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Asked to look after grandchild in NZ

(47 Posts)
tealblue7 Sun 14-Aug-16 22:05:15

I have been asked to look after dgc in NZ for 6 months. Previously we have been happy visiting once every 3 years or so. Now totally confused and emotional as would love to but not practical. DH would not entertain going for that length of time. Also have dgc in UK.

Feel as though letting ds down as feels that we could spend 6 months abroad and 6 months in UK. Now feel worse than ever. Had tried to get used to family being so far away.

Grannyknot Sun 14-Aug-16 22:25:27

teal I feel so sorry for you! I can imagine that feeling of being torn between mother duty and wife duty and I don't even have family far away. So hard to choose! I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you, but I do feel for you.

I hope someone comes along with more wisdom than me.

tanith Sun 14-Aug-16 22:32:20

I think your family are being very unfair to ask you to do take on such an undertaking. They must realise how impractical it would be for knowing your personal circumstances. In my head I know it would be a difficult decision for me but I would never put OH in the position of having to choose UK or NZ. I feel for you but you seem to know its not going to happen such a shame they've put you in such a difficult position.

cornergran Sun 14-Aug-16 23:43:16

Wondering why they have asked you. Is there a special need for your help? Does it have to be 6 months? Has something changed? It's such a difficult position to out you in. Can't think it would be for a trivial reason. Hard to give a thought out response without knowing more.

Jalima Sun 14-Aug-16 23:56:30

What about visas for that length of time? Is it as difficult as Australia to obtain other than a 3 month tourist visa?

It's a long time to leave your house, too, is there anyone who would keep an eye on it?

goose1964 Mon 15-Aug-16 08:46:47

I'd be off like a shot, would love to visit NZ

BlueBelle Mon 15-Aug-16 08:48:28

Oh what a difficult one I have a son and family in NZ and have never been in that position but it would break me in two because I also have children to help with here

Depending on the reason if it's a life or death illness thing it would be very different to a job related need or 'my husband s going to be away and I can't manage on my own' scenario

Is your son thinking he's doing yo a favour offering you a 6 month 'break' ?

pollyperkins Mon 15-Aug-16 08:51:08

My friend looked after a grandchild in USA for a year. She went out for 3 months at a time with short breaks at home in U K. Her husband stayed at home and they were in regular contact by skype and phoned daily. He went out for 2 extended visits when they were there. Her breaks were in school holidays when she was not needed. I thought it was above and beyond the call of duty but it seemed to work for them. I think her daughter paid for fares and visas etc. Matbe you could do sonething similar?

Millbrook Mon 15-Aug-16 08:51:46

What a tough position to be in... I agree with Cornergran - perhaps the reason they want you to stay for a whole 6 months is at the heart of this difficult decision? Don't envy you. When kids are little it's so much easier to balance the time you spend with each of them, with partners, en famille etc. As they get older and spread around the world, it's a lot more difficult! Best of luck with kind to yourself about whatever decision you make .

BlueBelle Mon 15-Aug-16 09:02:09

But Goose it's not to do with loving a place you can't just up tools and leave all your responsibilities behind on a whim Fine if you live alone and are retired and have no one or nothing here depending on you but not everyone can be footloose and fancy free and go where it takes them as wonderful as that may sound OP may have family, pets, job, parents home that she can't just up and leave Very few people could ' just go' somewhere for 6 months without it affecting someone else

Mumsy Mon 15-Aug-16 09:04:36

I would firstly find out why they want you out there for 6 months, its unfair of them to think that you would uproot your life here without a second thought. Why cant they get a child minder or nanny to care for the grandchild for the 6 months.

Anya Mon 15-Aug-16 09:06:10

Yes, I'd be off like a shot too goose - it's only 6 months after all and if it worked out then great, and if not, well at least you gave it a shot.

Difficulties can be overcome if it's what you want.

Anya Mon 15-Aug-16 09:07:45

Leave DH behind to look after things.

gettingonabit Mon 15-Aug-16 09:10:28

Much as a six-month trio to NZ sounds fab, I think your family is being very unfair to you here.

I'd say no.

Lillie Mon 15-Aug-16 09:16:42

I would definitely go. I've been to NZ several times and it's an easy country, relaxed lifestyle, no language barriers etc.

Six months is a summer or winter break depending on how you time it down under, and just as your DGC in NZ currently cope without you, so could your DGC in the UK cope for that amount of time. I'm all for supporting both families equally, it would be awful for your son to feel neglected.

