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for my mum - too much responsibility for dgd at weekends

(13 Posts)
iMammy Tue 06-Mar-12 17:12:10

Hi everyone,

I want to ask some advice for my mum.

My brother and his ex girlfriend have a dd who is 3, and he has another on the way with his current girlfriend.

he has shared care of his daughter having her a few days in the week and every second weekend. On the weekend he has her he travels up to my mums and hands full responsibility of his dd over to my mum. She is a very demanding little girl and the poor wee thing has a lot of security issues and clings 24/7 to my mum the whole time. It is exhausting! My brother doesn't do anything for her when he comes up except nurse a hangover from being out on the town friday and saturday nights. My mum doesn't want to say anything to him because he doesn't want his dd to end up even more insecure. But she is so exhausted and it drives a wedge between my dad and her when she is up. My dad ends up sleeping in another room and my niece screams and screams until she eventually settles beside my mum in bed and she won't let anyone near my mum. We can't go over and visit as she becomes so possessive of my mum if my children go near her or touch any of their toys (I left a box of my chilrens toys there for them and my niece to occupy themselves with if we visit). I ahve offered my brother to stay in my house and to take her here but he won't as we don't live as close to the town.

My mum has potty trained her 3 times, each time her mother and my brother pu her back into nappies as she has 1 accident and they give up. My brother will bring her up during the summer and then convince my mum to take her for a whole week.

My sister who is 25 just moved back home. She has an inoperable brain tumour and has just had part of it removed and needs radiotherapy for the rest, she is very ill at the moment but my brother doesn't care and I need to go and help my mum with my sister to help get her up and showered in the morning which means bringing my children which means my niece screaming the place down.

Have any other grandparents been in the same situation where they've had to tell there grown up child, to grow up and take responsibility for their child without it causing grief and a big argument. Is there anything I can do to help?
When I do go over I take over her house work and cooking but as soon as she sits down my niece is on top of her and then my children are looking for the same so it is easier to stay away.

I got her a cleaner for a day after my brother left a few weeks ago so she could have a rest, but I don't want to see her getting exhausted each time he comes up and to actually get to enjoy time with my niece, not be a drain on her.

Mishap Tue 06-Mar-12 17:26:59

You sound like a very caring daughter and are to be commended for that.
Your poor Mum must be under a huge amount of stress over your sister, and it is a shame that your brother is not able to realise that.

To be honest it does sound as though your brother is not very good father material, as he is unable to put himself in his daughter's place and understand her needs.

I know that the current situation is wearing Mum out, but do consider that this may be her choice. I am sure that she sees all the stresses and strains that are being caused, but, like most grandmas, wants to do her very best for her granddaughter, even though it is at some cost to her. I know that I sometimes do things for my grandchildren when I am really feeling quite exhausted and when my OH (who has Parkinsons Disease) is not very well. But we make the choice that we would rather help out and have that contact with the GC, even though we know it is costing us dear in effort. So, maybe you need to talk to your Mum about it and see what would help her the best.

The other alternative is for you to talk with your brother and suggest that he might have more involvement when he has his D; and ask him to consider how tiring it is for your Mum, especially with the responsibility of caring for your sister. If it comes from you, it might be better than your Mum trying to deal with him.

I am sure that you are a wonderful support to your Mum and she must love you very dearly - well done.

jack Tue 06-Mar-12 17:29:11

iMummy you are clearly an extremely kind and caring daughter and it's brave but wise of you to seek help from Gransnetters. From what you say it sounds as if your Mum is trying to look after everyone - from your dear Dad, who clearly gets fed up with the scenario, to your poor sister who is so terribly ill.

Have you talked to your Mum about your worries? And has she talked to you about hers?

More importantly, have you confronted your naughty brother? It is high time he took his responsibilities seriously - particularly as there is another baby on the way with new girlfriend.

