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Seeing grandchild too often

(44 Posts)
BookwormNanny Fri 06-Dec-19 22:02:16

I have read many posts about nans who think they don't see enough of their grandchildren so I feel a bit guilty for saying this but here goes. I have 6 grown up children, 4 boys and 2 girls, all grown up and flown the nest. Or so I thought. The youngest of the grown up children (girl) has a 5 year old daughter (our only grandchild) I love them both dearly. My daughter split up with father of the child a year ago and things are not good between them but he has regular contact with his daughter at weekends. My daughter has a new boyfriend (early days), a good job, friends, a nice home, no issues with drugs/alcohol etc. but she clearly does not like being at home alone with her child in the evenings. Every night when I come home from a very stressful job she arrives with the granddaughter, asks what's for dinner and then the granddaughter puts on her favourite TV programme and gets all her toys out, and they stay for 2-3 hours, often until my bed time. Sometimes I want to read my book, watch TV, talk to my husband or just chill and not speak to anyone but this has become the routine now and I feel as if I don't have my own life anymore. I don't know if I should just put up with it and hope that once her life settles a bit she will not be here every night or what. When her ex has the child she never comes round to see us - she goes out with friends or the new bloke so I think we are being used a bit to entertain the grandchild. Sorry for the long post - anyone have any ideas on anything I can do?

M0nica Thu 26-Dec-19 20:45:41

What better sign that you did an excellent job with your children, than having your children turn out well, especially when you had to do this on your own.

Both my mother and my DDiL lost their fathers when they were very young and I know what a hard job it was for both my grandmother and DDiL's mother to bring up children on their own. - and what a good job they made of it.

You have much to congratulate yourself on.

Hetty58 Thu 26-Dec-19 18:44:48

Very true M0nica - and I have been too soft in the past, that's for sure. Everyone has different circumstances, though. Their father died when they were young and I overcompensated by being too lenient with them.

My own mother never hid her dislike, disappointment and disapproval - so I decided, from an early age, that I'd be a complete opposite. Like many teachers, I was excellent at my job and fairly useless with my own kids. At least they seem to have turned out OK!

M0nica Thu 26-Dec-19 18:20:36

Hetty58. How does being a doormat and prepared to skivvy for your children prove to your children that you love them unconditionally.

I had parents who loved me unconditionally, throughout a childhood dogged by illness, long hospital stays, when my parents could not visit regularly and other problems. The one sure foundation to my childhood that enabled me to get through all kinds of vicissitudes was the knowledge that no matter what happened to me, no matter what I did, my parents love for me was unconditional.

As with my parents I love my children unconditionally and they know that no matter what they do, we will always be there for them, but I have been a parent that has encouraged my children to stand on their own feet, to face up to the consequences of their actions, and when they were in their bouncing stage; bouncing between them living at home and away, they were expected to contribute to their keep if earning, manage their own laundry and clean their own rooms. We have been unable to provide much in the childcare line because we live 200 miles away, but in any emergency they know we will be there - and have been on a number of occasions. They know we will not fail them, but equally they know we expect them to stand on their own two feet and act like adults in most circumstances.

Skivvying is not a necessity for unconditional love.

Dinahmo Thu 26-Dec-19 14:28:03

Vinasol I think that those young boys really need their grandmother right now. Perhaps she could have a lie in in the mornings so that she can recover for being up a bit late the night before.

I had a bad night last night because I didn't sleep too well - getting up to often and dreaming a lot. In the end I didn't get up until 10.30 - it's not that important what time you get up.

vinasol Thu 26-Dec-19 14:22:49

I think it must be very tiring if someone visits you every evening and you can't really relax and watch what you want on the telly. Your daughter must feel like your home is her second home, but it is a bit selfish of her. She needs to realise that you have a life of your own.

My dear friend died in March and left three sons, 12, 16 and 18 years old. The youngest two are at her mum's most nights (she is also my friend.) She loves having them there, but they tend to wait until later and ask her all sorts of questions and she feels as though she is half asleep. She lives in the granny flat. She still welcomes them though and realises what a loss they have had. But it is very tiring for her. God knows what the boys would do without her. Life's a bitch at times.

Hetty58 Fri 20-Dec-19 20:24:13

Yes, it is a bit much - but I'd be diplomatic (sneaky really) to reduce it.

