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Am I being selfish?

(27 Posts)
TinaB57 Tue 01-Aug-17 15:42:18

I am off sick at present with depression. My daughter expects me to go to her house and help with the children for several days a week. She has a two year old and a one year old. During the time I am there I am at her beck and call. From the minute the eldest wakes up, when I get a message to say he's awake and can I get him up. Nothing i do is right. I don't do things her way. I feel like an unpaid mothers help. All the other grandparents get perfectly scrubbed little angels to coo over for a while and hand back. I'm not on the best of health as it is. Am I being selfish to want some time to myself. I love the little ones with all my heart

devongirl Tue 01-Aug-17 15:49:42

Absolutely not!! If you are off work with depression there is NO WAY you should be expected to do anything for your daughter's children - presumably if it was a physical sickness e.g. you were confined to bed with flu, she wouldn't expect it. Does she know? If not, you should tell her that you won't be able to help out at all until the doctor has signed her off, and she will have to make alternative arrangements, take annual leave herself perhaps to cover the time.

devongirl Tue 01-Aug-17 15:50:04

Sorry, I meant 'until the doctor has signed YOU off'!

TinaB57 Tue 01-Aug-17 16:32:06

She's not working. Just not coping with two tiny ones when her husband is at work

tanith Tue 01-Aug-17 16:54:19

So what is she doing while you are getting the children up? I agree with the others you need time to recover in peace not running yourself ragged .

devongirl Tue 01-Aug-17 17:00:43

Unless she is ill, she'll just have to cope, or get a temporary au pair - their are plenty of agencies out there. I'm 14 months older than my bro, and my mother coped - she needs to get a grip!! or hubby could take time off to help her.

TinaB57 Tue 01-Aug-17 17:05:44

I'm afraid she'll stop me seeing the children

TinaB57 Tue 01-Aug-17 17:10:55

Wouldn't be so bad if I got the odd 'thank you'

NonnaW Tue 01-Aug-17 17:24:16

If she's finding it that hard it's unlikely she'll stop you seeing the children - at present she needs you more than you need her

Deedaa Tue 01-Aug-17 18:34:48

Perhaps you could make your depression more obvious. My MiL did a very good line in wanting to help but not feeling up to it. Try telling her you're having problems sleeping and can't possibly get out of the house before lunch time Or tell her you've got to cut back or you'll be too ill to help at all. You are doing an awful lot at the moment, who would she get to step in if you weren't helping, and if she has someone in mind why can't they help sometimes now?

MamaCaz Tue 01-Aug-17 21:10:08

It sounds like daughter is either depressed herself (post natal depression?) or taking the p***. Either way, she and her husband need to find another solution. Assuming they know about your own depression, they are being very unreasonable, and even if they don't, they are being very unfair to you.

norose4 Wed 02-Aug-17 09:25:08

Please don't be afraid to say' no because you think she will stop you seeing your lovely grandchildren. Believe me she will need you soon enough to stick to that. Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground & this is that time for you. And when you do help she is telling you you are doing it wrong ! daughter in laws are a bit more tricky, but this is your own daughter time to remind her .of that & lay down some ground rules i.e., you will not be summoned when he wakes, set times & boundaries that suit you & once she gets that perhaps you may feel inclined to offer extra time occasionally. Please please take control which will also help relieve some of the depression you are feeling & going through. No I would say you are not being selfish, but it is time that you are ,good luck

TinaB57 Wed 02-Aug-17 10:39:22

Thanks everyone. In my heart I know all this but the mother daughter lines have been blurred and I frequently feel like the child

Nelliemaggs Wed 02-Aug-17 13:03:24

I don't know about "perfectly scrubbed little angels". I would be up at 6 to collect my baby grandson and neither of us was perfectly scrubbed! But I was retired, had offered the childcare and was not off work with depression.

I now have a daughter and little grandson living with me and anything I do for them is volunteered or after being asked nicely if I can step in during an emergency.

Your daughter does not have the right to expect your help, command your help or criticise your help and this is hardly going to help you feel better. Norose is right, you need to discuss with your daughter a timetable which allows you time for yourself to heal and time to see your grandchildren, You also need to remind her that you know what you are doing and criticising your efforts is hardly making you want to help.

Good luck Tina.

FarNorth Wed 02-Aug-17 17:12:06

I expect the depression is partly to blame for you feeling as if the situation is out of your control.
Maybe you could write down how you feel and what you need to help you get better. Once you've sorted it out for yourself, write it in a letter for your daughter and ask her to help you.
It sounds as if your DD is quite stressed at the moment, too, but her putting pressure on you won't help either of you.

Barmyoldbat Wed 02-Aug-17 21:32:56

I am sorry to say your daughter is an uncaring selfless person who is taking advantage of your good nature and love. I would stop doing it, take some time off for yourself".

