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Looking after grandchildren

(42 Posts)
NellyBu Fri 10-Feb-17 07:47:48

I've posted before about my son and his wife. Things are slightly better with my son but we rarely see our daughter in law anymore. I can't decide if it's just our paths genuinely never cross or if she is deliberately avoiding us. Still, my relationship with them is what it is. I have my son and grandson, we are starting to build a good relationship.

I only now struggle with one aspect. I still have never been trusted to babysit. I hear from so many people how grandparents are a valuable source of childcare and (wrongly) assumed we would be babysitting often. However, my grandson is almost 2 and we have never been asked, not even for an hour.

I did, cautiously, mention to my son that if he ever needed us we are here but nothing ever came of it and I'm worried that if I keep on I'll jeopardise the progress we have made.

I know that they have needed babysitters in the past but it's usually my daughter in laws mother or her sisters that they turn to. It does hurt and I struggle not to be jealous.

I know there is little I can do to change this situation. I guess I just want to know if I'm alone as it feels like it sometimes.

Anya Fri 10-Feb-17 07:58:58

Don't let it worry you. You've offered and that's all you can do. Often daughter do turn to their family first, so it's not unusual. Just enjoy what you have and make the most of it.

Just one little thing. When next you do see your DIL perhaps mention to her that if they're ever stuck and her mum can't help out, you're available, and perhaps add what a lovely boy your GS is and that he's a credit to her. DiLs need to know they are appreciated and that you approve of her ability as a mother. We sometimes don't make that clear. Verbal strokes are always welcome.

RedheadedMommy Fri 10-Feb-17 09:17:16

I remember your threads. I would cherish the relationship you have with your son and grandson, i really dont think the relationship with your DIL will get any better tbh.

You have offered babysitting and thats all you can do, because of the fragile relationship with your DIL don't mention babysitting to her, you have offered, they know, don't keep mentioning it.

gillybob Fri 10-Feb-17 10:18:12

Hi NellyBu I am trying to look at this from a different angle and wonder if the reasons you have not been asked to babysit could be simply because they rarely need babysitters and on the occasions they do, DiL's family just live closer or are able to have the baby overnight? How far away do you live? Do you have transport? Would you be able to do an overnight? Do you have facilities at yours? Etc.

I wonder what would be said if you asked directly if you could take your grandson out for the day? Not babysitting just a day /morning/afternoon out.

radicalnan Fri 10-Feb-17 10:18:48

Maybe her sisters have kids so they cam return the favour immediately?

Don't read too much into it all, early days yet perhaps.

There will come a time when they do need you and it will resolve itself naturally, as things often do.

Kim19 Fri 10-Feb-17 10:39:58

NellyBu, you are most certainly NOT alone. I relate very much to almost everything you have said. Much comes from the more natural and strong Mother/daughter relationship but not all. Live with the jealousy and do what you can. Try to think back to how it was with yourself and your MiL. Think I may have been a little guilty there myself retrospectively.......

Poly580 Fri 10-Feb-17 10:56:18

NellyBu, I really feel for you. No matter what is happening or who's fault it is you are obviously suffering heartache. I was supposed to be minding our first grandchild when my daughter returned to work. She rang me and told me she was looking for a nursery place. I was stunned... after she returned to work I found out that her Mil is minding our grandchild. Her Mil is much older than me but very controlling. I was devastated, still am, but you have to learn to live with what you have. Don't waste your life. Feel better x

NemosMum Fri 10-Feb-17 11:10:37

It may not be much comfort to you, but anthropological studies show that in all societies there is a tendency for mothers to prefer their own female relatives for care of infants and children. It is tough for you though and I sympathise.

Marnie Fri 10-Feb-17 11:20:42

I would just like to see my gc. Dil mother lives round corner from us but they sit while parents work and go out evenings a and there every holiday and birthday. I do think girls gravitate to their mother's but it leaves us mother's of sons with awful feelings of being ignored abandoned and useless.