My kids have relied on me for babysitting, extended returns to live here, thoughtlessly hurling me into the default doormat (chief cook and bottle washer) role, etc. They still have all their post and parcels delivered here too.

No, I wouldn't let anyone else take advantage like that. The big difference is that I love them all unconditionally - and I want them to be certain of that.

I have the odd grumble, demand some alone time, make myself unavailable now and then - but miss them so much when they're not around!

M0nica Fri 20-Dec-19 19:37:04

I would just tell her that you cannot cope with having her round every evening. Kindly but firmly. If she takes a huff and cuts you out, that suggests there were problems with the relationship already and she was just taking advantage of you.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 20-Dec-19 19:27:18

I think it’s a bit much, when you come home from work after a stressful workload you just want to relax with your husband and like you said read a book watch tv etc, I think your daughter is out of order expecting you to serve her dinner etc, while I’m sure you love to see them you don’t want it all the time, it’s not fair on you or your husband , I think you need to explain this to your daughter good luck

alchemilla Fri 20-Dec-19 19:13:28

I'm with CanadianGran. Your DD is taking advantage of you and it's time for a calm chat. Find out why she feels she needs to come round so often. Ask her if she can help cook or provide food. Tell her you'd like some quiet evenings with your husband and a book - and possibly watching one of your own tv programmes. What does she do while you're cooking? does she talk to you or your OH?

She might flounce, but she'll be back again.

CanadianGran Thu 12-Dec-19 17:49:30

I hold the opposite opinion of most here! You shouldn't need to worry about hurting her feelings, she needs to consider yours!

You obviously have a good relationship with both daughter and grandchild, since they are both so comfortable with you. Just sit down and have an honest chat; that she's spending too much time at your home and not hers.

It sound like she is avoiding reality of being a single mum, and needs to settle into a routine at her house with her daughter.

The change doesn't need to be drastic, but perhaps let her know you and your husband look forward to quiet time with each other at least a few days a week.

Starblaze Sun 08-Dec-19 11:09:39

She sounds like she is lonely and overwhelmed and returning to her safe space to be mothered. Maybe agree two evenings a week with her. Be honest about why. Keep the safe space, do the mothering but leave room for your needs too.

endlessstrife Sat 07-Dec-19 17:02:31

I know what you mean. The minute something starts where you feel a bit uncomfortable with it, you start to panic and worry about long it will last. On the face of it, it’s lovely that you see your GD regularly, but I can see why you would worry. You don’t say when this all started, how long it’s been already. I’m inclined to say just ride along for now, because before you know it, it will have changed, you’ll look back and think ‘that wasn’t long’. Oh the joy of hindsight! Your daughter is already happy not to come round when your GD is seeing her father, so that’s a good sign. Hope it all works out for you.

sodapop Sat 07-Dec-19 16:39:23

Yes I agree bookwormnanny as your daughter does not come round when there are other options it seems like you are being used as a restaurant and baby sitting service. I would be quite honest with her and say that you are finding it too much after being at work all day. Suggest she reduce the number of days she comes to you, doing it gradually will reduce dependence. I agree its late for a five year old to be up.

Baggs Sat 07-Dec-19 14:03:02

Taking for granted has crossed my mind too, eazybee. I wouldn't put up with it but I wouldn't have to because my kids know that already and wouldn't try it on. I think there's a bit of respect missing from bookwormnanny's daughter.

trisher Sat 07-Dec-19 13:41:42

Callistemon is right your bedtime is much too late for a 5 year old. Her school work may be being affected. I've seen tired 5 year olds fall asleep during story time. Could you suggest that you (or your DH) would be prepared to go round to her house and help out with bath time?. She may be keeping the child out because she makes a fuss at bedtime and its easy to do if she is exhausted

jaylucy Sat 07-Dec-19 12:43:30

I think I'd say to her that if she is there before you, there is so and so in the fridge and you would appreciate if she at least started to cook it for you, if she was expecting to stay or next time she went shopping, could she buy a couple of items ,or even a ready meal for you all to share and then a couple of times at least, once you have eaten your meal, say that you have had a really busy, stressful day and you are going to have a bath and then an early night and do it!

