Gransnet forums


how often do you see your grandchildren?

(32 Posts)
shazzy69 Fri 31-Jan-14 03:05:04

I posted on here recently about my feelings for dil and thanks to all the good advice was helped enormously. I am new to being a grandmother as my dgd is only 7 months old and I find myself feeling guilty that we only see her every few months (which seems a long time when she is only months old). My son works away from home for four weeks then has a week at home and they live a two hour drive from us. My dil sends texts and photos of dgd usually every week and we stay in touch that way. MY son doesn't very often contact us but will usually answer texts although sometimes two days later. They are quite private people and keep themselves to themselves and as he is only home for one week I can quite understand they don't really need visitors especially as dh will only visit if we stay the night as he feels its too far for a couple of hours. If we invite ourselves they are quite welcoming but I don't want to intrude. On the otherhand I don't want them to think we are not interested in their lives especially dgd's. I have a good relationship with ds but he is not much of a communicator and doesn't really like talking on the phone and if I'm honest neither do I. Much rather talk in person. Is it ok to just see them when they initiate it? Any advice?

absent Fri 31-Jan-14 03:33:14

Do you invite them to visit you?

shazzy69 Fri 31-Jan-14 05:19:28

You may have a point there absent. I tell them that they are always welcome and we would love to see them anytime but dont invite them at a specific time as I worry about making them feel like they have to and I know it is difficult for them brringing all dgd things and they also have a big dog and as I say it is two hours drive away and he only has that one week. It is food for thought though, thanks

mollie Fri 31-Jan-14 07:09:41

I think this is a question of what makes you and your son's family happy and not what is right or common-practice. If you want to see your son you only have a small window of opportunity right now because of his working pattern so it seems to me that fixing a date in advance every few months is a reasonable approach. It sounds like you are all doing the best you can under the circumstances.

kittylester Fri 31-Jan-14 07:28:43

Could you invite your DiL to stay while your son is away? Or you go there while he is away? Your DiL might welcome your help if her DH is away.

Is there a particular reason why your DH finds a two hour drive too far? We periodically drive two hours to see DD2 and two DGD, taking them out for a pub lunch and then coming home. Do you drive? Could you share the driving?

In my opinion it is well worth putting oneself out to establish a good relationship with your DGC.

I hope you find a way to make it work for you all smile

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 31-Jan-14 09:49:02

I agree with kittylester's excellent post.

Does your dil drive?

I built up a very loving relationship with DGS1 because for a while son-in-law was studying hard for exams every weekend, and DD would bring grandson here Friday to Monday to give him peace and quiet to get on with it. Their journey was about an hour and twenty minutes. Not quite so long as your dil's would be.

Hope you find a way to share these early months and years.

Ariadne Fri 31-Jan-14 09:49:15

We now live near the two oldest DGC (15 and 17) smile and they pop in after school if DD has a meeting there, so we see them quite a lot now, after living 5-6 hours' drive away. But, even though we both worked, we would try to get down here at least every six weeks, leaving on a Friday night and returning on Sunday morning.

DSs live in Cheltenham (about 2 hours) and we can do that in a day, and Hampshire ( about 3-4 hours) We sometimes do Hampshire in a day, and leave about 9.00 in the evening, sharing the driving. Doing that tomorrow for youngest DGC's 4th birthday.

I do think it is important to make every effort. And, Shazzy my youngest son is no great communicator, but DDiL and I talk and she knows that we are always there for them, and love their visits and our visits to them. Let them know how important they are to you!

glammanana Fri 31-Jan-14 09:51:22

shazzy69 good advice from kitty my thoughts exactly,could you not go on your own to visit your DIL for a couple of days and have some "mother & daughter time" if that was not an option you & your OH could visit and babysit whilst your DIL had a day to herself maybe shopping etc,if you OH finds driving 2 hrs a problem have you not thought of going on the train which would be less stressful for you both,your DIl sounds lovely for taking the time to send you up to date pic's of your

