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Feel used

(54 Posts)
Loulou31 Mon 20-Jan-20 20:57:19

AIBU to expect DIL and son to let us know in advance when we are needed to babysit or whatever in advance without me having to keep asking . To not expect to turn up to stay with relatives who have offered without confirming or giving notice. The excuse seems to be they have so much going on and as others have no children they must have plenty of time to drop everything whenever to accommodate them. They only seem to contact us is when they want something,usually money which we never get back. But because of the kids I can't say no, just get so stressed and feel so hurt as well.
Sorry for the rant

rosenoir Mon 20-Jan-20 21:49:42

Hope you feel a bit better after venting, children never stop being frustrating.

People will treat you the way you let them, gradually start saying no, start with the small things it will be easier.

SANDY2020 Mon 20-Jan-20 22:05:16

I understand where your coming from but if you cannot help your kids who can you help babysitting maybe only when told in advance unless a emergency yes but to lend money etc if you can afford it yes if not in s position to u need to explain and say no I'd be lost without the help if my mum and u help ger when I can sge recently had a operation I did all her shopping running round for weeks that's what family fir!!!

H1954 Mon 20-Jan-20 22:16:46

No, I don't think so! It's lovely, as grandparents to be able to help the AC and GC but it has to be said that we all have a life and I don't thinks it's acceptable for anyone to assume we will be available at a moments notice. Don't get me wrong, my AC have phoned to ask for help with the school run or a medical appointment etc and I'm more than happy to help, but they HAVE called in advance of the events! However, they don't just come over with the kiddies and expect me to drop everything so they can go out socialising. My AC accept that I have my own responsibilities to various charities and they respect me for it and embrace the work I do. I saddens and annoys me that people thinks it ok to walk all over their parents and take then for granted!

Tedber Mon 20-Jan-20 22:49:10

Woha... back track....your son and DIL expect you to baby sit without notice? How often? Constantly? Definitely a no-no.
But what is the reference to money?

First off, let them know you will be happy to babysit when it suits you. You are not available at the drop of a hat!

Secondly, stop handing out any money! Unless it is a major emergency issue which you agree to help with and either you agree to GIVE OR you lend with a written repayment plan!

People can only treat you as you allow them to treat you.

Sara65 Tue 21-Jan-20 06:57:35

It’s a fine line between wanting to help, and making yourself available, and being taken total advantage of.

I do quite a lot for my local daughter, but it can’t get out of hand because I still work. I have her children on my day off, and help out at the weekend with clubs and parties. I also pay for quite a few things, but that’s for the children’s sake.

Her situation is hard, but also of her own making, she works full time, her partner is completely useless, and contributes absolutely nothing to the running of the household, so we always feel sorry for, and do more than we really want to.

She’s always grateful, she doesn’t drop the children and run, we see lots of her, and have a very close relationship with the children.

Do I want to give up so much time? Not really, but I love them all, and if I can help I will. I suppose it’s my job, my daughter has made some really bad choices, and her life is chaotic, but I’ll do what I can for her.

Davidhs Tue 21-Jan-20 08:16:12

If you enjoy looking after the children and have nothing else arranged what is the problem. If you have other activities arranged just say sorry I cant.
Maybe you just prefer chilling out at home.

timetogo2016 Tue 21-Jan-20 08:25:26

I have heard that so many times Loulou31 so your not alone.
I don`t think they do it on purpose they just don`t think as you're their mom/Grandma and you're always available.
I would take it as a complement myself but I do understand where you're coming from.

grannypiper Tue 21-Jan-20 08:29:36

Why would you allow your Son to treat you with such disrespect, he doesnt see you as a person, he see's you as a bank and childcare centre

Sara65 Tue 21-Jan-20 08:44:54

I agree with timetogo, probably more to do with being thoughtless than unkind.

You have probably, out of a desire to help, made yourself available whenever they call, and now they accept it as the norm.

Just let them know, that a little appreciation goes a long way, and you do actually have a life of your own.

Hetty58 Tue 21-Jan-20 09:16:33

My kids will check with me if it's important to them (an appointment, maybe, or something they have to book) but otherwise, they're welcome to turn up on the off chance.

If I'm available, I'll babysit, if not, I won't. I'm not expected to cancel my arrangements. They know that they can pop in at any time.

If they need money, I'll help them out. That's what families are for!

