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Childminding the grandchildren

(48 Posts)
Gillyflower99 Fri 06-May-11 18:47:14

Has anyone else coped with childminding to fit in with shift work?

I look after my only grandson on alternate weeks to fit in with his mother's shift work. I love being with him but I find the alternate weeks pattern difficult.
My husband and I moved to this area two and a half years ago when he was born. I want to make more local friends but it is difficult.

I want to go to classes at the local college or art centre to learn new hobbies and meet other retirees but I can only go on alternate weeks and it just doesn't work. I have tried evening classes but everyone I met was still working so was very busy and couldn't meet up during the day.

Secondly I don't see my daughter or grandson except when I am minding him and I miss them.
Advice or similar experiences anyone?

lifestillrelevant Sat 07-May-11 09:09:32

Do you look after your grandson for one day or more every other week? I understand how you feel about only babysitting and not having an opportunity to see the whole family when they are not working. Are the other grandparents treated the same? Many grandparents live a long way away from their grandchildren and see them in chunks of a week or so at a time but I know they miss regular contact with them. They may envy you the regular contact you have with your grandson.
I am abroad often and have a similar problem that I cannot join classes. However when I am in the UK I have found activities which will allow me to participate from time to time.I have built up many friends here, most of whom have grandchildren. Although I am not a churchgoer , when we first moved here my daughter made me go to the church one Sunday and it was through this one visit to church that I met many of my friends even though not many go to church. I may have been lucky in that the churchwarden at the church knew many people and I joined a walking group totally unconnected to the church on her recommendation. If you like walking, there should be a walking group near you. The friends one can make because of activities assume more importance than the activity itself and friennds are less rigid about meeting up and will fit in with your schedule..
Why not go to a morning service and introduce yourself to the churchwarden, have coffee afterwards? I promise you I am not a churchgoer but just trying to suggest a way you might meet people.

adaunas Sun 08-May-11 07:12:25

It sounds really selfish, but childminding wasn't what I had in mind for retirement.
I love to see my grand children. I'm happy to babysit in the evenings, I'm even delighted to have them stay for a fortinght in the summer holidays to help with the work situation for their parents, but I never wanted to have them every day.
The days are tied up into the school run at the start and end of the day together with looking after the preschoolers full time. I envisaged retirement as chance to go places, do courses, meet people and be free of the straightjacket of school holidays.
How can I say this without it sounding as if I don't like the children?

GrannyTunnocks Sun 08-May-11 08:00:43

If you like walking check the Ramblers website. That is an activity you can take up any time, you dont have to make a weekly committment. Many of the members look after grandchildren during the week and look forward to meeting other Ramblers at the weekend. There are also walks during the week and sometimes in the evenings. They are UK wide.

PoppaRob Sun 08-May-11 10:59:13

I'm either lucky or stupid, but I'm self underemployed so when my daughter asked me to look after my grand-daughter while she and her partner worked I jumped at the opportunity. When my daughter was a baby and toddler I was working long hours as a sales rep and was often away from home overnight, so I was rapt to have the chance to play a big part in the grand-daughter's life. My grand-daughter was 6 months old when I started looking after her. She's just turned 2 a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it can be exhausting and it can be frustrating, and trust me my finances are a trainwreck, but I get by and get well rewarded with cuddles, drooly kisses, smiles, giggles and crappy nappies. I'd hate not to be looking after my toddler grand-baby.

mollie Sun 08-May-11 12:50:37

My only grandchild is just three months old and this week we were thrown into the deep end of babysitting when her mum had to go into hospital unexpectedly for an operation. So our first stint of babysitting wasn't quite as planned as I imagined. Mum is home now but not able to hold her baby so we've had the pleasure of babysitting several days while mum recovered at home and dad worked... it's a bit hard because we never know from day to day when we will be needed and plans have had to change quickly. But this is temporary. And I'm enjoying(?) getting to know and care for the little one. Mum is due to go back to work later this year and no one has mentioned what will happen then. I've been looking for work too so maybe they think I won't be available...I'd happily do some babysitting on a regular basis but not every day and not on an ad hoc basis... so are you being selfish? No, I don't think so...

tournesol Sun 08-May-11 13:13:55

Of course Adaunis isn't being selfish to want a life of her own. Like everyone else I love my grandchildren dearly but have seen a lot of friends sacrifice their social lives to full time grandchild sitting; then feel bereft when the children grow up and have so many activities of their own that they rarely see them.
I have a relative who was regularly taken on holiday to babysit so that the parents could have time to themselves, but now she is no longer needed but would love a holiday with them it doesn't happen.
Babysitting should be a delight and something to look forward to, not something that you feel resentful about.

