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Tired Granny

(117 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.

quizqueen Sat 04-Mar-17 17:41:36

When I looked after my first grandchild for one or two days a week - pre school- I always took her to a mother and toddler group for the morning to break up the day. If you pick a church run one, the volunteers there usually look after you and provide tea and do activities with the kids then you can have a bit of a sit down and rest. We often walked there so used that time to look at flowers/insects etc. or do a litter pick up. Then it was lunch and then maybe we would watch a video together, play in the garden, go to the park (I usually had their dog as well) or she had a sleep. Sometimes we made cakes or painted in the afternoon or we did gardening. The library sometimes has free sing-a-long times and half term craft activities to go to. Now my next grandchild is 6 months so it will start again soon.

GadaboutGran Sat 04-Mar-17 17:43:16

When I looked after my 2 GC for a day a week I was so glad I did it in London & not where I live. DD worked at home so it was best to take them out. Once I got the hang of a buggy on public transport, I really enjoyed our daycare & really got to know the parks, museums, galleries & river etc. Most things were free or it was worth buying an annual pass (eg to Royal Palaces). Even though they didn't understand things at that age, they imbibed the experiences & it shows now. They were too young to say I'm bored or don't want to go there. I was exhausted but it improved my fitness & education. I met so many interesting people & a lot of grans doing childcare. There was always someone to help dealing with the buggy up stairs & over gaps at stations. Only once did I have to shout, "Can someone help me?"

Nanna58 Sat 04-Mar-17 19:51:26

I look after my 16mnth old grandson three days a week. From 7am til around 6pm. I'm 58 and yes, I do find it very tiring, but oh the joy of being almost as close to him as I was to his mum is well worth being knackered!

Mistyfluff8 Sat 04-Mar-17 20:55:39

Yesl like you I look after my 21 month o.d grandson from 1130 till sometimes 5 o'clock depending on dads shifts .I enjoy it but also have had to look after a sick husband and work nights as well ,I am 67 and get tired as well .Sometimes I. have to occasionally look after the other 2 grandchildren as well but then it is nursery /school runs as well .Sometimes I just want me time to do what I would like .My nearest grandson goes to nursery 1day a week and I hope he will go 2days soon .His other nanny does a whole day but she is 10 years younger than me and does not have a sick husband .

maddy629 Sun 05-Mar-17 06:31:11

I am 72 and look after my 1 year old GS two or three times a week and pick up his brother from school too. I get exhausted and if it wasn't for my wonderful husband I couldn't cope. As others on here have said it isn't an age thing, little ones are very tiring, rewarding but..... My daughter in law wants to change her job but can't because she would have to pay for childcare then. She isn't at work at the moment, she's on leave but she still phones us to look after GS, sometimes I feel like the hired help.

glynis1234 Sun 05-Mar-17 20:01:11

I have GD aged 4 and Twins aged 2 hard work. Can't manage them on my own for long.

Hellsbella Fri 10-Mar-17 10:08:03

I have my DGDs (18m and 3) 2 long days a week, and work 2 days (not suggesting looking after then isn't work!). I am on my knees. I've just turned 60 and have had them since the elder was 9m. The difference for me was getting the second. I could work my day around DGD1's naps, plus she is a very much easier child to be with; but #2 is a whirlwind of energy, will and fighting spirit.
I do it for free because I love my littlies so much and they love me right back, but also because my son and his wife would seriously struggle to make ends meet if they didn't both work.
I don't want to complain to them about just how **ING EXHAUSTED I am by Friday night because it makes me sound like some old crock who might not be up to the job, but believe me, you are not alone in the Tired Stakes! I had two close together when I was 25 and don't remember being this shattered after 7 days a week, but then make myself remember that my mother was able to claim her pension at my age, in recognition of the fact that older = tireder!
Then remind myself that the elder girl will be off to school in a year and I will miss her with all my heart!