My own mother had MH problems. We had to ask, well in advance, to visit. My parents didn't help with grandchildren (I didn't ask after the first babysitting disaster) and never offered to help out financially either. I wouldn't want my lot to feel as unwanted as I did.

curvygran950 Tue 21-Jan-20 09:19:08

I agree with Tedbear.
Have you actually talked to your children about how you feel? These situations can fester, with resentment building up on both sides ....not pleasant.

curvygran950 Tue 21-Jan-20 09:21:00

I mean Tedber - sorry !

Yehbutnobut Tue 21-Jan-20 09:21:45

I think you need to stop being so accommodating. Just the once say ‘no’ but nicely. And as far as the money goes ask ‘is this a loan you are asking for?’

There’s a big difference between helping out and allowing people to take you for granted.

fourormore Tue 21-Jan-20 10:00:23

It's so easy isn't it - 'just say no'!!! If ONLY it was that easy!
Bless you Loulou - we are in the same position and to be honest, if we didn't make ourselves available for childcare we wouldn't ever see our precious grandchildren, so basically they have us over a barrel!
As far as money is concerned - help if you can, but only if it's important. We have started saying 'No' as their priorities are ridiculous compared to our common sense living!
Our eldest GC are grown up so, although they are far better at keeping in touch with us than their mother (!), we don't see much of them.
Both of our sons have married two women - wife and MILs so we rarely see one set of GC, and, like you, are called on for childcare care only when MIL isn't available!
Sadly it is the selfish society we live in, so all I can suggest is that you do as we are - enjoy whatever contact you can with the GC as they will soon be too old for childcare, BUT do say 'No' every now and again, just to let them know you do have a life as well.
It's so so hard I know and you do have my deepest sympathy - we are in a catch 22 situation flowers
You will need to vent though so keep in touch!

NotSpaghetti Tue 21-Jan-20 10:05:54

I don’t understand?
What are you asking?... to babysit? And they want you to drop everything? Or is this more about confirming babysitting?
Also, are money requests sudden and urgent too?

jaylucy Tue 21-Jan-20 10:18:06

You need to say to them that you love babysitting , but you do have a life as well, so would like some notice beforehand - I was going to say unless it is an emergency, but I would guess that every time would become one.
They are two adults that chose to become parents and it is up to them to organise their own childcare between them, not expect everybody else to drop everything.
As far as money - suggest they see someone at their bank or Citizens Advice to work out a budget. Again tell them that you also have bills to pay so unless they start paying back some of the "loans" at some point. no more will be forthcoming!
None of us I would guess mind loaning money when it's an emergency, but when it keeps happening, it is time to say no.

Mal44 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:38:20

We only have one GC but asked to be given at least a days notice when needed to babysit.Our daughter understood that we also had a life.Of course if it was an emergency no problem.
Just ask them to plan ahead.Unless you say something they are unaware of how you feel.

rowanflower0 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:41:23

They wont realise that they are taking advantage of you, and dropping it on you without notice, until you do say no!
Next time they ring without notice tell them you are not available, or if they come round, say that you are just going out. Go out, even if it means a supermarket trip you weren't planning, or going to see a film you are not interested in. They probably have no idea what they are doing, and won't until you are unavailable - you don't work, so OBVIOUSLY have nothing else to do with your time!

newnanny Tue 21-Jan-20 10:47:57

Babysitting and lending money that is not returned are 2 different things. Tackle one at a time. Tell your AC money is tight and you are having to watch the pennies. If they ask to borrow money tell them all spare money is tied up in bonds for a year and you would lose all interest so can't access it. If you have money around you could open a savings account of this type. If you don't have money sloshing around you won't be able to lend it. Be firm and don't be persuaded to withdraw it. Tell them you are saving for something. Let them know in advance days times you will not be available to babysit. I am having my hair done Tuesday morning. I thought I would mention it so you know I can't babysit then. I am going out for coffee with X on Thursday morning. Saturday morning we are out all morning but it would be nice to see GC in afternoon. Take back control of your life. No need to be unpleasant but be assertive. Decide in advance if there is anything you would be prepared to lend money for eg car breaks so they can't get to work. But tell them how much they need to repay each month and ask them to set up dd so you don't have to keep asking yhem. Only lend if they agree and gently remind them they have not repaid you for previous loans yet. Make it clear if they do not repay this time no more loans ever.