Your Mum probably wants to avoid a row with him because she doesn't want to risk not seeing the little three year old. But from what you say your brother needs your mother far more than she needs him, so she should lay down some very strict rules about lengths of visits etc. If he doesn't comply, she should withdraw her labour and go on strike.

Good luck. And don't forget to live and enjoy your own life.

Ariadne Tue 06-Mar-12 18:44:25

iMummy how good that your mother has such a daughter! And what a lot she has to deal with; nevertheless, it seems to me that some talking needs to go on - not confrontational, but reasonable - to ensure that she is OK with it all. I can see the fear of losing a GD might halt her talking to your brother, and it's something she will address if she has to. Not sure what the consequences would be if you had a go (knowing my lot!)

Carry on caring, your mum will know. thanks

wotsamashedupjingl Tue 06-Mar-12 19:18:19

What does your mum herself think about it? You say she is exhausted, but perhaps she feels that it is simply the right thing to do, to put her grand-daughter first. It sounds as though the little girl needs her and loves her. Perhaps that makes it ok for yur mum. It is only every other weekend.

harrigran Tue 06-Mar-12 21:09:27

I don't think your mum will say no to caring for GD, she has obviously decided that the child needs some stability. She will not confront your brother because she may believe he will restrict access ... it does happen. I do not know a Gran who would not move heaven and earth to keep their GC safe and happy. Keep supporting your Mum, children grow very fast and will outgrow the present clingy phase.

iMammy Wed 07-Mar-12 17:26:20

Thank you all so much for your input/perspective, I really appreciate it.

My mum isn't happy with the situation but puts up with it because, she unlike my brother is able empathise with my niece. I can never understand how my britehr and his ex can never see things as if they were through her eyes or my brother remember how my mother, no matter what always put us first, and there were 4 of us under 6 and my father was away at sea, occasionally for months at a time.

The fear is not that my brother will restrict access, he is too lazy to do that, its' that he will just neglect her. She has her hair washed only when she is in my mothers house, her mum says, openly, she is too scared to bath her and that my niece goes mad when she tries. There is a long list of things like this and it is heart breaking.

My mu doesn' complain to my dad about it as his feelings are clear, I feel I can only offer to be a sound board and a offer a nice cup of coffee and lunch on the Monday after he's gone.

We've tried to talk to him (by we I mean my sister and I, my sister, who is bearly able to sit up with pain at the moment, begged him to let my mum have a rest and to take responsibility) but no matter how much wee talk, he just says 'mum loves doing it for her' ....even when she's saying give me a break!

His new girlfriend has more cop on and is very good with DN but she is heavily pregnant and doesn't come up to my parents house and doesn't see what goes on.

My mum had tickets for a six nations match a few weeks ago and I walked in to get my sister lunch and change her bed sheets and get her comfortable and he sends his daughter into me with a nappy telling me to change her, I told him no but he got so argumentative that it began to upset dn so I did it and this is what happenens to my mum also. .....It's not just my mum being heavily affected, it's my dear niece.

In some ways I wish they would ask us to care for her, but that will never happen....but the thought has crossed all of our minds!

harrigran Wed 07-Mar-12 17:41:43

Oh dear, sometimes life's a bitch isn't it. I agree iMammy it probably would be better to take over care, you would then know DN was having constant care and attention.

granbunny Mon 02-Apr-12 06:32:19

your dn and her mum should be known to social services - if not, make them known. a mum who is afraid to bath her own child needs help. if the mum could be supported the daughter might feel less stressed and be less difficult.

wotsamashedupjingl Mon 02-Apr-12 18:22:01

I agree with granbunny. It sounds as though the child's mother does need some help and support from a social worker.

And I think they need to give some more thought to how much access the father is allowed.

jeni Mon 02-Apr-12 18:41:42

Once again an old threadconfused

wotsamashedupjingl Mon 02-Apr-12 18:44:24

It's not that old!

iMammy might look in again.

gracesmum Mon 02-Apr-12 18:46:50

I was thinking this is familiar - so have we had it before??confused