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Advice re childcare arrangements with grandchildren

(100 Posts)
DorothyL Mon 14-Jan-19 08:54:37

Hello all,
Advice/feedback sought! Husband and I help out with grandchildren most weeks, 5 days a week. Daughter lives close by and is alone with 2 small children (one still breastfeeding) most weeks as her husband works abroad.
We share school runs and help with meals, baths and bedtime, plus give kids one on one time and watch them while daughter does chores. Quite often they all stay with us Mon-Friday as its easier for us all to be in same house.

We love our involvement with the kids and though it's hard work and very tiring, we wouldn't change it for the world.
However we are finding certain things difficult.

Firstly, we are very poor, and get no contribution other than a bit of shopping (sometimes). Also we run a small home business, and caring for the grandkids makes it hard for us to give enough time to this. A small contribution would go towards our childcare costs and would allow us to pay for a little help. We are trying to find a way to ask for a contribution, but not sure if it's appropriate, or how much.

Secondly, we find many of our friends and family disapprove of our arrangement, suggesting we are too involved. Our daughter very much wants our involvement. The grandkids certainly benefit from it. We love it, other than the money worries, but it is tiring, and the disapproval/raised eyebrows upsets us - we know extended family arrangements are common, so wonder what it's about.
Advice/feedback greatly appreciated?
Thank you all.

NanaandGrampy Mon 14-Jan-19 09:09:13

You might want to ask GN HQ to remove one of your two identical threads to save duplication of answers- just message them :-)

Telly Mon 14-Jan-19 09:12:20

I think there is a bit of a a blur here, these are your grandchildren not your children but it seems you are having, although willingly, to share in their upbringing. Having two little children for the entire weekend would seem to be pushing it a bit. Although the parents are pleased, it would also seem that your friends feel that your are being taken advantage of. Rather than a financial contribution how about cutting back on the time that you have them so that you can concentrate on building your business? This would seem realistic and practical.

Nannarose Mon 14-Jan-19 09:26:35

I tackle this with second part first. Why are you worried about the disapproval? Are you reliant on them emotionally or practically? Do they need / deserve / want some of the attention that is diverted to your grandchildren? Are they concerned about you? or are they even jealous of the time you spend with GCs?
I do think you have to make your own decision and stick to it. I wouldn't enter into a discussion about it other than with someone really close.

As for the first - I assume you are close to your daughter? Pick a quiet time - kids in bed would be the best, and say what you have said here. I think adult kids can be quite dense about their parents' problems!
Ask what help she can offer (you don't say if she is struggling financially herself) and I would definitely negotiate some regular child-free time for your business.
I am not in your position, but someone close to me is. As everyone in that family works odd hours, the week ahead is usually planned on a Friday afternoon, giving GPs the time they need. I would also negotiate some financial contribution (in my relative's case, it's actually 'unpaid' work on the small holding that is the contribution) but could be the kids' meals, or just some money.
Far better to have this discussion, rather than as some posters do, keep on until you crash and cause bigger problems.

Grammaretto Mon 14-Jan-19 09:34:50

My DD would be so jealous of your DD!
Your DD doesn't do paid work atm I
presume so this arrangement is still in its early days and not formal.
You do say it's not every week so that means you have some clear periods .
Maybe you could lay some guidelines? You and your DD are new to this game and you can talk about it. Tell her what you've told us. If you make it look too easy, you are making a stick to beat yourself with.

paddyann Mon 14-Jan-19 09:42:27

Give her a shopping list of things the children and her will need ,she can buy their own food and if she has any sense will make sure she buys at least some of yours
.She's living rent free all week with built in childcare.As her OH works abroad we should assume he's doing that because its better paid so money shouldn't be an issue for them.Maybe if the new baby is very young she just hasn't thought about it.Time she did .

Anja Mon 14-Jan-19 09:45:54

Do not listen to criticism from friends. People are far to busy criticising other people’s choices. Tell them the subject is closed.

Re your first query, your business and money, If your daughter is more or less living with you Monday-Friday set aside hours when she looks after her children and you get on with running the business. Agree these in advance when you know your schedule and work load. Even draw u a timetable if fact I’d do that anyway.

