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Ungrateful Son

(131 Posts)
Sheian57 Tue 11-Jul-17 23:13:45

My son and his partner have asked for support with childcare when his partner goes back to work after maternity leave for one day per week. However prior to her going back, he has asked me to look after my GC one day per week so that his partner is free to look after the house and prepare food without also looking after GC. I agreed to do this on a couple of occasions provided I was free, but he is angry that I won't do it as I have made some other arrangements for some of the days. I cut my full time work to 3 days a week to accommodate helping out, but did not expect the ensuing argument. I told him that from August I will be looking after GD one day a week every week for the next 3 years. Further, when I picked up my GD last week at 7:00 a.m. his partner was in her pyjamas and announced that she would be going back to bed and was going to spend it catching up with TV then was going to pamper herself before a night out with friends. This is not acceptable. I work 29 hours over 3 days to enable me to have Thursday and Friday off with the promise to them that in August I am committed every week that GD's care, but not every week before then. It has resulted in his saying he has changed his mind and I suspect he will not allow us access now. They can't afford extra childcare which is why we agreed to help, but I do not wish to be blackmailed and bullied into helping out while his partner stays in bed all day, nor will I be disrespected. I also have two other adult children whom I wish to be around from time to time, as well as a home to look after, an elderly mother and try to fit in some leisure time. When I suggested he looks after GD whilst his partner has some free time at weekend, he says that time is spent with friends or shopping. Frustrated and unhappy with son and his partner. Any advice would be gratefully received

paddyann Tue 11-Jul-17 23:46:39

I've watched grandchildren for over 14 years ,I dont make conditions for watching them.If my daughter needs to catch up with sleep or wants to get some time with friends I'm generally pleased she gets some time to herself.Her kids aren't great sleepers and I well remember what it was like getting little or no sleep for years on end.If the only time you're willing to look after your grandchild is when her mother is working then you should tell her that ,personally I think you're being a bit harsh .

Hilltopgran Tue 11-Jul-17 23:57:15

In your position I would also feel used and unappreciated. When my DS asked if I would care for DGD whilst DIL returned to work I made it clear I what I could offer given my committments and the distance to where they live. We have arrived at a compromise we can all live with.

Your son as you suggest should take some responsibiliy and support his partner by taking over the child care when he can and not expect you his Mother to do it for him. Your offer of one day a week is generous, remember more GC may come along and others will expect the same support.

I hope you can sort the situation out, there does seem to be an expectation by some young parents that their own parents owe them free childcare.

Eloethan Wed 12-Jul-17 00:51:03

I think both your son and his partner are being totally unreasonable. It is out of order to virtually demand that you look after your granddaughter so that her Mum can loll around in pyjamas watching TV or your son can go shopping.

I'm sure you wouldn't mind occasionally giving them a break for a bit of "lazy time" but this "entitled" sort of attitude and nastiness if you don't comply should not, I think, force you into helping when you're too tired or it's not convenient.

Namsnanny Wed 12-Jul-17 00:51:50

Congrats on the birth of your GD!

For what its worth I agree with you, they do seem to be behaving unreasonably.

As you know its a shock settling into a new routine with a new baby.

Maybe if you can reiterate your willingness to help but emphasise how much you have rearranged your life to accommodate the new GD, and how it hasn't been easy for you, they might reassess their position.
Probably not though!

It all boils down to are you prepared to loose contact over this or try to soothe their ruffled (selfish) feathers!

I get the impression it could be a make or break situation for you.

Good luck!

Sheian57 Wed 12-Jul-17 05:49:40

I am willing to look after grandchild any time for a few hours when I am free. I had 3 children with no help as my family were too far away and my husband worked 12 hour shifts, so I don't appreciate that as she is not yet back at work, they are demanding I take care of GD to give her a break. They have leisure time at weekend when my son is not working and we see them regularly as a family

M0nica Wed 12-Jul-17 07:53:29

I think problems like this go way back. Adult children with families do not make demands and threats like this unless they are accustomed to their parents giving into their every demand.

It is very difficult when children are used to having their parents at their beck and call to make them understand that there are limits to what they can expect and their parents can give.

When parents do say 'no' to these cuckoos in the nest, their first recourse is to see if they can emotionally blackmail them into submission by threatening to refuse access to the grandchildren who are loved so much.

I think children like this should be face down and told how much help is on offer, which should be limited and based on the parents being in command of their own lives. Why should children's lives be made easy and pleasant with duvet days and shopping days at the expense of their parents running themselves ragged. They have a right to duvet days and shopping days as well.

