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Upset daughter

(26 Posts)
SuzieHi Tue 05-Jan-21 21:01:04

Daughters 2 primary age children now at home until Feb at least, as school has just been locked down.
2.5 yr old grandsons nursery still open- son in law and daughter considering sending him 4 days a week, to make homeschooling / work from home easier for the rest of them. We think this is risking the whole families health.
I’ve told our daughter this- now she’s messaged me to say I’m adding stress to her!
Yes, she’s got her hands full with 3 under 7 at home, a husband who’s working from home and her own part time
( internet job) to do. Not with a particularly understanding boss. Husband can’t help much as his job is full on- he’s told daughter ( before all this) she doesn’t need to work financially. However, she likes her job, her own money and the independence. She’s always been a high achieving perfectionist type of person, who does think she can do it all.
We can’t physically help at present, as both in the vulnerable age group. We’ve missed the children a lot this year, live very near, and would normally have stepped up to help. I’ve told them we can help with some childcare when/if they all stay at home for 2 weeks so we know they’re not infectious.
I’ve just sent her a message saying sorry if I’ve upset her, she’s replied with ?.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 05-Jan-21 21:06:39

As long as you aren’t expected to child mind I don’t see the problem, your DD and her children aren’t in the vulnerable category and she is making the decision that is best for her and her family.
Time to offer advice only if you are asked.

Kate1949 Tue 05-Jan-21 21:09:05

Sorry you're upset. My golden rule - never give advice/opinions to adult children unless asked.

Babyshark Tue 05-Jan-21 21:09:52

I think you overstepped there. Your daughter is trying to make the best of a difficult situation and you really threw a bucket of guilt at her didnt you?

It’s never appropriate to tell a mum “they are risking the whole families health” when they are trying to do their best whilst stuck between a rock and a hard place. You are lucky she has been so forgiving.

Doodledog Tue 05-Jan-21 21:34:35

Can she tell her husband that her job may be part-time, but is also full-on, so she needs him to step up a bit, or does he like his own money and the independence too?

In the last lockdown there were so many reports of how women were expected to do most of the childcare whilst both parents worked from home. Sometimes this was justified by the fact that the men earned more, but that is never going to change as long as they can work uninterrupted and expect their wives to take over.

Women's mental health is being affected by the pandemic, and the stress of work being heaped onto the stress of childcare with no support is bad enough without blame being added to the mix. I know that people's circumstances differ, but children are the responsibility of both parents, and the position of women in the workplace (and therefore their roles in the family and in society in general) will be set back generations if men don't do their share now, and show employers that this is not a concession, but a necessity.

I agree with the others that unwanted advice here is unlikely to go down well.

BlueSky Tue 05-Jan-21 21:38:57


Sorry you're upset. My golden rule - never give advice/opinions to adult children unless asked.

Agree Kate.

GagaJo Tue 05-Jan-21 21:39:07

I don't think you overstepped. I think you made a truthful comment. You didn't tell her not to send him, but that it was as a risk. What is the point of the whole family isolating if one child is out and mixing?

You've offered babysitting duties if they isolate to help out. That is really kind and will hopefully alleviate some of the pressure.

Kate1949 Tue 05-Jan-21 21:49:02

Bluesky I've learned the hard way.

NotSpaghetti Tue 05-Jan-21 22:05:13

I very occasionally offer my opinion without being asked IF I think it's really important or they haven't thought of something. This is what you did.

I always preface it with something like "ignore me if this is rubbish but xxxx" or "I just feel I have to say this once xxxx". I'm very careful to always only say it once, say it short and quickly and don't follow up with my usual sub-clauses (for want of a better word!)... I'm known to have my own ideas so I'm careful to bite my tongue once I've said it.

So no, I would also probably have spoken out too. I expect she's stressed mostly because she knows you are probably right.

It's hard, but they would only have to manage around a month at the moment so it's almost certainly do-able. They will make their own decisions based on what they feel is possible. Just don't stress over her message and make things worse. Parenting is hard. We all know this. Stepping aside is hard too!