Notthatoldyet9 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:54:51

Sorry i am at my class/theatre/watching a film that evening (you have a life)
You are being inconvenienced and used because they are fitting in with childless friends ?!
Will need this back by august for my trip to ...
Say can you pay back monthly ?
Get a little payment accounts book
As othets have said it is up to you how you allow people to treat you

Kim19 Tue 21-Jan-20 11:03:38

Whenever I'm asked to childmind, long or short notice, I do my level best to re-jig my diary. The joy of seeing them is too great to miss. Sometimes it's just not possible but that's my disappointment and returns to being their dilemma. Happily, haven't had the financial experience (yet!!!) and don't expect to so cannot comment.

Riggie Tue 21-Jan-20 11:17:46

Well I can assure you that many are not like that. We have never asked either of our parents for money; babysitting (on rare occasions) was by mutual agreement and we didnt expect them to drop other arrangements!

vickya Tue 21-Jan-20 11:18:49

Like other posters here I want to see my grandchildren so do babysit, one day, after school. That is two of them but the third is too far sad . I also give money when it is needed, for the children's sake and daughter too. My mother did help as well, but I was nicer to her and she saw more of us socially. Probably my own fault in some ways partly. I also get tired now, which I think is another post today. So I only do alternate weeks. Grandpa does the other week. Daughter's suggestion. And they go to a minder after school other days. And could do if I can't do it. I do help though if one is ill and needs day care as daughter works. She's divorced and the father is mostly out of the country. I get email instructions smile. Bath her is not so bad but last time was hair wash too.

Aepgirl Tue 21-Jan-20 11:20:32

At the beginning of each month when I see my family, I get my calendar out and ask when I might be needed by them (babysitting, etc) so that I don’t ‘do my own thing’. Of course I don’t stick to it rigidly, but at least it lets them know that I have a life too.

Ydoc Tue 21-Jan-20 11:48:01

This is such a widespread problem. Like you I am in a catch 22 situation. I love my one and only granddaughter to bits so will do anything for her. To see her and spend time with her.
The help is rarely forthcoming the other way round. A lot of people think it is a new generation thing. I think it's because we spoilt our children so they expect so much.

Mickyboy67 Tue 21-Jan-20 12:04:20

I look after my grandchildren when needed, most of the time there no trouble as always on their iPads or phones, and do stay over which I’m grateful that they do as it’s bloody lonely, as for money they’ve had quite a lot as both have had partners who are not reliable, eldest daughters partner moved into his girl friends place after seeing her for 3 weeks, and very rarely see his own children, mostly dumps them of with his parents, or just leaves them with his new g/f kids who they don’t really now, what a life they lead the younger generation have, I tell them I’m glad to help as I hope they look after me when needed, with 3 strokes and copd am managing at moment but you never now what tomorrow brings plus I get to sit there dog he’s always glad to see me.

Dillyduck Tue 21-Jan-20 12:04:41

Don't allow yourselves to be blackmailed like this. Make sure YOU have something arranged more often so it's not convenient in YOUR life to drop everything!

Jillybird Tue 21-Jan-20 12:18:31

I agree with others, you do need to set boundaries. You can do it kindly and make them understand you love them and love to spend time with them, but also have a life of your own. I am not so near to mine, thst they can just pop in on the offchance, but I say to my dil, "you can always ask, but I might not always be able to say yes! I never mind being asked and will help when I can." She's really good and always gives as much notice as possible. It's not unreasonable for you to do that.
Re the money - my take is that you have lost that and won't get it back. No point in bringing it up - unless they ask for more! At that point you need to ssy that times are hard, prices are rising and you really have no spare. If you actually have the money, ask if they've looked into a bank loan, offer to LEND not give, and halve the interest rate the bank would require. My mum unexpectedly lent me money to buy a car (I hadn't asked) but I set up a direct debit with the bank to pay it back .

Loulou31 Tue 21-Jan-20 12:39:08

Thanks all for your replies. Probably moaned a bit much as I was annoyed , looking back on my post it sounds worse than it is but definitely feel taken advantage of. Kids not babies, need feeding and dropping here and there, just would like to be given more notice, I know not always possible.

geeljay Tue 21-Jan-20 12:44:35

That sounds about the right way, Aepgirl.It is ysually a pleasure to be able to share the enjoyment of the little 'uns.