This is hard to do when adult children are used to always getting what they want from their parents, but I see no alternative.

gillybob Wed 12-Jul-17 08:11:22

I (sort of) agree with Paddyann and can see your point too Sheian57 .

I have looked after my three DGC since they were just weeks old and DDiL went back to work . I do 2 days and an ON ( sometimes 2 ON's depending on shifts etc) and a lot more during school holidays when I take my holidays from work to accommodate them and often have them for the entire week . DDiL and I sit down with a calendar and mark our holidays off so we are sure they will be taken care of . Personally I find it easier just to have them all on the same days regardless as to whether DS or DDiL are at work or not . It saves all the messing around . The children know that on Mondays I pick them up from school and they sleep at mine and on Tuesdays I take them school and pick them up then they go home at around 6pm . ( I work when they are at school ).

It doesn't make any difference to me whether my DIL is off work or not . This is our routine .

NanaandGrampy Wed 12-Jul-17 08:11:41

I think you are being totally reasonable.

Quite frankly they sound spoilt ! Its fine to have their child as part of a day-care package to allow them to wok but to have the child so they can pamper themselves? Totally ridiculous.

I'm afraid I wouldn't be blackmailed so if they don't like it them let them make alternative arrangements and you'll just be a grandparent not a carer. I'm betting when the costs hit them they'll soon change their minds - and after all August is only 3 weeks away .

Maggiemaybe Wed 12-Jul-17 08:58:15

I'm sorry, but he's angry because you won't drop all your current commitments with no notice whatsoever and, having already worked three 10 hour days to accommodate them from next month, pop round for 7am the following day each week so that your DIL can have a day off? Angry? He needs to have a word with himself.

Luckygirl Wed 12-Jul-17 09:00:23

I do sometimes look after GC while my DD gets a sleep and a lazy day as I am acutely aware that she needs this; but if I was unable to do this I would not expect anyone to be annoyed or unpleasant about it.

Christinefrance Wed 12-Jul-17 09:08:36

I think you should only take on the amount of child care you can comfortably manage given your other commitments.
When that is agreed between you it should not then make any difference what your family do with the child free time.

MissAdventure Wed 12-Jul-17 09:20:38

I'm not very good at being 'made' to do things, so I would stick to my guns, and I'm afraid they would have to do their worst.

vampirequeen Wed 12-Jul-17 09:47:00

I think you're totally justified in feeling used. They had the baby. My DDs work and do their own housework whilst caring for their children at the same time. I did the same although I have to admit that, with my aunt's agreement, I visited her on a Friday and went to bed for a couple of hours but DD1 was a total none sleeper for the first 2+ years of her life. She didn't sleep through the day and catnapped for never more than half an hour at a time during the night. It obviously worked for her because she was a fit and healthy baby. I damn near killed me grin. I totally understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. My aunt and uncle were very home orientated so I wasn't stopping them from going out and if they did need to cancel then that was OK because they were doing me a huge favour. I never dreamed of making a fuss about it. Also I went to them even though it was a half hour walk to the bus stop, an hour on the bus and a quarter hour from the nearest bus stop to their house in the days when you had to get the baby out of the buggy and fold it up whilst juggling baby and bags.

If they want childcare they need to fit around you as you're already fitting your work life around them.

Some children seem to assume that grandparents will be on tap for childcare whenever they decide they want/need time away from their children.

Nezumi65 Wed 12-Jul-17 09:54:10

They are behaving outrageously (& I don't have grandchildren yet, just older children and feel more in common with gransnet than mumsnet at times). What is it with these millennials that they think everything revolves around them?

I think you should just calmly restate that you have altered your work and given a commitment to them and you are utterly committed to that. But you will not run around like a blue arsed fly so your DIL can watch box sets and if that's important to her then they need to either pay for childcare or sort it out between themselves. And just say you have plans every week between now and when you start the arrangement because there is a lot you need to do/organise before them.

goose1964 Wed 12-Jul-17 09:55:09

Just say no, they are adults and need to understand that they aren't the only people in this.

frue Wed 12-Jul-17 09:59:16

Suggest you tell them what you can do and leave them to sort out the rest of their lives

Coolgran65 Wed 12-Jul-17 10:01:21

For ds1Dh and I look after 2dgc for one day each week 7am - 7pm. They also have an occasional overnight. Easy to care for at ages 6 and 9. We've been doing this since they were born. Arrangements are sometimes switched as needed.