Joanniek Sun 08-May-11 13:22:05

We have looked after my daughter's two children for 5 years now. She and her husband work awkward shifts, and sometimes long hours. Happily their other grandparents are also available, so we 'work' alternate
days. I love the close relationship we have with our grandchildren, but I also love the fact we can have time for ourselves. Cooperation seems to be the answer! I also think the country's economy would fall to pieces if it wasn't for grandparents!

raggygranny Sun 08-May-11 15:38:12

When my first grandchild was born my youngest daughter (not the child's mother) was still at school, so I never had a gap between full-time parenting and being a grandparent, not even a year or two to enjoy being 'just me'. So I have been careful to avoid any regular commitment to childminding, though always willing to help out in emergencies (which seem to happen quite frequently now that the number of grandchildren has gone up to eight-and-one-on-the-way). For most of my time I was a stay-at-home Mum, and I don't think it is unreasonable or selfish not to want to spend my retirement doing what I did all my working life.

philoheart Sun 08-May-11 17:06:42

I don't think you are being selfish. My husband and I have my four year old grandson most Saturday afternoons (we both work during the week) though we love having him over I'm begining to resent the fact that my daughter 'sulks' if I say I'm doing something else on a Saturday and I end up feeling guilty about not having him over. We only see my daughter when she drops him off on Saturday and never have any other contact with her unless there's an emergency. Also my grandson will be going to school from September and as I work part-time my daughter seems to assume I will pick him up everyday from school. I don't mind doing this some of the time but not everyday. How do I tell her this without offending her?

prudencepotts Sun 08-May-11 19:22:44

She's your daughter, for goodness sake, why should she be offended? You could be offended at being taken for granted, come to that. Just tell her what you've told us, that you don't want to be tied to picking him up from school every day. If you must, offer one or two days, as I do with mine.

lifestillrelevant Sun 08-May-11 22:42:37

philoheart obviously knows her daughter well and worries she may be offended. We all have different relationships with our children and sometimes it is difficult to raise issues with them. Lucky for you prudencepotts, you seemingly can tell your children how you feel in a direct manner without the worrying that comes beforehand..I worry too about telling my daughter if I can't do something she has asked or may ask me.
I wish I wasn't like this!
Perhaps you could ask your husband to speak to your daughter about this issue. I do think we need to assert ourselves sometimes in the area of childminding. Good luck philoheart.

mollie Mon 09-May-11 07:37:04

I worked with a senior manager who was also a young mum. She was very upset that her inlaws wouldn't agree to regular babysitting dates so that she and her husband could have 'quality time' together... she thought they were selfish because they said they'd recently retired and didn't want to be tied down by babysitting arrangements ... have to say I can understand the inlaws decision - they'd done their bit and deserved to have some freedom too...

I don't think that young parents should assume the family will do the babysitting just because grandparents are readily available.

Josie Mon 09-May-11 09:15:25

Wow have read all the comments here would be good if daughters read what is going on in our lives and how we feel after all it will happen to them someday...

senua Mon 09-May-11 09:46:39

OP "I want to go to classes at the local college or art centre to learn new hobbies and meet other retirees but I can only go on alternate weeks and it just doesn't work."

<dons feminist hard hat>
Where is the grandfather in all this? Surely you only need a few hours for your classes. Can't he cope on his own occasionally - if not, why not?

snailspeak Mon 09-May-11 12:12:24

I live in Newcastle upon Tyne and my daughter and her family in Surrey so my husband and I do not see nearly as much of our twin grandsons as we would wish but when visiting Surrey we take over childcare as necessary. It is hardly a big deal as the boys are eight going on 18. What this does achieve, though, is allowing the in-laws time off. They both work and are very generous with their time and, although my daughter holds down two part-time jobs, she never takes her in-laws for granted and is grateful for their help willingly give.

I do so agree that one should expect some quality time in retirement which does not involve grandchildren. I feel terribly sorrow for the grim-faced elderly grandparents plodding along the pavements and supermarket aisles with their grandchildren in tow. So many of them look utterly exhausted and in need of respite care. There is a good reason why we don't have children in our sixties!

