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Babysitting duties- time limits

(47 Posts)
Mumcooper59 Mon 29-Dec-14 23:18:00

I baby sit for my daughter regularly often at short notice if needed but she wants to go away from 12 md to 12 md the next day and stay overnight with her husband. She has had a mega rant at me today as I asked her to go a bit later and come back a little earlier as I find it hard work looking after her twins overnight at my house. Am I being unreasonable to say how long I am prepared to baby sit for? This is not the first time she has made me feel I am being unhelpful . Her mother in law does very little to help so it's nearly always me that does the baby sitting which I love but not in long chunks of time. I feel she is sometimes very disrespectful of me and this rant today has upset me.

FarNorth Mon 29-Dec-14 23:35:51

You are entitled to say what you feel you can cope with. As long as you make things clear you are being perfectly reasonable.

If your DD rants at you about how much or little baby-sitting you are prepared to do then SHE is definitely being unreasonable.

jeanie99 Mon 29-Dec-14 23:36:23

Why do adult children think it is OK to be disrespectful and rude to their mothers?

Tresco Mon 29-Dec-14 23:43:58

No you are not being unreasonable. She may be having a hard time, or be feeling down, but that doesn't excuse her ranting at you. Boundaries are important in any relationship, so decide on yours and stick to them. One of the things I learnt when teaching children with behaviour problems was to offer choices e.g you can have a babysitter for free for X hours, or you can pay for childcare for Y hours/stay at home. Your choice. The last bit is important by saying it is her choice you are making it clear you are not saying no but offering something - even if she doesn't want it. The other technique is not to get involved in or listen to someone ranting at you. If a polite request for them to stop doesn't work, leave the room. Lock yourself in the loo if necessary. There is absolutely no point trying to have a rational conversation with someone who is shouting at you. They are not listening or even able to listen if they are very emotional. When everyone is calm again, then you can discuss the problem.

ninathenana Mon 29-Dec-14 23:57:57

Sound advice Tresco

Tresco Tue 30-Dec-14 00:02:49

Thank you, Nina. I was a bit hesitant about saying the above, but I've been reading other posts where adult children have behaved so badly and I have been horrified at the disrespect shown. I laugh and joke with my children but I am not prepared to accept rudeness if they start to overstep the mark.

Tresco Tue 30-Dec-14 00:14:43

BTW, I sometimes have to take myself out of the room to avoid shouting back. I'm no saint. smile

KatyK Tue 30-Dec-14 10:08:19

No you are not being unreasonable. She is being unreasonable and disrespectful.

Jane10 Tue 30-Dec-14 10:18:40

I entirely agree with Tresco re offering choices. Could you offer to stay at her house? Its sometimes easier than trying to transport twins and all their stuff to another house which may not be geared up for small children.

J52 Tue 30-Dec-14 10:21:18

Looking after twins is a huge task, both for parents and GPs. I suspect the disrespectful rant is due to stress. She obviously values the opportunity to get away for a bit. Maybe she felt panic at the thought of you withdrawing the babysitting.

Is there an opportunity to talk it over calmly, away from the demands of the babies? Or perhaps you write you point of view down in a loving mum and daughter way for her to read and consider?


J52 Tue 30-Dec-14 10:23:20

Just re read the bit about MIL. Maybe she feels left out or has been shouted at, therefor has stood back. Could you contact her and do a shared babysit? x

Mishap Tue 30-Dec-14 10:47:00

To be honest I cannot imagine any of my DDs ever having a "mega rant" at me. They would wish to fit in with what I could manage and would say so very clearly. They might be disappointed if I was unable to do all that they wanted, but they would never ever be rude or express annoyance. They are always grateful for whatever we are able to do.

I know that families operate in different ways, but being rude to each other is simply not in the repertoire here.