Lorelei Fri 10-Feb-17 11:54:30

I split from my daughter's father when she was only 6 months old. His parents loved my daughter - his dad was always friendly but his mum didn't take to me at all and even threw a mug at me once (missed me!) I was a gobby teenager with a bit of an attitude but recognised the value in my daughter having a relationship with her paternal grandmother and managed to come to an agreement where I could drop baby off, exchange a few civil words and let her 'babysit' then collect her at agreed time. It wasn't convenient for me and often involved a quite lengthy bus ride and long walk to get there, and back home. Strangely, when her husband died it was me the sort-of-mother-in-law turned to (she had 5 kids including my daughter's father but all were busy with their own lives and didn't have much time for her). I spent many days/evenings keeping her company over the next couple of years until she felt able to crack on with her own life, make new friends etc and she did tell me she appreciated everything I did to support her - that meant a lot to me and taught me a few life lessons - people are complicated and multi-faceted, can be capable of change etc. She might not have been my favourite person in the world and it would've been easy to criticise what I saw as her faults, but she had raised 5 kids well and wasn't all bad - guess it took us both some time to get used to and accept the other, faults and all smile

Helmsley444 Fri 10-Feb-17 12:28:10

Absoulty marnie.I agree.I have teo sons no daughters.3 gc all boys.I see two of them on a fri after school for a few hrs,and i had to fight for tgat tooth and nail.The baby is only a infant and dil never lets me mind him or any infant till there well over 18mths old.Son just gives in fir a quet life.

NellyBu Fri 10-Feb-17 13:22:07

Thanks for the replies.

My relationship with my daughter in law is so much different to my relationship with my own parent in laws. My children were regularly looked after by the whole family from a very young age. We both worked so my father, aunt, parent in laws, and sister in law helped wherever they could, we would have struggled without our families support.

My daughter in law has always been resistant to accept help from us, and in the past I have foolishly insisted in helping. This has caused a lot of tension. I have pulled away completely and left my daughter in law alone and now we barely see her. I do agree that my relationship with my daughter in law will not likely improve.

My daughter in laws family do live slightly closer, and her family have other children whereas my grandson is the only child in our family. I just find it hard to believe that in almost 2 years we have never been required, especially since her family are always incredibly busy.

I know there is nothing I can do and I do mostly accept this. I just can't help feeling heartbroken, especially when I know I may be partly to blame.

It is sad and comforting to hear from others with similar experiences.

Morgana Fri 10-Feb-17 13:33:35

We just have to take what we are given. Be grateful and happy that we are so blessed to have G C . I never felt very confident with my in laws until they arrived early once and caught me hoovering! After that they were fine with me!

Kim19 Fri 10-Feb-17 13:56:36

Lorelei your contribution has moved me considerably. What a rounded and generous person you are. Well done. Hope you continue to reap the benefits you seem to be experiencing at the moment.

Luckygirl Fri 10-Feb-17 14:50:10

We cannot "insist" that we look after our GC. We can just be ready to help when we are able. It is not about our needs.

Legs55 Fri 10-Feb-17 15:32:57

My DD lives about 10 miles from me but I have never been asked to "babysit" but her & OH rarely go out & when they do DGS stays with friends who have children similar age. Also I don't drive at night, struggle driving in the dark. I don't worry though & just enjoy the times we do spend together. DGS gets so excited when he knows he's going to see me, he's nearly 7, that's enough for mesmile

DD knows I'm there if she does need me.

Maimeo Fri 10-Feb-17 17:59:26

Lorelei, lovely postflowers

Shizam Fri 10-Feb-17 19:47:36

Sounds like she's spoilt for choice so doesn't need you. I had no parents or in-laws to help with child care, just me and their dad. It was extremely hard. Would have given anything to have a ma in law to help out when i was working. We almost never went out either as paying babysitters was too expensive.
Stick with being an option for her when she runs out of other offers.

quizqueen Fri 10-Feb-17 20:16:41

While I understand that all grandparents would love to be treated equally, sometimes this could be looked at from the daughter-in-law's point of view as well. Perhaps some are not so much in favour because maybe one grandparent smokes and the child comes home reeking of tobacco or their discipline is not very good or their standard of care is not very high or they buy lots of sweets or their choice of language is not very appropriate etc. I'm not suggesting this is the case here but there could be other reasons why mothers prefer their own family to help more. I tried to be fair to my parents-in-law even though they had all those traits I've mentioned above but, luckily, my husband thought the same thing about his parents! I count myself lucky to have had two daughters and am very close to both. I help the daughter who has children a lot even though I live a 30 mile round trip away e.g. picking up from school, running them to after school clubs, babysitting etc. The other granny lives a long way away so only sees her grandchildren monthly at the most and I deliberately stay away then so she can have full access as the grandchildren naturally gravitate towards me if I am there. I'm afraid the old saying,' A daughter's a daughter for life but a son's only a son till he takes a wife' does still seem to apply, sadly, which is why I never understand it when women are so keen to have a boy baby! I desperately wanted two daughters and was overjoyed when told my second was going to be a girl too.

