Gransnet forums


Grandparenting + working full-time + distance + no partner

(45 Posts)
granAnnie Fri 19-Apr-19 11:50:20

I'm 56 and been divorced for 21 years. My daughter is expecting her first child and my first grandchild. I am beyond thrilled (but oh so anxious for her). I'm single and still working full time. My daughter lives 5 plus travel hours from me, and realistically (due to the fact that I work full time) we don't see each other as often as I would like. I can't retire for the foreseeable future.

Is there anyone on here in a similar situation? I want to give my daughter everything I possibly can. The other grandparents live very close to my daughter, and I feel sad I may miss out due to my necessity to work full-time.

SueDonim Fri 19-Apr-19 12:02:32

Congratulations on the expected new arrival! smile

There are many people on GN who live far away from their children and grandchildren but have fulfilling relationships with them. My own oldest GC live in America but I feel I have as good a bond with them as I do my UK-based GC.

Best wishes for becoming a grandma!

agnurse Fri 19-Apr-19 12:43:21

My Dad's parents lived 600 km away from us when I was growing up. We saw them usually 2 or 3 times a year. We always had a great time visiting them and had a good relationship even if we didn't see them all that often.

Marilla Fri 19-Apr-19 12:54:11

Congratulations on your wonderful news.
First of all, are you able to take a few days off after the baby arrives to be there for your daughter?
I understand the pressure of working full time, but would you be able to get into a routine of travelling down on a Friday evening and return on a Sunday every fortnight?
Or if that is too much, once a month?

granAnnie Fri 19-Apr-19 13:05:43

Thank you all so very much for your replies. It's so reassuring. I am very close with my daughter and we speak several times a week. This includes candid conversations on how I can support her, including when she needs to be alone to parent in her own way. I'll be taking three weeks off work when the baby arrives to be with her and her husband. This will be mainly shopping, cooking, housework and looking after her ... leaving her to look after the wee one. I've a really cool relationship with my son-in-law, and they both will need privacy too. We talk openly about these things.

We had a really practical talk at my last visit, where I told her that I'll visit once a month at weekends and use annual leave to help her when she needs support around her own annual leave, although she will be taking a year off work.

Thank you all smile

SisterAct Fri 19-Apr-19 16:36:35

My DIL parents live in France. They visit when the can but talk to the GC 3 or 4 times a week on FaceTime. It works for all of them and the GC love it.

Tangerine Fri 19-Apr-19 20:11:07

Perhaps your daughter could visit you! If her baby is good in the car, it might not be as hard as you think. Perhaps invest in a highchair and travel cot and she won't have to bring loads of stuff with her.

My friend bought a few bits quite cheaply and her daughter often brings the children to see her.

CanadianGran Fri 19-Apr-19 21:12:42

Make sure to keep your visit open-ended if you can. Those first few weeks can be stressful for mum and dad, but also a close time of bonding together as a new family.

I am also a distance-granny and clearly let my daughter know I was going after 10 days when her first one was born. I also asked her after the first week if she was ready for me to go home and manage on her own or if she wanted me to stay the full 10 days. I would not be offended if they wanted time together and me available by phone!

Since you work still, maybe keep some of your leave for short visits to see baby's growth, and help when you can. I try to visit my daughter every 3 months for about 4-5 days at a time. It gives me a chance to visit and be helpful (a cooking marathon with meals in the freezer) without overstaying my welcome. Canadian Grampa will sometimes come, but not as often as I do. My daughter comes home as well once or twice a year.

We face-time every few days, usually just after dinner. There are now 2 little ones in her family, and we have a warm relationship with them.

MawBroonsback Fri 19-Apr-19 21:34:59

Congratulations on the expected happy event!
Is your SIL taking paternity leave? If so you might like to save your visit for when he goes back to work and your daughter is on her own. That can be traumatic for a first time mum.
Most couples these days want the first week or two to themselves to bond with the baby and establish their new roles as parents - they not children any more! It can help new dads too to play a full part in the parenting process.
That is not to say mum/granny can’t visit but it can be hard to resist the temptation to “take over ” if you move in.
My youngest daughter had her first baby recently and I have only visited a couple of times and always on her invitation. There was an awkward moment in week 2 when her MIL appeared unannounced on their doorstep - and they were out a a midwife visit!
Do not worry about missing out on anything and your daughter will thank you for respecting her space.

MawBroonsback Fri 19-Apr-19 21:41:55

I should point out I live 1 1/2 hours away - if I was round the corner, I’d have been able to offer more practical help!

nanny2507 Fri 19-Apr-19 21:45:36

granAnnie..aww congrats I do the same as you are planning with my DD and GD and she loves her nanny! this has had no impact on my relationship i have with that beautiful little creature. x

Sparklefairydust Sat 20-Apr-19 10:18:28

We are a distance away from out grandaughter, when she was a couple of months old we started making videos of us and sending them, she soon recognised us when she did see us which was lovely and we are keeping up the videos.

goose1964 Sat 20-Apr-19 10:21:58

My son lives in Manchester and we're near Bristol , they had a baby girl on tuesday and apart from photos and videos we won't be able to see her until the end of May when they're bringing her down to see my in-laws (too old to travel ) We usually manage to see them once a week and her family live nearby so see them nearly everyday.

It's never occurred to me to be envious of them, they're lovely people and when we go up they step back so we can have more time with them.

goose1964 Sat 20-Apr-19 10:23:12

once a week should read a couple of times a year (post menopausal brain in action)

razzmatazz Sat 20-Apr-19 10:23:46

With visiting once a month as you say and then use FaceTime in between times. I am sure you won't miss out in any way. After all if she lived one mile away I don't think you would see them much more than that what with nursery, then school etc. . My grandsons 5 and 7 even text me and have learned how to send me a voice message on text
. Nothing like hearing " I love you to the moon and back, Grandma , on a text message . You have all that to come . Good Luck.