Would it be possible to sit down with your DD and talk about how much care you are feeling strong enough to offer? She does need to understand that looking after twins is a very hard job for anyone, but as we get older it is even more difficult. Whilst I am sure that you are happy to help all you can, it is right that you should say what you can or cannot manage, whilst also making it clear that you love them all dearly but can only operate within your own limitations.

Crafting Tue 30-Dec-14 10:47:22

Good point J52 it may be MIL isn't interested but daughters usually have a much closer relationship with their own mothers and have much greater control of the arrangements with the children than sons do. Perhaps MIL isn't asked to help much. We have often shared babysitting with other grandma and found we have all had fun together and it has been much more relaxing having someone else around to help out. You could try asking if she will come over and help out too.

whenim64 Tue 30-Dec-14 11:23:23

As mother of twin daughters who both have twins, I've experienced this from both sides. For some reason, this generation of young parents expect to be able to have overnight stops at friends and in hotels, unencumbered by children, and to be able to leave the children at midday and return to them same time next day. Unsurprisingly, this was something our generation rarely, if ever, did. Having the opportunity to get a break like this once or twice a year might be reasonable with twins - yes, it's hard work, but I don't recall anyone promising full-time childcare would be otherwise. The children are their responsibility and if you can offer to help for a few hours, they should take advantage of what you are able to do and not quibble about it.

It is easier to mind them in their own home, where all their equipment is, but not everyone can do that. When one of my daughters asked me to have her children overnight so she could stay in a hotel, they were dropped off for tea and I took them back at 11am the next day. Plenty of time for her to return from her hotel spa break and have an uninterrupted night's sleep. They stop over for a night at my invitation now they are that bit older, too.

Some grandparents can manage more than that, with more than one child. I do what I can manage and will be there in emergencies. You should set clear boundaries and times, and not have to justify why you can't manage more. She knows very well that looking after twins can be hard work - that's why she wants a break! Negotiating something with you is much better than not having that break at all.

Faye Tue 30-Dec-14 13:17:16

You are not being unreasonable Mumcooper. I have done more than my share of childcare for all of my GC some were only 11 months, when my children have been studying or working. When my GC were under two I seldom babysat at night and not overnight.

My children are the same, especially DDs, they love a night away, or a week. confused If it's convenient I will babysit as most of my GC are older, up to nine years old and they are so easy to look after.

DD2 mentioned her inlaws are having yet another family holiday of five nights on a house boat in January to celebrate the last of their DD's 21st. Why people organise family holidays on houseboats with young children in the family beats me. I would have said no but I will be away at that time anyway. Youngest GD is only just three and would be asking for her mother after a day. GS 6 who is also very attached to his mother would have been miserable. The children are invited too but DD was worried about the three year old not being safe. They decided not to go, I don't feel bad as I do enough.

Mishap Tue 30-Dec-14 13:45:50

My DD has a life-changing trip that she wants to go on related to their music business, and normally I would take on the boys - or at least one of them - for those few days. But I am not really well enough to do it at the moment and I feel rather sad about that, as she will miss an important opportunity.

However, it is not till February and it might be possible to split the boys between the GPs and let us have the oldest, quietest and easiest of them for one night at least. I am sure there will be some way.

glammanana Tue 30-Dec-14 16:03:18

It amazes me why parents expect GPs to slot in their requirements with no consideration and forethought,I would expect mine to discuss it with me first to see if it was possible to have overnight stays first not just expect it to be possible,I have had my DGCs overnight at different times over the years but always on my own terms.I can hear my mother now telling me under no circumstances would she available for baby sitting duties so OH and I can go away for a night,she would have one reply I'm affraid No

