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Child care commitment

(39 Posts)
cherry1957 Fri 10-Jul-15 23:08:19

My husband and I have recently retired and moved near to our daughter and grandchild. My daughter is soon going back to work and would like us to do some of the childcare. My husband is really keen to do several days a week but I don't honestly want to do any. I've only just finished looking after our (many!) children and I was so looking forward to a peaceful time with dh, and really relishing the thought of time to ourselves to pursue hobbies, chill in the garden, take up new activities etc. I absolutely adore my grandchild and I want to have lots of Grandma time but I don't want to take on a full or even part time carer role. I suggested compromising on one day a week but my husband is implying that I'm being selfish and that he loves our daughter and gc more than I do. AIBU??

Nelliemoser Fri 10-Jul-15 23:15:18

Cherry1957 A resounding No from me. You would probably bear the brunt of any child minding.
Offering the compromise of a day a week sound more manageable and might be fun for you as Grandparents.

Marelli Fri 10-Jul-15 23:17:01

No, I certainly don't think you're being at all unreasonable, cherry1957. It's not 'a given' that a grandparent automatically takes over caring for their grandchildren to allow the parent to go back to work. I think your DH is being unreasonable if he thinks you should continue childcare if you've already brought up a large family. How big a part did he play in bringing them up?

cherry1957 Fri 10-Jul-15 23:35:18

Marelli, my husband did work very hard to earn the money but did very little of the actual childcare as he worked very long hours and was away a lot. Until they all went to school (a timespan of nearly 20 years), I never once had any time off to myself. I didn't mind as it was our choice to have a big family but I really feel I've now earned some rest and recreation!! I'm trying to see this from my husband's point of view. I think he's missing having a role now he's retired and he does enjoy spending time with our gc. He's happy to change nappies and do the bottles etc so I can't say he'd leave everything to me, tho it is me who ends up doing a lot of the entertaining and baby watching through the day. He says if I won't agree to the child care, he'll go to my daughter's house and look after gc there by himself. So what do I do and how do I solve this? I feel hurt that he's ignoring my feelings and I don't want my daughter to feel I'm rejecting her child. But I can see all my happy retirement plans going up in smoke if I don't make a bit of a stand.

cherry1957 Fri 10-Jul-15 23:40:23

Just to avoid misunderstanding, I was a full time mum all the way through with our kids.

rosesarered Fri 10-Jul-15 23:41:46

Have you said all of this to your DH? surely he wants some time to do retirement things together?If this is how you feel though, you should stick with it, one day a week to start, and if you feel up to a second day then go for it, but leave the other days of the week to do things as a couple, or just to relax.It's not fair on you otherwise.

rosesarered Fri 10-Jul-15 23:42:17

Not fair on you.

Marelli Fri 10-Jul-15 23:48:01

Perhaps let him do that then, cherry? You've definitely earned time for yourself! Do you think perhaps your DH might not know how to relax into retirement now, though? Sometimes it can be a bit of a shock to the system, not being 'needed' anymore. In a working situation, that is.

cherry1957 Sat 11-Jul-15 00:04:57

I think you're spot on with the 'being needed' bit. I have told him exactly how I feel and I've told my daughter that I don't want to do childcare other than on an occasional as-needed basis, but I'm not sure anyone is really listening! I could let dh go and do it all but I want to be with him in our retirement! And how do I manage the whole "he cares, I don't" thing? :-(

nightowl Sat 11-Jul-15 00:21:35

Perhaps he is feeling he missed out on his own children by working all the time, and sees this as a chance to have a close, caring bond with a grandchild? I think quite a few men (and women!) find themselves thinking this once they retire and reassess their lives.

I don't think you should be forced into doing anything you don't want to do but he is making it clear that this is something he wants to do. It seems he has different ideas for his retirement, sadly, than you. It may all work out very differently in practice but I think at this stage there's not much you can do other than state your views and see what happens.

absent Sat 11-Jul-15 00:22:24

Suggesting that he loves your daughter and grandchild more than you is simply childish and, if your husband is old enough to retire, he is old enough to know better. Perhaps you should tell him that resorting to playground jibes is no way to resolve a difference of opinion. Looking after grandchildren is tiring, especially as we are growing older, although, of course, it can also be a joy. Taking on their care, if in your heart you don't want to, is pretty much a recipe for disaster as you are likely to end up feeling resentful as well as tired. Compromising on one day a week would be a generous gesture because you love your daughter and granddaughter; in my opinion, anything more amounts to extortion and a potential threat to happy family and marital relationships.