Katybobbs91 Fri 10-Feb-17 20:19:07

I'm a very New nana- my daughter has just had a boy- I have to work full time as much as I can because of finance- I feel totally excluded already - I now keep my distance- the other ml is babysitting once a week, I'm still reeling and very hurt- what can I do? I know it's early days only 3 half weeks in - I know there are hormones etc. My son- in law I know sees what is going on - I feel I can't do anything - at the beginning- my d asked for help- then it suddenly turned- I have never been controlling- ? ? Help

Marydoll Fri 10-Feb-17 20:39:20

I have the opposite experience to some of the posters. Although we all live in close proximity to each other, it is to us my daughter in law turns to for childminding, rather than her own mother, who is not as flexible or reliable as us. Although we try to encourage our daughter in law to ask her own mother to look after our granddaughter, she says she can't really rely on her and prefers her coming to us. It can be very difficult keeping the peace and not making it look as if we have a monopoly. We are actually very happy to share the childminding, but the other gran does not appear to be interested. I often worry that it looks as if we are trying to make other the grandparents look bad, when in fact the opposite is true. They are missing out on so much joy and happiness. I can't understand them at all.

Norah Fri 10-Feb-17 23:06:34

Katybobbs91 "I know it's early days only 3 half weeks in"

Postpone worrying just yet.

Starlady Sat 11-Feb-17 04:09:19

Focus on your relationship with ds and gs, Nelly, and never mind dil. I'll bet anything that she has agreed to your seeing gs only if she doesn't have to be there. Hurtful, maybe, but let it go.

Maybe if you let dil know that you own your part in the rift, as you have told us, it will begin to heal. But don't expect to get to babysit just yet, anyhow.

Lorelei, what a wonderful post! You're a gem!

BetteBarrett Sat 11-Feb-17 07:27:49

Martydoll I had the same experience, everything was lovely before the birth then afterwards, after D and her Partner had moved into the flat I had purchased for them, they didnt want to know. All I can do now 25 years later is to keep sending cards and presents to GD and GS and GGD. I was a single Mum to my daughter and adored her did everything for her. Apparently, she and GD have "issues" Try and get on with your life, as I will with mine, my D is 44 this year with a NewP and expecting a baby. After 45 years I am now bowing out but wish them the very best, as I do all of them. Ad all the best to you too :-)

MarySunshine Sat 11-Feb-17 08:58:19

My situation is similar to yours NellyBu but Ive chosen the 'persistent' route! DIL's family, immediate and other, are always the ones asked to babysit and who have priority in visiting. Although I find this very hurtful, I will not allow it to stop me having a relationship with my grandson, who is now 8 months old.
Since he was born I made things as easy as I could for them to bring him here. I filled my spare bedroom with baby bits, travel cot, highchair, steriliser, pushchair etc.. and I had to 'nag' at my son for visits.. which were very infrequent .. and unfair on son, who works long hours. Rightly or wrongly I didnt really care as I saw my son in the wrong for not fighting my corner with DIL.
It all came to a massive head over Christmas, when DIL did something I can never forgive her for and I have previously posted about..
But I never gave up. I love this little boy as much as her family do and as much as you have the love for your grandchild.
Then one day quite recently Ive sensed a change.. It came about when I asked my son to meet me so I could buy a car-seat to save him doing all the driving. DIL didnt want me driving the baby, although her mother & grandfather both drive him. My son was the one who had to tell me and I know he felt really bad and didnt agree with her.. And although I agreed to not have a car-seat, I think DIL has finally realised that I am not going to give up on seeing and wanting to spend time alone with my grandson .. Because the following week she texted me and asked me if I would look after him while she had a hairdressers appointment..She dropped him off to me at 10 am and my son collected him early evening.
Then yesterday she wanted an afternoon to herself and asked me again ..
Small steps I know and we are still treading on very delicate ground .. Of course I dont know your full reasons why the situation in your family has come about.. Would it possibly work for you if you pushed for more with your grandson?
I do hope you can find a way