Gransnet forums


Asking for too much?

(120 Posts)
retirementisgreat Tue 21-Feb-17 19:52:47

My DD and her OH have five children between them, all living with them aged 15mth - 13 years. I have been asked to have them all once a month for a weekend- every month - so they can get away for a break. I did it once recently and was exhausted and said never again. I am now accused of letting DD down and that I'm always changing my mind and letting her down. An argument has ensued but I am determined not to be worn down which is the usual result. However I think she will now not let my DGD stay with me as a way of getting me to change my mind. My DGD has stayed with me on and off for the last 13 years. The other girls are DSDs. I always have to go to DD's house too which I am not comfortable with but she insists is easier all round. I'm in my late 60's and not as energetic as I was. I love my grandchildren dearly but can't cope with that commitment. There is no one else who can look after the children for her so DD relies on me to do it all. I don't think my DD has any respect for me and is treating me the same way as my ex OH did.

Chewbacca Tue 21-Feb-17 20:24:30

Oh heavens above OP, I don't blame you for not feeling up to looking after 5 children for a weekend every month! I certainly couldn't do it. I have my granddaughter one day a week and that leaves me exhausted. It's a huge responsibility and you can't take your eyes off the little ones for a moment. I'm afraid that it would have to be a no from me too.

Deedaa Tue 21-Feb-17 20:32:19

Five children at once is an awful lot even once a month. I would have thought your DGD might complain if she has enjoyed being with you and her mother doesn't let her come.

tanith Tue 21-Feb-17 21:27:03

I certainly wouldn't cope with 5 children even once a month, stick to your guns. I'm sorry but if they had 5 children between them then they really can't expect you to take on that responsibility even for a weekend.

Ana Tue 21-Feb-17 21:41:32

I agree. The baby alone must take a lot of time and attention, never mind four other children of various ages.

It does make me cross when some adult children seem to be almost bullying their parents into looking after their children and then having a hissy fit when thwarted...hmm

Coolgran65 Tue 21-Feb-17 22:21:37

I just wouldn't do it, I am also late 60s pretty able physically but as you say, not as sprightly as we once were, and my head would be turned !!. Not 5 all at once.

And dh who loves ours all to bits wouldn't stand for it either. Only scenario would be in a dire emergency . All the fights, arguments, he touched me, she breathed on me, he got an extra chip.... for three long days. Definitely No.

Youngest is only 15 months and eldest is 13 years, so the other 3 are of varying stages in between. What a handful. No way. Only as a matter of life and death.

Your DD is asking too much. Does her OH have no family who could also help. i.e. you try it with the two older children.

jusnoneed Tue 21-Feb-17 22:25:03

Stick to your guns, it's totally unreasonable of them to ask. They are hard work when you're older.
As she's a 13yr old I think your gd will soon speak up if your d is petty enough to try and stop her seeing you.
I do get annoyed when people have children and then expect to leave them with somebody else so they can have down time. No, you had kids you look after them, especially five.

LadyGracie Tue 21-Feb-17 22:25:18

A couple of hours maybe for them to have a quiet meal or go to the cinema, never for a weekend?

vampirequeen Wed 22-Feb-17 07:42:42

I don't understand this modern idea that you have children then dump on someone else (usually grandparents) every so often so you can 'have a break'.

I never had, nor wanted, a break from my children. We were a family. If we went on holiday then we went together.

Asking you to have 5 children is asking far too much and you are absolutely right to say no. They're accusing you of being selfish but imo it's they who are being selfish in their expectations of you.

Riverwalk Wed 22-Feb-17 08:07:04

Five children for a weekend is far too much work, unless it's a dire emergency measure.

I'm all for couples having breaks, but expecting one a month with you alone providing the care, is very unreasonable.

Also, what about the other mother and other father of these children and there must be at least three other sets of grandparents, where are they? confused

grannypiper Wed 22-Feb-17 08:11:01

retirementisgreat i am 48 and would be shattered looking after 5 of them. Stick to your guns.Tell your DGD the truth if she asks why she is no longer allowed to come and stay.

Iam64 Wed 22-Feb-17 08:13:59

I agree with everyone who posted so far. Five children, one weekend a month - never! It's far too much and a great pity that their parents don't realise it's an unreasonable thing to ask of a grandparent.
I do hope they can accept you simply can't do this without it causing a row. For what its worth, I'd try not to worry about our 13 year old granddaughter being used by her mother to try and get you to change your mind. 13 year olds are quite capable of taking themselves off to visit gran as they always have done.
Look after yourself.

absent Wed 22-Feb-17 08:20:07

Absentdaughter won a prize in the local shop of a national chain last year: an all-expenses-paid weekend for two in Queenstown, a city in the south of the South Island of New Zealand that is a jewel in a scenic setting, a tourist hotspot and the adventure capital of the country. At the time that she was awarded the prize she was just about to start a new job and was studying for the final assignments and exams for her degree. I was concerned that she and her husband would never get round to fixing a date for the trip – it had to be within 12 months. However, it has finally been set for next month.

