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Taking care of GC and getting ill

(102 Posts)
Judith-r Wed 12-Apr-17 16:05:30

Do any of you feel like taking care of your grandchildren is making you more tired and out of energy than you thought you would be after stopping work? I love my GC to bits, she's wonderful to look after (although exhausting) and my DD and SIL never impose or ask for too much, but I realised that I actually do feel like I am part responsible for the childcare and it's definitely taking its toll.

Came across this online and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it made me feel a bit better to be honest. Obviously not that this poor woman got ill! Just that other people also think saying no doesn't actually feel like a choice.

rosesarered Wed 12-Apr-17 16:11:22

Judith you are not alone, I think a lot of grandparents feel the same, but many are committed to childcare and find it hard to get out of.Others are surprised that they feel so tired, but having promised help to DC find they have to continue.
Some of us have more energy than others, some have less.I must say from my own point of view, I don't do very much, and don't want to do much either.I love my DGC very much but have no wish to be a parent all over again,

rosesarered Wed 12-Apr-17 16:14:28

Just read the article........shudder!

tanith Wed 12-Apr-17 16:16:58

I agree with rosesarered it isn't unusual for Grandparents to feel like you do.
I was working when my grownup grandchildren needed childcare I have a 12yr old granddaughter who comes to us occasionally in the holidays but its much at our convenience and because we want to do fun things or just spend time with her. I have no desire as roses said to be a parent again and neither of my daughters have ever expected me to look after the grandchildren.

Beammeupscottie Wed 12-Apr-17 16:30:50

I feel for this woman. Not only is childcare physically exhausting but the responsibility of looking after someone else's child is a big burden. But, it has paid off for now I have a bond with my grandchldren the other-side grannies don't. One looked horrified at the suggestion and the other two grandparents are too busy exploring he world.

Madgran77 Wed 12-Apr-17 16:56:11

I look after my grandchildren one day a week ...and am amazed at how tired I am at the end of that day! I always said I would never do more than one day and I am so glad I did! As it is , it is a treat not a burden...5 days a week would be purgatory I think! Much as I love the GC!

merlotgran Wed 12-Apr-17 17:00:34

I'm glad it's all behind me now. Much as I love them.

Karen1959 Wed 12-Apr-17 17:11:08

I'm lucky. I have my grandchildren four days a week and love it.. Yes I'm tired at the end off the day... but no more tired if I was working full time... The kids take me on an (exhausting) adventure every day.. I love being part of their world 😊

Badenkate Wed 12-Apr-17 17:25:13

Just read the article and all I can say is 'good grief'! Well, actually that's not all I can say - I could say an awful lot more, but there are GNs on here who are very emotionally bound to their grandchildren to an extent that sometimes is worrying, and like the ones mentioned in the article appear to have g-iven up their active retirement years to supporting children who in my opinion should take more responsibility for themselves. Having children shouldn't be 'the next thing' you do when you form a relationship. It's a serious decision to make and lots of things, including careers and money should be taken into consideration. DH and I waited almost 10 years after we got married until he got a permanent academic position rather than 2-year contracts before we had children.

I love my grandchildren - I don't 'love them to bits' - I just love them. They are not my responsibility, although if there is an emergency I am always there to help. I enjoyed my sons growing up, but I don't want to do it all over again. I certainly don't want to wear myself out before my time - there is an age for looking after small children and it isn't late 60s, early 70s!

hildajenniJ Wed 12-Apr-17 17:26:59

As my SiL works at sea, sometimes for months at a time, I help my DD with looking after our DGC. I visit at least once a month when he's away. My DD seems to forget that I'm 65 and has me walking all over Glasgow. We take the GC to the home ed. group activity day, usually in a park or playground. They are usually a long distance from the subway station. By the time I've spent three days with them I'm exhausted, and stiff in all my joints. I've always loved walking, and do so regularly, but it's at my own pace and not carrying children's stuff. She doesn't have any other support so I feel obliged to help out as long as I'm able.

Jalima1108 Wed 12-Apr-17 17:32:59

I am never sure whether it wears me out or keeps me going

Nannarose Wed 12-Apr-17 17:40:27

When I was a Health Visitor, I would sometimes get grandparents coming to see me and saying how exhausted they felt, and sometimes that they felt they were providing poorer quality care than they would wish.
Of course, each family has it's own issues, and resources, and every solution will be different. But if it really is too difficult to manage, you will be storing up problems in the long term, and I think that being honest is absolutely necessary, in the spirit of 'family problem solving'.
2 things I think might be helpful:
Especially if money or 'career break time' is an issue, try saying that you can do this level of care for a certain amount of time, but another solution has to be found by......
Could GPs share / take responsibility for a part-time nursery place? I know a good few who found that simply having GCs for half a day made all the difference.

