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Lockdown grandparenting

(13 Posts)
honeyrose Fri 17-Jul-20 11:46:08

My DH and I are retired and before lockdown, looked after 2 year old GDs twice weekly at least whilst our DD and SIL working. They live 10 minutes away.
Since mid March, have seen very little of them. DD suffers from anxiety and worries about her dad (my DH) as he is diet controlled diabetic, takes BP tablets and statins. We’re both under 70. We’ve had 4 or 5 visits at the end of our short driveway - distancing of course- and last week we sat in DDs garden - first time since 23/3. This was at my suggestion - DD doesn’t issue us any invitations!

My issue is - REALLY missing GDs! Finding it hard to keep feelings inside. Would like to visit them at least weekly or for them to come to us, especially when weather good and can sit outside. I feel as if DD is calling all the shots and although we wouldn’t call on them uninvited, unless we had to, would like more contact. I don’t like FaceTime - although we have done this. Find it “awkward” somehow.
When I mentioned to SIL last week that we don’t know what will happen in September when school term starts - DD is a teacher - he said not to worry about it if we can’t babysit because of COVID lockdown. Truth of it is, although we love being able to help them out with childcare, we adore GDs and love spending time with them. Their language is developing now and we feel like we’re missing out.
We have a great rapport with them and when we have seen them, the clearly remember us, but we have to keep distance.
My DH is very accepting of the situation, but it’s starting to affect my mental health not seeing the GDs.
I do have lots of creative hobbies and we enjoying walking, but life seems a bit meaningless at the moment without spending time with GDs - they’re a huge part of our lives.

AIBU? Can I suggest we see GDs once a week - I know that they are spending time with friends, cousins and other grandparent (widowed lady), which I must say I find slightly hurtful as we’re left out in the cold, it seems. Or are we just not useful any more, now that we can’t babysit?

Illte Fri 17-Jul-20 12:24:25

Your daughter is probably anxious for you. My daughter is, a worrier and I have not seen her since March because she says she could not take the guilt if we caught Covid from her!

Or, Reading your post, I'm a bit concerned that "life seems meaningless" without the grandchildren. I just wonder if your daughter and SIL felt that you were getting too intense about your relationship with your grandchildren and gave taken advantage of lockdown to pull back a bit without actually having to say back off!

joanna12 Fri 17-Jul-20 18:49:48

Hello,i could have written your post.Sat here reading it fighting back the tears.I have loved spending everyday of the last 17 weeks with my husband,but its hurting so much not seeing my son daughter inlaw and 2year old grandson and 6 month old grandaughter,The last time we were in their house was the week before lockdown,and until monday of last week when we saw our daughter inlaw and grandchildren for an hour through the window that has been it,we will see them tomorrow for an hour again through a closed window and hopefully see our son as well that and ten minutes once a week on whattsapp,they are not going out at all for their own reasons not shielding but its their choice and it breaks my heart but if thats all thats on offer at the moment it is better than nothing,so as hard as it is for you my husband is like yours he has accepted it and not thrown any crying fits like me,although i would never play the guilt card with my son it is so hard.I feel also that we are of no use,but again i dont want to loose my son so for now i will just sit on my pain and we are the only grandparents,its hard but i guess they along with your family have their own reasons.We also do not go univited,we get a time arrive and again i just accept it not worth the bother,i will love to just pop in but would never happen even outside of lockdown.I feel your pain and i send my best wishes to you.x

sodapop Fri 17-Jul-20 21:07:14

I agree with Illte you do sound a bit full on honeyrose I don't think you should feel resentful, your daughter is concerned for the health of everyone.

Lolo81 Fri 17-Jul-20 21:26:41

Whilst I appreciate you love and miss your GC, your daughter sounds as though she has been doing her best to follow guidelines and keep up contact via FaceTime. She IS doing the responsible thing here even if it’s not your preferred method of contact.
Everyone has found it hugely difficult over these last months and trying to keep each other safe. My own dad has the same type of diabetes and did catch the virus about 2 months ago and it affected his diabetes massively. He has lost weight and his sugars have been all over the place, so please do not minimise the effect of catching it. He is on the mend and was lucky that it seemed to be a mild case, but I was worried sick.
All I can advise is patience, by focussing on this you are affecting your own mental health OP.
I would never agree to weekly visits with any extended family when my children were young. It is too easy to get hung up on the schedule and have hurt feelings if life and circumstances of a young family mean that a visit is missed for some reason. That said, organically my children did normally see extended family by mutual agreement on that basis, because we all wanted to - not because it was a scheduled obligation.

