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Totally exhausted from babysitting GC

(126 Posts)
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sun 19-Nov-23 12:02:48

I’m only in my mid-50’s but I look after 3 of my pre-school GC during the week while my AC work, and also do lots of weekend babysitting.

I absolutely love them, it’s been such a joy to have them and I realise not every grandma has that. I do cherish my time with them, but…fuck me I am exhausted. Last night I looked after my youngest GC who is 1 while DD and SIL had a night out. I couldn’t settle her until 10pm then she was up every 90 minutes. Which is know DD will go through - but she’s 26 years younger than I am and has a partner. I’m widowed, I have a partner but he hasn’t met my GC yet - my AC don’t want him to and I absolutely respect their wishes.

I feel like I’m gonna nod off any second soon and I messaged DD who said she’s taking the opportunity to clean her house and her DH is having a ‘well deserved lie in’. I’m trying not to be annoyed - why can’t they pick DGD up and he forgo a lie in while she cleans? I wouldn’t be so bothered if I didn’t also mind her 2 days in the week on top of other GC and do a lot of weekends too. I get having babies is hard but I don’t understand why a couple have a baby then want the exact same social life as before.

I don’t know how to tell them it’s all too much now, and I’m only gonna get older. I feel like my easiness with helping is taken advantage of and I’m seen as a silly, lonely widow who is thrilled of the company. Which I mostly am - but the sleepless nights, the screaming, nappies etc. it’s too much. I still work and my only days off which I should be spending with my BF are monopolised by my AC.

EverybodyHatesMaureen Sun 19-Nov-23 12:05:29

Would like to point out only 1 GC is in nursery 1 day a week. I absolutely don’t expect to be paid but I never get a bunch flowers or a meal out or even a note to say ‘thank you for your £400 per child worth of childcare each week’. Nothing. I’m sure They think they’re doing me a favour by allowing me access to their kids. My other friends don’t have this dynamic

Damdee Sun 19-Nov-23 12:08:56

If you behave like a doormat you will get trodden all over - sorry, but it's true. Talk to them - lay down some ground rules!

Siope Sun 19-Nov-23 12:10:54

You need to set some boundaries, and be (mostly) honest about why. Decide what you can manage/are happy to do, and tell your children. That might be two afternoons a week, and one evening a month, no overnights until the kids are routinely sleeping through the night, unless it’s an emergency, or whatever suits you. Then tell your children and explain that is what you can, and are willing, to do.

Then say no to every request for something different, without making excuses or feeling guilty.

sodapop Sun 19-Nov-23 12:14:52

Time for a major rethink EverybodyhatesMaureen makes me feel tired just reading about what you do.
Your family are taking you for granted and you are letting them, time to say no.
Consider what you feel comfortable doing in the way of childcare which allows you time with your boyfriend and for yourself.. Then sit down with your family and explain how things are going to change. You have to be clear about your expectations and theirs . Don't put up with this how ever much you love your grandchildren. Good luck.

nexus63 Sun 19-Nov-23 12:39:18

i am sorry i can't offer any help but a hug and a tiny little lie, when gc goes home on the friday, call your dd on the saturday morning and tell them you have badly sprained your ankle and have to rest for a week, maybe two, use the old bones if you have to, you know...lucky i did not break it, then explain there is no way you can look after the kids, if you can have your boyfriend over at the weekend so he can be there to look after you, maybe then you can tell them how you are feeling without a full blown argument. my friend did this and it worked out well without the arguing.

Shelflife Sun 19-Nov-23 12:49:55

Too many AC are of the opinion that by landing their offspring on GPs they are doing them a favour!!!!!!! I think not , it is the other way round. You do more than enough childcare!
Tell them it is too much , their child their responsibility. Life changes when children arrive and it's their job to accommodate those chances. SIL having a well deserved rest while you have their child - for goodness sake!!
Of course you love your family and are happy to help but if you feel they are taking advantage of you they probably are!

