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Babysitting duties- time limits

(48 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.

annsixty Wed 31-Dec-14 19:19:00

I used to find that I was alone among my friends in loving school holidays when I had my children at home all day and I was a stay at home mum. I do know I was fortunate to be in this position and never took it for granted My children were about 12 and 8 before I ever left them for a weekend away and no I am not at all smug this is what we did in the 1970s.

ginny Wed 31-Dec-14 23:21:46

HilarYs I agree with what you say but that is something quite different to being expected to be available at any time and on their terms.

granjura Thu 01-Jan-15 07:45:32

Exactly gilly.

granjura Thu 01-Jan-15 07:45:52

Sorry, ginny.

TerriBull Thu 01-Jan-15 15:28:31

Reading through this thread, I can see this situation is the antithesis of another thread, "new here wanting advice" where many paternal grandmothers felt at times they were down the pecking order somewhat in the time allotted with the grandchildren. Here I see the other side. Personally I don't want the all encompassing role the maternal grandmother of our gd has, insomuch as she appears to be very one dimensional her raison d'etre is being mother and now grandmother, she will drop everything and have gd for a week at a time during school holidays if son's partner needs a bit of "me time" although she doesn't take the new six month old baby as well. As far as I'm concerned she indulges her daughter's whims when she should be telling her to deal with the choices she has made insomuch as she knowingly and willingly opted to become a mother at 19. She was too young, but her own mother did not try to dissuade her daughter in any way, inspite of the fact that she would have known that she is an immature person who finds the day to day rigours of parenthood dull. Predictably a few years down the line feels that she is missing out, but not enough not to have another shot at it. Although the new baby's a boy, with a slightly different character, it still seems to surprise her that once again at six months old he is wholly dependent, thus stopping her having her "me time". She actually told my son his "me time" is when he goes to work! A while back she was bemoaning the fact that one of her friends had to beg her mother to babysit her child and would only do it very occasionally and made the comment "that the friend's mother was a bitch, it was a grandparent's job to look after their grandchild/children" to which my husband responded with "no it isn't our job at all, it wasn't our choice to become grandparents, it's a role people have thrust upon them, that's not to say we don't enjoy it, but our role is occasional and one step back". Although we are happy to have our grandchildren, we do make it clear that we have our own lives and other interests and we have been criticised by both son and girlfriend for doing our own thing too often, having too long a holiday at times and generally not dropping everything as and when requested.

mumcooper, I empathise with your situation, you sound very put upon I think some young people expect far too much in babysitting duties from the grandparents. I'm sure some of these new parents' perceived sense of entitlement for stretches of time without their offspring are fairly new, I can't imagine previous generations putting up with it.

HildaW Thu 01-Jan-15 15:48:19

I don't think there is necessarily a clear split between the maternal/paternal grandparent roles. It is probably more 'natural' (whatever that means) for a daughter to seek out her Mum but its not always the case.

I've been pondering the matter whilst out on a dog walk.....hey I lead a quiet life.....and was wondering if its got more to do with how we have brought up our children, and how that affects how they eventually see us as Grandparents. Did we give our children clear boundaries and say No meaning it, whilst also showing respect for their emerging personalities? Did that then lead them to being similarly respectful of our lives and requirements. Do we, in effect, reap as we sow?

All very simplistic I know and I am sure it is a hugely complex matter but I've got a sneaky suspicion that if we, as parents, never say No then our children will go on making demands for as long as we let them.

I now put my tin hat on and await a response.

Nonu Thu 01-Jan-15 15:54:37

31st.--19.19 that was me to a T, ANN

tchsmile and what a glorious time it really was.

grannyactivist Thu 01-Jan-15 15:59:18

HildaW my mother in law and I spent some time talking about this over Christmas. My mother in law was a teacher and said that pretty much parents do reap as they sow, but there are always exceptions. We both know a family where three of four children are beautifully mannered, caring and thoughtful adults. The other child however (second child in the family) could not be more different. Same parents, same upbringing, but very different result.

seasider Thu 01-Jan-15 22:56:28

DD was invited to New York for New Year but only possible if I could babysit. She has provided and organised everything they need and cleared with me before she booked. As it turns out her ex-DH is taking them away for a few days so we have organised child care between us. As my youngest DS is only 12 his older brother and sister do reciprocate with babysitting so it works both ways. smile

Anya Fri 02-Jan-15 00:30:28

i worked full time when my children went to school and I cherished the time from collecting them until they went to bed. So I was shocked to hear my DD, who also works full time saying she had to 'start all over again' when she got in from work, meaning she had to cook and look after her children.

We never had 'me time' but this generation seems to see it as a right.

