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Alone time with grandparents.

(128 Posts)
frenchfrogz Mon 17-Jun-19 22:37:03

I rarely need help with childcare, my DP and I mostly handle it between ourselves.
My parents recently expressed they’d like alone time with my DS as they don’t feel they have much of a bond. This did shock me a little as I visit once, sometimes twice a week.
I haven’t yet allowed anybody to take him for a day out and they feel I don’t trust them. I try to explain that he’s young and that will come when I’m ready.
If we ever do need help with childcare I have only ever asked them, so they should know I trust them, but I just don’t see the need to drop him off just for the sake of it.
They asked for once a week “unsupervised visit” it’s all starting to feel like a custody arrangement. Everyone in the family seems to agree with them, but I really don’t want to live on someone else’s schedule.
Is this normal? Should I be giving them alone time? I don’t know, I just feel so defeated because it’s causing an awful atmosphere.

NanaandGrampy Mon 17-Jun-19 22:43:07

What’s your issue with them spending time with your child without you ? You obviously trust them to babysit.

Children automatically turn to their Mum if she’s there so if you’re not the child gets a sense of being able to depend on their grandparents too .

It doesn’t have to be a long visit but I don’t see how a couple of hours hurts . I’ve had all 4 of my grandchildren since they were days old . My home is familiar to them so in the event of an emergency they are happy and comfortable to come here . Perhaps it would be sensible todo something similar for your child in case of an unexpected event ?

notanan2 Mon 17-Jun-19 22:45:09

YANBU I would never ask for "unsupervised time" with anybody elses children including family and kids I DO have overnight for other reasons.

Weird thing to ask

I blame facebook. They prob think all other grandparents have this set up all the time but they dont! And when grandparents DO have GCs without the parents there its because it happens organically, and not because they want the GCs parents to NOT be there too IYKWIM

BlueBelle Mon 17-Jun-19 22:49:47

You don’t give the age of the little chap but I think that it’s lovely for grandparents to be able to take the grandchild off now and then You seem to think they should only have him if you need them to have him, but surely it’s about a little pleasure visit or trip as well as a ‘working’ arrangement now and then not necessarily once a week but sometimes
I met a friend today who was out with her 17 day old great grandchild, both enjoying a walk in the sun
I have certainly had time out with all my grandkids and precious times they were too

BlueBelle Mon 17-Jun-19 22:53:41

I don’t think it’s a weird thing to ask notanan seems far weirder to not want your parents to enjoy their grandchildren away from you but happy to use them if you need to

pinkquartz Mon 17-Jun-19 23:00:24

I think it is really healthy for young ones to spend time alone with grandparents. For one thing they learn that they are safe without mum there all the time.
I have been able to have some alone time with mine and it sets us up in trusting that we will have a good time together.
It can be for just a an hour at first if the child is still a baby.
You don't want the first time to be a trauma or scary in any way and so the earlier the better as children accept that it is natural and that it is ok if they do this from when they are little.

I don't know why you wouldn't want to do this? Can you say why you are reluctant?

Avor2 Mon 17-Jun-19 23:02:17

How old is your DS? would he not enjoy a day out with them. Although I don't understand why they want "unsupervised visits" as you say it sounds a bit like a custody arrangement.
You have told them what you feel, as long as you don't stop them seeing him at all then as you say when you are happy that the time is right perhaps you can organise something .

Best of luck to you, don't upset the GPs but explain to them how you feel - he is your son after all.

frenchfrogz Mon 17-Jun-19 23:12:53

He has just recently turned 3. My partner and I work alternate shifts Monday to Friday. So the weekend is our only time all together.
To say I use my parents for childcare when it suits me is far from the truth. It’s only ever been a handful of times for a couple of hours that I’ve asked for their help I ask them first as I know they WANT to spend time with him. I do have other options, and it’s times I could have taken him with me if I had to. I would never make a fuss if they couldn’t have him.
Partly I am reluctant because it comes across as more of a demand/“this is my right” I like the way notanan2 said it. I want it to happen organically and not feel forced.

Grammaretto Mon 17-Jun-19 23:35:40

It does sound odd doesn't it.
My DGMiL asked if I would leave each of my DC with her for a short while.
I said she could but it turned out she wanted to baptise them! I think she thought we were heathens because we didn't take them to church and they weren't christened.

suziewoozie Mon 17-Jun-19 23:40:32

I’m not sure what ‘happens organically’ means. The joy on both sides that comes from a child and grandparents having time alone together is beyond price. My daughter says she loves the fact that they are so happy to have time with us and the different experiences they have.

Namsnanny Tue 18-Jun-19 00:05:59

Well frenchfrogz……..You don't say how old your son is?

If its really just sticking to a fixed arrangement that is troublesome for you, perhaps your parents would be happy with you starting off just now and again?
He only need to visit for a couple of hours.

I do think your parents have a point.
It is good for children to find others can love them and be relied upon.

You shouldn't do anything that you feel pressured to ofcourse, but give it some thought.