Re the money. I could never ask for money but I think you could ask your daughter to buy and/or cook a dinner one night a week perhaps?

Have a talk with her and explain that you are strapped for cash. She might even offer a contribution.

In the meanwhile, enjoy the time you spend with your grandchildren. They soon reach school age.

Urmstongran Mon 14-Jan-19 09:59:00

As always, communication is key. If we don’t talk about our concerns with relevant others nothing changes.

Luckygirl Mon 14-Jan-19 10:14:26

If you love the arrangement - then stick with it and to hell with what anyone else thinks - none of their business.

If money is a problem, then talk with your DD. Maybe ask her to do a shop for you, rather than a specific amount of cash as that would get complicated if you needed to drop out for a day or so if another commitment came up. If they are paying, then it will feel like a totally different arrangement and they might feel resentful about not getting their "money's worth."

Do enjoy the lovely close relationship you have with your GC and ignore any nonsense from nay-sayers. Your life - your choice.

jeanie99 Mon 14-Jan-19 10:29:53

Why not just sit down and talk to your daughter.

Izabella Mon 14-Jan-19 10:34:44

Sorry to be the voice of dissent here, but I do think you are being taken advantage of. I also think some form of contribution to expenses is called for. Whatever you think to all the responses on here, a full discussion should take place telling your DD what you have said in your OP. Honesty and openness at this stage will prevent (hopefully) resentment and problems creeping in in the future. Good luck and let us all know how things pan out.!

Coconut Mon 14-Jan-19 11:43:10

You have to do what you want when you want and ignore others opinions on the way you live your life. They probably mean well but even so it’s your decision. Your daughter should def contribute financially and that’s a good idea to give her a weekly grocery list to pick up. Re your own business decide how many hours you need to devote to this, and plan accordingly ie. one of you taking the GC out for a couple of hours. Do yourselves a rota to incorporate all you need to do, pin it on the wall so DD can see what you are trying to achieve.

Thebeeb Mon 14-Jan-19 11:44:22

Agree with Luckygirl if you enjoy it don’t worry what others think. That’s their ptoblem. You life your choice.

As regards any issues you have be up front in and try to sort it in a calm and honest way. Good luck and enjoy it even if it’s tiring sometimes.

ReadyMeals Mon 14-Jan-19 11:46:59

I don't know how you stand it. I'd want to move out if my house was taken over by AC and GC 5 days a week!

sazz1 Mon 14-Jan-19 11:57:08

Sit down with a calender or diary and work out exactly how often you want the children and daughter at yours. Factor in how many days you van actually afford to keep them. Then work our which days or part days you want to be at their home. Also take into account what time you need to spend on your business, housework, own interests etc. Then meet with your daugter and tell her you have made a new plan for the new year and stick to it. Don't let it continue to drift on taking on more and more because your health will suffer.

PopMaster34 Mon 14-Jan-19 12:01:16

If all involved are happy with the arrangement don't let others put you off.
Explain the financial side to your daughter, ask her to contribute towards the expenses. If she refuses, stop helping. It works both ways.

EthelJ Mon 14-Jan-19 12:07:27

Like others I would say the arrangement is your business so if you are happy with it does my take any notice of what others say. Re a contribution. Have a chat with your daughter. Explain that funds are tight (she might not know) and ask if she can contribute in some way, maybe buy the food, or some other way that you are both happy with.

EthelJ Mon 14-Jan-19 12:09:02

Sorry, predictive text made some if that nonsense. I meant if you are happy with the arrangement don't take any notice of what others say.

blondenana Mon 14-Jan-19 12:20:45

You need to sit down with your daughter and discuss these arrangements,
It does seem a lot of your time is taken up with helping your daughter and looking after your grandchildren
Does she really need al that help with 2 children?
As for the financial side of things,not sure how to go about it,its difficult with close family ,but s someone else said,surely they cant be short of money, and its surprising they have not offered to at least pay for all meals while at your house, and probably extra fuel you are using

PECS Mon 14-Jan-19 12:26:39

I think it is difficult to ask for a financial contribution once a set up is in place but you are going to have to say something. If your DD is at your home for the weekend with the kids maybe you could ask her to do the weekend shop whilst you look after the kids? That would be a start!
I think you could also say that your business is suffering and explain why. My DDs provide the fruit and any other after school snacks for my DGC on an ad hoc basis..or send a cake etc. All the little extras do add up and if you ae already on a tight budget can stretch it just too far!