They have six children, aged from 22 months to 15 years, and have not had a break longer than a few hours at a time – and that infrequently – since their six-day honeymoon. I would gladly have looked after the children during their weekend away, but they asked the other grandmother who has willingly agreed. Everyone thought that was fair as I already do a great deal of childcare, including school holidays, and she doesn't see the children very often. Certainly, neither absentdaughter nor her husband assumed that they could just swan off at their convenience and expect me to take over routinely. The chances of their ever needing another weekend "child-sit" from either granny are remote. It is possible, however, that they might manage to have a family holiday with all the kids some time.

All of that seems perfectly reasonable to me. To ask for and then, apparently, demand a weekend break every month while your five children are cared for by their grandmother seems to me outrageously rude, self-centred, self-indulgent and immature.

vampirequeen Wed 22-Feb-17 08:37:06

A one off special like that is different. It's the parents like those in the OP who expect to go away and leave their children with grandparents that I don't understand.

mrsnonsmoker Wed 22-Feb-17 09:54:53

I agree with a previous poster who said not all 5 at once - can't they be split between other family members?

mags1234 Wed 22-Feb-17 09:56:10

An overnighter rather than a weekend away , maybe? Stick to saying you can't do full weekend unless in emergency!

Neversaydie Wed 22-Feb-17 09:57:03

DD1 was 12 and DD8 before we had a weekend away for our 15th wedding anniversary.Looked after (well supervised)by widowed grandma who did move into our house (she lived up the road)
We'd come out of a very difficult 8year period and really needed a break but no I can't understand this 'getting away from.the children'thing either I worked full time and was glad to spend time with them when I could .Five at once is crazy if the youngest is only 15m .Unless they engaged a temporary nanny to do the 'heavy lifting' and you supervised ? (Only)

palliser65 Wed 22-Feb-17 09:57:06

Children are entirely the responsibility of parents. Offer help, but on your terms. Instead of breaks away etc what about having a cleaner once a month. I certainly wouldn't commit to 5 children once a month. The responsibility and energy is huge. We may be grandparents but have lives to live. I commit to childcare one day a week for each daughter which means 2 days. Ad hoc for a few hours in emergencies of course. You need to be clear, set boundaries and assert your needs.

MaggieMay69 Wed 22-Feb-17 09:57:24

My daughter has four children, all whom are wonderful, happy lovely kids, and in fact, even too polite sometimes lol, and yet my DD still would never ask me to have them all at once! Your daughter had these kids,she made the life-long commitment to them, but this does not include free and easy childcare when you need down-time! Love them as you no doubt do, they are not your responsibility. If she is stubborn and won't listen, write it down how much all this has upset you and show her, I'm all for communication. If she still doesn't realise, then find time to speak to your GD and let her know that you love her and tll her the reasons why this is happening. 13 yr olds aren't stupid and hopefully it will show your DD how utterly selfish she is being. Nothing worse than kids being used as pawns.

br0adwater Wed 22-Feb-17 10:00:32

I agree with all the above. Don't give in to blackmail. Be strong, friendly and interested in them all, and she will have to adjust her opinion of you

Marydoll Wed 22-Feb-17 10:02:14

We have our GD this morning who is very unwell. I've sent her mum to bed as she is unwell too. We are very worried and exhausted already, taking turns to cuddle her, trying to get temp down, and having the stress of getting a doctor's appt. for her. That's only one child! I don't think I could manage 5 in one go!
It's a huge responsibility and I think very selfish of the parents to ask on such a regular basis. They made the decision to have children and much as you love your grandchildren, they are the parents' responsibility.Nothing wrong with a few days away now and then, but every month, no. Could you split the care at all?

GadaboutGran Wed 22-Feb-17 10:02:21

Saying she has no one else is a nonsense. She can pay for help or ask a friend (or DSDs other relatives) who she can help in return. It's so much easier to ask & do a guilt trip on grandmothers isn't it?

HellsBells Wed 22-Feb-17 10:02:50

I don't think that anyone realises unless you are 65 + the difference you feel from when you were 60 DONT DO IT And certainly don't ever feel guilty x

waggingtailssl Wed 22-Feb-17 10:06:23

If they find parenthood so "tiring" that they need a break once a month, they should have considered this before bringing 5 into the world. Grandparents should be there to enjoy time with and spoil their grandchildren, certainly not to be free childcare for a weekend each month! Don't feel guilty they are being very selfish and lazy!

Judthepud2 Wed 22-Feb-17 10:08:22

I sometimes think adult children forget that their parents are getting older and don't appreciate that energy levels can drop significantly after your 50s.

OP you are not being unreasonable. Maybe a one off for a special anniversary or something but one weekend a month looking after 5 children is too much of an ask. Stick to your answer.