Thinking of you.

SuzieHi Tue 05-Jan-21 22:34:02

Thanks for all the comments. They’ve helped to get things back in perspective. We’re quite an outspoken family so tend to say what we think a lot of the time. We chat, what’s app and FaceTime every day or two, so very close.
Will try hard to sit back and not offer opinions- unless asked! Good advice which I know I’ll find hard. They’ll probably ask what’s wrong!

MissAdventure Tue 05-Jan-21 22:46:02

I used to offer my opinion all the time.
I usually got told to mind my own business, but we never felt anyone had overstepped the mark by being truthful.

Kate1949 Tue 05-Jan-21 22:49:34

Suzie It is hard. Very hard. I do sympathise. I have only learned to stand back as we were in danger of falling out. I hope you can sort it out.

blue25 Tue 05-Jan-21 22:51:54

It’s not really your business if you’re not living with them. Their family, their choice. I completely understand why they would send the youngest to nursery. You don’t sound very supportive to be honest.

Doodledog Tue 05-Jan-21 23:43:23


Thanks for all the comments. They’ve helped to get things back in perspective. We’re quite an outspoken family so tend to say what we think a lot of the time. We chat, what’s app and FaceTime every day or two, so very close.
Will try hard to sit back and not offer opinions- unless asked! Good advice which I know I’ll find hard. They’ll probably ask what’s wrong!

My reply may have been a bit harsh, which it wasn't meant to be. I was cross at the way so many women have ended up taking up the slack again, and that they stand a good chance of losing the ground that it took generations to build up when it comes to being considered as equal in the workplace.

None of that is your fault, SuzieHi - I think it's just that I could hear my mum's voice saying that the man's job is full on whilst the woman's (ie mine) is 'for independence and own money' as though that is less important grin.

To be honest, invited or not, I'd be inclined to say that if my daughter found herself looking after small children and working, whilst my SIL was able to concentrate on his work uninterrupted, so I know it's not easy to keep advice to oneself!

SuzieHi Wed 06-Jan-21 13:53:13

We do support our family a lot physically in normal times, currently by keeping in touch as best we can. At our age (over 70’s) we cannot risk catching the virus as no one knows if it will kill them or not. Family know this and have stayed away so not to compromise our health. I can understand that they think maybe the virus wouldn’t affect them badly and so may be prepared to take risks which we are not. We can’t bear the thought of them all being ill- no one knows the long term effects on any age groups health.

Summerlove Wed 06-Jan-21 14:00:10

What was your expectation of your telling her she was making the wrong choice?

How do you expect her to manage it all without daycare?

I think you massively overstepped, and are lucky she accepted your apology so quickly.

SuzieHi Fri 08-Jan-21 21:57:35

Just for the record.....daughter has not sent youngest back to nursery. She must have listened to our concerns re infection rate, and has decided to is keep all 3 at home for now.
Has also cancelled her cleaner for a few weeks - her idea not ours- so no one is coming into the house at all. I’ve volunteered to pick up a pile of ironing each week from her to help out a bit. Also dropped off a bag of activities for the children. Hard missing out on the children growing up isn’t it ?

GrandmaKT Fri 08-Jan-21 22:16:48

It sounds as if you are doing the right kinds of things to help out SuzieHi.
We have an associated problem. DS and DIL have 2 boys - 8 and 6. During the first lockdown, DIL got very stressed with the home schooling (almost to the point of having a breakdown). DS works from home and tries to help out, but his job is very full-on.
They have asked if they can come and stay with us for a couple of weeks during lockdown so we can help out. (they live a couple of hundred miles away).They are isolating for 2 weeks and will all have Covid tests before they leave. We are not in a vulnerable group.
I am worried because it will obviously be breaking the rules, but am also worried about DIL's mental health and the effect on the gdc and feel we should help.
Any advice?

