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(25 Posts)
Monrouge Sun 08-Jun-14 23:18:17

Hello everyone I am new here and I hope some of you can help.

The problem is my son and DiL are having their first baby soon. It has been agreed the my DiL mother will look after the baby for two days a week as they are very,very close. Then my son asked me if I would do another day. I refused, but to give you the bigger picture I have been fighting cancer for the last 5 years and finally starting to get my life back and I told him I don't want to commit to a regular thing but as far as babysitting goes then the door is always open.

I am worried now that I will be shut out. I always knew I wouldn't see the baby as often as I liked because DiL and her mother are so close, they live yards away from each other and she is a constant presence in my son's house.

Am I being selfish?

Nanabelle Mon 09-Jun-14 00:48:01

Hello Monrouge - welcome - I too am quite new, but have been browsing for some time! I wonder how old the baby will be when the mum goes back to work? It might not be for ages!
I look after my g.d for one day a week - I love it but it is a big commitment and my weeks seem to fly by more quickly now. I think you are right not to jump in and agree straight away in your circumstances, although you could try it out on the condition that if it didn't work out for you, then there would be no hard feelings if you stopped? I think it is a great privilege to be asked to help out in this way and it is nice that your son wants your input too .
It is difficult if one parent lives really close and the other a long way away. How far away are you? Pehaps you can visit regularly , even if you are not the sole carer for a whole day, and offer support in other ways…. take the baby out for a long walk so mum can have a lie-in or shower in peace!
I like to FaceTime/skype regularly too as the babies change so quickly it is nice to watch them grow.
It is such an exciting time when a new baby joins the family: I wish you much joy with your new grandchild.

glammanana Mon 09-Jun-14 07:03:10

Wise words Nanabelle I was the first prot of call when my DD went back to work when my eldest DGS was born 20+ yrs ago girls always tend to gravitate towards their mums and their style of child minding,I know when my sons have children their wives will look to their own mums first it's only natural I think if they have the time to spare.
Monrouge I'm sure your son will understand your reasons and as Nanabelle suggests make time to see your DIL and give her some much needed "me time" and take baby out for a couple of hours or spend time with her enjoying a coffee & chat,I was also dealing with the after effects of cancer when my DGS was born and it gave me a massive boost to get me back on the right

janeainsworth Mon 09-Jun-14 07:43:12

No, you aren't being selfish Monrouge
I would feel as you do, even without your health problems.

Much depends on your DiL's mother. My son and family live in the States, not far from my DiL's parents, who see them a lot, but the other Grandma takes great care to email me photos and news of them all, and talks to my GC about me and DH, and I feel a lot more involved than I otherwise might.

I agree with Glamma that your son will understand and your DiL will be grateful for the help that you are able to give.

Good luck and welcome to GN, and you too Nanabelle flowers

Aka Mon 09-Jun-14 07:57:39

Have you considered that your son already knew your views and was only asking so you wouldn't feel excluded?

Nelliemoser Mon 09-Jun-14 08:51:56

Monrouge Welcome to GN.

Nothing I can add to this from Nanabelle. There is always this Dil Mil Mum tension.
My DD lives a slow 50 miles away from us. DD's mil lives a short walk away We visit every two weeks, but when DGS was small DD called round to her Mils very regularly.

I was pleased she had this support and company but her Mil has real mobility problems and cannot do hands on.
It is also exhausting looking after babies even if you have not been ill explain all this to you son just as you have to us.

I hope it works out.

ninathenana Mon 09-Jun-14 09:29:23

Wise words from Nanabelle

I would be more than happy to share childcare with DD's in-laws but unfortunately they live in Germany

whenim64 Mon 09-Jun-14 10:06:34

I have a similar situation, Monrouge. My daughter works three days a week and her MiL is paid to childmind twin grandaughters on those days. A great arrangement - she's a safe pair of hands, 10 years younger than me, and lives a few doors away. If she is ill or unable to have the children, I expect daughter or SiL to cope with this, but I will fill in for emergencies. I'm happy to babysit, but now I have retired I don't want a job that entails charging round after my grandchildren for 8 hours. I want to enjoy them and help in general but not childmind. I go with her and the children to the library and for picnics, as it's difficult to manage twins in some situations, but she offered to childmind and it suits her.