H1llary123 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:27:23

I went out to Australia for Childcare for 6 months to save family some money while setting up a business, living under their roof . Tensions built as time went on ended up doing 14 hour days ,also weekends with daughter hardly speaking to me. It is now 2 years since I came home and I have been accused of all sorts and weaned off the children and have barely spoken to them. They have even moved house without telling me found out via Facebook. Think carefully before saying yes.
As my relationship with my daughter will never be the same

fifeywifey Mon 15-Aug-16 09:29:16

Perhaps six months is out of the question but would three months be do-able? It would be great to spend a bit more time with them and would seem like an extended holiday. I think your family's expectation of splitting your time equally between NZ and GB a tad much though. You shouldn't feel guilty at all and I'm sure you never made them feel guilty when they decided to emigrate.

gettingonabit Mon 15-Aug-16 09:34:30

I doubt it'd be much of a holiday. You'll be doing the childcare. That's the point of the visit, isn't it?
Tread carefully. And no, don't feel guilty. You've nothing to be guilty about-your family have made their bed. They now need to lie in it.

Anya Mon 15-Aug-16 09:38:28

Actually H1llary makes a very valid point. If you decide to go then you do need to lay down some ground rules and find out certain things and ask yourself certain questions.

Are you staying in their house? And how do you get on with your DiL?

What exactly do they want you to do? Do they want you primarily as a childminder or so your GDC can get to know you as their granny/nana?

These will do for a start and I'm sure you can draw up a list of more when you think about it. The last thing you want is to end up unhappy, far away from home. But on the other hand if it goes well it could be wonderful all round.

You need to have a full and frank talk with your son and DiL before you make up your mind. And if you refuse the invitation you need to do so in such a way that there is no hurt on either side.

Meriel Mon 15-Aug-16 09:46:15

I think pollyperkins has the best idea. And, as others have said, it depends on why they want you to go. We have a daughter in Australia and three gc (now grown up). My husband and I once stayed for six months but found it a bit too long. However he is now ill so we can't go at all. If you want to go, don't put it off - go while you can.

Jalima Mon 15-Aug-16 10:10:25

Health is the other consideration. If you are relatively young, fit and healthy then insurance would not be too much of a problem. However, some conditions are excluded from travel insurance and, if more specialised insurance is required, then the cost could be very high for a six month trip.

So much to consider, it sounds lovely on paper, but if your OH is not keen that could be very difficult indeed.

Would you be entitled to weekends off, or a short break? Six months is a long time to look after a little one with no break. Would you have a granny annexe to escape to?

I do sound like a pessimist, I'm not but I think I am a pragmatist. Six months is a long time to spend in close quarters with grownup children.

Nelliemaggs Mon 15-Aug-16 10:18:16

It's a difficult decision. Any possibility that you could go and DH join you for some of the stay? Will your GC here miss you? How easily can you upticks and leave your home? It's not w matter of just shutting the door and hoping all will be well.

I don't think you should feel guilty if you don't go. The longest I stayed with my DD in Oz was 7 weeks, lengthened from 4 weeks when the new baby got a Strep B infection and spent time in hospital. My DGC here was 5 months old and I felt that any longer and we would have lost our bond, not good when I was about to become his daytime carer at 8 months.

I have visited regularly but health problems make the thought of the long journey scary and I am torn in two by the fact that DD in Oz is unwell and I could help in so many ways if I was with her and her three children, but then I couldn't look after 2 year old grandson here who I have looked after for 16 months. When I feel guilty I just remind myself that she chose, even if it didn't feel like a choice at the time<3 to live 12000 miles away!

annifrance Mon 15-Aug-16 10:40:00

Assuming you are and have always been a UK based family whose idea was it to move to the other side of the world? Surely they are the ones to cope with the difficulties that arise with that, again assuming it was their decision alone to make the move.

hulahoop Mon 15-Aug-16 10:55:44

I would want to know reasons it's a long time to spend under someone's roof even when you get on well . It's a tough decision hope you reach a decision which suits all

EmilyHarburn Mon 15-Aug-16 11:21:05

I have lived in with DS and his family for short periods at 2 yearly intervals in Australia. You definitely need a break about every 3 weeks. Last time I spent just over 2 months. Had several nights stays with a cousin to get time to myself. I do drive their car there so that I can go shopping for the family groceries. I do not drive children to swimming lessons etc as I do not want to be responsible for any accident that might occur due to some distraction by GC.

A friend of mine has been invited to NZ by her son 6 months at a time but has turned it down. She agrees to 3 months. She is a widow and has said she might stay longer if they have a separate granny flat or house for her.