Harris27 Sun 19-Nov-23 13:14:22

I remember looking after my gs a while back and my son really thought he was giving me gold. My day job as a nursery teacher didn’t help.

Smileless2012 Sun 19-Nov-23 14:05:10

No wonder you're exhausted, just reading your posts wore me out.

You need to have a think about what is manageable and then tell your AC what help you're able to provide. Perhaps if your AC weren't against your partner even seeing the children, and you were able to have some help, you wouldn't be so exhausted.

Maybe that's something they should think about.

M0nica Sun 19-Nov-23 14:38:31

The mere fact that the name you have chosen is Everybodyhatesmaureen says it all. They don't but you are scared they will.

Ss others have said if lie down across an open door everyone will wipe their feet on you - and this is what is happenin.

What you have got to do is sit down work out how much child care you can give, and then tell your children very firmly how much you can do, no ifs, no buts.

Make it clear that that includes regular as well as 'one-offs' so your children will need to learn how to budget child care as they do money - If gran does a day and half baby sitting this week, perhaps she will do Saturday evening as well, or, we cannot go out partying on Saturday, we need 2 days childcare this week.

It will be a shock to your children, they will no doubt throw a tantrum, get angry and do all the other things they usually do when you look unwilling to do anything for them, but stick to it. Come back to GN and we will build you up and back you up every time.

But the answer to your problem lies in your hands You have to be prepared to stand up to your children and say NO when they make unreasonable demands.

silverlining48 Sun 19-Nov-23 14:44:09

I agree with what has already been said, they are taking advantage of you and yes they think they can continue their pre baby social activities because of you, wearing yourself out.
Just say No.

Grammaretto Sun 19-Nov-23 15:07:50

I can't believe you have let this happen EHM you must have seen it coming.
I realise it's nice to be needed but not to exhaustion point!
You are now resenting these AC and that shouldn't be the case.
As for not wanting your new DP to meet the DGC! What a cheek.
They are taking you for an unpaid nanny and that is not fair.
What did you do for childcare when your DC were small?
I expect you took care of them yourself.
The only consolation is that they will start nursery and school eventually but you need to extract yourself before then. Why aren't you working? Find yourself a paid job and it will be much easier I guarantee.

Nannarose Sun 19-Nov-23 15:17:42

I dealt with this when I was a Health Visitor. It was sad to hear such stories, but in the end, not only you, but your DGCs will suffer.
Your age is irrelevant - how you feel is what's important. If you don't tackle this now, it will build, and something will happen that may cause all of you grief.
So give them notice - maybe in writing - maybe by saying you need to meet them quietly for an hour or two to talk things over. In advance, think carefully about what you can offer. Work out how many hours, how many kids, what days etc. Make it clear that you will step in for an emergency.
If you can cope with the status quo until the New Year, and talk to them in the next week or so, that is plenty of notice.
It is quite reasonable to split childcare between nursery or other providers and you.

You can explain that you are not blaming them for not noticing, as you have always tried your best, but now it has to be done differently. Of course they will be upset for a bit - you don't say how tight money is - but carrying on like this serves no-one in the long run.

Theexwife Sun 19-Nov-23 15:59:55

People will treat you the way you let them and to be fair they do not know it is too much for you. Give them notice, a week is enough, just say it is too much for you now. It is so much better having grandchildren when you want to not because you have to.

AGAA4 Sun 19-Nov-23 16:21:40

Look after yourself first and only fit in childcare that doesn't tire you out and stop you having your own life.
ACs need to understand that they have total responsibility for their children and grandparents shouldn't be relied on to give childcare unless they want to and are able to.

nadateturbe Sun 19-Nov-23 16:33:38


Look after yourself first and only fit in childcare that doesn't tire you out and stop you having your own life.
ACs need to understand that they have total responsibility for their children and grandparents shouldn't be relied on to give childcare unless they want to and are able to.