HildaW Tue 30-Dec-14 20:20:10

I am really quite bemused by all the demanding so called grown up children out there who throw toddler temper tantrums when their parents cannot jump through hoops for them childcare wise. If you are 'old' enough to have children you are old enough to behave in a mature way. Having children is a 24 hour 365 days a year responsibility and joy. You are privileged to have children and you should jolly well realise that their health and welfare is your responsibility. However, IF you have Grandparents able and willing to take a turn now and again so that you can have a bit of a treat you should be jolly gratefully and accept with good grace that there will be limitations.
I can always remember being sat on a bus listening to some young Mum going on at great length about how the baby she was holding was 'not going to affect what she wanted to do' and wanting to yell.....It jolly well should affect your every waking(and sleeping) moment! (I was a new Mum myself then...not this grumpy Grandma that I am now)
(Deep Breath woman) Yes, in all honestly all Mum and Dads need a break but with babies and young children it should just be a few hours here and there and with trusted, loving and willing carers.....not someone emotionally blackmailed to do far more than they feel comfortable or, in this age of older GPs, safe and competent with.

Anya Tue 30-Dec-14 21:04:34

On Friday night I've got all four grandchildren (ages 3, 4, 5 & 8) staying overnight tchshock tchshock tchshock HELP!

annodomini Tue 30-Dec-14 21:36:51

tchhmm I have just written a post and thought I'd entered it, but it seems to have vanished. It was to the effect that young couples with children have no god-given right to expect childcare duties from their parents, usually the GM rather than the GF. My DSs moved south for kobs as have many of my friends' offspring. There is no way they can expect me or the other GPs to drop everything and travel 200 miles to look after the GSs - except, perhaps, in a dire emergency. So obviously they act like mature adults and make their own childcare arrangements. When I was a young mum, we had a babysitting circle. Do these exist among the younger generation of parents?

granjura Tue 30-Dec-14 22:43:29

Spot on anno. We had a babysitting circle too. Mind you, one woman (quite well off) used it for 2 years and totted up a huge amount of points - but was never avaialble to sit for others. next thing we knew, she'd moved away. We were not amused!

DD1 would never expect me to help on regular basis and make their own arrangements. But she knows I/we'd be on the next plane in an emergency- and recently she phoned on a Thursday night to ask if we could be there on the Sunday to take over for 2 weeks- very inconvenient- but we were totally delighted to help and save the difficult situation.

Too many of our friends are expected to be in full charge of child care for several famiies- and that it, imho, totally unfair. Some of our friends look after 1 lot half the week, and the other the other half. When they announced they wanted to go away for 2 weeks in the campervan (she had been very ill) - with 6 weeks notice, both sons said they 'had no right as they were required'. Thank goodness her husband (the grand-dad) put his foot down and said 'sort yourselves out and watch us go'- good for them.

Mumcooper59 Tue 30-Dec-14 23:13:58

Thanks every one for your advice .i have 2 daughters the other one always negotiates ,would never put on me but this daughter was a stroppy teenager and although a brilliant mum expects a lot of me. I do help but have just retired after a life time of working so want to take up all those hobbies that I never had time to do when working!
I will sit down with her and try to set boundaries but am too upset at present at her behaviour,she would not do this to her friends!
I was going to offer to mind the children for her this week so she could have some time to herself as the schools are closed but after this rant she has blown it ! Oh the joys of adult(!) children.

HildaW Wed 31-Dec-14 18:53:25

I must be greatest joy was and still is spending 'down' time with my children (and now Grandchildren). Having a messy cooking session in the lead up to Christmas, making paper chains with its resultant chaos, or cuddling up on sofa watching some old film or a cartoon. What is it with all this 'needing time to oneself'?. being a hands on parent is only for a relatively short time - once they have grown up and left home you will soon regret all that wishing to be alone. Yes, being a parent is hard work but the more you put into it the more you get out of it.

Mishap Wed 31-Dec-14 19:03:43

I too find the concept of "me time" a bit alien to me. There is nothing I lke better than begin with family and friends and mucking in with any chaos that is going. It's all a bit closed to me at the moment and I miss it with all my heart.

HildaW Wed 31-Dec-14 19:16:55

Mishap, sorry X