Other people may be critical because of guilt! We all know what makes us happy and for me my commitment to my DGCs does just that. It may not suit everyone though and that is a personal choice! I have a good friend who loves her DGCs but did not want to make a regular commitment to offering care. She does occasionally voice her disapproval of some of us who do choose to do that. saying we are 'put upon'. I would not dream of saying to her that I think she was a bit selfish not to have offered one afternoon a week child care to help her DD out!

sarahellenwhitney Mon 14-Jan-19 12:42:34

DorothyL Make no mistake you are doing a grand job.It is your choice to do what you are doing for your two GC and no business of those who 'don't know how you stand it'.
You claim you wouldn't and in your words 'change it for the world so what is the problem ?and where is the father of your CG.???what part does he play?.Does D not get any financial support from him.?
As a single parent your D should not have to rely on grandparents and your circumstances will not improve unless you start 'digging 'so put your cards on the table, get answers from D then take it from there.
Social Services, if you live in the UK, will give guidance.

luluaugust Mon 14-Jan-19 12:46:01

I do agree a bit with Izabella most mums with small children have to manage doing the chores without offloading the children and the school runs, I don't think your DD is taking advantage as such she just finds mum and dad helping makes her life easier. You say you enjoy doing everything so why not say you will do all these things on set days not five days a week then you will know you have time for your business. The DGC do grow up quickly and it is wonderful to be involved but you don't have to do everything. As regards the money I would suggest she does some of the shopping if she is staying the week, like most AC she probably has no idea you have any money problems.

sodapop Mon 14-Jan-19 12:49:48

I think you are in agreement with your family and friends who say you are doing too much
DorothyL As others have said this is not an equitable arrangement and whilst you want to help you need to look after yourselves too. I don't see a problem with sharing the house provided the expenses are shared as well. Adult children are often thoughtless and expect parents to continue supporting them when clearly they should be doing this themselves.
You need to have a complete turn around and negotiate time off for yourselves and financial reimbursement. There is only one way to deal with this and its by putting your cards on the table and talking honestly to your daughter.

M0nica Mon 14-Jan-19 12:55:43

I am with the nay sayers. If your DD is a grown up, married, with two children and, as I understand, no job, why does she need any help at all? She should be capable of looking after 2 children on her own

Of course if you live nearby, she will want to drop by for a while several times a week, possibly daily, but she really ought to be operating like an autonomous adult not a grown up child spending all her time with mummy and daddy.

In the age before mobile phones, and email. DH had a job that took him abroad a lot, sometimes at very short notice (hours) and for indefinite time periods up to a month or more. I had no parents living near me to help with my childcare and I wouldn't have expected it of them even if they had lived near me.

Yes, it was lonely at times, sometimes worrying, and in emergencies my parents would drop everything and come. But if you are grown up you learn to cope.

newnanny Mon 14-Jan-19 12:55:52

When my ds had her second child i went down to help her out once her dh gone back to work after 2 weeks at home, as she breast feeding. My dd also anaemic. I went for 1 week taking large homemade lasagne and one for freezer. Came home at weekend when her dh at home then repeated second week. Third week 3 days armed with freezer food for her for other days. Even with older dgs at nursery 2 days each week i found it enjoyable but exhausting. Are you doing this for your dd whilst she gets back on her feet or indefinitely? When your older gsc is 3 they can have 30 hours free childcare. Get your dd to take this up. Could you not help mornings then work on business afternoons? Alternatively could one of you help dd and other work on business, then after few hours swop. I would not ask for financial contribution as you would have heating on anyway, baby is breastfed so no cost so just your dd and dgc. I would not be charging dd or dgc for food.