Gransnet forums

Grandparenting

Overwhelmed

(92 Posts)
vwaves Sun 01-Apr-18 13:02:36

I know many of you have much worse situations than this but I was just out walking and thought I must get some of this off my chest. Ha ha cos I am recovering from a chest infection!
I moved to Warrington 18 months ago from Cornwall as my daughter got CFS. She adopted two children nearly 4 years ago now. A boy nearly 6 and his sister nearly 5 now.
I want to help her but I am not happy in Warrington. My neighbours are lovely and I go to some nice classes and walks but otherwise haven't made many friends. It isn't really my milieu. I am used to cultural, alternative, small places. And beauty around me not this urban environment.
At the end of last summer I bought a static caravan in Prestatyn hoping that might help but weather this year hasn't so far been good for that!
My other son and 3 kids plus another on the way live in North Wales so the caravan is nearer them. I do like it there but it is also exhausting as another thing to fit in and do. I thought about moving to Prestatyn but I also have elderly parents in Sussex and I am not sure I could do the extra hours drive. I don't know what I am saying really. I just feel that I cannot go on this way living somewhere I am not happy. And I am just EXHAUSTED.
My daughter is so unremittingly negative. Okay understandable with her condition but also it really wears me down. She won't try any of the suggested things to help her condition, she overspends and NEVER stops going on about her son as she finds him really difficult. He is exhausting!!!!! I am not sure there is anything much wrong with him though. Obviously issues from his birth as he had severe withdrawal from drug and alcohol and he rarely concentrates on anything for more than 5 mins (although that is improving!) He is fine at school. It is partly how she and her husband treat him. If he was in a family who loved rough and tumble he would be much happier. His sister is easier and bonded more with my daughter. The boy was 2 when he came and had been with the same foster parents since birth so a huge loss. Honestly adoption is wonderful but poor kids who need adopting sad
The past year I read every book to help with grandson and he adores me. And I have managed to do some nice activities with him which he loves (albeit for very short periods! Really he is better just outside) But it is actually very tiring for me. I never wanted to spend so much time with grandchildren. I almost felt like his parent. I was ready for my own life as I had a lot of difficulties with my daughter when she was a teenager and with my ex husband who became an alcoholic after we split and caused endless problems for my daughter. Sadly he died although it was also a relief.
I actually wouldn't mind it so much if I was happier in Warrington. I try to get to galleries and so on in Manchester in Liverpool but don't get a lot of spare time and also fitting in other things is good for me but also exhausting!
I just want it all to stop!!!!
I went on a lovely cruise with a friend for a week last year and it was bliss. No parents, and no children/grandkids/no worries.
I had to do Christmas at my parents this year which was nice but I did all the catering and stayed at my parents and my daughter and the grandkids in a holiday cottage. Which meant giving her breaks and rests and managing everything else. Her husband had a wobbly and said he was stressed and couldn't cope and they left a day early and he went and stayed in a hotel for a night. He was going for two nights. I felt sympathy for him but then learnt that he has been spending ages messaging a 'friend' at work. I always have the kids for part of the weekend so he gets a break but was angry really as I thought what is the point if it is not helping. I guess that is part of my issue now. I thought after a year when both kids were at school it would all be better but it isn't! And I am not sure I am really helping. I hardly ever spend time with my daughter. I just have the kids!! So it is lonely and not a lot of fun. And I partly haven't made friends cos I don't have time. But actually am making friends in Prestatyn so a smaller place helps.
I had the kids for two nights when they went away for husband's 40th and actually although it was exhausting and little girl missed her Mummy a lot (they had one night at in laws as well) the kids were well behaved and calmer.

Oh my parents. I had a 3 week holiday with them ! Holiday is not quite the word as they need help now. And they plan to come up here as they want to see my son in North Wales. I honestly don't know how I will manage that. I can't put them up in my house so we have hired a caravan on the caravan site .........oh well may not happen!
So at least I have got some of the stuff off my chest x
Thank you all for listening! smile

OldMeg Sun 01-Apr-18 13:15:37

Why do we try so hard to be all things to al people, especially our loved ones?

vwaves I’m exhausted just reading your post and a tad depressed (which isn’t like me). I’m so tempted to say just sit down and make a list of what it is that YOU want from the rest of your life, and when you’ve decided just go and do it.

vwaves Sun 01-Apr-18 13:52:24

Not a bad idea!
I was going to say I constantly feel guilty but not sure why really!