I don't feel shut out - on the contrary, I love to see their trust in her and feel confident that our grandchildren have the best care. I call in to play with them whilst she's looking after them and she knows I am there as back up, if needed.

whenim64 Mon 09-Jun-14 10:47:11

I should add - she reduced her full-time job to the 2 other days, hence being paid to childmind. When they go to school, she'll go back to full-time, but it happens to be at the school they'll go to. Lucky kids! smile

Mishap Mon 09-Jun-14 12:11:40

I think that every situation is different. I care for my toddler DGD one day a week so that DD can work. It is a day that I treasure and we love every moment of it - we are also developing a very special relationship with her that would not have been the case otherwise. I am mad about little ones and wish I could have had more, so that is my starting point - it will not be everyone's. You say you are "starting to get your life back" - and for me, being able to care for a GC would be a part of that; but that may not be where you are coming from - we are all different and have different goals and needs.

If you feel that you could not manage this - and it sounds as if life has had a few challenges in the last few years! - then you can only say so. They need to know that this is not out of perversity, but just circumstances, and that you are looking forward to having lots to do with your GC

I will be honest and say that the full nearly 9 hour day is a challenge to our stamina and we are well and truly ready tom put our feet up by the end of the day!

Having just had 2 of my GSs to stay over the weekend, I can understand anyone who might feel it was too much! I am knackered still! They both went into meltdown (for different reasons at the same moment that my OH went into atrial fibrillation and was flopped out and unwell and needing my attention. I have to admit that I left the children to scream - they got over it!

FlicketyB Mon 09-Jun-14 12:26:42

I live 200 miles from DS and family. DDiL's mother lives nearby and has been like a third parent, for which we are all truly grateful. DS was only home weekends from three months into the pregnancy until DGD was nearly 6 months old. How DDiL would have managed without her mother to hand I do not know. Since then DDiL and DGS have had health problems and the presence of MiL has been invaluable.

WE do not resent this. Even if we lived within reach we could not have offered that kind of support. We have a house in France and commitments to a lot of other activities and, anyway, 3 years ago DD had a bad accident and we had to drop everything to look after her for several months.

What we have done is support in other ways. We respond to longer term emergencies and now the DGC are both at school we provide some holiday care at our house or theirs. We have also done decorating and DIY work, DS has trouble knowing one end of a screwdriver from the other and has a very demanding job that eats into weekends at times.

I think the best thing for all the family is if the separate grandparents can develop complementary roles rather than fighting each other for precedence in any particular sphere of assistance. We get on really well with our other half, when visiting we usually stay with her. It is best for all the family if grandparents can co-operate and work together, both sets want the same, a happy childhood for our shared grandchildren.

Mishap Mon 09-Jun-14 12:32:43

Yes - I agree that it is important not to get into a competition with the "other" grandparents. We all have different things to offer, depending on age and circumstances.

With one DD's children, they have one set of very outgoing, fit, bubby (not to say noisy!) grandparents, then they get us - sadly a bit more decrepit - where they do music, reading, art and have intellectual discussions about space and maths with their grandpa. All part of life's rich pattern.

Monrouge Mon 09-Jun-14 15:49:39

Sincere thanks to everybody, it's been a great help sharing my concerns.
I'll definitely be on this site for more hints and tips when baby arrives. Thanks again. Have a great summer everyone.

Nelliemoser Mon 09-Jun-14 15:54:20

Monrouge It is always is a help sounding out others experiences, it's what GN is really good at.

janeainsworth Mon 09-Jun-14 16:07:16

Don't go away Monrouge!
Join in some of the other threads!