Hellsbella Wed 05-Apr-17 15:34:40

Can I join the Knackered Register? I'm 60 and have had my GD, now 3, and her sister, 18m, since they were 9m old. They arrive 7.30 and leave 5.30 on two days. They are by no means difficult children but I'm so shattered by 5.30 I can't move for two hours.
It wasn't so bad when they both napped - I could rest for an hour midday - but her parents want the older one to drop it as she's fussing at bedtime. It makes her "sensitive" and disinclined to run around late afternoon.
Still, I'd rather be knackered than not see

Hellsbella Wed 05-Apr-17 15:39:07

Am I going mad? I didn't remember I'd already commented on here!
Shoot me now!

mostlyharmless Wed 05-Apr-17 21:02:49

The other day when OH and I were out with the grandchildren two separate people said to us "Grandparenting - best job in the world!" And I agree it's a delightful privilege - but it's also completely exhausting!

trisher Wed 05-Apr-17 21:10:25

I agree GS is 2 and half I have him one day a week. He still has an after lunch nap and so do I! I'm dreading him giving it up I need those 5 mins to get me through the day.

hondagirl Thu 06-Apr-17 04:50:38

Could it be that today's grandparents are so much older when they look after grandchildren than our own grandparents were? I was over 30 when I had my first child, as was my daughter.

I remember being with my own grandparents and realised that my grandma died when she was 52.

Norah Thu 06-Apr-17 08:39:54

hondagirl, I think you're found the answer. I'm tired, my dh is 2 years older and he finds energy from the babies, so he is much more than a bit of a help.

cornergran Thu 06-Apr-17 09:24:11

Our daughter in laws parents are 20 years younger than us. It shows! Our energy levels are so much less, just hate giving in though.

MeAnge Wed 12-Apr-17 21:58:11

Hi, I am new to the group. I have a newly pregnant daughter who has to return to her job as a teacher and has asked me if I will have the baby. I jumped at the chance, even though it's a long way off yet, but the more I think about it the more nervous it makes me. I work part time but also look after my elderly parents, dad has dementia and is 90 and both have various hospital appointments that I take them to. Hubby would fully support me if I left my job but I'm not sure if I want to...I'm only 52 and have just finished with the teenage years of my youngest child and am enjoying my new found freedom smile It would only be part time childminding but my week would be manic. I'm absolutely torn but want to offer my daughter the support.....anyone else with this situation?! Someone said to have definite rules in place or some sort of agreement/rota? I don't want to end up exhausted and resentful.

Rigby46 Wed 12-Apr-17 22:55:53

Oh dear MeAnge - you need to have a heart to heart sooner rather than later with your dd as you clearly now realise. With your work and other caring responsibilities not to mention your right to some 'me-time' you clearly recognise that feeling resentful and exhausted might be a possible outcome. I was 64 when my first dgc was born but my dd and I had had the child care discussion years before. She knows I have ( and still have) a job that I love and lots of other activities with occasional holidays - I want the flexibility that regular child care would deny me. We are there for emergencies and sleepovers ( rather than babysitting at theirs as we get to go to bed earlier that way and get morning cuddles). Child care is horribly expensive but my dd and her dh took all that into account when they embarked on parenthood. If she had financial problems, I'd pay towards child care as I'd rather keep the job I really enjoy and then just do the fun child care. I do know that every family's situation is different so my choice is just that , but you are voicing concerns now that are very real.

grannypiper Thu 13-Apr-17 21:28:50

MeAnge Hi there, Why dont you show your DD your post on here ? Maybe she just hasn't thought about how busy you are, remember she is a first time Mum so has no idea how much a little person takes over your every waking moment.
If you really want to help offer to do the ironing, make and freeze some meals and of course baby sitting now and then.
Your DD must be really tired just now, well that is how Grans feel after a full days childminding. We stop having children naturally in our 40's for a reason ! flowers