MissAdventure Sun 01-Apr-18 13:54:46

You seem overwhelmed with other peoples (your daughter) problems.
She has a partner, she adopted the children, so I'm wondering why so much of the worry seems to be falling on you?

HAZBEEN Sun 01-Apr-18 14:03:54

vwaves dont ever feel guilty, you have done your best for your family and no one can do more. One thing I would say is what help will you be to anyone if you make yourself ill? Explore options for outside help for parents, My parents lived 300 mile from me, my mother still does and over the years carers have been used and now a nursing home, it took a while to get them to accept outside assistance but I was in ill health as well so it had to happen. Your daughter sounds as if she may need some form of councelling as she maybe depressed and who could blame her. Your SiL needs to step up for his families sake and to stop putting so much on you. Of course it all needs careful handling but you have to think of your own wellbeing.

Telly Sun 01-Apr-18 14:58:11

No wonder you re overwhelmed. This is too much for anyone to take on and at the end of the day it is not your responsibility. I do understand the need/desire to help but there is a limit. I think that the operative word is help, not to do the whole lot. Perhaps you need to consider moving back to Cornwall and having the family for holidays etc.? Seems that your daughter has taken on too much, but she has not done this alone and your SiL now needs to step up to the plate. As for your parents, if they can't manage then they can't come if you are so swamped with the demands of others. Perhaps you need to practice how to say no?? At the of the day if you collapse from the demands of all this then no one will benefit. You need to manage this - take control. You only have one life.

Situpstraight Sun 01-Apr-18 15:06:49

I’m with Telly on this one, none of these problems are yours!

Go back to Cornwall and get yourself well.

I used to have a fridge magnet that said “Stress is when your mouth says Yes and your gut says No” you have taken on too much, time to listen to your gut.

We have one life, please don’t spend what’s left of yours being so unhappy.

cornishclio Sun 01-Apr-18 15:59:43

Goodness I am not surprised you are overwhelmed trying to help with your grandchildren and your parents and not living in a place where there is support for you or where you enjoy living.

I think sometimes we forget we have a right to say no and that you are entitled to a life for yourself. You have forged a nice bond with your grandson but obviously a busy town like Warrington does not suit you. Your daughters health problems are obviously also a worry.

It does take time though to build up a social network so as you are relatively close(in distance) to your daughter and your son I would hesitate to tell you to move back to Cornwall. We have lived there for 30 years and it is lovely but it is so far away from everywhere else in the country. As you get older you may want to be relatively close to your family and Sussex is no closer to Cornwall than it is to Warrington.

My family are scattered all over the country although thankfully one daughter in same town as us (with grandchildren) and one in Bristol which is only two hours away. My elderly mum and stepdad, disabled brother and sister who is going through divorce though all live in London which is a four hour drive from us. We tend to meet up regularly either in Cornwall or London or book somewhere half way for us all to meet up. 3 weeks is far too long for you to stay with your parents. Can you help set up some outside care for them? My mum and stepdad have cleaners now and that helps with having someone in to change beds etc.

Hopefully as your grandchildren get older it will get easier. I am not sure what to suggest re your daughters CFS but if she will not help herself I think it best you set some limits on how much you can help her for your own mental health and physical well being.

vwaves Sun 01-Apr-18 17:22:40

Thank you all so much. I probably can't go back to Cornwall where actually I have loads of friends and support. It is so far. It was actually more fun when we just visited. (I guess with getting older I would quite like to be nearer family) But definitely I need some new boundaries. I kind of though I should be able to manage but you have all helped me see that it is in fact a lot! And time to think of me.
Yes my daughter needs some counselling. And actually if she won't help herself I can't really go on burning myself out. And I hadn't really thought yes SiL needs to step up! As you say they chose to adopt! (Not me!!!!)
Thanks everyone!
I will get better from this chest infection and then build up some energy so I can actually make some changes! I do need to move out of Warrington.
Oh I did get some help put in place for my parents which has been great.
And I guess learn to say NO. It is hard when I am so nearby. Anyone else any good at saying no?

sodapop Sun 01-Apr-18 17:41:38

Sorry vwaves you really must learn to prioritise and say no.
Look at what you are doing and why, help out your family where you can but don't take over all the problems, people have to take some responsibility for themselves. You can't be superwoman without it affecting your health and well being.
If you never say no what is your yes worth.

