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I'm feeling inadequate.......... .......

(55 Posts)
chickenlegs Sat 10-Mar-18 11:15:23

I have had to refuse baby-sitting my two grandsons, aged 3 and 1. Their parents were going to be a good hour from home. I was to take over at 4.30 and prepare the boys' meal, feed them and put them to bed. The 3-year old I can do anything with and for, but the little one is walking now and very fast to find anything dangerous to put in his mouth, etc. They both know me well, although I have never fed the little one or put him to bed. I think I could have coped 20 years ago but my daughter was 41 when she had her first, and I'm now 75. When I write this, I think I must be a wimp. What do other grans think?

Lynnebo Sat 10-Mar-18 11:23:57

I think you are wise to refuse to babysit them both while the parents are so far away. It’s better to admit your limitations rather than try to cope but be nervous about it. I’m sure Toddlers can smell fear! grin x

kittylester Sat 10-Mar-18 11:25:47

lynnebo grin

sodapop Sat 10-Mar-18 12:47:36

I agree with Lynnebo better to know your limitations than have things go wrong. Is there someone who could go with you to help.

Greyduster Sat 10-Mar-18 13:19:55

I think you have to go with your instincts and do only what you feel comfortable with. Oddly enough, I was talking to DH about this yesterday and saying that I don’t know whether I would manage either another toddler or a baby at the age I am now, 71. It was always pretty full-on, and we only have the one!

loopyloo Sat 10-Mar-18 13:29:19

I find the responsibility weighs heavily the older I get. I quite understand. Perhaps they could hire a babysitter to be with you.

Nannarose Sat 10-Mar-18 13:37:42

I agree that you have to go with your instincts, and as you know them well, they are likely to be accurate. I hope that you explained this carefully and the parents understood.
I'm afraid that I have seen the consequences of grandparents saying 'yes' when they should have said 'no', resulting in not coping with the children. I think that many parents think their own parents can cope with anything! Flattering, but too much at stake to go along with it.
Don't feel badly, but do make clear what you can and can't cope with.

Franbern Sat 10-Mar-18 15:25:34

Think our children find it difficult to accept our aging. Particularly those of us who are fortunate enough to be fine mentally, but have difficulty physically. I would find two little ones of that age more than challenging and think that you have made the right decision of knowing your own limitations.
I can remember my own parents totally surprising me when they refused to look after my 3-year old twins for a couple of hours - my father telling me quite firmly that he and mum were really not up to it anymore (and they were only just turned 70 when they said this.

Goodbyetoallthat Sat 10-Mar-18 17:08:04

I think you made a sensible decision. We do need to realise our limitations (not just physical) & sometimes ease ourselves in !

M0nica Sat 10-Mar-18 17:26:51

No, you are not a wimp, why should you think you are? As we get older we are not as physically robust as we used to be and looking after 2 small children like that is exhausting. Don't your DD and DSiL, find the children exhausting as well? I had my children in my late 20s and an abiding memory of their toddler years is being permanently tired.

Maggiemaybe Sat 10-Mar-18 17:46:15

You're not inadequate! DH and I come as a tag team when it comes to childminding two together and we still collapse when we get home. And we're both still in our 60s!

Luckygirl Sat 10-Mar-18 17:57:48

I think you are very wise indeed and have demonstrated how the safety of your GC is paramount in your mind. You are not inadequate. Toddlers can flee like the wind!

Grandma70s Sat 10-Mar-18 18:03:16

I’m 78 now and couldn’t have done it at 75, or for that matter at 70. It is hard for younger people to imagine what it is like to be older. It’s very important to be honest about what you are able and/or prepared to do.

Bridgeit Sat 10-Mar-18 18:12:41

I really admire you Chickenlegs, it’s so hard to say no, also to admit to having limitations as we get older. There are so many of us these days who are almost being expected to be full time child minders in order for our AC to both work full time or have careers I think the reality is now kicking in that they ‘ can’t have it all’ . I always had part time jobs of many descriptions which fitted in with OHs hours & later around school I don’t think it’s fair on the children, they should not be treated as a must have accessory. If they have well paid jobs, then better to employ a Nanny/ child minder.

lemongrove Sat 10-Mar-18 18:18:43

You know yourself chicken and you may have coped ( or not) but our AC have to be understanding if we think it will be too much for us.
I have a friend aged 76 who looks after two little ones all weekend ( once a month) aged four and two, but she is healthy and enjoys doing it,we are all different. Don’t feel bad about it.

cornergran Sat 10-Mar-18 18:35:36

Certainly not inadequate, honesty is essential with these things for everyone. Don’t give yourself a hard time.