bluebellinmygarden Sat 27-May-17 17:39:16

I have looked after my 2 GC once a week from 8-8 which gave my son's wife a break as she has recently had another baby. I didn't have them for a few weeks as went on holiday which didn't go down too well with my son's wife even though they had known about it. When I asked to have the GC again, I was told didn't think you wanted them anymore so found other things for them to do. I was a bit upset by this but accepted her decision. Then my son started saying surely you remember how tiring it is as they're not getting a full nights sleep and that his wife was wanting time away from her children. He said the date when I last had them but it was his wife who had stopped me having them on the following week because they had had an argument. His wife has always been grumpy and moody even before they had children. So I offered to have them again but I said until tea time, so was at least 7 hours, but she wasn't happy with this and didn't want them back until 8, she said it wasn't worth getting everything ready for the short time.
We have never done anything together with them like grandparents do, she sees us as having them and not necessarily seeing them. If my son visits he comes only with the GC, yet we say we'd love to see them together as a family and we are given what feels like an appointment time even when taking a birthday present around whereas with our other children, we can turn up so the last few weeks I have just turned up at my sons. I've offered to babysit whilst she can go out and meet friends, although she doesn't keep friends, offered to take to and from preschool, for her and me to take the GC out but she never acknowledges these requests. When we used to take the GC home, she made herself scarce and my son took the GC and we left. You rarely feel welcome and my other children feel the same so it has been a strain on their relationship with their brother. Even when I go to their house I feel anxious and wonder what I will walk into. I am 57 and still work part time. I often thought was it me? I have several friends, and a fantastic relationship with my other children and their partners. My son does talk to me and we have a good relationship but this is a strain as I'm sure he thinks we are being selfish. The very recent thing is my son said no one is interested in me or visit me and he has not recognised any of his siblings achievements. He doesn't like anyone else's opinion but I have got him to understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it's something you should respect. I'm just trying to keep my family together but probably trying too hard.

mcem Sat 27-May-17 17:58:29

A purely practical point - are grans who are pre-retirement on top of their status re NI/
Pension contributions. Please don't leave it too late and find you're in a mess when you reach official retirement age.

Starlady Sun 28-May-17 12:43:54

What a shame, bluebellinmygarden, that dil put a stop to your childminding just because you went on holiday for a while! Does she think she's the only one entitled to a break, now and then? At first reading, she sounds very selfish to me.

"His wife has always been grumpy and moody even before they had children."

This^^ seems key to me. Either she's uncomfortable interacting with others or, for some reason, just your family. As the old saying goes, "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear," so I don't think you and yours can expect too much from her, if that's any help.

"If my son visits he comes only with the GC, yet we say we'd love to see them together as a family and we are given what feels like an appointment time even when taking a birthday present... I've offered to babysit whilst she can go out and meet friends, although she doesn't keep friends, offered to take to and from preschool, for her and me to take the GC out but she never acknowledges these requests... When we used to take the GC home, she made herself scarce and my son took the GC and we left."

Yes, sounds like she's not interested in being around your family. I'm so sorry. You must feel totally snubbed sometimes. Please take some comfort in the fact that she doesn't try to stop you seeing ds and the gc.

I'm sorry, also, that she ignores your offers. Sounds like she's a stubborn person who wants exactly what she wants (once a week, 8-8)and nothing else. If I were you, Id take her silence as a "no" and stop offering - it's no use. But that's just me, of course.

"I'm just trying to keep my family together but probably trying too hard."

Yes, imo, you probably are, but I think that's very natural for a mum. Ds and his siblings are adults,however, aren't they? They can work out their own differences surely. Do you ever invite them over all at once? You can get them together that way, but you can't talk them into a closer relationship. If I were you (and I know I'm not), Id just enjoy my own relationship with each of them and my gc. Also, Id let go of any attempt to connect with grumpy dil on anything but a superficial basis.


bluebellinmygarden Sun 28-May-17 15:18:26

Thanks Starlady, for your input, I have tried inviting everyone around but my son and his family are the only ones who doesn't come and also when we have had birthday meals out he doesn't come. Regarding her moods, my son moved out at least 3 times, saying how moody she was and he was fed up with it and then she told him she was pregnant so they got back together. We already feel she doesn't want to be around our family, she always makes herself scarce when we are there. In fact I saw my son yesterday and he was feeling very depressed. we had a long chat and he said it's not easy for him. My son agreed that I have helped a lot in the last few years even staying over at theirs so they could go away for a weekend so she could attend a family birthday abroad. When she's not happy with one thing, she texts me the GC won't be coming to ours then we go through the same scenario every time, weeks without seeing the GC, this has gone on since she had her first child. I walk on egg shells around her and have asked the others to do the same but now I'm all cried out.