Eloethan Sun 01-Apr-18 19:52:57

I have a great deal of sympathy for you - and the children. They have already had disrupted lives and now it appears that their mum is not well enough to care for them and their dad is irresponsible.

I don't know what the answer is, except to say that I can understand you wanting to help but much too much is being expected of you.

I think, as you say, what makes it a lot worse is that you are unhappy where you are living. Maybe you could move further south but not as far as Cornwall and perhaps visit your daughter and grandchildren once a month and stay for a few days to help. If your daughter can't cope due to her illness, then I wonder if social services can get her some help - I believe Homestart offers support to parents with young families who are struggling.

Situpstraight Sun 01-Apr-18 20:14:50

I think VWaves sends us all a message that we should think twice, or even thrice, about moving closer to our
children and their families. Especially if we are happy where we are.
I know that if I moved closer to my DD and the GC I would be absorbed into all their family issues and problems, they seem happy to forget that we are a good 20 years or even more, older than they are.
Much as I love them, I need to be able to recharge between visits.
I know that in this case the OPs DD is ill, but it’s now making the OP ill and exhausted, which isn’t helping anyone.

So many GNrs ask if they should move closer to their children, I always think, No! please don’t.

vwaves Sun 01-Apr-18 20:25:29

That is so true about moving! Much better to be able to recharge! I rented at first and thought it would be short term to get them over the worst but now 18 months later. I am somewhat stuck!

FarNorth Sun 01-Apr-18 21:05:12

How about having a chat with your DD and SiL, where you explain that things are getting too much for you and ask how things could go forward. Get them to look at their own situation without relying on you to keep it all afloat.
Make sure they understand that you can't keep going as you are.

Luckygirl Sun 01-Apr-18 21:13:44

There is nothing worse than living somewhere where you do not feel at home. It really is a downer. So you do need to decide where you would be happiest and try and make that happen.

As to all your family responsibilities...........are they really YOUR responsibility?

Your DD's family circumstances are very unfortunate indeed. I am very well aware of the temptation for social workers to place damaged children with anyone who will have them, even if those parents have their own problems. I am sure your DD and her OH wish to do their best for their children, but any child who is born with drug and alcohol withdrawal is going to have lifelong problems and it is the responsibility of the SSD who placed him to make sure that the right follow-up and support is in place to help the placement work well. Their responsibility; not yours.

A mother with CFS is going to be facing a battle even if the children were quiet, biddable and easy-going. In your DD's circumstances it is bordering on the impossible. But it really is not your responsibility to support your family in the way that you are doing, and to your own detriment. There are services out there and help available. Have you tried contacting Home Start? - there is a branch in most areas.

I do think that you can best help your DD by seeking help for her rather than trying to take it all on yourself.

You have to try and stand back a bit and look at where the help can come from for both your parents and your DD, because you definitely cannot do it all yourself! Then you can take a hard look at what YOU want. It is right and proper to want to try and help others; but, as my DD says to me, "You cannot pour from an empty jug" - and living somewhere that drags your spirits down definitely qualifies as emptying the jug.

I wish you every good luck with these challenges - but they do not all have to be yours.

Emm14 Mon 02-Apr-18 09:03:42

I think you need to put yourself first - what would you say if one of your friends was in this situation? This is your life and you have every right to be happy and do what is right for you.

