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Grandparenting

not realy feeling the grandparent thing

(29 Posts)
reluctantgrandparent Thu 14-Feb-19 23:58:41

Hi I am new to this board and whole forum actually. I had read a post that somehow found its way into my facebook stuff by someone claiming to not enjoy being a grandparent. Seems they turned out to just not like the grandkid's behavior.
I plan to read through here as I have time but was just wondering if anyone felt the same as me. I feel like I must be som aberration of nature. I just really don't eel a connection to grandkids.
I never wanted kids. was never evr my goal to have them. never felt connection to children at all. but when I found myself pregnant after just getting married , we never considered any other option. She was our child. I struggled through being mom to a newborn without help from family. we did some pretty stupid things I cringe at now in her care. but we tried and eventually a second child came along a few years later even though I think I was on the pill. decided to not take any more chances after that and had the tubal. I love my kids. at least as well as I know how. my love isn't perfect God knows, but I try. we did as much for them as we could as they grew up. took them and their friends to skate, movies church stuff. made their friends welcome in our home.
I like spending time with them.
was perfectly happy when both married their SOs. Would have been happy if it stayed that way. never pushed for grandkids. but for my daughter they came. She and her husand are doing a so much better job as parents with them than I think we ever did. I am glad for them. the first we didn't live close enough to interact with much and I was good with that. but I felt for my daughter. her husband travels a lot and she was stuck with the kids by herself a lot. the other g mother lives close and stayed with them to help for a few weeks. I mostly saw my role as coming to visit for the day as I could , monthly usually and trying to treat my daughter to special dinners out or take care of her . I held the grandkid but I never did and still really don't feel a connection and he is almost 5. they just had a second and we moved closer to be there to help. my SIL got over a month of paternity time to help when both kids were born. I try to feel a connection to this one, I know I am supposed to. I am happy for my daughter. It took her a while to like having a child I think but she does really well. but I just feel no real connection with the kids at all. I see my role as helping her again. taking the older one for a few hours so that after she feeds the baby. she is nursing it, and it sleeps , she can have free time. that is what I would want as a mom. felt like I lost myself when I became a mom. I know others feel they found themselves when they became parents. I couldn't imagine life without kids after they got older and wouldn't have traded having them. right now I am feeling I am losing myself again with grandkids. I work 4 10 hour days a week. then on my first day off I try to either take older one for daughter or do something with all of them-- which seems to morph into the whole day gone. then the next day, my husband is off and we seem to end up either watching the older one or having them all over for hours. the last day we try to save for ourselves. but I do somewhat resent not having the free time I used to. I watch other grandparents and they happily take the gks each day to help parents and love spending time with them. to me- its an obligation.
my son isn't planning to have kids. I am more than good with that.
does anyone else feel this way though? I feel like such a terrible human being. they are supposed to be this treasure. grandkids are supposed to be the joy of life,I like them ok. they are somewhat interesting for short amounts of time but frankly after an hour I am more than good for at least a week, if not longer. I do what I do as a grandparent for my daughter. I never had close family.. maybe that has something to do with it. never had any experience with babies growing up, my mom never took role of grandma really. I just know if I moved away and never saw the grandkids again, I don't think it would bother me that much. does it change as they get older?
am I alone. are there other reluctant grandparents out there?

MissAdventure Fri 15-Feb-19 00:05:55

Hello!
I think there are a few people who aren't that caught up in the grandparent thing.
It has been discussed here before, I think.
I'm certainly not a rosy cheeked, baking cakes type of Nan.
I only had the one child, and that was quite enough, and I never yearned to spend time with the grandchildren.
I think some people take a lot of time to bond, perhaps?
In my case its a work in progress. 16 years so far!

annep1 Fri 15-Feb-19 02:33:16

We're all different. My best friend used to show me endless photos of her gc, tell me the latest word they had said, funny stories of potty training...yawn yawn. I did not meet up with her to discuss gc. I like to spend time with them but I like having my own life.
Some people have no time for gc. Some totally dote on them. Just be yourself. That's all any of us can do. Don't compare with others.

Namsnanny Fri 15-Feb-19 02:35:31

Hello reluctantgrandparent, I think it is what it is. You show your loving side by trying so hard to help your adult children!

What does your daughter think?

I do think its tougher for you than some gp, but maybe the more you pick at the problem the worse it will feel.

Hopefully in the future you will be able to pull back from all the support you are giving the family, and have some of your free time back. Then maybe you wont feel like your 'loosing yourself' quite so much. Perhaps then you will be able to bond with the gc.

Please don't let this fear that you are not like other gp's get in the way, as it looks very much like your doing all you can to help, and that's all anyone can ask.

Good luck shamrock

RosieLeah Fri 15-Feb-19 06:38:38

Not all women have that maternal instinct, and many simply dislike children. There's nothing wrong with that at all. No need to feel any guilt.