Starlady Mon 29-May-17 04:07:37

More(((hugs))) bluebell.

It sounds as if there are issues going on between ds and dil. You may be catching the brunt of it through no fault of your own. So sorry if this is true.

It can't be fun to walk on those eggshells. But I think you're wise to do it if it means keeping ds and the gc in your life. Have you been able to discover any specific things that set dil off, so you people can avoid them? I hope so though I realize it's no guarantee of anything.

bluebellinmygarden Mon 29-May-17 10:12:13

Thank you for you hugs Starlady,they help a lot. I think you've hit the nail on the head, they do have issues. My son tried to guilt trip me and I have nearly given in but I know this will happen time and time again so I need to stay strong and address this once and for all. One example a day visit to a farm had to be cancelled due to illness and so I'd told her I'd have a morning baking and then in the afternoon a visit to the park but the change did not go down well so she cancelled the GC coming to us. The explanation was because the GC would be coming home earlier than planned. I've been living like this for the last 4 years, we'd have a great few months, I'd be her best friend, then something wouldn't go her way so GC visit was cancelled. It has made me ill, and anxious, and sitting on edge when at thirs with my other children when visiting for their birthdays. Even when driving over to theirs I can feel the butterflies as not knowing what I am going to go into. My daughter's friends have children and obviously they're aware of the situation and I've asked them to be honest am I in the wrong etc etc and they've given me reassurance. One thing I think is that she is not as close to her mum like her sister is plus her mother lives in another country and when she is here she will help but then she gets fed up with helping and then goes to stay with the other daughter. My daughter and I have a great relationship and also with my other daughter in law so I just think she is jealous but we have all tried and I have tried so hard. When she has text me in the past I think is it a nice or nasty message and go into a little panic before I read it, it's like she enjoys turmoil and creating turmoil in our family. She thinks my daughter is spoilt but she is loved and we are there for each other. She could have the same relationships as we have with our daughter and other daughter in law.

JackyB Mon 29-May-17 12:26:58

I would love the chance to spend time with my grandchildren.

We visited DS2 with his girlfriend and daughter (DGD is just 2 and a half) last weekend and DH had been asked to stay on for the Monday and Tuesday to babysit. I had to return on the Sunday because I had to get back to work.

This gave DH a wonderful chance to "bond" with her. He even had to put her to bed because the young couple had tickets to go out that evening. She was as good as gold. "Rules" and "exhaustion" didn't come into it, as it was such a rare chance to be with her.

Next week we fly to America to visit the DGS. By coincidence, DS1 and wife are invited to a wedding a couple of days into our stay and have asked if they can leave the littl'un (nearly 3) with us. This, again, will be a very rare chance to spend time with him. Even if we do have to lie down afterwards.

Those are the only times so far that we have been able to babysit.

Some of us have to do it too much, and others not enough. It's difficult to get it right so that parents and grandparents are equally satisfied with the time spent with the children.

Starlady Mon 29-May-17 13:40:04

Sounds like grumpy dil has issues within herself, too, bluebell. I'm so sorry. Maybe you just need to know in your mind that no matter what you do there are bound to be periods when you don't see those gc? Idk if that will help or not.

Time seems to be an issue with her. Can you make sure that any suggestion you make spans the time she prefers? It doesn't seem fair, I know. But maybe an extra hour or 2 is worth being able to have the gc?

TG you have such good relations with your dd and other dil! Perhaps better just to enjoy that and not get so "ill and anxious" (if you can help it) over the difficult dil?