123kitty Sat 20-Apr-19 10:39:25

Hi, such a lovely time for you. I'm the granny who lives close to my daughter and her family, see them often, do school pick up and babysitting for grandchildren. The family is so excited when their other grandma, who lives hours away, arrived by train to see them. She comes with lovely little gifts, ideas for projects for them to make, she takes them to the park, cinema and swimming. I invite them all for tea, then leave them alone to spend time with their 'special' grandma. I'm happy and love being day-to-day granny.

Gingergirl Sat 20-Apr-19 10:59:09

Hi, I posted something broadly similar a while ago...and the replies shook me a bit...and were much like those here. It basically amounted to-get on with it as those are the circumstances-but when I thought about it, I felt I needed to be a bit more proactive and feel less sorry for myself. relationships can’t be compared with each other and the ones you have with your daughter and future grandchild will be unique. So, for myself, I am visiting when I can...I’m communicating with my grandchildren in all sorts of creative ways...and they’re loving it! It’s not about quantity of time spent with family but quality. Make the most of whatever presents itself and know that many people would give their all to be in your position! And congratulations on becoming a grandparent soon!

Legs55 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:00:22

When DD had DGS1 we lived 3 hour drive away but arranged to go down & help out after he was born, due to Emergency C-Section we had to dash down as DD's OH doesn't drive. We did spend just a week even managing a day out a DD's insistance.

We moved closer after we'd both retired but still hour & half on a good day. After DH died I moved to be nearer DD so when DGS2 was born I was very much on hand, DD had a normal delivery & after taking her & DGS2 home I was only required once more for transport duties.

I am very close to DGS1 (he's 9) even though I wasn't around a lot & watching DGS2 (he's almost 2) growing up is lovely. Even though I live about 10 miles away I don't see lots of them especially DGS1, School, after School Activities etc.

granAnnie you & your DD/SiL will sort out what suits you all.

ReadyMeals Sat 20-Apr-19 11:19:38

Remembering back to when I had my babies, if the other grandparents have already been invited to help in the very early days, I think DD will appreciate you leaving it a week or two. You're just too tired to have loads of people around, and the benefit of the other GPs is that as they live near they can go home in the evenings or any time DD wants some peace whereas you'd presumably have to stay there. I reckon round about the 2 or 3 week when her energy is up a bit, go down for a couple of days and do some serious bonding smile

Matron Sat 20-Apr-19 11:25:43

Congratulations granAnnie. I was is a very similar situation as you 12 years ago when my daughter was expecting her first child. She lived 5 hours away (3 by train) & I was worried about not being able to spend much time with her. We did manage and my grandchildren always remembered me and DH. I worked for the NHS & I was given special leave for a week because she lived so far away so it’s worth asking your employer if you can have paid leave. FaceTime is a great way if keeping in touch as well because you can keep up to date with his/her development. Until I retired we spent long weekends together. Now we can go for much longer. My DD had a photo of me and DH and she would always talk about us. I’m sure you’ll be able to work round things.

NannyG123 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:29:29

I had this problem with my grandson, we used to go to see him 4 or 5 times a year getting a train early Saturday morning and coming home Sunday night. It was always lovely to spend time with him. And nowadays you could possibly skype or FaceTime.. enjoy your new grandchild granAnnie.

red1 Sat 20-Apr-19 11:43:55

my son and children moved to Ireland 2017, I was bereft all last year, I was grieving in a way. when this year turned I realised this and it has taken my almost need to be near them.I would give a lot up,my other son, friends of long standing etc.Grandchildren are real heartbreakers full stop. when they are far away it hurts.For me time has lessened the heartache, there are advantages to not be an on call babysitter! grandkids make you feel young for the first half hour! A friend gave me advice that still rings in my ears ' give it a year or so, you never know how you may feel in time' you can visit often ,if you feel the need to be near them then you can move . I also came to a sad realisation that although my family/grandkids came first in my life, I now
realise that I don't come first in theirs. you can enjoy your grandchild regardless of distance.

Saggi Sat 20-Apr-19 11:48:44

You sound thrilled to becoming a gran and who can blame you. You sound practical and level headed ...just what a daughter needs when baby comes along. You’ll find a way to help her as much as possible, I know you will. Like another poster says though do invest in a high chair and travel cot...I did..and it was the best thing I did for my daughters children . Still in my loft...youv’e made me think I must take them to the charity shop. And if money’s an issue don’t forget these excellent places...people like me drop off perfectly clean , sound, items. Enjoy the little one.

BlueBelle Sat 20-Apr-19 12:13:08

GranAnnie don’t be sad you will still be a great gran and mum and you will work it so you see them and help them when you can They will visit and you will visit help and support can come in all different ways

I ve also been divorced a long time and live alone My first grandchild was born in NZ my second in Belgium my third in Ireland fourth in NZ and fifth sixth and seventh in Ireland Eleven years ago two came back to live near me as their Daddy died I would rather them have lived away and had their Daddy
I love them all and have relationships with them all obviously it’s a totally different relationship for the ones living close by They are all now teenagers and I hear less and less but that is life and how it is meant to be

Don’t waste time being sad it passes in a flash they are teens in a blink of an eye embrace every phone call every text every visit Good luck

Nanafran Sat 20-Apr-19 12:21:08

I agree with Sue. My 3 grands' are up North and I'm in London. I see them approx once every 2/3/ month for
a weekend. We do have a very strong bond. I do get a bit jealous of the other grandparents. DIL's parents who see a lot
more of them she drives them there once or twice a month!!!! I just concentrate on my bit of time with them and we are close. Sometimes less is more works. It will be fine. x