Dolcelatte Fri 15-Feb-19 07:00:55

I am sure many people feel the same. I don't have grandchildren yet and am not really bothered at the moment, as my children have only just left and we are still providing financial support while they study. I enjoy having time for me and my husband and, whereas I don't doubt that I would love any grandchildren if they came, I certainly don't want to look after them on a daily basis - that's the parents' job. I also prefer older children rather than babies and toddlers, so you may well find that your bond deepens as they get older.

I adore my children and I think I would be exactly like you, I would want to help out and give them a break. I am sure your daughter values the support which you give to her and given the long hours which you work, I think you are going above and beyond the call of duty. It would be better to do less, which would probably mean you would appreciate the time with them, rather than to do more, to the extent where you resent it.

There have been a number of threads on here recently from exhausted grandparents who are finding it all too much, especially if still working. Please stop beating yourself up and dwelling on the past - you must have been a good mother for your daughter to want to involve you with her child so much. But you need to step back a bit, in my opinion, and consider your own needs rather than being a silent martyr.

Framilode Fri 15-Feb-19 07:14:02

Hi reluctant grandparent. You are not alone and I could have written more or less the same post.

I have always related better to adults than children. What I have found is that as the grandchildren grow up they become a lot more interesting. Our oldest one is 18 in a couple of months and I really enjoy being with him, great fun and a lot of laughs. I found that once they got to about 10 things became a lot easier and that I loved them.

It sounds like you're doing a good job and I think just keep pretending and eventually you'll feel it. That said I still prefer spending time with just my daughters.

janeainsworth Fri 15-Feb-19 08:22:26

Reluctant you’re doing a great job helping your daughter so much.
Try not to overthink things.
I love my DGCs very much, but I don’t get this ‘bond’ and ‘connection’ thing that some people seem to set great store by.
Children are their own little people and if they belong to anyone, it’s to their parents and not to me.
It sounds as though you work very hard and perhaps it’s time to spend a bit more time on yourself, doing things that you really enjoy?
Don’t try too hard. Accept your relationships as they are - we are all different.

sodapop Fri 15-Feb-19 08:56:16

There are many grandparents who are not so totally involved with their grandchildren as most on GN. We are not so open about it as its perceived by many as a ' bad thing'.
As others have said, don't beat yourself up about this we all relate to our families in different ways no right or wrong. I never had great maternal feelings and was sterilized at a fairly young age to ensure I had no more children. I love the children and grandchildren I have but don't feel the need to share their lives all the time.
You help where you can so don't stress about this, as JaneA said accept the relationship you have and enjoy that.

MargaretX Fri 15-Feb-19 10:18:39

I can understand that you feel you should be feeling more for your Gcs but honestly you sound as if you are the perfect mother and grandmother.
Children don't need all this fussing and spoiling and want to mature and get on with their lives. We are there to pick up the pieces and that is an important feeling of security for the younger family members.
Stop worrying about it.

Gonegirl Fri 15-Feb-19 10:29:18

Why do you work four 10 hour days a week? Are you giving too much of yourself to work?

Grandma70s Fri 15-Feb-19 11:29:51

I always wanted children, and I wanted grandchildren, too. I am lucky enough to have them. I never had any desire to spend my later years caring for the grandchildren, though. In fact I told my children before grandchildren were even thought of that I had been very happy to bring up children once, but I didn’t want to do it twice. I still feel that way.

My grandchildren live 200 miles away, so daily caring for them is impossible anyway. On balance I am grateful for that, because if I lived closer I might feel I wasn’t doing my bit, although I feel strongly that it’s the job of the parents, not the grandparents, to care for their children.

It’s the job of grandparents to take lots of interest in the grandchildren, send them cards and presents, talk to them when possible, admire photos of them and be proud of them. That’s enough.

goldengirl Fri 15-Feb-19 11:43:52

I love my GC dearly but am not a hands on Gran whereas DH is very active with them. I enjoy one to one sessions with them but this is rare. However my nagging on picking up after themselves etc doesn't seem to bother them as they ring to ask if they can come and 'chill' even if DH is not available, so I must be doing something right!

Fennel Fri 15-Feb-19 11:57:19

I'm not very maternal either.
When my own children were growing up my main aim was independence training.We did cuddle etc too. And still do.
As other say, we're all different, and times are different.
In the 'old ' days before birth control women popped out children whether they were wanted or not, which led to a different attitude.

M0nica Fri 15-Feb-19 17:48:14

Yes, I was another mother who greeted with delight every sign of independence my DC showed from birth.

And I must say I am another who found it difficult to immediately bond with DGC and get very perplexed, and I confess, some times irritated by those on GN whose whole life is centred round their DGC and whose lives are utterly devastated when anything happens to disturb that relationship. Childhood is so ephemeral and these saame grandparents are so devastated and sometimes bitter when, as the children grow up they see less of them. I am not talking about grandparents providing essential childcare.