I agree with Nanaandgrampy smile

notanan2 Tue 18-Jun-19 00:18:41

I don’t think it’s a weird thing to ask notanan seems far weirder to not want your parents to enjoy their grandchildren away from you but happy to use them if you need to

No whats weird is you missed out there the more natural middle option: seeing the GCs WITH their parents, y'know, as a family?

notanan2 Tue 18-Jun-19 00:20:32

*I do think your parents have a point.
It is good for children to find others can love them and be relied upon.*

They dont have to be "unsupervised" for that! They can feel loved just fine with the parents present, why does the GPs want the parents out of the equation?

notanan2 Tue 18-Jun-19 00:24:23

I’m not sure what ‘happens organically’ means

"Hi DD/DS, theres a food festival on on Saturday, did you and GCs fancy coming"
"No mum I can't I have a tonne of house stuff to catch up on"
"Well I could take GCs myself if you and SIL cant come?"
"Yeah great"

Weird and unorgaonic: "I want to take the children out WITHOUT you on saturday"

frenchfrogz Tue 18-Jun-19 00:25:32

They do see him every week, I go with him usually, not to watch over him, just to get out of the house and catch up with my parents.
I could stay at home instead and just send him if they’d prefer. Thank you for your opinions.

frenchfrogz Tue 18-Jun-19 00:40:32

He is 3 years old, I replied to an earlier post sorry if you missed it. I came here to get a grandparents perspective, because the idea that they didn’t want me around was strange to me.
I do suffer with anxiety, especially the first year of his life. I admit I was terrible. He had his first overnight stay at 18 months. I made sure I wouldn’t need to rely on help from others, and just never got out of that habit.
I would like them to ask me when they’d like to have him, without making a formal weekly agreement.

Namsnanny Tue 18-Jun-19 00:52:53

It's funny isn't it, there was a thread talking about the past where neighbours took babies for a walk in the 50's and 60's.

We've gone from that to not trusting gp's, full stop.

Even when there is no cause for concern.

Surly there is a middle way?

notnan…...I refer you back to nanhaandgrampy's post 2nd paragraph.

Namsnanny Tue 18-Jun-19 00:58:58

frenchfrogz…..we crossed posts I think!

It must have been really hard for you suffering with anxiety and having a new baby.
I can remember the feeling of overwhelming responsibility for my first child!
Considering the stress of your anxiety, I'm surprised you allowed the sleepover at 18months, but you did.

Our little ones are so precious to us arnt they?

frenchfrogz Tue 18-Jun-19 01:08:40

In a few weeks my second child is due so I will welcome the help with my oldest.

Starlady Tue 18-Jun-19 01:52:34

Frenchfrogz, congratulations on your growing family!

I'm sorry your parents seem to be pressing for alone-time w/ your DS, especially when they see him once a week, anyhow, and have been alone w/ him when they babysat. However, chances are, they do think you only leave him w/ them when you need them, even if that's not the case.

Like some of the others here, I think it's good for children to spend some time alone w/ (trustworthy, of course) GPs, so that they are comfortable w/ them if ever the parents have to leave them w/ someone. However, you don't feel ready, and, IMO, you need to follow your instincts, Since you've already told your parents you'll give them alone time when you're ready, I feel you don't need to JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain) any further. If they ask again, IMO, you should simply remind them you said you will when you're ready and then change the subject or (gracefully) end the conversation. Do the same every time they ask (but, hopefully, they'll stop and wait for you to be ready).

Once the baby is here for a while, you may want them to take the older one, sometimes, so each child can get some individual attention and you can focus on the baby, etc. Or not. Only time will tell.

Nansnet Tue 18-Jun-19 06:58:33

When I had my kids, I was more than happy to drop them off with either set of grandparents. It gave me an hour or two all to myself, which was great, and gave them that special time with their GC. And I knew they'd be well looked after and loved. Now I'm a grandparent myself, my son & DiL have occasionally presented me with our DGD, and asked if I'd like to have her for an hour or two. I don't think it's necessary to have a regular day each week, I agree that seems a bit strange, but on a 'now and again' basis I see no harm. Tell them you don't want a specific day arrangement, as you don't know what your own plans may be each week with friends or whatever, but if you're happy for them to have him for the odd hour or two, to keep them happy, then tell them that's what you'll do.

Anja Tue 18-Jun-19 07:05:33

Perfectly natural ask from grandparents. Don’t see what your problem is.

TerriBull Tue 18-Jun-19 07:43:53

I've read similar threads over on MN and I feel for the mothers who feel coerced and pressurised by parents and PIL. The mother, or should I say primary carer, could be the father, should always be in the driving seat as to whether they want that or not.

We were always asked if we could look after our grandchildren right from when they were tiny babies, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for a whole day. I wouldn't have asked for that though. I think the parents should have the ultimate say with that one as to what they feel comfortable with. Some mothers don't want to be separated from their very young baby and the older generation should respect that. They also may have issues as to how they perceive the grandparents will take care of their baby, maybe because of pets in the house or they have different ideas of how the baby/child will be looked after. It's the parents prerogative to decide on this matter imo.

janeainsworth Tue 18-Jun-19 07:44:05

Frenchfrogz if your parents’ request seems to you more of a demand, then yes it seems unreasonable. No one has the right to demand unsupervised access to a child.

But just maybe, your parents saw your anxiety with DS when he was younger and see this as a way of helping you overcome it.
Perhaps they anticipate that when baby#2 arrives, you will have your hands full coping with both children and if DS has a regular visit with them, you will get some time by yourself with your new baby, or some rest, or both.
Perhaps they think DS would benefit from the confidence going somewhere without you could bring.
Perhaps they are thinking of you as much as they are thinking of themselves.

TerriBull Tue 18-Jun-19 07:55:46

If you aren't ready frenchfrogz, that's understandable we are all different, some mothers feel relief to grab some time alone, but if you don't well there's nothing wrong with that either imo, tell them how you feel. As others have stated up thread it sounds more like a custody demand. Whilst I think it's great for grandparents to have time with their grandchildren alone, although that wasn't always so common with previous generations, afternoon tea with grandparents with my parents are my memories, it's entirely up to you, don't be bullied. Good luck.