Sara65 Sat 07-Dec-19 12:36:29

Hetty, I agree. There are definitely times when I long for a bit of Me Time, but I’d never hurt my daughters feelings, I always think, that one day she’ll manage to get some order in her life, and then I’ll miss them!

eazybee Sat 07-Dec-19 12:29:40

Does your daughter ever return the compliment, that is, does she invite you and your husband to her home for a meal, an evening together, a chat?
It sounds as though she is taking you absolutely for granted, somewhere to go and offload her child because she doesn't want to be alone with her, or cook their evening meal.
You have to make it clear to her this is not acceptable and suggest she comes, say, a maximum of twice a week. The fact you are working is enough, also the fact that when she doesn't have her child you don't see her.
Most importantly, she must learn to take responsibility for her child.

Hetty58 Sat 07-Dec-19 11:56:08

I never had a good relationship with my mother. She was mentally unwell (although Dad was great). When I left home, at 17, she'd phone me at work every Tuesday, without fail, to invite me round.

Usually, I would go, wanting to catch up with Dad and my younger brother. I always helped with the dinner, was polite, didn't stay too late and took some treats with me. We all chatted happily.

Dad would often pop round to see me at the weekend too. I knew, even then, that he would be behind the Tuesday 'invitations'.

After about a year of this, my brother was visibly upset one day. I asked what was wrong and, reluctantly, he told me.
Apparently, Mum had been ranting on at them both, for ages, every Tuesday, saying 'Why does she have to keep coming home - she doesn't even live here?' (Yet still, she invited me.)

I cried so much that evening, then never went again, except on special occasions. It's very painful to be rejected by a mother, even a completely useless one!

Fiachna50 Sat 07-Dec-19 11:18:49

I would say nothing. As other posters have said , there may be a reason or she may just feel a bit lonely. It won't be like this forever. I wouldn't say anything. If you do have plans to go out one night fair enough. You just say Im going out with so and so or whatever. It can be lonely bringing up children on your own, she maybe just likes adult company for a wee while.

Callistemon Sat 07-Dec-19 10:52:38

What time does this child go to bed if they stay until your bed-time?

Surely she will not be getting enough sleep and will be tired all the next day at school? The teachers will be able to tell if she is sleep-deprived.

Calendargirl Sat 07-Dec-19 10:18:54

Hmm, difficult. I tried to think what I would do if it were me. Others have said is it a money issue, but you say she has a good job, nice home and obviously can afford to go out with friends on a free night. Plus you are still working in a stressful job, and I don’t think it at all unreasonable for you to want a bit of ‘me’ time.
I think I would say you are feeling a bit weary and stressed with work etc., and suggest perhaps coming round just say three evenings a week or suchlike. Also if they stay until nearly your bedtime, unless you go to bed really early, would have thought a five year old should be in bed earlier on school nights.
If your daughter’s new relationship goes well, you will probably see less of them, but I think at the moment you are being made use of really. If she’s been split up with partner for a year, it’s not like it’s a recent event.

Sara65 Sat 07-Dec-19 09:59:31

I agree with those who advise you not to rock the boat. I have a lot of sympathy for you, but I think you would feel worse if you upset your daughter or granddaughter.

love0c Sat 07-Dec-19 09:55:05

Oh dear! I would be very careful if you do not want to upset your DD or cause a rift between you. You do not know the real reason as to why she comes to you whenever she has nothing else on? Could it be she has the need to fill every moment with company? Maybe she is not feeling too good and is trying to cover it up? Or is it the case she genuinely wants/likes to be in your company whenever she can? While I do sympathise with you but please be careful. There are so many GP on here that would give their right arm to be in your position. It would be terrible if you joined them.

Septimia Sat 07-Dec-19 09:45:46

Being at home alone with a small child can be very lonely. You have to entertain them before they go to bed and then you're on your own for the rest of the evening. Not everybody, no matter how much they love the child, is good at spending long periods of time with them unalleviated.

Perhaps your daughter is just lonely and you're the obvious solution.

Maybe you could sometimes suggest that she leaves your GD with you and goes to have coffee with a friend, joins an exercise or evening class, or you go round to her occasionally. Just try to vary the arrangements and this might help to wean her off her dependence on you.

I think, in time, she will pick up the threads of her life and you will no longer be needed so much - at which point you'll probably find that you miss the two of them!!