Eloethan Sat 11-Jul-15 00:26:19

cherry123 I absolutely understand how you feel and your wish to be able to finally spend some time with leisure time with your husband without the responsibilities of child care. I think it is perfectly reasonable.

Having said that, given that your husband is so adamant that he wants to help your daughter with childcare, the happy times with him that you envisage may not materialise if he is angry and resentful.

We do 2 days a week - and, although we enjoy it, it can be quite tiring. I wouldn't want to do any more than that. You say it is you that has borne the major responsibility for child care in the past, so he won't realise how much time and energy goes into looking after a young child. As you say, changing nappies and doing small practical tasks is not the same as having to keep a child safe and entertained, dealing with tantrums, potty training etc.

If you really do not want to do more than 1 day a week, I feel you have the right to stick to your guns on this - but try and get him round to your point of view to avoid bad feeling between you.

Marelli Sat 11-Jul-15 00:26:56

Could you perhaps look to do something for yourself, cherry? Just in the meantime, away from the house, so that you're not so available?

janeainsworth Sat 11-Jul-15 02:48:04

Cherry You don't say exactly how large your family is, but something to consider is that you are setting a precedent.
This is your first grandchild and presumably there will be quite a few more in years to come. You will have to be fair to your other children and if you have childminded for this one, the others will probably expect you to do the same for them.
If you're not careful you could find yourself childminding till you shuffle off this mortal coil, not to put too fine a point on it.

How does your husband feel about looking after this grandchild by himself?

There is no reason why he shouldn't stay at home with DGC, being the one in charge, and all that that implies, while you do the gardening, go on courses, pursue new hobbies, chill or whatever.

Is there? wink

soontobe Sat 11-Jul-15 05:55:43

I think this is what I would do.
Tell your DD that you will offer two days in the first instance, as a trial.
One where you both go, and one where he does it alone.
And let his alone day be the first day of the week, before yours.
That way, he starts to be and feel in charge of all of it.
Interestingly, I note that you said he wants to do the nappy and feeding part, more than the fun and entertaining part.
I wonder whether this is either because he feels he missed out with his own kids, or whether he still has lots of energy and wants to "work".

Also, if he is in charge, it takes some pressure off you.

I also see that your DD is not really listening to you either.

Alea Sat 11-Jul-15 07:29:49

Good advice Soontobe!!

kittylester Sat 11-Jul-15 08:01:36

JaneA's point is very valid. We have 5 children and all three daughters have children. When DD1 had our first svc I was thrilled to be asked to have him one day a week. Eight years later I am still doing it as he has a younger sister who I didn't factor into the equation. Doing one day a week for DD1 means that there is pressure to be available for all the others.

Anya Sat 11-Jul-15 08:19:35

My first reaction too was that men are more than capable of taking on a child care role. If he is willing, and it sounds as if he is really keen to do this, then why not let him? But possibly part-time.

My youngest GC starts school in September, so barring school runs and the occasional 'X has been up all night with a tummy bug/thrown out a rash/has an INSET day' I'll be seeing much less of them having offered almost full-time child care until now.

I will MISS those baby days, toddle moments, learning to speak, helping them to understand the world days, so much. But despite it being hard work I wouldn't have had it any different. These are the experiences you have already had, but your DH has missed out on while providing you with the means to be a full time mum envy

Us working mums understand this and it's probably why I chose to look after my GC.

It would be a shame to deny him this amazing opportunity with his grandchildren.

Coolgran65 Sat 11-Jul-15 08:48:06

My dh and I look after our dgd 7 and dgs 5, one day each week and have done so since they were born. A child minder looks after them on the other days. When a there became the need for a change of main child minder DS asked if we (me) would be interested in taking it on full time as a paid job. My immediate response was No!

My dh supported this, if I'd wanted to do it full time he would have been ok about it but we both agreed that we didn't want that sort of committment. We did say that they would never be stuck and we'd always be there for any emergency or child care 'let down'.