TwiceAsNice Fri 31-Jan-14 10:05:58

It is great that you are being careful not to intrude but I think it would be good to see your Dil more often if possible. As she would have to bring a lot of stuff perhaps the onus is on you to drive if you can do that. My grandchildren live 2.5 hrs away from me and I regularly drive to see them and stay a weekend and sometimes longer if I arrange time off work. I am staying with them at the moment as am not well and am off work recuperating. It is so lovely to be part of their lives for a spell. If your son is not a talker perhaps you could email him some options and ask what he would prefer to do. When your grandchild is older perhaps you could babysit at their house and he and his wife could have a few days away on his week off.

kittylester Fri 31-Jan-14 10:09:12

We have 'stuff' here so DD2 doesn't have to bring it all when they come. We have a travel cot, bed with a side, highchair, stairgates, toys, potties, car seat - in fact an ever growing collection - see another thread. grin

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 31-Jan-14 10:12:37

Yes. We did too. Have only just, reluctantly, turfed out the baby stuff! grin

dorsetpennt Fri 31-Jan-14 10:43:51

It's a good thing I live on the South Coast and my DS and family live just outside London. As I'd be there on a daily basis and drive them all potty. I go up to stay every other month, at their invitation mainly. I love spending time with my DGs who are four and a half and two. I have been up for as long as 3 weeks to look after them both whilst Daddy was abroad on business and DIL at work. It was exhausting but I loved every minute of it.

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 11:00:02

I see mine at least three times a week, every week. With at least one sleepover (often two). Even more in the school holidays.

I like the fact that they consider my house to be their "other" house and feel happy and comfortable there. Long may it continue. smile

annodomini Fri 31-Jan-14 11:18:32

I wish I lived closer to mine. I've stopped driving long distances, so have to go by train which is a bit of a drag, but reasonably comfortable. I manage to go south about once in six weeks and DS1 and his family have taken me with them on caravan holidays for the past four years. As the children have got older, they've accumulated weekend activities, not to mention DiL's netball! So it's difficult for them to get away for weekends up here. Shazzy, if you invited them to stay, then perhaps it wouldn't be so awkward for you to spend a night with them. Quid pro quo, as it were.

grannyactivist Fri 31-Jan-14 11:23:18

After living very close by, my daughter and her children are about to move house (if the vendor ever decides to sign the contract!!!) and will be a two hour drive away. I have been a very hands-on granny to both children, but especially the four year old and I am already planning how to keep the connection strong in their absence. Fortunately my daughter's new house has a granny annexe, so staying over is anticipated - and I plan to visit monthly for a little while. I'm also planning an annual half-term holiday just with the four year old so that we can spend a good chunk of time together, and as the little one gets older he will be included in the holidays with us. In the meantime we shall make good use of Skype and occasionally have the family to stay over for weekends. We live in a seaside town so it's a nice place for them to visit and we have our own equipment; cot, high chair, pushchair etc. so they don't have to fill the car with baby paraphernalia.
Perhaps, shazzy you could build up the relationship with your daughter in law and granddaughter through regular use of Skype and then have them over for regular visits to you whilst your son is away and occasional visits to them (you could offer to babysit) when your son is at home.

Bellasnana Fri 31-Jan-14 11:34:59

How I envy you having only a two-hour drive to see your dgd! Ours is 6,000 miles away in the USA and we are making the long trip to visit in just over a fortnight. Despite the long costly journey nothing would keep me from being a part of her life.
I hope you find a way that works for all of you so that you can be involved in your dgd's life. The years go so quickly and it would be so sad to miss the precious time together which you can't get back once it has gone. sunshine

GillieB Fri 31-Jan-14 12:02:30

I see my DD's two children at least once every week and often much more; and I see my DS's little girl about every two/three weeks - but both of my children live locally so it is very easy. My sister and her husband live about two hours' drive from their DS and family and they go down there about every four weeks, and DS comes up about once every eight weeks. Sister quite often drives down for just a day - they just leave early in the morning. My DD's in-laws live a similar distance from her and they come up every four - six weeks, although my DD doesn't often drive down to see them.

I think while we were able GPs ought to make as much effort as possible - it won't always be easy to travel and it's good to forge a good relationship with the DGC while they are young.