Smithy Sat 10-Mar-18 19:18:44

I am 71 and sometimes babysit my grand daughter 4, which involves giving her a drink and a biscuit before putting her to bed and reading her the usual 3 stories. I am always exhausted and don't think I could do it with 2 kiddies. So I can understand how you feel.

chickenlegs Sat 10-Mar-18 21:16:41

Thank you so much for all your supporting messages. I've often read gransnetters saying that, but never realised how comforting it is. More background is that my DH would normally be with me, but he has a meeting. As he's 78 and not very mobile, he doesn't contribute much but is good moral support. I did feel I should be very much alone if a crisis arose. I'm confident that my DD will understand and it shouldn't spoil our relationship.

Greyduster Sun 11-Mar-18 07:55:17

I think you get to a stage where you don’t take things in your stride anymore, and it seems to come suddenly. We have our grandson, who is now 11, for four days over the Easter holiday while his parents go away. We were quite happy to say yes; and he seems quite happy to come, but now it is raising all kinds of ‘what if’s’ in my head that I am having difficulty shoving to one side. A couple of years ago they wouldn’t have arisen. It is clouding my capacity to embrace this extra time with him.

MawBroon Sun 11-Mar-18 08:34:50

I think the scariest thing Paw and I did was 5 years ago when we somehow agreed to move into DD and SIL’s for a long weekend to look after DGSs then aged 3 and 11/2!
Oh did I say it was when DD and SIL had flown to New York?
As it turned out it was fine although Paw in indifferent health even then wasn’t much practical use and retreated to a top floor bedroom with the beginnings of a cold and headache. Fortunately DD2 and BF came up on the Sunday to help and then the nanny they have on Mondays saw us through another day.
It is too easy to find it impossible to say No because in a way it is flattering to be thought capable.
We also had the two boys here a year later when their parents went to a wedding in Italy and again I enlisted some help from Paw’s sister.
I even had them here plus DGD(3) in January just 2 months after we lost Paw
However, I have learned to call in the cavalry to help in the shape of a retired GP a sister in law, or either of the other DDs and their husbands. I also think despite not having the toys etc here that they have at home, home territory is always better. You know your own neighbours and friends if you need support. There is also an element of “Well this is how we do it at Granny’s” in the event of “disagreements”!
I am far from being Supergran but do like the opportunity to get to know the little ones better and for them to feel they are at home here.
However the bottom line is to be realistic and for our children to recognise that what is easy for them is very different for us in our 60’s and 70’s.

Alexa Sun 11-Mar-18 10:23:40

I think that if it were really an urgent emergency and no other suitable option such as a younger fitter and experienced relative then you should bite the bullet, for a short time until and unless the social services taking them into care is a better option.

Congratulations on being realistic and brave to admit that it's too much for you. flowers

Marydoll Sun 11-Mar-18 10:42:09

We normally look after our DGD two days a week and her other GPs one day. However in the last few months, on a number of occasions, the other GPs have pulled out at the last minute, without warning and we have had to step in. They are gradually opting out in favour of looking after another GC.
I have had to say that, as I have health issues, it is too much for us. I worried about letting her parents down, but I was permanently exhausted.
My DS and DIL have now organised nursery care one day per week, which has been a great relief and we can now make plans, without worrying about having cancel at the last minute.

pollyperkins Sun 11-Mar-18 11:12:47

I used to b'sit on my own but now if at all possible I enlist the help of DH. He doesn't do much but the back up makes a huge difference. He can always read stories while I am preparing a meal etc. And he pushes the pushchair, carries tired children etc when we are out and about. Don't think I'd do it alone any more, at 75. Still in reasonable health but find the little ones very tiring tbough I adore them! Better to refuse than have an accident!

Greciangirl Sun 11-Mar-18 11:17:28

I am 72years old and sometimes look after Dgs when daughter exhausted and needs to go back to bed to catch up on sleep because little one won't sleep.
It's then my duty to try and get him to go down for a nap. Which he is reluctant to do.
When he is in a good mood, he is lovely and we have fun, but he needs constant attention and this is very exhausting after a few hours.
When they have gone home, I flop down and then feel absolutely exhausted, tired and sick. It's a horrible feeling and I quite dread it. I can't really refuse as she needs help, but when will it end I keep thinking.

vickya Sun 11-Mar-18 11:24:27

I'm 72 and collect 2 year old granddaughter from nursery 2 afternoons a week and give her supper and bath her. 11 year old brother is usually there too, unless he goes to his dad, and he's more help as she loves him to put her in the highchair or bath. Grandpa does one or two days as well and she goes to a childminder instead of nursery one day.

I find it very tiring, the drive there and back is between 30 and 45 minutes each way, which is part of it. Daughter is very picky too about how things are done and the flat very tiny. I have the toddler in PJs and milk ready in cup when mum comes in. Last week she needed Friday too and me to put the child to sleep as she needed to be out until 8pm but I'd had the week before off as was ill, chest/cold/throat, and was still wobbly, and 3 days is too much.

I love seeing the children and daughter doesn't arrange any other times for me to see them unless Xmas or birthdays, but I do get tired. I had to refuse the 3rd day last week and felt guilty. She didn't want grandpa to do it as he doesn't do it exactly as she orders smile. And she didn't think he'd get the child to bed.