other weekend and some of the school holidays. But this time is gradually creeping up (I pay for my own petrol and buy food and clothes for the children).
Many years ago I took a part time job in a school in order to have the holidays off with my own children, I am now staying in the job because it fits in with my daughters working life.
Am I being unreasonable by telling them that now (after divorcing) I want to look for a full time job (I’m only 53) and won’t be able to look after their children during the week any more?
How much free childminding is too much?

supernana Sat 07-Apr-12 12:51:29

RuislipNan Unreasonable? NO WAY!

Greatnan Sat 07-Apr-12 13:19:49

How long is a piece of string? It depends entirely on your relative positions but in your case I would say it is entirely reasonable for you to want to work full time.

granbunny Sat 07-Apr-12 13:20:56

if you want a full time job you should have one. but if you just want reduced childminding, why not talk to your daguther about it.

Annika Sat 07-Apr-12 13:23:58

RuislipNan If you don't put yourself first now you never will. I wouldn't mind betting you have bent over backwards for years for others well its now time for _you_.
As you say you are only 53 at a guess I would say you have about another 14 years of being able to work. (Not sure when your pension age will be) you go for it grin

tanith Sat 07-Apr-12 13:27:02

I agree with the others, you've done your time in helping out now its time to do what you want and if thats full-time working then your family should be grateful for the time you've given them and be happy that you are picking yourself up and moving on in your life.. go for it RuislipNan and talk to them..

Hunt Sat 07-Apr-12 17:29:49

Ruislipnan, I also agree with the others, time for YOU.

Annobel Sat 07-Apr-12 17:47:43

No disagreement here, Ruislipnan. Imagine if you lived (as I do) 150 or so miles away from your family. They'd have to organise childcare for themselves then.

specki4eyes Sat 07-Apr-12 22:39:56

How come so much has changed in just one generation? When we were young Mums, we didn't automatically expect our mothers to help on a regular basis with child care ... did we? Yes, they helped us out if necessary, but it wasn't the norm. I looked after my own kids, as did all of my friends. The women at the school gates were the childrens' mothers not their grandmothers! The current generation of mothers want it all - kids, careers, beautiful homes, all the latest equipment, Jimmy Choos, glamorous holidays etc, but it seems to me that its their own mothers who are enabling them to have this lifestyle by giving up THEIR well-deserved freedom. Call me old fashioned, but it doesn't seem fair to me. I'm not affected because I live abroad, but my heart goes out to all those Grans who are blackmailed emotionally into caring on a regular basis for their grandchildren.

jeni Sat 07-Apr-12 22:50:02

I still work, and my Dd wouldn't dream of asking me to do otherwise!
I am in fact going up on Monday and Thursday to help, but only because Merryn has chickenpox and DD is not getting any sleep.
iPad granny is hoping to distract baby with the various kaleidoscope, sight and sound, etc programmes I have downloaded. She loves them! Hence iPad gran!

glammanana Sat 07-Apr-12 23:10:48

I'd name you switched on gran jeni

jeni Sat 07-Apr-12 23:13:42

Ta! grin

jeni Sat 07-Apr-12 23:17:33

Actually, this ipadgran is switching off!
Sleep well all.
May the force (whatever that is? ) be with you!
Actually I prefer Spoks ' live long and prosper'

Annobel Sat 07-Apr-12 23:56:43

speki, my sons and their partners work very hard to make a good life for their children. To maintain the same standard of living as we gave them, thirty odd years ago, they all have to work whereas I didn't go out to work until I started teaching evening classes when DS2 was almost two. Our parents lived too far away to be of any help with regular babysitting and I am in the same position. I would love to be closer and am certain that they would never take advantage of me. You refer to all the latest equipment, Jimmy Choos, glamorous holidays. Well, my DS1 gets his kitchen equipment from Ebay and his wife often buys clothes for herself and the children that way too. As for a glamorous holiday - is a second-hand caravan your idea of glamorous? It isn't mine, but I have felt very privileged to be invited to join them in it. And no, I have never seen either of my DiLs in Jimmy Choos, or Louboutins for that matter and am never likely to.