Sara1954 Fri 08-Jan-21 22:28:21

I don’t think you should judge, my daughter has three children, including one nursery age. During the first lockdown, she was working from home, homeschooling two children, one a very reluctant six year old, and trying to keep a toddler happy.
I know it was incredibly difficult because we changed our working days around, so that I had them two days while she went to work (we are one household)
I honestly began to dread it, it was impossible to keep everyone happy, and our relief at having nursery open this time is enormous, it’s lifted so much pressure.
I’m sure it gives us a tiny amount of extra risk, but you have to look at the whole picture.

Toadinthehole Sat 09-Jan-21 16:42:08

My DIL is in a similar position. Two children at school, 5 and 8, so completely different stages of learning, and a 2.5 year old. She doesn’t work, so that’s a big thing. Still incredibly hard. My son works in an office in the house. She was saying the nurseries are open, and my little grandson has a place, but she had no intention of sending him. You are right. It is madness. I think you were right to broach it, because your daughter could simply have not thought it through. However, once you realised she had thought about was too late because she got angry. She knows you’re right, but I expect feels stuck between a rock and a hard place. You’ve said sorry...( which is more than my mother or MIL ever did!!). She’s old enough to know you’d only be thinking of their best interests, and should appreciate you for it....but you now, have to appreciate you can’t do anymore. Just be there if she needs you.

SuzieHi Sat 09-Jan-21 17:31:15

Grandma KT
Your choices are very hard. I would also feel very uncomfortable about breaking the rules. How would you feel if neighbours reported you and police visited? Risking being fined? Unless dil has been to the Dr and received treatment for her anxiety I don’t think I’d agree.
Also, unless you’ve got a very large house with plenty of room to spread out it might feel like too much pressure on you. Surely the boys are better staying at home with their own bedrooms, toys etc ?
Dil needs to set an easier routine for herself and the boys. Maybe she should lower her expectations / take pressure off them and herself. Factor in a lot of TV - think the BBC are putting on a lot of learning programmes this week which should help. Could start each day with joe wicks exercises for kids?
Maybe encourage more craft/ artwork activities or even cooking. They could help make lunch or dinner each day. Let them read comics, books, recipe instructions- anything to improve reading. Get out some board games, cards/dominos. All make learning fun. Her husband could take them out to play football or go for a little outing/run with them in his lunch break? Dil needs a midday break - time to recover.
Think the boys are old enough to entertain themselves quietly and separately for some of the time too- Lego or similar?
Our grandchildren like having a routine written down so they know where they are and what’s coming. ( obviously not rigid). My daughter ignores some of the school work set if she thinks it’s boring or doesn’t go well. Send them a scrapbook each to fill with whatever they like. Send them e mails each day so they can type back? Hope some of these ideas help

GrandmaKT Sat 09-Jan-21 18:51:04

Thank you so much for your kind and sensible advice SuzieHi.
It all makes perfect sense. You are right that she puts too much pressure on herself and them. She seems to be doing fine to me - she has a schedule for them every day and includes fun activities like cooking or music. (She doesn't allow TV which again makes it hard for her!)
Of course family dynamics are tied up in all this. Because we were stranded abroad in the first lockdown with our other DS, she thinks that we are favouring him and his children over her own family.
Ah, it's going to be another long hard year!

SuzieHi Sat 09-Jan-21 22:22:23

Pleased to offer opinion and ideas.
No TV? No wonder she’s finding it hard! A couple of hours spaced out during the day would make a lot of difference to all of them.
I’ve always found bribery works well to get children to work
- TV as the reward?

BlueBelle Sat 09-Jan-21 22:27:03

The BBC are offering some sterling school work I think your daughter is missing a lot of good help by not allowing TV personally

NotSpaghetti Sun 10-Jan-21 07:27:06

We didn't have TV when our children were small but you need a more "paced" day if you don't want to burn out. I think this slower rhythm comes from experience and confidence.

I'd try to boost her faith in herself - it sounds like she's actually a very good mum. Remind her how well she's doing.... and I'm not letting the husband off... when we were in this situation my husband set actual times when he came out of the study and had 15 minutes break with the children. They loved it, leaping about and showing him what they'd been doing - and it helped them leave him alone the rest of the day!