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Grandparents as childminders

(19 Posts)
Trinity Fri 31-Jan-14 13:16:13

Hi everyone this is the first time I have 'blogged' anyone so please bear with me!! I was just wondering if there was anyone out therre there that looked after their grandchildren where it was assumed that they would always be available. Does anyone feel taken for granted and does this spill over into family life? Please share your views and ideas of how to deal with this.

Thankssmile ES

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 13:25:16

Yes Trinity I look after grandchildren for 2-3 days a week, including a sleep over. I also "look after" my grandma. My son and DiL know what days I can do and what days I can't as I still work but I would only ever say "no" if it was absolutely impossible for me to jiggle things around to suit. I don't really feel taken for granted as I am glad to be able to give them the help that I didn't get from my own parents. In return I get oodles of cuddles and kisses, pictures drawn and cards made, so to me its a win win situation.

harrigran Fri 31-Jan-14 13:41:35

I am always on call for emergency childcare and I would not have it any other way, if they can't turn to Grandma they have to take unpaid leave from work. We are the only relatives within 260 miles. I never feel put upon, they are considerate and always ask if it is ok.

Dragonfly1 Fri 31-Jan-14 13:42:50

Hi Trinity, -is it that you're expected to have your GC more than agreed, or to change your own plans and drop everything to suit your family?

Gorki Fri 31-Jan-14 14:09:07

We are always available for our twin grandchildren and have them for several days a week which we love. It makes the house come alive when they are here and it enables the parents to have some time on their own and attend parents' meetings together etc.. Our other grandchild we see only about twice a month and we are not allowed to do much more than take her for a walk. We feel quite deprived though I know we are very very lucky compared to some grandparents. We never feel taken for granted as the parents are very appreciative.

helena Fri 31-Jan-14 15:48:29

Hi Trinity, yes, it can seem sometimes that we are taken for granted and I can empathise with you to some extent. I also look after my GC and still work, so it can be difficult sometimes to juggle things about. I do know that my son and DiL would be ecstatic if I was to retire and they would be able to call on me to do more than I already do! I enjoy the days I have with my granddaughter, but do find it exhausting sometimes. I think you have to make a stand and explain what you can and cannot manage. I am 'available' two days a week and for any emergency. I think it all depends on your circumstances i.e, whether you are still working, your age and health etc.
I do sometimes feel taken for granted as we are expected to be able to change our plans at a moments notice to accommodate their plans, but on the plus side its wonderful to see a big, happy smile with arms outstretched for a big cuddle when coming to visit nanna and granddad! I want my grandchildren to look back in later years and know they were loved and cherished by their grandparents and hope that our relationship will just continue to strengthen and blossom.
Hope you can experience the same smile

absent Fri 31-Jan-14 18:20:05

I like being taken for granted – in this respect, at least.

Dragonfly1 Fri 31-Jan-14 18:38:42

Me too, to be honest.

margaretm74 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:50:37

I think you have to say that you may not always be available, but you will give as much notice as possible. We looked after DGD1 just one day a week, otber granny did 1.5 days. DiL is going back to work next week so we will have DGD2 one day, other granny 2 days (she is nearer). Can't wait! We are lucky, we can share the care, so can cover for holidays etc.
It depends if they want you fulltime and if you will be sole help

Trinity Sat 01-Feb-14 10:38:16

Hi everyone been really grateful for everyone responding. Sounds like most of you think the grandchildren make being taken for granted worthwhile. Can I ask how you would tackle talking about your availably and when?also does it ever become an issue between you and your partner? Are they as enthusiastic as grannies!

margaretm74 Sat 01-Feb-14 10:55:14

Don't know how old or energetic you are, Trinity, but I'm a relatively "old" granny without so much energy, I will only be doing 1 day (flexible depending on other granny's availability). Remember you have a life too, and will want a break even if you can't go away. And they don't seem to take us for granted, always seem grateful. DH doesn't mind, but not what I would call so enthusiastic (oh dear, sound like Miranda's Mum - it's what EVERYONE would call not so enthusiastic!)

Aka Sat 01-Feb-14 11:50:50

My daughter and family moved back to the UK from NZ. When she mentioned she'd like to return and how hard she was finding balancing family life with a career, I encouraged her to move by the promise of support.
When my DiL wanted to train as a TA I also promised her this support. I now have a full schedule of childminding, overnighters, school runs.
It's hard but I wouldn't miss this stage of their lives for anything.
In September the 3 & 4 year old will start school full time leaving me with only one GD during the day, but with additions school runs and after school care.
Yes, I get tired, but I also think all the running around, lifting, chasing, planning, etc helps keep me fit and mentally active. (I am only 67)
Am I taken for granted? Perhaps sometimes in their busy lives they do taken it as a norm, but then they are brought up short when their friends say 'you don't know how lucky you are' or when, as happened last week, the oldest child was sick at school and had to be fetched are cared for.
And do I appreciate my weekends? You bet I do grin

Aka Sat 01-Feb-14 11:52:34

PS Mr Aka doesn't mind too much.

Aka Sat 01-Feb-14 11:54:42

PS. Like Helena it's those big smiles and cuddles which are the best reward. A grandchild who runs to you, arms outstretched shouting 'NANA' sunshine

rosesarered Mon 03-Feb-14 16:22:34

It depends on your age, health, time etc. Assuming that you are retired [which you may not be] and live close to DGC, perhaps do what you are comfortable with most of the time [always do emergency childcare of course].I say to my children that I will do what I can with DGC and we try and stay around for the school holidays like half term.If I'm not feeling good or we want to be away that day or for several days, then we say so.We all have a life.

Trinity Tue 04-Feb-14 13:33:07

Hi everyone - well your responses have been really helpful. Please could I just ask one more questions??? Does anyone have a problem with their own children assuming that they would always be available for babysitting. Does this or any other issue spill over into family life? I would love to know ways of coping with this.

Thanks ES

margaretm74 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:11:09

They always ask, never seem to assume, anyway they know we sometimes go overseas for a few weeks at a time (where DGS lives)

Aka Tue 04-Feb-14 22:52:05

I don't like going to my children's houses to babysit, I'd rather offer to have the GC here overnight, it suits me better.
I sometimes do go to them reluctantly but I don't like having to walk or drive home late at night.
But they never assume and do book well in advance.

Kiora Wed 05-Feb-14 21:12:24

My answer to most of these questions is. Yes I do sometimes feel taken for granted. Yes I am much more enthusiastic than grumpy grandad. Yes it does quite often spill over into my own life. How do I cope? I grin and bear it. Why? I love them simple really.