ValerieF Fri 17-Jul-20 21:50:22

What struck me was you saying you feel your daughter is calling all the shots? Obviously with her children she is entitled to do this.

I do feel you need to step back a bit honeyrose. Not be so dependent on your grandchildren for your emotional happiness. You say you feel life is meaningless without seeing your grandchildren? How do you think that might affect your husband for instance? Obviously your life should incorporate your grandchildren but grandchildren are not your children and should not be considered the main part of your existence. For example, what would you do if your daughter and son in law decided to move to Australia? Or even just further away from you now.?

You need to have your life, with your husband and accept that is your life, your daughters is her life and when the grandchildren come absolutely fabulous but making them your whole point in living is not the way to go.

Pebbles101 Fri 17-Jul-20 23:22:38

I am very sympathetic to the way u feel @honeyrose. We have been lucky enough to be a big part of all our GC lives. Since lockdown I literally feel like a part of me is missing and have become very anxious and depressed. My H does not feel that it is worth risking close contact as yet as he is well but nearly 70 but risk adverse and quite solitary person. However we have been trying to help by taking the nearly 3 y for walks and recently playing in the garden . But she is wanting to stay over and come indoors now like she used to . They all slept over a lot as One of my D has health problems and the other ones husband died of cancer 2 years ago. I really miss normal times as even tho the eldest GC are 17 now I miss being help them with things - as for eg one is not well and I would like to be able to see her and help sort the problem out. I’d also like to add that I have plenty of things I do and have done during lockdown it’s nothing to do with being bored or not having a life outside family as some people have mentioned. If you are a family that’s just it and we haven’t been able to be a family for so long . I feel strongly that a lot grandparents are being made to feel guilty because they feel this way and people say oh it’s been so much worse for others with the Covid and so on - I think we know that as we have lost people too. Sorry if I have gone on again.

Hithere Sat 18-Jul-20 00:33:06


1 vote

BlueSky Sat 18-Jul-20 09:16:22

As I've said before just think of us grandparents with children and grandchildren abroad. We definitely don't know when how or even if we'll see them again! sad

biba70 Sat 18-Jul-20 18:03:07

we are in a similar situation honeyrose, and I agree with you it is VERY hard. I think perhaps your OH is the key here though - as it seems they are so careful because of his health problems. You say he is 'accepting' - but would he be prepared to say that seeing the grandchildren is massively important to both of you- and that you will take all necesserary precautions and would never ever blame them if he did catch Covid, somehow. I do feel the younger generation is currently being over-protective to the point of being paranoid - and personally don't feel I want to sacrifice the next few more months and years- just in case. We just do not have the time to waste.

Lolo81 Sat 18-Jul-20 23:45:30

Biba70, as I stated in my comment above, my father has the same condition as OP’s husband - he caught the virus and even though he wasn’t hospitalised and is on the mend his recovery is still ongoing.
Telling OP that her husband effectively saying pretty please I really want to see my GC doesn’t change the fact that catching this would be worse for him than the average person or lessen the inevitable guilt should he catch it.
Additionally most of the “paranoid”, “younger generation” are making decisions based on what is safe for them and their children.
To be perfectly blunt, just because you are feeling your own mortality, other people should not feel obliged to accommodate you.

OutsideDave Tue 21-Jul-20 03:40:07

Are you being very cautious otherwise? Maybe does your dd feel you aren’t being cautious enough? Or maybe they can’t be as careful as is best for your dh so it’s safest to continue socially distant visits? I would learn to live with facetime- it’s not ideal but not is someone becoming ill with covid.

honeyrose Thu 23-Jul-20 23:51:45

Thank you everyone for your responses - and very varied they are too, with some people feeling the way I do, but all of you helping me to see things from a very different prospective. I am grateful for all of you taking the time to reply and I am beginning to try and see things from my DD’s angle. I have felt a bit better since opening up on Gransnet about this, but I am a very sensitive person and, although I adore my DH and have been happily married for over 40 years and we have a great life, with good friends etc, being a grandparent has probably been the makings of me in many respects and I just want to get back to looking after the GC on a regular basis and am angry with COVID for taking that away. Perhaps I am asking too much from life?! Enough of my ramblings - I have much to be grateful for and it’s about time I realised it! Thanks again.