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Grandparenting

Tired Granny

(109 Posts)
hopeful1 Thu 02-Mar-17 19:51:07

I am wondering how other Grandparents cope with looking after the Grandchildren. I look after a 2 year old GS 2 days a week from 7 til 6 on average and drop off and pick up my 8 year old GD for school then care. I am finding this really exhausting even though I am only 57. I have got to the stage that after a full day with them I need the next day recovering and do little else, I am lucky that I was able to take early retirement. I love them dearly and put a lot of effort into making their days worthwhile. I do suffer from anxiety so work hard at not letting it control my life however this is not quite how I envisaged retirement. Do others feel like this.

HildaW Thu 02-Mar-17 20:01:43

hopeful1....I do not think its an age thing. There is something particularly exhausting about caring for grandchildren I think the extra anxiety of getting it wrong and having to explain to the parents. It need only be a misunderstanding about what to feed them or what to let them watch....but it does seem to many to make the whole thing a lot more stressful.
All anxiety is draining - the hormones can wreak havoc...so coupled with doing best for your grandchildren I'm not surprised....and no you are not alone.
However, you could be a bit run down - iron levels or just not used to the sheer physicality of youngsters. Try and pace yourself a bit more and perhaps a trip to check your iron levels!

Iam64 Thu 02-Mar-17 20:01:51

Yes, I get tired and I only do one full day, which is usually a long one. All the grandparents I know love being in a position to help out their adult children and love being with their grandchildren. I don't know anyone who doesn't find it very tiring.
I wonder if we are inclined to do too much entertaining of our grandchildren, as well as that feeling that you can't take your eyes off them in case they do damage to themselves. With our own children we were probably much more relaxed ! I hope you're managing to get some time for yourself x

Ilovecheese Thu 02-Mar-17 20:07:58

2 years olds are lovely, but yes, they are exhausting. I am assuming that you want to carry on looking after him, and taking your granddaughter to school, so how about thinking of it in a different way. What about thinking that you are not quite retired yet, that you will retire when you are 60, but in the meantime carry on doing a really hard job for 2 days a week. By the time you are 60, he will be going to school, your granddaughter will be 11 and may no longer need taking to school, so you can start your retirement proper then.

Iam64 Thu 02-Mar-17 20:08:05

HildaW - I took so long typing my post, yours appeared to I x posted. Sorry about that , i think we made similar comments about the fact that much as we love and enjoy the baby days, we don't relax as much as we ought to, for our own as well as the children's good.

hopeful1 Thu 02-Mar-17 20:17:01

Thank you for your replies. I do try and stick to mum's rules together with trying to prevent the 2 year old from killing himself, it is certainly not as relaxing as caring for my own 2! If I see the GP again I think she will put me down lol, my anxiety is just that... anxiety.. it just adds to the mix to wear me out. I suppose I just want reassurance I am not alone in the tiredness way and would love to know how others manage and maintain some sort of 'normal' life too.

hopeful1 Thu 02-Mar-17 20:20:34

Brilliant idea Ilovecheese, perhaps I will look on it as voluntary work for a while, puts more of a framework to it all.

Grannyben Thu 02-Mar-17 20:23:30

Can I join the exhausted group as well please! I work 2 consecutive days then I have day 3 to get over them. Day 4, I have my youngest grandchild and then day 5 is spent getting over day 4. Day 6, I have my oldest grandchild and day 7 is spent getting over day 6 and preparing myself for the trauma of going to work. I am in a permanent state of exhaustion but I know how lucky I am to have our 2 beautiful little boys in my life. My daughter trusts me with them and she's told her sister she doesn't know what she would do without me (we still have the odd dispute but that's life!). I know how quickly my own children grew up and became independent so, exhausted or not, I'm going to grab every opportunity I can to have them in my life

Norah Thu 02-Mar-17 20:27:02

hopeful1 Of course GC make many GPs tired, we're older than when we had our children. I had my first child over 55 years ago - I was spry, now GC exhaust me.

I make sure I eat good protein at breakfast and wear arch supporting trainers.

Eleven hrs at one go is a lot, can someone help you have time for a restful lunch?

Luckygirl Thu 02-Mar-17 20:36:46

You are definitely not alone! I have a 4 year old one day a week and a 22 month old another day. And I suspect that when the older one goes to school in September I might be needed for some pick-ups.

We feel very tired after each of our care days, but luckily one is Monday and the other is Friday, so plenty of recuperation time.

We do love having them and being such a close part of their lives is something to be treasured.

It is of course more difficult looking after someone else's children - you are very conscious indeed of having to keep them safe. I try and involve them in the ordinary things of the household, rather than entertain them, but there are times when they have to sit in front of Sarah and Duck or Ivy (sic) the Engine while I take a breather.

It is a great joy and a privilege - but a tiring one.

Jalima Thu 02-Mar-17 21:02:25

We sometimes did 11 hours in a day! They are at school now and I miss them, although I did find it exhausting keeping them safe and entertained all day. However, the DGD are very good at using their imagination and entertaining themselves.
We still do occasional days in the holidays and school pickups now.
ps I am a lot older than you hopeful hmm - 70+

tanith Thu 02-Mar-17 21:15:45

I don't know how you all do it I know it would exhaust me I take my hat off to you all.

MargaretX Thu 02-Mar-17 21:49:51

I found looking after my own 2 yr olds exhausting, and the grandchildren even more so but I never had such a long day with them, and not every week. No wonder modern Mums put them into child care at one year old.