KatyK Fri 31-Jan-14 15:32:45

We used to see our DGD a few times a week when she was smaller. Our DD was constantly here with her, sometimes popping in after school. Now that DGD is almost 14, we see less of her. She does lots of activities and likes to meet up with her friends at weekends, although she is still more than happy to come and stay over occasionally and bake cakes with nan grin Like you shazzy, I don't really invite them over (they are only 15 minutes away). They have busy lives, and always seem to have something on if I ask them. I try to go with the flow these days. As long as I see them reasonably regularly that is fine with me.

margaretm74 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:03:24

I agree with kitty - can you visit DiL when DS is away, perhaps she gets lonely? Two hours sounds near to me. Although one lot are very near thankfully, the others are about 30 hours away! We try to see them once a year, but DGS always seems to have changed so much

Even if you can't stay perhaps a bandb nearby?

Icyalittle Fri 31-Jan-14 17:35:45

shazzy just a quick addition to the excellent advice from other posters. I bought all the gear like travel cot etc on gumtree for really good prices so that we are well equipped when they come here. We are also 2 hours away but lucky that we happily share driving. When we stay over, it is now the norm that they pass me the baby (8 mths) when he wakes at 6 so that they (or DD if DSiL at work) can go back to bed for a couple of hours - they are really glad to have the lie-in.
If talking by phone is hard work, jot things down whenever you think if them so that you have a list for when you are on the phone - funny stories, things you have read, questions about weaning recipes etc. We also Skype /FaceTime regularly so that DGS is in danger of knowing us! Wishing you the very best - keep at it and you will be great.

Agus Fri 31-Jan-14 17:49:58

Would it be possible for GD to be dropped off/picked up say, Saturday around noon to stay over with you then collected/picked up Sunday lunch time any weekend her parents would like a night out?

If you all feel she is too young for this then, is it a possibility when she is a bit older?

margaretm74 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:41:50

We have a houseful of pushchairs, cots, toys, dressing up clothes etc again (no good decluttering) for when they visit, our neighbour has been great handing over no longer needed stuff. Plus old dollies sindies, lego from the attic or charity shops?

Ps what is the plural of sindy?

shazzy69 Fri 31-Jan-14 23:21:50

Thanks for all the great replies. It seems to me that there are lots of different circumstances and you have to make the best of what you've got. I think that being a grandparent to sons children is maybe a bit different to a daughters as I think my dil is more comfortable staying with her own mum which I can totally understand as I spent far more time with my own mum than my mil although we got on quite well. As a mother of two sons, I'll have to get used to that!
I would be quite happy to buy and keep all the baby stuff here but at the moment they really don't visit enough but of course that might change as she gets older and any more might come along.
My son is home at the moment, I did text him but still no reply two days later so I think I'll leave them be this time. I think that I will contact dil after son goes back to work and arrange to drive down and visit her for the day once a month or so and see where that takes us.
Kittylester, my OH is very active with lots of interests and plays sport most weekends and is of the opinion that we have our own lives and so do the children. We also both work. He is happy to see them whenever it happens eg xmas, birthdays etc or if they need any help. When we visit he likes to make a weekend of it, which is not always practical.
We're all quite new to this and I suppose we will settle into some sort of routine.
I love this forum, it really helps to get other grandparents thoughts. I read lots of posts but don't feel qualified to offer any advice just yet.grin

papaoscar Mon 03-Feb-14 06:58:42

Shazzy69 - do not despair, you are not alone. Your situation is very similar to ours, but we are further on down the line as our grandchildren are much older. At least your dil sends you pictures, we have the greatest difficulty getting ours to to do so as they're always busy, as we are too. But we do have magic moments with them all when we can but not very often. A large part of the problem is caused by the business of family life these days. Thank goodness you both have your work and other interests. Keep smiling!

Humbertbear Mon 03-Feb-14 08:22:49

I think it spends on how close you live to each other and on the family's needs. We have our younger two grand children after school on Thursday and the older one on Friday. So we see them all at least twice a week. Plus the 7.00am phone calls of 'he/she is ill could you have them for the day?'
I tried to make sure that my parents saw my children once a week when they were little but my husband's family were in the Midlands and generally only saw us in school holidays.
I think there is a lot of pressure on our generation to be involved and it's lovely if you want to be but I have a sneaking admiration for friends who chose to live 240 miles away from their daughter with 4 children and are happy to have them all to stay for a week or two in school holidays but generally just get on with their own lives. It wouldn't suit me but they had the courage of their convictions