I find as my grandchildren grow older I get closer to them, we share interests and and attitudes, and can have serious conversations.

craftyone Sat 16-Feb-19 05:41:00

oldest of 7 and I had lots of experience of childcare in my young years in the 50s. I had my own 3 and knew exactly what to do, competent and loving. I was also a teacher when I went back to work. I don`t do over fussing gushing grandparenting. Have always been there for my AC and my DGC and have lots of knowledge but keep the mouth zipped unless asked.

I value my own time, quietly grumbled to myself when travelling a 2 hour round trip just so parents could go out but did it, it is a grandparent duty as well as easing the adult relationship and seeing the dgc. I did the crafting with the dgc, told them stories, made food with them. Then comes the pre-teens and the digital age becomes more important. I never gushed about the dgc, they know I am here for them if needed but I have done my bit, reared my own children and several more besides

It is my time, at long last. The children have marriages and spouses, the dgc have good parents. They are small family units and I am on the periphery and I welcome that, it has been a long time coming

reluctantgrandparent Wed 20-Feb-19 00:41:15

I wanted to thank you all for the responses. you have given me perspective.

BradfordLass72 Wed 20-Feb-19 05:38:59

You are certainly NOT alone. My parents didn't want children and my paternal grandmother did not want them and actually disliked children (and had 11 !) My elder son cannot bear children around him.

There is nothing (apart from adverts and movies) which says a woman must love children and when people glibly say, ' a baby brings its own love with it' they are talking absolute rubbish.

Nor do you need to feel guilty about feeling as you do, why on earth should you? In fact you have done heroically giving your daughters such a good home, against all your basic instincts. You have a right to feel very proud of yourself.

Be aware too that so very many women, feeling as you do, don't dare admit it , in case they are seen as odd. Society expects women to coo and fawn over babies, doesn't it?
But look how many wise women are now deciding not to have children, rather than put themselves through a lifetime of pretence.

It's not unlike the way gay people used to have to pretend, in case they were seen as abnormal. Now, thank goodness, they can live honestly and with freedom to be who they are.
You can too smile flowers

Dolcelatte Wed 20-Feb-19 07:01:40

Bradford is right. If you look at Mumsnet there have been several threads where posters say that they either don't want children or, if they had their time over again, they would choose not to have them even when they actually love their children. In fact, a majority of my friends are child free by choice.

Starlady Fri 22-Feb-19 23:58:54

Yes, kudos to you, reluctant, for admitting your true feelings! You have a total right to them. It's wonderful that you can give of yourself, anyway, to your ac and gc. But perhaps you need to pull back a little. Only do what you can with a willing heart. Maybe plan a weekend away, now and then, so that you and dh get some couple time and the gc don't just happen to end up at your house. Just let the parents know in advance, so they can make other plans... Just my thoughts...

Knickerbockerglory Wed 27-Feb-19 16:15:26

Oh I feel you! I desperately wanted my own children, became a SAHM and spent an exhausting, but rewarding 16 years having adventures, fun and teaching them. I loved it, even though one child had ADHD (not diagnosed until she was an adult...now I know why she was so very exhausting!). I put my everything into bringing them up. I’m not into doing it again. I’m done. I have absolutely zero interest in friends babies and other peoples kids. I have one step-granddaughter who of course I love (and am currently concerned about), but spending time with her is SO stressful. I don’t want to play infantile games, I don’t want to watch banal cartoons, I don’t want my house messed up, smeared with snotty fingers or damaged now that we’ve finally got nice furniture. I can’t deal with the constant “I’m bored”, “I’m hungry” “Buy me this” “I need to go poop” (in the middle of a nice meal). The whole time I am with her I am not able to do anything that I want to do. Can’t even sit down with a cup of coffee in peace, or go to the bathroom without her knocking on the door “What are you doing Nana? Are you going pee or poop?” The sassiness, the meltdowns and tantrums. I’m usually hitting the secret stash of chocolate or wine within the first hour. The request of ‘Can you pick up/have GD’ honestly makes my heart sink. And yet I do love her and care about her. I don’t know what it is...Because I’m step-grandma, she wasn’t allowed (by her Mom) to call me Grandma, so that alone made bonding difficult. We were used as free childcare and a source of financial help for the first few years with no thanks and usually she wasn’t picked upon time ‘Can you watch GD for a couple of hours’ often turned into 8-9 hours and not being even able to contact her Mom by 9, 10pm that night. That caused resentment and a feeling of being used. Not having similar interests...GD likes TV and video games, not at all interested in the crafts and nature walks and reading that my own kids loved. Her upbringing has been so different that I find it hard to connect with her. At the moment I am concerned that she is being neglected/at risk in certain ways and I am totally and 100% prepared to have custody of her if necessary...and yet scared to death / dreading it if it actually came down to that. My own grandparents were absolutely wonderful, I spent every weekend with them and we had so many adventures and so much fun. I really wish I could be like them and give this child the grandma she deserves, but I can’t. I don’t know if I burnt myself out with my own kids, or whether I’ll bond more with any blood-related GC that come along in the future (my theory that my kids will probably bring their kids up in a more similar way to what I did with them...fostering a love of reading, nature, art and adventures). But rest assured, you are not alone. It’s hard when you see all your grandma friends on Facebook posting about how much they adore their grandkids and it makes you feel abnormal and mean, so you try to hide your feelings. But you really are not alone.