Synonymous Wed 02-Aug-17 21:49:33

Dear Tina, all the above comments are on the button so do take note! In addition I would say that if you are off sick then you are off sick and your current job is to look after yourself until you are not sick. Probably some legalities involved in that too! If you had an accident and were unable to move your DD would have to sort herself out so let her do so now. flowers

Suzieg1949 Thu 03-Aug-17 18:40:42

Hi Tina
I agree with all the others. You say you get a message to get the baby up. Is that via txt. If so lose the phone for a while.
I have 4 grandchildren aged 5 and below and I help as much as I can but there are limits.
Do the other grandparents get involved?

grumpyoldwoman56 Thu 03-Aug-17 19:38:05

You are definitely not being selfish!! You are ill and need some support yourself. Does your daughter know anything about depression? You must put yourself and your health first or you won't be able to help anyone.

I, too have suffered and still struggle with this illness. You cannot be expected to be superwoman while you are ill.

if you had broken a leg your daughter wouldn't expect you to do all that you do.

You need to put boundaries in place for your health's sake. Please take care of yourself.

M0nica Thu 03-Aug-17 21:46:59

This is the second thread running at present about Grandmothers who feel they should be at the beck and call of their children.

When your children have got used to you being their domestic slave and you have acquiesced in this, it is very difficult for either side to change. But in the end the parent involved has to tell their child firmly that ill health means that they can no longer offer the support they used to offer and that is that. You could offer limited support for, say, a month, to give her time to set up alternative arrangements.

I think any child who tries to emotionally blackmail a loving grandparent by threatening to stop contact between grandparent and grandchild is beneath contempt and should be treated the way you would treat any other blackmailer. Face them down. Do not argue or beg or try to persuade. Do not say anything. Just walk away. If she is struggling that hard coping on her own, she is unlikely to do what she says.

If you struggle on and then become so ill you need care or hospital treatment or are too ill to cope with children around your contact with your grandchildren will be very limited anyway so you have nothing to lose by making it clear that you will no longer be her domestic servant.

HurdyGurdy Thu 03-Aug-17 22:40:38

What is your daughter going to do when you are back at work and can't be there looking after the children several days a week? She will have to learn to cope.

If you are lucky enough to still have them in your area, the SureStart Children's Centres are an absolute godsend, with loads of support available. Try getting her and the children to one if you can.

I despair when I read on here about grandparents too scared to say no in case they are denied access to their grandchildren. I can't believe that our children would figuratively throw a tantrum and take their ball home when things aren't going their way.

My daughter and I have had cross words before, when she's stomped off in a huff, but (proving what my mum always used to say) always comes back because she needs me before I need her.

I would just say to your daughter that you feel you need to ease her in gently to when you are back at work again, and reduce the number of days you go over to help her.

MamaCaz Fri 04-Aug-17 07:15:17

Make a start by replying to the next text summons with one of your own, saying, " sorry dear, not well enough to help today", or words to that effect.
Keep that up for a few days, then if you are prepared to give her some help (on your own terms!), extend it to "I can come around at (give a time) for (give a length of time), if you like".
Stick to it. You don't owe her any explanation beyond the fact that you are not well at the moment and need to rest.

Anya Fri 04-Aug-17 07:26:20

Well I was a very hands-on grandmother when the grandchildren were young, before the they to school. But this really is not on.

I'd simply send your daughter a text saying 'Not well. Will get in touch when feeling better x' and look after yourself for a while.

If she rings then by all means answer the phone. If she gets bossy or unsympathetic simply say you're too ill to talk any more and to ring back in a couple of days/next week, etc.. Be polite, but don't be afraid to play the 'really don't feel well, need to get some rest' card.

It will do her good to cope without you for a while and to realise you are not Superwoman. And I'm giving this from the standpoint of someone who will fall over backwards to help with grandchildren.

BlueBelle Fri 04-Aug-17 07:47:04

If your relationship with your daughter is a difficult one and you are worried not to help, either because she really can't cope or because she too is depressed or because you think you ll be denied the grandkids, then I think you must up your own illness and as others have said send a text but BEFORE she sends her request saying sorry 'I m not feeling very good today I don't want to pass anything on to the babes''s just the cycle of expectation you need to break

You only will know in your heart if your daughter is just lazy, or a needy person or a diva who still expects to be looked after or really not managing at all and out of her depth

Break the rhythm of your visits, go when you are able ( small visits with the kids can help your depression) not when she demands and when you do go YOU call the shots about work/play ....i.e. I ll take ( a) to the park while you play with (b)or I'll feed (a)while you do xyz with (b)

You need to change the dynamics back to mother/ daughter not demander and resentful dogsbody

holdingontometeeth Sat 05-Aug-17 15:43:15

Depression can be a very debilitating illness.
You are doing very well to cope as you are doing, but sooner than later you will burn yourself out.
Look after number one first.
Your daughter and her husband sound like a pair of piss takers.
Tell her of your illness and don't commit to any set rota's.
Let her know on the morning how you feel and if you are up to helping out.
The more that you do the more that is expected, in due part to the way we have mollycoddled our offspring.