JuliaM Tue 21-Jan-20 13:02:42

Yes we d see a lot of our Grandchildren, especially those who live close by, but we have set rules and boundrys from day one! Its ok for them to visit on their way home from School, and we always havea drink.or a snack available for them if they ask for one. However, except in a dire emergency therule for overnight stays is one child at a time only, and by prior arangement. We do not expect any kind of reward for doing so, other than the manners to say please and thankyou.
The other set of Grandparents also live closeby, but tyey area little more selective when asked to help out with any childcare duties, often find an excuse not to have them, and expect a reward of somekind when they do, often in the form of a bottle of their favourite branded Gin, or expensive beuty products and toiletries that a young family can ill afford, hence they end up seeing a lot less of their Grandchidren than we do. Likewise,despite us both being pensioners and living on a small income, its us that often end up sortingout any financial crisis for our daughter, whilst the other set of Grandparents who are younger and both have full time well paid jobs flatly refuse to help out with a single penny.
Yes at times l do feel used, we have cancelled out holidays in the past so that we could help pay for our Grandchildren to still have their break, after their Dad was made redundant from his job, but not a single penny was offered by any of his family, and infact they still expected our daughter to play free taxi to them at the weekends after they had been out drinking with friends. I would do anything to help keep my Grandchildren safe and happy, but yes,at times l do feelvery used too.

Alexa Tue 21-Jan-20 13:26:21

LouLou, I'd base my decision on whether or not I enjoy doing what they expect me to do, whatever it is. It's not as if they are asking you to do anything immoral or illegal.

There are no rules you make your own rules if you have to. Me, I prefer as few rules as possible.

jenpax Tue 21-Jan-20 13:32:11

I can relate very much to this situation! As others have said it does lead to resentment and ill will.

Sara65 Tue 21-Jan-20 13:47:25

My husband’s theory is that we’ve spoiled our children, and they’re now far too dependent on us.

Too late to do anything about that now I suppose.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 21-Jan-20 14:03:03

I suggest you invite your son and daughter -in-law for coffee one day soon and tell them that you love babysitting, but you do have a life of your own.

So you need to reconsider the basis for the babysitting.You cannot go on doing it at the drop of a hat. Offer to babysit when you think they need it most based on the present situation.

Over and above this, you will help out when you can, but need advance notice.

Stop lending them money. Next time they ask, just say, "sorry, I am a bit short right now." If they ask why, either say jokingly that that is none of their business, or reply that you are short as they never give back the money they borrow!

GrannyLaine Tue 21-Jan-20 14:13:54

When my children had children of their own, I told them from the outset that the deal was we would only agree to having the children if we were happy to do so and would never agree to have them and then complain behind their backs. We have them often and we love it, sometimes singly, sometimes three or four at a time and cats as well!. We have helped with all kinds of care arrangements including having them when they aren't well enough to go to school. But sometimes we say 'No' when we have other things planned or we're just not up to it. So I guess clear boundaries are what you need and that's different for us all.

JulieMM Tue 21-Jan-20 14:51:29

My daughter in law is a student nurse so sometimes works shifts. Every few weeks we get our diaries out and plot the childcare dates. I have commitments on given days as does her own mother but we somehow manage to juggle things around. If you tell your daughter in law that your new year’s resolution is to be more organised I’m sure she will accept this. If you’ve never told her how difficult the current way of doing things is for you then she probably assumes you’re ok with it. All the best!

JenniferEccles Tue 21-Jan-20 14:54:00

I have a couple of friends in this situation of being totally taken for granted by their daughters.

One in particular is completely run ragged with childcare.

The daughter and son in law recently bought a large house which they couldn’t afford unless the daughter went back to work full time.

Allegedly they can’t afford to pay for childcare so my friend has been expected to give up her freedom to step in.

Of course she loves the grandchildren but admits that she feels a bit trapped and resentful.

I would never have expected my mother to spend most of her days in retirement looking after my children.

I feel there is a lot of selfishness about these days with this ‘I want it, so I shall have it’ generation.

NotANana Tue 21-Jan-20 15:57:29

When I married my parents made it very clear to me that I was "making my own bed and must lie on it"...and that I was not to expect them to do anything. So I didn't. I got on with my life myself. And if I have ever had children (we didn't, for a variety of reasons) I would not have expected them to babysit etc. at the drop of a hat.
I do think it is reasonable to give reasonable notice of the need to babysit/childmind, unless it is an emergency which could not have been predicted.
And it is equally OK for the OP or anyone else to say "Sorry, I can't help" if they can't, and not to have to give a reason.
So many children seem not to grow up and take responsibility for themselves and for the choices they make in life, and expect their parents to continually bail them out, and it really riles me.
I think it is slightly different in an emergency or if something unexpected occurs. But on a daily basis? No. Children need to grow up and takes responsibility for their own lives and their own decisions.