Too many young people look on free childcare from their parents as a right to enable them to work. They probably need the money but equally their parents need a rest and as for the lady taken on holiday to look after the kiddies, never to be invited again once the need was no longer there - I am left speechless. Bit of a difficult situation to get around but putting herself forward for participation in a holiday might just work but I doubt it.

jimfo Mon 09-May-11 12:40:11

Think yourself lucky if you get to childmind. My four grandchildren live in Australia and thats a bloody long way as they say in OZ.

craftygrandma Mon 09-May-11 15:57:00

Hi, no, of course you are not selfish smile but you must sort things out with your daughter.
I love looking after my grandchildren at anytime - but my daughter and I have an understanding - if I can't babysit at anytime then I must say so - she does not expect me to be on call just for her needs smile
As for grandpa looking after them if I needed to go out (for senua) I would not leave them with him even for half and hour let alone a few hours - he is ten years older than me and has limited patience wink
Babysitting has to be a choice thing and not an expected thing!

Lindyloo Mon 09-May-11 16:06:32

Does anyone else find that childminding daughters' children easier than sons'?

lifestillrelevant Mon 09-May-11 17:42:45

I have two grandsons, very close in age, 3 and 4. So I don't know if granddaughters would be easier. However boys are very energetic nowadays and on the go all the time. I suspect girls are alot easier physically but I love the straightforwardness of the boys and their "William" like mischeivousness. They are of course an absolute delight but I am always releived when they are in bed asleep after a full days activity with little or no time for sitting down. This is when we are looking after them of course. And I think our daughter and her husband feel the same so it's not wholly a question of age.

GillieB Mon 09-May-11 18:03:50

My daughter had a baby twelve weeks ago and my husband and I have offered to have him one day a week when she goes back to work in the autumn; this seemed to be a good compromise. My mother died when I was 23 and my husband's mother when he was 14 so my children did not have a granny at all and because we lived hundreds of miles away from the rest of our families I had to join a baby-sitting circle so we could go out occasionally.

I am happy that we can help with our grandson, but it should never be an obligation - I am always appalled when I go round the shops and see some poor retired couples who look absolutely exhausted because they are running around after their grandchildren every day of the week.

varutt Mon 09-May-11 18:23:02

i love being a grandma ,have been for nearly 23 years. its only a part of my life as i have many hats and you should enjoy all areas of your life,if its a chore you will begin to hate it and we do not want that as it is so rewarding having grandchildren. I am very lucky my son has 5 children but his wife sees me as a person and asks what i am doing in life before asking for help,i am not taken for granted

Legs55 Mon 09-May-11 20:51:55

When our 1st grandchild was a baby my daughter was still at home & she looked after him in our home. She is a qualified Nursery Nurse. We also had our 2nd grandchild when Mum returned to work again with my daughter taking most of the responsibility.

When my step-son's was small we had contact as a family but were not required to babysit, however one Saturday we were asked to look after the toddler as Mum & dad had to work so relucrantly we agreed. Our resevations were that we did not know the child very well. It later transpired that my step-son had lied to his father & he had in fact been playing golf - needless to say we have not been asked again - our annoyance was that we worked full-time so weekends were very precious.

My daughter lives almost 200 miles away so we only see our youngest grandson occasionally so babysitting is not a problem although my daughter & her partner usually manage a night out as we stay with them (hard to say no)

ouma1948 Mon 09-May-11 21:09:24

I agree with adaunus....I have 18 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren and feel that after having raised the parents it is now "me" time .

It sounds harsh but when my 7 kids were growing up I looked after them so I feel they must provide for their kids as well

An emergency is a different matter but babysit so parents can go gallivanting or on holiday is not on and none of my kids expected me to babysiteven when I was still in S/Africa

It would be difficult anyway as they in S/Africa and I am in the UK

ladyjane Tue 10-May-11 12:01:41

I am a full time farmer and cheese maker my grandchildren arrive every morning on school days at 8am and leave at 8.45on the school bus collects them .They returnat 4pm every day but on a wednesday I pick them up from school which is 3 miles away as I have to take granddaughter to her dancing class. They are collected usually by dad at around 5to6pm at night. I also baby sit them here if parents going out this month that comes to 2whole weekends time us grannies got child minding allowance from goverment we would be oh so rich.