Pamaga Mon 02-Apr-18 09:03:44

I do think it is time for you to be less selfless and more 'selfish'. I think it is a really good idea to write a bucket list of things you really want to do and start ticking them off. We only have one life, after all, and, although what you are doing is admirable, you do deserve some 'me' time now! Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

Coconut Mon 02-Apr-18 09:25:03

Please think of yourself more or you will make yourself ill with all the worry .. you have had a chest infection so maybe you are low already. I think it’s important for all your family to know exactly how you are feeling, because you have become “ Wonder Woman” to them all, they will just presume you are coping with everything just fine. To live somewhere you clearly do not like is bad enough, but then to have to cope with everything else on top.... you cannot mend everything for everyone and your family must recognise your own distress. I so hope you find some peace of mind and solutions, but as others have said SIL needs to step up to his responsibilities. Sit them both down and talk or things will only get worse for you. Good luck 💐

Blossomsmum Mon 02-Apr-18 09:28:38

For the last six months my adult foster daughter and her 5 year old daughter have been living with us due to her mental health issues leading to them becoming homeless. It now looks like my foster daughter is going to prison for a fairly serious offence and we will be caring for my foster granddaughter for some considerable time .
I love my granddaughter but for the last 6 months I have put my life on hold . I have now decided that it’s time to claw back some life for myself before it’s too late , I am 66, and I start resenting my granddaughter. So please have a think about what’s best for you while you too still can enjoy life.

sillylily Mon 02-Apr-18 09:29:39

Now your parents have some care in Sussex, I wonder if you could spend a bit of time there just to get your thoughts together and give your daughter and SiL a chance to step up to the plate with your grandchildren. Don’t get sucked into caring for your parents, though.

hulahoop Mon 02-Apr-18 09:30:48

My word you made me tired just reading your post ,like others have said you need to put yourself first good luck whatever you decide 💐

deaneke Mon 02-Apr-18 09:35:39

Hello, my heart goes out to you. Cornwall to Warrington...must have been a very hard move! If you had a best friend and they were in this situation...what would you say to them?. Everyone has a choice, your daughter chose to adopt...there must be systems in place to support her...has she been down that avenue...family therapy maybe, so everyone is on board to help the little boy and girl. Be your own best friend...listen to your heart, then head! Good luck

vampirequeen Mon 02-Apr-18 09:36:16

Stop thinking about everyone else and put yourself first. Your daughter is an adult and can look after herself. So she has CFS. Well I lot of people do and get on with their lives. I was diagnosed with ME when my DDs were little. It wasn't always easy but I brought them up, kept house etc. I'm not bigging myself up here. Lots of people do it. Is she letting you do all the work just because it makes her life easier?

Your parents are elderly but obviously cope when you're not there so you don't need to drive yourself to exhaustion when you do visit.

You have a right to your own life. Now you've moved to Lancashire why not use that base to find somewhere in the area where you'd rather live. Would you be better in a village nearer to Manchester or further out into the countryside? You're not in a rush to move so you can take your time and find somewhere you'd really like to live. Limit the time you give to others. Don't feel guilty and don't feel obliged. You brought up your son and daughter. They've moved on and made their own lives. You don't have to keep propping them up. The same goes for your parents. They brought you up to have your own life not to be their carer. I'm not saying don't have anything to do with your family but do it on your terms.

jenpax Mon 02-Apr-18 09:38:16

Gosh no wonder you feel overwhelmed😳 I can quite understand why you are struggling with living in Warrington if you were living in Cornwall before. I live by the coast in Sussex and before that the same in Dorset. I would be deeply unhappy living in a very urban non coastal environment and I can only imagine what a change it has been. My advice would be to think about moving back to Cornwall where you have friends and support; that way your family can visit you on your terms, even maybe having the DGC for small holidays to give DD a break? If you carry on like this you will make yourself ill😯 and as others have said you too have a right to be happy. we do only get one life.
Good luck with whatever you do

quizqueen Mon 02-Apr-18 09:42:27

Too late now, but when grandparents move to a totally different area for their kids' benefit they should perhaps consider renting first for a year and renting out their own property to see if they like it first. Then they can return home if it doesn't work out.

Your daughter has a husband so she is not your total responsibility any longer and your parents still need you (can you share the stress there with any siblings?). She and her husband should not have taken on adoptive children (especially a difficult one) if she was so ill. If you are truly unhappy then sell up and go back home and keep your caravan nearer to your daughter so you can just go up and stay there during school holidays to help out or have your grandson to stay with you.

They don't seem to appreciate you much and they coped while you were away on holiday and at your parents. Think of yourself and your own happiness. Your family will have to come up with more coping strategies if you are not there so much.