Greatnan Sun 08-Apr-12 00:34:51

Very true, Annobel. The high cost of living, particularly of housing, makes it very difficult for a young couple to manage on one wage. I stayed home for four years but started a full time degree when my girls were four and two. My mother was working herself and we lived 100 miles away, so they went to a private day nursery. I am quite sure my mother would not have been willing to childmind for me as she really enjoyed her work as a seamstress in a raincoat factory. She was made redundant when she was 73, much to her distress. She missed the social life amongst the other women as well as her wages.
We took her on holiday most years, apart from our honeymoon, and even though she was never asked to contribute to the cost she would never offer to babysit whilst my husband and I had a meal out on our own. If we took my sister and nephews instead, she would get very sulky and jealous. The odd thing is that I adored her. She herself had a saying - 'You get no better thought of' - and how that has come to haunt me.
I am full of envy for the children of so many of you, who childmind for long hours, with such joy and without thought of financial reward. You are truly wonderful mothers and grandmothers.

bagitha Sun 08-Apr-12 06:27:36

Most of the young families I see have a much higher standard of living than I had at the same age. I think speki has a point. People do want more than they used to want. Or maybe I should say people have more because there's more to have. Expectations have changed.

petallus Sun 08-Apr-12 07:39:24

How the other half live! speki's experience of our children's generation is far removed from mine. My DD shops at Primark and can't get on the property ladder. She hardly ever has a holiday. Suppose it depends what circles you move in.

It's true I never hankered for an X box as a child, or an inside toilet, let alone a i-phone! Oh yes, because they hadn't been invented yet!

petallus Sun 08-Apr-12 07:42:30

Well, maybe the inside toilet. I still think they would be better off outside.

bagitha Sun 08-Apr-12 07:53:48

The kids at DD's current school whose parents apparently can't afford all kinds of things, still have a lot more "stuff" than DD does. Most of them go abroad on holiday. Parents who can't pay the rent still give their kids money for sweets every day. I really don't 'get' it.

Greatnan Sun 08-Apr-12 07:59:15

Oh, petallus - don't you remember how horrible it was to have go outside on a cold Winter's morning to use the outside lavatory? No wonder we had constipation!
Poverty is relative - if your income is so low that you cannot take part in the normal activities of your community you will feel poor. I envied girls at school who had a holiday every year, even if it was only visiting relatives in Ireland. We had one day out in the summer holidays - a train ride to the countryside with a packed lunch. There are plenty of families who cannot visit the countryside or seaside, or take the children to the cinema or a sporting event. Where everybody else seems to have the latest design of trainers or mobile phones, and children even get bullied for not having them, many parents will do everything they can to provide them. People who criticise them for being materialistic are mainly those who can afford to provide them for their own children.
I didn't realise how poor we were until I went to grammar school, because in the back streets where we lived we were considered posh. At the convent school, some girls arrived in cars, some lived in the leafy suburbs, some had parents in the professions. Was I jealous? Too right I was. I determined that my own children would have the kind of 'Janet and John' life that I had not. It was a powerful incentive for me to work hard and study.

petallus Sun 08-Apr-12 09:20:22

I remember our outside toilet with nostalgia. There was a hole in the roof and sometimes snowdrops would drift through and land on your head as you sat there. We had a po for overnight.

Greatnan Sun 08-Apr-12 09:24:00

Yes, we had a 'guzunder' which I found less appealing than an indoor facility which could be flushed!
Did you have squares of The Daily Herald on a nail on the wall? It was my Dad's chore every Sunday night. How posh we thought we were when we started having Izal.

bagitha Sun 08-Apr-12 09:45:24

Why don't you feed your nostalgia and have an outside loo put in, petallus? I reckon the nostalgia would pall after a bit.

However, I don't think there's anything 'deprived' about knowing how to shit in the woods. In fact, I think it should be part of everyone's education.

Which reminds me of an amusing incident at the adventure weekend I went on with Cubs recently. On the Saturday evening, after dark, we were playing "Ambush" (a form of hide and seek, played in teams) in the woods. My team were all lying face down on the ground in our hiding place. We heard the other team approaching. The little boy next to me was dying for a wee, but we couldn't let him get up. He made such strange noises, it was really quite funny. Then, when the hunt was up and we stood up again, I told him to go behind a tree. He said, I don't need to wee now! I said, Oh yes you do! You can't make all that fuss and then not go! He went behind a tree. I guess there had been some pressure on his bladder when he was lying down and once he got up it was relieved, but he clearly did need to wee. Kids! smile

Greatnan Sun 08-Apr-12 09:53:39

I was walking in the woods near an adventure centre last summer and they were obviously playing the same game. A little head popped up and the boy whispered 'Bonjour, Madame' and popped down again. I was very impressed by his good manners and didn't give him away.

As I am often walking for many hours, I have marked my territory over large tracts of France. It is easier if you are wearing a skirt, but of course I am always in trousers. I have only once been caught out - in what I thought was a totally remote spot in Corsica. I was in mid-stream when a couple of walkers came over the hill. I did a quick pull-up and walked in the other direction.

petallus Sun 08-Apr-12 09:55:13

How dare you Bagitha. Neither I nor any member of my family would have dreamed of shitting in the woods! grin