Tegan Mon 09-Jun-14 16:18:12

Another point is that it is very very tiring looking after young children/babies. You only realise it when you're doing it. And sometimes the more you do to help the more likelyhood of a rift developping if things go wrong; it's as if no one really knows what the rules of the relationship are any more. Look forward to hearing about the new grandchild when he/she appears.

FarNorth Mon 09-Jun-14 19:46:04

My DS is the main carer for his daughter. He said to me that he does not know how parents who both work can afford the childcare. He was astonished when I said that a lot of them will get free childcare from Grandparents, as that had never occurred to him.

NanKate Mon 09-Jun-14 19:58:41

Monrouge I think you have made a wise decision.

Hubby and I help out regularly (but not every week) with out two grandsons 3 and 1 and to be honest it is exhausting as I have an under-active thyroid and also as they are normal boisterous children. You too have had your health issues and you do not want to do anything that would affect your recovery.

We have found that the boys enjoy different aspects from both sets of grandparents, so just because you don't see them as much, this is not a problem as far as I see it.

Also the one thing I never realised is that we have both regularly picked up illnesses from the boys e.g. colds and stomach upsets and if you were looking after your grandchild each week you would not have time to recover, so do bear this in mind.

I just love being part of our grandchildren's lives but I am so relieved it isn't every week.

Finally what helped was that our DinL gave us a schedule for each boy when we were in charge and this was very helpful.

And a last final - my DinL was horrified when her Mum and I both said we used to put our children down the garden in their pram each day to sleep. What we used to do in the 70s and 80s is outdated now !

grandma60 Mon 09-Jun-14 20:10:39

My daughter laughed when I told her about putting babies out in the garden. She didn't believe me until it was brought up in her post natal group and the health visitor confirmed that it was true. A friend of mine told us that her mother used to put her in the garden in the the snow with a hot water bottle in the pram!

Enjoy your grandchild Monrouge You have been given lots of good advice on here.

rosesarered Mon 09-Jun-14 20:32:33

Yes, we all gave our babies a daily 'airing' didn't we? They are still here to tell the tale, so it can't have hurt them.It's true that you pick up colds/coughs etc from the DGC[I have a bad case of one now] and I would not want to commit to a whole day with a toddler/baby, it's too much.I can face doing a few hours here and there, and of course for emergencies. D-I-L's often have their own Mothers living a bit closer to them, and naturally, they would prefer their Mum rather than you, it's just one of those things.You can certainly have 'magical moments' with your DGC but there will be tiring times as well. I don't really have the patience like I used to.

Iam64 Thu 10-Jul-14 08:17:54

Lots of friendly support here from other grans Monrouge. My parents were our emergency stand ins, if the children were too poorly to go to school/childminder, and neither of us could manage to take another full day off with them. I have a number of friends who have had care of their grandchildren for 10 hours a day, over a number of years. They love their grandchildren, but all say they're exhausted and long to have their life back.

I wonder if Aka is right, and your son knew how you'd respond, but didn't' want you to feel left out.

MrsBoot Thu 10-Jul-14 18:14:02

I've just joined and have enjoyed reading the messages re childcare. I childmind half a day a week plus emergencies to help out DD, which involves a 150 mile round trip on the M25. I do get quite exhausted but enjoy being a significant part of 2 GDS lives. If I had health problems I'm sure I couldn't cope (the journey is the worst part) and the cost, includiing the Dartford Crossing is quite considerable, but I hope to keep it up as long as possible. One starts school in September and the other in another 3 years, so I could be in for the long haul.

Iam64 Thu 10-Jul-14 18:56:32

A hero MrsBoot flowers

shysal Thu 10-Jul-14 18:57:58

Welcome MrsBoot. I look forward to reading your comments on threads in the future. Be warned - Gransnet can be addictive! flowers

Coolgran65 Thu 10-Jul-14 22:45:49

We have our DGD 6 and DGS 3 for one day each week, an 11.5 hour shift. We have a sleepover at least once a month, and they all come for Sunday Dinner. Sometimes I just long for a Sunday with no roast dinner to make.
However, DS and DDinL are also very good to us.