Nandalot Wed 12-Apr-17 17:41:48

Snap, Jalima. I think it depends what mood the GCs are in. I have been told, but not read it, that a Guardian article said that grandparents looking aft GCs can add another five years to their lives. I think they meant in a good way!

Jalima1108 Wed 12-Apr-17 17:45:50

I couldn't do it full-time, one or two days a weeks was enough and now it is only occasional days.

Karen1959 Wed 12-Apr-17 17:56:33

I should have read this post thoroughly before posting. I was insensitive. I look after my grandchildren four days a week, but I'm only in my mid fifties (and I still find them exhausting) Sorry for any offence to those older grans..

grannypiper Wed 12-Apr-17 18:48:03

I read the same article as the OP and i was shocked to read that one poor gran had become so ill due to the stress and effort of looking after her DGC. What shocked me more was the fact she only took 4 weeks off to recover as she felt she was letting her childdown. Her child is an adult ! When do some Mums realise it is not their job to wipe their kids backsides for the rest of their lives ?

Marydoll Wed 12-Apr-17 19:25:03

We look after our DGD two days a week. Last week at the rheumatology clinic, after looking after our GD two days in a row, I was asked why I was so exhausted and unwell. I was told I would have to come into the day ward right away to try and stabilise things.
I love having her and she is probably the only grandchild we will ever have, due to genetic reasons. it took 12 years of Investigations and IVF before she was born. She is a miracle baby. I cannot bring myself to admit it is probably too much. She is the reason I get up in the morning rather than wallowing in self pity. A dilemma indeed.

absent Wed 12-Apr-17 20:40:03

I look after three grandchildren after school three days a week, four grandchildren after school one day a week and the nearly-two-year-old (his birthday is Easter Monday) for two full days a week. I have recently stopped having his next brother for one day a week as he has just turned five and started school. I also do quite a bit of childcare during the school holidays. I am a zombie on Saturdays.

cornergran Wed 12-Apr-17 21:19:51

How tired we get depends on our health, surely? It's not a one size fits all. I think sometimes our children don't want to think of us getting older with the associated ailments and so it doesn't occur that their children although loved can actually be exhausting. I sometimes wish we had chosen to have our family at a younger age so we were younger grandparents, but we can't turn the clock back and so just do the best we can.

Jalima1108 Wed 12-Apr-17 21:21:44

Is there a name for an elderly first-time grandmother?

I was an 'elderly primigravida' and an elderly primigrand-gravida.

Deedaa Wed 12-Apr-17 23:26:05

I must be even more casual as a grandparent than I thought I was. I looked after GS1 from the age of 6months. Ididn't miss out on lunches because he came with me. I had a year's break when he was 6 and GS2 was born and then I had GS2 every day. DD takes them to school and preschool every morning and then I pick them up in the afternoon and look after them till DD comes home. Child care round here is astronomically expensive and would probably be a disaster with the ASD one anyway.

Bellanonna Wed 12-Apr-17 23:28:59

Me too, jalima! I wonder what we're called?

downtoearth Thu 13-Apr-17 07:23:18

I have had parental responsibility since 2004 of E ..she is now 18....I am 64...the teens have been exhausting...she is at college,there are very few job opportunities in our area, financially and physically am on my knees as more age related ailments arise and the need for emotional support and nans taxi (havent got anymore couldnt afford it)....E is my only grandchild and not likely to have any more , just hoping she dosent become pregnant ,although I am unaware of any partners on the scene the world late teens inhabit is a secret one ..I just could not face going full circle all over again..probably have deviated from OP am apologising for this although different is relevant as have been involved since conception occurred and my back, knees ,feet , emotional wellbeing and bank balance and life are not as I would have hoped for.hmm

Christinefrance Thu 13-Apr-17 08:05:40

There are circumstances in which grandparents need to help with childcare. Generally though its down to expense and parents working full time. Before I get shouted down, I know things are very different from when we had our children however I do think adult children should look more carefully at why they need to work. Along with many others my husband & I worked opposite shifts so one of us was at home with the children, one of us worked at weekends and the other stayed at home. If you want children it entails some sacrifice of leisure time and material things .It is expected now that GP's take on child care regardless of their own health or need for a life of their own. If you want to do this then fine but it should not be an expectation. I have said before - If you never say NO what is your YES worth ?

Badenkate Thu 13-Apr-17 08:18:11

No shouting down from me cf, I totally agree with you.