I felt that to take it on as a full time paid job would change the balance of things, would I get resentful if they were late on pick up etc.

Of course as well as our one day child care we do the spontanious sleep overs etc.

Our ds and ddil understood perfectly.
They are very appreciative of the one day we provide and are very generous when they regularly take us out to dinner or ask us to join them on a day trip, paid by them.

If dh and I plan to take dgc out for the day, eg the zoo, they arrive with £20 for expenses, though we make sure the £20 goes back home with them. smile

We all live near each other, the other child minder and I are very willing and cooperative and if a day needs swopped we happily accommodate each other.

One day a week is grand but still tiring after a 12 hour shift. It was much easier when it started - over 7 years ago with just one child. My dh is very hands on and if occasionally I find myself doing the care on my own it is a much bigger task. However even with dh present, it is still me making lunch, sorting dinner etc. etc. thouogh he will do it if asked.

I can understand that it would be hurtful for OP that her dh and dd do not appear to be taking her views seriously. And to say that she loves her dgc less is ridiculous. Retirement is time for DGP to take things a little more as they would prefer to do and not be automatically considered as a child-minding-service.

Perhaps OPs dh is indeed feeling a little lost and needing a focal point for his day to day routine. If dh wants to look after the dgc in their own home, let's see how he feels after 3 months, the gloss may have dimmed a little.
I wonder is OPs dh trying to put OP on a guilt trip trying to get his own way. I'd be most upset and very very angry if my dh ever suggested that I cared less. Happily we both agree that we love to see them come and are delighted to see them go.

I recall a much younger friend saying to me that when she went to pick up her 3 boys from the MIL who had them after school, the school bags and gear were in the hall and ready to lift. My young friend felt this indicated she wanted the boys away as soon as possible. I tried to explain to her........ indeed this is probably and absolutely the case but look at it from your MILs position, she is more than twice your age and not as fit and able. I told young friend that I do the same, all is packed and ready for my dgc to go home, have loved having you - by bye-bye for now !!! Big kiss and cheerio smile

Greenfinch Sat 11-Jul-15 08:48:52

I agree with nightowl and Anya. Your husband may feel he has missed out first time round and now wants to experience something different from work. We have done this for our twin grandchildren for 8 years and wouldn't have wanted it any different .DH does the lion's share including the whole bedtime routine, the imaginative games and the ferrying around and he loves every minute of it. We do things as a mini-family like fun days out and meet young parents which is great. In fact we are sad that our DS and DiL have not asked us to do the same with their children.

shysal Sat 11-Jul-15 09:05:31

If DH won't see reason, perhaps you could show him this thread, unless you think it would anger him.
Working fathers who have never done sole childcare haven't a clue how hard it can be! You could suggest a few trial runs for him alone at DD's while she goes out or comes to you for the day, so that he understands all that it would entail.
I hope you manage to reach a mutually acceptable solution. flowers

Marelli Sat 11-Jul-15 09:36:19

Good idea, shysal. Bet it won't be long till he's on the phone....!

kittylester Sat 11-Jul-15 09:42:24

Coolgran's post sums it up for me exactly!

Wheniwasyourage Sat 11-Jul-15 10:18:55

Of course YANBU! Could you point out to all involved that after many years as a stay-at-home mother you are also keen to retire from your job, and doing regular child care, however much you love your DGC(S) would just be carrying on the job which you have been doing for so many years. I too stayed at home while our DC were young, and don't regret it, but it was great when I was finally able to get out and do some paid work for a change! We enjoy liking after our DGC now and again, but don't live close enough to be asked to do regular stints - I've done my bit and don't want to do it again now that retirement looms.

Good luck in getting it all sorted out flowers

trisher Sat 11-Jul-15 10:19:13

I agree that giving him one day and another for you both is a good compromise, but I would have a trial period before your DD goes back to work. You don't want to set something up and then find it doesn't work and you are pushed into doing 2 days. Perhaps you and DD can go off somewhere and leave him to cope (a spa day maybe). If he isn't used to child care he may imagine it's just like visiting to play. The hard work involved in doing everything may just put him off. You could also tell him that committing to 1 day a week isn't the end of it, you will be called in when child/mum is ill, when there is an important meeting, on all sorts of excuses