Burningleaves Tue 21-Jan-20 17:09:32

Is it just me? It takes me ages to try and work out the abbreviations you all seem so keen on using. What is an AC?

Burningleaves Tue 21-Jan-20 17:11:18


Caro57 Tue 21-Jan-20 17:53:19

It’s in their interest to give you notice - not to mention good manners- as one day you just may not be able to drop everything. Think i would do a bit of ‘leave it with me as i will need to see if i can juggle a few things in the diary’ - let them sweat a little then say you’ve managed to change things but, if possible, a much notice as they can give you would make it less stressful for all

Xander Tue 21-Jan-20 18:03:26

Adult Child Am I Being Unreasonable. I think. There is a list of common acronyms on this site. I had same problem when I first joined. Only problem is there are some acronyms not on the list!!!! So it still can take a while to work out

sodapop Tue 21-Jan-20 19:20:08

Don't brush it aside Loulou31 you deserve to be treated with respect. Our adult children tend to be thoughtless with parents and need to be reminded we do have our own lives.
Talk to them about it and say there are some days you will not be available and tell them your funds are limited now too. Your family will understand and between you reach a good compromise.

Sawsage2 Tue 21-Jan-20 19:46:37

I don't think lying is acceptable. Just say sorry no.

Tangerine Tue 21-Jan-20 19:50:41

Unless it's an emergency, they should give you notice.

They should pay money back. You are not a money tree.

Baguette123 Wed 22-Jan-20 00:00:08

Oh my goodness, no wonder you feel used. What a nerve to assume you exist just for their convenience. Please make out you have somewhere else to be ( best to prepare a few places to keep in mind ) when you are called upon to babysit without any notice. They assume you have no life of your own but you do. Even if you choose to sit in a cafe all day reading a book, for example, it’s YOUR life and you have every right to do just that.Do this a few times and they will start to realise they will have to be more considerate if they want your help. It’s best to implement this gradually so they won’t think you’re up to something or trying to make a point. Don’t give in, be firm but kind and you will earn their respect.

Txquiltz Wed 22-Jan-20 00:52:54

You are teaching you GC it is okay to treat grandparents with disregard and to show them grandparents lives end when the kids move out. Schedule yourself to be out of pocket the next time you think they will pull this stunt. Then go out and have a pleasant evening.

Gran16 Wed 22-Jan-20 06:25:48

Very difficult situation and feeling like you are being held to ransom isn't nice like in my situation. AC not local but I am expected to make all the effort to see them and GC they dont visit me. Large sum of money 'loaned' which I have been told wont be repaid - not the first time but definitely the last. Now because I dont prioritise them over my life they want nothing more to do with me and all forms of contact cut. I work full-time and am not in the best of health either. When I had a young family I happily did all the running to keep both sets of grandparents in our lives but now it seems I'm supposed to do all the running to be involved in AC and GCs lives as they are my children and I should make them a priority .. I'm nearly 60! It's so hard but you cant spend your life pleasing everyone else to your own detriment. Our children will be grandparents one day and maybe they will regret how they treated us but it will be too late then sad

sarahanew Wed 22-Jan-20 15:48:42

I only babysit when I am asked in advance and then only if I don't have something already planned. The exception is if one of them is sent home from school unwell if both parents are working, as long as I'm not working too. The more available you make yourself, the more you'll get taken advantage of and feel resentful as a result. It's letting them know where the boundaries are, much the same as when you were bringing them up, just an extension of that!

Tedber Wed 22-Jan-20 18:56:27

JuliaM A bit judgemental on the other set of grandparents I think. The whole point is setting boundaries and if you don't and others do, then it is really up to them what they do and what you do is up to you. JMO

Greengage Thu 23-Jan-20 23:07:23

My daughter has two young children and I made it very clear from the start that I was not prepared to do regular childminding but I would happily do babysitting, and help in emergencies. I am the only grandparent and in my early 70s. My son-in-law and I get on extremely well. I also get to spend quality time with the whole family, and we all benefit. Lucky me.

Tanjamaltija Sat 25-Jan-20 07:44:04

If you are going to accommodate them, they will continue feeling entitled. They have your number. Make it clear that you need at least 12 hours' notice for cooking, shopping, and baby-sitting.