Philippa111 Sun 19-Nov-23 16:44:44

If you've got to the point of working out in your mind how much your services would cost them, resentment has well and truly set in and you're well past your limit. Just decide how much you want to do and tell them
No doubt they will sulk for a bit as you've stepped out of your 'always available' role. Let them.
People only treat us as we allow them to. It's actually not their fault if you seem to be quite happy with the situation. It's your responsibility to speak up and look after your own needs first.

pascal30 Sun 19-Nov-23 16:49:45

This sounds as though you have a new relationship and you truly deserve to enjoy it.. if you care about him I would make that your priority and decide together how much time you can spare for babysitting. This is your time, you have brought up your children and now you should have time for yourself.. They'll probably object but stand your ground and have a great time..

NotSpaghetti Sun 19-Nov-23 18:26:32

If you can cope with the status quo until the New Year, and talk to them in the next week or so, that is plenty of notice.
It is quite reasonable to split childcare between nursery or other providers and you.

I was going to say just this - but only "up till Christmas".
Plenty of warning and then make sure you offer less than you think you can do. They will always be pleased then if you manage an extra day but won't be pushing you beyond what you want.

Just say NO.
Difficult but they will recover!

Fleurpepper Sun 19-Nov-23 18:42:59

This- all of the above. I am just indcredibly amazed that some ACs these days expect all this- and not a word of thanks, flowers, treats, etc, in return.

Lucyd Sun 19-Nov-23 19:27:13

You must be absolutely exhausted. I am older than you (nearly 64) and have my 15 month old grandchild (and their dog) one day a fortnight. That will be one day a week as of January. That is plenty for me as they arrive just after 7.30am and are picked up around 5.15pm (usually I don't get up till after 8am and find getting up at 7am a struggle). On the odd occasion I have had the toddler and the dog for three days in a row and was in bed at 8am on the third night. I know it would help my son and dil if I had them more but I have a part time job which I love and my house isn't really that child friendly. If you carry on taking on so much childcare responsibility you will end up very stressed and resentful. Have a quiet word and say you are struggling (say it is the menopause if you feel you need an excuse- you don't need an excuse really) and that you can carry on till 1 Jan but then you will have to cut back on the amount of support you can give. Say you can manage once a week and the occasional evening if they have something special on eg anniversary but no more.
Also it is unfair that your time with your partner is also being affected. You have your own life to lead. It is lovely you have found someone after losing your husband and you deserve to be happy not exhausted and frazzled.
Good luck.

Lucyd Sun 19-Nov-23 19:32:05

Just re read your post and see that you also work - how on earth do you do it? When I was in my mid fifties I worked full time in education and I used to be exhausted by Thursday evening and literally had to drag myself through Friday (luckily I wasn't class based and could spend most of Friday doing paperwork). No way could I have cared for babies or toddlers as well as working. You could say that if they wish you to continue with as many hours then you will have to cut back on your paid work which you cannot afford to do.

Primrose53 Sun 19-Nov-23 19:43:30

I think it’s terrible how ACs put on their parents. My late SIL did so much for her adult daughters kids and even when she was very poorly with heart problems she expected her to take and collect her kids from 2 different schools, make them some tea and amuse them while she went to work. She had to take her husband to help in the end. She told me she was so exhausted that when they got home at 6.30 she went straight to bed, too tired even to have some dinner. It was twice a week but far too much for her.

EHM lay your cards on the table! If they love you they will understand.

Susiewong65 Sun 19-Nov-23 19:53:49

Aren’t there other grandparents that could share the load especially at the weekend?

I’m surprised your partner puts up with this and I’m not surprised they don’t want him having anything to do with your grandchildren as they want you all to themselves doing the free childcare.
Time for a New Year’s resolution- decide what you really want to do and give them all plenty of notice so they can make alternative arrangements.

Don’t be guilt tripped in changing your mind either.

They are cheeky beyond belief and certainly don’t do ANY weekends on a regular basis!

silverlining48 Sun 19-Nov-23 20:12:11

You work, care for the grandchildren in the week and weekends but have a relationship which you seem to have no time for given all you do.
This is your time, at least keep weekends free to enjoy the company of your oh. If not now, when?