Lily65 Wed 27-Feb-19 17:30:43

Not being bitchy but can people use paragraphs please?

MacCavity2 Wed 27-Feb-19 18:00:17

Thank you for opening up this subject. So refreshing to read honest replies that give us permission to admit to wanting to enjoy our later years. We enjoyed having DGD for weekends but were wiped out by Sunday afternoon. I don’t know how grans do so much childcare and some also work. I’m happy to be in such good company on GN.

Franbern Thu 28-Feb-19 11:08:09

I have written on this subject on several occasions, I know I once did an article which I entitled 'The last forbidden frontier'.
I was desperate to have children, they did no come as quickly as I would have liked after marriage. Took nearly five years to get the first one, then everything was fine and I had a further four over the next five years (ending up with twins). Also fostered babies, and one stayed and became our sixth child.
Loved those early school years, much preferred school holidays to school terms. They grew up and went on to Unis etc.
Discovered that having grown up adult children was really wonderful. Was slightly put out as they all got their own partners, but was prepared to cope with that.
Then the first one announced her pregnancy - and I was devastated. Not the usual response of a first time grandmother!! But it felt to me as I was now going to be pushed further down the pecking order with that child, and the while family balance was going out of gear.
He was born, and I tried very much to love him for the sake of my daughter. Over the years eight g.children have been born to my four daughters. All planned and very much loved babies. For my childrens' sakes I try to extend the bubble of love I hold for them to their children. Yes, I care for my g.children (one who lives near I have had a closer relationship with as her Mum became a single parent early on following a career, so I helped out. Must say am much genuinely closer to her now she is well into her teens and on her way to becoming an adult.
My g.children make my children happy - and anything that does that must be good.
However, I know I gave birth to the most wonderful, beautiful five babies in the world and no other baby can ever compare with them.
My g.children are now between the ages of 7 yrs and 19 yrs. I have a comfortable relationship with them all, but not really close. Visiting their parents homes, I much prefer when the children are in bed or out so I can just settle down with my own offspring.
Nothing wrong with this, I find it strange when people tell me that they love their g.children more than their own children.

Sharpies46 Tue 09-Apr-19 18:39:01

First time posting. So sad to see negative comments about GC I am estranged from my 3 , (through no fault of our own ) i was at the birth of one of my GS . All 3 (6, 1 and 6 months ) from same son 2 mothers he is not in a relationship with either now . My son is not allowed access either the girls have been really unhelpful and at times quite nasty , i have never said a bad word to either of them , one sent us photos earlier in the year and we saw GS and spoke to him on whatsapp video call for about a month then she blocked us again , by not allowing access they have no idea how painful every day is and how much hurt they are causing us .hmmInterested how do other estranged GP's deal with this situation . Just live in hope every day for when /if i see them again .

Framilode Tue 09-Apr-19 19:10:37

I think far more women don't have the maternal instinct than will ever admit to it. I love my AC but I always have a secret envy for those of my friends who chose not to have children.

I also love my grandchildren, but it is not a hugely deep love and it wouldn't be the end of the world for me if I never saw them again as long as I knew they were OK.

I have no real bond with my great grandchildren though, again, I pretend.

I still feel guilty about all this and in many ways wish I had had the bravery to say ' no children for me'. On the other hand I wouldn't want to be without them now and often think my childless friends have an empty future.

Tangerine Tue 09-Apr-19 20:49:31

You would probably realise how much you loved your grandchildren if they were ill or anything terrible happened to them.

I did not write the above paragraph to be unkind or tempt fate. I truly think lots of people don't realise how much they love someone until they are put to the test.....

sodapop Tue 09-Apr-19 21:02:20

Sharpies there are threads for those dealing with estrangement, this one is different.

Deedaa Tue 09-Apr-19 23:13:59

I haven't seen much of my GSs for several years because of DH's illness but I had a lovely morning shopping in Waitrose with GS1 today (thrilling I know!) Such fun to spend some time with him and, at 12, he's big enough and sensible enough to be helpful. Still love him as much as ever!