Eloethan Fri 02-Jan-15 00:37:01

grannyactivist I agree that every person has their own unique personality. However, I don't believe that each sibling in a family has exactly the same experience of family life. I can think of a number of reasons why a child's experience may be different from his/her siblings. For instance, they are born: at a time when their parents are experiencing marital difficulties; with a very short time gap between them and their nearest sibling; when there is serious illness in the family - either of a sibling or a parent. If you think about it, there are dozens of ways in which one child's experience may be very different from another's even though they are born into the same family.

Penstemmon Fri 02-Jan-15 15:47:01

annesixty it was not what I did in the 70s! I had to work p/t when my DDs were small to make ends meet. I gave up f/t job but had to do odds and sods to keep us going! I am truly grateful for the 4 years when I had more 'flexible' working time to be home with the girls when they were little because I had friends for whom that was not an option.

FarNorth Fri 02-Jan-15 16:01:10

Anya you were shocked to hear your DD's comment about the work she has to do when she gets home. I just wondered, does she have a DH/OH and does he do any of the work at home?

loopylou Fri 02-Jan-15 16:15:09

'Me time' didn't exist when mine were young. My MIL babysat for a few hours once and when we came back was standing at the front door with her coat on (8.30pm).
My mother told me not to ask her to look after the children full stop, 'they are your responsibility'!
So I cherish every chance I get to see DGS smile.

rosesarered Fri 02-Jan-15 16:19:14

Good post TerriBull I agree completely.We 're not here to do our childrens bidding, we have done all the childcare in the past and this is a time for ourselves. If we want to help out for any reason it should be gratefully accepted not taken as a 'right'.

rosesarered Fri 02-Jan-15 16:20:48

I love seeing the DGC and am happy to help out now and then , but I set the boundaries, not the parents.

Penstemmon Fri 02-Jan-15 16:45:04

I think that the quality of the relationship with your adult children will naturally dictate the type of expectations they /you have re level of involvement with grandchildren childcare if you are within reasonable distance to do this! We re-located to the town where both our DDs live so we could offer some support.
I do a bit of childcare (2 x days per week) for DD1 which I volunteered to do when she was organising her return to work. I also do the school run for both sets of DGCs on those days and all 4 are with me for tea on those days. I plan my work around these commitments and my social life is not compromised. If I am going away I am able to give my DDs plenty of warning so they can make alternative arrangements! Sometimes they ask if I am free for extra childcare, sometimes the answer is yes, other times no. They do not expect me to be at their beck & call and no hard feelings if/when I have to say I can't do a session. They are thoughtful and emotionally literate women and whilst, like every family we have had , & still sometimes do, have ups and downs we love and respect each other so that big bust ups have (so far!) been avoided!

petallus Fri 02-Jan-15 17:27:47

Sometimes My DGC have asked off their own bat if they can come for a sleepover. They love being here. I don't regard this as doing their parents a favour. It would be the DGC i would be turning down if I said no.

moonbeames Sat 17-Jan-15 01:35:56

I agree with Jane10, maybe you could babysit at her house where she has all that you need. But twins, wow that is a big ask. As much as we all love our grandchildren, overnight with twins would be difficult. That ranting has to stop, how disrespectful. Was she like that before the children came?

absent Sat 17-Jan-15 06:42:28

Who is the grown-up here? You choose what you are prepared to do, I think. I love having my grandchildren here but it does wear me out. If I say no, there is no question from my daughter.

TwiceAsNice Sat 17-Jan-15 10:22:57

I have twin grandchildren and love spending time with them. It is usually a weekend or block of days because we live 150 miles apart, as I said on another post they are all coming for the weekend next Friday and two weeks after that I will drive down to spend the weekend with them. I'm happy to babysit anytime but because of circumstances this is usually in their own house. If they have come to me for a few nights my youngest daughter ( their Aunty) usually comes as well, they are much easier to manage now they are older but still hard work. However I love them and my children to bits and they can have whatever they want if I am capable of giving it to them. I set good boundaries when my children were little and don't feel they ever take advantage now they are adults. I keep to the same rules that my daughter does and we have never fallen out over child are, I don't always agree with what she does but in a recent conversation she said I never interfere so I must be doing something right. I don't understand this " me time" I managed when they were small to have a bit of time to myself without making a big thing of it and obviously have plenty of time to myself when I don't see them so when I do they have my absolute undivided attention and I love it.

inishowen Sun 18-Jan-15 09:30:46

My daughter is very respectful when asking us to babysit her three year old. We have her two or three days a week, 8am to 6pm. I tell my daughter I am absolutely exhausted by 6pm! She admits that going to work is easier than looking after a toddler. I really need "me" time sometimes. It keeps me sane. I like to read a book, watch tv, or knit. All things that I enjoy and should be given to time to do.