Ds2 - A new dgs is 3 months old and he will also get one day each week when mum goes back to work. This couple would be more 'expecting' and we have been careful to set boundaries from the start. Pick up time is agreed in advance. Short notice 'can you have baby' has not always been a yes if we have something planned even if our plan is something it is just mum wanting to get nails done etc. and making her appointment before checking with us that it's ok.

Also, for ds1 dgc are dropped off to us at 7am, we don't go pick up.

Of course, if there is an emergency then we are always available for any of them without question regardless of any plans we may have.

How childcare arrangements are handled depends a lot on the attitude of those requiring the childcare.

Rosina Wed 12-Jul-17 10:03:30

It's not so much what they are asking you to help with, and what they are doing with the ensuing free time, as to how it's being asked that I would find irritating. We often babysit or have the children over the weekend so that DS and Ddil can have a late evening out and then a lie in - as we all know, tiny children are absolutely exhausting. We love the children, they appreciate a break, but my response would be very different if my DS and Ddil were behaving as if I should do this, and reacting badly if I couldn't help out. This is a minefield as the last thing any Grandparent wants is to lose contact with the grandchildren, but might it be useful to say that you are happy to help if you can but also point out your hours of work, your elderly mother, your wish to see your other children too, and the fact that you also need some 'down'time like shopping and seeing friends? They might be so wrapped up in themselves that they really don't see how much you have to do. Very hard for you Sheian so good luck with the negotiations and try to keep smiling through this.

Janny Wed 12-Jul-17 10:03:39

I really empathise with your situation. Stay strong you have to live your life and have time for you! My eldest daughter is a nightmare and forever emotionally controlling my husband and I. There's one answer to it all and for me I'm going to have to let go until she can understand her own actions. Hope you manage to stay strong.

annodomini Wed 12-Jul-17 10:05:42

My sons' families live too far for me to be helpful except for the odd occasion. DiLs both sacrificed career progress by working part-time and sending the children to nursery on the other days, until they started school. Both have now made up time on their careers and are in very senior positions. DSs have played a major part in the children's upbringing. They all managed well despite living a considerable distance from all in-laws. When it has to be done, it can be done. You can't have children and expect to have it all.

radicalnan Wed 12-Jul-17 10:08:15

Why do people expect so much helpnow with child care? I just had to get on with it, even when I lived fairly close to my parents.

I can't see the point in having a family if you are not going to raise them yourself and prioritise work and frieds over your children. As for all this emotional blackmail and bullying that seems to be something new too. I would not have dreamt of treating my parents like that. They did what they chose to do to help me out and they loved taking my children out and about, when it suited them and when it didn't that was just the way it was.

Parents seem to want to continue life as carefree singletons and palm the kids off onto other people far too often, not to mention dog care duties..........does no one consider doing anything for themselves anymore, just managing their own lives?

Grampie Wed 12-Jul-17 10:09:30

Our parents were lousy grandparents to our children.

...thankfully we have the time and money to help out as and when asked.

Even so we make sure the need is genuine and not a permanent arrangement; but we did do a week of Thursdays for about 18 months.

Lindajane Wed 12-Jul-17 10:09:53

Perhaps you can sit down with them and explain your feelings. It's a huge commitment to regularly look after your GC. Fortunately my DD and I have a week by week arrangement. If I'm free I'll look after GS if not she's happy with that. When I say I feel I should be doing more she points out it was her and her DH decision to have a child, not mine. She's grateful for any time I can offer.

Parklife1 Wed 12-Jul-17 10:10:46

When people decide to have children, they need to consider longer term arrangements for their care. In many ways, it was simpler when ours were young. Childcare was pretty much non existent and so we stayed at home, perhaps worked when husbands/partners were home and tightened our belts.

Childcare is much more prevalent now, but many find it difficult to afford. But this is one of the considerations couples should think about beforehand. Yes, it's hard looking after babies, so why would it be less tiring and hard for a grandparent, who, with the best will in the world, is getting older, particularly if still working outside the home.

I live too far away to have my grandchildren regularly, but when I do, although they are older now, the responsibility is tiring, as well as the fact that I'm thirteen years older. I think your son and DiL are unreasonable OP. They have the children, they look after them. No one I'm sure, minds helping out, but a regular commitment is a different thing altogether and, in my experience, can get to the point very quickly where it's another day and another day and an expectation that you will always be available. And it is blackmail, of a sort.