I refused to provide entertainment as well, I took them to the shops or the park like with my own and then I expected them to play on their own, but then I was over 65 when I became a grandmother.
Hope it gets easier hopeful1

Hopehope Thu 02-Mar-17 23:52:50

I am sure it is very tiring, but I for one would relish the chance to find out sad

Marenn Fri 03-Mar-17 01:27:50

Like Hopehope said, I'd like to find out how tiring caring for grandchildren could be.

hopeful1 Fri 03-Mar-17 07:58:03

I do appreciate how lucky I am, I adore my GC, just would like to have more energy. Sometimes my anxious side looks for reassurance that I am doing OK, the support on here really helps . Now I know it is not just me and have acquired invaluable tips on the way. Love Gransnet.

Greyduster Fri 03-Mar-17 09:11:16

I have looked after our GS two days a week since he was six months old. He is now ten. I am 70. I don't think I found it physically demanding looking after a toddler, but the anxiety levels involved are very wearing. Will they hurt themselves the minute you take your eye off them? Are you doing the right thing when they are poorly? You only have your own experiences and a dog eared copy of Dr Spock to fall back on! As they get older and more active and have higher expectations of you, in terms of outdoor activities especially, it does get harder. My GS is exactly like my son, who regarded having to stay in and do anything indoors as a form of punishment! We had to be out, weather notwithstanding! These days I think the most wearing aspect of his care is trying to keep him off his iPad to which it seems he is surgically attached. DD will only allow him an hour a day, but once he is on it, he will think of a million excuses why he just has to have a little more than the three twenty minute bouts you have allowed him! Then we wrangle (he is some negotiator!). And I get cross. And then he gives me one of his charming, melting smiles, and.... I am putty in his hands! I have no doubt at all that you are doing ok. Think well of yourself 😊!

Christinefrance Fri 03-Mar-17 09:22:25

Small children need a lot of care and attention so that is why our bodies are programmed to stop reproducing at a certain age. I get so cross when I read about women over 50 having IVF etc it is so unfair on the children and existing family.
Well done to all those grandparents who willingly give their time to help with child care, you are heroes. I was lucky in that my grandchildren were born when I was relatively young so I had the energy to help with them.
They grow up quickly Hopeful so care will not be so physically tiring, good luck.

MissAdventure Fri 03-Mar-17 09:36:38

My aunt, who has fostered around 80 children in all, says that children nowadays are very different.
She says that our children years ago would sit outside in their pram, watching the washing blowing until they were toddlers, almost!

Jalima Fri 03-Mar-17 09:41:23

When I say 'keeping them entertained' I mean taking them to the park (getting a toddler into a car sear is exhausting grin even more so when they want to stay in the park 'for ever'), making biscuits, smoothies etc and keeping enough toys, books, games etc at your house to keep them entertained.

But as a couple of posters have said they would love to have had the chance and I count myself as very lucky.

rosesarered Fri 03-Mar-17 10:06:32

Of course it's tiring, although some of us on here are older than others, some have more energy or less ill health than others, so we are all different.Even the temperament and the age of the children is different.I find looking after and entertaining our small DGC very tiring tbh and couldn't commit to doing it for long, four hours maximum at a time.That seems to work.smile

patchworksue Fri 03-Mar-17 10:47:09

I looked after my GS two days a week for two years and found it exhausting ...when my daughter had her 2nd child I decided not to do the same....I now have the grandchildren when it's suits me, and I see a lot of them...I take them both out .and I enjoy it on my terms.

goldengirl Fri 03-Mar-17 11:01:02

I have 3 GC on a regular basis and find it tiring though DH seems to thrive on it. I was clear from the start that it's 'my house, my rules' and that has been accepted by all. The GC have also noted that by the time evening comes I turn into 'Grumpy Gran'!!! especially as they're fussy eaters. I'm not 100% fit and they realise this fortunately. The age range is wide so that adds to the mix. I see the other 4 usually with their parents in tow so that is different. I remember seeing my Nana most days but was left to my own devices. Perhaps today we are expected - or expect ourselves - to 'give more' than we need to.

LesleyAnne54 Fri 03-Mar-17 11:57:35

Hi I'm new to group. Loved reading all these comments. My daughter has just gone back to work, so I am looking after my 1st grandchild (Nancy, just turned 1), but yes although enjoy every moment of it, find it tiring. I'm just doing 2 days at present, then will be doing 3. She goes to nursery 1 day a week. which I often feel guilty about, because I always was at home with my 3, and worked around my husband, but I realise its a different generation now .What I do find is some of the toddlers groups and fun centres are expensive, does anyone else find that?

Anya Fri 03-Mar-17 12:53:47

Luckily I'm past the baby/toddler stage now, but at one time I had three under 5s most days and the 4th for the school run. Now they're all at school and it's just a complicated rota of dropping off and picking up from three different schools.

The stresses are different...e.g. 'Why are you always last in line when you know I've hit to get across town to pick the girls/your brother up?' or 'No! You can't go back int class to get your reading bag/poo/runner bean seed as we're late already'.

Back at my house (after a quick head count...where's GS1?? Oh yes! Late pick up it's Nature Club tonight) I give them anything they'll eat a hearty snack, and, in winter settle them down with electronic baby sitters something educational. In more clement weather I turn them loose in the garden and apologise to the neighbour's later.

Simples!!